Zhang et al. report that 32-134D, a recently developed HIF inhibitor, safely and effectively blocks HIF accumulation and prevents diabetic eye disease in mice. The cover image is an artistic rendition of diabetic eye disease highlighting vision-threatening vascular changes, such as retinal nonperfusion and adjacent neovascularization, that are observed in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Image credit: Isabella S. Sodhi.
Solid-like protein deposits found in aged and diseased human brains have revealed a relationship between insoluble protein accumulations and the resulting deficits in neurologic function. Clinically diverse neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, exhibit unique and disease-specific biochemical protein signatures and abnormal protein depositions that often correlate with disease pathogenesis. Recent evidence indicates that many pathologic proteins assemble into liquid-like protein phases through the highly coordinated process of liquid-liquid phase separation. Over the last decade, biomolecular phase transitions have emerged as a fundamental mechanism of cellular organization. Liquid-like condensates organize functionally related biomolecules within the cell, and many neuropathology-associated proteins reside within these dynamic structures. Thus, examining biomolecular phase transitions enhances our understanding of the molecular mechanisms mediating toxicity across diverse neurodegenerative diseases. This Review explores the known mechanisms contributing to aberrant protein phase transitions in neurodegenerative diseases, focusing on tau and TDP-43 proteinopathies and outlining potential therapeutic strategies to regulate these pathologic events.
Bryan T. Hurtle, Longxin Xie, Christopher J. Donnelly
Despite the remarkable success of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in melanoma treatment, resistance to them remains a substantial clinical challenge. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) represent a heterogeneous population of myeloid cells that can suppress antitumor immune responses mediated by T and natural killer cells and promote tumor growth. They are major contributors to ICI resistance and play a crucial role in creating an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Therefore, targeting MDSCs is considered a promising strategy to improve the therapeutic efficacy of ICIs. This Review describes the mechanism of MDSC-mediated immune suppression, preclinical and clinical studies on MDSC targeting, and potential strategies for inhibiting MDSC functions to improve melanoma immunotherapy.
Feyza Gul Ozbay Kurt, Samantha Lasser, Ihor Arkhypov, Jochen Utikal, Viktor Umansky
The most active human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) subtype, HML-2, has been implicated as a driver of oncogenesis in several cancers. However, the presence and function of HML-2 in malignant gliomas has remained unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Shah and colleagues demonstrate HML-2 overexpression in glioblastoma (GBM) and its role in maintaining the cancer stem cell phenotype. Given that stem-like cells are considered responsible for GBM heterogeneity and treatment resistance, targeting the stem cell niche may reduce tumor recurrence and improve clinical outcomes. The findings provide a foundation for future studies to determine whether antiretroviral and/or immunotherapy approaches targeting HML-2 could be used as therapeutics for GBM.
Parvinder Hothi, Charles Cobbs
The study of the cellular and molecular microenvironment in B cell lymphoma, especially diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), has led to prognostic and therapeutic algorithms that may improve patient outcomes. Emerging gene signature panels provide a granular understanding of DLBCL based on the immune tumor microenvironment (iTME). In addition, some gene signatures identify lymphomas that are more responsive to immune-based treatment, indicating that the iTME has a biological signature that could affect outcomes when targeted. In this issue of the JCI, Apollonio et al. report on fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) as potential targets in aggressive lymphoma. FRCs interacted with lymphoma cells and induced a state of chronic inflammation that suppressed immune function by impeding optimal T cell migration and inhibiting CD8+ T cell lytic function. These findings suggest that manipulating the iTME by directly targeting FRCs may enhance responses to immunotherapy in DLBCL.
Adam Yuh Lin, Leo I. Gordon
The field of nephrology has been slow in moving beyond the utilization of creatinine as an indicator for chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury (AKI). Early diagnosis and establishment of etiology, in particular, are important for treatment of AKI. In the setting of hospital-acquired AKI, tubular injury is more common, but acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) has a more treatable etiology. However, it is likely that AIN is under- or misdiagnosed due to current strategies that largely rely on clinical gestalt. In this issue of the JCI, Moledina and colleagues made an elegant case for the chemokine called C-X-C motif ligand 9 (CXCL9) as a biomarker of AIN. The authors used urine proteomics and tissue transcriptomics in patients with and without AIN to identify CXCL9 as a promising, noninvasive, diagnostic biomarker of AIN. These results have clinical implications that should catalyze future research and clinical trials in this space.
Mark Canney, Edward G. Clark, Swapnil Hiremath
Some studies suggest that the trace element selenium protects against colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the contribution of selenoprotein P (SELENOP), a unique selenocysteine-containing protein, to sporadic colorectal carcinogenesis challenges this paradigm. SELENOP is predominately secreted by the liver but is also expressed in various cells of the small intestine and colon in mice and humans. In this issue of the JCI, Pilat et al. demonstrate that increased SELENOP expression promoted the progression of conventional adenomas to carcinoma. SELENOP functioned as a modulator of canonical WNT signaling activity through interactions with WNT3A and its coreceptor LDL receptor–related protein 5/6 (LRP5/6). Secreted SELENOP formed a concentration gradient along the gut crypt axis, which might amplify WNT signaling activity by binding to LRPL5/6. The mechanism for WNT control via SELENOP may affect colorectal tumorigenesis and provide therapeutic targets for CRC.
K. Sandeep Prabhu
ATRX is one of the most frequently altered genes in solid tumors, and mutation is especially frequent in soft tissue sarcomas. However, the role of ATRX in tumor development and response to cancer therapies remains poorly understood. Here, we developed a primary mouse model of soft tissue sarcoma and showed that Atrx-deleted tumors were more sensitive to radiation therapy and to oncolytic herpesvirus. In the absence of Atrx, irradiated sarcomas had increased persistent DNA damage, telomere dysfunction, and mitotic catastrophe. Our work also showed that Atrx deletion resulted in downregulation of the CGAS/STING signaling pathway at multiple points in the pathway and was not driven by mutations or transcriptional downregulation of the CGAS/STING pathway components. We found that both human and mouse models of Atrx-deleted sarcoma had a reduced adaptive immune response, markedly impaired CGAS/STING signaling, and increased sensitivity to TVEC, an oncolytic herpesvirus that is currently FDA approved for the treatment of aggressive melanomas. Translation of these results to patients with ATRX-mutant cancers could enable genomically guided cancer therapy approaches to improve patient outcomes.
Warren Floyd, Matthew Pierpoint, Chang Su, Rutulkumar Patel, Lixia Luo, Katherine Deland, Amy J. Wisdom, Daniel Zhu, Yan Ma, Suzanne Bartholf DeWitt, Nerissa T. Williams, Alexander L. Lazarides, Jason A. Somarelli, David L. Corcoran, William C. Eward, Diana M. Cardona, David G. Kirsch
Targeted therapies such as venetoclax (VEN) (Bcl-2 inhibitor) have revolutionized the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We previously reported that persister CLL cells in treated patients overexpress multiple antiapoptotic proteins and display resistance to proapoptotic agents. Here, we demonstrated that multidrug-resistant CLL cells in vivo exhibited apoptosis restriction at a pre-mitochondrial level due to insufficient activation of the Bax and Bak (Bax/Bak) proteins. Co-immunoprecipitation analyses with selective BH domain antagonists revealed that the pleiotropic proapoptotic protein (Bim) was prevented from activating Bax/Bak by “switching” interactions to other upregulated antiapoptotic proteins (Mcl-1, Bcl-xL, Bcl-2). Hence, treatments that bypass Bax/Bak restriction are required to deplete these resistant cells in patients. Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) contributes to oncogenesis and treatment resistance. We observed that small-molecule activator of PP2A (SMAP) induced cytotoxicity in multiple cancer cell lines and CLL samples, including multidrug-resistant leukemia and lymphoma cells. The SMAP (DT-061) activated apoptosis in multidrug-resistant CLL cells through induction of mitochondrial permeability transition pores, independent of Bax/Bak. DT-061 inhibited the growth of wild-type and Bax/Bak double-knockout, multidrug-resistant CLL cells in a xenograft mouse model. Collectively, we discovered multidrug-resistant CLL cells in patients and validated a pharmacologically tractable pathway to deplete this reservoir.
Kallesh D. Jayappa, Brian Tran, Vicki L. Gordon, Christopher Morris, Shekhar Saha, Caroline C. Farrington, Caitlin M. O’Connor, Kaitlin P. Zawacki, Krista M. Isaac, Mark Kester, Timothy P. Bender, Michael E. Williams, Craig A. Portell, Michael J. Weber, Goutham Narla
During emergency hematopoiesis, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) rapidly proliferate to produce myeloid and lymphoid effector cells, a response that is critical against infection or tissue injury. If unresolved, this process leads to sustained inflammation, which can cause life-threatening diseases and cancer. Here, we identify a role of double PHD fingers 2 (DPF2) in modulating inflammation. DPF2 is a defining subunit of the hematopoiesis-specific BAF (SWI/SNF) chromatin-remodeling complex, and it is mutated in multiple cancers and neurological disorders. We uncovered that hematopoiesis-specific Dpf2-KO mice developed leukopenia, severe anemia, and lethal systemic inflammation characterized by histiocytic and fibrotic tissue infiltration resembling a clinical hyperinflammatory state. Dpf2 loss impaired the polarization of macrophages responsible for tissue repair, induced the unrestrained activation of Th cells, and generated an emergency-like state of HSC hyperproliferation and myeloid cell–biased differentiation. Mechanistically, Dpf2 deficiency resulted in the loss of the BAF catalytic subunit BRG1 from nuclear factor erythroid 2-like 2–controlled (NRF2-controlled) enhancers, impairing the antioxidant and antiinflammatory transcriptional response needed to modulate inflammation. Finally, pharmacological reactivation of NRF2 suppressed the inflammation-mediated phenotypes and lethality of Dpf2Δ/Δ mice. Our work establishes an essential role of the DPF2-BAF complex in licensing NRF2-dependent gene expression in HSCs and immune effector cells to prevent chronic inflammation.
Gloria Mas, Na Man, Yuichiro Nakata, Concepcion Martinez-Caja, Daniel Karl, Felipe Beckedorff, Francesco Tamiro, Chuan Chen, Stephanie Duffort, Hidehiro Itonaga, Adnan K. Mookhtiar, Kranthi Kunkalla, Alfredo M. Valencia, Clayton K. Collings, Cigall Kadoch, Francisco Vega, Scott C. Kogan, Lluis Morey, Daniel Bilbao, Stephen D. Nimer
Deciphering the crosstalk between metabolic reprogramming and epigenetic regulation is a promising strategy for cancer therapy. In this study, we discovered that the gluconeogenic enzyme PCK1 fueled the generation of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) through the serine synthesis pathway. The methyltransferase SUV39H1 catalyzed SAM, which served as a methyl donor to support H3K9me3 modification, leading to the suppression of the oncogene S100A11. Mechanistically, PCK1 deficiency–induced oncogenic activation of S100A11 was due to its interaction with AKT1, which upregulated PI3K/AKT signaling. Intriguingly, the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) driven by PCK1 deficiency was suppressed by SAM supplement or S100A11 KO in vivo and in vitro. These findings reveal the availability of the key metabolite SAM as a bridge connecting the gluconeogenic enzyme PCK1 and H3K9 trimethylation in attenuating HCC progression, thus suggesting a potential therapeutic strategy against HCC.
Dongmei Gou, Rui Liu, Xiaoqun Shan, Haijun Deng, Chang Chen, Jin Xiang, Yi Liu, Qingzhu Gao, Zhi Li, Ailong Huang, Kai Wang, Ni Tang
Understanding how skeletal muscle fiber proportions are regulated is vital to understanding muscle function. Oxidative and glycolytic skeletal muscle fibers differ in their contractile ability, mitochondrial activity, and metabolic properties. Fiber-type proportions vary in normal physiology and disease states, although the underlying mechanisms are unclear. In human skeletal muscle, we observed that markers of oxidative fibers and mitochondria correlated positively with expression levels of PPARGC1A and CDK4 and negatively with expression levels of CDKN2A, a locus significantly associated with type 2 diabetes. Mice expressing a constitutively active Cdk4 that cannot bind its inhibitor p16INK4a, a product of the CDKN2A locus, were protected from obesity and diabetes. Their muscles exhibited increased oxidative fibers, improved mitochondrial properties, and enhanced glucose uptake. In contrast, loss of Cdk4 or skeletal muscle–specific deletion of Cdk4’s target, E2F3, depleted oxidative myofibers, deteriorated mitochondrial function, and reduced exercise capacity, while increasing diabetes susceptibility. E2F3 activated the mitochondrial sensor PPARGC1A in a Cdk4-dependent manner. CDK4, E2F3, and PPARGC1A levels correlated positively with exercise and fitness and negatively with adiposity, insulin resistance, and lipid accumulation in human and rodent muscle. All together, these findings provide mechanistic insight into regulation of skeletal muscle fiber–specification that is of relevance to metabolic and muscular diseases.
Young Jae Bahn, Hariom Yadav, Paolo Piaggi, Brent S. Abel, Oksana Gavrilova, Danielle A. Springer, Ioannis Papazoglou, Patricia M. Zerfas, Monica C. Skarulis, Alexandra C. McPherron, Sushil G. Rane
Since the T-box transcription factors (TFs) T-BET and EOMES are necessary for initiation of NK cell development, their ongoing requirement for mature NK cell homeostasis, function, and molecular programming remains unclear. To address this, T-BET and EOMES were deleted in unexpanded primary human NK cells using CRISPR/Cas9. Deleting these TFs compromised in vivo antitumor response of human NK cells. Mechanistically, T-BET and EOMES were required for normal NK cell proliferation and persistence in vivo. NK cells lacking T-BET and EOMES also exhibited defective responses to cytokine stimulation. Single-cell RNA-Seq revealed a specific T-box transcriptional program in human NK cells, which was rapidly lost following T-BET and EOMES deletion. Further, T-BET– and EOMES-deleted CD56bright NK cells acquired an innate lymphoid cell precursor–like (ILCP-like) profile with increased expression of the ILC-3–associated TFs RORC and AHR, revealing a role for T-box TFs in maintaining mature NK cell phenotypes and an unexpected role of suppressing alternative ILC lineages. Our study reveals the critical importance of sustained EOMES and T-BET expression to orchestrate mature NK cell function and identity.
Pamela Wong, Jennifer A. Foltz, Lily Chang, Carly C. Neal, Tony Yao, Celia C. Cubitt, Jennifer Tran, Samantha Kersting-Schadek, Sathvik Palakurty, Natalia Jaeger, David A. Russler-Germain, Nancy D. Marin, Margery Gang, Julia A. Wagner, Alice Y. Zhou, Miriam T. Jacobs, Mark Foster, Timothy Schappe, Lynne Marsala, Ethan McClain, Patrick Pence, Michelle Becker-Hapak, Bryan Fisk, Allegra A. Petti, Obi L. Griffith, Malachi Griffith, Melissa M. Berrien-Elliott, Todd A. Fehniger
Many patients with diabetic eye disease respond inadequately to anti-VEGF therapies, implicating additional vasoactive mediators in its pathogenesis. We demonstrate that levels of angiogenic proteins regulated by HIF-1 and -2 remain elevated in the eyes of people with diabetes despite treatment with anti-VEGF therapy. Conversely, by inhibiting HIFs, we normalized the expression of multiple vasoactive mediators in mouse models of diabetic eye disease. Accumulation of HIFs and HIF-regulated vasoactive mediators in hyperglycemic animals was observed in the absence of tissue hypoxia, suggesting that targeting HIFs may be an effective early treatment for diabetic retinopathy. However, while the HIF inhibitor acriflavine prevented retinal vascular hyperpermeability in diabetic mice for several months following a single intraocular injection, accumulation of acriflavine in the retina resulted in retinal toxicity over time, raising concerns for its use in patients. Conversely, 32-134D, a recently developed HIF inhibitor structurally unrelated to acriflavine, was not toxic to the retina, yet effectively inhibited HIF accumulation and normalized HIF-regulated gene expression in mice and in human retinal organoids. Intraocular administration of 32-134D prevented retinal neovascularization and vascular hyperpermeability in mice. These results provide the foundation for clinical studies assessing 32-134D for the treatment of patients with diabetic eye disease.
Jing Zhang, Deepti Sharma, Aumreetam Dinabandhu, Jaron Sanchez, Brooks Applewhite, Kathleen Jee, Monika Deshpande, Miguel Flores-Bellver, Ming-Wen Hu, Chuanyu Guo, Shaima Salman, Yousang Hwang, Nicole M. Anders, Michelle A. Rudek, Jiang Qian, M. Valeria Canto-Soler, Gregg L. Semenza, Silvia Montaner, Akrit Sodhi
Mutations in genes encoding nuclear envelope proteins lead to diseases known as nuclear envelopathies, characterized by skeletal muscle and heart abnormalities, such as Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD). The tissue-specific role of the nuclear envelope in the etiology of these diseases has not been extensively explored. We previously showed that global deletion of the muscle-specific nuclear envelope protein NET39 in mice leads to neonatal lethality due to skeletal muscle dysfunction. To study the potential role of the Net39 gene in adulthood, we generated a muscle-specific conditional knockout (cKO) of Net39 in mice. cKO mice recapitulated key skeletal muscle features of EDMD, including muscle wasting, impaired muscle contractility, abnormal myonuclear morphology, and DNA damage. The loss of Net39 rendered myoblasts hypersensitive to mechanical stretch, resulting in stretch-induced DNA damage. Net39 was downregulated in a mouse model of congenital myopathy, and restoration of Net39 expression through AAV gene delivery extended life span and ameliorated muscle abnormalities. These findings establish NET39 as a direct contributor to the pathogenesis of EDMD that acts by protecting against mechanical stress and DNA damage.
Yichi Zhang, Andres Ramirez-Martinez, Kenian Chen, John R. McAnally, Chunyu Cai, Mateusz Z. Durbacz, Francesco Chemello, Zhaoning Wang, Lin Xu, Rhonda Bassel-Duby, Ning Liu, Eric N. Olson
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common chronic central nervous system inflammatory disease. Individual courses are highly variable, with complete remission in some patients and relentless progression in others. We generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to investigate possible mechanisms in benign MS (BMS), compared with progressive MS (PMS). We differentiated neurons and astrocytes that were then stressed with inflammatory cytokines typically associated with MS phenotypes. TNF-α/IL-17A treatment increased neurite damage in MS neurons from both clinical phenotypes. In contrast, TNF-α/IL-17A–reactive BMS astrocytes cultured with healthy control neurons exhibited less axonal damage compared with PMS astrocytes. Accordingly, single-cell transcriptomic BMS astrocyte analysis of cocultured neurons revealed upregulated neuronal resilience pathways; these astrocytes showed differential growth factor expression. Furthermore, supernatants from BMS astrocyte/neuronal cocultures rescued TNF-α/IL-17–induced neurite damage. This process was associated with a unique LIF and TGF-β1 growth factor expression, as induced by TNF-α/IL-17 and JAK-STAT activation. Our findings highlight a potential therapeutic role of modulation of astrocyte phenotypes, generating a neuroprotective milieu. Such effects could prevent permanent neuronal damage.
Janis Kerkering, Bakhrom Muinjonov, Kamil S. Rosiewicz, Sebastian Diecke, Charlotte Biese, Juliane Schiweck, Claudia Chien, Dario Zocholl, Thomas Conrad, Friedemann Paul, Marlen Alisch, Volker Siffrin
Although selenium deficiency correlates with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk, the roles of the selenium-rich antioxidant selenoprotein P (SELENOP) in CRC remain unclear. In this study, we defined SELENOP’s contributions to sporadic CRC. In human single-cell cRNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) data sets, we discovered that SELENOP expression rose as normal colon stem cells transformed into adenomas that progressed into carcinomas. We next examined the effects of Selenop KO in a mouse adenoma model that involved conditional, intestinal epithelium-specific deletion of the tumor suppressor adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc) and found that Selenop KO decreased colon tumor incidence and size. We mechanistically interrogated SELENOP-driven phenotypes in tumor organoids as well as in CRC and noncancer cell lines. Selenop-KO tumor organoids demonstrated defects in organoid formation and decreases in WNT target gene expression, which could be reversed by SELENOP restoration. Moreover, SELENOP increased canonical WNT signaling activity in noncancer and CRC cell lines. In defining the mechanism of action of SELENOP, we mapped protein-protein interactions between SELENOP and the WNT coreceptors low-density lipoprotein receptor–related proteins 5 and 6 (LRP5/6). Last, we confirmed that SELENOP-LRP5/6 interactions contributed to the effects of SELENOP on WNT activity. Overall, our results position SELENOP as a modulator of the WNT signaling pathway in sporadic CRC.
Jennifer M. Pilat, Rachel E. Brown, Zhengyi Chen, Nathaniel J. Berle, Adrian P. Othon, M. Kay Washington, Shruti A. Anant, Suguru Kurokawa, Victoria H. Ng, Joshua J. Thompson, Justin Jacobse, Jeremy A. Goettel, Ethan Lee, Yash A. Choksi, Ken S. Lau, Sarah P. Short, Christopher S. Williams
Recent transcriptomic-based analysis of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) has highlighted the clinical relevance of LN fibroblast and tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) signatures within the tumor microenvironment (TME). However, the immunomodulatory role of fibroblasts in lymphoma remains unclear. Here, by studying human and mouse DLBCL-LNs, we identified the presence of an aberrantly remodeled fibroblastic reticular cell (FRC) network expressing elevated fibroblast-activated protein (FAP). RNA-Seq analyses revealed that exposure to DLBCL reprogrammed key immunoregulatory pathways in FRCs, including a switch from homeostatic to inflammatory chemokine expression and elevated antigen-presentation molecules. Functional assays showed that DLBCL-activated FRCs (DLBCL-FRCs) hindered optimal TIL and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell migration. Moreover, DLBCL-FRCs inhibited CD8+ TIL cytotoxicity in an antigen-specific manner. Notably, the interrogation of patient LNs with imaging mass cytometry identified distinct environments differing in their CD8+ TIL-FRC composition and spatial organization that associated with survival outcomes. We further demonstrated the potential to target inhibitory FRCs to rejuvenate interacting TILs. Cotreating organotypic cultures with FAP-targeted immunostimulatory drugs and a bispecific antibody (glofitamab) augmented antilymphoma TIL cytotoxicity. Our study reveals an immunosuppressive role of FRCs in DLBCL, with implications for immune evasion, disease pathogenesis, and optimizing immunotherapy for patients.
Benedetta Apollonio, Filomena Spada, Nedyalko Petrov, Domenico Cozzetto, Despoina Papazoglou, Peter Jarvis, Shichina Kannambath, Manuela Terranova-Barberio, Rose-Marie Amini, Gunilla Enblad, Charlotte Graham, Reuben Benjamin, Elisabeth Phillips, Richard Ellis, Rosamond Nuamah, Mansoor Saqi, Dinis P. Calado, Richard Rosenquist, Lesley A. Sutton, Jon Salisbury, Georgios Zacharioudakis, Anna Vardi, Patrick R. Hagner, Anita K. Gandhi, Marina Bacac, Christina Claus, Pablo Umana, Ruth F. Jarrett, Christian Klein, Alexander Deutsch, Alan G. Ramsay
Heterogeneity in human immune responses is difficult to model in standard laboratory mice. To understand how host variation affects Bacillus Calmette Guerin–induced (BCG-induced) immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, we studied 24 unique collaborative cross (CC) mouse strains, which differ primarily in the genes and alleles they inherit from founder strains. The CC strains were vaccinated with or without BCG and challenged with aerosolized M. tuberculosis. Since BCG protects only half of the CC strains tested, we concluded that host genetics has a major influence on BCG-induced immunity against M. tuberculosis infection, making it an important barrier to vaccine-mediated protection. Importantly, BCG efficacy is dissociable from inherent susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB). T cell immunity was extensively characterized to identify components associated with protection that were stimulated by BCG and recalled after M. tuberculosis infection. Although considerable diversity is observed, BCG has little impact on the composition of T cells in the lung after infection. Instead, variability is largely shaped by host genetics. BCG-elicited protection against TB correlated with changes in immune function. Thus, CC mice can be used to define correlates of protection and to identify vaccine strategies that protect a larger fraction of genetically diverse individuals instead of optimizing protection for a single genotype.
Rocky Lai, Diana N. Gong, Travis Williams, Abiola F. Ogunsola, Kelly Cavallo, Cecilia S. Lindestam Arlehamn, Sarah Acolatse, Gillian L. Beamer, Martin T. Ferris, Christopher M. Sassetti, Douglas A. Lauffenburger, Samuel M. Behar
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are ancestral viral relics that constitute nearly 8% of the human genome. Although normally silenced, the most recently integrated provirus HERV-K (HML-2) can be reactivated in certain cancers. Here, we report pathological expression of HML-2 in malignant gliomas in both cerebrospinal fluid and tumor tissue that was associated with a cancer stem cell phenotype and poor outcomes. Using single-cell RNA-Seq, we identified glioblastoma cellular populations with elevated HML-2 transcripts in neural progenitor–like cells (NPC-like) that drive cellular plasticity. Using CRISPR interference, we demonstrate that HML-2 critically maintained glioblastoma stemness and tumorigenesis in both glioblastoma neurospheres and intracranial orthotopic murine models. Additionally, we demonstrate that HML-2 critically regulated embryonic stem cell programs in NPC-derived astroglia and altered their 3D cellular morphology by activating the nuclear transcription factor OCT4, which binds to an HML-2–specific long-terminal repeat (LTR5Hs). Moreover, we discovered that some glioblastoma cells formed immature retroviral virions, and inhibiting HML-2 expression with antiretroviral drugs reduced reverse transcriptase activity in the extracellular compartment, tumor viability, and pluripotency. Our results suggest that HML-2 fundamentally contributes to the glioblastoma stem cell niche. Because persistence of glioblastoma stem cells is considered responsible for treatment resistance and recurrence, HML-2 may serve as a unique therapeutic target.
Ashish H. Shah, Sarah R. Rivas, Tara T. Doucet-O’Hare, Vaidya Govindarajan, Catherine DeMarino, Tongguang Wang, Leonel Ampie, Yong Zhang, Yeshavanth Kumar Banasavadi-Siddegowda, Stuart Walbridge, Dragan Maric, Marta Garcia-Montojo, Robert K. Suter, Myoung-Hwa Lee, Kareem A. Zaghloul, Joseph Steiner, Abdel G. Elkahloun, Jay Chandar, Deepa Seetharam, Jelisah Desgraves, Wenxue Li, Kory Johnson, Michael E. Ivan, Ricardo J. Komotar, Mark R. Gilbert, John D. Heiss, Avindra Nath
Background Acute tubulointerstitial nephritis (AIN) is one of the few causes of acute kidney injury with diagnosis-specific treatment options. However, due to the need to obtain a kidney biopsy for histological confirmation, AIN diagnosis can be delayed, missed, or incorrectly assumed. Here, we identify and validate urinary CXCL9, an IFN-γ-induced chemokine involved in lymphocyte chemotaxis, as a diagnostic biomarker for AIN.Methods In a prospectively enrolled cohort with pathologist-adjudicated histological diagnoses, termed the discovery cohort, we tested the association of 180 immune proteins measured by an aptamer-based assay with AIN and validated the top protein, CXCL9, using sandwich immunoassay. We externally validated these findings in 2 cohorts with biopsy-confirmed diagnoses, termed the validation cohorts, and examined mRNA expression differences in kidney tissue from patients with AIN and individuals in the control group.Results In aptamer-based assay, urinary CXCL9 was 7.6-fold higher in patients with AIN than in individuals in the control group (P = 1.23 × 10–5). Urinary CXCL9 measured by sandwich immunoassay was associated with AIN in the discovery cohort (n = 204; 15% AIN) independently of currently available clinical tests for AIN (adjusted odds ratio for highest versus lowest quartile: 6.0 [1.8–20]). Similar findings were noted in external validation cohorts, where CXCL9 had an AUC of 0.94 (0.86–1.00) for AIN diagnosis. CXCL9 mRNA expression was 3.9-fold higher in kidney tissue from patients with AIN (n = 19) compared with individuals in the control group (n = 52; P = 5.8 × 10–6).Conclusion We identified CXCL9 as a diagnostic biomarker for AIN using aptamer-based urine proteomics, confirmed this association using sandwich immunoassays in discovery and external validation cohorts, and observed higher expression of this protein in kidney biopsies from patients with AIN.Funding This study was supported by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) awards K23DK117065 (DGM), K08DK113281 (KM), R01DK128087 (DGM), R01DK126815 (DGM and LGC), R01DK126477 (KNC), UH3DK114866 (CRP, DGM, and FPW), R01DK130839 (MES), and P30DK079310 (the Yale O’Brien Center). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Dennis G. Moledina, Wassim Obeid, Rex N. Smith, Ivy Rosales, Meghan E. Sise, Gilbert Moeckel, Michael Kashgarian, Michael Kuperman, Kirk N. Campbell, Sean Lefferts, Kristin Meliambro, Markus Bitzer, Mark A. Perazella, Randy L. Luciano, Jordan S. Pober, Lloyd G. Cantley, Robert B. Colvin, F. Perry Wilson, Chirag R. Parikh
Epigenetic status–altering mutations in chromatin-modifying enzymes are a feature of human diseases, including many cancers. However, the functional outcomes and cellular dependencies arising from these mutations remain unresolved. In this study, we investigated cellular dependencies, or vulnerabilities, that arise when enhancer function is compromised by loss of the frequently mutated COMPASS family members MLL3 and MLL4. CRISPR dropout screens in MLL3/4-depleted mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) revealed synthetic lethality upon suppression of purine and pyrimidine nucleotide synthesis pathways. Consistently, we observed a shift in metabolic activity toward increased purine synthesis in MLL3/4-KO mESCs. These cells also exhibited enhanced sensitivity to the purine synthesis inhibitor lometrexol, which induced a unique gene expression signature. RNA-Seq identified the top MLL3/4 target genes coinciding with suppression of purine metabolism, and tandem mass tag proteomic profiling further confirmed upregulation of purine synthesis in MLL3/4-KO cells. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that compensation by MLL1/COMPASS was underlying these effects. Finally, we demonstrated that tumors with MLL3 and/or MLL4 mutations were highly sensitive to lometrexol in vitro and in vivo, both in culture and in animal models of cancer. Our results depicted a targetable metabolic dependency arising from epigenetic factor deficiency, providing molecular insight to inform therapy for cancers with epigenetic alterations secondary to MLL3/4 COMPASS dysfunction.
Zibo Zhao, Kaixiang Cao, Jun Watanabe, Cassandra N. Philips, Jacob M. Zeidner, Yukitomo Ishi, Qixuan Wang, Sarah R. Gold, Katherine Junkins, Elizabeth T. Bartom, Feng Yue, Navdeep S. Chandel, Rintaro Hashizume, Issam Ben-Sahra, Ali Shilatifard
Background SARS-CoV-2 infection in Africa has been characterized by a less severe disease profile than what has been observed elsewhere, but the profile of SARS-CoV-2–specific adaptive immunity in these mainly asymptomatic patients has not, to our knowledge, been analyzed.Methods We collected blood samples from residents of rural Kenya (n = 80), who had not experienced any respiratory symptoms or had contact with individuals with COVID-19 and had not received COVID-19 vaccines. We analyzed spike-specific antibodies and T cells specific for SARS-CoV-2 structural (membrane, nucleocapsid, and spike) and accessory (ORF3a, ORF7, ORF8) proteins. Pre-pandemic blood samples collected in Nairobi (n = 13) and blood samples from mild-to-moderately symptomatic COVID-19 convalescent patients (n = 36) living in the urban environment of Singapore were also studied.Results Among asymptomatic Africans, we detected anti-spike antibodies in 41.0% of the samples and T cell responses against 2 or more SARS-CoV-2 proteins in 82.5% of samples examined. Such a pattern was absent in the pre-pandemic samples. Furthermore, distinct from cellular immunity in European and Asian COVID-19 convalescents, we observed strong T cell immunogenicity against viral accessory proteins (ORF3a, ORF8) but not structural proteins, as well as a higher IL-10/IFN-γ cytokine ratio profile.Conclusions The high incidence of T cell responses against different SARS-CoV-2 proteins in seronegative participants suggests that serosurveys underestimate SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in settings where asymptomatic infections prevail. The functional and antigen-specific profile of SARS-CoV-2–specific T cells in African individuals suggests that environmental factors can play a role in the development of protective antiviral immunity.Funding US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Global Health Protection; the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council (COVID19RF3-0060, COVID19RF-001, COVID19RF-008, MOH-StaR17Nov-0001).
Taraz Samandari, Joshua B. Ongalo, Kimberly D. McCarthy, Richard K. Biegon, Philister A. Madiega, Anne Mithika, Joseph Orinda, Grace M. Mboya, Patrick Mwaura, Omu Anzala, Clayton Onyango, Fredrick O. Oluoch, Eric Osoro, Charles-Antoine Dutertre, Nicole Tan, Shou Kit Hang, Smrithi Hariharaputran, David C. Lye, Amy Herman-Roloff, Nina Le Bert, Antonio Bertoletti
Jeremy M. Robbins, Robert E. Gerszten
Jie Sun, Xiao-Min Lin, Dan-Hua Lu, Meng Wang, Kun Li, Sheng-Rong Li, Zheng-Qiu Li, Cheng-Jun Zhu, Zhi-Min Zhang, Chang-Yu Yan, Ming-Hai Pan, Hai-Biao Gong, Jing-Cheng Feng, Yun-Feng Cao, Feng Huang, Wan-Yang Sun, Hiroshi Kurihara, Yi-Fang Li, Wen-Jun Duan, Gen-Long Jiao, Li Zhang, Rong-Rong He
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