An alarming increase in children presenting with fever, hyperinflammation, and multiorgan dysfunction frequently requiring intensive care has been observed after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection. The illness resembles Kawasaki disease (KD), with coronary dilatation and aneurysm occurring in some. However, the cardiovascular manifestations were typically on the severe end of the KD spectrum, with cardiogenic shock a common presentation together with other features. This led to defining a unique syndrome named multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). In this issue of the JCI, Lee and Day-Lewis et al. and Diorio et al. explored the clinical profiles associated with coronavirus disease 2019 in children. We posit that while splitting MIS-C into a separate disease may aid clinical management decisions, lumping it into the KD pot may better serve to understand pathobiology.
Rae S.M. Yeung, Polly J. Ferguson
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) heterogeneity causes a greater number of deaths than any other brain tumor, despite the availability of alkylating chemotherapy. GBM stem-like cells (GSCs) contribute to GBM complexity and chemoresistance, but it remains challenging to identify and target GSCs or factors that control their activity. Here, we identified a specific GSC subset and show that activity of these cells is positively regulated by stabilization of methyl CpG binding domain 3 (MBD3) protein. MBD3 binds to CK1A and to BTRCP E3 ubiquitin ligase, triggering MBD3 degradation, suggesting that modulating this circuit could antagonize GBM recurrence. Accordingly, xenograft mice treated with the CK1A activator pyrvinium pamoate (Pyr-Pam) showed enhanced MBD3 degradation in cells expressing high levels of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) and in GSCs, overcoming temozolomide chemoresistance. Pyr-Pam blocked recruitment of MBD3 and the repressive nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex to neurogenesis-associated gene loci and increased acetyl–histone H3 activity and GSC differentiation. We conclude that CK1A/BTRCP/MBD3/NuRD signaling modulates GSC activation and malignancy, and that targeting this signaling could suppress GSC proliferation and GBM recurrence.
Byoung-San Moon, Mingyang Cai, Grace Lee, Tong Zhao, Xiaofeng Song, Steven L. Giannotta, Frank J. Attenello, Min Yu, Wange Lu
BACKGROUND HIV-1 viremia that is not suppressed by combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) is generally attributed to incomplete medication adherence and/or drug resistance. We evaluated individuals referred by clinicians for nonsuppressible viremia (plasma HIV-1 RNA above 40 copies/mL) despite reported adherence to ART and the absence of drug resistance to the current ART regimen.METHODS Samples were collected from at least 2 time points from 8 donors who had nonsuppressible viremia for more than 6 months. Single templates of HIV-1 RNA obtained from plasma and viral outgrowth of cultured cells and from proviral DNA were amplified by PCR and sequenced for evidence of clones of cells that produced infectious viruses. Clones were confirmed by host-proviral integration site analysis.RESULTS HIV-1 genomic RNA with identical sequences were identified in plasma samples from all 8 donors. The identical viral RNA sequences did not change over time and did not evolve resistance to the ART regimen. In 4 of the donors, viral RNA sequences obtained from plasma matched those sequences from viral outgrowth cultures, indicating that the viruses were replication competent. Integration sites for infectious proviruses from those 4 donors were mapped to the introns of the MATR3, ZNF268, ZNF721/ABCA11P, and ABCA11P genes. The sizes of the clones were estimated to be from 50 million to 350 million cells.CONCLUSION These findings show that clones of HIV-1–infected cells producing virus can cause failure of ART to suppress viremia. The mechanisms involved in clonal expansion and persistence need to be defined to effectively target viremia and the HIV-1 reservoir.FUNDING National Cancer Institute, NIH; Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellows Program, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Office of AIDS Research; American Cancer Society; National Cancer Institute through a Leidos subcontract; National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, to the I4C Martin Delaney Collaboratory; University of Rochester Center for AIDS Research and University of Rochester HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit.
Elias K. Halvas, Kevin W. Joseph, Leah D. Brandt, Shuang Guo, Michele D. Sobolewski, Jana L. Jacobs, Camille Tumiotto, John K. Bui, Joshua C. Cyktor, Brandon F. Keele, Gene D. Morse, Michael J. Bale, Wei Shao, Mary F. Kearney, John M. Coffin, Jason W. Rausch, Xiaolin Wu, Stephen H. Hughes, John W. Mellors
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) generally reduces plasma HIV to undetectable levels, although virus persists in latently infected CD4+ T cells. In some individuals, viremia remains detectable despite adherence to ART and the absence of drug resistance mutations. In this issue of the JCI, Halvas et al. describe HIV RNA sequences from plasma of 8 donors with persistent viremia. Residual viremia was dominated by identical HIV-1 RNA sequences that remained relatively constant over 4 years. Plasma virus matched replication-competent virus cultured from CD4+ T cells. Integration site analysis confirmed the presence of large clones of infected cells. These results indicate that nonsuppressible viremia can be due to expanded clones of infected CD4+ T cells carrying replication-competent virus. The individuals described here represent extreme examples of a phenomenon that is seen in all infected individuals and that is a major barrier to curing HIV infection, the in vivo proliferation of latently infected cells.
Janet D. Siliciano, Robert F. Siliciano
BACKGROUND Therapeutic vaccinations against cancer have mainly targeted differentiation antigens, cancer-testis antigens, and overexpressed antigens and have thus far resulted in little clinical benefit. Studies conducted by multiple groups have demonstrated that T cells recognizing neoantigens are present in most cancers and offer a specific and highly immunogenic target for personalized vaccination.METHODS We recently developed a process using tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes to identify the specific immunogenic mutations expressed in patients’ tumors. Here, validated, defined neoantigens, predicted neoepitopes, and mutations of driver genes were concatenated into a single mRNA construct to vaccinate patients with metastatic gastrointestinal cancer.RESULTS The vaccine was safe and elicited mutation-specific T cell responses against predicted neoepitopes not detected before vaccination. Furthermore, we were able to isolate and verify T cell receptors targeting KRASG12D mutation. We observed no objective clinical responses in the 4 patients treated in this trial.CONCLUSION This vaccine was safe, and potential future combination of such vaccines with checkpoint inhibitors or adoptive T cell therapy should be evaluated for possible clinical benefit in patients with common epithelial cancers.TRIAL REGISTRATION Phase I/II protocol (NCT03480152) was approved by the IRB committee of the NIH and the FDA.FUNDING Center for Clinical Research, NCI, NIH.
Gal Cafri, Jared J. Gartner, Tal Zaks, Kristen Hopson, Noam Levin, Biman C. Paria, Maria R. Parkhurst, Rami Yossef, Frank J. Lowery, Mohammad S. Jafferji, Todd D. Prickett, Stephanie L. Goff, Christine T. McGowan, Samantha Seitter, Mackenzie L. Shindorf, Anup Parikh, Praveen D. Chatani, Paul F. Robbins, Steven A. Rosenberg
The undruggable nature of oncogenic Myc transcription factors poses a therapeutic challenge in neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer in which MYCN amplification is strongly associated with unfavorable outcome. Here, we show that CYC065 (fadraciclib), a clinical inhibitor of CDK9 and CDK2, selectively targeted MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma via multiple mechanisms. CDK9 — a component of the transcription elongation complex P-TEFb — bound to the MYCN-amplicon superenhancer, and its inhibition resulted in selective loss of nascent MYCN transcription. MYCN loss led to growth arrest, sensitizing cells for apoptosis following CDK2 inhibition. In MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma, MYCN invaded active enhancers, driving a transcriptionally encoded adrenergic gene expression program that was selectively reversed by CYC065. MYCN overexpression in mesenchymal neuroblastoma was sufficient to induce adrenergic identity and sensitize cells to CYC065. CYC065, used together with temozolomide, a reference therapy for relapsed neuroblastoma, caused long-term suppression of neuroblastoma growth in vivo, highlighting the clinical potential of CDK9/2 inhibition in the treatment of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.
Evon Poon, Tong Liang, Yann Jamin, Susanne Walz, Colin Kwok, Anne Hakkert, Karen Barker, Zuzanna Urban, Khin Thway, Rhamy Zeid, Albert Hallsworth, Gary Box, Marli E. Ebus, Marco P. Licciardello, Yordan Sbirkov, Glori Lazaro, Elizabeth Calton, Barbara M. Costa, Melanie Valenti, Alexis De Haven Brandon, Hannah Webber, Nicolas Tardif, Gilberto S. Almeida, Rossitza Christova, Gunther Boysen, Mark W. Richards, Giuseppe Barone, Anthony Ford, Richard Bayliss, Paul A. Clarke, Johann De Bono, Nathanael S. Gray, Julian Blagg, Simon P. Robinson, Suzanne A. Eccles, Daniella Zheleva, James E. Bradner, Jan Molenaar, Igor Vivanco, Martin Eilers, Paul Workman, Charles Y. Lin, Louis Chesler
Mitochondria have emerged as key actors of innate and adaptive immunity. Mitophagy has a pivotal role in cell homeostasis, but its contribution to macrophage functions and host defense remains to be delineated. Here, we showed that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in combination with IFN-γ inhibited PINK1-dependent mitophagy in macrophages through a STAT1-dependent activation of the inflammatory caspases 1 and 11. In addition, we demonstrated that the inhibition of mitophagy triggered classical macrophage activation in a mitochondrial ROS–dependent manner. In a murine model of polymicrobial infection (cecal ligature and puncture), adoptive transfer of Pink1-deficient bone marrow or pharmacological inhibition of mitophagy promoted macrophage activation, which favored bactericidal clearance and led to a better survival rate. Reciprocally, mitochondrial uncouplers that promote mitophagy reversed LPS/IFN-γ–mediated activation of macrophages and led to immunoparalysis with impaired bacterial clearance and lowered survival. In critically ill patients, we showed that mitophagy was inhibited in blood monocytes of patients with sepsis as compared with nonseptic patients. Overall, this work demonstrates that the inhibition of mitophagy is a physiological mechanism that contributes to the activation of myeloid cells and improves the outcome of sepsis.
Danish Patoli, Franck Mignotte, Valérie Deckert, Alois Dusuel, Adélie Dumont, Aurélie Rieu, Antoine Jalil, Kevin Van Dongen, Thibaut Bourgeois, Thomas Gautier, Charlène Magnani, Naig Le Guern, Stéphane Mandard, Jean Bastin, Fatima Djouadi, Christine Schaeffer, Nina Guillaumot, Michel Narce, Maxime Nguyen, Julien Guy, Auguste Dargent, Jean-Pierre Quenot, Mickaël Rialland, David Masson, Johan Auwerx, Laurent Lagrost, Charles Thomas
As a hallmark of immunological aging, low-grade, chronic inflammation with accumulation of effector memory T cells contributes to increased susceptibility to many aging-related diseases. While the proinflammatory state of aged T cells indicates a dysregulation of immune homeostasis, whether and how aging drives regulatory T cell (Treg) aging and alters Treg function are not fully understood owing to a lack of specific aging markers. Here, by a combination of cellular, molecular, and bioinformatic approaches, we discovered that Tregs senesce more severely than conventional T (Tconv) cells during aging. We found that Tregs from aged mice were less efficient than young Tregs in suppressing Tconv cell function in an inflammatory bowel disease model and in preventing Tconv cell aging in an irradiation-induced aging model. Furthermore, we revealed that DDB1- and CUL4-associated factor 1 (DCAF1) was downregulated in aged Tregs and was critical to restrain Treg aging via reactive oxygen species (ROS) regulated by glutathione-S-transferase P (GSTP1). Importantly, interfering with GSTP1 and ROS pathways reinvigorated the proliferation and function of aged Tregs. Therefore, our studies uncover an important role of the DCAF1/GSTP1/ROS axis in Treg senescence, which leads to uncontrolled inflammation and immunological aging.
Zengli Guo, Gang Wang, Bing Wu, Wei-Chun Chou, Liang Cheng, Chenlin Zhou, Jitong Lou, Di Wu, Lishan Su, Junnian Zheng, Jenny P.-Y. Ting, Yisong Y. Wan
Anne H. Rowley, Stanford T. Shulman, Moshe Arditi
Growth hormone–secreting (GH-secreting) pituitary tumors are driven by oncogenes that induce cAMP signaling. In this issue of the JCI, Ben-Shlomo et al. performed a whole-exome study of pituitary adenomas. GH-secreting tumors had a high frequency of whole chromosome or chromosome arm copy number alterations and were associated with an increase in the tumor protein p53 and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1, which are findings consistent with induction of a response to DNA damage. Further, treatment of mouse pituitary cells with cAMP pathway agonists in vitro and in vivo elicited biomarkers of DNA replication stress or double-strand breaks. The findings of Ben Shlomo et al. indicate that oncoproteins that drive constitutively high cAMP signaling pathway output in susceptible cell types can elicit DNA replication stress and may promote genomic instability.
James A. Fagin, John H. Petrini
Drivers of sporadic benign pituitary adenoma growth are largely unknown. Whole-exome sequencing of 159 prospectively resected pituitary adenomas showed that somatic copy number alteration (SCNA) rather than mutation is a hallmark of hormone-secreting adenomas and that SCNAs correlate with adenoma phenotype. Using single-gene SCNA pathway analysis, we observed that both cAMP and Fanconi anemia DNA damage repair pathways were affected by SCNAs in growth hormone–secreting (GH-secreting) somatotroph adenomas. As somatotroph differentiation and GH secretion are dependent on cAMP activation and we previously showed DNA damage, aneuploidy, and senescence in somatotroph adenomas, we studied links between cAMP signaling and DNA damage. Stimulation of cAMP in C57BL/6 mouse primary pituitary cultures using forskolin or a long-acting GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) analog increased GH production and DNA damage measured by H2AX phosphorylation and a comet assay. Octreotide, a somatostatin receptor ligand that targets somatotroph adenoma GH secretion in patients with acromegaly, inhibited cAMP and GH and reversed DNA damage induction. In vivo long-acting GHRH treatment also induced pituitary DNA damage in mice. We conclude that cAMP, which induces somatotroph proliferation and GH secretion, may concomitantly induce DNA damage, potentially linking hormone hypersecretion to SCNA and genome instability. These results elucidating somatotroph adenoma pathophysiology identify pathways for targeted treatment.
Anat Ben-Shlomo, Nan Deng, Evelyn Ding, Masaaki Yamamoto, Adam Mamelak, Vera Chesnokova, Artak Labadzhyan, Shlomo Melmed
Males and females differ in body composition and fat distribution. Using a mouse model that segregates gonadal sex (ovaries and testes) from chromosomal sex (XX and XY), we showed that XX chromosome complement in combination with a high-fat diet led to enhanced weight gain in the presence of male or female gonads. We identified the genomic dosage of Kdm5c, an X chromosome gene that escapes X chromosome inactivation, as a determinant of the X chromosome effect on adiposity. Modulating Kdm5c gene dosage in XX female mice to levels that are normally present in males resulted in reduced body weight, fat content, and food intake to a degree similar to that seen with altering the entire X chromosome dosage. In cultured preadipocytes, the levels of KDM5C histone demethylase influenced chromatin accessibility (ATAC-Seq), gene expression (RNA-Seq), and adipocyte differentiation. Both in vitro and in vivo, Kdm5c dosage influenced gene expression involved in extracellular matrix remodeling, which is critical for adipocyte differentiation and adipose tissue expansion. In humans, adipose tissue KDM5C mRNA levels and KDM5C genetic variants were associated with body mass. These studies demonstrate that the sex-dependent dosage of Kdm5c contributes to male/female differences in adipocyte biology and highlight X-escape genes as a critical component of female physiology.
Jenny C. Link, Carrie B. Wiese, Xuqi Chen, Rozeta Avetisyan, Emilio Ronquillo, Feiyang Ma, Xiuqing Guo, Jie Yao, Matthew Allison, Yii-Der Ida Chen, Jerome I. Rotter, Julia S. El -Sayed Moustafa, Kerrin S. Small, Shigeki Iwase, Matteo Pellegrini, Laurent Vergnes, Arthur P. Arnold, Karen Reue
Although IKK-β has previously been shown as a negative regulator of IL-1β secretion in mice, this role has not been proven in humans. Genetic studies of NF-κB signaling in humans with inherited diseases of the immune system have not demonstrated the relevance of the NF-κB pathway in suppressing IL-1β expression. Here, we report an infant with a clinical pathology comprising neutrophil-mediated autoinflammation and recurrent bacterial infections. Whole-exome sequencing revealed a de novo heterozygous missense mutation of NFKBIA, resulting in a L34P IκBα variant that severely repressed NF-κB activation and downstream cytokine production. Paradoxically, IL-1β secretion was elevated in the patient’s stimulated leukocytes, in her induced pluripotent stem cell–derived macrophages, and in murine bone marrow–derived macrophages containing the L34P mutation. The patient’s hypersecretion of IL-1β correlated with activated neutrophilia and liver fibrosis with neutrophil accumulation. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation reversed neutrophilia, restored a resting state in neutrophils, and normalized IL-1β release from stimulated leukocytes. Additional therapeutic blockade of IL-1 ameliorated liver damage, while decreasing neutrophil activation and associated IL-1β secretion. Our studies reveal a previously unrecognized role of human IκBα as an essential regulator of canonical NF-κB signaling in the prevention of neutrophil-dependent autoinflammatory diseases. These findings also highlight the therapeutic potential of IL-1 inhibitors in treating complications arising from systemic NF-κB inhibition.
Enrica E.K. Tan, Richard A. Hopkins, Chrissie K. Lim, Saumya S. Jamuar, Christina Ong, Koh C. Thoon, Mark J.A. Koh, Eun Mong Shin, Derrick W.Q. Lian, Madhushanee Weerasooriya, Christopher Z.W. Lee, Andreas Alvin Pumomo Soetedjo, Chang Siang Lim, Veonice B. Au, Edmond Chua, Hui Yin Lee, Leigh Ann Jones, Sharmy S. James, Nivashini Kaliaperumal, Jeffery Kwok, Ee Shien Tan, Biju Thomas, Lynn Xue Wu, Lena Ho, Anna Marie Fairhurst, Florent Ginhoux, Adrian K.K. Teo, Yong Liang Zhang, Kok Huar Ong, Weimiao Yu, Byrappa Venkatesh, Vinay Tergaonkar, Bruno Reversade, Keh Chuang Chin, Ah Moy Tan, Woei Kang Liew, John E. Connolly
BACKGROUND Inadequate tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics are a major hurdle in the reduction of disease burden, and accurate point-of-care tests (POCTs) are urgently needed. We assessed the diagnostic accuracy of Fujifilm SILVAMP TB lipoarabinomannan (FujiLAM) POCT for TB diagnosis in HIV-negative outpatients and compared it with Alere Determine TB LAM Ag (AlereLAM) POCT and a laboratory-based ultrasensitive electrochemiluminescence LAM research assay (EclLAM).METHODS In this multicenter diagnostic test accuracy study, we recruited HIV-negative adults with symptoms suggestive of pulmonary TB presenting to outpatient health care centers in Peru and South Africa. Urine samples were tested using FujiLAM, AlereLAM, and EclLAM, and the diagnostic accuracy was assessed against a microbiological reference standard (MRS) and a composite reference standard.RESULTS Three hundred seventy-two HIV-negative participants were included and the prevalence of microbiologically confirmed TB was 30%. Compared with the MRS, the sensitivities of AlereLAM, FujiLAM, and EclLAM were 10.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.3%–18.0%), 53.2% (95% CI 43.9%–62.1%), and 66.7% (95% CI 57.5%–74.7%), respectively. The specificities of AlereLAM, FujiLAM, and EclLAM were 92.3% (95% CI 88.5%–95.0%), 98.9% (95% CI 96.7%–99.6%), and 98.1% (95% CI 95.6%–99.2%), respectively. Positive likelihood ratios of AlereLAM, FujiLAM, and EclLAM were 1.4, 46.2, and 34.8, respectively, and positive predictive values were 37.5%, 95.2%, and 93.7%, respectively.CONCLUSION Compared with AlereLAM, FujiLAM detected 5 times more patients with TB in HIV-negative participants, had a high positive predictive value, and has the potential to improve rapid diagnosis of TB at the point-of-care. EclLAM demonstrated that additional sensitivity gains are possible, which highlights LAM’s potential as a biomarker. Additional research is required to assess FujiLAM’s performance in prospective cohorts, its cost-effectiveness, and its impact in real-world clinical settings.FUNDING Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, the UK Department for International Development, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research through Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, and the NIH and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Tobias Broger, Mark P. Nicol, George B. Sigal, Eduardo Gotuzzo, Alexandra J. Zimmer, Shireen Surtie, Tatiana Caceres-Nakiche, Anna Mantsoki, Elena Ivanova Reipold, Rita Székely, Michael Tsionsky, Judith van Heerden, Tatiana Plisova, Kinuyo Chikamatsu, Todd L. Lowary, Abraham Pinter, Satoshi Mitarai, Emmanuel Moreau, Samuel G. Schumacher, Claudia M. Denkinger
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by pulmonary artery remodeling that can subsequently culminate in right heart failure and premature death. Emerging evidence suggests that hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) signaling plays a fundamental and pivotal role in the pathogenesis of PH. This Review summarizes the regulation of HIF isoforms and their impact in various PH subtypes, as well as the elaborate conditional and cell-specific knockout mouse studies that brought the role of this pathway to light. We also discuss the current preclinical status of pan- and isoform-selective HIF inhibitors, and propose new research areas that may facilitate HIF isoform-specific inhibition as a novel therapeutic strategy for PH and right heart failure.
Soni Savai Pullamsetti, Argen Mamazhakypov, Norbert Weissmann, Werner Seeger, Rajkumar Savai
Arginase 1 (Arg1), which converts l-arginine into ornithine and urea, exerts pleiotropic immunoregulatory effects. However, the function of Arg1 in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) remains poorly characterized. Here, we found that Arg1 expression correlated with the degree of inflammation in intestinal tissues from IBD patients. In mice, Arg1 was upregulated in an IL-4/IL-13– and intestinal microbiota–dependent manner. Tie2-Cre Arg1fl/fl mice lacking Arg1 in hematopoietic and endothelial cells recovered faster from colitis than Arg1-expressing (Arg1fl/fl) littermates. This correlated with decreased vessel density, compositional changes in intestinal microbiota, diminished infiltration by myeloid cells, and an accumulation of intraluminal polyamines that promote epithelial healing. The proresolving effect of Arg1 deletion was reduced by an l-arginine–free diet, but rescued by simultaneous deletion of other l-arginine–metabolizing enzymes, such as Arg2 or Nos2, demonstrating that protection from colitis requires l-arginine. Fecal microbiota transfers from Tie2-Cre Arg1fl/fl mice into WT recipients ameliorated intestinal inflammation, while transfers from WT littermates into Arg1-deficient mice prevented an advanced recovery from colitis. Thus, an increased availability of l-arginine as well as altered intestinal microbiota and metabolic products accounts for the accelerated resolution from colitis in the absence of Arg1. Consequently, l-arginine metabolism may serve as a target for clinical intervention in IBD patients. IL-4/IL-13-
Julia Baier, Maximilian Gänsbauer, Claudia Giessler, Harald Arnold, Mercedes Muske, Ulrike Schleicher, Sören Lukassen, Arif Ekici, Manfred Rauh, Christoph Daniel, Arndt Ha rtmann, Benjamin Schmid, Philipp Tripal, Katja Dettmer, Peter J. Oefner, Raja Atreya, Stefan Wirtz, Christian Bogdan, Jochen Mattner
Women with dense breasts have an increased lifetime risk of malignancy that has been attributed to a higher epithelial density. Quantitative proteomics, collagen analysis, and mechanical measurements in normal tissue revealed that stroma in the high-density breast contains more oriented, fibrillar collagen that is stiffer and correlates with higher epithelial cell density. microRNA (miR) profiling of breast tissue identified miR-203 as a matrix stiffness–repressed transcript that is downregulated by collagen density and reduced in the breast epithelium of women with high mammographic density. Culture studies demonstrated that ZNF217 mediates a matrix stiffness– and collagen density–induced increase in Akt activity and mammary epithelial cell proliferation. Manipulation of the epithelium in a mouse model of mammographic density supported a causal relationship between stromal stiffness, reduced miR-203, higher levels of the murine homolog Zfp217, and increased Akt activity and mammary epithelial proliferation. ZNF217 was also increased in the normal breast epithelium of women with high mammographic density, correlated positively with epithelial proliferation and density, and inversely with miR-203. The findings identify ZNF217 as a potential target toward which preexisting therapies, such as the Akt inhibitor triciribine, could be used as a chemopreventive agent to reduce cancer risk in women with high mammographic density.
Jason J. Northey, Alexander S. Barrett, Irene Acerbi, Mary-Kate Hayward, Stephanie Talamantes, Ivory S. Dean, Janna K. Mouw, Suzanne M. Ponik, Jonathon N. Lakins, Po-Jui Huang, Junmin Wu, Quanming Shi, Susan Samson, Patricia J. Keely, Rita A. Mukhtar, Jan T. Liphardt, John A. Shepherd, E. Shelley Hwang, Yunn-Yi Chen, Kirk C. Hansen, Laurie E. Littlepage, Valerie M. Weaver
Hypoxia/HIF-1α– and extracellular adenosine/A2 adenosine receptor–mediated immunosuppression protects tissues from collateral damage by antipathogen immune cells. However, this mechanism also protects cancerous tissues by inhibiting antitumor immune cells in hypoxic and extracellular adenosine–rich tumors that are the most resistant to current therapies. Here, we explain a potentially novel, antiimmunosuppressive reasoning to justify strategies using respiratory hyperoxia and oxygenation agents in cancer treatment. Earlier attempts to use oxygenation of tumors as a monotherapy or to improve radiotherapy have failed because oxygenation protocols were not combined with immunotherapies of cancer. In contrast, the proposal for therapeutic use of antihypoxic oxygenation described here was motivated by the need to prevent the hypoxia/HIF-1α–driven accumulation of extracellular adenosine to (a) unleash antitumor immune cells from inhibition by intracellular cAMP and (b) prevent immunosuppressive transcription of cAMP response element– and hypoxia response element–containing immunosuppressive gene products (e.g., TGF-β). Use of oxygenation agents together with inhibitors of the A2A adenosine receptor may be required to enable the most effective cancer immunotherapy. The emerging outcomes of clinical trials of cancer patients refractory to all other treatments provide support for the molecular and immunological mechanism–based approach to cancer immunotherapy described here.
Stephen M. Hatfield, Michail V. Sitkovsky
Psoriasis is a frequent, inflammatory skin disease characterized by keratinocyte hyperproliferation and a disease-related infiltration of immune cells. Here, we identified a novel proinflammatory signaling pathway driven by cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and CDK6 and the methyltransferase EZH2 as a valid target for psoriasis therapy. Delineation of the pathway revealed that CDK4/6 phosphorylated EZH2 in keratinocytes, thereby triggering a methylation-induced activation of STAT3. Subsequently, active STAT3 resulted in the induction of IκBζ, which is a key proinflammatory transcription factor required for cytokine synthesis in psoriasis. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of CDK4/6 or EZH2 abrogated psoriasis-related proinflammatory gene expression by suppressing IκBζ induction in keratinocytes. Importantly, topical application of CDK4/6 or EZH2 inhibitors on the skin was sufficient to fully prevent the development of psoriasis in various mouse models by suppressing STAT3-mediated IκBζ expression. Moreover, we found a hyperactivation of the CDK4/6-EZH2 pathway in human and mouse psoriatic skin lesions. Thus, this study not only identifies a novel psoriasis-relevant proinflammatory pathway, but also proposes the repurposing of CDK4/6 or EZH2 inhibitors as a new therapeutic option for patients with psoriasis.
Anne Müller, Antje Dickmanns, Claudia Resch, Knut Schäkel, Stephan Hailfinger, Matthias Dobbelstein, Klaus Schulze-Osthoff, Daniela Kramer