Skeletal muscle depends on the precise orchestration of contractile and metabolic gene expression programs to direct fiber type specification and to ensure muscle performance. Exactly how such fiber type-specific patterns of gene expression are established and maintained remains unclear, however. Here, we demonstrate that histone mono-methyltransferase MLL4 (KMT2D), an enhancer regulator enriched in slow myofibers, plays a critical role in controlling muscle fiber identity as well as muscle performance. Skeletal muscle-specific ablation of MLL4 in mice resulted in downregulation of the slow-oxidative myofiber gene program, decreased number of type I myofibers, and diminished mitochondrial respiration, which caused reductions in muscle fat utilization and endurance capacity during exercise. Genome-wide ChIP-seq and mRNA-seq analyses revealed that MLL4 directly binds to enhancers and functions as a coactivator of the myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) to activate transcription of slow-oxidative myofiber genes. Importantly, we also found that the MLL4 regulatory circuit is associated with muscle fiber type remodeling in humans. Thus, our results uncover a pivotal role for MLL4 in specifying structural and metabolic identities of myofibers that govern muscle performance. These findings provide new therapeutic opportunities for enhancing muscle fitness to combat a variety of metabolic and muscular diseases.
Lin Liu, Chenyun Ding, Tingting Fu, Zhenhua Feng, Ji-Eun Lee, Liwei Xiao, Zhisheng Xu, Yujing Yin, Qiqi Guo, Zongchao Sun, Wanping Sun, Yan Mao, Likun Yang, Zheng Zhou, Danxia Zhou, Leilei Xu, Zezhang Zhu, Yong Qiu, Kai Ge, Zhenji Gan
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by amyloid-β-containing plaques and neurofibrillary tangles composed of aggregated, hyperphosphorylated tau. Beyond tau and Aβ, evidence suggests that microglia play an important role in AD pathogenesis. Rare variants in the microglial-expressed triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) gene increase AD risk 2-4-fold. It is likely that these TREM2 variants increase AD risk by decreasing the response of microglia to Aβ and its local toxicity. However, neocortical Aβ pathology occurs many years before neocortical tau pathology in AD. Thus, it will be important to understand the role of TREM2 in the context of tauopathy. We investigated the impact of the AD-associated TREM2 variant (R47H) on tau-mediated neuropathology in the PS19 mouse model of tauopathy. We assessed PS19 mice expressing human TREM2CV (common variant) or human TREM2R47H. PS19-T2R47H mice had significantly attenuated brain atrophy and synapse loss versus PS19-T2CV mice. Gene expression analyses and CD68 immunostaining revealed attenuated microglial reactivity in PS19-T2R47H versus PS19-T2CV mice. There was also a decrease in phagocytosis of postsynaptic elements by microglia expressing TREM2R47H in the PS19 mice and in human AD brains. These findings suggest that impaired TREM2 signaling reduces microglia-mediated neurodegeneration in the setting of tauopathy.
Maud Gratuze, Cheryl E.G. Leyns, Andrew D. Sauerbeck, Marie-Kim St-Pierre, Monica Xiong, Nayeon Kim, Javier Remolina Serrano, Marie-Ève Tremblay, Terrance T. Kummer, Marco Colonna, Jason D. Ulrich, David M. Holtzman
Cachexia, a devastating wasting syndrome characterized by severe weight loss with specific losses of muscle and adipose tissue, is driven by reduced food intake, increased energy expenditure, excess catabolism, and inflammation. Cachexia is associated with poor prognosis and high mortality, and frequently occurs in patients with cancer, chronic kidney disease, infection, and many other illnesses. There is no effective treatment for this condition. Hypothalamic melanocortins have a potent and long-lasting inhibitory effect on feeding and anabolism, and pathophysiological processes increase melanocortin signaling tone leading to anorexia, metabolic changes, and eventual cachexia. We utilized three rat models of anorexia and cachexia (LPS, methylcholanthrene sarcoma, and 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy) to evaluate efficacy of TCMCB07, a synthetic antagonist of the melanocortin-4 receptor. Our data show that peripheral treatment of TCMCB07 with intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, and oral administration increased food intake and body weight, and preserved fat mass and lean mass during cachexia and LPS-induced anorexia. Furthermore, administration of TCMCB07 diminished hypothalamic inflammatory gene expression in cancer cachexia. These results suggest that peripheral TCMCB07 treatment effectively inhibits central melanocortin signaling and therefore stimulates appetite and enhances anabolism, indicating that TCMCB07 is a promising drug candidate to treat cachexia.
Xinxia Zhu, Michael F. Callahan, Kenneth A. Gruber, Marek Szumowski, Daniel L. Marks
Connexin 43 (Cx43) gap junctions provide intercellular coupling which ensures rapid action potential propagation and synchronized heart contraction. Altered Cx43 localization and reduced gap junction coupling occur in failing hearts, contributing to ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Recent reports have found that an internally translated Cx43 isoform, GJA1-20k, is an auxiliary subunit for the trafficking of Cx43 in heterologous expression systems. Here, we have created a mouse model by using CRISPR technology to mutate a single internal translation initiation site in Cx43 (M213L mutation), which generates full length Cx43 but not GJA1-20k. We find that GJA1M213L/M213L mice have severely abnormal electrocardiograms despite preserved contractile function, reduced total Cx43, reduced gap junctions, and die suddenly at two to four weeks of age. Heterozygous GJA1M213L/WT mice survive to adulthood with increased ventricular ectopy. Biochemical experiments indicate that cytoplasmic Cx43 has a half life that is 50% shorter than membrane associated Cx43. Without GJA1-20k, poorly trafficked Cx43 is degraded. The data support that GJA1-20k, an endogenous entity translated independently of Cx43, is critical for Cx43 gap junction trafficking, maintenance of Cx43 protein, and normal electrical function of the mammalian heart.
Shaohua Xiao, Daisuke Shimura, Rachel Baum, Diana M. Hernandez, Sosse Agvanian, Yoshiko Nagaoka, Makoto Katsumata, Paul D. Lampe, Andre G. Kleber, TingTing Hong, Robin M. Shaw
Graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Donor T cells are key mediators in pathogenesis but a contribution from host T cells has not been explored, as conditioning regimens are believed to deplete host T cells. To evaluate a potential role for host T cells in GVHD, the origin of skin and blood T cells was assessed prospectively in patients after HSCT in the absence of GVHD. While blood contained primarily donor-derived T cells, most T cells in the skin were host-derived. We next examined patient skin, colon and blood during acute GVHD. Host T cells were present in all skin and colon acute GVHD specimens studied yet were largely absent in blood. We observed acute skin GVHD in the presence of 100% host T cells. Analysis demonstrated that a subset of host T cells in peripheral tissues were proliferating (Ki67+) and producing the pro-inflammatory cytokines IFNγ and IL-17 in situ. Comparatively, the majority of antigen presenting cells (APC) in tissue in acute GVHD were donor-derived, and donor-derived APC were observed directly adjacent to host T cells. A humanized mouse model demonstrated that host skin-resident T cells could be activated by donor monocytes to generate a GVHD-like dermatitis. Thus, host tissue-resident T cells may play a previously unappreciated pathogenic role in acute GVHD.
Sherrie J. Divito, Anders T. Aasebo, Tiago R. Matos, Pei-Chen Hsieh, Matthew Collin, Christopher P. Elco, John T. O'Malley, Espen S. Bækkevold, Henrik M. Reims, Tobias Gedde-Dahl, Michael Hagerstrom, Jude Hilaire, John W. Lian, Edgar L. Milford, Geraldine S. Pinkus, Vincent T. Ho, Robert J. Soiffer, Haesook T. Kim, Martin C. Mihm Jr, Jerome Ritz, Indira Guleria, Corey S. Cutler, Rachael Clark, Frode L. Jahnsen, Thomas S. Kupper
The tight junction protein claudin-2 is upregulated in disease. Although many studies have linked intestinal barrier loss to local and systemic disease, these have relied on macromolecular probes. In vitro analyses show however that these probes cannot be accommodated by size- and charge-selective claudin-2 channels. We sought to define the impact of claudin-2 channels on disease. Transgenic claudin-2 overexpression or IL-13-induced claudin-2 upregulation increased intestinal small cation permeability in vivo. IL-13 did not however affect permeability in claudin-2-knockout mice. Claudin-2 is therefore necessary and sufficient to effect size- and charge-selective permeability increases in vivo. In chronic disease, T-cell transfer colitis severity was augmented or diminished in claudin-2 transgenic or knockout mice, respectively. We translated in vitro data suggesting that casein kinase-2 (CK2) inhibition blocks claudin-2 channel function and found that CK2 inhibition prevented IL-13-induced, claudin-2-mediated permeability increases in vivo. In chronic immune-mediated colitis, CK2 inhibition attenuated progression in claudin-2-sufficient, but not claudin-2-knockout, mice, i.e., the effect was claudin-2-dependent. Paracellular flux mediated by claudin-2 channels can therefore promote immune-mediated colitis progression. Although the mechanisms by which claudin-2 channels intensify disease remain to be defined, these data suggest that claudin-2 may be an accessible target in immune-mediated disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease.
Preeti Raju, Nitesh Shashikanth, Pei-Yun Tsai, Pawin Pongkorpsakol, Sandra Chanez-Parades, Peter R. Steinhagen, Wei-Ting Kuo, Gurminder Singh, Sachiko Tsukita, Jerrold R. Turner
Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited eye disease. X-linked nuclear modifiers were proposed to modify the phenotypic manifestation of LHON-associated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. By whole exome sequencing, we identified the X-linked LHON modifier (c.157C>T, p. Arg53Trp) in the PRICKLE3 encoding a mitochondrial protein linked to biogenesis of ATPase in three Chinese families. All affected individuals carried both ND4 11778G>A and p.Arg53Trp mutations, while subjects bearing only single mutation exhibited normal vision. The cells carrying the p.Arg53Trp mutation exhibited the defective assembly, stability and function of ATP synthase, verified by PRICKLE3 knock-down cells. Co-immunoprecipitation indicated the direct interaction of PRICKLE3 with ATP synthase via ATP8. Strikingly, mutant cells bearing both p.Arg53Trp and m.11778G>A mutations displayed greater mitochondrial dysfunctions than those carrying only single mutation. These indicated that the p.Arg53Trp mutation acted in synergy with m.11778G>A mutation and deteriorated mitochondrial dysfunctions necessary for the expression of LHON. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Prickle3 deficient mice exhibited the pronounced ATPase deficiencies. Prickle3 knock-out mice recapitulated LHON phenotypes with retina deficiencies including degeneration of retinal ganglion cells and abnormal vasculature. Our findings provided new insights into pathophysiology of LHON that were manifested by interaction between mtDNA mutation and X-linked nuclear modifier.
Jialing Yu, Xiaoyang Liang, Yanchun Ji, Cheng Ai, Junxia Liu, Ling Zhu, Zhipeng Nie, Xiaofen Jin, Chenghui Wang, Juanjuan Zhang, Fuxin Zhao, Shuang Mei, Xiaoxu Zhao, Xiangtian Zhou, Minglian Zhang, Meng Wang, Taosheng Huang, Pingping Jiang, Min-Xin Guan
The brain has evolved in an environment where food sources are scarce and foraging for food is one of the major challenges for survival of the individual and species. Basic and clinical studies show that obesity/overnutrition leads to overwhelming changes in the brain in animals and humans. However, the exact mechanisms underlying the consequences of excessive energy intake are not well understood. Neurons expressing the neuropeptide hypocretin/orexin (Hcrt) in the lateral/perifonical hypothalamus (LH) are critical for homeostatic regulation, reward seeking, stress response, and cognitive functions. In this study, we examined adaptations in Hcrt cells regulating behavioral responses to salient stimuli in diet-induced obese mice. Our results demonstrated changes in primary cilia, synaptic transmission and plasticity, cellular responses to neurotransmitters necessary for reward seeking and stress responses in Hcrt neurons from obese mice. Activities of neuronal networks in the LH and hippocampus were impaired as a result of decreased hypocretinergic function. The weakened Hcrt system decreased reward seeking while altering responses to acute stress (stress coping strategy), which were reversed by selectively activating Hcrt cells with chemogenetics. Taken together, our data suggest that a deficiency in the Hcrt signaling may be a common cause of behavioral changes (such as lowered arousal, weakened reward seek and altered stress response) in obese animals.
Ying Tan, Fu Hang, Zhong-Wu Liu, Milan Stoiljkovic, Mingxing Wu, Yue Tu, Wenfei Han, Angela M. Lee, Craig Kelley, Mihaly Hajos, Lingeng Lu, Luis de Lecea, Ivan de Araujo, Marina Picciotto, Tamas L. Horvath, Xiao-Bing Gao
Posttranslational modifications are a common feature of proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases including prion protein (PrPC), tau and α-synuclein. Alternative self-propagating protein states or strains give rise to different disease phenotypes and display strain-specific subsets of posttranslational modifications. The relationships between strain-specific structure, posttranslational modifications and disease phenotype are poorly understood. We previously reported that among hundreds of PrPC sialoglycoforms expressed by a cell, individual prion strains recruited PrPC molecules selectively, according to the sialylation status of their N-linked glycans. Here we report that transmission of a prion strain to a new host is accompanied by a dramatic shift in the selectivity of recruitment of PrPC sialoglycoforms giving rise to PrPSc with a unique sialoglycoform signature and disease phenotype. The newly emerged strain has the shortest incubation time to disease, is characterized by a colocalization of PrPSc with microglia and a very profound proinflammatory response, features that are linked to a unique sialoglycoform composition of PrPSc. The current work provides experimental support for a hypothesis that strain-specific patterns of PrPSc sialoglycoforms formed as a result of selective recruitment dictate strain-specific disease phenotypes. This work suggests a causative relationship between a strain-specific structure, posttranslational modifications and disease phenotype.
Natallia Makarava, Jennifer Chen-Yu Chang, Kara Molesworth, Ilia V. Baskakov
FTY720 (Gilenya, Novartis), is a treatment for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). It is an analog of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and targets S1P receptors 1,3,4, and 5. Recent reports indicate an association between long term exposure to FTY720 and cases of cryptococcal infection. Here, we studied the effect of FTY720 and its derivative, BAF312 (Mayzent, Novartis), which only target S1P receptors 1 and 5, in a mouse model of cryptococcal infection. We found that treatment with FTY720, but not with BAF312, lead to decreased survival and increased organ burden in mouse cryptococcal granulomas. Both FTY720 and BAF312 caused a profound CD4+ and CD8+ T cell depletion in blood and lungs but only treatment with FTY720 lead to cryptococcal reactivation. Treatment with FTY720, but not with BAF312, was associated with disorganization of macrophages and with a M2 polarization at the granuloma site. In a cell system, FTY720 decreased phagocytosis and production of reactive oxygen species by macrophages, a phenotype recapitulated in the S1pr3-/- knockout macrophages. Our results suggest that FTY720 reactivates cryptococcosis from the granuloma through a S1P receptor 3-mediated mechanism and support the rationale for development of more specific receptor modulators for therapeutic use of MS.
Arielle M. Bryan, Jeehyun Karen You, Travis McQuiston, Cristina Lazzarini, Zhijuan Qiu, Brian S. Sheridan, Barbara Nuesslein-Hildesheim, Maurizio Del Poeta
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