Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is a regulator of disease pathogenesis in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Why TLR9 represses disease while TLR7 and MyD88 have the opposite effect remains undefined. To begin to address this question, we created two novel alleles to manipulate TLR9 expression, allowing for either selective deletion or overexpression. We used these to test cell type-specific effects of Tlr9 expression on the regulation of SLE pathogenesis. Notably, Tlr9 deficiency in B cells was sufficient to exacerbate nephritis while extinguishing anti-nucleosome antibodies, whereas Tlr9 deficiency in dendritic cells (DCs), plasmacytoid DCs, and neutrophils had no discernable effect on disease. Thus, B cell-specific Tlr9 deficiency unlinked disease from autoantibody production. Critically, B cell-specific Tlr9 overexpression resulted in ameliorated nephritis, opposite of the effect of deleting Tlr9. Our findings highlight the non-redundant role of B cell-expressed TLR9 in regulating lupus and suggests therapeutic potential in modulating and perhaps even enhancing TLR9 signals in B cells.
Jeremy S. Tilstra, Shinu John, Rachael A. Gordon, Claire Leibler, Michael Kashgarian, Sheldon Bastacky, Kevin M. Nickerson, Mark J. Shlomchik
Neutrophilic inflammation is central to disease pathogenesis, e.g. in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, yet the mechanisms retaining neutrophils within tissues remain poorly understood. With emerging evidence that axon guidance factors can regulate myeloid recruitment and that neutrophils can regulate expression of a class 3 Semaphorin, SEMA3F, we investigated the role of SEMA3F in inflammatory cell retention within inflamed tissues. We observed that neutrophils upregulate SEMA3F in response to pro-inflammatory mediators and following recruitment to the inflamed lung. In both zebrafish tail injury and murine acute lung injury models of neutrophilic inflammation, overexpression of SEMA3F delayed inflammation resolution with slower neutrophil migratory speeds and retention of neutrophils within the tissues. Conversely, constitutive loss of sema3f accelerated egress of neutrophils from the tail injury site in fish, whilst neutrophil specific deletion of Sema3f in mice resulted in more rapid neutrophil transit through the airways, and significantly reduced time to resolution of the neutrophilic response. Study of filamentous- (F-) actin subsequently showed SEMA3F mediated retention is associated with F-actin disassembly. In conclusion, SEMA3F signaling actively regulates neutrophil retention within the injured tissues with consequences for neutrophil clearance and inflammation resolution.
Tracie Plant, Suttida Eamsamarng, Manuel A. Sanchez-Garcia, Leila Reyes, Stephen A. Renshaw, Patricia Coelho, Ananda S. Mirchandani, Jessie-May Morgan, Felix E. Ellett, Tyler Morrison, Duncan Humphries, Emily R. Watts, Fiona Murphy, Ximena L. Raffo-Iraolagoitia, Ailiang Zhang, Jenna L. Cash, Catherine Loynes, Philip M. Elks, Freek Van Eeden, Leo M. Carlin, Andrew J. W. Furley, Moira K. B. Whyte, Sarah R. Walmsley
Single nucleotide polymorphisms and locus amplification link the NF-κB transcription factor c-Rel to human autoimmune diseases and B cell lymphomas, respectively. However, the functional consequences of enhanced c-Rel levels remain enigmatic. Here, we overexpressed c-Rel specifically in mouse B cells from BAC-transgenic gene loci and demonstrate that c-Rel protein levels linearly dictated expansion of germinal center (GC) B cells and isotype-switched plasma cells. c-Rel expression in B cells of otherwise c-Rel-deficient mice fully rescued terminal B cell differentiation, underscoring its critical B cell-intrinsic roles. Unexpectedly, in GCB cells transcription-independent regulation produced the highest c-Rel protein levels amongst B cell subsets. In c-Rel overexpressing GCB cells this caused enhanced nuclear translocation, a profoundly altered transcriptional program and increased proliferation. Finally, we provide a link between c-Rel gain and autoimmunity by showing that c-Rel overexpression in B cells caused autoantibody production and renal immune complex deposition.
Maike Kober-Hasslacher, Hyunju Oh-Strauß, Dilip Kumar, Valeria Soberón, Carina Diehl, Maciej Lech, Thomas Engleitner, Eslam Katab, Vanesa Fernandez Saiz, Guido Piontek, Hongwei Li, Björn Menze, Christoph Ziegenhain, Wolfgang Enard, Roland Rad, Jan P. Böttcher, Hans-Joachim Anders, Martina Rudelius, Marc Schmidt-Supprian
Children and adults with Philadelphia chromosome-like B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-like B-ALL) experience high relapse rates despite best-available conventional chemotherapy. Ph-like ALL is driven by genetic alterations that activate constitutive cytokine receptor and kinase signaling, and early-phase trials are investigating the potential of tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) addition to chemotherapy to improve clinical outcomes. However, preclinical studies have shown that JAK or PI3K pathway inhibition is insufficient to eradicate the most common cytokine receptor-like factor 2 (CRLF2)-rearranged Ph-like ALL subset. We thus sought to define additional essential signaling pathways required in Ph-like leukemogenesis for improved therapeutic targeting. Herein, we describe a novel adaptive signaling plasticity of CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL following selective TKI pressure, which occurs in the absence of genetic mutations. Interestingly, we observed that Ph-like ALL cells have activated SRC, ERK and PI3K signaling consistent with activated B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling, although they do not express cell surface mu heavy chain (uHC). Combinatorial targeting of JAK/STAT, PI3K, and ‘BCR-like’ signaling with multiple TKIs and/or dexamethasone prevented this signaling plasticity and induced complete cell death, demonstrating a more optimal and clinically pragmatic therapeutic strategy for CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL.
Christian Hurtz, Gerald B. Wertheim, Joseph P. Loftus, Daniel Blumenthal, Anne Lehman, Yong Li, Asen Bagashev, Bryan Manning, Katherine D. Cummins, Janis K. Burkhardt, Alexander E. Perl, Martin Carroll, Sarah K. Tasian
T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are indispensable for the formation of germinal center (GC) reactions, while T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells inhibit Tfh-mediated GC responses. Aberrant activation of Tfh cells contributes significantly to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Nonetheless, the molecular mechanisms mitigating excessive Tfh cell differentiation, which in turn trigger autoimmunity, are not fully understood. Herein we demonstrate that the adenovirus E4 promoter-binding protein (E4BP4) mediates a feedback loop and acts as a transcriptional brake to inhibit Tfh cell differentiation. Furthermore, we show that such an immunological mechanism is compromised in patients with SLE. Establishing mice with either conditional knock-out (cKO) or knock-in (cKI) of the E4bp4 gene in T cells reveals that E4BP4 strongly inhibits Tfh cell differentiation. Mechanistically, E4BP4 deregulates Bcl6 transcription by recruiting the repressive epigenetic modifiers HDAC1 and EZH2. E4BP4 phosphorylation site mutants had limited capability with regard to inhibiting Tfh cell differentiation. In SLE, we detected impaired phosphorylation of E4BP4, finding that this compromised transcription factor is positively correlated with disease activity. These findings unveiled molecular mechanisms by which E4BP4 restrains Tfh cell differentiation, whose compromised function is associated with uncontrolled autoimmune reactions in SLE.
Zijun Wang, Ming Zhao, Jinghua Yin, Limin Liu, Longyuan Hu, Yi Huang, Aiyun Liu, Jiajun Ouyang, Xiaoli Min, Shijia Rao, Wenhui Zhou, Haijing Wu, Akihiko Yoshimura, Qianjin Lu
Proliferation of CD4+ T cells harboring HIV-1 proviruses is a major contributor to viral persistence in people on antiretroviral therapy (ART). To determine whether differential rates of clonal proliferation or HIV-1-specific CTL pressure shape the provirus landscape, we performed the intact proviral DNA assay (IPDA) and obtained 661 near-full length provirus sequences from eight individuals with suppressed viral loads on ART at time points seven years apart. We observed slow decay of intact proviruses but no changes in the proportions of various types of defective proviruses. The proportion of intact proviruses in expanded clones was similar to that of defective proviruses in clones. Intact proviruses observed in clones did not have more escaped CTL epitopes than intact proviruses observed as singlets. Concordantly, total proviruses at later timepoints or observed in clones were not enriched in escaped or unrecognized epitopes. Three individuals with natural control of HIV-1 infection (controllers) on ART, included because controllers have strong HIV-1-specific CTL responses, had a smaller proportion of intact proviruses but a similar distribution of defective provirus types and escaped or unrecognized epitopes as the other individuals. This work suggests that CTL selection does not significantly check clonal proliferation of infected cells or greatly alter the provirus landscape in people on ART.
Annukka A. R. Antar, Katharine M. Jenike, Sunyoung Jang, Danielle N. Rigau, Daniel B. Reeves, Rebecca Hoh, Melissa R. Krone, Jeanne C. Keruly, Richard D. Moore, Joshua T. Schiffer, Bareng A.S. Nonyane, Frederick M. Hecht, Steven G. Deeks, Janet D. Siliciano, Ya-Chi Ho, Robert F. Siliciano
The atypical cadherin FAT4 has established roles in regulation of planar cell polarity and Hippo pathway signaling that are cell context dependent. The recent identification of FAT4 mutations in Hennekam syndrome, features of which include lymphedema, lymphangiectasia and mental retardation, uncovered an important role for FAT4 in the lymphatic vasculature. Hennekam syndrome is also caused by mutations in CCBE1 and ADAMTS3, encoding a matrix protein and protease, respectively, that regulate activity of the key pro-lymphangiogenic VEGF-C/VEGFR3 signaling axis by facilitating the proteolytic cleavage and activation of VEGF-C. The fact that FAT4, CCBE1 and ADAMTS3 mutations underlie Hennekam syndrome suggested that all three genes might function in a common pathway. We identified FAT4 as a target gene of GATA2, a key transcriptional regulator of lymphatic vascular development and in particular, lymphatic vessel valve development. Here, we demonstrate that FAT4 functions in a lymphatic endothelial cell autonomous manner to control cell polarity in response to flow and is required for lymphatic vessel morphogenesis throughout development. Our data reveal a crucial role for FAT4 in lymphangiogenesis and shed light on the mechanistic basis by which FAT4 mutations underlie a human lymphedema syndrome.
Kelly L. Betterman, Drew L. Sutton, Genevieve A. Secker, Jan Kazenwadel, Anna Oszmiana, Lillian Lim, Naoyuki Miura, Lydia Sorokin, Benjamin M. Hogan, Mark L. Kahn, Helen McNeill, Natasha L. Harvey
Chronic inflammation is a pathologic feature of neurodegeneration and aging; however, the mechanism regulating this process is not understood. Melatonin, an endogenous free radical scavenger synthesized by neuronal mitochondria, decreases with aging and neurodegeneration. We proposed that insufficient melatonin levels impair mitochondrial homeostasis resulting in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) release, activation of cytosolic DNA mediated inflammatory response in neurons. We found increased mitochondrial oxidative stress and decreased mitochondrial membrane potential with higher mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) release in brain and primary cerebro-cortical neurons of melatonin deficient aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) knockout mice. Cytosolic mtDNA activated the cGAS/STING/IRF3 pathway, stimulating inflammatory cytokine generation. We found that Huntington's disease mice increased mtDNA release, cGAS activation, and inflammation, all inhibited by exogenous melatonin. Thus, we demonstrated that cytosolic mtDNA activated the inflammatory response in aging and neurodegeneration, a process modulated by melatonin. Furthermore, our data suggest that AANAT knockout mice are a model of accelerated aging.
Abhishek Jauhari, Sergei V. Baranov, Yalikun Suofu, Jinho Kim, Tanisha Singh, Svitlana Yablonska, Fang Li, Xiaomin Wang, Patrick Oberly, M. Beth Minnigh, Samuel M. Poloyac, Diane L. Carlisle, Robert M. Friedlander
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the CNS. Bile acids are cholesterol metabolites that can signal through receptors on cells throughout the body, including the CNS and immune system. Whether bile acid metabolism is abnormal in MS is unknown. Using global and targeted metabolomic profiling, we identified lower levels of circulating bile acid metabolites in multiple cohorts of adult and pediatric MS patients compared to controls. In white matter lesions from MS brain tissue, we noted the presence of bile acid receptors on immune and glial cells. To mechanistically examine the implications of lower levels of bile acids in MS, we studied the in vitro effects of an endogenous bile acid – tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) on astrocyte and microglial polarization. TUDCA prevented neurotoxic (A1) polarization of astrocytes and pro-inflammatory polarization of microglia in a dose-dependent manner. TUDCA supplementation in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis reduced severity of disease through its effects on GPBAR1, based on behavioral and pathological measures. We demonstrate that bile acid metabolism is altered in MS; bile acid supplementation prevents polarization of astrocytes and microglia to neurotoxic phenotypes and ameliorates neuropathology in an animal model of MS. These findings identify dysregulated bile acid metabolism as a potential therapeutic target in MS.
Pavan Bhargava, Matthew D. Smith, Leah Mische, Emily P. Harrington, Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Kyle A. Martin, Sol Kim, Arthur Anthony A. Reyes, Jaime Gonzalez-Cardona, Christina Volsko, Ajai Tripathi, Sonal Singh, Kesava Varanasi, Hannah-Noelle Lord, Keya R. Meyers, Michelle Taylor, Marjan Gharagozloo, Elias S. Sotirchos, Bardia Nourbakhsh, Ranjan Dutta, Ellen Mowry, Emmanuelle Waubant, Peter A. Calabresi
β-cell apoptosis and dedifferentiation are two hotly-debated mechanisms underlying β-cell loss in type 2 diabetes; however, the molecular drivers underlying such events remain largely unclear. Here, we performed a side-by-side comparison of mice carrying β-cell-specific deletion of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) and autophagy. We reported that while autophagy was necessary for β-cell survival, the highly conserved Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD protein complex was required for the maintenance of β-cell maturation and identity. Using single cell RNA-sequencing, we demonstrated that Sel1L deficiency was not associated with β-cell loss, but rather loss of β-cell identity. Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD controlled β-cell identity via TGFβ signaling, in part by mediating the degradation of TGFβ receptor 1 (TGFβRI). Inhibition of TGFβ signaling in Sel1L-deficient β-cells augmented the expression of β-cell maturation markers and increased the total insulin content. Our data revealed distinct pathogenic effects of two major proteolytic pathways in β-cells, providing a new framework for therapies targeting distinct mechanisms of protein quality control.
Neha Shrestha, Tongyu Liu, Yewei Ji, Rachel Reinert, Mauricio Torres, Xin Li, Maria Zhang, Chih-Hang Anthony Tang, Chih-Chi Andrew Hu, Chengyang Liu, Ali Naji, Ming Liu, Jiandie D. Lin, Sander Kersten, Peter Arvan, Ling Qi
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