Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICB) have significantly prolonged patient survival across multiple tumor types, particularly in melanoma. Interestingly, gender specific differences in response to ICB have been observed with males getting more benefit than females, although the mechanism(s) underlying this difference are unknown. Mining published transcriptomic datasets, we determined that response to ICBs is influenced by the functionality of intratumoral macrophages. This puts into context our observation that estrogens (E2) working through the estrogen receptor (ERα) stimulate melanoma growth in murine models by skewing macrophage polarization towards an immune-suppressive state that promotes CD8+ T cell dysfunction/exhaustion and ICB resistance. This activity was not evident in mice harboring a macrophage specific depletion of ERα confirming a direct role for estrogen signaling within myeloid cells in establishing an immunosuppressed state. Inhibition of ERα using fulvestrant, a selective estrogen receptor downregulator (SERD) decreases tumor growth, stimulates adaptive immunity and increases the antitumor efficacy of ICBs. Further, a gene signature that reads on ER activity in macrophages predicted survival in ICB treated melanoma patients. These results highlight the importance of E2/ER as a regulator of intratumoral macrophage polarization; an activity that can be therapeutically targeted to reverse immune suppression and increase ICB efficacy.
Binita Chakraborty, Jovita Byemerwa, Jonathan H. Shepherd, Corinne N. Haines, Robert Baldi, Weida Gong, Wen Liu, Debarati Mukherjee, Sandeep Artham, Felicia Lim, Yeeun Bae, Olivia Brueckner, Kendall Heetderks, Suzanne E. Wardell, Brent A. Hanks, Charles M. Perou, Ching-Yi Chang, Donald P. McDonnell
Although Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines have shown efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, it is unknown if coronavirus vaccines can also protect against other coronaviruses that may infect humans in the future. Here, we show that coronavirus vaccines elicit cross-protective immune responses against heterologous coronaviruses. In particular, we show that a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1) vaccine developed in 2004 and known to protect against SARS-CoV-1, confers robust heterologous protection against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. Similarly, prior coronavirus infections conferred heterologous protection against distinct coronaviruses. Cross-reactive immunity was also reported in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients and humans who received SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and transfer of plasma from these individuals into mice improved protection against coronavirus challenges. These findings provide the first demonstration that coronavirus vaccines (and prior coronavirus infections) can confer broad protection against heterologous coronaviruses, providing a rationale for universal coronavirus vaccines.
Tanushree Dangi, Nicole Palacio, Sarah Sanchez, Mincheol Park, Jake Class, Lavanya Visvabharathy, Thomas Ciucci, Igor J. Koralnik, Justin M. Richner, Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster
Central obesity with cardiometabolic syndrome (CMS) is a major global contributor to human disease, and effective therapies are needed. Here, we show inhibiting cyclic-GMP selective phosphodiesterase-9A (PDE9-I) in both ovariectomized female or male mice suppresses pre-established severe diet-induced obesity/CMS with or without superimposed mild cardiac pressure-load. PDE9-I reduces total body, inguinal, hepatic, and myocardial fat, stimulating mitochondrial activity in brown and white fat, and improving CMS, without significantly altering activity or food intake. PDE9 localized at mitochondria, and its inhibition in vitro stimulated lipolysis and mitochondrial respiration in adipocytes and myocytes coupled to PPARα-dependent gene regulation. PPARα upregulation was required to achieve the lipolytic, anti-obesity, and metabolic effects of PDE9-I. All these PDE9-I induced changes were not observed in obese/CMS non-ovariectomized females, indicating a strong sexual dimorphism. We found that PPARα chromatin binding was re-oriented away from fat-metabolism regulating genes when stimulated in the presence of co-activated estrogen receptor-alpha, and this may underly the dimorphism. These findings have translational relevance given that PDE9-I is already being studied in humans for indications including heart failure, and efficacy against obesity/CMS would enhance its therapeutic utility.
Sumita Mishra, Nandhini Sadagopan, Brittany Dunkerly-Eyring, Susana Rodriguez, Dylan C. Sarver, Ryan P. Ceddia, Sean A. Murphy, Hildur Knutsdottir, Vivek P. Jani, Deepthi Ashok, Christian U. Oeing, Brian O'Rourke, Jon A. Gangoiti, Dorothy D. Sears, G. William Wong, Sheila Collins, David Kass
Human monoclonal antibodies were used here to study the mechanism of neuron intoxication by tetanus neurotoxin and to evaluate them as a safe preventive and therapeutic substitute of hyperimmune sera for tetanus in mice. By screening memory B cells of immune donors, we selected two monoclonal antibodies specific for tetanus neurotoxin with exceptionally high neutralizing activities, which were extensively characterized both structurally and functionally. We found that these antibodies interfere with the binding and translocation of the neurotoxin into neurons by interacting with two epitopes, whose definition pinpoints crucial events in the cellular pathogenesis of tetanus. This information explains the unprecedented neutralization ability of these antibodies, which were found to be exceptionally potent in preventing experimental tetanus when injected in mice long before the neurotoxin. Moreover, their Fab derivatives neutralized tetanus neurotoxin in post-exposure experiments, suggesting their potential therapeutic use via intrathecal injection. As such, these human monoclonal antibodies, as well as their Fab derivatives, meet all requirements for being considered for prophylaxis and therapy of human tetanus and are ready for clinical trials.
Marco Pirazzini, Alessandro Grinzato, Davide Corti, Sonia Barbieri, Oneda Leka, Francesca Vallese, Marika Tonellato, Chiara Silacci-Fregni, Luca Piccoli, Eaazhisai Kandiah, Giampietro Schiavo, Giuseppe Zanotti, Antonio Lanzavecchia, Cesare Montecucco
BACKGROUND. Gingivitis and periodontitis are prevalent inflammatory diseases of the periodontal tissues. Current treatments are often ineffective or do not prevent disease recurrence. Uncontrolled complement activation and resulting chronic gingival inflammation is a hallmark of periodontal diseases. We determined efficacy and safety of a complement 3-targeted therapeutic, AMY-101, locally administered in adults with periodontal inflammation. METHODS. Thirty-two patients with gingival inflammation were enrolled into a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, split-mouth design phase 2a trial, after dose-escalation study to select safe and effective dose with additional 8 patients. Half of the mouth was randomly assigned to AMY-101 (0.1mg/site) or placebo injections at sites of inflammation, administered on days 0, 7 and 14 and evaluated for safety and efficacy outcomes at days 28, 60 and 90. The primary efficacy outcome was change in gingival inflammation, measured by modified gingival index (MGI), and secondary outcomes included changes in bleeding-on-probing (BOP), amount of plaque, pocket depth, clinical attachment level, and gingival crevicular fluid levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) over 90 days. RESULTS. A once-per-week intragingival injection of AMY-101 for 3 weeks was safe and well-tolerated in all participants resulting in significant (P<0.001) reductions in clinical indices measuring gingival inflammation (MGI and BOP). AMY-101 significantly (P<0.05) reduced MMP-8 and MMP-9 levels, indicators of inflammatory tissue destruction. These therapeutic effects persisted for at least 3 months post-treatment. CONCLUSION. AMY-101 causes significant and sustainable reduction in gingival inflammation without adverse events and merits further investigation for the treatment of periodontitis and other oral or peri-implant inflammatory conditions. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03694444. FUNDING. Amyndas Pharmaceuticals. Amyndas contributed to the design and conducts of the clinical trial and in the writing of the manuscript.
Hatice Hasturk, George Hajishengallis, John D. Lambris, Dimitrios C. Mastellos, Despina Yancopoulou
Insulin resistance is a cornerstone of obesity related complications such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A high rate of lipolysis is known to be associated with insulin resistance, and inhibiting adipose tissue lipolysis improves obesity-related insulin resistance. Here, we demonstrate that inhibition of 5-HT signaling through serotonin receptor 2B (HTR2B) in adipose tissues ameliorates insulin resistance by reducing lipolysis in visceral adipocytes. Chronic high-fat diet (HFD) feeding increased Htr2b expression in eWAT, resulting in the increased HTR2B signaling in visceral white adipose tissue. Moreover, HTR2B expression in white adipose tissue was increased in obese humans and positively correlated with metabolic parameters. We further found that adipocyte-specific Htr2b-knockout mice are resistant to high-fat diet (HFD)-induced insulin resistance, visceral adipose tissue inflammation, and hepatic steatosis. Enhanced 5-HT signaling through HTR2B directly activated lipolysis through phosphorylation of hormone sensitive lipase in visceral adipocytes. Moreover, treatment with a selective HTR2B antagonist attenuated HFD-induced insulin resistance, visceral tissue inflammation, and hepatic steatosis. Thus, adipose HTR2B signaling could be a potential therapeutic target for treatment of obesity-related insulin resistance.
Won Gun Choi, Wonsuk Choi, Tae Jung Oh, Hye-Na Cha, Inseon Hwang, Yun Kyung Lee, Seung Yeon Lee, Hyemi Shin, Ajin Lim, Dongryeol Ryu, Jae Myoung Suh, So-Young Park, Sung Hee Choi, Hail Kim
Nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccines have gained global attention because of COVID-19. We evaluated a similar vaccine approach for preventing a chronic latent genital infection rather than an acute respiratory infection. We used animal models to compare an HSV-2 trivalent nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine with the same antigens prepared as proteins with an emphasis on antigen-specific memory B cell responses and immune correlates of protection. In guinea pigs, serum neutralizing antibody titers were higher at one month and declined far less by eight months in mRNA- than protein-immunized animals. Both vaccines protected against death and genital lesions when infected one month after immunization; however, protection was more durable in the mRNA than protein group when infected after eight months, an interval representing >15% of the animal’s lifespan. Serum and vaginal neutralizing antibody titers correlated with protection against infection as measured by genital lesions and vaginal virus titers two days post infection. In mice, the mRNA vaccine generated more antigen-specific memory B cells than the protein vaccine at early times post immunization that persisted for up to one year. High neutralizing titers and robust B cell immune memory likely explain the more durable protection by the HSV-2 mRNA vaccine.
Sita Awasthi, James J. Knox, Angela Desmond, Mohamad-Gabriel Alameh, Brian T. Gaudette, John M. Lubinski, Alexis Naughton, Lauren M. Hook, Kevin P. Egan, Ying K. Tam, Norbert Pardi, David Allman, Eline T. Luning Prak, Michael P. Cancro, Drew Weissman, Gary H. Cohen, Harvey M. Friedman
BACKGROUND. SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications and neonatal respiratory distress and hospitalization. Effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in pregnant women is not known. METHODS. All women with confirmed pregnancy who presented to the national referral hospital in Qatar between December 20, 2020 and May 30, 2021 with at least one SARS-CoV-2 test and not testing prior to pregnancy were included. We determined the vaccine effectiveness of mRNA vaccines in preventing confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy using both cohort and test-negative case-control designs. Analyses were adjusted for age group, nationality, and gestational age. RESULTS. Among 4,534 pregnant women, there were 407 vaccinated and unvaccinated women in the matched cohort analysis. Vaccine effectiveness was 87.6% (95%CI 44.1-97.2%) ≥ 14 days after the second dose. There were 386 test-positive and 834 matched women in the test-negative case-control analysis. Vaccine effectiveness was 86.8% (95%CI 47.5-98.5) ≥ 14 days after the second dose. Adjustment for age, nationality and gestational age yielded similar results for both designs. In the test-negative analysis, vaccine effectiveness ≥ 14 days after the first dose but before the second dose was 40.8% (95% CI 0.0-80.4). Of the 386 test-positive pregnant women, 74 were Alpha variant, 163 were Beta variant, and 156 were variants of unknown status. There were nine severe/critical disease cases, and no deaths in the PCR-positive pregnant women, all among unvaccinated. CONCLUSIONS. The mRNA vaccines provide high level of protection against documented SARS-CoV-2 infection, which supports including pregnant women in vaccination campaigns.
Adeel A. Butt, Hiam Chemaitelly, Abdullatif Al Khal, Peter V Coyle, Huda Saleh, Anvar Kaleeckal, Ali N. Latif, Roberto Bertollini, Abdul Badi Abou-Samra, Laith J. Abu-Raddad
Ferroptosis, an iron-dependent non-apoptotic cell death, is a highly regulated tumor suppressing process. However, functions and mechanisms of RNA binding proteins in regulation of evasion of ferroptosis during lung cancer progression are still largely unknown. Here we reported that the RNA binding protein RBMS1 participated in lung cancer development through mediating ferroptosis evasion. Through an shRNA-mediated systematic screen, we discovered that RBMS1 was a key ferroptosis regulator. Clinically, RBMS1 was elevated in lung cancer and its high expression was associated with reduced patient survival. Conversely, depletion of RBMS1 inhibited lung cancer progression both in vivo and in vitro. Mechanistically, RBMS1 interacted with the translation initiation factor eIF3d directly to bridge the 3'- and 5'-UTRs of SLC7A11. RBMS1 ablation inhibited the translation of SLC7A11, reduced SLC7A11-mediated cystine uptake and promotes ferroptosis. In a drug screen that targeted RBMS1, we further uncovered that nortriptyline hydrochloride decreased the level of RBMS1, thereby promoting ferroptosis. Importantly, RBMS1 depletion or inhibition by nortriptyline hydrochloride sensitized radioresistant lung cancer cells to radiotherapy. Our findings established RBMS1 as a translational regulator of ferroptosis and a prognostic factor with therapeutic potentials and clinical values.
Wenjing Zhang, Yu Sun, Lu Bai, Lili Zhi, Yun Yang, Qingzhi Zhao, Chaoqun Chen, Yangfan Qi, Wenting Gao, Wenxia He, Luning Wang, Dan Chen, Shujun Fan, Huan Chen, Hai-Long Piao, Qinglong Qiao, Zhaochao Xu, Jinrui Zhang, Jinyao Zhao, Sirui Zhang, Yue Yin, Chao Peng, Xiaoling Li, Quentin Liu, Han Liu, Yang Wang
The capacity of respiratory viruses to undergo evolution within the respiratory tract raises the possibility of evolution under the selective pressure of the host environment or drug treatment. Long-term infections in immunocompromised hosts are potential drivers of viral evolution and development of infectious variants. We show that intra-host evolution in chronic human parainfluenza virus 3 (HPIV3) infection in immunocompromised individuals elicited mutations that favor viral entry and persistence, suggesting that similar processes may operate across enveloped respiratory viruses. We profiled longitudinal HPIV3 infections from two immunocompromised individuals that persisted for 278 and 98 days. Mutations accrued in the HPIV3 attachment protein hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN), including the first in vivo mutation in HN’s receptor binding site responsible for activating the viral fusion process. Fixation of this mutation was associated with exposure to a drug that cleaves host cell sialic acid moieties. Longitudinal adaptation of HN was associated with features that promote viral entry and persistence in cells, including greater avidity for sialic acid and more active fusion activity in vitro, but not with antibody escape. Long term infection thus led to mutations promoting viral persistence, suggesting that host-directed therapeutics may support the evolution of viruses that alter their biophysical characteristics to persist in the face of these agents in vivo.
Alexander L. Greninger, Ksenia Rybkina, Michelle J. Lin, Jennifer Drew-Bear, Tara C. Marcink, Ryan C. Shean, Negar Makhsous, Michael Boeckh, Olivia Harder, Francesca Bovier, Shana R. Burstein, Stefan Niewiesk, Bert K. Rima, Matteo Porotto, Anne Moscona
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