A considerable fraction of B cells recognize SARS-CoV-2 with germline-encoded elements of their B cell receptor resulting in the production of neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies. We found that antibody sequences from different discovery cohorts shared biochemical properties and could be retrieved across validation cohorts confirming the stereotyped character of this naive response in COVID-19. While neutralizing antibody sequences were found independently of disease severity in line with serological data, individual non-neutralizing antibody sequences were associated with fatal clinical courses suggesting detrimental effects of these antibodies. We mined 200 immune repertoires of healthy individuals and 500 of patients with blood or solid cancers - all acquired prior to the pandemic - for SARS-CoV-2 antibody sequences. While the largely unmutated B cell rearrangements occurred in a substantial fraction of immune repertoires from young and healthy individuals, these sequences were less likely found in individuals over 60 years of age and in cancer. This reflects B cell repertoire restriction in aging and cancer and may to a certain extent explain the different clinical COVID-19 courses observed in these risk groups. Future studies will have to address if this stereotyped B cell response to SARS-CoV-2 emerging from unmutated antibody rearrangements will create long-lived memory.
Lisa Paschold, Donjete Simnica, Edith Willscher, Maria J.G.T. Vehreschild, Jochen Dutzmann, Daniel G. Sedding, Christoph Schultheiß, Mascha Binder
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by inflammatory cell infiltration, as well as hyperproliferation of keratinocytes in skin lesions, and is considered a metabolic syndrome. We found that the expression of galectin-7 is reduced in the skin lesions of patients with psoriasis. IL-17A and TNF-α, two cytokines intimately involved in the development of psoriatic lesions, suppressed galectin-7 expression in human primary keratinocytes (HEKn cells) and the immortalized human keratinocyte cell line HaCaT. A galectin-7 knockdown in these cells elevated the production of IL-6 and IL-8 and enhanced ERK signaling when the cells were stimulated with IL-17A. Galectin-7 attenuated IL-17A–induced production of inflammatory mediators by keratinocytes via the miR-146a–ERK pathway. Moreover, galectin-7–deficient mice showed enhanced epidermal hyperplasia and skin inflammation in response to intradermal IL-23 injection. We identified fluvastatin as an inducer of galectin-7 expression by connectivity map (cMAP) analysis, confirmed this effect in keratinocytes, and demonstrated that fluvastatin attenuated IL-6 and IL-8 production induced by IL-17A. Thus, we validate a role of galectin-7 in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, in both epidermal hyperplasia and keratinocyte-mediated inflammatory responses, and formulated a rationale for the use of statins in the treatment of psoriasis.
Hung-Lin Chen, Chia-Hui Lo, Chi-Chun Huang, Meng-Ping Lu, Po-Yuan Hu, Chang-Shan Chen, Di-Yen Chueh, Peilin Chen, Teng-Nan Lin, Yuan-Hsin Lo, Yu-Ping Hsiao, Daniel K. Hsu, Fu-Tong Liu
Human antibody responses to severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) hold intense interest with research efforts directed at optimizing antibody-based interventions and monitoring immune status. By relating individual variations in antibody response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) severity, beneficial antiviral immune responses may be identified in detail. In this issue of the JCI, Secchi and collaborators describe antibody response profiles in 509 COVID-19 patients from Italy during the 2020 pandemic. The research team found that multiple antibody types to multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens developed over four weeks. Notably, IgG against the spike receptor binding domain (RBD) was predictive of survival and IgA against the viral spike protein (S protein) associated with rapid virologic clearance. These results may help guide selection of convalescent plasma, hyperimmune products, monoclonal antibodies, and vaccine strategies for COVID-19.
Jeffrey P. Henderson
A growing number of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have emerged as vital metabolic regulators. However, most human lncRNAs are non-conserved and highly tissue-specific, vastly limiting our ability to identify human lncRNA metabolic regulators (hLMRs). In this study, we establish a pipeline to identify putative hLMRs that are metabolically sensitive, disease-relevant, and population applicable. We first progressively processed multilevel human transcriptome data to select liver lncRNAs that exhibit highly dynamic expression in the general population, show differential expression in a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) population, and response to dietary intervention in a small NAFLD cohort. We then experimentally demonstrated the responsiveness of selected hepatic lncRNAs to defined metabolic milieus in a liver-specific humanized mouse model. Furthermore, by extracting a concise list of protein-coding genes that are persistently correlated with lncRNAs in general and NAFLD populations, we predicted the specific function for each hLMR. Using gain- and loss-of-function approaches in humanized mice as well as ectopic expression in conventional mice, we validated the regulatory role of one non-conserved hLMR in cholesterol metabolism by coordinating with an RNA-binding protein, PTBP1, to modulate the transcription of cholesterol synthesis genes. Our work overcome the heterogeneity intrinsic to human data to enable the efficient identification and functional definition of disease-relevant human lncRNAs in metabolic homeostasis.
Xiangbo Ruan, Ping Li, Yonghe Ma, Chengfei Jiang, Yi Chen, Yu Shi, Nikhil Gupta, Fayaz Seifuddin, Mehdi Pirooznia, Yasuyuki Ohnishi, Nao Yoneda, Megumi Nishiwaki, Gabrijela Dumbovic, John L. Rinn, Yuichiro Higuchi, Kenji Kawai, Hiroshi Suemizu, Haiming Cao
Mutations in the core RNA splicing factor SF3B1 are prevalent in leukemias and uveal melanoma but hotspot SF3B1 mutations are also seen in epithelial malignancies such as breast cancer. Although hotspot mutations in SF3B1 alter hematopoietic differentiation, whether SF3B1 mutations contribute to epithelial cancer development and progression is unknown. Here, we identify that SF3B1 mutations in mammary epithelial and breast cancer cells induce a recurrent pattern of aberrant splicing leading to activation of AKT and NF-kB, enhanced cell migration, and accelerated tumorigenesis. Transcriptomic analysis of human cancer specimens, MMTV-cre Sf3b1K700E/WT mice, and isogenic mutant cell lines identified hundreds of aberrant 3’ splice sites (3’ss) induced by mutant SF3B1. Consistently between mouse and human tumors, mutant SF3B1 promoted aberrant splicing (dependent on aberrant branchpoints as well as pyrimidines downstream of the cryptic 3’ss) and consequent suppression of PPP2R5A and MAP3K7, critical negative regulators of AKT and NF-kB. Coordinate activation of NF-kB and AKT signaling was observed in the knock-in models, leading to accelerated cell migration and tumor development in combination with mutant PIK3CA but also hypersensitizing cells to AKT kinase inhibitors. These data identify hotspot mutations in SF3B1 as an important contributor to breast tumorigenesis and reveal unique vulnerabilities in cancers harboring them.
Bo Liu, Zhaoqi Liu, Sisi Chen, Michelle Ki, Caroline Erickson, Jorge S. Reis-Filho, Benjamin H. Durham, Qing Chang, Elisa de Stanchina, Yiwei Sun, Raul Rabadan, Omar Abdel-Wahab, Sarat Chandarlapaty
Obesity occurs when energy expenditure is outweighed by energy intake. Tuberal hypothalamic nuclei, including the arcuate nucleus (ARC), ventromedial nucleus (VMH), and dorsomedial nucleus (DMH), control for food intake and energy expenditure. Here we reported that, contrary to females, male mice lacking circadian nuclear receptors REV-ERB alpha and beta in the tuberal hypothalamus (HDKO) gained excessive weight on an obesogenic high fat diet due to both decreased energy expenditure and increased food intake during the light phase. Moreover, rebound food intake after fasting was markedly increased in HDKO mice. Integrative transcriptomic and cistromic analyses revealed that such disruption in feeding behavior was due to perturbed REV-ERB-dependent leptin signaling in the ARC. Indeed, in vivo leptin sensitivity was impaired in HDKO mice on an obesogenic diet in a diurnal manner. Thus, REV-ERBs play a crucial role in hypothalamic control of food intake and diurnal leptin sensitivity in diet-induced obesity.
Marine Adlanmerini, Hoang C. B. Nguyen, Brianna M. Krusen, Clare W. Teng, Caroline E. Geisler, Lindsey C. Peed, Bryce J. Carpenter, Matthew R. Hayes, Mitchell A. Lazar
Dysfunction of primary cilia is related to dyshomeostasis, leading to a wide range of disorders. The ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) is known to regulate several homeostatic processes, but those modulated specifically by VMH-primary cilia are not yet known. In this study, we identify VMH-primary cilia as an important organelle that maintains energy and skeletal homeostasis by modulating the autonomic nervous system. We established loss-of-function models of primary cilia in the VMH by either targeting IFT88 (IFT88 KOSF-1) using steroidogenic factor 1-Cre (SF1-Cre) or injecting an adeno-associated virus Cre (AAV-Cre) directly into the VMH. Functional impairments of VMH-primary cilia were linked to decreased sympathetic activation and central leptin resistance, which led to marked obesity and bone density accrual. Obesity was caused by hyperphagia, decreased energy expenditure, and blunted brown fat function, as well as associated with insulin and leptin resistance. The effect of bone density accrual was independent from obesity, as it was caused by the decreased sympathetic tone resulting in increased osteoblastic and decreased osteoclastic activities in the IFT88 KOSF-1 and VMH-primary cilia knock-down mice. Overall, our current study identifies VMH-primary cilia as a critical hypothalamic organelle that maintains energy and skeletal homeostasis.
Ji Su Sun, Dong Joo Yang, Ann W. Kinyua, Seul Gi Yoon, Je Kyung Seong, Juwon Kim, Seok Jun Moon, Dong Min Shin, Yun-Hee Choi, Ki Woo Kim
Dr. Nancy Brown, Dean of the Yale School of Medicine, shares her perspective on the challenges facing women and minority faculty members and trainees in academic medicine and provides a reflection on how leaders in academic medicine can promote diversity, equity, and inclusion to enhance their success.
Nancy J. Brown
COVID-19 spans and wide range of symptoms, sometimes with profound immune system involvement. How immune cell subsets change during the disease course and with disease severity needs further study. While myeloid cells have been shown to initiate and maintain responses to pneumonia and lung inflammation, often playing a role in resolution, their involvement with COVID-19 remains unknown. In this issue of the JCI, Sánchez-Cerrillo and Pedro-Landete et al. investigated dendritic cells and monocytes from blood and bronchial secretions of patients with varying COVID-19 severity and with healthy controls. The authors conclude that circulating monocytes and DCs migrate from the blood into the inflamed lungs. While sampling differences in sex, collection timing, bacteria/fungal infection, and corticosteroid treatment limit interpretation, we believe that reprograming monocyte or macrophages by targeting immunometabolism, epigenetics, or the cytokine milieu holds promise in resolving lung-inflammation associated with COVID-19.
Franco R. D'Alessio, Nicola M. Heller
BACKGROUND. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) improves diagnostic rates in individuals with suspected Mendelian conditions to varying degrees, primarily by directing the prioritization of candidate DNA variants identified on exome or genome sequencing (ES/GS). Here we implemented an RNA-seq guided method to diagnose individuals across a wide range of ages and clinical phenotypes. METHODS. One hundred fifteen undiagnosed adult and pediatric patients with diverse phenotypes and 67 family members (182 total individuals) underwent RNA-seq from whole blood and fibroblasts at the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) clinical site from 2014-2020. We implemented a workflow to detect outliers in gene expression and splicing for cases that remained undiagnosed despite standard genomic and transcriptomic analysis. RESULTS. The transcriptome-directed approach resulted in a diagnostic rate of 12% across the entire cohort, or 17% after excluding cases solved on ES/GS alone. Newly diagnosed conditions included Koolen-de Vries syndrome (KANSL1), Renpenning syndrome (PQBP1), TBCK-associated encephalopathy, NSD2- and CLTC-related intellectual disability, and others, all with negative conventional genomic testing, including ES and chromosomal microarray (CMA). Fibroblasts exhibited higher and more consistent expression of clinically relevant genes than whole blood. In solved cases with RNA-seq from both tissues, the causative defect was missed in blood in half the cases but none from fibroblasts. CONCLUSION. For our cohort of undiagnosed individuals with suspected Mendelian conditions, transcriptome-directed genomic analysis facilitated diagnoses, primarily through the identification of variants missed on ES and CMA.
David R. Murdock, Hongzheng Dai, Lindsay C. Burrage, Jill A. Rosenfeld, Shamika Ketkar, Michaela F. Müller, Vicente A. Yépez, Julien Gagneur, Pengfei Liu, Shan Chen, Mahim Jain, Gladys Zapata, Carlos A. Bacino, Hsiao-Tuan Chao, Paolo Moretti, William J. Craigen, Neil A. Hanchard, Brendan Lee
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