Adult vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) possess the peculiar ability to de-differentiate in response to extracellular cues, such as vascular damage and inflammation. De-differentiated VSMCs are proliferative, migratory, and have decreased contractile capacity. VSMC dedifferentiation contributes not only to vascular repair, but also to cardiovascular pathologies, such as intimal hyperplasia/restenosis in coronary artery or peripheral vascular diseases and arterial aneurysm. We here demonstrate the role of ubiquitin-like, containing PHD and RING finger domains, 1 (UHRF1) as an epigenetic master regulator of VSMC plasticity. The expression of UHRF1 correlates with the development of a wide array of vascular pathologies associated also with modulation of non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs. Importantly, miR-145, a pivotal gene regulating VSMC plasticity, which is reduced in vascular diseases, was found to control Uhrf1 mRNA translation. In turn, UHRF1 triggers VSMC proliferation by directly repressing the promoters of cell cycle inhibitor genes, such as p21 and p27, and of key pro-differentiation genes via the methylation of DNA and histones. Local vascular viral delivery of Uhrf1 shRNAs or Uhrf1 VSMC-specific deletion prevented intimal hyperplasia in mouse carotid artery and decreased vessel damage in a mouse model of aortic aneurysm.Our study demonstrates the fundamental role of Uhrf1 in regulating VSMC phenotype by promoting proliferation and de-differentiation. UHRF1 targeting may hold therapeutic potential in vascular pathologies, modulating also the VSMC component.
Leonardo Elia, Paolo Kunderfranco, Pierluigi Carullo, Marco Vacchiano, Floriana Maria Farina, Ignacio Fernando Hall, Stefano Mantero, Cristina Panico, Roberto Papait, Gianluigi Condorelli, Manuela Quintavalle
Cell death is a key driver of disease progression and carcinogenesis in chronic liver disease (CLD), highlighted by the well-established clinical correlation between hepatocellular death and risk for the development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Moreover, hepatocellular death is sufficient to trigger fibrosis and HCC in mice. However, the pathways through which cell death drives CLD progression remain elusive. Here, we tested the hypothesis that high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) with key roles in acute liver injury, may link cell death to injury responses and hepatocarcinogenesis in CLD. While liver-specific HMGB1 deficiency did not significantly affect chronic injury responses such as fibrosis, regeneration and inflammation, it inhibited ductular/progenitor cell expansion and hepatocyte metaplasia. HMGB1 promoted ductular expansion independently of active secretion in a non-autonomous fashion, consistent with its role as DAMP. Liver-specific HMGB1 deficiency reduced HCC development in three models with chronic injury but not in a model lacking chronic liver injury. Similar to CLD, HMGB1 ablation reduced the expression of progenitor and oncofetal markers, a key determinant of HCC aggressiveness, in tumors. In summary, HMGB1 links hepatocyte death to ductular reaction, progenitor signature and hepatocarcinogenesis in CLD.
Céline Hernandez, Peter Huebener, Jean-Philippe Pradere, Daniel J. Antoine, Richard A. Friedman, Robert F. Schwabe
Autophagy is important for liver homeostasis and the deficiency leads to injury, inflammation, ductular reaction (DR), fibrosis, and tumorigenesis. It is not clear how these events are mechanistically linked to autophagy deficiency. Here we reveal the role of highmobility group box 1 (HMGB1) in two of these processes. First, HMGB1 was required for DR, which represents the expansion of hepatic progenitor cells (HPC) implicated in liver repair and regeneration. DR caused by hepatic toxic diets (DDC or CDE) also depended on HMGB1, indicating that HMGB1 may be generally required for DR in various injury scenarios. Second, HMGB1 promoted tumor development in autophagy deficient livers. Receptor for advanced glycation end product (RAGE), a receptor for HMGB1, was required in the same two processes, and could mediate HMGB1’s proliferative effects in isolated HPC. HMGB1 was released from autophagy-deficient hepatocytes independently of cellular injury, but depending on NRF2 and inflammasome, which was activated by NRF2. Pharmacological or genetic activation of NRF2 alone without disabling autophagy or causing injury was sufficient to cause inflammasomedependent HMGB1 release. In conclusion, HMGB1 release is a critical mechanism in hepatic pathogenesis under the autophagy deficient condition, which leads to HPC expansion but also tumor development.
Bilon Khambu, Nazmul Huda, Xiaoyun Chen, Daniel J. Antoine, Yong Li, Guoli Dai, Ulrike A. Köhler, Wei-Xing Zong, Satoshi Waguri, Sabine Werner, Tim D. Oury, Zheng Dong, Xiao-Ming Yin
Single cancer cell sequencing studies currently use randomly-selected cells, limiting correlations between genomic aberrations, morphology and spatial localization. We laser-captured microdissected single cells from morphologically-distinct areas of primary breast cancer and corresponding lymph node metastasis and performed whole-exome or deep-target sequencing of greater than 100 such cells. Two major subclones co-existed in different areas of the primary tumor, and the lymph node metastasis originated from a minor subclone in the invasive front of the primary tumor with additional copy number changes including 8q gain, but no additional point mutations in driver genes. Lack of metastasis-specific driver events lead us to assess whether other clonal and subclonal genomic aberrations pre-existing in primary tumors contribute to lymph node metastasis. Gene mutations and copy number variations analyzed in five breast cancer tissue sample sets revealed that copy number variations in several genomic regions, including areas within chromosome 1p, 8q, 9p, 12q and 20q, harboring several metastasis-associated genes, were consistently associated with lymph node metastasis. Moreover, clonal expansion was observed in an area of morphologically-normal breast epithelia, likely driven by a driver mutation and a subsequent amplification in chromosome 1q. Our study illuminates the molecular evolution of breast cancer and genomic aberrations contributing to metastases.
Li Bao, Zhaoyang Qian, Maria B. Lyng, Ling Wang, Yuan Yu, Ting Wang, Xiuqing Zhang, Huanming Yang, Nils Brünner, Jun Wang, Henrik J. Ditzel
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the protein ATXN1, which is involved in transcriptional regulation. Although symptoms appear relatively late in life, primarily from cerebellar dysfunction, pathogenesis begins early, with brain-wide transcriptional changes detectable as early as a week after birth in SCA1 knock-in mice. Given the importance of this postnatal period for cerebellar development, we asked whether this region might be developmentally altered by mutant ATXN1. We found that expanded ATXN1 stimulates the proliferation of postnatal cerebellar stem cells in SCA1 mice. These hyper-proliferating stem cells tended to differentiate into GABAergic inhibitory interneurons rather than astrocytes; this significantly increased the GABAergic inhibitory interneuron synaptic connections, disrupting cerebellar Purkinje cell function in a non-cell autonomous manner. We confirmed the increased basket cell-Purkinje cell connectivity in human SCA1 patients. Mutant ATXN1 thus alters the neural circuitry of the developing cerebellum, setting the stage for the later vulnerability of Purkinje cells to SCA1. We propose that other late-onset degenerative diseases may also be rooted in subtle developmental derailments.
Chandrakanth Reddy Edamakanti, Jeehaeh Do, Alessandro Didonna, Marco Martina, Puneet Opal
Recent studies reveal that airway epithelial cells are critical pulmonary circadian pacemaker cells, mediating rhythmic inflammatory responses. Using mouse models, we now identify the rhythmic circadian repressor REV-ERB as essential to the mechanism coupling the pulmonary clock to innate immunity, involving both myeloid, and bronchial epithelial cells in temporal gating and determining amplitude of response to inhaled endotoxin. Dual mutation of REV-ERBα and its paralog REV-ERBβ in bronchial epithelia further augmented inflammatory responses and chemokine activation, but also initiated a basal inflammatory state, revealing a critical homeostatic role for REV-ERB proteins in the suppression of the endogenous pro-inflammatory mechanism in un-challenged cells. However, REV-ERBα plays the dominant role as deletion of REV-ERBβ alone had no impact on inflammatory responses. In turn, inflammatory challenges cause striking changes in stability and degradation of REV-ERBα protein, driven by SUMOylation and ubiquitination. We developed a novel selective oxazole-based inverse agonist of REV-ERB, which protects REV-ERBα protein from degradation and used this to reveal how pro-inflammatory cytokines trigger rapid degradation of REV-ERα in the elaboration of an inflammatory response. Thus, dynamic changes in stability of REV-ERα protein couple the core clock to innate immunity.
Marie Pariollaud, Julie Gibbs, Thomas Hopwood, Sheila Brown, Nicola Begley, Ryan Vonslow, Toryn Poolman, Baoqiang Guo, Ben Saer, D. Heulyn Jones, James P. Tellam, Stefano Bresciani, Nicholas C.O. Tomkinson, Justyna Wojno-Picon, Anthony W.J. Cooper, Dion A. Daniels, Ryan P. Trump, Daniel Grant, William Zuercher, Timothy M. Willson, Andrew S. MacDonald, Brian Bolognese, Patricia L. Podolin, Yolanda Sanchez, Andrew S.I. Loudon, David W. Ray
ONC201 is a first-in-class, orally active anti-tumor agent that upregulates cytotoxic TRAIL pathway signaling in cancer cells. ONC201 has demonstrated safety and preliminary efficacy in the first-in-human trial where patients were dosed every 3 weeks. We hypothesized that dose-intensification of ONC201 may impact anti-tumor efficacy. We discovered that ONC201 exerts dose- and schedule-dependent effects on tumor progression and cell-death signaling in vivo. With dose intensification, we note a potent anti-metastasis effect and inhibition of cancer cell migration and invasion. Our preclinical results prompted a change in ONC201 dosing in all open clinical trials. We observe accumulation of activated NK+ and CD3+ cells within ONC201-treated tumors, and NK-cell depletion inhibits ONC201 efficacy in vivo, including against TRAIL/ONC201-resistant Bax–/– tumors. Immunocompetent NCR1-GFP mice with GFP-expressing NK-cells demonstrate GFP(+)-NK cell infiltration of syngeneic MC38 colorectal tumors. Activation of primary human NK cells and increased de-granulation occur in response to ONC201. Co-culture experiments identified a role for TRAIL in human NK-mediated anti-tumor cytotoxicity. Preclinical results indicate potential utility for ONC201 plus anti-PD-1 therapy. We observed an increase in activated TRAIL-secreting NK cells in the peripheral blood of patients after receiving ONC201 treatment. The results offer a unique pathway of immune stimulation for cancer therapy.
Jessica Wagner, C. Leah Kline, Lanlan Zhou, Kerry S. Campbell, Alexander W. MacFarlane, Anthony J. Olszanski, Kathy Q. Cai, Harvey H. Hensley, Eric A. Ross, Marie D. Ralff, Andrew Zloza, Charles B. Chesson, Jenna H. Newman, Howard Kaufman, Joseph R. Bertino, Mark N. Stein, Wafik El-Deiry
The remarkable regeneration capability of skeletal muscle depends on coordinated proliferation and differentiation of satellite cells. The self-renewal of satellite cells is critical for long-term maintenance of muscle regeneration potential. Hypoxia profoundly affects the proliferation, differentiation, and self-renewal of cultured myoblasts. However, the physiological relevance of hypoxia and hypoxia signaling in satellite cells in vivo remains largely unknown. Here, we report that satellite cells are in an intrinsic hypoxic state in vivo and express hypoxia-inducible factor 2A (HIF2A). HIF2A promotes the stemness and long-term homeostatic maintenance of satellite cells by maintaining the quiescence, increasing the self-renewal and blocking the myogenic differentiation of satellite cells. HIF2A stabilization in satellite cells cultured under normoxia augmented their engraftment potential in regenerative muscle. Reversely, HIF2A ablation led to the depletion of satellite cells and the consequent regenerative failure in the long-term. In contrast, transient pharmacological inhibition of HIF2A accelerated muscle regeneration by increasing satellite cell proliferation and differentiation. Mechanistically, HIF2A induces the quiescence/self-renewal of satellite cells by binding the promoter of Spry1 gene and activating Spry1 expression. These findings suggest that HIF2A is a pivotal mediator of hypoxia signaling in satellite cells and may be therapeutically targeted to improve muscle regeneration.
Liwei Xie, Amelia Yin, Anna S. Nichenko, Aaron M. Beedle, Jarrod A. Call, Hang Yin
Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is an intractable complication of diabetes that affects 25% of patients. PDN is characterized by neuropathic pain and small-fiber degeneration, accompanied by dorsal root ganglion (DRG) nociceptor hyperexcitability and loss of their axons within the skin. The molecular mechanisms underlying DRG nociceptor hyperexcitability and small-fiber degeneration in PDN are unknown. We hypothesize that chemokine CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling is central to this mechanism, as we have shown that CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling is necessary for the development of mechanical allodynia, a pain hypersensitivity behavior common in PDN. Focusing on DRG neurons expressing the sodium channel Nav1.8, we applied transgenic, electrophysiological, imaging, and chemogenetic techniques to test this hypothesis. In the high-fat diet mouse model of PDN, we were able to prevent and reverse mechanical allodynia and small-fiber degeneration by limiting CXCR4 signaling or neuronal excitability. This study reveals that excitatory CXCR4/CXCL12 signaling in Nav1.8-positive DRG neurons plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of mechanical allodynia and small-fiber degeneration in a mouse model of PDN. Hence, we propose that targeting CXCR4-mediated DRG nociceptor hyperexcitability is a promising therapeutic approach for disease-modifying treatments for this currently intractable and widespread affliction.
Nirupa D. Jayaraj, Bula J. Bhattacharyya, Abdelhak A. Belmadani, Dongjun Ren, Craig A. Rathwell, Sandra Hackelberg, Brittany E. Hopkins, Herschel R. Gupta, Richard J. Miller, Daniela M. Menichella
Increasing evidence suggests a role for excessive intake of fructose in the Western diet as a contributor to the current epidemics of metabolic syndrome and obesity. Hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI) is a difficult and potentially lethal orphan disease associated with impaired fructose metabolism. In HFI, the deficiency of a particular aldolase, aldolase B, results in the accumulation of intracellular phosphorylated fructose thus leading to phosphate sequestration and depletion, increased ATP turnover and a plethora of conditions leading to clinical manifestations including fatty liver, hyperuricemia, Fanconi syndrome and severe hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, to date, there is no treatment for HFI and avoiding sugar and fructose in our society has become quite challenging. In this report, through use of genetically modified mice and pharmacological inhibitors, we demonstrate that the absence or inhibition of ketohexokinase (Khk), an enzyme upstream of aldolase B, is sufficient to prevent hypoglycemia and liver and intestinal injury associated with HFI using aldolase B knockout mice. We thus provide evidence for the first time of a potential therapeutic approach for this condition. Mechanistically, our studies suggest that it is the inhibition of the Khk C isoform, not the A isoform, that protects animals from HFI.
Miguel A. Lanaspa, Ana Andres-Hernando, David J. Orlicky, Christina Cicerchi, Cholsoon Jang, Nanxing Li, Tamara Milagres, Masanari Kuwabara, Michael F. Wempe, Joshua D. Rabinowitz, Richard J. Johnson, Dean R. Tolan
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