p120-Catenin (p120) functions as a tumor suppressor in intestinal cancer, but the mechanism is unclear. Here, using conditional p120 knockout in Apc-sensitized mouse models of intestinal cancer, we have identified p120 as an “obligatory” haploinsufficient tumor suppressor. Whereas monoallelic loss of p120 was associated with a significant increase in tumor multiplicity, loss of both alleles was never observed in tumors from these mice. Moreover, forced ablation of the second allele did not further enhance tumorigenesis, but instead induced synthetic lethality in combination with Apc loss of heterozygosity. In tumor-derived organoid cultures, elimination of both p120 alleles resulted in caspase-3–dependent apoptosis that was blocked by inhibition of Rho kinase (ROCK). With ROCK inhibition, however, p120-ablated organoids exhibited a branching phenotype and a substantial increase in cell proliferation. Access to data from Sleeping Beauty mutagenesis screens afforded an opportunity to directly assess the tumorigenic impact of p120 haploinsufficiency relative to other candidate drivers. Remarkably, p120 ranked third among the 919 drivers identified. Cofactors α-catenin and epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin) were also among the highest scoring candidates, indicating a mechanism at the level of the intact complex that may play an important role at very early stages of of intestinal tumorigenesis while simultaneously restricting outright loss via synthetic lethality.
Sarah P. Short, Jumpei Kondo, Whitney G. Smalley-Freed, Haruna Takeda, Michael R. Dohn, Anne E. Powell, Robert H. Carnahan, Mary K. Washington, Manish Tripathi, D. Michael Payne, Nancy A. Jenkins, Neal G. Copeland, Robert J. Coffey, Albert B. Reynolds
Conventional therapies for breast cancer brain metastases (BCBMs) have been largely ineffective because of chemoresistance and impermeability of the blood-brain barrier. A comprehensive understanding of the underlying mechanism that allows breast cancer cells to infiltrate the brain is necessary to circumvent treatment resistance of BCBMs. Here, we determined that expression of a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that we have named lncRNA associated with BCBM (Lnc-BM) is prognostic of the progression of brain metastasis in breast cancer patients. In preclinical murine models, elevated Lnc-BM expression drove BCBM, while depletion of Lnc-BM with nanoparticle-encapsulated siRNAs effectively treated BCBM. Lnc-BM increased JAK2 kinase activity to mediate oncostatin M– and IL-6–triggered STAT3 phosphorylation. In breast cancer cells, Lnc-BM promoted STAT3-dependent expression of ICAM1 and CCL2, which mediated vascular co-option and recruitment of macrophages in the brain, respectively. Recruited macrophages in turn produced oncostatin M and IL-6, thereby further activating the Lnc-BM/JAK2/STAT3 pathway and enhancing BCBM. Collectively, our results show that Lnc-BM and JAK2 promote BCBMs by mediating communication between breast cancer cells and the brain microenvironment. Moreover, these results suggest targeting Lnc-BM as a potential strategy for fighting this difficult disease.
Shouyu Wang, Ke Liang, Qingsong Hu, Ping Li, Jian Song, Yuedong Yang, Jun Yao, Lingegowda Selanere Mangala, Chunlai Li, Wenhao Yang, Peter K. Park, David H. Hawke, Jianwei Zhou, Yan Zhou, Weiya Xia, Mien-Chie Hung, Jeffrey R. Marks, Gary E. Gallick, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, Elsa R. Flores, Anil K. Sood, Suyun Huang, Dihua Yu, Liuqing Yang, Chunru Lin
Astrocytes perform critical non–cell autonomous roles following CNS injury that involve either neurotoxic or neuroprotective effects. Yet the nature of potential prosurvival cues has remained unclear. In the current study, we utilized the close interaction between astrocytes and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in the eye to characterize a secreted neuroprotective signal present in retinal astrocyte conditioned medium (ACM). Rather than a conventional peptide neurotrophic factor, we identified a prominent lipid component of the neuroprotective signal through metabolomics screening. The lipoxins LXA4 and LXB4 are small lipid mediators that act locally to dampen inflammation, but they have not been linked directly to neuronal actions. Here, we determined that LXA4 and LXB4 are synthesized in the inner retina, but their levels are reduced following injury. Injection of either lipoxin was sufficient for neuroprotection following acute injury, while inhibition of key lipoxin pathway components exacerbated injury-induced damage. Although LXA4 signaling has been extensively investigated, LXB4, the less studied lipoxin, emerged to be more potent in protection. Moreover, LXB4 neuroprotection was different from that of established LXA4 signaling, and therapeutic LXB4 treatment was efficacious in a chronic model of the common neurodegenerative disease glaucoma. Together, these results identify a potential paracrine mechanism that coordinates neuronal homeostasis and inflammation in the CNS.
Izhar Livne-Bar, Jessica Wei, Hsin-Hua Liu, Samih Alqawlaq, Gah-Jone Won, Alessandra Tuccitto, Karsten Gronert, John G. Flanagan, Jeremy M. Sivak
Induction of the cell cycle is emerging as an intervention to treat heart failure. Here, we tested the hypothesis that enhanced cardiomyocyte renewal in transgenic mice expressing cyclin D2 would be beneficial during hemodynamic overload. We induced pressure overload by transthoracic aortic constriction (TAC) or volume overload by aortocaval shunt in cyclin D2–expressing and WT mice. Although cyclin D2 expression dramatically improved survival following TAC, it did not confer a survival advantage to mice following aortocaval shunt. Cardiac function decreased following TAC in WT mice, but was preserved in cyclin D2–expressing mice. On the other hand, cardiac structure and function were compromised in response to aortocaval shunt in both WT and cyclin D2–expressing mice. The preserved function and improved survival in cyclin D2–expressing mice after TAC was associated with an approximately 50% increase in cardiomyocyte number and exaggerated cardiac hypertrophy, as indicated by increased septum thickness. Aortocaval shunt did not further impact cardiomyocyte number in mice expressing cyclin D2. Following TAC, cyclin D2 expression attenuated cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis, fibrosis, calcium/calmodulin–dependent protein kinase IIδ phosphorylation, brain natriuretic peptide expression, and sustained capillarization. Thus, we show that cyclin D2–induced cardiomyocyte renewal reduced myocardial remodeling and dysfunction after pressure overload but not after volume overload.
Karl Toischer, Wuqiang Zhu, Mark Hünlich, Belal A. Mohamed, Sara Khadjeh, Sean P. Reuter, Katrin Schäfer, Deepak Ramanujam, Stefan Engelhardt, Loren J. Field, Gerd Hasenfuss
The devastating sequelae of diabetes mellitus include microvascular permeability, which results in retinopathy. Despite clinical and scientific advances, there remains a need for new approaches to treat retinopathy. Here, we have presented a possible treatment strategy, whereby targeting the small GTPase ARF6 alters VEGFR2 trafficking and reverses signs of pathology in 4 animal models that represent features of diabetic retinopathy and in a fifth model of ocular pathological angiogenesis. Specifically, we determined that the same signaling pathway utilizes distinct GEFs to sequentially activate ARF6, and these GEFs exert distinct but complementary effects on VEGFR2 trafficking and signal transduction. ARF6 activation was independently regulated by 2 different ARF GEFs — ARNO and GEP100. Interaction between VEGFR2 and ARNO activated ARF6 and stimulated VEGFR2 internalization, whereas a VEGFR2 interaction with GEP100 activated ARF6 to promote VEGFR2 recycling via coreceptor binding. Intervening in either pathway inhibited VEGFR2 signal output. Finally, using a combination of in vitro, cellular, genetic, and pharmacologic techniques, we demonstrated that ARF6 is pivotal in VEGFR2 trafficking and that targeting ARF6-mediated VEGFR2 trafficking has potential as a therapeutic approach for retinal vascular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy.
Weiquan Zhu, Dallas S. Shi, Jacob M. Winter, Bianca E. Rich, Zongzhong Tong, Lise K. Sorensen, Helong Zhao, Yi Huang, Zhengfu Tai, Tara M. Mleynek, Jae Hyuk Yoo, Christine Dunn, Jing Ling, Jake A. Bergquist, Jackson R. Richards, Amanda Jiang, Lisa A. Lesniewski, M. Elizabeth Hartnett, Diane M. Ward, Alan L. Mueller, Kirill Ostanin, Kirk R. Thomas, Shannon J. Odelberg, Dean Y. Li
Uromodulin-associated kidney disease (UAKD) is caused by mutations in the uromodulin (UMOD) gene that result in a misfolded form of UMOD protein, which is normally secreted by nephrons. In UAKD patients, mutant UMOD is poorly secreted and accumulates in the ER of distal kidney epithelium, but its role in disease progression is largely unknown. Here, we modeled UMOD accumulation in mice by expressing the murine equivalent of the human UMOD p.Cys148Trp point mutation (UmodC147W/+ mice). Like affected humans, these UmodC147W/+ mice developed spontaneous and progressive kidney disease with organ failure over 24 weeks. Analysis of diseased kidneys and purified UMOD-producing cells revealed early activation of the PKR-like ER kinase/activating transcription factor 4 (PERK/ATF4) ER stress pathway, innate immune mediators, and increased apoptotic signaling, including caspase-3 activation. Unexpectedly, we also detected autophagy deficiency. Human cells expressing UMOD p.Cys147Trp recapitulated the findings in UmodC147W/+ mice, and autophagy activation with mTOR inhibitors stimulated the intracellular removal of aggregated mutant UMOD. Human cells producing mutant UMOD were susceptible to TNF-α– and TRAIL-mediated apoptosis due to increased expression of the ER stress mediator tribbles-3. Blocking TNF-α in vivo with the soluble recombinant fusion protein TNFR:Fc slowed disease progression in UmodC147W/+ mice by reducing active caspase-3, thereby preventing tubule cell death and loss of epithelial function. These findings reveal a targetable mechanism for disease processes involved in UAKD.
Bryce G. Johnson, Lan T. Dang, Graham Marsh, Allie M. Roach, Zebulon G. Levine, Anthony Monti, Deepak Reyon, Lionel Feigenbaum, Jeremy S. Duffield
Atherosclerosis is the underlying etiology of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Atherosclerosis is a heterogeneous disease in which only a small fraction of lesions lead to heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac death. A distinct type of plaque containing large necrotic cores with thin fibrous caps often precipitates these acute events. Here, we show that Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase γ (CaMKIIγ) in macrophages plays a major role in the development of necrotic, thin-capped plaques. Macrophages in necrotic and symptomatic atherosclerotic plaques in humans as well as advanced atherosclerotic lesions in mice demonstrated activation of CaMKII. Western diet–fed LDL receptor–deficient (Ldlr–/–) mice with myeloid-specific deletion of CaMKII had smaller necrotic cores with concomitantly thicker collagen caps. These lesions demonstrated evidence of enhanced efferocytosis, which was associated with increased expression of the macrophage efferocytosis receptor MerTK. Mechanistic studies revealed that CaMKIIγ-deficient macrophages and atherosclerotic lesions lacking myeloid CaMKIIγ had increased expression of the transcription factor ATF6. We determined that ATF6 induces liver X receptor-α (LXRα), an Mertk-inducing transcription factor, and that increased MerTK expression and efferocytosis in CaMKIIγ-deficient macrophages is dependent on LXRα. These findings identify a macrophage CaMKIIγ/ATF6/LXRα/MerTK pathway as a key factor in the development of necrotic atherosclerotic plaques.
Amanda C. Doran, Lale Ozcan, Bishuang Cai, Ze Zheng, Gabrielle Fredman, Christina C. Rymond, Bernhard Dorweiler, Judith C. Sluimer, Joanne Hsieh, George Kuriakose, Alan R. Tall, Ira Tabas
P-element–induced wimpy testes (Piwi) proteins are known for suppressing retrotransposon activation in the mammalian germline. However, whether Piwi protein or Piwi-dependent functions occur in the mammalian soma is unclear. Contrary to germline-restricted expression, we observed that Piwi-like Miwi2 mRNA is indeed expressed in epithelial cells of the lung in adult mice and that it is induced during pneumonia. Further investigation revealed that MIWI2 protein localized to the cytoplasm of a discrete population of multiciliated airway epithelial cells. Isolation and next-generation sequencing of MIWI2-positive multiciliated cells revealed that they are phenotypically distinct from neighboring MIWI2-negative multiciliated cells. Mice lacking MIWI2 exhibited an altered balance of airway epithelial cells, demonstrating fewer multiciliated cells and an increase in club cells. During pneumococcal pneumonia, Miwi2-deficient mice exhibited increased expression of inflammatory mediators and increased immune cell recruitment, leading to enhanced bacterial clearance. Taken together, our data delineate MIWI2-dependent functions outside of the germline and demonstrate the presence of distinct subsets of airway multiciliated cells that can be discriminated by MIWI2 expression. By demonstrating roles for MIWI2 in airway cell identity and pulmonary innate immunity, these studies elucidate unanticipated physiological functions for Piwi proteins in somatic tissues.
Gregory A. Wasserman, Aleksander D. Szymaniak, Anne C. Hinds, Kazuko Yamamoto, Hirofumi Kamata, Nicole M.S. Smith, Kristie L. Hilliard, Claudia Carrieri, Adam T. Labadorf, Lee J. Quinton, Xingbin Ai, Xaralabos Varelas, Felicia Chen, Joseph P. Mizgerd, Alan Fine, Dónal O’Carroll, Matthew R. Jones
Peptide hormones are crucial regulators of many aspects of human physiology. Mutations that alter these signaling peptides are associated with physiological imbalances that underlie diseases. However, the conformational maturation of peptide hormone precursors (prohormones) in the ER remains largely unexplored. Here, we report that conformational maturation of proAVP, the precursor for the antidiuretic hormone arginine-vasopressin, within the ER requires the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) activity of the Sel1L-Hrd1 protein complex. Serum hyperosmolality induces expression of both ERAD components and proAVP in AVP-producing neurons. Mice with global or AVP neuron–specific ablation of Se1L-Hrd1 ERAD progressively developed polyuria and polydipsia, characteristics of diabetes insipidus. Mechanistically, we found that ERAD deficiency causes marked ER retention and aggregation of a large proportion of all proAVP protein. Further, we show that proAVP is an endogenous substrate of Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD. The inability to clear misfolded proAVP with highly reactive cysteine thiols in the absence of Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD causes proAVP to accumulate and participate in inappropriate intermolecular disulfide–bonded aggregates, promoted by the enzymatic activity of protein disulfide isomerase (PDI). This study highlights a pathway linking ERAD to prohormone conformational maturation in neuroendocrine cells, expanding the role of ERAD in providing a conducive ER environment for nascent proteins to reach proper conformation.
Guojun Shi, Diane Somlo, Geun Hyang Kim, Cristina Prescianotto-Baschong, Shengyi Sun, Nicole Beuret, Qiaoming Long, Jonas Rutishauser, Peter Arvan, Martin Spiess, Ling Qi
Macrophages are attracted to developing tumors and can participate in immune surveillance to eliminate neoplastic cells. In response, neoplastic cells utilize NF-κB to suppress this killing activity, but the mechanisms underlying their self-protection remain unclear. Here, we report that this dynamic interaction between tumor cells and macrophages is integrally linked by a soluble factor identified as growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15). In vitro, tumor-derived GDF-15 signals in macrophages to suppress their proapoptotic activity by inhibiting TNF and nitric oxide (NO) production. In vivo, depletion of GDF-15 in Ras-driven tumor xenografts and in an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer delayed tumor development. This delay correlated with increased infiltrating antitumor macrophages. Further, production of GDF-15 is directly regulated by NF-κB, and the colocalization of activated NF-κB and GDF-15 in epithelial ducts of human pancreatic adenocarcinoma supports the importance of this observation. Mechanistically, we found that GDF-15 suppresses macrophage activity by inhibiting TGF-β–activated kinase (TAK1) signaling to NF-κB, thereby blocking synthesis of TNF and NO. Based on these results, we propose that the NF-κB/GDF-15 regulatory axis is important for tumor cells in evading macrophage immune surveillance during the early stages of tumorigenesis.
Nivedita M. Ratnam, Jennifer M. Peterson, Erin E. Talbert, Katherine J. Ladner, Priyani V. Rajasekera, Carl R. Schmidt, Mary E. Dillhoff, Benjamin J. Swanson, Ericka Haverick, Raleigh D. Kladney, Terence M. Williams, Gustavo W. Leone, David J. Wang, Denis C. Guttridge
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