Connexin 43 (Cx43) gap junctions provide intercellular coupling which ensures rapid action potential propagation and synchronized heart contraction. Altered Cx43 localization and reduced gap junction coupling occur in failing hearts, contributing to ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Recent reports have found that an internally translated Cx43 isoform, GJA1-20k, is an auxiliary subunit for the trafficking of Cx43 in heterologous expression systems. Here, we have created a mouse model by using CRISPR technology to mutate a single internal translation initiation site in Cx43 (M213L mutation), which generates full length Cx43 but not GJA1-20k. We find that GJA1M213L/M213L mice have severely abnormal electrocardiograms despite preserved contractile function, reduced total Cx43, reduced gap junctions, and die suddenly at two to four weeks of age. Heterozygous GJA1M213L/WT mice survive to adulthood with increased ventricular ectopy. Biochemical experiments indicate that cytoplasmic Cx43 has a half life that is 50% shorter than membrane associated Cx43. Without GJA1-20k, poorly trafficked Cx43 is degraded. The data support that GJA1-20k, an endogenous entity translated independently of Cx43, is critical for Cx43 gap junction trafficking, maintenance of Cx43 protein, and normal electrical function of the mammalian heart.
Shaohua Xiao, Daisuke Shimura, Rachel Baum, Diana M. Hernandez, Sosse Agvanian, Yoshiko Nagaoka, Makoto Katsumata, Paul D. Lampe, Andre G. Kleber, TingTing Hong, Robin M. Shaw
The tight junction protein claudin-2 is upregulated in disease. Although many studies have linked intestinal barrier loss to local and systemic disease, these have relied on macromolecular probes. In vitro analyses show however that these probes cannot be accommodated by size- and charge-selective claudin-2 channels. We sought to define the impact of claudin-2 channels on disease. Transgenic claudin-2 overexpression or IL-13-induced claudin-2 upregulation increased intestinal small cation permeability in vivo. IL-13 did not however affect permeability in claudin-2-knockout mice. Claudin-2 is therefore necessary and sufficient to effect size- and charge-selective permeability increases in vivo. In chronic disease, T-cell transfer colitis severity was augmented or diminished in claudin-2 transgenic or knockout mice, respectively. We translated in vitro data suggesting that casein kinase-2 (CK2) inhibition blocks claudin-2 channel function and found that CK2 inhibition prevented IL-13-induced, claudin-2-mediated permeability increases in vivo. In chronic immune-mediated colitis, CK2 inhibition attenuated progression in claudin-2-sufficient, but not claudin-2-knockout, mice, i.e., the effect was claudin-2-dependent. Paracellular flux mediated by claudin-2 channels can therefore promote immune-mediated colitis progression. Although the mechanisms by which claudin-2 channels intensify disease remain to be defined, these data suggest that claudin-2 may be an accessible target in immune-mediated disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease.
Preeti Raju, Nitesh Shashikanth, Pei-Yun Tsai, Pawin Pongkorpsakol, Sandra Chanez-Parades, Peter R. Steinhagen, Wei-Ting Kuo, Gurminder Singh, Sachiko Tsukita, Jerrold R. Turner
Emerging immune therapy, such as with the anti–programmed cell death–1 (anti–PD-1) monoclonal antibody nivolumab, has shown efficacy in tumor suppression. Patients with terminal cancer suffer from cancer pain as a result of bone metastasis and bone destruction, but how PD-1 blockade affects bone cancer pain remains unknown. Here, we report that mice lacking Pdcd1 (Pd1−/−) demonstrated remarkable protection against bone destruction induced by femoral inoculation of Lewis lung cancer cells. Compared with WT mice, Pd1−/− mice exhibited increased baseline pain sensitivity, but the development of bone cancer pain was compromised in Pd1−/− mice. Consistently, these beneficial effects in Pd1−/− mice were recapitulated by repeated i.v. applications of nivolumab in WT mice, even though nivolumab initially increased mechanical and thermal pain. Notably, PD-1 deficiency or nivolumab treatment inhibited osteoclastogenesis without altering tumor burden. PD-L1 and CCL2 are upregulated within the local tumor microenvironment, and PD-L1 promoted RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis through JNK activation and CCL2 secretion. Bone cancer upregulated CCR2 in primary sensory neurons, and CCR2 antagonism effectively reduced bone cancer pain. Our findings suggest that, despite a transient increase in pain sensitivity following each treatment, anti–PD-1 immunotherapy could produce long-term benefits in preventing bone destruction and alleviating bone cancer pain by suppressing osteoclastogenesis.
Kaiyuan Wang, Yun Gu, Yihan Liao, Sangsu Bang, Christopher R. Donnelly, Ouyang Chen, Xueshu Tao, Anthony J. Mirando, Matthew J. Hilton, Ru-Rong Ji
Dominant mutations in the HSP70 co-chaperone DNAJB6 cause a late onset muscle disease termed limb girdle muscular dystrophy type D1 (LGMDD1), which is characterized by protein aggregation and vacuolar myopathology. Disease mutations reside within the G/F domain of DNAJB6, but the molecular mechanisms underlying dysfunction are not well understood. Using yeast, cell culture, and mouse models of LGMDD1, we found that the toxicity associated with disease-associated DNAJB6 required its interaction with HSP70, and that abrogating this interaction genetically or with small molecules was protective. In skeletal muscle, DNAJB6 localizes to the Z-disc with HSP70. Whereas HSP70 normally diffused rapidly between the Z-disc and sarcoplasm, the rate of HSP70’s diffusion in LGMDD1 mouse muscle was diminished likely because it has an unusual affinity for the Z-disc and mutant DNAJB6. Treating LGMDD1 mice with a small molecule inhibitor of the DNAJ-HSP70 complex re-mobilized HSP70, improved strength and corrected myopathology. These data support a model in which LGMDD1 mutations in DNAJB6 are a gain-of-function disease that is, counter-intuitively, mediated via HSP70 binding. Thus, therapeutic approaches targeting HSP70:DNAJB6 may be effective in treating this inherited muscular dystrophy.
Rocio Bengoechea, Andrew R. Findlay, Ankan K. Bhadra, Hao Shao, Kevin C. Stein, Sara K. Pittman, Jill Daw, Jason E. Gestwicki, Heather L. True, Conrad C. Weihl
While Canakinumab Anti-Inflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Study (CANTOS) established the role of treating inflammation in atherosclerosis, our understanding of endothelial activation at atherosclerosis-prone sites remains limited. Disturbed flow at atheroprone regions primes plaque inflammation by enhancing endothelial NF-κB signaling. Herein, we demonstrate a role for the Nck adaptor proteins in disturbed flow-induced endothelial activation. Although highly similar, only Nck1 deletion, but not Nck2 deletion, limited flow-induced NF-κB activation and proinflammatory gene expression. Nck1 knockout mice showed reduced endothelial activation and inflammation in both models of disturbed flow and high fat diet-induced atherosclerosis, whereas Nck2 deletion did not. Bone marrow chimeras confirmed that vascular Nck1, but not hematopoietic Nck1, mediated this effect. Domain swap experiments and point mutations identified the Nck1 SH2 domain and the first SH3 domain as critical for flow-induced endothelial activation. We further characterized Nck1’s proinflammatory role by identifying interleukin-1 type I receptor kinase-1 (IRAK-1) as a Nck1-selective binding partner, demonstrating IRAK-1 activation by disturbed flow required Nck1 in vitro and in vivo, showing endothelial Nck1 and IRAK-1 staining in early human atherosclerosis, and demonstrating that disturbed flow-induced endothelial activation required IRAK-1. Taken together, our data reveal a hitherto unknown link between Nck1 and IRAK-1 in atherogenic inflammation.
Mabruka Alfaidi, Christina H. Acosta, Dongdong Wang, James G. Traylor, A. Wayne Orr
Haploinsufficiency of factors governing genome stability underlies hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Homologous recombination (HR) repair is a major pathway disabled in these cancers. With the aim of identifying new candidate genes, we examined early onset breast cancer patients negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variants. Here, we focused on CtIP (RBBP8 gene) that mediates HR repair through the end-resection of DNA double-strand breaks (DSB). Notably, the patients exhibited a number of rare germline RBBP8 variants, and functional analysis revealed that these variants did not affect DNA DSB end-resection efficiency. However, expression of a subset of variants led to deleterious nucleolytic degradation of stalled DNA replication forks in a manner similar to cells lacking BRCA1 or BRCA2. In contrast to BRCA1 and BRCA2, CtIP deficiency promoted the helicase-driven destabilization of RAD51 nucleofilaments at damaged DNA replication forks. Taken together, our work identifies CtIP as a critical regulator of DNA replication fork integrity, which when compromised, may predispose to the development of early onset breast cancer.
Reihaneh Zarrizi, Martin R. Higgs, Karolin Voßgröne, Maria Rossing, Birgitte Bertelsen, Muthiah Bose, Arne N. Kousholt, Heike I. Rösner, Bent Ejlertsen, Grant S. Stewart, Finn Cilius Nielsen, Claus Sørensen
Although autophagy is generally protective, uncontrolled or excessive activation of autophagy can be detrimental. However, it is often difficult to distinguish death by autophagy from death with autophagy, and whether autophagy contributes to death in cardiomyocytes (CMs) is still controversial. Excessive activation of autophagy induces a morphologically and biochemically defined form of cell death termed autosis. Whether autosis is involved in tissue injury induced under pathologically relevant conditions is poorly understood. In the present study, myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) induced autosis in CMs, as evidenced by cell death with numerous vacuoles and perinuclear spaces, and depleted intracellular membranes. Autosis was observed frequently after 6 hours of reperfusion, accompanied by upregulation of Rubicon, attenuation of autophagic flux, and marked accumulation of autophagosomes. Genetic downregulation of Rubicon inhibited autosis and reduced I/R injury, whereas stimulation of autosis during the late phase of I/R with Tat–Beclin 1 exacerbated injury. Suppression of autosis by ouabain, a cardiac glycoside, in humanized Na+,K+-ATPase–knockin mice reduced I/R injury. Taken together, these results demonstrate that autosis is significantly involved in I/R injury in the heart and triggered by dysregulated accumulation of autophagosomes due to upregulation of Rubicon.
Jihoon Nah, Peiyong Zhai, Chun-Yang Huang, Álvaro F. Fernández, Satvik Mareedu, Beth Levine, Junichi Sadoshima
Cancer cells can develop a strong addiction to discrete molecular regulators, which control the aberrant gene expression programs that drive and maintain the cancer phenotype. Here, we report the identification of the RNA-binding protein HuR/ELAVL1 as a central oncogenic driver for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNSTs), which are highly aggressive sarcomas that originate from cells of the Schwann cell lineage. HuR was found to be highly elevated and bound to a multitude of cancer-associated transcripts in human MPNST samples. Accordingly, genetic and pharmacological inhibition of HuR had potent cytostatic and cytotoxic effects on tumour growth, and strongly supressed metastatic capacity in vivo. Importantly, we linked the profound tumorigenic function of HuR to its ability to simultaneously regulate multiple essential oncogenic pathways in MPNST cells, including the Wnt/beta-Catenin, YAP/TAZ, Rb-E2F and BET proteins, which converge on key transcriptional networks. Given the exceptional dependency of MPNST cells on HuR for survival, proliferation, and dissemination, we propose that HuR represents a promising therapeutic target for MPNST treatment.
Marta Palomo-Irigoyen, Encarnación Pérez-Andrés, Marta Iruarrizaga-Lejarreta, Adrián Barreira Manrique, Miguel Tamayo-Caro, Laura Vila-Vecilla, Leire Moreno-Cugnon, Nagore Beitia Telletxea, Daniela Medrano, David Fernández-Ramos, Juan-Jose Lozano, Satoshi Okawa, José Luis Lavín, Natalia Martin-Martin, James D. Sutherland, Virginia Gutiérrez-de Juan, Monika Gonzalez-Lopez, Nuria Macias-Camara, David Mosén-Ansorena, Liyam Laraba, C. Oliver Hanemann, Emanuela Ercolano, David B. Parkinson, Christopher W. Schultz, Marcos J. Araúzo-Bravo, Alex M. Ascensión, Daniela Gerovska, Haizea Iribar, Ander Izeta, Peter Pytel, Philipp Krastel, Alessandro Provenzani, Pierfausto Seneci, Ruben D. Carrasco, Antonio del Sol, Maria L. Martinez Chantar, Rosa Barrio, Eduard Serra, Conxi Lázaro, Adrienne M. Flanagan, Myriam Gorospe, Nancy Ratner, Arkaitz Carracedo, Ana María Aransay, Marta Varela-Rey, Ashwin Woodhoo
Microbial ingestion by a macrophage results in the formation of an acidic phagolysosome but the host cell has no information on the pH susceptibility of the ingested organism. This poses a problem for the macrophage and raises the fundamental question of how the phagocytic cell optimizes the acidification process to prevail. We analyzed the dynamical distribution of phagolysosomal pH in murine and human macrophages that had ingested live or dead Cryptococcus neoformans cells, or inert beads. Phagolysosomal acidification produced a range of pH values that approximated normal distributions, but these differed from normality depending on ingested particle type. Analysis of the increments of pH reduction revealed no forbidden ordinal patterns, implying that phagosomal acidification process was a stochastic dynamical system. Using simulation modeling, we determined that by stochastically acidifying a phagolysosome to a pH within the observed distribution, macrophages sacrificed a small amount of overall fitness to reduce their overall variation in fitness. Hence, chance in the final phagosomal pH introduces unpredictability to the outcome of the macrophage-microbe, which implies a bet-hedging strategy that benefits the macrophage. While bet hedging is common in biological systems at the organism level, our results show its use at the organelle and cellular level.
Quigly Dragotakes, Kaitlin M. Stouffer, Man Shun Fu, Yehonatan Sella, Christine Youn, Olivia Insun Yoon, Carlos M. De Leon-Rodriguez, Joudeh Freij, Aviv Bergman, Arturo Casadevall
Familial dysautonomia (FD) is the most prevalent form of hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN). In FD, a germline mutation in the Elp1 gene leads to Elp1 protein decrease that causes sympathetic neuron death and sympathetic nervous system dysfunction (dysautonomia). Elp1 is best known as a scaffolding protein within the nuclear hetero-hexameric transcriptional Elongator protein complex, but how it functions in sympathetic neuron survival is very poorly understood. Here, we identified a cytoplasmic function for Elp1 in sympathetic neurons that was essential for retrograde nerve growth factor (NGF) signaling and neuron target tissue innervation and survival. Elp1 was found to bind to internalized TrkA receptors in an NGF-dependent manner, where it was essential for maintaining TrkA receptor phosphorylation (activation) by regulating PTPN6 (Shp1) phosphatase activity within the signaling complex. In the absence of Elp1, Shp1 was hyperactivated, leading to premature TrkA receptor dephosphorylation, which resulted in retrograde signaling failure and neuron death. Inhibiting Shp1 phosphatase activity in the absence of Elp1 rescued NGF-dependent retrograde signaling, and in an animal model of FD it rescued abnormal sympathetic target tissue innervation. These results suggest that regulation of retrograde NGF signaling in sympathetic neurons by Elp1 may explain sympathetic neuron loss and physiologic dysautonomia in patients with FD.
Lin Li, Katherine Gruner, Warren G. Tourtellotte
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