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
β-cell apoptosis and dedifferentiation are two hotly-debated mechanisms underlying β-cell loss in type 2 diabetes; however, the molecular drivers underlying such events remain largely unclear. Here, we performed a side-by-side comparison of mice carrying β-cell-specific deletion of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) and autophagy. We reported that while autophagy was necessary for β-cell survival, the highly conserved Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD protein complex was required for the maintenance of β-cell maturation and identity. Using single cell RNA-sequencing, we demonstrated that Sel1L deficiency was not associated with β-cell loss, but rather loss of β-cell identity. Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD controlled β-cell identity via TGFβ signaling, in part by mediating the degradation of TGFβ receptor 1 (TGFβRI). Inhibition of TGFβ signaling in Sel1L-deficient β-cells augmented the expression of β-cell maturation markers and increased the total insulin content. Our data revealed distinct pathogenic effects of two major proteolytic pathways in β-cells, providing a new framework for therapies targeting distinct mechanisms of protein quality control.
Neha Shrestha, Tongyu Liu, Yewei Ji, Rachel Reinert, Mauricio Torres, Xin Li, Maria Zhang, Chih-Hang Anthony Tang, Chih-Chi Andrew Hu, Chengyang Liu, Ali Naji, Ming Liu, Jiandie D. Lin, Sander Kersten, Peter Arvan, Ling Qi
As there is growing evidence for the tumor microenvironment’s (TME) role in tumorigenesis, we investigated the role of fibroblast-expressed kinases in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Using a high-throughput kinome screen combined with 3D invasion assays, we identified fibroblast-expressed PIK3Cδ (f-PIK3Cδ) as a key regulator of progression. Although PIK3Cδ was expressed in primary fibroblasts derived from TNBC patients, it was undetectable in breast cancer cell lines. Genetic and pharmacologic gain- and loss-of functions experiments verified the contribution of f-PIK3Cδ in TNBC cell invasion. Integrated secretomics and transcriptomics analyses revealed a paracrine mechanism via which f-PIK3Cδ confers its pro-tumorigenic effects. Inhibition of f-PIK3Cδ promoted the secretion of factors, including PLGF and BDNF, which led to upregulation of NR4A1 in TNBC cells where it acts as a tumor suppressor. Inhibition of PIK3Cδ in an orthotopic BC mouse model reduced tumor growth only after inoculation with fibroblasts, indicating a role of f-PIK3Cδ in cancer progression. Similar results were observed in the MMTV-PyMT transgenic BC mouse model, along with a decrease on tumor metastasis emphasizing the potential immune-independent effects of PIK3Cδ inhibition. Finally, analysis of BC patient cohorts and TCGA datasets identified f-PIK3Cδ (protein and mRNA levels) as an independent prognostic factor for overall and disease free survival, highlighting it as a therapeutic target for TNBC.
Teresa Gagliano, Kalpit Shah, Sofia Gargani, Liyan Lao, Mansour Alsaleem, Jianing Chen, Vasileios Ntafis, Penghan Huang, Angeliki Ditsiou, Viviana Vella, Kritika Yadav, Kamila Bienkowska, Giulia Bresciani, Kai Kang, Leping Li, Philip Carter, Graeme Benstead-Hume, Timothy O’Hanlon, Michael Dean, Frances M.G. Pearl, Soo Chin Lee, Emad A. Rakha, Andrew R Green, Dimitris L. Kontoyiannis, Erwei Song, Justin Stebbing, Georgios Giamas
The major risk factor for kidney stone disease is idiopathic hypercalciuria. Recent evidence implicates a role for defective calcium reabsorption in the renal proximal tubule. We hypothesized that claudin-2, a paracellular cation channel protein, mediates proximal tubule calcium reabsorption. We found that claudin-2–null mice have hypercalciuria due to a primary defect in renal tubule calcium transport and papillary nephrocalcinosis that resembles the intratubular plugs in kidney stone formers. Our findings suggest that a proximal tubule defect in calcium reabsorption predisposes to papillary calcification, providing support for the vas washdown hypothesis. Claudin-2–null mice were also found to have increased net intestinal calcium absorption, but reduced paracellular calcium permeability in the colon, suggesting that this was due to reduced intestinal calcium secretion. Common genetic variants in the claudin-2 gene were associated with decreased tissue expression of claudin-2 and increased risk of kidney stones in 2 large population-based studies. Finally, we describe a family in which males with a rare missense variant in claudin-2 have marked hypercalciuria and kidney stone disease. Our findings indicate that claudin-2 is a key regulator of calcium excretion and a potential target for therapies to prevent kidney stones.
Joshua N. Curry, Matthew Saurette, Masomeh Askari, Lei Pei, Michael B. Filla, Megan R. Beggs, Peter S.N. Rowe, Timothy Fields, Andre J. Sommer, Chizu Tanikawa, Yoichiro Kamatani, Andrew P. Evan, Mehdi Totonchi, R. Todd Alexander, Koichi Matsuda, Alan S.L. Yu
Hair cells are the mechanosensory receptors of the inner ear, responsible for hearing and balance. Hair cell death and consequent hearing loss are common results of treatment with ototoxic drugs, including the widely-used aminoglycoside antibiotics. Induction of heat shock proteins (HSPs) confers protection against aminoglycoside-induced hair cell death via paracrine signaling that requires extracellular HSP70 (Heat Shock 70 kDa Protein). We investigated the mechanisms underlying this non-cell-autonomous protective signaling in the inner ear. In response to heat stress, inner ear tissue releases exosomes that carry HSP70 in addition to canonical exosome markers and other proteins. Isolated exosomes from heat-shocked utricles were sufficient to improve survival of hair cells exposed to the aminoglycoside antibiotic neomycin, while inhibition or depletion of exosomes from the extracellular environment abolished the protective effect of heat shock. Hair-cell specific expression of the known HSP70 receptor, Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), was required for the protective effect of exosomes, and exosomal HSP70 interacted with TLR4 on hair cells. Our results indicate that exosomes are a previously undescribed mechanism of intercellular communication in the inner ear that can mediate non-autonomous hair cell survival. Exosomes may represent a novel class of nano-carriers for delivery of therapeutics against hearing loss.
Andrew M. Breglio, Lindsey A. May, Melanie Barzik, Nora C. Welsh, Shimon P. Francis, Tucker Q. Costain, Lizhen Wang, D. Eric Anderson, Ronald S. Petralia, Ya-Xian Wang, Thomas B. Friedman, Matthew J.A. Wood, Lisa L. Cunningham
Fibroblasts are key-effector cells in tissue remodeling. They remain persistently activated in fibrotic diseases, resulting in progressive deposition of extracellular matrix. Although fibroblast activation maybe initiated by external factors, prolonged activation can induce an “autonomous”, self-maintaining pro-fibrotic phenotype in fibroblasts. Accumulating evidence suggests that epigenetic alterations play a central role to establish this persistently activated pathologic phenotype of fibroblasts. We demonstrated that in fibrotic skin of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), a prototypical idiopathic fibrotic disease, transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) induced the expression of DNA-methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) and DNMT1 in fibroblasts in a SMAD-dependent manner to silence the expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) by promoter hypermethylation. Downregulation of SOCS3 facilitated activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) to promote fibroblast-to–myofibroblast transition, collagen release and fibrosis in vitro and in vivo. Re-establishment of the epigenetic control of STAT3 signaling by genetic or pharmacological inactivation of DNMT3A reversed the activated phenotype of SSc fibroblasts in tissue culture, inhibited TGFβ-dependent fibroblast activation and ameliorated experimental fibrosis in murine models. These findings identify a novel pathway of epigenetic imprinting of fibroblasts in fibrotic disease with translational implications for the development of new targeted therapies in fibrotic diseases.
Clara Dees, Sebastian Pötter, Yun Zhang, Christina Bergmann, Xiang Zhou, Markus Luber, Thomas Wohlfahrt, Emmanuel Karouzakis, Andreas Ramming, Kolja Gelse, Akihiko Yoshimura, Rudolf Jaenisch, Oliver Distler, Georg Schett, Jörg H.W. Distler
While the Western-diet and dysbiosis are the most prominent environmental factors associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), the corresponding host factors and cellular mechanisms remain poorly defined. Here we report that the TSC1-mTOR pathway in the gut epithelium represents a metabolic and innate immune checkpoint for intestinal dysfunction and inflammation. mTOR hyperactivation triggered by the Western-diet or Tsc1-ablation led to epithelium necroptosis, barrier disruption, and predisposition to DSS (dextran sulfate sodium)-induced colitis and inflammation-associated colon cancer. Mechanistically, our results uncovered a critical role for TSC1-mTOR in restraining the expression and activation of RIPK3 in the gut epithelium through Trim11-mediated ubiquitination and autophagy-dependent degradation. Notably, microbiota-depletion by antibiotics or gnotobiotics attenuated RIPK3 expression and activation, thereby alleviating epithelial necroptosis and colitis driven by mTOR hyperactivation. mTOR primarily impinged on RIPK3 to potentiate TNF- and microbial PAMP-induced necroptosis, and hyperactive mTOR and aberrant necroptosis were intertwined in human IBDs. Together, our data reveal a previously unsuspected link between the Western-diet, microbiota and necroptosis, and identify the mTOR-RIPK3-necroptosis axis as a driving force for intestinal inflammation and cancer.
Yadong Xie, Yifan Zhao, Lei Shi, Wei Li, Kun Chen, Min Li, Xia Chen, Haiwei Zhang, Tiantian Li, Matsuzawa-Ishimoto Yu, Xiaomin Yao, Dianhui Shao, Zunfu Ke, Jian Li, Yan Chen, Xiaoming Zhang, Jun Cui, Shuzhong Cui, Qibin Leng, Ken Cadwell, Xiaoxia Li, Hong Wei, Haibing Zhang, Huabin Li, Hui Xiao
After trauma, regeneration of adult CNS axons is abortive causing devastating neurologic deficits. Despite progress in rehabilitative care, there is no effective treatment stimulating axon growth following injury. Using models with different regenerative capacities, followed by gain- and loss-of-function analysis, we identified profilin1 (Pfn1) as a coordinator of actin and microtubules (MTs), powering axon growth and regeneration. In growth cones, Pfn1 increased actin retrograde flow, MT growth speed and invasion of filopodia by MTs, orchestrating cytoskeleton dynamics towards axon growth. In vitro, active Pfn1 promoted MT growth in a formin-dependent manner, whereas localization of MTs to growth cone filopodia was facilitated by direct MT binding and interaction with formins. In vivo, Pfn1 ablation limited regeneration of growth-competent axons after sciatic nerve and spinal cord injury. Adeno-associated viral (AAV) delivery of constitutively active Pfn1 to rodents promoted axon regeneration, neuromuscular junction maturation and functional recovery of injured sciatic nerves, and increased the ability of regenerating axons to penetrate the inhibitory spinal cord glial scar. Thus, we identify Pfn1 as an important regulator of axon regeneration and suggest that AAV-mediated delivery of constitutively active Pfn1, together with the identification of modulators of Pfn1 activity, should be considered to treat the injured nervous system.
Rita Pinto-Costa, Sara Castro Sousa, Sérgio C. Leite, Joana Nogueira-Rodrigues, Tiago Ferreira da Silva, Diana Machado, Joana Beatriz Moreira Marques, Ana Catarina Costa, Márcia A. Liz, Francesca Bartolini, Pedro Brites, Mercedes Costell, Reinhard Fässler, Monica M. Sousa
Severe alcoholic hepatitis (SAH) is a deadly liver disease without an effective medical therapy. Although SAH mortality is known to correlate with hepatic accumulation of immature liver cells, why this occurs, and how it causes death is unclear. Here, we demonstrated that expression of epithelial splicing regulatory protein-2 (ESRP2), an RNA splicing factor that maintains the non-proliferative, mature phenotype of adult hepatocytes, was suppressed in both human SAH and various mouse models of SAH in parallel with the severity of alcohol consumption and liver damage. Inflammatory cytokines released by excessive alcohol ingestion reprogrammed adult hepatocytes into proliferative, fetal-like cells by suppressing ESRP2. Sustained loss of ESRP2 permitted re-emergence of a fetal RNA splicing program that attenuates the Hippo signaling pathway and thus, allows fetal transcriptional regulators to accumulate in adult liver. We further showed that depleting ESRP2 in mice exacerbated alcohol-induced steatohepatitis, enabling surviving hepatocytes to shed adult hepatocyte functions and become more regenerative but threatens overall survival by populating the liver with functionally-immature hepatocytes. Our findings revealed a novel mechanism that explains why liver failure develops in patients with the clinical syndrome of SAH, suggesting that recovery from SAH might be improved by limiting adult-to-fetal reprogramming in hepatocytes.
Jeongeun Hyun, Zhaoli Sun, Ali Reza Ahmadi, Sushant Bangru, Ullas V. Chembazhi, Kuo Du, Tianyi Chen, Hidekazu Tsukamoto, Ivan Rusyn, Auinash Kalsotra, Anna Mae Diehl
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