The non-essential amino acid asparagine can only be synthesized de novo by the enzymatic activity of asparagine synthetase (ASNS). While ASNS and asparagine have been implicated in the response to numerous metabolic stressors in cultured cells, the in vivo relevance of this enzyme in stress-related pathways remains unexplored. Here, we found ASNS to be expressed in pericentral hepatocytes, a population of hepatic cells specialized in xenobiotic detoxification. ASNS expression was strongly enhanced in two models of acute liver injury: carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and acetaminophen (APAP). We found that mice with hepatocyte-specific Asns deletion (Asnshep-/-) were more prone to pericentral liver damage than their control (Asnshep+/+) littermates after toxin exposure. This phenotype could be reverted by intravenous administration of asparagine. Unexpectedly, the stress-induced upregulation of ASNS involved an ATF4-independent, non-canonical pathway mediated by the nuclear receptor, liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1; NR5A2). Altogether, our data indicate that the induction of the asparagine-producing enzyme ASNS acts as an adaptive mechanism to constrain the necrotic wave that follows toxin administration and provide proof of concept that intravenous delivery of asparagine can dampen hepatotoxin-induced pericentral hepatocellular death.
Yu Sun, Hadrien Demagny, Adrien Faure, Francesca Pontanari, Antoine Jalil, Nadia Bresciani, Ece Yildiz, Melanie Korbelius, Alessia Perino, Kristina Schoonjans
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is caused by insufficient insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells. To identify candidates contributing to T2D pathophysiology, we studied human pancreatic islets from ~300 individuals. We found 395 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in islets from individuals with T2D, including, to our knowledge, novel (OPRD1, PAX5, TET1) and previously identified (CHL1, GLRA1, IAPP) candidates. A third of the identified islet expression changes may predispose to diabetes, as they associated with HbA1c in individuals not previously diagnosed with T2D. Most DEGs were expressed in human β-cells based on single-cell RNA-sequencing data. Additionally, DEGs displayed alterations in open chromatin and associated with T2D-SNPs. Mouse knock-out strains demonstrated that T2D-associated candidates regulate glucose homeostasis and body composition in vivo. Functional validation showed that mimicking T2D-associated changes for OPRD1, PAX5, and SLC2A2 impaired insulin secretion. Impairments in Pax5-overexpressing β-cells were due to severe mitochondrial dysfunction. Finally, we discovered PAX5 as a potential transcriptional regulator of many T2D-associated DEGs in human islets. Overall, we identified molecular alterations in human pancreatic islets contributing to β-cell dysfunction in T2D pathophysiology.
Karl Bacos, Alexander Perfilyev, Alexandros Karagiannopoulos, Elaine Cowan, Jones K. Ofori, Ludivine Bertonnier-Brouty, Tina Rönn, Andreas Lindqvist, Cheng Luan, Sabrina Ruhrmann, Mtakai Ngara, Åsa Nilsson, Sevda Gheibi, Claire L. Lyons, Jens O. Lagerstedt, Mohammad Barghouth, Jonathan L.S. Esguerra, Petr Volkov, Malin Fex, Hindrik Mulder, Nils Wierup, Ulrika Krus, Isabella Artner, Lena Eliasson, Rashmi B. Prasad, Luis Rodrigo Cataldo, Charlotte Ling
The molecular mechanisms of sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors (SGLT2i) remain incompletely understood. Single-cell RNA sequencing and morphometric data were collected from research kidney biopsies donated by young persons with type 2 diabetes (T2D), aged 12-21 years, and healthy controls (HC). Participants with T2D were obese, had higher estimated glomerular filtration rates, mesangial and glomerular volumes than HC. Ten T2D participants had been prescribed SGLT2i (T2Di(+)) and 6 not (T2Di(-)). Transcriptional profiles showed SGLT2 expression exclusively in the proximal tubular (PT) cluster with highest expression in T2Di(-). However, transcriptional alterations with SGLT2i treatment were seen across nephron segments, particularly in the distal nephron. SGLT2i treatment was associated with suppression of transcripts in the glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, tricarboxylic acid cycle pathways in PT, but enhanced in thick ascending limb. Transcripts in the energy sensitive mammalian target of rapamycin complex1 (mTORC1) signaling pathway returned towards HC levels in all tubular segments in T2Di(+), consistent with a diabetes mouse model treated with SGLT2i. Decreased levels of phosphorylated S6 protein in proximal and distal tubules in T2Di(+) confirmed changes in mTORC1 pathway activity. We propose that SGLT2i treatment benefits the kidneys by mitigating diabetes-induced metabolic perturbations via suppression of mTORC1 signaling in kidney tubules.
Jennifer A. Schaub, Fadhl M. AlAkwaa, Phillip J. McCown, Abhijit S. Naik, Viji Nair, Sean Eddy, Rajasree Menon, Edgar A. Otto, Dawit Demeke, John Hartman, Damian Fermin, Christopher O'Connor, Lalita Subramanian, Markus Bitzer, Roger Harned, Patricia Ladd, Laura Pyle, Subramaniam Pennathur, Ken Inoki, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Frank C. Brosius, Robert G. Nelson, Matthias Kretzler, Petter Bjornstad
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a polygenic disorder with few risk variants showing robust replication in large-scale genome-wide association studies. To understand the role of DNA methylation, it is important to have the prevailing genomic view to distinguish key sequence elements that influence gene expression. This is particularly challenging for DN because genome wide methylation patterns are poorly defined. While methylation is known to alter gene expression the importance of this causal relationship is obscured by array-based technologies since coverage outside promoter regions is low. To overcome these challenges, we performed methylation sequencing using leukocytes derived from participants of the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy (FinnDiane) type 1 diabetes (T1D) study (n=39) that was subsequently replicated in a larger validation cohort (n=296). Gene body related regions made up >60% of the methylation differences and emphasised the importance of methylation sequencing. We observe differentially methylated genes associated with DN (DDN) in three independent T1D registries originating from Denmark (n=445), Hong Kong (n=107) and Thailand (n=130). Reduced DNA methylation at CTCF and Pol2B sites were tightly connected with DN pathways that include insulin signalling, lipid metabolism and fibrosis. To define the pathophysiological significance of these population findings, methylation indices were assessed in human renal cells such as podocytes and proximal convoluted tubules. The expression of core genes was associated with reduced methylation, elevated CTCF and Pol2B binding and the activation of insulin signalling phosphoproteins in hyperglycaemic cells. These experimental observations also closely parallel methylation-mediated regulation in human macrophage and vascular endothelial cells.
Ishant Khurana, Harikrishnan Kaipananickal, Scott Maxwell, Sørine Birkelund, Anna Syreeni, Carol Forsblom, Jun Okabe, Mark Ziemann, Antony Kaspi, Haloom Rafehi, Anne Jørgensen, Keith Al-Hasani, Merlin C. Thomas, Guozhi Jiang, Andrea O.Y. Luk, Heung Man Lee, Yu Huang, Yotsapon Thewjitcharoen, Soontaree Nakasatien, Thep Himathongkam, Christopher Fogarty, Rachel Njeim, Assaad Eid, Tine Willum Hansen, Nete Tofte, Evy Connie Ottesen, Ronald C.W. Ma, Juliana C.N. Chan, Mark Emmanuel Cooper, Peter Rossing, Per-Henrik Groop, Assam El-Osta
Insulin and IGF-1 receptors (IR/IGF1R) are highly homologous and share similar signaling systems, but each has a unique physiological role, with IR primarily regulating metabolic homeostasis and IGF1R regulating mitogenic control and growth. Here, we showed that replacement of a single amino acid at position 973, just distal to the NPEY motif in the intracellular juxtamembrane region, from leucine, which is highly-conserved in IRs, to phenylalanine, the highly-conserved homologous residue in IGF1Rs, resulted in decreased IRS-1-PI3K-Akt-mTORC1 signaling and increased of Shc-Gab1-MAPK-cell cycle signaling. As a result, cells expressing L973F-IR exhibited decreased insulin-induced glucose uptake, increased cell growth and impaired receptor internalization. Mice with knockin of the L973F-IR showed similar alterations in signaling in vivo, and this leaded to decreased insulin sensitivity, a modest increase in growth and decreased weight gain when challenged with high-fat diet. Thus, leucine973 in the juxtamembrane region of the IR acts as a crucial residue differentiating IR signaling from IGF1R signaling.
Hirofumi Nagao, Weikang Cai, Bruna Brasil Brandão, Nicolai J. Wewer Albrechtsen, Martin Steger, Arijeet K. Gattu, Hui Pan, Jonathan M. Dreyfuss, F. Thomas Wunderlich, Matthias Mann, C. Ronald Kahn
Leptin exerts its biological actions by activating LepRb. LepRb signaling impairment and leptin resistance are believed to cause obesity. Transcription factor Slug (also known as Snai2) recruits epigenetic modifiers and regulates gene expression by an epigenetic mechanism; however, its epigenetic action has not been explored in leptin resistance. Here, we uncover a pro-obesity function of neuronal Slug. Hypothalamic Slug was upregulated in obese mice. LepRb cell-specific Slug knockout (SlugΔLepRb) mice were resistant to diet-induced obesity, type 2 diabetes, and liver steatosis, accompanied by decreased food intake and increased fat thermogenesis. Leptin stimulated hypothalamic Stat3 phosphorylation and weight loss to a significantly higher level in SlugΔLepRb than in Slugf/f mice even before their body weight divergence. Conversely, hypothalamic LepRb neuron-specific overexpression of Slug, mediated by AAV-DIO-Slug transduction, induced leptin resistance, obesity, and metabolic disorders in mice on a chow diet. At the genomic level, Slug bound to and repressed the LepRb promoter, thereby inhibiting LepRb transcription. Consistently, Slug deficiency decreased LepRb promoter histone 3 lysine-27 methylations, repressive epigenetic marks, and increased LepRb mRNA levels in the hypothalamus. Collectively, these results unravel a previously-unrecognized hypothalamic neuronal Slug/epigenetic reprogramming/leptin resistance axis that promotes energy imbalance, obesity, and metabolic disease.
Min-Hyun Kim, Yuan Li, Qiantao Zheng, Lin Jiang, Martin G. Myers, Wen-Shu Wu, Liangyou Rui
Innate immune cells play important roles in tissue injury and repair following acute myocardial infarction (MI). Although reprogramming of macrophage metabolism has been observed during inflammation and resolution phases, the mechanistic link to macrophage phenotype is not fully understood. In this study, we found myeloid specific deletion of mitochondrial Complex I protein Ndufs4 (mKO) reproduced the proinflammatory metabolic profile in macrophages and exaggerated the response to lipopolysacharride. Moreover, mKO mice showed increased mortality, poor scar formation and worsened cardiac function 30 days post-MI. We observed a greater inflammatory response in mKO on day 1 followed by increased cell death of infiltrating macrophages and blunted transition to reparative phase during day 3-7 post-MI. Efferocytosis is markedly impaired in mKO macrophages leading to lower expression of anti-inflammatory cytokine and tissue repair factors, which suppressed the proliferation/activation of myofibroblasts in the infarct area. Mitochondria-targeted ROS scavenging rescued these impairments and improved myofibroblast function in vivo and reduced post-MI mortality in mKO mice. Together these results reveal a novel role of mitochondria in inflammation resolution and tissue repair via modulating efferocytosis and crosstalk with fibroblasts. The findings are significant for post-MI recovery as well as for other inflammatory conditions.
Shanshan Cai, Mingyue Zhao, Bo Zhou, Akira Yoshii, Darrian Bugg, Outi Villet, Anita Sahu, Gregory S. Olson, Jennifer Davis, Rong Tian
BACKGROUND. The kynurenine pathway (KP) has been identified as a potential mediator linking acute illness to cognitive dysfunction by generating neuroactive metabolites in response to inflammation. Delirium (acute confusion) is a common complication of acute illness and is associated with increased risk of dementia and mortality. However, the molecular mechanism underlying delirium, particularly in relation to the KP, remain elusive. METHODS. We undertook a multi-center observational study with 586 hospitalized patients (248 with delirium) and investigated associations between delirium and KP metabolites measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum by targeted metabolomics. We also explored associations between KP metabolites and markers of neuronal damage and one-year mortality. RESULTS. In delirium, we found concentrations of the neurotoxic metabolite quinolinic acid in CSF (CSF-QA, OR 2.26 [1.78, 2.87], p<0.001) to be increased, as well as increases in several other KP metabolites in serum and CSF. In addition, CSF-QA was associated with the neuronal damage marker neurofilament light chain (NfL, β 0.43, p<0.001) and was a strong predictor of one-year mortality (HR 4.35 [2.93, 6.45] for CSF-QA ≥ 100 nmol/L, p<0.001). The associations between CSF-QA and delirium, neuronal damage, and mortality remained highly significant following adjustment for confounders and multiple comparisons. CONCLUSION. Our data identified how systemic inflammation, neurotoxicity, and delirium are strongly linked via the KP, and should inform future delirium prevention and treatment clinical trials that target enzymes of the KP. FUNDING. Norwegian Health Association and the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authorities
Leiv Otto Watne, Christian Thomas Pollmann, Bjorn Erik Neerland, Else Quist-Paulsen, Nathalie Bodd Halaas, Ane-Victoria Idland, Bjørnar Hassel, Kristi Henjum, Anne-Brita Knapskog, Frede Frihagen, Johan Raeder, Aasmund Godø, Per Magne Ueland, Adrian McCann, Wender Figved, Geir Selbæk, Henrik Zetterberg, Evandro Fei Fang, Marius Myrstad, Lasse M. Giil
Three principal ER quality-control mechanisms, namely, unfolded protein response (UPR), ER-associated degradation (ERAD) and ER-phagy are each important for the maintenance of ER homeostasis, yet how they are integrated to regulate ER homeostasis and organellar architecture in vivo is largely unclear. Here we report intricate crosstalk among the three pathways, centered around the SEL1L-HRD1 protein complex of ERAD, in the regulation of organellar organization in β-cells. SEL1L-HRD1 ERAD deficiency in β-cells triggers activation of autophagy via IRE1α [an endogenous ERAD substrate]. In the absence of functional SEL1L-HRD1 ERAD, proinsulin is retained in the ER as high molecular weight conformers, which are subsequently cleared via ER-phagy. A combined loss of both SEL1L and autophagy in β-cells leads to diabetes in mice shortly after weaning, with premature death by ~11 weeks of age, associated with marked ER retention of proinsulin and β-cell loss. Using focus-ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) powered by deep-learning automated image segmentation and 3D reconstruction, our data demonstrate a profound organellar restructuring with a massive expansion of ER volume and network in β-cells lacking both SEL1L and autophagy. These data reveal at an unprecedented detail the intimate crosstalk among the three ER quality-control mechanisms in the dynamic regulation of organellar architecture and β-cell function.
Neha Shrestha, Mauricio Torres, Jason Zhang, You Lu, Leena Haataja, Rachel B. Reinert, Jeffrey Knupp, Yu-Jie Chen, Gunes Parlakgul, Ana Paula Arruda, Billy Tsai, Peter Arvan, Ling Qi
Signaling circuits crucial to systemic physiology are widespread, yet uncovering their molecular underpinnings remains a barrier to understanding the etiology of many metabolic disorders. Here, we identify a copper-linked signaling circuit activated by disruption of mitochondrial function in the murine liver or heart that results in atrophy of the spleen and thymus and causes a peripheral white blood cell deficiency. We demonstrate that the leukopenia is caused by α-fetoprotein, which requires copper and the cell surface receptor CCR5 to promote white blood cell death. We further show that α-fetoprotein expression is upregulated in several cell types upon inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation, including a muscle cell model of Barth syndrome. Collectively, our data argue that α-fetoprotein secreted by bioenergetically stressed tissue suppresses the immune system, an effect which may explain the recurrent infections that are observed in a subset of mitochondrial diseases or in other disorders with mitochondrial involvement.
Kimberly A. Jett, Zakery N. Baker, Amzad Hossain, Aren Boulet, Paul A. Cobine, Sagnika Ghosh, Philip Ng, Orhan Yilmaz, Kris Barreto, John DeCoteau, Karen Mochoruk, George N. Ioannou, Christopher Savard, Sai Yuan, Osama H.M.H. Abdalla, Christopher Lowden, Byung-Eun Kim, Hai-Ying Mary Cheng, Brendan J. Battersby, Vishal M. Gohil, Scot C. Leary