Inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs) are characterized by the progressive loss of photoreceptors and represent one of the most prevalent causes of blindness among working-age populations. Cyclic nucleotide dysregulation is a common pathological feature linked to numerous forms of IRD, yet the precise mechanisms through which this contributes to photoreceptor death remain elusive. Here we demonstrate that cAMP induced upregulation of the dependence receptor neogenin in the retina. Neogenin levels were also elevated in both human and murine degenerating photoreceptors. We found that overexpressing neogenin in mouse photoreceptors was sufficient to induce cell death, whereas silencing neogenin in degenerating murine photoreceptors promoted survival, thus identifying a pro-death signal in IRDs. A possible treatment strategy is modeled whereby peptide neutralization of neogenin in Rd1, Rd10, and Rho P23H–knockin mice promotes rod and cone survival and rescues visual function as measured by light-evoked retinal ganglion cell recordings, scotopic/photopic electroretinogram recordings, and visual acuity tests. These results expose neogenin as a critical link between cAMP and photoreceptor death, and identify a druggable target for the treatment of retinal degeneration.
Jason Charish, Alireza P. Shabanzadeh, Danian Chen, Patrick Mehlen, Santhosh Sethuramanujam, Hidekiyo Harada, Vera L. Bonilha, Gautam Awatramani, Rod Bremner, Philippe P. Monnier
Spondyloarthritis (SpA) represents a family of inflammatory diseases of the spine and peripheral joints. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is the prototypic form of SpA in which progressive disease can lead to fusion of the spine. Therapeutically, knowledge of type 3 immunity has translated into the development of IL-23– and IL-17A–blocking antibodies for the treatment of SpA. Despite being able to provide symptomatic control, the current biologics do not prevent the fusion of joints in AS patients. Thus, there is an unmet need for disease-modifying drugs. Genetic studies have linked the Janus kinase TYK2 to AS. TYK2 is a mediator of type 3 immunity through intracellular signaling of IL-23. Here, we describe and characterize a potentially novel small-molecule inhibitor of TYK2 that blocked IL-23 signaling in vitro and inhibited disease progression in animal models of SpA. The effect of the inhibitor appears to be TYK2 specific, using TYK2-inactive mice, which further revealed a duality in the induction of IL-17A and IL-22 by IL-23. Specifically, IL-22 production was TYK2/JAK2/STAT3 dependent, while IL-17A was mostly JAK2 dependent. Finally, we examined the effects of AS-associated TYK2 SNPs on TYK2 expression and function and correlated them with AS disease progression. This work provides evidence that TYK2 inhibitors have great potential as an orally delivered therapeutic for SpA.
Eric Gracey, Dominika Hromadová, Melissa Lim, Zoya Qaiyum, Michael Zeng, Yuchen Yao, Archita Srinath, Yuriy Baglaenko, Natalia Yeremenko, William Westlin, Craig Masse, Mathias Müller, Birgit Strobl, Wenyan Miao, Robert D. Inman
Peptide MHC class II–based (pMHCII-based) nanomedicines trigger the formation of multicellular regulatory networks by reprogramming autoantigen-experienced CD4+ T cells into autoimmune disease–suppressing T regulatory type 1 (TR1) cells. We have shown that pMHCII-based nanomedicines displaying liver autoimmune disease–relevant yet ubiquitously expressed antigens can blunt various liver autoimmune disorders in a non–disease-specific manner without suppressing local or systemic immunity against infectious agents or cancer. Here, we show that such ubiquitous autoantigen-specific T cells are also awakened by extrahepatic tissue damage and that the corresponding TR1 progeny can suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and pancreatic β cell autoreactivity. In mice having EAE, nanomedicines displaying either ubiquitous or CNS-specific epitopes triggered the formation and expansion of cognate TR1 cells and their recruitment to the CNS-draining lymph nodes, sparing their liver-draining counterparts. Surprisingly, in mice having both liver autoimmunity and EAE, liver inflammation sequestered these ubiquitous or even CNS-specific TR1 cells away from the CNS, abrogating their antiencephalitogenic activity. In these mice, only the ubiquitous antigen-specific TR1 cells suppressed liver autoimmunity. Thus, the scope of antigen spreading in autoimmune disorders is larger than previously anticipated, involving specificities expected to be silenced by mechanisms of tolerance; the regulatory activity, but not the retention of autoreactive TR1 cells, requires local autoantigen expression.
Channakeshava Sokke Umeshappa, Jacques Mbongue, Santiswarup Singha, Saswat Mohapatra, Jun Yamanouchi, Justin A. Lee, Roopa Hebbandi Nanjundappa, Kun Shao, Urs Christen, Yang Yang, Kristofor K. Ellestad, Pere Santamaria
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies can eliminate relapsed and refractory tumors, but the durability of anti-tumor activity requires in vivo persistence. Differential signaling through the CAR costimulatory domain can alter the T cell metabolism, memory differentiation, as well as influence long-term persistence. CAR-T cells costimulated with 4-1BB or ICOS persist in xenograft models but those constructed with CD28 exhibit rapid clearance. Here, we show that a single amino acid residue in CD28 drove T cell exhaustion and hindered the persistence of CD28-based CAR-T cells and substituting this asparagine to phenylalanine (CD28-YMFM) promoted durable anti-tumor control. In addition, CD28-YMFM CAR-T cells exhibited reduced T cell differentiation and exhaustion as well as increased skewing towards Th17 cells. Reciprocal modification of ICOS-containing CAR-T cells abolished in vivo persistence and anti-tumor activity. This finding suggests modifications to the co-stimulatory domains of CAR-T cells can enable longer persistence and thereby improve anti-tumor response.
Sonia Guedan, Aviv Madar, Victoria Casado-Medrano, Carolyn E. Shaw, Anna Wing, Fang Liu, Regina M. Young, Carl H. June, Avery D. Posey Jr.
Current antiangiogenic therapy is limited by its cytostatic property, scarce drug delivery to the tumor, and side toxicity. To address these limitations, we unveiled the role of ZEB1, a tumor endothelium–enriched zinc-finger transcription factor, during tumor progression. We discovered that the patients who had lung adenocarcinomas with high ZEB1 expression in tumor endothelium had increased prevalence of metastases and markedly reduced overall survival after the diagnosis of lung cancer. Endothelial ZEB1 deletion in tumor-bearing mice diminished tumor angiogenesis while eliciting persistent tumor vascular normalization by epigenetically repressing TGF-β signaling. This consequently led to improved blood and oxygen perfusion, enhanced chemotherapy delivery and immune effector cell infiltration, and reduced tumor growth and metastasis. Moreover, targeting vascular ZEB1 remarkably potentiated the anticancer activity of nontoxic low-dose cisplatin. Treatment with low-dose anti–programmed cell death protein 1 (anti–PD-1) antibody elicited tumor regression and markedly extended survival in ZEB1-deleted mice, conferring long-term protective anticancer immunity. Collectively, we demonstrated that inactivation of endothelial ZEB1 may offer alternative opportunities for cancer therapy with minimal side effects. Targeting endothelium-derived ZEB1 in combination with conventional chemotherapy or immune checkpoint blockade therapy may yield a potent and superior anticancer effect.
Rong Fu, Yi Li, Nan Jiang, Bo-Xue Ren, Chen-Zi Zang, Li-Juan Liu, Wen-Cong Lv, Hong-Mei Li, Stephen Weiss, Zheng-Yu Li, Tao Lu, Zhao-Qiu Wu
Background: The anti-programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) antibody pembrolizumab is clinically active against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In addition to T-cells, human natural killer (NK) cells, reported to have the potential to prolong the survival of advanced NSCLC patients, also express PD-1. This study aimed to investigate the safety and efficacy of pembrolizumab plus allogeneic NK cells in patients with previously treated advanced NSCLC. Methods: In total, 109 enrolled patients with a programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥1% were randomly allocated to group A (55 patients, pembrolizumab plus NK cells) and group B (54 patients, pembrolizumab alone). The patients received intravenous pembrolizumab (10 mg/kg) once every 3 weeks and continued treatment until the occurrence of tumor progression or unacceptable toxicity. The patients in group A continuously received two cycles of NK cell therapy as one course of treatment. Results: In our study, Group A patients had better survival than group B patients (median overall survival [OS]: 15.5 months vs. 13.3 months; median progression-free survival [PFS]: 6.5 months vs. 4.3 months, P<0.05). In group A patients with a TPS ≥50%, the median OS and PFS were significantly prolonged. Moreover, the group A patients treated with multiple courses of NK cell infusion had better OS (18.5 months) than those who received a single course of NK cell infusion (13.5 months). Conclusions: Pembrolizumab plus NK cell therapy yielded improved survival benefits in patients with previously treated PD-L1-positive advanced NSCLC.
Mao Lin, Haihua Luo, Shuzhen Liang, Jibing Chen, Aihua Liu, Lizhi Niu, Yong Jiang
Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is strikingly upregulated in many types of cancer and there is great interest in applying inhibitors of HIF as anti-cancer therapeutics. The most advanced of these are small molecules that target the HIF-2 isoform through binding the PAS-B domain of HIF-2α. These molecules are undergoing clinical trials with promising results in renal and other cancers where HIF-2 is considered to be driving growth. Nevertheless, a central question remains as to whether such inhibitors impact on physiological responses to hypoxia at relevant doses. Here we show that pharmacological HIF-2α inhibition with PT2385, at doses similar to those reported to inhibit tumour growth, rapidly impaired ventilatory responses to hypoxia, abrogating both ventilatory acclimatisation and carotid body cell proliferative responses to sustained hypoxia. Mice carrying a HIF-2α PAS-B S305M mutation that disrupts PT2385 binding, but not dimerisation with HIF-1β, did not respond to PT2385 indicating that these effects are on target. Furthermore, the finding of a hypomorphic ventilatory phenotype in untreated HIF-2α S305M mutant mice suggests a function for the HIF-2α PAS-B domain beyond heterodimerisation with HIF-1β. Although PT2385 was well-tolerated, the findings indicate the need for caution in patients who are dependent on hypoxic ventilatory drive.
Xiaotong Cheng, Maria Prange-Barczynska, James W. Fielding, Minghao Zhang, Alana L. Burrell, Joanna D.C.C. Lima, Luise Eckardt, Isobel L.A. Argles, Christopher W. Pugh, Keith J. Buckler, Peter A. Robbins, Emma J. Hodson, Richard K. Bruick, Lucy M. Collinson, Fraydoon Rastinejad, Tammie Bishop, Peter J. Ratcliffe
Muscle satellite cells promote regeneration and could potentially improve gene delivery for treating muscular dystrophies. Human satellite cells are scarce; therefore, clinical investigation has been limited. We obtained muscle fiber fragments from skeletal muscle biopsy specimens from adult donors aged 20 to 80 years. Fiber fragments were manually dissected, cultured, and evaluated for expression of myogenesis regulator PAX7. PAX7+ satellite cells were activated and proliferated efficiently in culture. Independent of donor age, as few as 2 to 4 PAX7+ satellite cells gave rise to several thousand myoblasts. Transplantation of human muscle fiber fragments into irradiated muscle of immunodeficient mice resulted in robust engraftment, muscle regeneration, and proper homing of human PAX7+ satellite cells to the stem cell niche. Further, we determined that subjecting the human muscle fiber fragments to hypothermic treatment successfully enriches the cultures for PAX7+ cells and improves the efficacy of the transplantation and muscle regeneration. Finally, we successfully altered gene expression in cultured human PAX7+ satellite cells with Sleeping Beauty transposon–mediated nonviral gene transfer, highlighting the potential of this system for use in gene therapy. Together, these results demonstrate the ability to culture and manipulate a rare population of human tissue-specific stem cells and suggest that these PAX7+ satellite cells have potential to restore gene function in muscular dystrophies.
Andreas Marg, Helena Escobar, Sina Gloy, Markus Kufeld, Joseph Zacher, Andreas Spuler, Carmen Birchmeier, Zsuzsanna Izsvák, Simone Spuler
Increased rates of locoregional recurrence are observed in patients with basal-like breast cancer (BC) despite the use of radiation therapy (RT); therefore, approaches that result in radiosensitization of basal-like BC are critically needed. Using patients’ tumor gene expression data from 4 independent data sets, we correlated gene expression with recurrence to find genes significantly correlated with early recurrence after RT. The highest-ranked gene, TTK, was most highly expressed in basal-like BC across multiple data sets. Inhibition of TTK by both genetic and pharmacologic methods enhanced radiosensitivity in multiple basal-like cell lines. Radiosensitivity was mediated, at least in part, through persistent DNA damage after treatment with TTK inhibition and RT. Inhibition of TTK impaired homologous recombination (HR) and repair efficiency, but not nonhomologous end-joining, and decreased the formation of Rad51 foci. Reintroduction of wild-type TTK rescued both radioresistance and HR repair efficiency after TTK knockdown, however, reintroduction of kinase-dead TTK did not. In vivo, TTK inhibition combined with RT led to a significant decrease in tumor growth in both heterotopic and orthotopic, including patient-derived xenograft, BC models. These data support the rationale for clinical development of TTK inhibition as a radiosensitizing strategy for patients with basal-like BC, and efforts toward this end are currently underway.
Benjamin C. Chandler, Leah Moubadder, Cassandra L. Ritter, Meilan Liu, Meleah Cameron, Kari Wilder-Romans, Amanda Zhang, Andrea M. Pesch, Anna R. Michmerhuizen, Nicole Hirsh, Marlie Androsiglio, Tanner Ward, Eric Olsen, Yashar S. Niknafs, Sofia Merajver, Dafydd G. Thomas, Powel H. Brown, Theodore S. Lawrence, Shyam Nyati, Lori J. Pierce, Arul Chinnaiyan, Corey Speers
The protein-protein interaction between menin and Mixed Lineage Leukemia 1 (MLL1) plays a critical role in acute leukemias with translocations of the MLL1 gene or with mutations in the Nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1) gene. As a step toward clinical translation of menin-MLL1 inhibitors, we report development of MI-3454, a highly potent and orally bioavailable inhibitor of the menin-MLL1 interaction. MI-3454 profoundly inhibited proliferation and induced differentiation in acute leukemia cells and primary patient samples with MLL1 translocations or NPM1 mutations. When applied as a single agent, MI-3454 induced complete remission or regression of leukemia in mouse models of MLL1-rearranged or NPM1-mutated leukemia, including patient-derived xenograft models, through downregulation of key genes involved in leukemogenesis. We also identified MEIS1 as a potential pharmacodynamic biomarker of treatment response with MI-3454 in leukemia, and demonstrated that this compound is well tolerated and did not impair normal hematopoiesis in mice. Overall, this study demonstrates for the first time profound activity of the menin-MLL1 inhibitor as a single agent in clinically relevant PDX models of leukemia. These data provide a strong rationale for clinical translation of MI-3454 or its analogs for leukemia patients with MLL1-rearrangements or NPM1 mutations
Szymon Klossowski, Hongzhi Miao, Katarzyna Kempinska, Tao Wu, Trupta Purohit, EunGi Kim, Brian M. Linhares, Dong Chen, Gloria Jih, Eric Perkey, Huang Huang, Miao He, Bo Wen, Yi Wang, Ke Yu, Stanley Chun-Wei Lee, Gwenn Danet-Desnoyers, Winifred Trotman, Malathi Kandarpa, Anitria Cotton, Omar Abdel-Wahab, Hongwei Lei, Yali Dou, Monica Guzman, Luke Peterson, Tanja A. Gruber, Sarah M. Choi, Duxin Sun, Pingda Ren, Lian-Sheng Li, Yi Liu, Francis J. Burrows, Ivan Maillard, Tomasz Cierpicki, Jolanta Grembecka
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