Phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) catalyzes the first step in the synthesis of the amino acid serine, important for protein synthesis, one-carbon metabolism, lipid production, redox homeostasis, and other key processes of normal and cancer metabolism. While PHGDH is often overexpressed in cancer cells, how it is regulated has been unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Liu and colleagues describe a new aspect of PHGDH regulation, demonstrating that the Parkinson disease gene and tumor suppressor Parkin bound and ubiquitinated PHGDH. Parkin promoted PHGDH degradation, suppressed serine synthesis, and inhibited tumor growth in human cancer cell line xenografts. Conversely, inactivation of Parkin not only accelerated tumor growth, but also sensitized tumors to small molecule inhibitors of PHGDH. These results offer a new link between Parkin and the serine synthesis pathway, and they bear translational potential that warrants further study in Parkin-deficient human cancers.
W. Brian Dalton
Treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) in hepatitis B virus (HBV) coinfection can result in HBV reactivation. In this issue of the JCI, Cheng and colleagues explored the role of interferon signaling in the complex interaction between HBV and HCV using cell lines, mouse models, and samples from people with coinfection. Notably, HCV enhanced interferon signaling, as measured by interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression, and decreased HBV transcription and replication. Blockade of interferon signaling reversed the effects on HBV replication. Further, pharmacologic inhibition of HCV replication in vitro and in coinfected humanized mice also reduced interferon signaling and, correspondingly, increased HBV replication. Intriguingly, baseline serum levels of the ISG CXCL10 predicted HBV reactivation in a cohort of coinfected people taking DAAs. Determining how interferon signaling silences HBV transcription and whether serum CXCL10 predicts HBV reactivation in a clinical setting are questions that warrant further investigation.
Ashwin Balagopal, Chloe L. Thio
Glioblastoma is the most common human brain cancer entity and is maintained by a glioblastoma stem cell (GSC) subpopulation. In this issue of the JCI, El-Sehemy and colleagues explored the effects that Norrin, a well-characterized activator of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, had on tumor growth. Norrin inhibited cell growth via β-catenin signaling in GSCs that had low expression levels of the transcription factor ASCL1. However, Norrin had the opposite effect in GSCs with high ASCL1 expression levels. The modulation of Norrin expression, with respect to high or low ASCL1 levels in GSCs, significantly reduced tumor growth in vivo, and subsequently increased the survival rate of mice. Notably, Norrin mediates enhanced tumor growth of glioblastomas by activating the Notch pathway. This study clarifies the opposing effects of Norrin on glioblastoma tumor growth and provides potential therapeutic targets for glioblastoma treatment.
Stefan Kassumeh, Siegfried G. Priglinger, Andreas Ohlmann
Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) has become one of the most investigated targets for cancer immunotherapy. Most research has centered on inhibiting PD-1 on T cells, but there is increased interest in understanding the role of PD-1 on NK cells. While the expression of PD-1 on NK cells has been controversial, with papers publishing contradictory results in multiple models, there is increased clinical interest in NK and PD-1 immunotherapy. In this issue of the JCI, Judge et al. comprehensively explore the lack of PD-1 expression on murine, canine, and human NK cells and the clinical implication of these findings.
Monica M. Cho, Aicha E. Quamine, Mallery R. Olsen, Christian M. Capitini
Class IIa histone deacetylases (HDACs) repress cardiomyocyte hypertrophy through association with the prohypertrophic transcription factor (TF) myocyte enhancer factor-2 (MEF2). The four class IIa HDACs — HDAC4, -5, -7, and -9 — are subject to signal-dependent phosphorylation by members of the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMK) group. In response to stress, HDAC4, HDAC5, and HDAC9 undergo phosphorylation-induced nuclear export in cardiomyocytes, freeing MEF2 to stimulate progrowth genes; it was generally assumed that HDAC7 is also antihypertrophic. However, in this issue of the JCI, Hsu and colleagues demonstrate that, in sharp contrast to the other class IIa HDACs, HDAC7 is constitutively localized to the cardiomyocyte cytoplasm, where it promotes cardiac hypertrophy. Phosphorylation of HDAC7 by the CaMK group member salt-inducible kinase 1 (SIK1) stabilized the deacetylase, leading to increased expression of c-Myc, which in turn stimulated a pathological gene program. These unexpected findings highlight the SIK1/HDAC7 signaling axis as a promising target for the treatment of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.
Joshua G. Travers, Tianjing Hu, Timothy A. McKinsey
Sustained persistence of chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells is a key characteristic associated with long-term remission in patients with hematologic malignancies. Attempts to uncover mechanisms that enhance persistence and thus functionality will have a substantial impact in broadening application of CAR-T cell therapy, especially for solid tumors. In this issue of the JCI, Guedan et al. describe a promising strategy to limit T cell exhaustion and improve persistence by changing a single amino acid in the costimulatory domain of CD28. The authors demonstrated that this single amino acid substitution in CD28-based mesothelin CAR-T cells results in improved persistence and functionality in a xenograft model of pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, reciprocal alteration of the same residue in inducible costimulator–containing (ICOS-containing) CAR-T cells resulted in limited antitumor activity and persistence. These findings suggest that simple alterations in the costimulatory domain may enhance CAR-T cell persistence, warranting future evaluation in other CD28-costimulatory CARs in an effort to improve durable antitumor effects.
Emily M. Hsieh, Lauren D. Scherer, Rayne H. Rouce
Hepatic de novo lipogenesis is a major contributor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In this issue of the JCI, Liu and Lin et al. identified Slug as an epigenetic regulator of lipogenesis. Their findings suggest that Slug is stabilized by insulin signaling, and that it promotes lipogenesis by recruiting the histone demethylase Lsd1 to the fatty acid synthase gene promoter. On the other hand, genetic deletion or acute depletion of Slug, or Lsd1 inhibition, reduced lipogenesis and protected against obesity-associated NAFLD and insulin resistance in mice. This study advances our understanding of how lipogenesis is regulated downstream of insulin signaling in health and disease.
Clarence R. Manuel, Rebecca A. Haeusler
Discontinued antiretroviral therapy (ART) results in uncontrolled HIV replication in most cases. How the virus population that persists during ART escapes immune control remains unknown. In this issue of the JCI, Mitchell and authors investigated plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) from the blood of individuals living with HIV. After ART was discontinued and as the virus began to spread, an apparently functional pDC response emerged. Notably, these pDCs were initially capable of producing high levels of type I IFN, but rapidly lost this capacity, even before the virus became readily detectable in blood. This study suggests that dysfunctional pDCs are a key initial mechanism associated with poor HIV control. These innate immune responses might be targeted in the emerging efforts to cure HIV disease.
Lillian B. Cohn, Steven G. Deeks
Plasmodium vivax bench research greatly lags behind Plasmodium falciparum because of an inability to culture in vitro. A century ago, intentionally inducing a malaria infection was a strategy commonly used to cure late-stage syphilis. These controlled human malaria infections were used with expertise and persisted to the end of World War II. While controlled malaria liver-stage infection has been achieved for both P. vivax and P. falciparum, controlled human transmission to mosquitoes falls short for both species. In this issue of the JCI, Collins et al. present groundbreaking work that establishes a system to transmit P. vivax gametocytes from humans to mosquitoes. The authors injected a unique human isolate of P. vivax that reached high gametocyte density within weeks. This study provides a technical advance that will facilitate the study and eradication of the human parasite P. vivax.
David J. Sullivan, Peter Agre
Organ shortage continues to limit the lives of patients who require liver transplantation. While extending criteria for liver organs provides a needed resource, tissue damage from prolonged ischemic injury can result in early allograft dysfunction and consequent rejection. In this issue of the JCI, Nakamura et al. used a mouse transplantation model with prolonged ex vivo cold storage to explore liver graft protection. The authors found that liver grafts with absent carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1) exhibited increased ischemia-reperfusion injury inflammation and decreased function in wild-type recipients. The authors went on to correlate CEACAM1 levels with postreperfusion damage in human liver transplant recipients. Notably, this study identified a potential biomarker for liver transplant donor graft quality.
Samer Tohme, David A. Geller
No posts were found with this tag.