The biology of harlequin ichthyosis (HI), a devastating skin disorder caused by loss-of-function mutations in the gene ABCA12, is poorly understood, and to date, no satisfactory treatment has been developed. We sought to investigate pathomechanisms of HI that could lead to the identification of new treatments for improving patients’ quality of life. In this study, RNA-Seq and functional assays were performed to define the effects of loss of ABCA12 using HI patient skin samples and an engineered CRISPR/Cas9 ABCA12 KO cell line. The HI living skin equivalent (3D model) recapitulated the HI skin phenotype. The cytokines IL-36α and IL-36γ were upregulated in HI skin, whereas the innate immune inhibitor IL-37 was strongly downregulated. We also identified STAT1 and its downstream target inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) as being upregulated in the in vitro HI 3D model and HI patient skin samples. Inhibition of NOS2 using the inhibitor 1400W or the JAK inhibitor tofacitinib dramatically improved the in vitro HI phenotype by restoring the lipid barrier in the HI 3D model. Our study has identified dysregulated pathways in HI skin that are feasible therapeutic targets.
Florence Enjalbert, Priya Dewan, Matthew P. Caley, Eleri M. Jones, Mary A. Morse, David P. Kelsell, Anton J. Enright, Edel A. O’Toole
The amyloid hypothesis posits that the amyloid-beta (Aβ) protein precedes and requires microtubule-associated protein tau in a sort of trigger-bullet mechanism leading to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. This sequence of events has become dogmatic in the AD field and is used to explain clinical trial failures due to a late start of the intervention when Aβ already activated tau. Here, using a multidisciplinary approach combining molecular biological, biochemical, histopathological, electrophysiological, and behavioral methods, we demonstrated that tau suppression did not protect against Aβ-induced damage of long-term synaptic plasticity and memory, or from amyloid deposition. Tau suppression could even unravel a defect in basal synaptic transmission in a mouse model of amyloid deposition. Similarly, tau suppression did not protect against exogenous oligomeric tau–induced impairment of long-term synaptic plasticity and memory. The protective effect of tau suppression was, in turn, confined to short-term plasticity and memory. Taken together, our data suggest that therapies downstream of Aβ and tau together are more suitable to combat AD than therapies against one or the other alone.
Daniela Puzzo, Elentina K. Argyrousi, Agnieszka Staniszewski, Hong Zhang, Elisa Calcagno, Elisa Zuccarello, Erica Acquarone, Mauro Fa’, Domenica D. Li Puma, Claudio Grassi, Luciano D’Adamio, Nicholas M. Kanaan, Paul E. Fraser, Ottavio Arancio
NF-κB transcription factors, driven by the IRAK/IKK cascade, confer treatment resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a cancer characterized by near-universal KRAS mutation. Through reverse-phase protein array and RNA sequencing we discovered that IRAK4 also contributes substantially to MAPK activation in KRAS-mutant PDAC. IRAK4 ablation completely blocked RAS-induced transformation of human and murine cells. Mechanistically, expression of mutant KRAS stimulated an inflammatory, autocrine IL-1β signaling loop that activated IRAK4 and the MAPK pathway. Downstream of IRAK4, we uncovered TPL2 (also known as MAP3K8 or COT) as the essential kinase that propels both MAPK and NF-κB cascades. Inhibition of TPL2 blocked both MAPK and NF-κB signaling, and suppressed KRAS-mutant cell growth. To counter chemotherapy-induced genotoxic stress, PDAC cells upregulated TLR9, which activated prosurvival IRAK4/TPL2 signaling. Accordingly, a TPL2 inhibitor synergized with chemotherapy to curb PDAC growth in vivo. Finally, from TCGA we characterized 2 MAP3K8 point mutations that hyperactivate MAPK and NF-κB cascades by impeding TPL2 protein degradation. Cancer cell lines naturally harboring these MAP3K8 mutations are strikingly sensitive to TPL2 inhibition, underscoring the need to identify these potentially targetable mutations in patients. Overall, our study establishes TPL2 as a promising therapeutic target in RAS- and MAP3K8-mutant cancers and strongly prompts development of TPL2 inhibitors for preclinical and clinical studies.
Paarth B. Dodhiawala, Namrata Khurana, Daoxiang Zhang, Yi Cheng, Lin Li, Qing Wei, Kuljeet Seehra, Hongmei Jiang, Patrick M. Grierson, Andrea Wang-Gillam, Kian-Huat Lim
Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited eye disease. X-linked nuclear modifiers were proposed to modify the phenotypic manifestation of LHON-associated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. By whole-exome sequencing, we identified the X-linked LHON modifier (c.157C>T, p.Arg53Trp) in PRICKLE3 encoding a mitochondrial protein linked to biogenesis of ATPase in 3 Chinese families. All affected individuals carried both ND4 11778G>A and p.Arg53Trp mutations, while subjects bearing only a single mutation exhibited normal vision. The cells carrying the p.Arg53Trp mutation exhibited defective assembly, stability, and function of ATP synthase, verified by PRICKLE3-knockdown cells. Coimmunoprecipitation indicated the direct interaction of PRICKLE3 with ATP synthase via ATP8. Strikingly, cells bearing both p.Arg53Trp and m.11778G>A mutations displayed greater mitochondrial dysfunction than those carrying only a single mutation. This finding indicated that the p.Arg53Trp mutation acted in synergy with the m.11778G>A mutation and deteriorated mitochondrial dysfunctions necessary for the expression of LHON. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Prickle3-deficient mice exhibited pronounced ATPase deficiencies. Prickle3-knockout mice recapitulated LHON phenotypes with retinal deficiencies, including degeneration of retinal ganglion cells and abnormal vasculature. Our findings provided new insights into the pathophysiology of LHON that were manifested by interaction between mtDNA mutations and X-linked nuclear modifiers.
Jialing Yu, Xiaoyang Liang, Yanchun Ji, Cheng Ai, Junxia Liu, Ling Zhu, Zhipeng Nie, Xiaofen Jin, Chenghui Wang, Juanjuan Zhang, Fuxin Zhao, Shuang Mei, Xiaoxu Zhao, Xiangtian Zhou, Minglian Zhang, Meng Wang, Taosheng Huang, Pingping Jiang, Min-Xin Guan
Mutation in the LMNA gene, encoding lamin A/C, causes a diverse group of diseases called laminopathies. Cardiac involvement is the major cause of death and manifests as dilated cardiomyopathy, heart failure, arrhythmias, and sudden death. There is no specific therapy for LMNA-associated cardiomyopathy. We report that deletion of Lmna in cardiomyocytes in mice leads to severe cardiac dysfunction, conduction defect, ventricular arrhythmias, fibrosis, apoptosis, and premature death within 4 weeks. The phenotype is similar to LMNA-associated cardiomyopathy in humans. RNA sequencing, performed before the onset of cardiac dysfunction, led to identification of 2338 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in Lmna-deleted cardiomyocytes. DEGs predicted activation of bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4), a regulator of chromatin-associated proteins and transcription factors, which was confirmed by complementary approaches, including chromatin immunoprecipitation–sequencing. Daily injection of JQ1, a specific BET bromodomain inhibitor, partially reversed the DEGs, including those encoding secretome; improved cardiac function; abrogated cardiac arrhythmias, fibrosis, and apoptosis; and prolonged the median survival time 2-fold in the myocyte-specific Lmna-deleted mice. The findings highlight the important role of LMNA in cardiomyocytes and identify BET bromodomain inhibition as a potential therapeutic target in LMNA-associated cardiomyopathy, for which there is no specific effective therapy.
Gaelle Auguste, Leila Rouhi, Scot J. Matkovich, Cristian Coarfa, Matthew J. Robertson, Grazyna Czernuszewicz, Priyatansh Gurha, Ali J. Marian
Cachexia, a devastating wasting syndrome characterized by severe weight loss with specific losses of muscle and adipose tissue, is driven by reduced food intake, increased energy expenditure, excess catabolism, and inflammation. Cachexia is associated with poor prognosis and high mortality and frequently occurs in patients with cancer, chronic kidney disease, infection, and many other illnesses. There is no effective treatment for this condition. Hypothalamic melanocortins have a potent and long-lasting inhibitory effect on feeding and anabolism, and pathophysiological processes increase melanocortin signaling tone, leading to anorexia, metabolic changes, and eventual cachexia. We used 3 rat models of anorexia and cachexia (LPS, methylcholanthrene sarcoma, and 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy) to evaluate efficacy of TCMCB07, a synthetic antagonist of the melanocortin-4 receptor. Our data show that peripheral treatment using TCMCB07 with intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, and oral administration increased food intake and body weight and preserved fat mass and lean mass during cachexia and LPS-induced anorexia. Furthermore, administration of TCMCB07 diminished hypothalamic inflammatory gene expression in cancer cachexia. These results suggest that peripheral TCMCB07 treatment effectively inhibits central melanocortin signaling and therefore stimulates appetite and enhances anabolism, indicating that TCMCB07 is a promising drug candidate for treating cachexia.
Xinxia Zhu, Michael F. Callahan, Kenneth A. Gruber, Marek Szumowski, Daniel L. Marks
Connexin-43 (Cx43) gap junctions provide intercellular coupling, which ensures rapid action potential propagation and synchronized heart contraction. Alterations in Cx43 localization and reductions in 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 found that GJA1M213L/M213L mice had severely abnormal electrocardiograms despite preserved contractile function, reduced total Cx43, and reduced gap junctions, and they died suddenly at 2 to 4 weeks of age. Heterozygous GJA1M213L/WT mice survived to adulthood with increased ventricular ectopy. Biochemical experiments indicated that cytoplasmic Cx43 had a half-life that was 50% shorter than membrane-associated Cx43. Without GJA1-20k, poorly trafficked Cx43 was 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
Globoid cell leukodystrophy (GLD; Krabbe disease) is a progressive, incurable neurodegenerative disease caused by deficient activity of the hydrolytic enzyme galactosylceramidase (GALC). The ensuing cytotoxic accumulation of psychosine results in diffuse central and peripheral nervous system (CNS, PNS) demyelination. Presymptomatic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only treatment for infantile-onset GLD; however, clinical outcomes of HSCT recipients often remain poor, and procedure-related morbidity is high. There are no effective therapies for symptomatic patients. Herein, we demonstrate in the naturally occurring canine model of GLD that presymptomatic monotherapy with intrathecal AAV9 encoding canine GALC administered into the cisterna magna increased GALC enzyme activity, normalized psychosine concentration, improved myelination, and attenuated inflammation in both the CNS and PNS. Moreover, AAV-mediated therapy successfully prevented clinical neurological dysfunction, allowing treated dogs to live beyond 2.5 years of age, more than 7 times longer than untreated dogs. Furthermore, we found that a 5-fold lower dose resulted in an attenuated form of disease, indicating that sufficient dosing is critical. Finally, postsymptomatic therapy with high-dose AAV9 also significantly extended lifespan, signifying a treatment option for patients for whom HSCT is not applicable. If translatable to patients, these findings would improve the outcomes of patients treated either pre- or postsymptomatically.
Allison M. Bradbury, Jessica H. Bagel, Duc Nguyen, Erik A. Lykken, Jill Pesayco Salvador, Xuntian Jiang, Gary P. Swain, Charles A. Assenmacher, Ian J. Hendricks, Keiko Miyadera, Rebecka S. Hess, Arielle Ostrager, Patricia ODonnell, Mark S. Sands, Daniel S. Ory, G. Diane Shelton, Ernesto R. Bongarzone, Steven J. Gray, Charles H. Vite
Although the control of bone-resorbing osteoclasts through osteocyte-derived RANKL is well defined, little is known about the regulation of osteoclasts by osteocyte death. Indeed, several skeletal diseases, such as bone fracture, osteonecrosis, and inflammation are characterized by excessive osteocyte death. Herein we show that osteoclasts sense damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) released by necrotic osteocytes via macrophage-inducible C-type lectin (Mincle), which induced their differentiation and triggered bone loss. Osteoclasts showed robust Mincle expression upon exposure to necrotic osteocytes in vitro and in vivo. RNA sequencing and metabolic analyses demonstrated that Mincle activation triggers osteoclastogenesis via ITAM-based calcium signaling pathways, skewing osteoclast metabolism toward oxidative phosphorylation. Deletion of Mincle in vivo effectively blocked the activation of osteoclasts after induction of osteocyte death, improved fracture repair, and attenuated inflammation-mediated bone loss. Furthermore, in patients with osteonecrosis, Mincle was highly expressed at skeletal sites of osteocyte death and correlated with strong osteoclastic activity. Taken together, these data point to what we believe is a novel DAMP-mediated process that allows osteoclast activation and bone loss in the context of osteocyte death.
Darja Andreev, Mengdan Liu, Daniela Weidner, Katerina Kachler, Maria Faas, Anika Grüneboom, Ursula Schlötzer-Schrehardt, Luis E. Muñoz, Ulrike Steffen, Bettina Grötsch, Barbara Killy, Gerhard Krönke, Andreas M. Luebke, Andreas Niemeier, Falk Wehrhan, Roland Lang, Georg Schett, Aline Bozec
No known therapies can prevent anaphylaxis. Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) is an enzyme thought to be essential for high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) signaling in human cells. We tested the hypothesis that FDA-approved BTK inhibitors (BTKis) would prevent IgE-mediated responses including anaphylaxis. We showed that irreversible BTKis broadly prevented IgE-mediated degranulation and cytokine production in primary human mast cells and blocked allergen-induced contraction of isolated human bronchi. To address their efficacy in vivo, we created and used what we believe to be a novel humanized mouse model of anaphylaxis that does not require marrow ablation or human tissue implantation. After a single intravenous injection of human CD34+ cells, NSG-SGM3 mice supported the population of mature human tissue-resident mast cells and basophils. These mice showed excellent responses during passive systemic anaphylaxis using human IgE to selectively evoke human mast cell and basophil activation, and response severity was controllable by alteration of the amount of allergen used for challenge. Remarkably, pretreatment with just 2 oral doses of the BTKi acalabrutinib completely prevented moderate IgE-mediated anaphylaxis in these mice and also significantly protected against death during severe anaphylaxis. Our data suggest that BTKis may be able to prevent anaphylaxis in humans by inhibiting FcεRI-mediated signaling.
Melanie C. Dispenza, Rebecca A. Krier-Burris, Krishan D. Chhiba, Bradley J. Undem, Piper A. Robida, Bruce S. Bochner
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