Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune fibrotic disease whose pathogenesis is poorly understood and lacks effective therapies. We undertook quantitative analyses of T cell infiltrates in the skin of 35 untreated patients with early diffuse SSc and here show that CD4+ cytotoxic T cells and CD8+ T cells contribute prominently to these infiltrates. We also observed an accumulation of apoptotic cells in SSc tissues, suggesting that recurring cell death may contribute to tissue damage and remodeling in this fibrotic disease. HLA-DR–expressing endothelial cells were frequent targets of apoptosis in SSc, consistent with the prominent vasculopathy seen in patients with this disease. A circulating effector population of cytotoxic CD4+ T cells, which exhibited signatures of enhanced metabolic activity, was clonally expanded in patients with systemic sclerosis. These data suggest that cytotoxic T cells may induce the apoptotic death of endothelial and other cells in systemic sclerosis. Cell loss driven by immune cells may be followed by overly exuberant tissue repair processes that lead to fibrosis and tissue dysfunction.
Takashi Maehara, Naoki Kaneko, Cory A. Perugino, Hamid Mattoo, Jesper Kers, Hugues Allard-Chamard, Vinay S. Mahajan, Hang Liu, Samuel J.H. Murphy, Musie Ghebremichael, David Fox, Aimee S. Payne, Robert Lafyatis, John H. Stone, Dinesh Khanna, Shiv Pillai
Lamin A is a component of the inner nuclear membrane that, together with epigenetic factors, organizes the genome in higher order structures required for transcriptional control. Mutations in the lamin A/C gene cause several diseases belonging to the class of laminopathies, including muscular dystrophies. Nevertheless, molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of lamin A–dependent dystrophies are still largely unknown. The polycomb group (PcG) of proteins are epigenetic repressors and lamin A interactors, primarily involved in the maintenance of cell identity. Using a murine model of Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD), we show here that lamin A loss deregulated PcG positioning in muscle satellite stem cells, leading to derepression of non–muscle-specific genes and p16INK4a, a senescence driver encoded in the Cdkn2a locus. This aberrant transcriptional program caused impairment in self-renewal, loss of cell identity, and premature exhaustion of the quiescent satellite cell pool. Genetic ablation of the Cdkn2a locus restored muscle stem cell properties in lamin A/C–null dystrophic mice. Our findings establish a direct link between lamin A and PcG epigenetic silencing and indicate that lamin A–dependent muscular dystrophy can be ascribed to intrinsic epigenetic dysfunctions of muscle stem cells.
Andrea Bianchi, Chiara Mozzetta, Gloria Pegoli, Federica Lucini, Sara Valsoni, Valentina Rosti, Cristiano Petrini, Alice Cortesi, Francesco Gregoretti, Laura Antonelli, Gennaro Oliva, Marco De Bardi, Roberto Rizzi, Beatrice Bodega, Diego Pasini, Francesco Ferrari, Claudia Bearzi, Chiara Lanzuolo
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 may be initiated by external factors, prolonged activation can induce an “autonomous,” self-maintaining profibrotic phenotype in fibroblasts. Accumulating evidence suggests that epigenetic alterations play a central role in establishing this persistently activated pathologic phenotype of fibroblasts. We demonstrated that in fibrotic skin of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), a prototypical idiopathic fibrotic disease, TGF-β 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 STAT3 to promote fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition, collagen release, and fibrosis in vitro and in vivo. Reestablishment 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 TGF-β–dependent fibroblast activation, and ameliorated experimental fibrosis in murine models. These findings identify a pathway of epigenetic imprinting of fibroblasts in fibrotic disease with translational implications for the development of 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
Colitis caused by Clostridium difficile infection is a growing cause of human morbidity and mortality, especially after antibiotic use in health care settings. The natural immunity of newborn infants and protective host immune mediators against C. difficile infection are not fully understood, with data suggesting that inflammation can be either protective or pathogenic. Here, we show an essential role for IL-17A produced by γδ T cells in host defense against C. difficile infection. Fecal extracts from children with C. difficile infection showed increased IL-17A and T cell receptor γ chain expression, and IL-17 production by intestinal γδ T cells was efficiently induced after infection in mice. C. difficile–induced tissue inflammation and mortality were markedly increased in mice deficient in IL-17A or γδ T cells. Neonatal mice, with naturally expanded RORγt+ γδ T cells poised for IL-17 production were resistant to C. difficile infection, whereas elimination of γδ T cells or IL-17A each efficiently overturned neonatal resistance against infection. These results reveal an expanded role for IL-17–producing γδ T cells in neonatal host defense against infection and provide a mechanistic explanation for the clinically observed resistance of infants to C. difficile colitis.
Yee-Shiuan Chen, Iuan-Bor Chen, Giang Pham, Tzu-Yu Shao, Hansraj Bangar, Sing Sing Way, David B. Haslam
Seizures often herald the clinical appearance of gliomas or appear at later stages. Dissecting their precise evolution and cellular pathogenesis in brain malignancies could inform the development of staged therapies for these highly pharmaco-resistant epilepsies. Studies in immunodeficient xenograft models have identified local interneuron loss and excess glial glutamate release as chief contributors to network disinhibition, but how hyperexcitability in the peritumoral microenvironment evolves in an immunocompetent brain is unclear. We generated gliomas in WT mice via in utero deletion of key tumor suppressor genes and serially monitored cortical epileptogenesis during tumor infiltration with in vivo electrophysiology and GCAMP7 calcium imaging, revealing a reproducible progression from hyperexcitability to convulsive seizures. Long before seizures, coincident with loss of inhibitory cells and their protective scaffolding, gain of glial glutamate antiporter xCT expression, and reactive astrocytosis, we detected local Iba1+ microglial inflammation that intensified and later extended far beyond tumor boundaries. Hitherto unrecognized episodes of cortical spreading depolarization that arose frequently from the peritumoral region may provide a mechanism for transient neurological deficits. Early blockade of glial xCT activity inhibited later seizures, and genomic reduction of host brain excitability by deleting MapT suppressed molecular markers of epileptogenesis and seizures. Our studies confirmed xenograft tumor–driven pathobiology and revealed early and late components of tumor-related epileptogenesis in a genetically tractable, immunocompetent mouse model of glioma, allowing the complex dissection of tumor versus host pathogenic seizure mechanisms.
Asante Hatcher, Kwanha Yu, Jochen Meyer, Isamu Aiba, Benjamin Deneen, Jeffrey L. Noebels
Approximately half of the world’s population is infected with the stomach pathogen Helicobacter pylori. Infection with H. pylori is the main risk factor for distal gastric cancer. Bacterial virulence factors, such as the oncoprotein CagA, augment cancer risk. Yet despite high infection rates, only a fraction of H. pylori–infected individuals develop gastric cancer. This raises the question of defining the specific host and bacterial factors responsible for gastric tumorigenesis. To investigate the tumorigenic determinants, we analyzed gastric tissues from human subjects and animals infected with H. pylori bacteria harboring different CagA status. For laboratory studies, well-defined H. pylori strain B128 and its cancerogenic derivative strain 7.13, as well as various bacterial isogenic mutants were employed. We found that H. pylori compromises key tumor suppressor mechanisms: the host stress and apoptotic responses. Our studies showed that CagA induces phosphorylation of XIAP E3 ubiquitin ligase, which enhances ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of the host proapoptotic factor Siva1. This process is mediated by the PI3K/Akt pathway. Inhibition of Siva1 by H. pylori increases survival of human cells with damaged DNA. It occurs in a strain-specific manner and is associated with the ability to induce gastric tumor.
Manikandan Palrasu, Elena Zaika, Wael El-Rifai, Monica Garcia-Buitrago, Maria Blanca Piazuelo, Keith T. Wilson, Richard M. Peek Jr., Alexander I. Zaika
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is caused by loss of repression of the DUX4 gene; however, the DUX4 protein is rare and difficult to detect in human muscle biopsies, and pathological mechanisms are obscure. FSHD is also a chronic disease that progresses slowly over decades. We used the sporadic, low-level, muscle-specific expression of DUX4 enabled by the iDUX4pA-HSA mouse to develop a chronic long-term muscle disease model. After 6 months of extremely low sporadic DUX4 expression, dystrophic muscle presented hallmarks of FSHD histopathology, including muscle degeneration, capillary loss, fibrosis, and atrophy. We investigated the transcriptional profile of whole muscle as well as endothelial cells and fibroadiopogenic progenitors (FAPs). Strikingly, differential gene expression profiles of both whole muscle and, to a lesser extent, FAPs, showed significant overlap with transcriptional profiles of MRI-guided human FSHD muscle biopsies. These results demonstrate a pathophysiological similarity between disease in muscles of iDUX4pA-HSA mice and humans with FSHD, solidifying the value of chronic rare DUX4 expression in mice for modeling pathological mechanisms in FSHD and highlighting the importance FAPs in this disease.
Darko Bosnakovski, Ahmed S. Shams, Ce Yuan, Meiricris T. da Silva, Elizabeth T. Ener, Cory W. Baumann, Angus J. Lindsay, Mayank Verma, Atsushi Asakura, Dawn A. Lowe, Michael Kyba
The mechanisms by which prostate cancer shifts from an indolent castration-sensitive phenotype to lethal castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) are poorly understood. Identification of clinically relevant genetic alterations leading to CRPC may reveal potential vulnerabilities for cancer therapy. Here we find that CUB domain-containing protein 1 (CDCP1), a transmembrane protein that acts as a substrate for SRC family kinases (SFKs), is overexpressed in a subset of CRPC. Notably, CDCP1 cooperates with the loss of the tumor suppressor gene PTEN to promote the emergence of metastatic prostate cancer. Mechanistically, we find that androgens suppress CDCP1 expression and that androgen deprivation in combination with loss of PTEN promotes the upregulation of CDCP1 and the subsequent activation of the SRC/MAPK pathway. Moreover, we demonstrate that anti-CDCP1 immunoliposomes (anti–CDCP1 ILs) loaded with chemotherapy suppress prostate cancer growth when administered in combination with enzalutamide. Thus, our study identifies CDCP1 as a powerful driver of prostate cancer progression and uncovers different potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of metastatic prostate tumors.
Abdullah Alajati, Mariantonietta D’Ambrosio, Martina Troiani, Simone Mosole, Laura Pellegrini, Jingjing Chen, Ajinkya Revandkar, Marco Bolis, Jean-Philippe Theurillat, Ilaria Guccini, Marco Losa, Arianna Calcinotto, Gaston De Bernardis, Emiliano Pasquini, Rocco D’Antuono, Adam Sharp, Ines Figueiredo, Daniel Nava Rodrigues, Jonathan Welti, Veronica Gil, Wei Yuan, Tatjana Vlajnic, Lukas Bubendorf, Giovanna Chiorino, Letizia Gnetti, Verónica Torrano, Arkaitz Carracedo, Laura Camplese, Susumu Hirabayashi, Elena Canato, Gianfranco Pasut, Monica Montopoli, Jan Hendrik Rüschoff, Peter Wild, Holger Moch, Johann De Bono, Andrea Alimonti
The prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasing worldwide. Although gene-environment interactions have been implicated in the etiology of several disorders, the impact of paternal and/or maternal metabolic syndrome on the clinical phenotypes of offspring and the underlying genetic and epigenetic contributors of NAFLD have not been fully explored. To this end, we used the liver-specific insulin receptor knockout (LIRKO) mouse, a unique nondietary model manifesting 3 hallmarks that confer high risk for the development of NAFLD: hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. We report that parental metabolic syndrome epigenetically reprograms members of the TGF-β family, including neuronal regeneration–related protein (NREP) and growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15). NREP and GDF15 modulate the expression of several genes involved in the regulation of hepatic lipid metabolism. In particular, NREP downregulation increases the protein abundance of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR) and ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY) in a TGF-β receptor/PI3K/protein kinase B–dependent manner, to regulate hepatic acetyl-CoA and cholesterol synthesis. Reduced hepatic expression of NREP in patients with NAFLD and substantial correlations between low serum NREP levels and the presence of steatosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis highlight the clinical translational relevance of our findings in the context of recent preclinical trials implicating ACLY in NAFLD progression.
Dario F. De Jesus, Kazuki Orime, Dorota Kaminska, Tomohiko Kimura, Giorgio Basile, Chih-Hao Wang, Larissa Haertle, Renzo Riemens, Natalie K. Brown, Jiang Hu, Ville Männistö, Amélia M. Silva, Ercument Dirice, Yu-Hua Tseng, Thomas Haaf, Jussi Pihlajamäki, Rohit N. Kulkarni
Increased microvascular permeability to plasma proteins and neutrophil emigration are hallmarks of innate immunity and key features of numerous inflammatory disorders. Although neutrophils can promote microvascular leakage, the impact of vascular permeability on neutrophil trafficking is unknown. Here, through the application of confocal intravital microscopy, we report that vascular permeability–enhancing stimuli caused a significant frequency of neutrophil reverse transendothelial cell migration (rTEM). Furthermore, mice with a selective defect in microvascular permeability enhancement (VEC-Y685F-ki) showed reduced incidence of neutrophil rTEM. Mechanistically, elevated vascular leakage promoted movement of interstitial chemokines into the bloodstream, a response that supported abluminal-to-luminal neutrophil TEM. Through development of an in vivo cell labeling method we provide direct evidence for the systemic dissemination of rTEM neutrophils, and showed them to exhibit an activated phenotype and be capable of trafficking to the lungs where their presence was aligned with regions of vascular injury. Collectively, we demonstrate that increased microvascular leakage reverses the localization of directional cues across venular walls, thus causing neutrophils engaged in diapedesis to reenter the systemic circulation. This cascade of events offers a mechanism to explain how local tissue inflammation and vascular permeability can induce downstream pathological effects in remote organs, most notably in the lungs.
Charlotte Owen-Woods, Régis Joulia, Anna Barkaway, Loïc Rolas, Bin Ma, Astrid Fee Nottebaum, Kenton P. Arkill, Monja Stein, Tamara Girbl, Matthew Golding, David O. Bates, Dietmar Vestweber, Mathieu-Benoit Voisin, Sussan Nourshargh
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