Chronic inflammation is a pathologic feature of neurodegeneration and aging; however, the mechanism regulating this process is not understood. Melatonin, an endogenous free radical scavenger synthesized by neuronal mitochondria, decreases with aging and neurodegeneration. We proposed that insufficient melatonin levels impair mitochondrial homeostasis, resulting in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) release and activation of cytosolic DNA-mediated inflammatory response in neurons. We found increased mitochondrial oxidative stress and decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, with higher mtDNA release in brain and primary cerebro-cortical neurons of melatonin-deficient aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) knockout mice. Cytosolic mtDNA activated the cGAS/STING/IRF3 pathway, stimulating inflammatory cytokine generation. We found that Huntington’s disease mice had increased mtDNA release, cGAS activation, and inflammation, all inhibited by exogenous melatonin. Thus, we demonstrated that cytosolic mtDNA activated the inflammatory response in aging and neurodegeneration, a process modulated by melatonin. Furthermore, our data suggest that AANAT knockout mice are a model of accelerated aging.
Abhishek Jauhari, Sergei V. Baranov, Yalikun Suofu, Jinho Kim, Tanisha Singh, Svitlana Yablonska, Fang Li, Xiaomin Wang, Patrick Oberly, M. Beth Minnigh, Samuel M. Poloyac, Diane L. Carlisle, Robert M. Friedlander
Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is a regulator of disease pathogenesis in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Why TLR9 represses disease while TLR7 and MyD88 have the opposite effect remains undefined. To begin to address this question, we created 2 alleles to manipulate TLR9 expression, allowing for either selective deletion or overexpression. We used these to test cell type–specific effects of Tlr9 expression on the regulation of SLE pathogenesis. Notably, Tlr9 deficiency in B cells was sufficient to exacerbate nephritis while extinguishing anti–nucleosome antibodies, whereas Tlr9 deficiency in dendritic cells (DCs), plasmacytoid DCs, and neutrophils had no discernable effect on disease. Thus, B cell–specific Tlr9 deficiency unlinked disease from autoantibody production. Critically, B cell–specific Tlr9 overexpression resulted in ameliorated nephritis, opposite of the effect of deleting Tlr9. Our findings highlight the nonredundant role of B cell–expressed TLR9 in regulating lupus and suggest therapeutic potential in modulating and perhaps even enhancing TLR9 signals in B cells.
Jeremy S. Tilstra, Shinu John, Rachael A. Gordon, Claire Leibler, Michael Kashgarian, Sheldon Bastacky, Kevin M. Nickerson, Mark J. Shlomchik
The molecular mechanisms responsible for the high immunosuppressive capacity of CD4+ Tregs in tumors are not well known. High-dimensional single-cell profiling of T cells from chemotherapy-naive individuals with non–small-cell lung cancer identified the transcription factor IRF4 as specifically expressed by a subset of intratumoral CD4+ effector Tregs with superior suppressive activity. In contrast to the IRF4– counterparts, IRF4+ Tregs expressed a vast array of suppressive molecules, and their presence correlated with multiple exhausted subpopulations of T cells. Integration of transcriptomic and epigenomic data revealed that IRF4, either alone or in combination with its partner BATF, directly controlled a molecular program responsible for immunosuppression in tumors. Accordingly, deletion of Irf4 exclusively in Tregs resulted in delayed tumor growth in mice while the abundance of IRF4+ Tregs correlated with poor prognosis in patients with multiple human cancers. Thus, a common mechanism underlies immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment irrespective of the tumor type.
Giorgia Alvisi, Jolanda Brummelman, Simone Puccio, Emilia M.C. Mazza, Elisa Paoluzzi Tomada, Agnese Losurdo, Veronica Zanon, Clelia Peano, Federico S. Colombo, Alice Scarpa, Marco Alloisio, Ajithkumar Vasanthakumar, Rahul Roychoudhuri, Marinos Kallikourdis, Massimiliano Pagani, Egesta Lopci, Pierluigi Novellis, Jonas Blume, Axel Kallies, Giulia Veronesi, Enrico Lugli
Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease (MSMD) is characterized by a selective predisposition to clinical disease caused by the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine and environmental mycobacteria. The known genetic etiologies of MSMD are inborn errors of IFN-γ immunity due to mutations of 15 genes controlling the production of or response to IFN-γ. Since the first MSMD-causing mutations were reported in 1996, biallelic mutations in the genes encoding IFN-γ receptor 1 (IFN-γR1) and IFN-γR2 have been reported in many patients of diverse ancestries. Surprisingly, mutations of the gene encoding the IFN-γ cytokine itself have not been reported, raising the remote possibility that there might be other agonists of the IFN-γ receptor. We describe 2 Lebanese cousins with MSMD, living in Kuwait, who are both homozygous for a small deletion within the IFNG gene (c.354_357del), causing a frameshift that generates a premature stop codon (p.T119Ifs4*). The mutant allele is loss of expression and loss of function. We also show that the patients’ herpesvirus Saimiri–immortalized T lymphocytes did not produce IFN-γ, a phenotype that can be rescued by retrotransduction with WT IFNG cDNA. The blood T and NK lymphocytes from these patients also failed to produce and secrete detectable amounts of IFN-γ. Finally, we show that human IFNG has evolved under stronger negative selection than IFNGR1 or IFNGR2, suggesting that it is less tolerant to heterozygous deleterious mutations than IFNGR1 or IFNGR2. This may account for the rarity of patients with autosomal-recessive, complete IFN-γ deficiency relative to patients with complete IFN-γR1 and IFN-γR2 deficiencies.
Gaspard Kerner, Jérémie Rosain, Antoine Guérin, Ahmad Al-Khabaz, Carmen Oleaga-Quintas, Franck Rapaport, Michel J. Massaad, Jing-Ya Ding, Taushif Khan, Fatima Al Ali, Mahbuba Rahman, Caroline Deswarte, Rubén Martinez-Barricarte, Raif S. Geha, Valentine Jeanne-Julien, Diane Garcia, Chih-Yu Chi, Rui Yang, Manon Roynard, Bernhard Fleckenstein, Flore Rozenberg, Stéphanie Boisson-Dupuis, Cheng-Lung Ku, Yoann Seeleuthner, Vivien Béziat, Nico Marr, Laurent Abel, Waleed Al-Herz, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Jacinta Bustamante
Chimeric antigen receptor–T (CAR-T) cell therapies can eliminate relapsed and refractory tumors, but the durability of antitumor activity requires in vivo persistence. Differential signaling through the CAR costimulatory domain can alter the T cell metabolism, memory differentiation, and 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 changing this asparagine to phenylalanine (CD28-YMFM) promoted durable antitumor control. In addition, CD28-YMFM CAR-T cells exhibited reduced T cell differentiation and exhaustion as well as increased skewing toward Th17 cells. Reciprocal modification of ICOS-containing CAR-T cells abolished in vivo persistence and antitumor activity. This finding suggests modifications to the costimulatory domains of CAR-T cells can enable longer persistence and thereby improve antitumor response.
Sonia Guedan, Aviv Madar, Victoria Casado-Medrano, Carolyn Shaw, Anna Wing, Fang Liu, Regina M. Young, Carl H. June, Avery D. Posey Jr.
Salt-inducible kinases (SIKs) are key regulators of cellular metabolism and growth, but their role in cardiomyocyte plasticity and heart failure pathogenesis remains unknown. Here, we showed that loss of SIK1 kinase activity protected against adverse cardiac remodeling and heart failure pathogenesis in rodent models and cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells. We found that SIK1 phosphorylated and stabilized histone deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) protein during cardiac stress, an event that is required for pathologic cardiomyocyte remodeling. Gain- and loss-of-function studies of HDAC7 in cultured cardiomyocytes implicated HDAC7 as a prohypertrophic signaling effector that can induce c-Myc expression, indicating a functional departure from the canonical MEF2 corepressor function of class IIa HDACs. Taken together, our findings reveal what we believe to be a previously unrecognized role for a SIK1/HDAC7 axis in regulating cardiac stress responses and implicate this pathway as a potential target in human heart failure.
Austin Hsu, Qiming Duan, Sarah McMahon, Yu Huang, Sarah A.B. Wood, Nathanael S. Gray, Biao Wang, Benoit G. Bruneau, Saptarsi M. Haldar
To identify neurons that specifically increase blood glucose from among the diversely functioning cell types in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMN), we studied the cholecystokinin receptor B–expressing (CCKBR-expressing) VMN targets of glucose-elevating parabrachial nucleus neurons. Activation of these VMNCCKBR neurons increased blood glucose. Furthermore, although silencing the broader VMN decreased energy expenditure and promoted weight gain without altering blood glucose levels, silencing VMNCCKBR neurons decreased hepatic glucose production, decreasing blood glucose in an insulin-dependent manner without altering energy balance. Silencing VMNCCKBR neurons also impaired the counterregulatory response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia and glucoprivation and replicated hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure. Hence, VMNCCKBR cells represent a specialized subset of VMN cells that function to elevate glucose. These cells not only mediate the allostatic response to hypoglycemia but also modulate the homeostatic setpoint for blood glucose in an insulin-independent manner, consistent with a role for the brain in the insulin-independent control of glucose homeostasis.
Jonathan N. Flak, Paulette B. Goforth, James Dell’Orco, Paul V. Sabatini, Chien Li, Nadejda Bozadjieva, Matthew Sorensen, Alec Valenta, Alan Rupp, Alison H. Affinati, Corentin Cras-Méneur, Ahsan Ansari, Jamie Sacksner, Nandan Kodur, Darleen A. Sandoval, Robert T. Kennedy, David P. Olson, Martin G. Myers Jr.
Platinum-based chemotherapy–induced peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common causes of dose reduction and discontinuation of life-saving chemotherapy in cancer treatment; it often causes permanent impairment of quality of life in cancer patients. The mechanisms that underlie this neuropathy are not defined, and effective treatment and prevention measures are not available. Here, we demonstrate that SIRT2 protected mice against cisplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). SIRT2 accumulated in the nuclei of dorsal root ganglion sensory neurons and prevented neuronal cell death following cisplatin treatment. Mechanistically, SIRT2, an NAD+-dependent deacetylase, protected neurons from cisplatin cytotoxicity by promoting transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair (TC-NER) of cisplatin-induced DNA cross-links. Consistent with this mechanism, pharmacological inhibition of NER using spironolactone abolished SIRT2-mediated TC-NER activity in differentiated neuronal cells and protection of neurons from cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity and CIPN in mice. Importantly, SIRT2’s protective effects were not evident in lung cancer cells in vitro or in tumors in vivo. Taken together, our results identified SIRT2’s function in the NER pathway as a key underlying mechanism of preventing CIPN, warranting future investigation of SIRT2 activation–mediated neuroprotection during platinum-based cancer treatment.
Manchao Zhang, Wuying Du, Scarlett Acklin, Shengkai Jin, Fen Xia
De novo lipogenesis is tightly regulated by insulin and nutritional signals to maintain metabolic homeostasis. Excessive lipogenesis induces lipotoxicity, leading to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type 2 diabetes. Genetic lipogenic programs have been extensively investigated, but epigenetic regulation of lipogenesis is poorly understood. Here, we identified Slug as an important epigenetic regulator of lipogenesis. Hepatic Slug levels were markedly upregulated in mice by either feeding or insulin treatment. In primary hepatocytes, insulin stimulation increased Slug expression, stability, and interactions with epigenetic enzyme lysine-specific demethylase-1 (Lsd1). Slug bound to the fatty acid synthase (Fasn) promoter where Slug-associated Lsd1 catalyzed H3K9 demethylation, thereby stimulating Fasn expression and lipogenesis. Ablation of Slug blunted insulin-stimulated lipogenesis. Conversely, overexpression of Slug, but not a Lsd1 binding-defective Slug mutant, stimulated Fasn expression and lipogenesis. Lsd1 inhibitor treatment also blocked Slug-stimulated lipogenesis. Remarkably, hepatocyte-specific deletion of Slug inhibited the hepatic lipogenic program and protected against obesity-associated NAFLD, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance in mice. Conversely, liver-restricted overexpression of Slug, but not the Lsd1 binding-defective Slug mutant, had the opposite effects. These results unveil an insulin/Slug/Lsd1/H3K9 demethylation lipogenic pathway that promotes NAFLD and type 2 diabetes.
Yan Liu, Haiyan Lin, Lin Jiang, Qingsen Shang, Lei Yin, Jiandie D. Lin, Wen-Shu Wu, Liangyou Rui
Although autophagy is generally protective, uncontrolled or excessive activation of autophagy can be detrimental. However, it is often difficult to distinguish death by autophagy from death with autophagy, and whether autophagy contributes to death in cardiomyocytes (CMs) is still controversial. Excessive activation of autophagy induces a morphologically and biochemically defined form of cell death termed autosis. Whether autosis is involved in tissue injury induced under pathologically relevant conditions is poorly understood. In the present study, myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) induced autosis in CMs, as evidenced by cell death with numerous vacuoles and perinuclear spaces, and depleted intracellular membranes. Autosis was observed frequently after 6 hours of reperfusion, accompanied by upregulation of Rubicon, attenuation of autophagic flux, and marked accumulation of autophagosomes. Genetic downregulation of Rubicon inhibited autosis and reduced I/R injury, whereas stimulation of autosis during the late phase of I/R with Tat–Beclin 1 exacerbated injury. Suppression of autosis by ouabain, a cardiac glycoside, in humanized Na+,K+-ATPase–knockin mice reduced I/R injury. Taken together, these results demonstrate that autosis is significantly involved in I/R injury in the heart and triggered by dysregulated accumulation of autophagosomes due to upregulation of Rubicon.
Jihoon Nah, Peiyong Zhai, Chun-Yang Huang, Álvaro F. Fernández, Satvik Mareedu, Beth Levine, Junichi Sadoshima
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