Concise Communication

Abstract

Recent studies have shown T cell cross-recognition of SARS-CoV-2 and common cold coronavirus spike proteins. However, the effect of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines on T cell responses to common cold coronaviruses remain unknown. In this study, we analyzed CD4+ T cell responses to spike peptides from SARS-CoV-2 and 3 common cold coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, and HCoV-OC43) before and after study participants received Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) or Moderna (mRNA-1273) mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine recipients made broad T cell responses to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and we identified 23 distinct targeted peptides in 9 participants including one peptide that was targeted by 6 individuals. Only 4 out of these 23 targeted peptides would potentially be affected by mutations in the UK (B.1.1.7) and South African (B.1.351) variants and CD4+ T cells from vaccine recipients recognized the 2 variant spike proteins as effectively as the spike protein from the ancestral virus. Interestingly, we saw a 3-fold increase in the CD4+ T cell responses to HCoV-NL63 spike peptides post-vaccination. Our results suggest that T cell responses elicited or enhanced by SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines may be able to control SARS-CoV-2 variants and lead to cross-protection from some endemic coronaviruses.

Authors

Bezawit A. Woldemeskel, Caroline C. Garliss, Joel N. Blankson

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Abstract

In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoclastic bone resorption causes structural joint damage as well as periarticular and systemic bone loss. Periarticular bone loss is one of the earliest indices of RA, often preceding the onset of clinical symptoms via largely unknown mechanisms. Excessive osteoclastogenesis induced by receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) expressed by synovial fibroblasts causes joint erosion, whereas the role of RANKL expressed by lymphocytes in various types of bone damage has yet to be elucidated. In the bone marrow of arthritic mice, we found an increase in the number of RANKL-expressing plasma cells, which displayed an ability to induce osteoclastogenesis in vitro. Genetic ablation of RANKL in B-lineage cells resulted in amelioration of periarticular bone loss, but not of articular erosion or systemic bone loss, in autoimmune arthritis. We also show conclusive evidence for the critical contribution of synovial fibroblast RANKL to joint erosion in collagen-induced arthritis on the arthritogenic DBA/1J background. This study highlights the importance of plasma-cell RANKL in periarticular bone loss in arthritis and provides mechanistic insight into the early manifestation of bone lesion induced by autoimmunity.

Authors

Noriko Komatsu, Stephanie Win, Minglu Yan, Nam Cong-Nhat Huynh, Shinichiro Sawa, Masayuki Tsukasaki, Asuka Terashima, Warunee Pluemsakunthai, George Kollias, Tomoki Nakashima, Hiroshi Takayanagi

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Abstract

Approaches using a single type of data have been applied to classify human tumors. Here we integrate imaging features and transcriptomic data using a prospectively collected tumor bank. We demonstrate that increased maximum standardized uptake value on pretreatment 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose–positron emission tomography correlates with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) gene expression. We derived and validated 3 major molecular groups, namely squamous epithelial, squamous mesenchymal, and adenocarcinoma, using prospectively collected institutional (n = 67) and publicly available (n = 304) data sets. Patients with tumors of the squamous mesenchymal subtype showed inferior survival outcomes compared with the other 2 molecular groups. High mesenchymal gene expression in cervical cancer cells positively correlated with the capacity to form spheroids and with resistance to radiation. CaSki organoids were radiation-resistant but sensitive to the glycolysis inhibitor, 2-DG. These experiments provide a strategy for response prediction by integrating large data sets, and highlight the potential for metabolic therapy to influence EMT phenotypes in cervical cancer.

Authors

Jin Zhang, Ramachandran Rashmi, Matthew Inkman, Kay Jayachandran, Fiona Ruiz, Michael R. Waters, Perry W. Grigsby, Stephanie Markovina, Julie K. Schwarz

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Abstract

The A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR) has emerged as a therapeutic target with A3AR agonists to tackle the global challenge of neuropathic pain; investigation into their mode of action is essential for ongoing clinical development. A3ARs on immune cells, and their activation during pathology, modulates cytokine release. Thus, immune cells as a cellular substrate for the pharmacological action of A3AR agonists is enticing but unknown. Studies herein discovered that RagKO mice lacking T- and B-cells are insensitive to the anti-allodynic effects of A3AR agonists versus wild-type (WT) mice. Similar findings were observed in interleukin-10 and interleukin-10 receptor knockout mice. Adoptive transfer of CD4+ T-cells (CD4+-T) from WT mice infiltrated the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and restored A3AR agonist-mediated anti-allodynia in RagKO mice; CD4+-T from Adora3KO or Il10KO mice did not. Transfer of CD4+-T from WT, but not Il10KO, into Il10KO mice fully reinstated anti-allodynic effects of A3AR activation. Transfer of CD4+-T from WT, but not Il10KO, into Adora3KO mice fully reinstated anti-allodynic effects of A3AR activation. Notably, A3AR agonism reduced DRG neuron excitability when co-cultured with CD4+-T in an IL-10-dependent manner. A3AR actions on CD4+-T infiltrate in the DRG decreased phosphorylation of GluN2B-containing N‐methyl‐D‐aspartate receptors at Tyr1472, a modification associated with regulating neuronal hypersensitivity. Our findings establish that activation of A3AR on CD4+-T cells to release of IL-10 is required and sufficient for A3AR agonists as therapeutics.

Authors

Mariaconcetta Durante, Silvia Squillace, Filomena Lauro, Luigino Antonio Giancotti, Elisabetta Coppi, Federica Cherchi, Lorenzo Di Cesare Mannelli, Carla Ghelardini, Grant Kolar, Carrie Wahlman, Adeleye Opejin, Cuiying Xiao, Marc L. Reitman, Dilip K. Tosh, Daniel Hawiger, Kenneth A. Jacobson, Daniela Salvemini

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Abstract

Skeletal muscle is a major determinant of systemic metabolic homeostasis that plays a critical role in glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. By contrast, despite being a major user of fatty acids, and evidence that muscular disorders can lead to abnormal lipid deposition (e.g., nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in myopathies), our understanding of skeletal muscle regulation of systemic lipid homeostasis is not well understood. Here we show that skeletal muscle Krüppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) coordinates pathways central to systemic lipid homeostasis under basal conditions and in response to nutrient overload. Mice with skeletal muscle–specific KLF15 deletion demonstrated (a) reduced expression of key targets involved in lipid uptake, mitochondrial transport, and utilization, (b) elevated circulating lipids, (c) insulin resistance/glucose intolerance, and (d) increased lipid deposition in white adipose tissue and liver. Strikingly, a diet rich in short-chain fatty acids bypassed these defects in lipid flux and ameliorated aspects of metabolic dysregulation. Together, these findings establish skeletal muscle control of lipid flux as critical to systemic lipid homeostasis and metabolic health.

Authors

Liyan Fan, David R. Sweet, Domenick A. Prosdocimo, Vinesh Vinayachandran, Ernest R. Chan, Rongli Zhang, Olga Ilkayeva, Yuan Lu, Komal S. Keerthy, Chloe E. Booth, Christopher B. Newgard, Mukesh K. Jain

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Abstract

The effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the pathophysiology of the placenta and its impact on pregnancy outcome has not yet been fully elucidated. Here, we present a comprehensive clinical, morphological, and molecular analysis of placental tissues from pregnant women with and without SARS-CoV-2 infection. SARS-CoV-2 could be detected in half of placental tissues from SARS-CoV-2-positive women. The presence of the virus was not associated with any distinctive pathological, maternal or neonatal outcome features. SARS-CoV-2 tissue load was low in all but one patient which exhibited severe placental damage leading to neonatal neurological manifestations. The placental transcriptional response induced by high viral load of SARS-CoV-2 showed an immunopathology phenotype similar to autopsy lung tissues from patients with severe COVID-19. This finding contrasted with the lack of inflammatory response in placental tissues from SARS-CoV-2-positive women with low viral tissue load and from SARS-CoV-2-negative women. Importantly, no evidence of vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was found in any newborns, suggesting that the placenta may be an effective maternal-neonatal barrier against the virus even in the presence of severe infection. Our observations suggest that severe placental damage induced by the virus may be detrimental for the neonate independently of vertical transmission.

Authors

Fulvia Milena Cribiù, Roberta Erra, Lorenza Pugni, Carlota Rubio-Perez, Lidia Alonso, Sara Simonetti, Giorgio A. Croci, Garazi Serna, Andrea Ronchi, Carlo Pietrasanta, Giovanna Lunghi, Anna Maria Fagnani, Maria Piñana, Matthias S. Matter, Alexandar Tzankov, Luigi Terracciano, Andres Anton, Enrico Ferrazzi, Stefano Ferrero, Enrico Iurlaro, Joan Seoane, Paolo Nuciforo

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Abstract

Medulloblastoma is an aggressive pediatric brain tumor that can be driven by misactivation of the Hedgehog (HH) pathway. CDK6 is a critical effector of oncogenic Hedgehog signaling, but attempts to target the Hedgehog pathway in medulloblastoma have been encumbered by resistance to single-agent molecular therapy. We identified resistance mechanisms to CDK6 inhibition in HH-associated medulloblastoma by performing orthogonal CRISPR and CRISPR interference screens in medulloblastoma cells treated with a CDK4/6 inhibitor, and RNA-sequencing of a mouse model of HH-associated medulloblastoma with genetic deletion of Cdk6. Our concordant in vitro and in vivo data revealed decreased ribosomal protein expression underlies resistance to CDK6 inhibition in HH-associated medulloblastoma, leading to endoplasmic reticular (ER) stress and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). These pathways increased the activity of enzymes producing Smoothened-activating sterol lipids that sustained oncogenic HH signaling in medulloblastoma despite cell cycle attenuation. Consistently, we demonstrated concurrent genetic deletion or pharmacological inhibition of CDK6 and HSD11ß2, an enzyme producing Smoothened-activating lipids, additively blocked cancer growth in multiple mouse genetic models of HH-associated medulloblastoma. Our data reveal a resistance pathway to CDK4/6 inhibition and a combination therapy to treat the most common malignant brain tumor in children that we believe are novel.

Authors

Vikas Daggubati, Jordan Hochstetler, Anirudh Bommireddy, Abrar Choudhury, Alexis Leigh Krup, Pervinder K. Choksi, Pakteema Tong, Amy Li, Libin Xu, Jeremy F. Reiter, David R. Raleigh

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Abstract

Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are enriched at barrier surfaces, including the gastrointestinal tract. While most studies have focused on the balance between pathogenic group 1 ILCs (ILC1s) and protective ILC3s in maintaining gut homeostasis and during chronic intestinal inflammation, such as Crohn’s disease (CD), less is known regarding ILC2s. Using an established murine model of CD-like ileitis, i.e., SAMP1/YitFc (SAMP) strain, we showed that ILC2s, compared to ILC1s and ILC3s, were increased within draining mesenteric lymph nodes and ilea of SAMP vs. AKR (parental control) mice early, during the onset of disease. Gut-derived ILC2s from Crohn’s patients vs. healthy controls were also increased and expand, similar to ILC1s, in greater proportion compared to ILC3s. Importantly, we report that the intracellular bacterial-sensing protein, nucleotide-binding oligomerization domaining-containing protein-2, encoded by NOD2, the first and strongest susceptibility gene identified for CD, promoted ILC2 expansion, which was dramatically reduced in SAMP lacking NOD2 and SAMP raised under germ-free conditions. Furthermore, these effects occurred through a mechanism involving the IL-33/ST2 ligand-receptor pair. Collectively, our results indicate a functional link between NOD2 and ILC2s, regulated by the IL-33/ST2 axis, that mechanistically may contribute to early events leading to CD pathogenesis.

Authors

Carlo De Salvo, Kristine-Ann Buela, Brecht Creyns, Daniele Corridoni, Nitish Rana, Hannah L. Wargo, Chiara Cominelli, Peter G. Delaney, Fabio Cominelli, Alexander Rodriguez-Palacios, Séverine Vermeire, Theresa T. Pizarro

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Abstract

Gene editing holds the potential to correct mutations and cure devastating genetic disorders. The technology has not yet proven efficacious for therapeutic use in central nervous system (CNS) diseases with ubiquitous neuronal defects. Angelman syndrome (AS), a severe neurodevelopmental disorder, is caused by a lack of maternal expression of the UBE3A gene. Due to genomic imprinting, only neurons are affected. One therapeutic approach focuses on the intact paternal UBE3A copy in AS patients that is silenced by an antisense transcript (UBE3A-ATS). We show here that gene editing of Ube3a-ATS in the mouse brain results in the formation of base pair insertions/deletions (indels) in neurons and the subsequent unsilencing of the paternal Ube3a allele in neurons, which partially corrects the behavior phenotype of a murine AS model. This study provides compelling evidence to further investigate editing of the homologous region of the human UBE3A-ATS, since this may provide a lasting therapeutic effect for AS patients.

Authors

Ralf S. Schmid, Xuefeng Deng, Priyalakshmi Panikker, Msema Msackyi, Camilo Breton, James M. Wilson

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Abstract

The emergence of drug-resistant fungi has prompted an urgent threat alert from the Centers for Disease Control. Biofilm assembly by these pathogens further impairs effective therapy. We recently identifed an antifungal, turbinmicin, that inhibits the fungal vesicle-mediated trafficking pathway and demonstrates broad-spectrum activity against planktonically growing fungi. During biofilm growth, vesicles with unique features play a critical role in the delivery of the biofilm extracellular matrix components. As these components are largely responsible for the drug resistance associated with biofilm growth, we explored the utility of turbinmicin in the biofilm setting. We found that turbinmicin disrupts extracellular vesicle delivery during biofilm growth, and this impairs the subsequent assembly of the biofilm matrix. We demonstrated that elimination of the extracellular matrix renders the drug-resistant biofilm communities susceptible to fungal killing by turbinmicin. Furthermore, the addition of turbinmicin to otherwise ineffective antifungal therapy potentiated the activity of these drugs. The underlying role of vesicles explains this dramatic activity and was supported by phenotype reversal with the addition of exogenous biofilm extracellular vesicles. This striking capacity to cripple biofilm assembly mechanisms reveals a new approach to eradicating biofilms and sheds light on turbinmicin as a promising anti-biofilm drug.

Authors

Miao Zhao, Fan Zhang, Robert Zarnowski, Kenneth J. Barns, Ryley Jones, Jen L. Fossen, Hiram Sanchez, Scott R. Rajski, Anjon Audhya, Tim S. Bugni, David R. Andes

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