Spermatogenesis is regulated by the 2 pituitary gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This process is considered impossible without the absolute requirement of LH-stimulated testicular testosterone (T) production. The role of FSH remains unclear because men and mice with inactivating FSH receptor (FSHR) mutations are fertile. We revisited the role of FSH in spermatogenesis using transgenic mice expressing a constitutively strongly active FSHR mutant in a LH receptor–null (LHR-null) background. The mutant FSHR reversed the azoospermia and partially restored fertility of Lhr–/– mice. The finding was initially ascribed to the residual Leydig cell T production. However, when T action was completely blocked with the potent antiandrogen flutamide, spermatogenesis persisted. Hence, completely T-independent spermatogenesis is possible through strong FSHR activation, and the dogma of T being a sine qua non for spermatogenesis may need modification. The mechanism for the finding appeared to be that FSHR activation maintained the expression of Sertoli cell genes considered androgen dependent. The translational message of our findings is the possibility of developing a new strategy of high-dose FSH treatment for spermatogenic failure. Our findings also provide an explanation of molecular pathogenesis for Pasqualini syndrome (fertile eunuchs; LH/T deficiency with persistent spermatogenesis) and explain how the hormonal regulation of spermatogenesis has shifted from FSH to T dominance during evolution.
Olayiwola O. Oduwole, Hellevi Peltoketo, Ariel Poliandri, Laura Vengadabady, Marcin Chrusciel, Milena Doroszko, Luna Samanta, Laura Owen, Brian Keevil, Nafis A. Rahman, Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi
Emerging data suggest that hypercholesterolemia has stimulatory effects on adaptive immunity and that these effects can promote atherosclerosis and perhaps other inflammatory diseases. However, research in this area has relied primarily on inbred strains of mice, whose adaptive immune system can differ substantially from that of humans. Moreover, the genetically induced hypercholesterolemia in these models typically results in plasma cholesterol levels that are much higher than those in most humans. To overcome these obstacles, we studied human immune system-reconstituted mice (hu-mice) rendered hypercholesterolemic by treatment with AAV8- PCSK9 and a high-fat/high-cholesterol Western-type diet (WD). These mice had a high percentage of human T cells and moderate hypercholesterolemia. Compared with hu-mice having lower plasma cholesterol, the PCSK9-WD mice developed a T cell-mediated inflammatory response in the lung and liver. Human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells bearing an effector memory phenotype were significantly elevated in the blood, spleen, and lungs of PCSK9-WD hu-mice, while splenic and circulating regulatory T cells were reduced. These data show that moderately high plasma cholesterol can disrupt human T cell homeostasis in vivo. This process may not only exacerbate atherosclerosis but also contribute to T cell-mediated inflammatory diseases in the setting of hypercholesterolemia.
Jonathan D. Proto, Amanda C. Doran, Manikandan Subramanian, Hui Wang, Mingyou Zhang, Erdi Sozen, Christina Rymond, George Kuriakose, Vivette D'Agati, Robert Winchester, Megan Sykes, Yong-Guang Yang, Ira Tabas
Genetic forms of vitamin D–dependent rickets (VDDRs) are due to mutations impairing activation of vitamin D or decreasing vitamin D receptor responsiveness. Here we describe two unrelated patients with early-onset rickets, reduced serum levels of the vitamin D metabolites 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and deficient responsiveness to parent and activated forms of vitamin D. Neither patient had a mutation in any genes known to cause VDDR, however, using whole exome sequence analysis we identified a recurrent de novo missense mutation c.902T>C (p.I301T) in CYP3A4 in both subjects that alters the conformation of substrate-recognition-site 4 (SRS-4). In vitro, the mutant CYP3A4 oxidized 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D with 10-fold greater activity than wild-type CYP3A4 and 2-fold greater activity than CYP24A1, the principal inactivator of vitamin D metabolites. As CYP3A4 mutations have not previously been linked to rickets, these findings provide new insight into vitamin D metabolism, and demonstrate that accelerated inactivation of vitamin D metabolites represents a previously undescribed mechanism for vitamin D deficiency.
Jeffrey D. Roizen, Dong Li, Lauren O'Lear, Muhammad K. Javaid, Nicholas J. Shaw, Peter R. Ebeling, Hanh H. Nguyen, Christine P. Rodda, Kenneth E. Thummel, Tom D Thacher, Hakon Hakonarson, Michael A. Levine
Immune evasion and the suppression of anti-tumor responses during cancer progression are considered hallmarks of cancer and are typically attributed to tumor-derived factors. Although the molecular basis for the crosstalk between tumor and immune cells is an area of active investigation, whether host-specific germline variants can dictate immunosuppressive mechanisms has remained a challenge to address. A commonly occurring germline mutation (c.1162G>A/rs351855 G/A) in the FGFR4 (CD334) gene enhances STAT3 signaling and is associated with poor prognosis and accelerated progression of multiple cancer types. Here, using rs351855 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) knock-in transgenic mice and Fgfr4 knockout mice, we reveal the genotype-specific gain of immunological function of suppressing the CD8/CD4+FOXP3+CD25+ve regulatory T cell ratio in vivo. Furthermore, using knock-in transgenic mouse models for lung and breast cancers, we establish the host-specific tumor-extrinsic functions of STAT3-enhancing germline variants in impeding the tumor infiltration of CD8 T cells. Thus, STAT3-enhancing germline receptor variants contribute to immune evasion through their pleiotropic functions in immune cells.
Daniel Kogan, Alexander Grabner, Christopher Yanucil, Christian Faul, Vijay Kumar Ulaganathan
T cells specific for neoantigens encoded by mutated genes in cancers are increasingly recognized as mediators of tumor destruction after immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy or adoptive cell transfer. Unfortunately, most neoantigens result from random mutations and are patient specific, and some cancers contain few mutations to serve as potential antigens. We describe a patient with stage IV acral melanoma who obtained a complete response following adoptive transfer of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). Tumor exome sequencing surprisingly revealed less than 30 somatic mutations, including oncogenic BRAF V600E. Analysis of the specificity of TIL identified rare CD4 T cells specific for BRAFV600E and diverse CD8 T cells reactive to non-mutated self-antigens. These specificities increased in blood after TIL transfer and persisted long term suggesting they contributed to the effective antitumor immune response. Gene transfer of the BRAFV600E-specific T cell receptor (TCR) conferred recognition of class II MHC positive cells expressing the BRAF mutation. Therapy with TCR engineered BRAFV600E-specific CD4+ T cells may have direct antitumor effects and augment CD8+ T cell responses to self and/or mutated tumor antigens in patients with BRAF mutated cancers.
Joshua R. Veatch, Sylvia M. Lee, Matthew Fitzgibbon, I-Ting Chow, Brenda Jesernig, Thomas Schmitt, Ying Ying Kong, Julia Kargl, A. McGarry Houghton, John A. Thompson, Martin McIntosh, William W. Kwok, Stanley R. Riddell
Combination checkpoint blockade (CCB) targeting inhibitory CTLA4 and PD1 receptors holds promise for cancer therapy. Immune-related adverse events (IRAEs) remain a major obstacle for the optimal application of CCB in cancer. Here, we analyzed B cell changes in patients with melanoma following treatment with either anti-CTLA4 or anti-PD1, or in combination. CCB therapy led to changes in circulating B cells that were detectable after the first cycle of therapy and characterized by a decline in circulating B cells and an increase in CD21lo B cells and plasmablasts. PD1 expression was higher in the CD21lo B cells, and B cell receptor sequencing of these cells demonstrated greater clonality and a higher frequency of clones compared with CD21hi cells. CCB induced proliferation in the CD21lo compartment, and single-cell RNA sequencing identified B cell activation in cells with genomic profiles of CD21lo B cells in vivo. Increased clonality of circulating B cells following CCB occurred in some patients. Treatment-induced changes in B cells preceded and correlated with both the frequency and timing of IRAEs. Patients with early B cell changes experienced higher rates of grade 3 or higher IRAEs 6 months after CCB. Thus, early changes in B cells following CCB may identify patients who are at increased risk of IRAEs, and preemptive strategies targeting B cells may reduce toxicities in these patients.
Rituparna Das, Noffar Bar, Michelle Ferreira, Aaron M. Newman, Lin Zhang, Jithendra Kini Bailur, Antonella Bacchiocchi, Harriet Kluger, Wei Wei, Ruth Halaban, Mario Sznol, Madhav V. Dhodapkar, Kavita M. Dhodapkar
Nearly 50% of prostate cancers harbor gene fusions that lead to overexpression of the transcription factor ERG, while a mutually exclusive 10% of prostate cancers harbor recurrent mutations in the gene encoding the E3 ubiquitin ligase SPOP. Recent reports suggest that SPOP acts as a ubiquitin ligase for ERG and propose that ERG stabilization is the oncogenic effector of SPOP mutation. Here, we used human prostate cancer samples and showed that the vast majority of human SPOP-mutant cancers do not express ERG. Comparison of SPOP-mutant and ERG-fusion organoid models showed evidence of divergent, rather than common, transcriptional programs. Furthermore, expression of prostate cancer–associated SPOP mutations in genetically engineered mouse models of SPOP-mutant prostate cancer did not result in the expression of ERG protein in histologically normal prostate glands, high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, invasive adenocarcinoma, or prostate organoids. In summary, we found no evidence that ERG is an effector of SPOP mutation in human prostate cancer or mouse models.
Jonathan Shoag, Deli Liu, Mirjam Blattner, Andrea Sboner, Kyung Park, Lesa Deonarine, Brian D. Robinson, Juan Miguel Mosquera, Yu Chen, Mark A. Rubin, Christopher E. Barbieri
Medulloblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the cerebellum, is among the most common pediatric brain tumors. Approximately one-third of medulloblastomas are associated with misactivation of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway. GLI family zinc finger 2 (GLI2) coordinates the Hh transcriptional program; however, the GLI2 targets that promote cancer cell proliferation are unknown. Here, we incorporated a Gli2-EGFP allele into 2 different genetic mouse models of Hh-associated medulloblastoma. Hh signaling induced GLI2 binding to the Cdk6 promoter and activated Cdk6 expression, thereby promoting uncontrolled cell proliferation. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of CDK6 in mice repressed the growth of Hh-associated medulloblastoma and prolonged survival through inhibition of cell proliferation. In human medulloblastoma, misactivation of Hh signaling was associated with high levels of CDK6, pointing to CDK6 as a direct transcriptional target of the Hh pathway. These results suggest that CDK6 antagonists may be a promising therapeutic approach for Hh-associated medulloblastoma in humans.
David R. Raleigh, Pervinder K. Choksi, Alexis Leigh Krup, Wasima Mayer, Nicole Santos, Jeremy F. Reiter
Primary immunodeficiencies are often monogenic disorders characterized by vulnerability to specific infectious pathogens. Here, we performed whole-exome sequencing of a patient with disseminated Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Streptococcus viridians bacteremia, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia and identified mutations in 2 genes that regulate distinct IFN pathways. The patient had a homozygous frameshift deletion in IFNGR2, which encodes the signal transducing chain of the IFN-γ receptor, that resulted in minimal protein expression and abolished downstream signaling. The patient also harbored a homozygous deletion in IFNAR1 (IFNAR1*557Gluext*46), which encodes the IFN-α receptor signaling subunit. The IFNAR1*557Gluext*46 resulted in replacement of the stop codon with 46 additional codons at the C-terminus. The level of IFNAR1*557Gluext*46 mutant protein expressed in patient fibroblasts was comparable to levels of WT IFNAR1 in control fibroblasts. IFN-α–induced signaling was impaired in the patient fibroblasts, as evidenced by decreased STAT1/STAT2 phosphorylation, nuclear translocation of STAT1, and expression of IFN-α–stimulated genes critical for CMV immunity. Pretreatment with IFN-α failed to suppress CMV protein expression in patient fibroblasts, whereas expression of WT IFNAR1 restored IFN-α–mediated suppression of CMV. This study identifies a human IFNAR1 mutation and describes a digenic immunodeficiency specific to type I and type II IFNs.
Rodrigo Hoyos-Bachiloglu, Janet Chou, Catherine N. Sodroski, Abdallah Beano, Wayne Bainter, Magdalena Angelova, Eman Al Idrissi, Murad K. Habazi, Hamza Ali Alghamdi, Fahd Almanjomi, Mohamed Al Shehri, Nagi Elsidig, Morsi Alaa Eldin, David M. Knipe, Mofareh AlZahrani, Raif S. Geha
Olfactory receptors (ORs) are present in tissues outside the olfactory system; however, the function of these receptors remains relatively unknown. Here, we determined that olfactory receptor 544 (Olfr544) is highly expressed in the liver and adipose tissue of mice and regulates cellular energy metabolism and obesity. Azelaic acid (AzA), an Olfr544 ligand, specifically induced PKA-dependent lipolysis in adipocytes and promoted fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and ketogenesis in liver, thus shifting the fuel preference to fats. After 6 weeks of administration, mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) exhibited a marked reduction in adiposity. AzA treatment induced expression of PPAR-α and genes required for FAO in the liver and induced the expression of PPAR-γ coactivator 1-α (Ppargc1a) and uncoupling protein-1 (Ucp1) genes in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Moreover, treatment with AzA increased insulin sensitivity and ketone body levels. This led to a reduction in the respiratory quotient and an increase in the FAO rate, as indicated by indirect calorimetry. AzA treatment had similar antiobesogenic effects in HFD-fed ob/ob mice. Importantly, AzA-associated metabolic changes were completely abrogated in HFD-fed Olfr544–/– mice. To our knowledge, this is the first report to show that Olfr544 orchestrates the metabolic interplay between the liver and adipose tissue, mobilizing stored fats from adipose tissue and shifting the fuel preference to fats in the liver and BAT.
Chunyan Wu, Su Hyeon Hwang, Yaoyao Jia, Joobong Choi, Yeon-Ji Kim, Dahee Choi, Duleepa Pathiraja, In-Geol Choi, Seung-Hoi Koo, Sung-Joon Lee
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