Concise Communication

Abstract

Atherothrombotic vascular disease is often triggered by a distinct type of atherosclerotic lesion that displays features of impaired inflammation resolution, notably a necrotic core and thinning of a protective fibrous cap that overlies the core. A key cause of plaque necrosis is defective clearance of apoptotic cells, or efferocytosis, by lesional macrophages, but the mechanisms underlying defective efferocytosis and its possible links to impaired resolution in atherosclerosis are incompletely understood. Here, we provide evidence that proteolytic cleavage of the macrophage efferocytosis receptor c-Mer tyrosine kinase (MerTK) reduces efferocytosis and promotes plaque necrosis and defective resolution. In human carotid plaques, MerTK cleavage correlated with plaque necrosis and the presence of ischemic symptoms. Moreover, in fat-fed LDL receptor–deficient (Ldlr–/–) mice whose myeloid cells expressed a cleavage-resistant variant of MerTK, atherosclerotic lesions exhibited higher macrophage MerTK, lower levels of the cleavage product soluble Mer, improved efferocytosis, smaller necrotic cores, thicker fibrous caps, and increased ratio of proresolving versus proinflammatory lipid mediators. These findings provide a plausible molecular-cellular mechanism that contributes to defective efferocytosis, plaque necrosis, and impaired resolution during the progression of atherosclerosis.

Authors

Bishuang Cai, Edward B. Thorp, Amanda C. Doran, Brian E. Sansbury, Mat J.A.P. Daemen, Bernhard Dorweiler, Matthew Spite, Gabrielle Fredman, Ira Tabas

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Abstract

Stroke is one of the most common diseases and a leading cause of death and disability. Cessation of cerebral blood flow (CBF) leads to cell death in the infarct core, but tissue surrounding the core has the potential to recover if local reductions in CBF are restored. In these areas, detrimental peri-infarct depolarizations (PIDs) contribute to secondary infarct growth and negatively affect stroke outcome. However, the cellular pathways underlying PIDs have remained unclear. Here, we have used in vivo multiphoton microscopy, laser speckle imaging of CBF, and electrophysiological recordings in a mouse model of focal ischemia to demonstrate that PIDs are associated with a strong increase of intracellular calcium in astrocytes and neurons. We found that astroglial calcium elevations during PIDs are mediated by inositol triphosphate receptor type 2–dependent (IP3R2-dependent) release from internal stores. Importantly, Ip3r2-deficient mice displayed a reduction of PID frequency and overall PID burden and showed increased neuronal survival after stroke. These effects were not related to local CBF changes in response to PIDs. However, we showed that the release and extracellular accumulation of glutamate during PIDs is strongly curtailed in Ip3r2-deficient mice, resulting in ameliorated calcium overload in neurons and astrocytes. Together, these data implicate astroglial calcium pathways as potential targets for stroke therapy.

Authors

Cordula Rakers, Gabor C. Petzold

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Abstract

Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is a cancer predisposition disorder caused by germline mutations in TP53 that can lead to increased mitochondrial metabolism in patients. However, the implications of altered mitochondrial function for tumorigenesis in LFS are unclear. Here, we have reported that genetic or pharmacologic disruption of mitochondrial respiration improves cancer-free survival in a mouse model of LFS that expresses mutant p53. Mechanistically, inhibition of mitochondrial function increased autophagy and decreased the aberrant proliferation signaling caused by mutant p53. In a pilot study, LFS patients treated with metformin exhibited decreases in mitochondrial activity concomitant with activation of antiproliferation signaling, thus reproducing the effects of disrupting mitochondrial function observed in LFS mice. These observations indicate that a commonly prescribed diabetic medicine can restrain mitochondrial metabolism and tumorigenesis in an LFS model, supporting its further consideration for cancer prevention in LFS patients.

Authors

Ping-yuan Wang, Jie Li, Farzana L. Walcott, Ju-Gyeong Kang, Matthew F. Starost, S. Lalith Talagala, Jie Zhuang, Ji-Hoon Park, Rebecca D. Huffstutler, Christina M. Bryla, Phuong L. Mai, Michael Pollak, Christina M. Annunziata, Sharon A. Savage, Antonio Tito Fojo, Paul M. Hwang

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Abstract

Homeostatic control of tissue oxygenation is achieved largely through changes in blood flow that are regulated by the classic physiological response of hypoxic vasodilation. The role of nitric oxide (NO) in the control of blood flow is a central tenet of cardiovascular biology. However, extensive evidence now indicates that hypoxic vasodilation entails S-nitrosothiol–based (SNO-based) vasoactivity (rather than NO per se) and that this activity is conveyed substantially by the βCys93 residue in hemoglobin. Thus, tissue oxygenation in the respiratory cycle is dependent on S-nitrosohemoglobin. This perspective predicts that red blood cells (RBCs) may play an important but previously undescribed role in cardioprotection. Here, we have found that cardiac injury and mortality in models of myocardial infarction and heart failure were greatly enhanced in mice lacking βCys93 S-nitrosylation. In addition, βCys93 mutant mice exhibited adaptive collateralization of cardiac vasculature that mitigated ischemic injury and predicted outcomes after myocardial infarction. Enhanced myopathic injury and mortality across different etiologies in the absence of βCys93 confirm the central cardiovascular role of RBC-derived SNO-based vasoactivity and point to a potential locus of therapeutic intervention. Our findings also suggest the possibility that RBCs may play a previously unappreciated role in heart disease.

Authors

Rongli Zhang, Douglas T. Hess, James D. Reynolds, Jonathan S. Stamler

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Abstract

Radioiodide (RAI) therapy of thyroid cancer exploits the relatively selective ability of thyroid cells to transport and accumulate iodide. Iodide uptake requires expression of critical genes that are involved in various steps of thyroid hormone biosynthesis. ERK signaling, which is markedly increased in thyroid cancer cells driven by oncogenic BRAF, represses the genetic program that enables iodide transport. Here, we determined that a critical threshold for inhibition of MAPK signaling is required to optimally restore expression of thyroid differentiation genes in thyroid cells and in mice with BrafV600E-induced thyroid cancer. Although the MEK inhibitor selumetinib transiently inhibited ERK signaling, which subsequently rebounded, the MEK inhibitor CKI suppressed ERK signaling in a sustained manner by preventing RAF reactivation. A small increase in ERK inhibition markedly increased the expression of thyroid differentiation genes, increased iodide accumulation in cancer cells, and thereby improved responses to RAI therapy. Only a short exposure to the drug was necessary to obtain a maximal response to RAI. These data suggest that potent inhibition of ERK signaling is required to adequately induce iodide uptake and indicate that this is a promising strategy for the treatment of BRAF-mutant thyroid cancer.

Authors

James Nagarajah, Mina Le, Jeffrey A. Knauf, Giuseppe Ferrandino, Cristina Montero-Conde, Nagavarakishore Pillarsetty, Alexander Bolaender, Christopher Irwin, Gnana Prakasam Krishnamoorthy, Mahesh Saqcena, Steven M. Larson, Alan L. Ho, Venkatraman Seshan, Nobuya Ishii, Nancy Carrasco, Neal Rosen, Wolfgang A. Weber, James A. Fagin

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Abstract

Autonomous thyroid adenomas (ATAs) are a frequent cause of hyperthyroidism. Mutations in the genes encoding the TSH receptor (TSHR) or the Gs protein α subunit (GNAS) are found in approximately 70% of ATAs. The involvement of other genes and the pathogenesis of the remaining cases are presently unknown. Here, we performed whole-exome sequencing in 19 ATAs that were paired with normal DNA samples and identified a recurrent hot-spot mutation (c.1712A>G; p.Gln571Arg) in the enhancer of zeste homolog 1 (EZH1) gene, which codes for a catalytic subunit of the polycomb complex. Targeted screening in an independent cohort confirmed that this mutation occurs with high frequency (27%) in ATAs. EZH1 mutations were strongly associated with known (TSHR, GNAS) or presumed (adenylate cyclase 9 [ADCY9]) alterations in cAMP pathway genes. Furthermore, functional studies revealed that the p.Gln571Arg EZH1 mutation caused increased histone H3 trimethylation and increased proliferation of thyroid cells. In summary, this study revealed that a hot-spot mutation in EZH1 is the second most frequent genetic alteration in ATAs. The association between EZH1 and TSHR mutations suggests a 2-hit model for the pathogenesis of these tumors, whereby constitutive activation of the cAMP pathway and EZH1 mutations cooperate to induce the hyperproliferation of thyroid cells.

Authors

Davide Calebiro, Elisa S. Grassi, Markus Eszlinger, Cristina L. Ronchi, Amod Godbole, Kerstin Bathon, Fabiana Guizzardi, Tiziana de Filippis, Knut Krohn, Holger Jaeschke, Thomas Schwarzmayr, Rifat Bircan, Hulya Iliksu Gozu, Seda Sancak, Marek Niedziela, Tim M. Strom, Martin Fassnacht, Luca Persani, Ralf Paschke

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Abstract

Fanconi anemia (FA) is a recessive genetic disease characterized by congenital abnormalities, chromosome instability, progressive bone marrow failure (BMF), and a strong predisposition to cancer. Twenty FA genes have been identified, and the FANC proteins they encode cooperate in a common pathway that regulates DNA crosslink repair and replication fork stability. We identified a child with severe BMF who harbored biallelic inactivating mutations of the translesion DNA synthesis (TLS) gene REV7 (also known as MAD2L2), which encodes the mutant REV7 protein REV7-V85E. Patient-derived cells demonstrated an extended FA phenotype, which included increased chromosome breaks and G2/M accumulation upon exposure to DNA crosslinking agents, γH2AX and 53BP1 foci accumulation, and enhanced p53/p21 activation relative to cells derived from healthy patients. Expression of WT REV7 restored normal cellular and functional phenotypes in the patient’s cells, and CRISPR/Cas9 inactivation of REV7 in a non-FA human cell line produced an FA phenotype. Finally, silencing Rev7 in primary hematopoietic cells impaired progenitor function, suggesting that the DNA repair defect underlies the development of BMF in FA. Taken together, our genetic and functional analyses identified REV7 as a previously undescribed FA gene, which we term FANCV.

Authors

Dominique Bluteau, Julien Masliah-Planchon, Connor Clairmont, Alix Rousseau, Raphael Ceccaldi, Catherine Dubois d’Enghien, Olivier Bluteau, Wendy Cuccuini, Stéphanie Gachet, Régis Peffault de Latour, Thierry Leblanc, Gérard Socié, André Baruchel, Dominique Stoppa-Lyonnet, Alan D. D’Andrea, Jean Soulier

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Abstract

The telomerase RNA component (TERC) is a critical determinant of cellular self-renewal. Poly(A)-specific ribonuclease (PARN) is required for posttranscriptional maturation of TERC. PARN mutations lead to incomplete 3′ end processing and increased destruction of nascent TERC RNA transcripts, resulting in telomerase deficiency and telomere diseases. Here, we determined that overexpression of TERC increased telomere length in PARN-deficient cells and hypothesized that decreasing posttranscriptional 3′ oligo-adenylation of TERC would counteract the deleterious effects of PARN mutations. Inhibition of the noncanonical poly(A) polymerase PAP-associated domain–containing 5 (PAPD5) increased TERC levels in PARN-mutant patient cells. PAPD5 inhibition was also associated with increases in TERC stability, telomerase activity, and telomere elongation. Our results demonstrate that manipulating posttranscriptional regulatory pathways may be a potential strategy to reverse the molecular hallmarks of telomere disease.

Authors

Baris Boyraz, Diane H. Moon, Matthew Segal, Maud Z. Muosieyiri, Asli Aykanat, Albert K. Tai, Patrick Cahan, Suneet Agarwal

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Abstract

Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is the primary cause of bacterial meningitis. Pneumococcal bacteria penetrates the blood-brain barrier (BBB), but the bacterial factors that enable this process are not known. Here, we determined that expression of pneumococcal pilus-1, which includes the pilus adhesin RrgA, promotes bacterial penetration through the BBB in a mouse model. S. pneumoniae that colonized the respiratory epithelium and grew in the bloodstream were chains of variable lengths; however, the pneumococci that entered the brain were division-competent, spherical, single cocci that expressed adhesive RrgA–containing pili. The cell division protein DivIVA, which is required for an ovoid shape, was localized at the poles and septum of pneumococcal chains of ovoid, nonseparated bacteria, but was absent in spherical, single cocci. In the bloodstream, a small percentage of pneumococci appeared as piliated, RrgA-expressing, DivIVA-negative single cocci, suggesting that only a minority of S. pneumoniae are poised to cross the BBB. Together, our data indicate that small bacterial cell size, which is signified by the absence of DivIVA, and the presence of an adhesive RrgA-containing pilus-1 mediate pneumococcal passage from the bloodstream through the BBB into the brain to cause lethal meningitis.

Authors

Federico Iovino, Disa L. Hammarlöf, Genevieve Garriss, Sarah Brovall, Priyanka Nannapaneni, Birgitta Henriques-Normark

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Abstract

Pain is a life-long symptom in sickle cell disease (SCD) and a predictor of disease progression and mortality, but little is known about its molecular mechanisms. Here, we characterized pain in a targeted knockin mouse model of SCD (TOW mouse) that exclusively expresses human alleles encoding normal α- and sickle β-globin. TOW mice exhibited ongoing spontaneous pain behavior and increased sensitivity to evoked pain compared with littermate control mice expressing normal human hemoglobins. PKCδ activation was elevated in the superficial laminae of the spinal cord dorsal horn in TOW mice, specifically in GABAergic inhibitory neurons. Functional inhibition and neuron-specific silencing of PKCδ attenuated spontaneous pain, mechanical allodynia, and heat hyperalgesia in TOW mice. Furthermore, we took a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation approach to generating a SCD model in PKCδ-deficient mice. Neither spontaneous pain nor evoked pain was detected in the mice lacking PKCδ despite full establishment of SCD phenotypes. These findings support a critical role of spinal PKCδ in the development of chronic pain in SCD, which may become a potential target for pharmacological interventions.

Authors

Ying He, Diana J. Wilkie, Jonathan Nazari, Rui Wang, Robert O. Messing, Joseph DeSimone, Robert E. Molokie, Zaijie Jim Wang

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