Concise Communication

Abstract

Primary myelofibrosis (PMF) is a clonal hematologic malignancy characterized by BM fibrosis, extramedullary hematopoiesis, circulating CD34+ cells, splenomegaly, and a propensity to evolve to acute myeloid leukemia. Moreover, the spleen and BM of patients harbor atypical, clustered megakaryocytes, which contribute to the disease by secreting profibrotic cytokines. Here, we have revealed that megakaryocytes in PMF show impaired maturation that is associated with reduced GATA1 protein. In investigating the cause of GATA1 downregulation, our gene-expression study revealed the presence of the RPS14-deficient gene signature, which is associated with defective ribosomal protein function and linked to the erythroid lineage in 5q deletion myelodysplastic syndrome. Surprisingly, reduced GATA1 expression and impaired differentiation were limited to megakaryocytes, consistent with a proproliferative effect of a GATA1 deficiency on this lineage. Importantly, expression of GATA1 effectively rescued maturation of PMF megakaryocytes. Together, these results suggest that ribosomal deficiency contributes to impaired megakaryopoiesis in myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Authors

Laure Gilles, Ahmet Dirim Arslan, Christian Marinaccio, Qiang Jeremy Wen, Priyanka Arya, Maureen McNulty, Qiong Yang, Jonathan C. Zhao, Katerina Konstantinoff, Terra Lasho, Animesh Pardanani, Brady Stein, Isabelle Plo, Sriram Sundaravel, Amittha Wickrema, Annarita Migliaccio, Sandeep Gurbuxani, William Vainchenker, Leonidas C. Platanias, Ayalew Tefferi, John D. Crispino

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Abstract

Germline coding mutations in different telomere-related genes have been linked to autosomal-dominant familial pulmonary fibrosis. Individuals with these inherited mutations demonstrate incomplete penetrance of clinical phenotypes affecting the lung, blood, liver, skin, and other organs. Here, we describe the somatic acquisition of promoter mutations in telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) in blood leukocytes of approximately 5% of individuals with inherited loss-of-function coding mutations in TERT or poly(A)-specific ribonuclease (PARN), another gene linked to telomerase function. While these promoter mutations were initially identified as oncogenic drivers of cancer, individuals expressing the mutations have no history of cancer. Neither promoter mutation was found in population-based cohorts of similar or advanced age. The TERT promoter mutations were found more frequently in cis with the WT allele than was the TERT coding sequence mutation. EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid B cell lines (LCLs) derived from subjects with TERT promoter mutations showed increased telomerase expression and activity compared with cell lines from family members with identical coding mutations. TERT promoter mutations resulted in an increased proliferation of LCLs and demonstrated positive selection over time. The persistence and recurrence of noncoding gain-of-function mutations in these cases suggests that telomerase activation is not only safely tolerated but also advantageous for clonal expansion.

Authors

Lindley Maryoung, Yangbo Yue, Ashley Young, Chad A. Newton, Cindy Barba, Nicolai S. C. van Oers, Richard C. Wang, Christine Kim Garcia

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Abstract

Current strategies for HIV-1 eradication require the reactivation of latent HIV-1 in resting CD4+ T cells (rCD4s). Global T cell activation is a well-characterized means of inducing HIV-1 transcription, but is considered too toxic for clinical applications. Here, we have explored a strategy that involves a combination of immune activation and the immunosuppressive mTOR inhibitor rapamycin. In purified rCD4s from HIV-1–infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy, rapamycin treatment downregulated markers of toxicity, including proinflammatory cytokine release and cellular proliferation that were induced after potent T cell activation using αCD3/αCD28 antibodies. Using an ex vivo assay for HIV-1 mRNA, we demonstrated that despite this immunomodulatory effect, rapamycin did not affect HIV-1 gene expression induced by T cell activation in these rCD4s. In contrast, treating activated rCD4s with the immunosuppressant cyclosporin, a calcineurin inhibitor, robustly inhibited HIV-1 reactivation. Importantly, rapamycin treatment did not impair cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) recognition and killing of infected cells. These findings raise the possibility of using rapamycin in conjunction with T cell–activating agents in HIV-1 cure strategies.

Authors

Alyssa R. Martin, Ross A. Pollack, Adam Capoferri, Richard F. Ambinder, Christine M. Durand, Robert F. Siliciano

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Abstract

The BM niche comprises a tightly controlled microenvironment formed by specific tissue and cells that regulates the behavior of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Here, we have provided a 3D model that is tunable in different BM niche components and useful, both in vitro and in vivo, for studying the maintenance of normal and malignant hematopoiesis. Using scaffolds, we tested the capacity of different stromal cell types to support human HSCs. Scaffolds coated with human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) proved to be superior in terms of HSC engraftment and long-term maintenance when implanted in vivo. Moreover, we found that hMSC-coated scaffolds can be modulated to form humanized bone tissue, which was also able to support human HSC engraftment. Importantly, hMSC-coated humanized scaffolds were able to support the growth of leukemia patient cells in vivo, including the growth of samples that would not engraft the BM of immunodeficient mice. These results demonstrate that an s.c. implantation approach in a 3D carrier scaffold seeded with stromal cells is an effective in vivo niche model for studying human hematopoiesis. The various niche components of this model can be changed depending on the context to improve the engraftment of nonengrafting acute myeloid leukemia (AML) samples.

Authors

Ander Abarrategi, Katie Foster, Ashley Hamilton, Syed A. Mian, Diana Passaro, John Gribben, Ghulam Mufti, Dominique Bonnet

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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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