Immunotherapies harness the cytotoxic functions of CD8+ T cells to exert a robust anti-tumor response, but inadequate T cell infiltration within the tumor microenvironment can limit clinical efficacy. Markosyan, Li, and colleagues report that tumors expressing the ephrin receptor EPHA2 have poor T cell infiltration as well as poor response to checkpoint immunotherapy. Targeting an immunosuppressive EPHA2/PTGS2 axis restored the efficacy of immunotherapy in a mouse model of therapy-resistant pancreatic ductal carcinoma. The cover image illustrates the dichotomy between immunologically “hot” and “cold” tumors as a yin and yang, with prominent infiltration by T cells (red fish) or myeloid cells (blue fish). In cold tumors, cancer cells (lily pads) express EPHA2 and PTGS2 (flowers), tipping the balance toward a noninflamed phenotype. The abundance and activity of infiltrating T cells predicts response to immunotherapy. Image credit: Yuheng Ouyang.
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Sherita Hill Golden
Whitney H. Beeler, Lilia M. Cortina, Reshma Jagsi
David R. Walt
The distribution of telomere length in humans is broad, but it has finite upper and lower boundaries. Growing evidence shows that there are disease processes that are caused by both short and long telomere length extremes. The genetic basis of these short and long telomere syndromes may be linked to mutations in the same genes, such as the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), but through differential effects on telomere length. Short telomere syndromes have a predominant degenerative phenotype marked by organ failure that most commonly manifests as pulmonary fibrosis and are associated with a relatively low cancer incidence. In contrast, insights from studies of cancer-prone families as well as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified both rare and common variants that lengthen telomeres as being strongly associated with cancer risk. We have hypothesized that these cancers represent a long telomere syndrome that is associated with a high penetrance of cutaneous melanoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In this Review, we will synthesize the clinical and human genetic observations with data from mouse models to define the role of telomeres in cancer etiology and biology.
Emily J. McNally, Paz J. Luncsford, Mary Armanios
Vaccine development against tuberculosis (TB) is based on the induction of adaptive immune responses endowed with long-term memory against mycobacterial antigens. Memory B and T cells initiate a rapid and robust immune response upon encounter with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, thus achieving long-lasting protection against infection. Recent studies have shown, however, that innate immune cell populations such as myeloid cells and NK cells also undergo functional adaptation after infection or vaccination, a de facto innate immune memory that is also termed trained immunity. Experimental and epidemiological data have shown that induction of trained immunity contributes to the beneficial heterologous effects of vaccines such as bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the licensed TB vaccine. Moreover, increasing evidence argues that trained immunity also contributes to the anti-TB effects of BCG vaccination. An interaction among immunological signals, metabolic rewiring, and epigenetic reprogramming underlies the molecular mechanisms mediating trained immunity in myeloid cells and their bone marrow progenitors. Future studies are warranted to explore the untapped potential of trained immunity to develop a future generation of TB vaccines that would combine innate and adaptive immune memory induction.
Shabaana A. Khader, Maziar Divangahi, Willem Hanekom, Philip C. Hill, Markus Maeurer, Karen W. Makar, Katrin D. Mayer-Barber, Musa M. Mhlanga, Elisa Nemes, Larry S. Schlesinger, Reinout van Crevel, Ramakrishna Vankalayapati, Ramnik J. Xavier, Mihai G. Netea, on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for TB Vaccine Discovery Innate Immunity Working Group18
IgG antibodies are secreted from B cells and bind to a variety of pathogens to control infections as well as contribute to inflammatory diseases. Many of the functions of IgGs are mediated through Fcγ receptors (FcγRs), which transduce interactions with immune complexes, leading to a variety of cellular outcomes depending on the FcγRs and cell types engaged. Which FcγRs and cell types will be engaged during an immune response depends on the structure of Fc domains within immune complexes that are formed when IgGs bind to cognate antigen(s). Recent studies have revealed an unexpected degree of structural variability in IgG Fc domains among people, driven primarily by differences in IgG subclasses and N-linked glycosylation of the CH2 domain. This translates, in turn, to functional immune diversification through type I and type II FcγR–mediated cellular functions. For example, Fc domain sialylation triggers conformational changes of IgG1 that enable interactions with type II FcγRs; these receptors mediate cellular functions including antiinflammatory activity or definition of thresholds for B cell selection based on B cell receptor affinity. Similarly, presence or absence of a core fucose alters type I FcγR binding of IgG1 by modulating the Fc’s affinity for FcγRIIIa, thereby altering its proinflammatory activity. How heterogeneity in IgG Fc domains contributes to human immune diversity is now being elucidated, including impacts on vaccine responses and susceptibility to disease and its sequelae during infections. Here, we discuss how Fc structures arising from sialylation and fucosylation impact immunity, focusing on responses to vaccination and infection. We also review work defining individual differences in Fc glycosylation, regulation of Fc glycosylation, and clinical implications of these pathways.
Taia T. Wang, Jeffrey V. Ravetch
Natural killer (NK) cells are innate cytotoxic lymphocytes involved in the surveillance and elimination of cancer. As we have learned more and more about the mechanisms NK cells employ to recognize and eliminate tumor cells, and how, in turn, cancer evades NK cell responses, we have gained a clear appreciation that NK cells can be harnessed in cancer immunotherapy. Here, we review the evidence for NK cells’ critical role in combating transformed and malignant cells, and how cancer immunotherapies potentiate NK cell responses for therapeutic purposes. We highlight cutting-edge immunotherapeutic strategies in preclinical and clinical development such as adoptive NK cell transfer, chimeric antigen receptor–expressing NK cells (CAR-NKs), bispecific and trispecific killer cell engagers (BiKEs and TriKEs), checkpoint blockade, and oncolytic virotherapy. Further, we describe the challenges that NK cells face (e.g., postsurgical dysfunction) that must be overcome by these therapeutic modalities to achieve cancer clearance.
Jonathan J. Hodgins, Sarwat T. Khan, Maria M. Park, Rebecca C. Auer, Michele Ardolino
Patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes have an insufficiency in their functional β cell mass. To advance diabetes treatment and to work toward a cure, a better understanding of how to protect the pancreatic β cells against autoimmune or metabolic assaults (e.g., obesity, gestation) will be required. Over the past decades, β cell protection has been extensively investigated in rodents both in vivo and in vitro using isolated islets or rodent β cell lines. Transferring these rodent data to humans has long been challenging, at least partly for technical reasons: primary human islet preparations were scarce and functional human β cell lines were lacking. In 2011, we described a robust protocol of targeted oncogenesis in human fetal pancreas and produced the first functional human β cell line, and in subsequent years additional lines with specific traits. These cell lines are currently used by more than 150 academic and industrial laboratories worldwide. In this Review, we first explain how we developed the human β cell lines and why we think we succeeded where others, despite major efforts, did not. Next, we discuss the use of such functional human β cell lines and share some perspectives on their use to advance diabetes research.
Raphael Scharfmann, Willem Staels, Olivier Albagli
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is projected to become the second-leading cause of cancer-related death and is largely resistant to immunotherapies. The tumor microenvironment, largely composed of heterogeneous myeloid cells, creates a physical, metabolic, and immunosuppressive barrier that prevents T cells from infiltrating cancer beds. In this issue of the JCI, Markosyan and colleagues have reported a tumor-intrinsic mechanism that excludes T cells from the vicinity of tumor cells. They showed that a receptor tyrosine kinase, ephrin-A receptor 2 (EPHA2), regulates prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2) (encodes COX-2) expression in a TGF-β signaling–dependent manner. Genetic ablation of Epha2 or Ptgs2 in preclinical models or pharmacological inhibition of COX-2 elicited the transformation of this immunosuppressive microenvironment into a T cell–permissive milieu. Consequent T cell relocation rendered this immunoresistant malignancy responsive to combinations of checkpoint blockers and CD40 agonists. Because the association between T cell infiltration and the EPHA2/TGF-β/COX-2 axis is supported by independent clinical data, these results provide a rationale for ensuing clinical trials aimed at incorporating pancreatic cancer into the range of immunotherapy-responsive tumors.
Jose R. Conejo-Garcia
The oxygen-sensing prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD) enzymes are key to maintaining tissue homeostasis during hypoxia via their regulation of the expression and activity of HIF, the master transcription factor for the hypoxic response. In this issue of the JCI, Yamamoto, Hester, and colleagues show that temporal and reversible inhibition of PHD2 in vivo leads to systemic autoimmune disorder. The work demonstrates that a reduction of PHD2 leads to impairment of immunosuppressive Treg function via a HIF2α-dependent mechanism, without altering Foxp3 expression. This study indicates that a PHD2/HIF2α axis is critical for maintaining proper Treg function.
Weiping Zou, Yatrik M. Shah
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing β cells in islets of Langerhans. Many genetic and immunological insights into autoimmune disease pathogenesis were initially uncovered in the context of T1D and facilitated by preclinical studies using the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse model. Recently, the study of T1D has led to the discovery of fatty acid esters of hydroxyl fatty acids (FAHFAs), which are naturally occurring hybrid peptides that modulate inflammation and diabetes pathogenesis, and a hybrid lymphocyte that expresses both B and T cell receptors. Palmitic acid esters of hydroxy stearic acids (PAHSAs) are the most extensively studied FAHFA. In this issue of the JCI, Syed et al. have shown that PAHSAs both attenuate autoimmune responses and promote β cell survival in NOD mice. Given the lack of effective T1D therapies and the paucity of known side effects of PAHSAs, this lipid may have therapeutic potential for individuals at risk for or newly diagnosed with T1D.
Abdel Rahim A. Hamad, Mohanraj Sadasivam, Hamid Rabb
Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) show selective degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and cholinergic neurons in the dorsal motor nucleus (DMnX), but the drivers of this specific susceptibility are unknown. In this issue of the JCI, Musgrove et al. report on their use of an impressive array of in vivo and ex vivo tools for interrogating DMnX neurons and demonstrate that this population exhibits enhanced sensitivity to oxidative stress. Remarkably, this sensitivity was amplified by the overexpression of α-Synuclein (α-Syn), a pathological protein in PD. They further show that oxidative stress augments cell-cell transfer of α-Syn, which may be an important mechanism underlying the development and progression of PD.
Kelvin C. Luk
Developing effective treatments for obesity and related metabolic disease remains a challenge. One logical strategy targets the appetite-regulating actions of gut hormones such as incretins. One of these incretins, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), has garnered much attention as a potential target: however, whether it is beneficial to boost or block the action of GIP to promote weight loss remains an unresolved question. In this issue of the JCI, Kaneko and colleagues show that antagonizing GIP signaling in the CNS enhances the weight-reducing effects of leptin in rodents with diet-induced obesity. The authors posit that an increase in circulating intestinally derived GIP, as a consequence of overnutrition, acts in the brain to impair hypothalamic leptin action, resulting in increased food intake and body weight gain. This research advances the idea that multiple GIP signaling pathways and mechanisms exist in the obese state and offers intriguing insights into the antiobesogenic consequences of antagonizing brain GIP action.
Jessica T.Y. Yue, Tony K.T. Lam
Identifying the factors driving disease disparities between males and females with multiple sclerosis (MS) holds great promise for deciphering immunopathogenic disease mechanisms. In this issue of JCI, Itoh et al. explore the basis for sexual dimorphism in autoimmunity, specifically in MS. Using the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of MS, which recapitulates CD4+ T cell–dependent disease, the authors examined the contribution of Kdm6a, a histone demethylase gene known to escape X inactivation. Conditional knockout in CD4+ T cells revealed Kdm6a involvement with a collection of immunologic processes having the potential to skew immunity toward inflammatory responses. This study concisely shows the value of X chromosome gene expression in T cell regulation of autoimmunity and the relevance of Kdm6a in the pathogenesis of EAE as a model of MS.
Gregory F. Wu
Clostridioides difficile is a significant public health threat, and diagnosis of this infection is challenging due to a lack of sensitivity in current diagnostic testing. In this issue of the JCI, Robinson et al. use a logistic regression model based on the fecal metabolome that is able to distinguish between patients with non–C. difficile diarrhea and C. difficile infection, and to some degree, patients who are asymptomatically colonized with C. difficile. The authors construct a metabolic definition of human C. difficile infection, which could improve diagnostic accuracy and aid in the development of targeted therapeutics against this pathogen.
Casey M. Theriot, Joshua R. Fletcher
Ghrelin is a key signal driving energy seeking and storage in order to reverse energy deficit. In line with this view, the metabolic status of an organism predicts sensitivity to ghrelin, with fasting increasing and obesity decreasing ghrelin sensitivity. However, the mechanism responsible for controlling this sensitivity is unknown. In this issue of the JCI, Mani and colleagues show that plasma levels of plasma liver-enriched antimicrobial peptide-2 (LEAP2), a recently identified hormone that antagonizes the ghrelin receptor, are inversely correlated with those of plasma acyl-ghrelin under conditions of both energy deficit and energy surplus in mice and humans. Their results show that a fall in plasma LEAP2 during energy deficit facilitates the actions of acyl-ghrelin, whereas increased LEAP2 in obesity suppresses the actions of acyl-ghrelin. This important discovery helps reshape our understanding of ghrelin function and may provide a new approach to aiding weight maintenance after diet-induced weight loss.
Zane B. Andrews
Combined germline and somatic second-hit inactivating mutations of the RASA1 gene, which encodes a negative regulator of the Ras signaling pathway, cause blood and lymphatic vascular lesions in the human autosomal-dominant vascular disorder capillary malformation–arteriovenous malformation (CM-AVM). How RASA1 mutations in endothelial cells (ECs) result in vascular lesions in CM-AVM is unknown. Here, using different murine models of RASA1 deficiency, we found that RASA1 was essential for the survival of ECs during developmental angiogenesis, in which primitive vascular plexuses are remodeled into hierarchical vascular networks. RASA1 was required for EC survival during developmental angiogenesis, because it was necessary for export of collagen IV from ECs and deposition in vascular basement membranes. In the absence of RASA1, dysregulated Ras/MAPK signal transduction in ECs resulted in impaired folding of collagen IV and its retention in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), leading to EC death. Remarkably, the chemical chaperone 4-phenylbutyric acid and small-molecule inhibitors of MAPK and 2-oxoglutarate–dependent collagen IV–modifying enzymes rescued ER retention of collagen IV and EC apoptosis and resulted in normal developmental angiogenesis. These findings have important implications for a better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of CM-AVM and possible means of treatment.
Di Chen, Joyce M. Teng, Paula E. North, Philip E. Lapinski, Philip D. King
BACKGROUND While the human fetal immune system defaults to a program of tolerance, there is a concurrent need for protective immunity to meet the antigenic challenges encountered after birth. Activation of T cells in utero is associated with the fetal inflammatory response, with broad implications for the health of the fetus and of the pregnancy. However, the characteristics of the fetal effector T cells that contribute to this process are largely unknown.METHODS We analyzed primary human fetal lymphoid and mucosal tissues and performed phenotypic, functional, and transcriptional analysis to identify T cells with proinflammatory potential. The frequency and function of fetal-specific effector T cells was assessed in the cord blood of infants with localized and systemic inflammatory pathologies and compared with that of healthy term controls.RESULTS We identified a transcriptionally distinct population of CD4+ T cells characterized by expression of the transcription factor promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF). PLZF+CD4+ T cells were specifically enriched in the fetal intestine, possessed an effector memory phenotype, and rapidly produced proinflammatory cytokines. Engagement of the C-type lectin CD161 on these cells inhibited TCR-dependent production of IFN-γ in a fetal-specific manner. IFN-γ–producing PLZF+CD4+ T cells were enriched in the cord blood of infants with gastroschisis, a natural model of chronic inflammation originating from the intestine, as well as in preterm birth, suggesting these cells contribute to fetal systemic immune activation.CONCLUSION Our work reveals a fetal-specific program of protective immunity whose dysregulation is associated with fetal and neonatal inflammatory pathologies.FUNDING This work was supported by the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Pilot Award for Basic and Translational Investigators (2014908), UCSF (K12HD072222), the NIAID (K08 AI128007 and 1F31AI136336-01), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (1650113 ), and an Academy for Medical Sciences Clinical Lecturer grant (535274).
Joanna Halkias, Elze Rackaityte, Sara L. Hillman, Dvir Aran, Ventura F. Mendoza, Lucy R. Marshall, Tippi C. MacKenzie, Trevor D. Burt
TAR DNA-binding protein 43 kDa (TDP-43), encoded by TARDBP, is an RNA-binding protein, the nuclear depletion of which is the histopathological hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting both upper and lower motor neurons. Besides motor symptoms, patients with ALS often develop nonneuronal signs including glucose intolerance, but the underlying pathomechanism is still controversial, i.e., whether it is impaired insulin secretion and/or insulin resistance. Here, we showed that ALS subjects reduced early-phase insulin secretion and that the nuclear localization of TDP-43 was lost in the islets of autopsied ALS pancreas. Loss of TDP-43 inhibited exocytosis by downregulating CaV1.2 calcium channels, thereby reducing early-phase insulin secretion in a cultured β cell line (MIN6) and β cell–specific Tardbp–knockout mice. Overexpression of CaV1.2 restored early-phase insulin secretion in Tardbp–knocked-down MIN6 cells. Our findings suggest that TDP-43 regulates cellular exocytosis mediated by L-type voltage–dependent calcium channels and, thus, plays an important role in the early phase of insulin secretion by pancreatic islets. Thus, nuclear loss of TDP-43 is implicated in not only the selective loss of motor neurons, but also in glucose intolerance due to impaired insulin secretion at an early stage of ALS.
Kunihiko Araki, Amane Araki, Daiyu Honda, Takako Izumoto, Atsushi Hashizume, Yasuhiro Hijikata, Shinichiro Yamada, Yohei Iguchi, Akitoshi Hara, Kazuhiro Ikumi, Kaori Kawai, Shinsuke Ishigaki, Yoko Nakamichi, Shin Tsunekawa, Yusuke Seino, Akiko Yamamoto, Yasunori Takayama, Shihomi Hidaka, Makoto Tominaga, Mica Ohara-Imaizumi, Atsushi Suzuki, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Atsushi Enomoto, Mari Yoshida, Hiroshi Arima, Shin-ichi Muramatsu, Gen Sobue, Masahisa Katsuno
Resistance to immunotherapy is one of the biggest problems of current oncotherapeutics. While T cell abundance is essential for tumor responsiveness to immunotherapy, factors that define the T cell–inflamed tumor microenvironment are not fully understood. We used an unbiased approach to identify tumor-intrinsic mechanisms shaping the immune tumor microenvironment (TME), focusing on pancreatic adenocarcinoma because it is refractory to immunotherapy and excludes T cells from the TME. From human tumors, we identified ephrin-A receptor 2 (EPHA2) as a candidate tumor-intrinsic driver of immunosuppression. Epha2 deletion reversed T cell exclusion and sensitized tumors to immunotherapy. We found that prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2), the gene encoding cyclooxygenase-2, lies downstream of EPHA2 signaling through TGF-β and is associated with poor patient survival. Ptgs2 deletion reversed T cell exclusion and sensitized tumors to immunotherapy; pharmacological inhibition of PTGS2 was similarly effective. Thus, EPHA2/PTGS2 signaling in tumor cells regulates tumor immune phenotypes; blockade may represent a therapeutic avenue for immunotherapy-refractory cancers. Our findings warrant clinical trials testing the effectiveness of therapies combining EPHA2/TGF-β/PTGS2 pathway inhibitors with antitumor immunotherapy and may change the treatment of notoriously therapy-resistant pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Nune Markosyan, Jinyang Li, Yu H. Sun, Lee P. Richman, Jeffrey H. Lin, Fangxue Yan, Liz Quinones, Yogev Sela, Taiji Yamazoe, Naomi Gordon, John W. Tobias, Katelyn T. Byrne, Andrew J. Rech, Garret A. FitzGerald, Ben Z. Stanger, Robert H. Vonderheide
Environmental triggers, including those from pathogens, are thought to play an important role in triggering autoimmune diseases, such as vasculitis, in genetically susceptible individuals. The mechanism by which activation of the innate immune system contributes to vessel-specific autoimmunity in vasculitis is not known. Systemic administration of Candida albicans water-soluble extract (CAWS) induces vasculitis in the aortic root and coronary arteries of mice that mimics human Kawasaki disease. We found that Dectin-2 signaling in macrophages resident in the aortic root of the heart induced early CCL2 production and the initial recruitment of CCR2+ inflammatory monocytes (iMos) into the aortic root and coronary arteries. iMos differentiated into monocyte-derived dendritic cells (Mo-DCs) in the vessel wall and were induced to release IL-1β in a Dectin-2/Syk/NLRP3 inflammasome–dependent pathway. IL-1β then activated cardiac endothelial cells to express CXCL1 and CCL2 and adhesion molecules that induced neutrophil and further iMo recruitment and accumulation in the aortic root and coronary arteries. Our findings demonstrate that Dectin-2–mediated induction of CCL2 production by macrophages resident in the aortic root and coronary arteries initiates vascular inflammation in a model of Kawasaki disease, suggesting an important role for the innate immune system in initiating vasculitis.
Chie Miyabe, Yoshishige Miyabe, Laura Bricio-Moreno, Jeffrey Lian, Rod A. Rahimi, Noriko N. Miura, Naohito Ohno, Yoichiro Iwakura, Tamihiro Kawakami, Andrew D. Luster
Type 1 IFNs (IFN-I) generally protect mammalian hosts from virus infections, but in some cases, IFN-I is pathogenic. Because IFN-I is protective, it is commonly used to treat virus infections for which no specific approved drug or vaccine is available. The Middle East respiratory syndrome–coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is such an infection, yet little is known about the role of IFN-I in this setting. Here, we show that IFN-I signaling is protective during MERS-CoV infection. Blocking IFN-I signaling resulted in delayed virus clearance, enhanced neutrophil infiltration, and impaired MERS-CoV–specific T cell responses. Notably, IFN-I administration within 1 day after infection (before virus titers peak) protected mice from lethal infection, despite a decrease in IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) and inflammatory cytokine gene expression. In contrast, delayed IFN-β treatment failed to effectively inhibit virus replication; increased infiltration and activation of monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils in the lungs; and enhanced proinflammatory cytokine expression, resulting in fatal pneumonia in an otherwise sublethal infection. Together, these results suggest that the relative timing of the IFN-I response and maximal virus replication is key in determining outcomes, at least in infected mice. By extension, IFN-αβ or combination therapy may need to be used cautiously to treat viral infections in clinical settings.
Rudragouda Channappanavar, Anthony R. Fehr, Jian Zheng, Christine Wohlford-Lenane, Juan E. Abrahante, Matthias Mack, Ramakrishna Sompallae, Paul B. McCray Jr., David K. Meyerholz, Stanley Perlman
Physiological effects of cellular hypoxia are sensed by prolyl hydroxylase (PHD) enzymes, which regulate HIFs. Genetic interventions on HIF/PHD pathways have revealed multiple phenotypes that extend the known biology of hypoxia. Recent studies have unexpectedly implicated HIF in aspects of multiple immune and inflammatory pathways. However, such studies are often limited by systemic lethal effects and/or use tissue-specific recombination systems, which are inherently irreversible, unphysiologically restricted, and difficult to time. To study these processes better, we developed recombinant mice that expressed tetracycline-regulated shRNAs broadly targeting the main components of the HIF/PHD pathway, permitting timed bidirectional intervention. We show that stabilization of HIF levels in adult mice through PHD2 enzyme silencing by RNA interference or inducible recombination of floxed alleles results in multilineage leukocytosis and features of autoimmunity. This phenotype was rapidly normalized on reestablishment of the hypoxia-sensing machinery when shRNA expression was discontinued. In both situations, these effects were mediated principally through the Hif2a isoform. Assessment of cells bearing Treg markers from these mice revealed defective function and proinflammatory effects in vivo. We believe our findings reveal a new role for the PHD2/HIF2α pathway in the reversible regulation of T cell and immune activity.
Atsushi Yamamoto, Joanna Hester, Philip S. Macklin, Kento Kawai, Masateru Uchiyama, Daniel Biggs, Tammie Bishop, Katherine Bull, Xiaotong Cheng, Eleanor Cawthorne, Mathew L. Coleman, Tanya L. Crockford, Ben Davies, Lukas E. Dow, Rob Goldin, Kamil Kranc, Hiromi Kudo, Hannah Lawson, James McAuliffe, Kate Milward, Cheryl L. Scudamore, Elizabeth Soilleux, Fadi Issa, Peter J. Ratcliffe, Chris W. Pugh
Fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs), a subpopulation of stromal cells in lymphoid organs and fat-associated lymphoid clusters (FALCs) in adipose tissue, play immune-regulatory roles in the host response to infection and may be useful as a form of cell therapy in sepsis. Here, we found an unexpected major role of TLR9 in controlling peritoneal immune cell recruitment and FALC formation at baseline and after sepsis induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). TLR9 regulated peritoneal immunity via suppression of chemokine production by FRCs. Adoptive transfer of TLR9-deficient FRCs more effectively decreased mortality, bacterial load, and systemic inflammation after CLP than WT FRCs. Importantly, we found that activation of TLR9 signaling suppressed chemokine production by human adipose tissue–derived FRCs. Together, our results indicate that TLR9 plays critical roles in regulating peritoneal immunity via suppression of chemokine production by FRCs. These data form a knowledge basis upon which to design new therapeutic strategies to improve the therapeutic efficacy of FRC-based treatments for sepsis and immune dysregulation diseases.
Li Xu, Yiming Li, Chenxuan Yang, Patricia Loughran, Hong Liao, Rosemary Hoffman, Timothy R. Billiar, Meihong Deng
Cyclooxygenase 2 (Cox2) total knockout and myeloid knockout (MKO) mice develop Crohn’s-like intestinal inflammation when fed cholate-containing high-fat diet (CCHF). We demonstrated that CCHF impaired intestinal barrier function and increased translocation of endotoxin, initiating TLR/MyD88-dependent inflammation in Cox2-KO but not WT mice. Cox2-MKO increased proinflammatory mediators in LPS-activated macrophages, and in the intestinal tissue and plasma upon CCHF challenge. Cox2-MKO also reduced inflammation resolving lipoxin A4 (LXA4) in intestinal tissue, whereas administration of an LXA4 analog rescued disease in Cox2-MKO mice fed CCHF. The apolipoprotein A-I (APOA1) mimetic 4F mitigated disease in both the Cox2-MKO/CCHF and piroxicam-accelerated Il10–/– models of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and reduced elevated levels of proinflammatory mediators in tissue and plasma. APOA1 mimetic Tg6F therapy was also effective in reducing intestinal inflammation in the Cox2-MKO/CCHF model. We further demonstrated that APOA1 mimetic peptides (a) inhibited LPS and oxidized 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonoyl-sn-phosphatidylcholine–dependent (oxPAPC-dependent) proinflammatory responses in human macrophages and intestinal epithelium, and (b) directly cleared proinflammatory lipids from mouse intestinal tissue and plasma. Our results support a causal role for proinflammatory and inflammation-resolving lipids in IBD pathology and a translational potential for APOA1 mimetic peptides for the treatment of IBD.
David Meriwether, Dawoud Sulaiman, Carmen Volpe, Anna Dorfman, Victor Grijalva, Nasrin Dorreh, R. Sergio Solorzano-Vargas, Jifang Wang, Ellen O’Connor, Jeremy Papesh, Muriel Larauche, Hannah Trost, Mayakonda N. Palgunachari, G.M. Anantharamaiah, Harvey R. Herschman, Martin G. Martin, Alan M. Fogelman, Srinivasa T. Reddy
This study investigates the relationship between helminth infection and allergic sensitization by assessing the influence of preexisting allergy on the outcome of helminth infections, rather than the more traditional approach in which the helminth infection precedes the onset of allergy. Here we used a murine model of house dust mite–induced (HDM-induced) allergic inflammation followed by Ascaris infection to demonstrate that allergic sensitization drives an eosinophil-rich pulmonary type 2 immune response (Th2 cells, M2 macrophages, type 2 innate lymphoid cells, IL-33, IL-4, IL-13, and mucus) that directly hinders larval development and reduces markedly the parasite burden in the lungs. This effect is dependent on the presence of eosinophils, as eosinophil-deficient mice were unable to limit parasite development or numbers. In vivo administration of neutralizing antibodies against CD4 prior to HDM sensitization significantly reduced eosinophils in the lungs, resulting in the reversal of the HDM-induced Ascaris larval killing. Our data suggest that HDM allergic sensitization drives a response that mimics a primary Ascaris infection, such that CD4+ Th2-mediated eosinophil-dependent helminth larval killing in the lung tissue occurs. This study provides insight into the mechanisms underlying tissue-specific responses that drive a protective response against the early stages of the helminths prior to their establishing long-lasting infections in the host.
Pedro H. Gazzinelli-Guimaraes, Rafael de Queiroz Prado, Alessandra Ricciardi, Sandra Bonne-Année, Joshua Sciurba, Erik P. Karmele, Ricardo T. Fujiwara, Thomas B. Nutman
Resident microbiota activates regulatory cells that modulate intestinal inflammation and promote and maintain intestinal homeostasis. IL-10 is a key mediator of immune regulatory function. Our studies describe the functional importance and mechanisms by which gut microbiota and specific microbial components influence the development of intestinal IL-10–producing B cells. Using fecal transplant into germ-free (GF) Il10+/EGFP reporter and Il10–/– mice, we demonstrated that microbiota from specific pathogen–free mice primarily stimulated IL-10–producing colon-specific B cells and T regulatory 1 cells in ex-GF mice. IL-10 in turn downregulated microbiota-activated mucosal inflammatory cytokines. TLR2 and -9 ligands and enteric bacterial lysates preferentially induced IL-10 production and the regulatory capacity of intestinal B cells. Analysis of Il10+/EGFP mice crossed with additional gene-deficient strains and B cell cotransfer studies demonstrated that microbiota-induced IL-10–producing intestinal B cells ameliorated chronic T cell–mediated colitis in a TLR2-, MyD88-, and PI3K-dependent fashion. In vitro studies implicated downstream signaling of PI3Kp110δ and AKT. These studies demonstrated that resident enteric bacteria activated intestinal IL-10–producing B cells through TLR2, MyD88, and PI3K pathways. These B cells reduced colonic T cell activation and maintained mucosal homeostasis in response to intestinal microbiota.
Yoshiyuki Mishima, Akihiko Oka, Bo Liu, Jeremy W. Herzog, Chang Soo Eun, Ting-Jia Fan, Emily Bulik-Sullivan, Ian M. Carroll, Jonathan J. Hansen, Liang Chen, Justin E. Wilson, Nancy C. Fisher, Jenny P.Y. Ting, Tomonori Nochi, Angela Wahl, J. Victor Garcia, Christopher L. Karp, R. Balfour Sartor
Palmitic acid esters of hydroxy stearic acids (PAHSAs) are endogenous antidiabetic and antiinflammatory lipids. Here, we show that PAHSAs protect against type 1 diabetes (T1D) and promote β cell survival and function. Daily oral PAHSA administration to nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice delayed the onset of T1D and markedly reduced the incidence of T1D, whether PAHSAs were started before or after insulitis was established. PAHSAs reduced T and B cell infiltration and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation, while increasing Treg activation in pancreata of NOD mice. PAHSAs promoted β cell proliferation in both NOD mice and MIN6 cells and increased the number of β cells in NOD mice. PAHSAs attenuated cytokine-induced apoptotic and necrotic β cell death and increased β cell viability. The mechanism appears to involve a reduction of ER stress and MAPK signaling, since PAHSAs lowered ER stress in NOD mice, suppressed thapsigargin-induced PARP cleavage in human islets, and attenuated ERK1/2 and JNK1/2 activation in MIN6 cells. This appeared to be mediated in part by glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) and not the G protein–coupled receptor GPR40. PAHSAs also prevented impairment of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and improved glucose tolerance in NOD mice. Thus, PAHSAs delayed the onset of T1D and reduced its incidence by attenuating immune responses and exerting direct protective effects on β cell survival and function.
Ismail Syed, Maria F. Rubin de Celis, James F. Mohan, Pedro M. Moraes-Vieira, Archana Vijayakumar, Andrew T. Nelson, Dionicio Siegel, Alan Saghatelian, Diane Mathis, Barbara B. Kahn
β-Arrestin 1 and 2 (Barr1 and Barr2, respectively) are intracellular signaling molecules that regulate many important metabolic functions. We previously demonstrated that mice lacking Barr2 selectively in pancreatic β cells showed pronounced metabolic impairments. Here we investigated whether Barr1 plays a similar role in regulating β cell function and whole-body glucose homeostasis. Initially, we inactivated the Barr1 gene in β cells of adult mice (β-barr1-KO mice). β-barr1-KO mice did not display any obvious phenotypes in a series of in vivo and in vitro metabolic tests. However, glibenclamide and tolbutamide, 2 widely used antidiabetic drugs of the sulfonylurea (SU) family, showed greatly reduced efficacy in stimulating insulin secretion in the KO mice in vivo and in perifused KO islets in vitro. Additional in vivo and in vitro studies demonstrated that Barr1 enhanced SU-stimulated insulin secretion by promoting SU-mediated activation of Epac2. Pull-down and coimmunoprecipitation experiments showed that Barr1 can directly interact with Epac2 and that SUs such as glibenclamide promote Barr1/Epac2 complex formation, triggering enhanced Rap1 signaling and insulin secretion. These findings suggest that strategies aimed at promoting Barr1 signaling in β cells may prove useful for the development of efficacious antidiabetic drugs.
Luiz F. Barella, Mario Rossi, Lu Zhu, Yinghong Cui, Fang C. Mei, Xiaodong Cheng, Wei Chen, Vsevolod V. Gurevich, Jürgen Wess
Specific neuronal populations display high vulnerability to pathological processes in Parkinson’s disease (PD). The dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve (DMnX) is a primary site of pathological α-synuclein deposition and may play a key role in the spreading of α-synuclein lesions within and outside the CNS. Using in vivo models, we show that cholinergic neurons forming this nucleus are particularly susceptible to oxidative challenges and accumulation of ROS. Targeted α-synuclein overexpression within these neurons triggered an oxidative stress that became more pronounced after exposure to the ROS-generating agent paraquat. A more severe oxidative stress resulted in enhanced production of oxidatively modified forms of α-synuclein, increased α-synuclein aggregation into oligomeric species, and marked degeneration of DMnX neurons. Enhanced oxidative stress also affected neuron-to-neuron protein transfer, causing an increased spreading of α-synuclein from the DMnX toward more rostral brain regions. In vitro experiments confirmed a greater propensity of α-synuclein to pass from cell to cell under prooxidant conditions and identified nitrated α-synuclein forms as highly transferable protein species. These findings substantiate the relevance of oxidative injury in PD pathogenetic processes, establish a relationship between oxidative stress and vulnerability to α-synuclein pathology, and define a mechanism, enhanced cell-to-cell α-synuclein transmission, by which oxidative stress could promote PD development and progression.
Ruth E. Musgrove, Michael Helwig, Eun-Jin Bae, Helia Aboutalebi, Seung-Jae Lee, Ayse Ulusoy, Donato A. Di Monte
Although joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is conventionally thought to result from inflammation, arthritis pain and joint inflammation are at least partially uncoupled. This suggests that additional pain mechanisms in RA remain to be explored. Here we show that FcγRI, an immune receptor for IgG immune complex (IgG-IC), is expressed in a subpopulation of joint sensory neurons and that, under naive conditions, FcγRI cross-linking by IgG-IC directly activates the somata and peripheral terminals of these neurons to evoke acute joint hypernociception without obvious concurrent joint inflammation. These effects were diminished in both global and sensory neuron–specific Fcgr1-knockout mice. In murine models of inflammatory arthritis, FcγRI signaling was upregulated in joint sensory neurons. Acute blockade or global genetic deletion of Fcgr1 significantly attenuated arthritis pain and hyperactivity of joint sensory neurons without measurably altering joint inflammation. Conditional deletion of Fcgr1 in sensory neurons produced similar analgesic effects in these models. We therefore suggest that FcγRI expressed in sensory neurons contributes to arthritis pain independently of its functions in inflammatory cells. These findings expand our understanding of the immunosensory capabilities of sensory neurons and imply that neuronal FcγRI merits consideration as a target for treating RA pain.
Li Wang, Xiaohua Jiang, Qin Zheng, Sang-Min Jeon, Tiane Chen, Yan Liu, Heather Kulaga, Randall Reed, Xinzhong Dong, Michael J. Caterina, Lintao Qu
A population of NK cells expressing the activating receptor NKG2C and the maturation marker CD57 expands in response to human CMV (HCMV) infection. CD3–CD56dimCD57+NKG2C+ NK cells are similar to CD8+ memory T cells with rapid and robust effector function upon restimulation, persistence, and epigenetic remodeling of the IFNG locus. Chronic antigen stimulation drives CD8+ memory T cell proliferation, while also inducing genome-wide epigenetic reprograming and dysfunction. We hypothesized that chronic stimulation could similarly induce epigenetic reprograming and dysfunction in NK cells. Here, we show that chronic stimulation of adaptive NK cells through NKG2C using plate-bound agonistic Abs in combination with IL-15 drove robust proliferation and activation of CD3–CD56dimCD57+NKG2C+ NK cells, while simultaneously inducing high expression of the checkpoint inhibitory receptors LAG-3 and PD-1. Marked induction of checkpoint inhibitory receptors was also observed on the surface of adaptive NK cells cocultured with HCMV-infected endothelial cells. Chronically stimulated adaptive NK cells were dysfunctional when challenged with tumor targets. These cells exhibited a pattern of epigenetic reprograming, with genome-wide alterations in DNA methylation. We believe our study has important implications for cancer immunotherapy and propose that exhausted NK cells could be targeted with inhibitory checkpoint receptor blockade.
Aimee Merino, Bin Zhang, Philip Dougherty, Xianghua Luo, Jinhua Wang, Bruce R. Blazar, Jeffrey S. Miller, Frank Cichocki
Nutrient excess, a major driver of obesity, diminishes hypothalamic responses to exogenously administered leptin, a critical hormone of energy balance. Here, we aimed to identify a physiological signal that arises from excess caloric intake and negatively controls hypothalamic leptin action. We found that deficiency of the gastric inhibitory polypeptide receptor (Gipr) for the gut-derived incretin hormone GIP protected against diet-induced neural leptin resistance. Furthermore, a centrally administered antibody that neutralizes GIPR had remarkable antiobesity effects in diet-induced obese mice, including reduced body weight and adiposity, and a decreased hypothalamic level of SOCS3, an inhibitor of leptin actions. In contrast, centrally administered GIP diminished hypothalamic sensitivity to leptin and increased hypothalamic levels of Socs3. Finally, we show that GIP increased the active form of the small GTPase Rap1 in the brain and that its activation was required for the central actions of GIP. Altogether, our results identify GIPR/Rap1 signaling in the brain as a molecular pathway linking overnutrition to the control of neural leptin actions.
Kentaro Kaneko, Yukiko Fu, Hsiao-Yun Lin, Elizabeth L. Cordonier, Qianxing Mo, Yong Gao, Ting Yao, Jacqueline Naylor, Victor Howard, Kenji Saito, Pingwen Xu, Siyu S. Chen, Miao-Hsueh Chen, Yong Xu, Kevin W. Williams, Peter Ravn, Makoto Fukuda
Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) accounts for a substantial proportion of deaths attributable to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States. Although C. difficile can be an asymptomatic colonizer, its pathogenic potential is most commonly manifested in patients with antibiotic-modified intestinal microbiomes. In a cohort of 186 hospitalized patients, we showed that host and microbe-associated shifts in fecal metabolomes had the potential to distinguish patients with CDI from those with non–C. difficile diarrhea and C. difficile colonization. Patients with CDI exhibited a chemical signature of Stickland amino acid fermentation that was distinct from those of uncolonized controls. This signature suggested that C. difficile preferentially catabolizes branched chain amino acids during CDI. Unexpectedly, we also identified a series of noncanonical, unsaturated bile acids that were depleted in patients with CDI. These bile acids may derive from an extended host-microbiome dehydroxylation network in uninfected patients. Bile acid composition and leucine fermentation defined a prototype metabolomic model with potential to distinguish clinical CDI from asymptomatic C. difficile colonization.
John I. Robinson, William H. Weir, Jan R. Crowley, Tiffany Hink, Kimberly A. Reske, Jennie H. Kwon, Carey-Ann D. Burnham, Erik R. Dubberke, Peter J. Mucha, Jeffrey P. Henderson
Vascular development in the mammalian retina is a paradigm for CNS vascular development in general, and its study is revealing fundamental mechanisms that explain the efficacy of antiangiogenic therapies in retinal vascular disease. During development of the mammalian retina, hypoxic astrocytes are hypothesized to secrete VEGF, which attracts growing endothelial cells as they migrate radially from the optic disc. However, published tests of this model using astrocyte-specific deletion of Vegf in the developing mouse retina appear to contradict this theory. Here, we report that selectively eliminating Vegf in neonatal retinal astrocytes with a Gfap-Cre line that recombines with approximately 100% efficiency had no effect on proliferation or radial migration of astrocytes, but completely blocked radial migration of endothelial cells, strongly supporting the hypoxic astrocyte model. Using additional Cre driver lines, we found evidence for essential and partially redundant actions of retina-derived (paracrine) and astrocyte-derived (autocrine) VEGF in controlling astrocyte proliferation and migration. We also extended previous studies by showing that HIF-1α in retinal neurons and HIF-2α in Müller glia play distinct roles in retinal vascular development and disease, adding to a growing body of data that point to the specialization of these 2 hypoxia-sensing transcription factors.
Amir Rattner, John Williams, Jeremy Nathans
Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) is a rare and clinically heterogeneous bone marrow (BM) failure syndrome caused by mutations in the Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome (SBDS) gene. Although SDS was described more than 50 years ago, its molecular pathogenesis is poorly understood due, in part, to the rarity and heterogeneity of the affected hematopoietic progenitors. To address this, we used single-cell RNA sequencing to profile scant hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells from patients with SDS. We generated a single-cell map of early lineage commitment and found that SDS hematopoiesis was left-shifted with selective loss of granulocyte-monocyte progenitors. Transcriptional targets of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) were dysregulated in SDS hematopoietic stem cells and multipotent progenitors, but not in lineage-committed progenitors. TGF-β inhibitors (AVID200 and SD208) increased hematopoietic colony formation of SDS patient BM. Finally, TGF-β3 and other TGF-β pathway members were elevated in SDS patient blood plasma. These data establish the TGF-β pathway as a candidate biomarker and therapeutic target in SDS and translate insights from single-cell biology into a potential therapy.
Cailin E. Joyce, Assieh Saadatpour, Melisa Ruiz-Gutierrez, Ozge Vargel Bolukbasi, Lan Jiang, Dolly D. Thomas, Sarah Young, Inga Hofmann, Colin A. Sieff, Kasiani C. Myers, Jennifer Whangbo, Towia A. Libermann, Chad Nusbaum, Guo-Cheng Yuan, Akiko Shimamura, Carl D. Novina
Poroma is a benign skin tumor exhibiting terminal sweat gland duct differentiation. The present study aimed to explore the potential role of gene fusions in the tumorigenesis of poromas. RNA sequencing and reverse transcription PCR identified highly recurrent YAP1-MAML2 and YAP1-NUTM1 fusions in poromas (92/104 lesions, 88.5%) and their rare malignant counterpart, porocarcinomas (7/11 lesions, 63.6%). A WWTR1-NUTM1 fusion was identified in a single lesion of poroma. Fluorescence in situ hybridization confirmed genomic rearrangements involving these genetic loci. Immunohistochemical staining could readily identify the YAP1 fusion products as nuclear expression of the N-terminal portion of YAP1 with a lack of the C-terminal portion. YAP1 and WWTR1, also known as YAP and TAZ, respectively, encode paralogous transcriptional activators of TEAD, which are negatively regulated by the Hippo signaling pathway. The YAP1 and WWTR1 fusions strongly transactivated a TEAD reporter and promoted anchorage-independent growth, confirming their tumorigenic roles. Our results demonstrate the frequent presence of transforming YAP1 fusions in poromas and porocarcinomas and suggest YAP1/TEAD-dependent transcription as a candidate therapeutic target against porocarcinoma.
Shigeki Sekine, Tohru Kiyono, Eijitsu Ryo, Reiko Ogawa, Susumu Wakai, Hitoshi Ichikawa, Koyu Suzuki, Satoru Arai, Koji Tsuta, Mitsuaki Ishida, Yuko Sasajima, Naoki Goshima, Naoya Yamazaki, Taisuke Mori
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used to treat multiple neuropsychiatric disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). Despite widespread clinical use, its therapeutic mechanisms are unknown. Here, we developed a mouse model of subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS for PD, to permit investigation using cell type–specific tools available in mice. We found that electrical STN DBS relieved bradykinesia, as measured by movement velocity. In addition, our model recapitulated several hallmarks of human STN DBS, including rapid onset and offset, frequency dependence, dyskinesia at higher stimulation intensity, and associations among electrode location, therapeutic benefit, and side effects. We used this model to assess whether high-frequency stimulation is necessary for effective STN DBS and whether low-frequency stimulation can be effective when paired with compensatory adjustments in other parameters. We found that low-frequency stimulation, paired with greater pulse width and amplitude, relieved bradykinesia. Moreover, a composite metric incorporating pulse width, amplitude, and frequency predicted therapeutic efficacy better than frequency alone. We found a similar relationship between this composite metric and movement speed in a retrospective analysis of human data, suggesting that correlations observed in the mouse model may extend to human patients. Together, these data establish a mouse model for elucidating mechanisms of DBS.
Jonathan S. Schor, Alexandra B. Nelson
We previously generated 32 rotavirus-specific (RV-specific) recombinant monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) derived from B cells isolated from human intestinal resections. Twenty-four of these mAbs were specific for the VP8* fragment of RV VP4, and most (20 of 24) were non-neutralizing when tested in the conventional MA104 cell–based assay. We reexamined the ability of these mAbs to neutralize RVs in human intestinal epithelial cells, including ileal enteroids and HT-29 cells. Most (18 of 20) of the “non-neutralizing” VP8* mAbs efficiently neutralized human RV in HT-29 cells or enteroids. Serum RV neutralization titers in adults and infants were significantly higher in HT-29 than MA104 cells and adsorption of these sera with recombinant VP8* lowered the neutralization titers in HT-29 but not MA104 cells. VP8* mAbs also protected suckling mice from diarrhea in an in vivo challenge model. X-ray crystallographic analysis of one VP8* mAb (mAb9) in complex with human RV VP8* revealed that the mAb interaction site was distinct from the human histo-blood group antigen binding site. Since MA104 cells are the most commonly used cell line to detect anti-RV neutralization activity, these findings suggest that prior vaccine and other studies of human RV neutralization responses may have underestimated the contribution of VP8* antibodies to the overall neutralization titer.
Ningguo Feng, Liya Hu, Siyuan Ding, Mrinmoy Sanyal, Boyang Zhao, Banumathi Sankaran, Sasirekha Ramani, Monica McNeal, Linda L. Yasukawa, Yanhua Song, B.V. Venkataram Prasad, Harry B. Greenberg
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a putative T cell–mediated autoimmune disease. As with many autoimmune diseases, females are more susceptible than males. Sexual dimorphisms may be due to differences in sex hormones, sex chromosomes, or both. Regarding sex chromosome genes, a small percentage of X chromosome genes escape X inactivation and have higher expression in females (XX) compared with males (XY). Here, high-throughput gene expression analysis in CD4+ T cells showed that the top sexually dimorphic gene was Kdm6a, a histone demethylase on the X chromosome. There was higher expression of Kdm6a in females compared with males in humans and mice, and the four core genotypes (FCG) mouse model showed higher expression in XX compared with XY. Deletion of Kdm6a in CD4+ T cells ameliorated clinical disease and reduced neuropathology in the classic CD4+ T cell–mediated autoimmune disease experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Global transcriptome analysis in CD4+ T cells from EAE mice with a specific deletion of Kdm6a showed upregulation of Th2 and Th1 activation pathways and downregulation of neuroinflammation signaling pathways. Together, these data demonstrate that the X escapee Kdm6a regulates multiple immune response genes, providing a mechanism for sex differences in autoimmune disease susceptibility.
Yuichiro Itoh, Lisa C. Golden, Noriko Itoh, Macy Akiyo Matsukawa, Emily Ren, Vincent Tse, Arthur P. Arnold, Rhonda R. Voskuhl
The expression of the transmembrane protein 25 gene (Tmem25) is strongly influenced by glutamate ionotropic receptor kainate type subunit 4, and its function remains unknown. Here, we showed that TMEM25 was primarily localized to late endosomes in neurons. Electrophysiological experiments suggested that the effects of TMEM25 on neuronal excitability were likely mediated by N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors. TMEM25 affected the expression of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor NR2B subunit and interacted with NR2B, and both were colocalized to late endosome compartments. TMEM25 induced acidification changes in lysosome compartments and accelerated the degradation of NR2B. Furthermore, TMEM25 expression was decreased in brain tissues from patients with epilepsy and epileptic mice. TMEM25 overexpression attenuated the behavioral phenotypes of epileptic seizures, whereas TMEM25 downregulation exerted the opposite effect. These results provide some insights into TMEM25 biology in the brain and the functional relationship between TMEM25 and epilepsy.
Haiqing Zhang, Xin Tian, Xi Lu, Demei Xu, Yi Guo, Zhifang Dong, Yun Li, Yuanlin Ma, Chengzhi Chen, Yong Yang, Min Yang, Yi Yang, Feng Liu, Ruijiao Zhou, Miaoqing He, Fei Xiao, Xuefeng Wang
Resident and inflammatory mononuclear phagocytes (MPhs) with functional plasticity in the intestine are critically involved in the pathology of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), the mechanism of which remains incompletely understood. In the present study, we found that increased expression of the E3 ligase F-box and WD repeat domain–containing 7 (FBXW) in the inflamed intestine was significantly correlated with IBD severity in both human diseases and in mouse models. Myeloid Fbxw7 deficiency protected mice from colitis induced by dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) or 2,6,4-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS). Fbxw7 deficiency resulted in decreased production of the chemokines CCL2 and CCL7 by colonic CX3CR1hi resident macrophages and reduced the accumulation of CX3CR1int proinﬂammatory MPhs in colitis-affected colon tissue. Mice that received adeno-associated virus–shFbxw7 (AAV-shFbxw7) showed significantly improved survival rates and alleviation of colitis. Mechanism screening demonstrated that FBXW7 suppressed H3K27me3 modification and promoted Ccl2 and Ccl7 expression via degradation of the histone-lysine N-methyltransferase enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) in macrophages. Taken together, our results indicate that FBXW7 degrades EZH2 and increases Ccl2 and Ccl7 in CX3CR1hi macrophages, thereby promoting the recruitment of CX3CR1int proinﬂammatory MPhs into local colon tissues with colitis. Targeting FBXW7 might represent a potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of intestinal inflammation.
Jia He, Yinjing Song, Gaopeng Li, Peng Xiao, Yang Liu, Yue Xue, Qian Cao, Xintao Tu, Ting Pan, Zhinong Jiang, Xuetao Cao, Lihua Lai, Qingqing Wang
Induction of memory CD8+ T cells is important for controlling infections such as malaria and HIV/AIDS and for cancer immunotherapy. Accurate assessment of antigen-specific (Ag-specific) CD8+ T cells is critical for vaccine optimization and for defining correlates of protection. However, conditions for determining Ag-specific CD8+ T cell responses ex vivo using intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) may be variable, especially in humans with complex antigens. Here, we used an attenuated whole parasite malaria vaccine model in humans and various experimental infections in mice to show that the duration of antigenic stimulation and timing of brefeldin A (BFA) addition influence the magnitude of Ag-specific and bystander T cell responses. Indeed, after immunization with an attenuated whole sporozoite malaria vaccine in humans, significantly higher numbers of IFN-γ–producing memory CD8+ T cells comprising Ag-specific and bystander responses were detected when the duration of Ag stimulation prior to addition of BFA was increased. Mechanistic analyses of virus-specific CD8+ T cells in mice revealed that the increase in IFN-γ–producing CD8+ T cells was due to bystander activation of Ag-experienced memory CD8+ T cells, and correlated with the proportion of Ag-experienced CD8+ T cells in the stimulated populations. Incubation with anti-cytokine antibodies (e.g., IL-12) improved accuracy in detecting bona fide memory CD8+ T cell responses, suggesting this as the mechanism for the bystander activation. These data have important implications for accurate assessment of immune responses generated by vaccines intended to elicit protective memory CD8+ T cells.
Matthew D. Martin, Isaac J. Jensen, Andrew S. Ishizuka, Mitchell Lefebvre, Qiang Shan, Hai-Hui Xue, John T. Harty, Robert A. Seder, Vladimir P. Badovinac
Acyl-ghrelin administration increases food intake, body weight, and blood glucose. In contrast, mice lacking ghrelin or ghrelin receptors (GHSRs) exhibit life-threatening hypoglycemia during starvation-like conditions, but do not consistently exhibit overt metabolic phenotypes when given ad libitum food access. These results, and findings of ghrelin resistance in obese states, imply nutritional state dependence of ghrelin’s metabolic actions. Here, we hypothesized that liver-enriched antimicrobial peptide-2 (LEAP2), a recently characterized endogenous GHSR antagonist, blunts ghrelin action during obese states and postprandially. To test this hypothesis, we determined changes in plasma LEAP2 and acyl-ghrelin due to fasting, eating, obesity, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), oral glucose administration, and type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) using humans and/or mice. Our results suggest that plasma LEAP2 is regulated by metabolic status: its levels increased with body mass and blood glucose and decreased with fasting, RYGB, and in postprandial states following VSG. These changes were mostly opposite of those of acyl-ghrelin. Furthermore, using electrophysiology, we showed that LEAP2 both hyperpolarizes and prevents acyl-ghrelin from activating arcuate NPY neurons. We predict that the plasma LEAP2/acyl-ghrelin molar ratio may be a key determinant modulating acyl-ghrelin activity in response to body mass, feeding status, and blood glucose.
Bharath K. Mani, Nancy Puzziferri, Zhenyan He, Juan A. Rodriguez, Sherri Osborne-Lawrence, Nathan P. Metzger, Navpreet Chhina, Bruce Gaylinn, Michael O. Thorner, E. Louise Thomas, Jimmy D. Bell, Kevin W. Williams, Anthony P. Goldstone, Jeffrey M. Zigman
Despite recent therapeutic advances, prostate cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related death. A subset of castration-resistant prostate cancers become androgen receptor (AR) signaling independent and develop neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) features through lineage plasticity. These NEPC tumors, associated with aggressive disease and poor prognosis, are driven, in part, by aberrant expression of N-Myc, through mechanisms that remain unclear. Integrative analysis of the N-Myc transcriptome, cistrome, and interactome using in vivo, in vitro, and ex vivo models (including patient-derived organoids) identified a lineage switch towards a neural identity associated with epigenetic reprogramming. N-Myc and known AR cofactors (e.g., FOXA1 and HOXB13) overlapped, independently of AR, at genomic loci implicated in neural lineage specification. Moreover, histone marks specifically associated with lineage-defining genes were reprogrammed by N-Myc. We also demonstrated that the N-Myc–induced molecular program accurately classifies our cohort of patients with advanced prostate cancer. Finally, we revealed the potential for enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) inhibition to reverse the N-Myc–induced suppression of epithelial lineage genes. Altogether, our data provide insights into how N-Myc regulates lineage plasticity and epigenetic reprogramming associated with lineage specification. The N-Myc signature we defined could also help predict the evolution of prostate cancer and thus better guide the choice of future therapeutic strategies.
Adeline Berger, Nicholas J. Brady, Rohan Bareja, Brian Robinson, Vincenza Conteduca, Michael A. Augello, Loredana Puca, Adnan Ahmed, Etienne Dardenne, Xiaodong Lu, Inah Hwang, Alyssa M. Bagadion, Andrea Sboner, Olivier Elemento, Jihye Paik, Jindan Yu, Christopher E. Barbieri, Noah Dephoure, Himisha Beltran, David S. Rickman
Nature exploits cage-like proteins for a variety of biological purposes, from molecular packaging and cargo delivery to catalysis. These cage-like proteins are of immense importance in nanomedicine due to their propensity to self-assemble from simple identical building blocks to highly ordered architecture and the design flexibility afforded by protein engineering. However, delivery of protein nanocages to the renal tubules remains a major challenge because of the glomerular filtration barrier, which effectively excludes conventional size nanocages. Here, we show that DNA-binding protein from starved cells (Dps) — the extremely small archaeal antioxidant nanocage — is able to cross the glomerular filtration barrier and is endocytosed by the renal proximal tubules. Using a model of endotoxemia, we present an example of the way in which proximal tubule–selective Dps nanocages can limit the degree of endotoxin-induced kidney injury. This was accomplished by amplifying the endogenous antioxidant property of Dps with addition of a dinuclear manganese cluster. Dps is the first-in-class protein cage nanoparticle that can be targeted to renal proximal tubules through glomerular filtration. In addition to its therapeutic potential, chemical and genetic engineering of Dps will offer a nanoplatform to advance our understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of glomerular filtration and tubular endocytosis.
Masaki Uchida, Bernhard Maier, Hitesh Kumar Waghwani, Ekaterina Selivanovitch, S. Louise Pay, John Avera, EJun Yun, Ruben M. Sandoval, Bruce A. Molitoris, Amy Zollman, Trevor Douglas, Takashi Hato
Sialyl Lewis A (sLeA, also known as CA19-9), a tetrasaccharide selectively and highly expressed on advanced adenocarcinomas including colon, stomach, and pancreatic cancers, has long been considered as an attractive target for active and passive vaccination. While progress in antibodies targeting tumor-associated protein antigens resulted in an impressive array of therapeutics for cancer treatment, similar progress in exploiting tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens, such as sLeA, has been hampered by the lack of a detailed understanding of the singular characteristics of these antigens. We have addressed this issue by analyzing antibodies derived from patients immunized with an sLeA/KLH vaccine. These antibodies were engineered to mediate tumor clearance in vivo in preclinical models through Fc-FcγR interactions. However, in contrast to protein antigens in which hFcγRIIIA engagement was both necessary and sufficient to mediate tumor clearance in both preclinical and clinical settings, a similar selective dependence was not seen for anti-sLeA antibodies. Thus, re-engineering the Fc portion of sLeA-targeting antibodies to broadly enhance their affinity for activating FcγRs led to an enhanced therapeutic effect. These findings will facilitate the development of more efficient anticancer therapies and further advance this promising class of therapeutic antibodies into clinical use.
Polina Weitzenfeld, Stylianos Bournazos, Jeffrey V. Ravetch