Mechanisms underlying motor neuron degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are yet unclear. Specific deletion of the ER-component membralin in astrocytes manifested postnatal motor defects and lethality in mice, causing the accumulation of extracellular glutamate through reducing the glutamate transporter EAAT2. Restoring EAAT2 levels in membralin KO astrocytes limited astrocyte-dependent excitotoxicity in motor neurons. Transcriptomic profiles from mouse astrocytic membralin KO motor cortex indicated significant perturbation in KEGG pathway components related to ALS, including downregulation of Eaat2 and upregulation of Tnfrsf1a. Changes in gene expression with membralin deletion also overlapped with mouse ALS models and reactive astrocytes. Our results shown that activation of TNF receptor (TNFR1)-NFκB pathway known to suppress Eaat2 transcription was upregulated with membralin deletion. Further, reduced membralin and EAAT2 levels correlated with disease progression in spinal cord from SOD1-mutant mouse models, and reductions in membralin/EAAT2 were observed in human ALS spinal cord. Importantly, overexpression of membralin in SOD1G93A astrocytes decreased TNFR1 levels and increased EAAT2 expression, and improved motor neuron survival. Importantly, upregulation of membralin in SOD1G93A mice significantly prolonged mouse survival. Together, our study provided a mechanism for ALS pathogenesis where membralin limited glutamatergic neurotoxicity, suggesting that modulating membralin had potentials in ALS therapy.
Lu-Lin Jiang, Bing Zhu, Yingjun Zhao, Xiaoguang Li, Tongfei Liu, Juan Pina-Crespo, Lisa Zhou, Wenxi Xu, Maria J. Rodriguez, Haiyang Yu, Don W. Cleveland, John Ravits, Sandrine Da Cruz, Tao Long, Timothy Y. Huang, Huaxi Xu
Gliomas account for approximately 80% of primary malignant tumors in the central nervous system. Despite aggressive therapy, the prognosis of patients remains extremely poor. Glioma stem cells (GSCs) which considered as the potential target of therapy for their crucial role in therapeutic resistance and tumor recurrence, are believed to be key factors for the disappointing outcome. Here, we took advantage of GSCs as the cell model to perform high-throughput drug screening and the old antibiotic, clofoctol, was identified as the most effective compound, showing reduction of colony-formation and induction of apoptosis of GSCs. Moreover, growth of tumors was inhibited obviously in vivo after clofoctol treatment especially in primary patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) and transgenic xenografts. The anticancer mechanisms demonstrated by analyzing related downstream genes and discovering the targeted binding protein revealed that clofoctol exhibited the inhibition of GSCs by upregulation of Kruppel-like factor 13 (KLF13), a tumor suppressor gene, through clofoctol’s targeted binding protein, Upstream of N-ras (UNR). Collectively, these data demonstrated that induction of KLF13 expression suppressed growth of gliomas and provided a potential therapy for gliomas targeting GSCs. Importantly, our results also identified the RNA-binding protein UNR as a drug target.
Yan Hu, Meilian Zhang, Ningyu Tian, Dengke Li, Fan Wu, Peishan Hu, Zhixing Wang, Liping Wang, Wei Hao, Jingting Kang, Bin Yin, Zhi Zheng, Tao Jiang, Jiangang Yuan, Boqin Qiang, Wei Han, Xiaozhong Peng
Highly effective direct-acting antivirals against Hepatitis C virus (HCV) have created an opportunity to transplant organs from HCV-positive individuals into HCV-negative recipients, since de novo infection can be routinely cured. As this procedure is performed more widely, it becomes increasingly important to understand the biological underpinnings of virus transmission, especially the multiplicity of infection. Here, we used single genome sequencing of plasma virus in four genotype 1a HCV-positive organ donors and their seven organ recipients to assess the genetic bottleneck associated with HCV transmission following renal and cardiac transplantation. In all recipients, de novo infection was established by multiple genetically distinct viruses that reflect the full phylogenetic spectrum of replication-competent virus circulating in donor plasma. This was true in renal and cardiac transplantation and in recipients with peak viral loads ranging between 2.9 and 6.6 log10 IU/mL. The permissive transmission process characterized here contrasts sharply with sexual or injection-related transmission, which occurs less frequently per exposure and is generally associated with a stringent genetic bottleneck. These findings highlight the effectiveness of current anti-HCV regimens, while raising caution regarding the substantially higher multiplicity of infection seen in organ transplantation-associated HCV acquisition.
Muhammad N. Zahid, Shuyi Wang, Gerald H. Learn, Peter L. Abt, Emily A. Blumberg, Peter P. Reese, David S. Goldberg, George M. Shaw, Katharine J. Bar
The migration of leukocytes into the CNS drives the neuropathology of multiple sclerosis (MS). This penetration likely utilizes energy resources that remain to be defined. Using the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of MS, we determined that macrophages within the perivascular cuff of post-capillary venules are highly glycolytic as manifested by strong expression of lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) that converts pyruvate to lactate. These macrophages expressed prominent levels of monocarboxylate transporter-4 (MCT-4) specialized in secreting lactate from glycolytic cells. The functional relevance of glycolysis was confirmed by siRNA-mediated knockdown of LDHA and MCT-4, which decreased lactate secretion and macrophage transmigration. MCT-4 was in turn regulated by EMMPRIN (CD147) as determined through co-expression/co-immunoprecipitation studies, and siRNA-mediated EMMPRIN silencing. The functional relevance of MCT-4/EMMPRIN interaction was affirmed by lower macrophage transmigration in culture using the MCT-4 inhibitor, α-cyano-4-hydroxy-cinnamic acid (CHCA), a cinnamon derivative. CHCA also reduced leukocyte infiltration and the clinical severity of EAE. Relevance to MS was corroborated by the strong expression of MCT-4, EMMPRIN and LDHA in perivascular macrophages in MS brains. These results detail the metabolism of macrophages for transmigration from perivascular cuffs into the CNS parenchyma and identifies CHCA and diet as potential modulators of neuro-inflammation in MS.
Deepak Kumar Kaushik, Anindita Bhattacharya, Reza Mirzaei, Khalil S. Rawji, Younghee Ahn, Jong M. Rho, V. Wee Yong
The presence of tumor-infiltrating T cells is associated with favorable patient outcomes, yet most pancreatic cancers are immunologically silent and resistant to currently available immunotherapies. Here we show using a syngeneic orthotopic implantation model of pancreatic cancer that Pik3ca regulates tumor immunogenicity. Genetic silencing of Pik3ca in KrasG12D/Trp53R172H-driven pancreatic tumors resulted in infiltration of T cells, complete tumor regression, and 100% survival of immunocompetent host mice. By contrast, Pik3ca-null tumors implanted in T cell-deficient mice progressed and killed all of the animals. Adoptive transfer of tumor antigen-experienced T cells eliminated Pik3ca-null tumors in immunodeficient mice. Loss of PIK3CA or inhibition of its effector, AKT, increased the expression of MHC Class I and CD80 on tumor cells. These changes contributed to the increased susceptibility of Pik3ca-null tumors to T cell surveillance. Our results indicate that tumor cell PIK3CA-AKT signaling limits T cell recognition and clearance of pancreatic cancer cells. Strategies that target this pathway may yield an effective immunotherapy for this cancer.
Nithya Sivaram, Patrick A. McLaughlin, Han V. Han, Oleksi Petrenko, Ya-Ping Jiang, Lisa M. Ballou, Kien Pham, Chen Liu, Adrianus W.M. van der Velden, Richard Z. Lin
PD-L1 is a promising therapeutic target in aggressive cancers. However, immune landscapes and cancer hallmarks of human PD-L1+ tumors, as well as their roles in determining therapeutic efficacies are unknown. Here we identified, in detailed studies of gene data regarding 9769 patients of 32 types of human cancers, that PD-L1 could not exclusively represent IFN-γ signature and potentially signified pro-inflammatory myeloid responses in a tumor. PD-L1 heterogeneity endowed by local immune landscapes controlled cancer hallmarks and clinical outcomes of patients. Mechanically, NF-κB signal elicited by macrophage inflammatory responses generated PD-L1+ cancer cells exhibiting capabilities to aggressively survive, support angiogenesis, and metastasize, whereas STAT1 signal triggered by activated T cells induced PD-L1+ cancer cells susceptive to apoptosis. Importantly, PD-L1+ cancer cells generated by macrophages established great resistance to conventional chemotherapy, cytotoxicity of tumor-specific effector T cells, and therapy of immune checkpoint blockade. Therapeutic strategy combining immune checkpoint blockade with macrophage depletion or NF-κB inhibition in vivo effectively and successfully elicited caner regression. Our results provide insight into the functional features of PD-L1+ tumors and suggest that strategies to influence functional activities of inflammatory cells may benefit immune checkpoint blockade therapy.
Yuan Wei, Qiyi Zhao, Zhiliang Gao, Xiang-Ming Lao, Wei-Ming Lin, Dong-Ping Chen, Ming Mu, Chun-Xiang Huang, Zheng-Yu Liu, Bo Li, Limin Zheng, Dong-Ming Kuang
The precise regulation of synaptic dopamine (DA) content by the dopamine transporter (DAT) ensures the phasic nature of the DA signal, which underlies the ability of DA to encode reward prediction error, thereby driving motivation, attention, and behavioral learning. Disruptions to the DA system are implicated in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, more recently, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). An ASD-associated de novo mutation in the SLC6A3 gene resulting in a threonine to methionine substitution at site 356 (DAT T356M) was recently identified and has been shown to drive persistent reverse transport of DA (i.e. anomalous DA efflux) in transfected cells and to drive hyperlocomotion in Drosophila melanogaster. A corresponding mutation in the leucine transporter, a DAT-homologous transporter, promotes an outward-facing transporter conformation upon substrate binding, a conformation possibly underlying anomalous dopamine efflux. Here we investigated in vivo the impact of this ASD-associated mutation on DA signaling and ASD-associated behaviors. We found that mice homozygous for this mutation display impaired striatal DA neurotransmission and altered DA-dependent behaviors that correspond with some of the behavioral phenotypes observed in ASD.
Gabriella E. DiCarlo, Jenny I. Aguilar, Heinrich J.G. Matthies, Fiona E. Harrison, Kyle E. Bundschuh, Alyssa West, Parastoo Hashemi, Freja Herborg, Mattias Rickhag, Hao Chen, Ulrik Gether, Mark T. Wallace, Aurelio Galli
About 1% of all newborns are affected by congenital heart disease (CHD). Recent findings identify aberrantly functioning cilia as a possible source for CHD. Faulty cilia also prevent the development of proper left-right asymmetry and cause heterotaxy, the incorrect placement of visceral organs. Intriguingly, signaling cascades such as mTor that influence mitochondrial biogenesis also affect ciliogenesis, and can cause heterotaxy-like phenotypes in zebrafish. Here, we identify levels of mitochondrial function as a determinant for ciliogenesis and a cause for heterotaxy. We detected reduced mitochondrial DNA content in biopsies of heterotaxy patients. Manipulation of mitochondrial function revealed a reciprocal influence on ciliogenesis and affected cilia-dependent processes in zebrafish, human fibroblasts and Tetrahymena thermophila. Exome analysis of heterotaxy patients revealed an increased burden of rare damaging variants in mitochondria-associated genes as compared to 1000 Genome controls. Knockdown of such candidate genes caused cilia elongation and ciliopathy-like phenotypes in zebrafish, which could not be rescued by RNA encoding damaging rare variants identified in heterotaxy patients. Our findings suggest that ciliogenesis is coupled to the abundance and function of mitochondria. Our data further reveal disturbed mitochondrial function as an underlying cause for heterotaxy-linked CHD and provide a mechanism for unexplained phenotypes of mitochondrial disease.
Martin D. Burkhalter, Arthi Sridhar, Pedro Sampaio, Raquel Jacinto, Martina S. Burczyk, Cornelia Donow, Max Angenendt, Competence Network for Congenital Heart Defects Investigators, Maja Hempel, Paul Walther, Petra Pennekamp, Heymut Omran, Susana S. Lopes, Stephanie M. Ware, Melanie Philipp
Mobilized peripheral blood has become the primary source of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) for stem cell transplantation, with a five-day course of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) as the most common regimen used for HSPC mobilization. The CXCR4 inhibitor, plerixafor, is a more rapid mobilizer, yet not potent enough when used as a single agent, thus emphasizing the need for faster acting agents with more predictable mobilization responses and fewer side effects. We sought to improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation by developing a new mobilization strategy in mice through combined targeting of the chemokine receptor CXCR2 and the very late antigen 4 (VLA4) integrin. Rapid and synergistic mobilization of HSPCs along with an enhanced recruitment of true HSCs was achieved when a CXCR2 agonist was co-administered in conjunction with a VLA4 inhibitor. Mechanistic studies revealed involvement of CXCR2 expressed on BM stroma in addition to stimulation of the receptor on granulocytes in the regulation of HSPC localization and egress. Given the rapid kinetics and potency of HSPC mobilization provided by the VLA4 inhibitor and CXCR2 agonist combination in mice compared to currently approved HSPC mobilization methods, it represents an exciting potential strategy for clinical development in the future.
Darja Karpova, Michael P. Rettig, Julie Ritchey, Daniel Cancilla, Stephanie Christ, Leah Gehrs, Ezhilarasi Chendamarai, Moses O. Evbuomwan, Matthew Holt, Jingzhu Zhang, Grazia Abou-Ezzi, Hamza Celik, Eliza Wiercinska, Wei Yang, Feng Gao, Linda G. Eissenberg, Richard F. Heier, Stacy D. Arnett, Marvin J. Meyers, Michael J. Prinsen, David W. Griggs, Andreas Trumpp, Peter G. Ruminski, Dwight M. Morrow, Halvard B. Bonig, Daniel C. Link, John F. DiPersio
Phosphorylation of Dynamin-related protein1 (Drp1) represents an important regulatory mechanism for mitochondrial fission. Here we established the role of Drp1 Serine 600 (S600) phosphorylation on mitochondrial fission in vivo, and assessed the functional consequences of targeted elimination of the Drp1S600 phosphorylation site in progression of diabetic nephropathy (DN). We generated a knockin mouse in which S600 was mutated to alanine (Drp1S600A). We found that diabetic Drp1S600A mice exhibited improved biochemical and histological features of DN along with reduced mitochondrial fission and diminished mitochondrial ROS in vivo. Importantly, we observed that the effect of Drp1S600 phosphorylation on mitochondrial fission in the diabetic milieu was stimulus- but not cell type-dependent. Mechanistically, we showed that mitochondrial fission in high glucose conditions occurs through concomitant binding of phospho-Drp1S600 with mitochondrial fission factor (Mff) and actin-related protein 3 (Arp3), ultimately leading to accumulation of F-actin and Drp1 on the mitochondria. Taken together, these findings establish that a single phosphorylation site in Drp1 can regulate mitochondrial fission and progression of DN in vivo, and highlight the stimulus-specific consequences of Drp1S600 phosphorylation on mitochondrial dynamics.
Daniel L. Galvan, Jianyin Long, Nathanael Green, Benny H. Chang, Jamie S. Lin, Paul T. Schumacker, Luan D. Truong, Paul Overbeek, Farhad R. Danesh
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