Pirfenidone is a recently approved antifibrotic drug for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Because tuberculosis (TB) is characterized by granulomatous inflammation in conjunction with parenchymal destruction and replacement fibrosis, we sought to determine whether the addition of pirfenidone as an adjunctive, host-directed therapy provides a beneficial effect during antimicrobial treatment of TB. We hypothesized that pirfenidone’s antiinflammatory and antifibrotic properties would reduce inflammatory lung damage and increase antimicrobial drug penetration in granulomas to accelerate treatment response. The effectiveness of adjunctive pirfenidone during TB drug therapy was evaluated using a murine model of chronic TB. Mice treated with standard therapy 2HRZ/4HR (H, isoniazid; R, rifampin; and Z, pyrazinamide) were compared with 2 alternative regimens containing pirfenidone (Pf) (2HRZPf/4HRPf and 2HRZPf/4HR). Contrary to our hypothesis, adjunctive pirfenidone use leads to reduced bacterial clearance and increased relapse rates. This treatment failure is closely associated with the emergence of isoniazid monoresistant bacilli, increased cavitation, and significant lung pathology. While antifibrotic agents may eventually be used as part of adjunctive host-directed therapy of TB, this study clearly demonstrates that caution must be exercised. Moreover, as pirfenidone becomes more widely used in clinical practice, increased patient monitoring would be required in endemic TB settings.
Bintou A. Ahidjo, Mariama C. Maiga, Elizabeth A. Ihms, Mamoudou Maiga, Alvaro A. Ordonez, Laurene S. Cheung, Sarah Beck, Bruno B. Andrade, Sanjay Jain, William R. Bishai
Fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) is a pregnancy-related condition caused by maternal antibodies binding an alloantigen on fetal platelets. In most cases the alloantigen is formed by a single amino acid, integrin β3 Leu33, referred to as human platelet antigen–1a (HPA-1a). Production of anti–HPA-1a antibodies likely depends on CD4+ T cells that recognize the same alloantigen in complex with the HLA-DRA/DRB3*01:01 molecule. While this complex is well characterized, T cell recognition of it is not. Here, to examine the nature of antigen recognition by HPA-1a–specific T cells, we assayed native and synthetic variants of the integrin β3 peptide antigen for binding to DRA/DRB3*01:01-positive antigen-presenting cells and for T cell activation. We found that HPA-1a–specific T cells recognize non-allogeneic integrin β3 residues anchored to DRA/DRB3*01:01 by the allogeneic Leu33, which itself is not directly recognized by these T cells. Furthermore, these T cell responses are diverse, with different T cells depending on different residues for recognition. This represents a unique form of indirect allorecognition in which a non-allogeneic peptide sequence becomes immunogenic by stable anchoring to MHC by an allogeneic residue.
Maria Therese Ahlen, Anne Husebekk, Ida Løken Killie, Bjørn Skogen, Tor Brynjar Stuge
Telomeres are short in type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Whether dysfunctional telomeres contribute directly to development of lung fibrosis remains unknown. The objective of this study was to investigate whether telomere dysfunction in type II AECs, mediated by deletion of the telomere shelterin protein TRF1, leads to pulmonary fibrosis in mice (
Ram P. Naikawadi, Supparerk Disayabutr, Benat Mallavia, Matthew L. Donne, Gary Green, Janet L. La, Jason R. Rock, Mark R. Looney, Paul J. Wolters
Genome-wide association studies of asthma have identified genetic variants in the
Erin D. Gordon, Joe Palandra, Agata Wesolowska-Andersen, Lando Ringel, Cydney L. Rios, Marrah E. Lachowicz-Scroggins, Louis Z. Sharp, Jamie L. Everman, Hannah J. MacLeod, Jae W. Lee, Robert J. Mason, Michael A. Matthay, Richard T. Sheldon, Michael C. Peters, Karl H. Nocka, John V. Fahy, Max A. Seibold
Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for gene therapy of CNS disorders. However, host factors that influence the spread, clearance, and transduction efficiency of AAV vectors in the brain are not well understood. Recent studies have demonstrated that fluid flow mediated by aquaporin-4 (AQP4) channels located on astroglial end feet is essential for exchange of solutes between interstitial and cerebrospinal fluid. This phenomenon, which is essential for interstitial clearance of solutes from the CNS, has been termed glial-associated lymphatic transport or glymphatic transport. In the current study, we demonstrate that glymphatic transport profoundly affects various aspects of AAV gene transfer in the CNS. Altered localization of AQP4 in aged mouse brains correlated with significantly increased retention of AAV vectors in the parenchyma and reduced systemic leakage following ventricular administration. We observed a similar increase in AAV retention and transgene expression upon i.c.v. administration in AQP4–/– mice. Consistent with this observation, fluorophore-labeled AAV vectors showed markedly reduced flux from the ventricles of AQP4–/– mice compared with WT mice. These results were further corroborated by reduced AAV clearance from the AQP4-null brain, as demonstrated by reduced transgene expression and vector genome accumulation in systemic organs. We postulate that deregulation of glymphatic transport in aged and diseased brains could markedly affect the parenchymal spread, clearance, and gene transfer efficiency of AAV vectors. Assessment of biomarkers that report the kinetics of CSF flux in prospective gene therapy patients might inform variable treatment outcomes and guide future clinical trial design.
Giridhar Murlidharan, Andrew Crowther, Rebecca A. Reardon, Juan Song, Aravind Asokan
Metastatic dissemination of cancer cells, which accounts for 90% of cancer mortality, is the ultimate hallmark of malignancy. Growing evidence suggests that blood platelets have a predominant role in tumor metastasis; however, the molecular mechanisms involved remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that genetic deficiency of integrin α6β1 on platelets markedly decreases experimental and spontaneous lung metastasis. In vitro and in vivo assays reveal that human and mouse platelet α6β1 supports platelet adhesion to various types of cancer cells. Using a knockdown approach, we identified ADAM9 as the major counter receptor of α6β1 on both human and mouse tumor cells. Static and flow-based adhesion assays of platelets binding to DC-9, a recombinant protein covering the disintegrin-cysteine domain of ADAM9, demonstrated that this receptor directly binds to platelet α6β1. In vivo studies showed that the interplay between platelet α6β1 and tumor cell–expressed ADAM9 promotes efficient lung metastasis. The integrin α6β1–dependent platelet-tumor cell interaction induces platelet activation and favors the extravasation process of tumor cells. Finally, we demonstrate that a pharmacological approach targeting α6β1 efficiently impairs tumor metastasis through a platelet-dependent mechanism. Our study reveals a mechanism by which platelets promote tumor metastasis and suggests that integrin α6β1 represents a promising target for antimetastatic therapies.
Elmina Mammadova-Bach, Paola Zigrino, Camille Brucker, Catherine Bourdon, Monique Freund, Adèle De Arcangelis, Scott I. Abrams, Gertaud Orend, Christian Gachet, Pierre Henri Mangin
In carcinogen-driven cancers, a high mutational burden results in neoepitopes that can be recognized immunologically. Such carcinogen-induced tumors may evade this immune response through “immunoediting,” whereby tumors adapt to immune pressure and escape T cell–mediated killing. Many tumors lack a high neoepitope burden, and it remains unclear whether immunoediting occurs in such cases. Here, we evaluated T cell immunity in an autochthonous mouse model of pancreatic cancer and found a low mutational burden, absence of predicted neoepitopes derived from tumor mutations, and resistance to checkpoint immunotherapy. Spontaneous tumor progression was identical in the presence or absence of T cells. Moreover, tumors arising in T cell–depleted mice grew unchecked in immune-competent hosts. However, introduction of the neoantigen ovalbumin (OVA) led to tumor rejection and T cell memory, but this did not occur in OVA immune-tolerant mice. Thus, immunoediting does not occur in this mouse model — a likely consequence, not a cause, of absent neoepitopes. Because many human tumors also have a low missense mutational load and minimal neoepitope burden, our findings have clinical implications for the design of immunotherapy for patients with such tumors.
Rebecca A. Evans, Mark S. Diamond, Andrew J. Rech, Timothy Chao, Max W. Richardson, Jeffrey H. Lin, David L. Bajor, Katelyn T. Byrne, Ben Z. Stanger, James L. Riley, Nune Markosyan, Rafael Winograd, Robert H. Vonderheide
A large portion of the global population carries latent herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can periodically reactivate, resulting in asymptomatic shedding or formation of ulcerative lesions. Current anti-HSV drugs do not eliminate latent virus from sensory neurons where HSV resides, and therefore do not eliminate the risk of transmission or recurrent disease. Here, we report the ability of HSV-specific endonucleases to induce mutations of essential HSV genes both in cultured neurons and in latently infected mice. In neurons, viral genomes are susceptible to endonuclease-mediated mutagenesis, regardless of the time of treatment after HSV infection, suggesting that both HSV lytic and latent forms can be targeted. Mutagenesis frequency after endonuclease exposure can be increased nearly 2-fold by treatment with a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. Using a mouse model of latent HSV infection, we demonstrate that a targeted endonuclease can be delivered to viral latency sites via an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector, where it is able to induce mutation of latent HSV genomes. These data provide the first proof-of-principle to our knowledge for the use of a targeted endonuclease as an antiviral agent to treat an established latent viral infection in vivo.
Martine Aubert, Emily A. Madden, Michelle Loprieno, Harshana S. DeSilva Feelixge, Laurence Stensland, Meei-Li Huang, Alexander L. Greninger, Pavitra Roychoudhury, Nixon Niyonzima, Thuy Nguyen, Amalia Magaret, Roman Galleto, Daniel Stone, Keith R. Jerome
The physiological components that contribute to cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease are steadily being elucidated. Gene therapy could potentially correct these defects.
Benjamin Steines, David D. Dickey, Jamie Bergen, Katherine J.D.A. Excoffon, John R. Weinstein, Xiaopeng Li, Ziying Yan, Mahmoud H. Abou Alaiwa, Viral S. Shah, Drake C. Bouzek, Linda S. Powers, Nicholas D. Gansemer, Lynda S. Ostedgaard, John F. Engelhardt, David A. Stoltz, Michael J. Welsh, Patrick L. Sinn, David V. Schaffer, Joseph Zabner
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in CF transmembrane conductance regulator (
Ashley L. Cooney, Mahmoud H. Abou Alaiwa, Viral S. Shah, Drake C. Bouzek, Mallory R. Stroik, Linda S. Powers, Nick D. Gansemer, David K. Meyerholz, Michael J. Welsh, David A. Stoltz, Patrick L. Sinn, Paul B. McCray Jr.
Mutagenesis screening is a powerful forward genetic approach that has been successfully applied in lower-model organisms to discover genetic factors for biological processes. This phenotype-based approach has yet to be established in vertebrates for probing major human diseases, largely because of the complexity of colony management. Herein, we report a rapid strategy for identifying genetic modifiers of cardiomyopathy (CM). Based on the application of doxorubicin stress to zebrafish insertional cardiac (ZIC) mutants, we identified 4 candidate CM-modifying genes, of which 3 have been linked previously to CM. The long isoform of DnaJ (Hsp40) homolog, subfamily B, member 6b (
Yonghe Ding, Pamela A. Long, J. Martijn Bos, Yu-Huan Shih, Xiao Ma, Rhianna S. Sundsbak, Jianhua Chen, Yiwen Jiang, Liqun Zhao, Xinyang Hu, Jianan Wang, Yongyong Shi, Michael J. Ackerman, Xueying Lin, Stephen C. Ekker, Margaret M. Redfield, Timothy M. Olson, Xiaolei Xu
Infantile hemangioma (IH) is the most common vascular tumor of infancy, and it uniquely regresses in response to oral propranolol. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as key regulators of vascular development and are dysregulated in many disease processes, but the role of miRNAs in IH growth has not been investigated. We report expression of C19MC, a primate-specific megacluster of miRNAs expressed in placenta with rare expression in postnatal tissues, in glucose transporter 1–expressing (GLUT-1–expressing) IH endothelial cells and in the plasma of children with IH. Tissue or circulating C19MC miRNAs were not detectable in patients having 9 other types of vascular anomalies or unaffected children, identifying C19MC miRNAs as the first circulating biomarkers of IH. Levels of circulating C19MC miRNAs correlated with IH tumor size and propranolol treatment response, and IH tissue from children treated with propranolol or from children with partially involuted tumors contained lower levels of C19MC miRNAs than untreated, proliferative tumors, implicating C19MC miRNAs as potential drivers of IH pathogenesis. Detection of C19MC miRNAs in the circulation of infants with IH may provide a specific and noninvasive means of IH diagnosis and identification of candidates for propranolol therapy as well as a means to monitor treatment response.
Graham M. Strub, Andrew L. Kirsh, Mark E. Whipple, Winston P. Kuo, Rachel B. Keller, Raj P. Kapur, Mark W. Majesky, Jonathan A. Perkins
Meningococcal factor H-binding protein (FHbp) is an antigen in 2 serogroup B meningococcal vaccines. FHbp specifically binds human and some nonhuman primate complement FH. To investigate the effect of binding of FH to FHbp on protective antibody responses, we immunized infant rhesus macaques with either a control recombinant FHbp antigen that bound macaque FH or a mutant antigen with 2 amino acid substitutions and >250-fold lower affinity for FH. The mutant antigen elicited 3-fold higher serum IgG anti-FHbp titers and up to 15-fold higher serum bactericidal titers than the control FHbp vaccine. When comparing sera with similar IgG anti-FHbp titers, the antibodies elicited by the mutant antigen gave greater deposition of complement component C4b on live meningococci (classical complement pathway) and inhibited binding of FH, while the anti-FHbp antibodies elicited by the control vaccine enhanced FH binding. Thus, the mutant FHbp vaccine elicited an anti-FHbp antibody repertoire directed at FHbp epitopes within the FH binding site, which resulted in greater protective activity than the antibodies elicited by the control vaccine, which targeted FHbp epitopes outside of the FH combining site. Binding of a host protein to a vaccine antigen impairs protective antibody responses, which can be overcome with low-binding mutant antigens.
Dan M. Granoff, Serena Giuntini, Flor A. Gowans, Eduardo Lujan, Kelsey Sharkey, Peter T. Beernink
Hypertension is nearly universal yet poorly controlled in the elderly despite proven benefits of intensive treatment. Mice lacking mineralocorticoid receptors in smooth muscle cells (SMC-MR-KO) are protected from rising blood pressure (BP) with aging, despite normal renal function. Vasoconstriction is attenuated in aged SMC-MR-KO mice, thus they were used to explore vascular mechanisms that may contribute to hypertension with aging. MicroRNA (miR) profiling identified miR-155 as the most down-regulated miR with vascular aging in MR-intact but not SMC-MR-KO mice. The aging-associated decrease in miR-155 in mesenteric resistance vessels was associated with increased mRNA abundance of MR and of predicted miR-155 targets Cav1.2 (L-type calcium channel (LTCC) subunit) and angiotensin type-1 receptor (AgtR1). SMC-MR-KO mice lacked these aging-associated vascular gene expression changes. In HEK293 cells, MR repressed miR-155 promoter activity. In cultured SMCs, miR-155 decreased Cav1.2 and AgtR1 mRNA. Compared to MR-intact littermates, aged SMC-MR-KO mice had decreased systolic BP, myogenic tone, SMC LTCC current, mesenteric vessel calcium influx, LTCC-induced vasoconstriction and angiotensin II-induced vasoconstriction and oxidative stress. Restoration of miR-155 specifically in SMCs of aged MR-intact mice decreased Cav1.2 and AgtR1 mRNA and attenuated LTCC-mediated and angiotensin II-induced vasoconstriction and oxidative stress. Finally, in a trial of MR blockade in elderly humans, changes in serum miR-155 predicted the BP treatment response. Thus, SMC-MR regulation of miR-155, Cav1.2 and AgtR1 impacts vasoconstriction with aging. This novel mechanism identifies potential new treatment strategies and biomarkers to improve and individualize antihypertensive therapy in the elderly.
Jennifer J. DuPont, Amy McCurley, Ana P. Davel, Joseph McCarthy, Shawn B. Bender, Kwangseok Hong, Yan Yang, Jeung-Ki Yoo, Mark Aronovitz, Wendy E. Baur, Demetra D. Christou, Michael A. Hill, Iris Z. Jaffe
Patrick H. Lizotte, Elena V. Ivanova, Mark M. Awad, Robert E. Jones, Lauren Keogh, Hongye Liu, Ruben Dries, Christina Almonte, Grit S. Herter-Sprie, Abigail Santos, Nora B. Feeney, Cloud P. Paweletz, Meghana M. Kulkarni, Adam J. Bass, Anil K. Rustgi, Guo-Cheng Yuan, Donald W. Kufe, Pasi A. Jänne, Peter S. Hammerman, Lynette M. Sholl, F. Stephen Hodi, William G. Richards, Raphael Bueno, Jessie M. English, Mark A. Bittinger, Kwok-Kin Wong
Emerging knowledge indicates the difficulty in categorizing unusual cystic fibrosis (CF) mutations, with regard to both pathogenic mechanism and theratype. As case in point, we present data concerning P67L mutation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a defect carried by a small number of individuals with CF and sometimes attributed to a channel conductance abnormality. Findings from our laboratory and others establish that P67L causes protein misfolding, disrupts maturation, confers gating defects, is thermally stable, and exhibits near normal conductance. These results provide one framework by which rare CF alleles such as P67L can be more comprehensively profiled vis-à-vis molecular pathogenesis. We also demonstrate that emerging CF treatments — ivacaftor and lumacaftor — can mediate pronounced pharmacologic activation of P67L CFTR. Infrequent CF alleles are often improperly characterized, in part, due to the small numbers of patients involved. Moreover, access to new personalized treatments among patients with ultra-orphan genotypes has been limited by difficulty arranging phase III clinical trials, and off-label prescribing has been impaired by high drug cost and difficulty arranging third party reimbursement. Rare CFTR mutations such as P67L are emblematic of the challenges to “precision” medicine, including use of the best available mechanistic knowledge to treat patients with unusual forms of disease.
Carleen M. Sabusap, Wei Wang, Carmel M. McNicholas, W. Joon Chung, Lianwu Fu, Hui Wen, Marina Mazur, Kevin L. Kirk, James F. Collawn, Jeong S. Hong, Eric J. Sorscher