Issue published February 22, 2021

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Distinct antibody repertoires against endemic human coronaviruses in children and adults

In this issue, Khan et al. report a comprehensive analysis of antibody responses in children and adults to the four endemic human coronaviruses. Antibody repertoires differed between children and adults, with children more frequently having antibodies that target functionally important and structurally conserved regions of the spike, nucleocapsid, and matrix proteins. Moreover, they found antibodies targeting a highly conserved region of the spike protein that were cross-reactive among multiple coronaviruses, suggesting a potential important target for vaccine design. The cover image is an illustration of antibodies and a coronavirus. Image credit: Tatiana Shepeleva/Shutterstock.

Research Articles
Abstract

Most patients with glioblastoma (GBM) die within 2 years. A major therapeutic goal is to target GBM stem cells (GSCs), a subpopulation of cells that contribute to treatment resistance and recurrence. Since their discovery in 2003, GSCs have been isolated using single-surface markers, such as CD15, CD44, CD133, and α6 integrin. It remains unknown how these single-surface marker–defined GSC populations compare with each other in terms of signaling and function and whether expression of different combinations of these markers is associated with different functional capacity. Using mass cytometry and fresh operating room specimens, we found 15 distinct GSC subpopulations in patients, and they differed in their MEK/ERK, WNT, and AKT pathway activation status. Once in culture, some subpopulations were lost and previously undetectable ones materialized. GSCs that highly expressed all 4 surface markers had the greatest self-renewal capacity, WNT inhibitor sensitivity, and in vivo tumorigenicity. This work highlights the potential signaling and phenotypic diversity of GSCs. Larger patient sample sizes and antibody panels are required to confirm these findings.

Authors

Luciano Galdieri, Arijita Jash, Olga Malkova, Diane D. Mao, Patrick DeSouza, Yunli E. Chu, Amber Salter, Jian L. Campian, Kristen M. Naegle, Cameron W. Brennan, Hiroaki Wakimoto, Stephen T. Oh, Albert H. Kim, Milan G. Chheda

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Abstract

MC4R mutations represent the largest monogenic cause of obesity, resulting mainly from receptor misfolding and intracellular retention by the cellular quality control system. The present study aimed at determining whether pharmacological chaperones (PCs) that restore folding and plasma membrane trafficking by stabilizing near native protein conformation may represent valid therapeutic avenues for the treatment of melanocortin type 4 receptor–linked (MC4R-linked) obesity. To test the therapeutic PC potential, we engineered humanized MC4R (hMC4R) mouse models expressing either the WT human MC4R or a prevalent obesity-causing mutant (R165W). Administration of a PC able to rescue cell surface expression and functional activity of R165W-hMC4R in cells restored the anorexigenic response of the R165W-hMC4R obese mice to melanocortin agonist, providing a proof of principle for the therapeutic potential of MC4R-targeting PCs in vivo. Interestingly, the expression of the WT-hMC4R in mice revealed lower sensitivity of the human receptor to α–melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) but not β-MSH or melanotan II, resulting in a lower penetrance obese phenotype in the WT-hMC4R versus R165W-hMC4R mice. In conclusion, we created 2 new obesity models, a hypomorphic highlighting species differences and an amorphic providing a preclinical model to test the therapeutic potential of PCs to treat MC4R-linked obesity.

Authors

Patricia René, Damien Lanfray, Denis Richard, Michel Bouvier

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Abstract

An intact lung epithelial barrier is essential for lung homeostasis. The Na+, K+-ATPase (NKA), primarily serving as an ion transporter, also regulates epithelial barrier function via modulation of tight junctions. However, the underlying mechanism is not well understood. Here, we show that overexpression of the NKA β1 subunit upregulates the expression of tight junction proteins, leading to increased alveolar epithelial barrier function by an ion transport–independent mechanism. Using IP and mass spectrometry, we identified a number of unknown protein interactions of the β1 subunit, including a top candidate, myotonic dystrophy kinase–related cdc42-binding kinase α (MRCKα), which is a protein kinase known to regulate peripheral actin formation. Using a doxycycline-inducible gene expression system, we demonstrated that MRCKα and its downstream activation of myosin light chain is required for the regulation of alveolar barrier function by the NKA β1 subunit. Importantly, MRCKα is expressed in both human airways and alveoli and has reduced expression in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a lung illness that can be caused by multiple direct and indirect insults, including the infection of influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2. Our results have elucidated a potentially novel mechanism by which NKA regulates epithelial tight junctions and have identified potential drug targets for treating ARDS and other pulmonary diseases that are caused by barrier dysfunction.

Authors

Haiqing Bai, Rui Zhou, Michael Barravecchia, Rosemary Norman, Alan Friedman, Deborah Yu, Xin Lin, Jennifer L. Young, David A. Dean

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Abstract

In the setting of cancer, T cells upregulate coinhibitory molecules that attenuate TCR signaling and lead to the loss of proliferative capacity and effector function. Checkpoint inhibitors currently in clinical use have dramatically improved mortality from melanoma yet are not effective in all patients, suggesting that additional pathways may contribute to suppression of tumor-specific CD8+ T cell responses in melanoma. Here, we show that FcγRIIB, an inhibitory Fc receptor previously thought to be exclusively expressed on B cells and innate immune cells, is upregulated on tumor-infiltrating effector CD8+ T cells in an experimental melanoma model and expressed on CD8+ T cells in patients with melanoma. Genetic deficiency of Fcgr2b resulted in enhanced tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cell responses and significantly reduced tumor burden. Adoptive transfer experiments of Fcgr2b–/– tumor antigen-specific T cells into FcγRIIB-sufficient hosts resulted in an increased frequency of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells with greater effector function. Finally, FcγRIIB was expressed on CD8+ memory T cells isolated from patients with melanoma. These data illuminate a cell-intrinsic role for the FcγRIIB checkpoint in suppressing tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells.

Authors

Clara R. Farley, Anna B. Morris, Marvi Tariq, Kelsey B. Bennion, Sayalee Potdar, Ragini Kudchadkar, Michael C. Lowe, Mandy L. Ford

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Abstract

IL-33 is a key mediator of chronic airway disease driven by type 2 immune pathways, yet the nonclassical secretory mechanism for this cytokine remains undefined. We performed a comprehensive analysis in human airway epithelial cells, which revealed that tonic IL-33 secretion is dependent on the ceramide biosynthetic enzyme neutral sphingomyelinase 2 (nSMase2). IL-33 is cosecreted with exosomes by the nSMase2-regulated multivesicular endosome (MVE) pathway as surface-bound cargo. In support of these findings, human chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) specimens exhibited increased epithelial expression of the abundantly secreted IL33Δ34 isoform and augmented nSMase2 expression compared with non-COPD specimens. Using an Alternaria-induced airway disease model, we found that the nSMase2 inhibitor GW4869 abrogated both IL-33 and exosome secretion as well as downstream inflammatory pathways. This work elucidates a potentially novel aspect of IL-33 biology that may be targeted for therapeutic benefit in chronic airway diseases driven by type 2 inflammation.

Authors

Ella Katz-Kiriakos, Deborah F. Steinberg, Colin E. Kluender, Omar A. Osorio, Catie Newsom-Stewart, Arjun Baronia, Derek E. Byers, Michael J. Holtzman, Dawn Katafiasz, Kristina L. Bailey, Steven L. Brody, Mark J. Miller, Jennifer Alexander-Brett

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Abstract

A maternal Western-style diet (WSD) is associated with poor reproductive outcomes, but whether this is from the diet itself or underlying metabolic dysfunction is unknown. Here, we performed a longitudinal study using regularly cycling female rhesus macaques (n = 10) that underwent 2 consecutive in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, one while consuming a low-fat diet and another 6–8 months after consuming a high-fat WSD. Metabolic data were collected from the females prior to each IVF cycle. Follicular fluid (FF) and oocytes were assessed for cytokine/steroid levels and IVF potential, respectively. Although transition to a WSD led to weight gain and increased body fat, no difference in insulin levels was observed. A significant decrease in IL-1RA concentration and the ratio of cortisol/cortisone was detected in FF after WSD intake. Despite an increased probability of isolating mature oocytes, a 44% reduction in blastocyst number was observed with WSD consumption, and time-lapse imaging revealed delayed mitotic timing and multipolar divisions. RNA sequencing of blastocysts demonstrated dysregulation of genes involved in RNA binding, protein channel activity, mitochondrial function and pluripotency versus cell differentiation after WSD consumption. Thus, short-term WSD consumption promotes a proinflammatory intrafollicular microenvironment that is associated with impaired preimplantation development in the absence of large-scale metabolic changes.

Authors

Sweta Ravisankar, Alison Y. Ting, Melinda J. Murphy, Nash Redmayne, Dorothy Wang, Carrie A. McArthur, Diana L. Takahashi, Paul Kievit, Shawn L. Chavez, Jon D. Hennebold

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Abstract

Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) lack effective targeted therapies, and cytotoxic chemotherapies remain the standard of care for this subtype. Owing to their increased genomic instability, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors (PARPi) are being tested against TNBCs. In particular, clinical trials are now interrogating the efficacy of PARPi combined with chemotherapies. Intriguingly, while response rates are low, cohort of patients do respond to PARPi in combination with chemotherapies. Moreover, recent studies suggest that an increase in levels of ROS may sensitize cells to PARPi. This represents a therapeutic opportunity, as several chemotherapies, including doxorubicin, function in part by producing ROS. We previously demonstrated that the p66ShcA adaptor protein is variably expressed in TNBCs. We now show that, in response to therapy-induced stress, p66ShcA stimulated ROS production, which, in turn, potentiated the synergy of PARPi in combination with doxorubicin in TNBCs. This p66ShcA-induced sensitivity relied on the accumulation of oxidative damage in TNBCs, rather than genomic instability, to potentiate cell death. These findings suggest that increasing the expression of p66ShcA protein levels in TNBCs represents a rational approach to bolster the synergy between PARPi and doxorubicin.

Authors

Eduardo Cepeda Cañedo, Stephanie Totten, Ryuhjin Ahn, Paul Savage, Deanna MacNeil, Jesse Hudson, Chantal Autexier, Genevieve Deblois, Morag Park, Michael Witcher, Josie Ursini-Siegel

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Abstract

White adipose tissue (WAT) insulin action has critical anabolic function and is dysregulated in overnutrition. However, the mechanism of short-term high-fat diet–induced (HFD-induced) WAT insulin resistance (IR) is poorly understood. Based on recent evidences, we hypothesize that a short-term HFD causes WAT IR through plasma membrane (PM) sn-1,2-diacylglycerol (sn-1,2-DAG) accumulation, which promotes protein kinase C-ε (PKCε) activation to impair insulin signaling by phosphorylating insulin receptor (Insr) Thr1160. To test this hypothesis, we assessed WAT insulin action in 7-day HFD–fed versus regular chow diet–fed rats during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. HFD feeding caused WAT IR, reflected by impaired insulin-mediated WAT glucose uptake and lipolysis suppression. These changes were specifically associated with PM sn-1,2-DAG accumulation, higher PKCε activation, and impaired insulin-stimulated Insr Tyr1162 phosphorylation. In order to examine the role of Insr Thr1160 phosphorylation in mediating lipid-induced WAT IR, we examined these same parameters in InsrT1150A mice (mouse homolog for human Thr1160) and found that HFD feeding induced WAT IR in WT control mice but not in InsrT1150A mice. Taken together, these data demonstrate the importance of the PM sn-1,2-DAG/PKCε/Insr Thr1160 phosphorylation pathway in mediating lipid-induced WAT IR and represent a potential therapeutic target to improve WAT insulin sensitivity.

Authors

Kun Lyu, Dongyan Zhang, Joongyu Song, Xiruo Li, Rachel J. Perry, Varman T. Samuel, Gerald I. Shulman

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Abstract

Hepatocellular death contributes to progression of alcohol–associated (ALD-associated) and non–alcohol-associated (NAFL/NASH) liver diseases. However, receptor-interaction protein kinase 3 (RIP3), an intermediate in necroptotic cell death, contributes to injury in murine models of ALD but not NAFL/NASH. We show here that a differential role for mixed-lineage kinase domain–like protein (MLKL), the downstream effector of RIP3, in murine models of ALD versus NAFL/NASH and that RIP1-RIP3-MLKL can be used as biomarkers to distinguish alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH) from NASH. Phospho-MLKL was higher in livers of patients with NASH compared with AH or healthy controls (HCs). MLKL expression, phosphorylation, oligomerization, and translocation to plasma membrane were induced in WT mice fed diets high in fat, fructose, and cholesterol but not in response to Gao-binge (acute on chronic) ethanol exposure. Mlkl–/– mice were not protected from ethanol-induced hepatocellular injury, which was associated with increased expression of chemokines and neutrophil recruitment. Circulating concentrations of RIP1 and RIP3, but not MLKL, distinguished patients with AH from HCs or patients with NASH. Taken together, these data indicate that MLKL is differentially activated in ALD/AH compared with NAFL/NASH in both murine models and patients. Furthermore, plasma RIP1 and RIP3 may be promising biomarkers for distinguishing AH and NASH.

Authors

Tatsunori Miyata, Xiaoqin Wu, Xiude Fan, Emily Huang, Carlos Sanz-Garcia, Christina K. Cajigas-Du Ross, Sanjoy Roychowdhury, Annette Bellar, Megan R. McMullen, Jaividhya Dasarathy, Daniela S. Allende, Joan Caballeria, Pau Sancho-Bru, Craig J. McClain, Mack Mitchell, Arthur J. McCullough, Svetlana Radaeva, Bruce Barton, Gyongyi Szabo, Srinivasan Dasarathy, Laura E. Nagy

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Abstract

Influenza virus infections affect millions of people annually, and current available vaccines provide varying rates of protection. However, the way in which the nasal microbiota, particularly established pneumococcal colonization, shape the response to influenza vaccination is not yet fully understood. In this study, we inoculated healthy adults with live Streptococcus pneumoniae and vaccinated them 3 days later with either tetravalent-inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). Vaccine-induced immune responses were assessed in nose, blood, and lung. Nasal pneumococcal colonization had no impact upon TIV-induced antibody responses to influenza, which manifested in all compartments. However, experimentally induced pneumococcal colonization dampened LAIV-mediated mucosal antibody responses, primarily IgA in the nose and IgG in the lung. Pulmonary influenza-specific cellular responses were more apparent in the LAIV group compared with either the TIV or an unvaccinated group. These results indicate that TIV and LAIV elicit differential immunity to adults and that LAIV immunogenicity is diminished by the nasal presence of S. pneumoniae. Therefore, nasopharyngeal pneumococcal colonization may affect LAIV efficacy.

Authors

Beatriz F. Carniel, Fernando Marcon, Jamie Rylance, Esther L. German, Seher Zaidi, Jesus Reiné, Edessa Negera, Elissavet Nikolaou, Sherin Pojar, Carla Solórzano, Andrea M. Collins, Victoria Connor, Debbie Bogaert, Stephen B. Gordon, Helder I. Nakaya, Daniela M. Ferreira, Simon P. Jochems, Elena Mitsi

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Abstract

Glucagon regulates glucose and lipid metabolism and promotes weight loss. Thus, therapeutics stimulating glucagon receptor (GCGR) signaling are promising for obesity treatment; however, the underlying mechanism(s) have yet to be fully elucidated. We previously identified that hepatic GCGR signaling increases circulating fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), a potent regulator of energy balance. We reported that mice deficient for liver Fgf21 are partially resistant to GCGR-mediated weight loss, implicating FGF21 as a regulator of glucagon’s weight loss effects. FGF21 signaling requires an obligate coreceptor (β-Klotho, KLB), with expression limited to adipose tissue, liver, pancreas, and brain. We hypothesized that the GCGR-FGF21 system mediates weight loss through a central mechanism. Mice deficient for neuronal Klb exhibited a partial reduction in body weight with chronic GCGR agonism (via IUB288) compared with controls, supporting a role for central FGF21 signaling in GCGR-mediated weight loss. Substantiating these results, mice with central KLB inhibition via a pharmacological KLB antagonist, 1153, also displayed partial weight loss. Central KLB, however, is dispensable for GCGR-mediated improvements in plasma cholesterol and liver triglycerides. Together, these data suggest GCGR agonism mediates part of its weight loss properties through central KLB and has implications for future treatments of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Authors

Shelly R. Nason, Jessica Antipenko, Natalie Presedo, Stephen E. Cunningham, Tanya H. Pierre, Teayoun Kim, Jodi R. Paul, Cassie Holleman, Martin E. Young, Karen L. Gamble, Brian Finan, Richard DiMarchi, Chad S. Hunter, Alexei Kharitonenkov, Kirk M. Habegger

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Abstract

Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by an accumulation of malignant plasma cells (PCs) within the BM. The BM microenvironment supports survival of the malignant cells and is composed of cellular fractions that foster myeloma development and progression by suppression of the immune response. Despite major progress in understanding the biology and pathophysiology of MM, this disease is still incurable and requires aggressive treatment with significant side effects. CD84 is a self-binding immunoreceptor belonging to the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM) family. Previously, we showed that CD84 bridges between chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells and their microenvironment, and it regulates T cell function. In the current study, we investigated the role of CD84 in MM. Our results show that MM cells express low levels of CD84. However, these cells secrete the cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), which induces CD84 expression on cells in their microenvironment. Its activation leads to an elevation of expression of genes regulating differentiation to monocytic/granulocytic–myeloid-derived suppressor cells (M-MDSCs and G-MDSCs, respectively) and upregulation of PD-L1 expression on MDSCs, which together suppress T cell function. Downregulation of CD84 or its blocking reduce MDSC accumulation, resulting in elevated T cell activity and reduced tumor load. Our data suggest that CD84 might serve as a novel therapeutic target in MM.

Authors

Hadas Lewinsky, Emine G. Gunes, Keren David, Lihi Radomir, Matthias P. Kramer, Bianca Pellegrino, Michal Perpinial, Jing Chen, Ting-fang He, Anthony G. Mansour, Kun-Yu Teng, Supriyo Bhattacharya, Enrico Caserta, Estelle Troadec, Peter Lee, Mingye Feng, Jonathan Keats, Amrita Krishnan, Michael Rosenzweig, Jianhua Yu, Michael A. Caligiuri, Yosef Cohen, Olga Shevetz, Shirly Becker-Herman, Flavia Pichiorri, Steven Rosen, Idit Shachar

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Abstract

Convalescent plasma with severe acute respiratory disease coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies (CCP) may hold promise as a treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We compared the mortality and clinical outcome of patients with COVID-19 who received 200 mL of CCP with a spike protein IgG titer ≥ 1:2430 (median 1:47,385) within 72 hours of admission with propensity score–matched controls cared for at a medical center in the Bronx, between April 13 and May 4, 2020. Matching criteria for controls were age, sex, body mass index, race, ethnicity, comorbidities, week of admission, oxygen requirement, D-dimer, lymphocyte counts, corticosteroid use, and anticoagulation use. There was no difference in mortality or oxygenation between CCP recipients and controls at day 28. When stratified by age, compared with matched controls, CCP recipients less than 65 years had 4-fold lower risk of mortality and 4-fold lower risk of deterioration in oxygenation or mortality at day 28. For CCP recipients, pretransfusion spike protein IgG, IgM, and IgA titers were associated with mortality at day 28 in univariate analyses. No adverse effects of CCP were observed. Our results suggest CCP may be beneficial for hospitalized patients less than 65 years, but data from controlled trials are needed to validate this finding and establish the effect of aging on CCP efficacy.

Authors

Hyun ah Yoon, Rachel Bartash, Inessa Gendlina, Johanna Rivera, Antonio Nakouzi, Robert H. Bortz III, Ariel S. Wirchnianski, Monika Paroder, Karen Fehn, Leana Serrano-Rahman, Rachelle Babb, Uzma N. Sarwar, Denise Haslwanter, Ethan Laudermilch, Catalina Florez, M. Eugenia Dieterle, Rohit K. Jangra, J. Maximilian Fels, Karen Tong, Margarette C. Mariano, Olivia Vergnolle, George I. Georgiev, Natalia G. Herrera, Ryan J. Malonis, Jose A. Quiroz, Nicholas C. Morano, Gregory J. Krause, Joseph M. Sweeney, Kelsie Cowman, Stephanie Allen, Jayabhargav Annam, Ariella Applebaum, Daniel Barboto, Ahmed Khokhar, Brianna J. Lally, Audrey Lee, Max Lee, Avinash Malaviya, Reise Sample, Xiuyi A. Yang, Yang Li, Rafael Ruiz, Raja Thota, Jason Barnhill, Doctor Y. Goldstein, Joan Uehlinger, Scott J. Garforth, Steven C. Almo, Jonathan R. Lai, Morayma Reyes Gil, Amy S. Fox, Kartik Chandran, Tao Wang, Johanna P. Daily, Liise-anne Pirofski

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Abstract

Reestablishing an appropriate balance between T effector cells (Teff) and Tregs is essential for correcting autoimmunity. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated chronic CNS disease characterized by neuroinflammation, demyelination, and neuronal degeneration, in which the Teff:Treg balance is skewed toward pathogenic Teffs Th1 and Th17 cells. STAT3 is a key regulator of Teff:Treg balance. Using the structure-based design, we have developed a potentially novel small-molecule prodrug LLL12b that specifically inhibits STAT3 and suppresses Th17 differentiation and expansion. Moreover, LLL12b regulates the fate decision between Th17 and Tregs in an inflammatory environment, shifting Th17:Treg balance toward Tregs and favoring the resolution of inflammation. Therapeutic administration of LLL12b after disease onset significantly suppresses disease progression in adoptively transferred, chronic, and relapsing-remitting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Disease relapses were also significantly suppressed by LLL12b given during the remission phase. Additionally, LLL12b shifts Th17:Treg balance of CD4+ T cells from MS patients toward Tregs and increases Teff sensitivity to Treg-mediated suppression. These data suggest that selective inhibition of STAT3 by the small molecule LLL12b recalibrates the effector and regulatory arms of CD4+ T responses, representing a potentially clinically translatable therapeutic strategy for MS.

Authors

Saba I. Aqel, Xiaozhi Yang, Emma E. Kraus, Jinhua Song, Marissa F. Farinas, Erin Y. Zhao, Wei Pei, Amy E. Lovett-Racke, Michael K. Racke, Chenglong Li, Yuhong Yang

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Abstract

Somatostatin (SS) inhibits glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion in a paracrine manner. We hypothesized that blocking somatostatin subtype receptor 2 (SSTR2) and 5 (SSTR5) would improve glycemia by enhancing GLP-1 secretion. In the perfused mouse small intestine, the selective SSTR5 antagonist (SSTR5a) stimulated glucose-induced GLP-1 secretion to a larger degree than the SSTR2 antagonist (SSTR2a). In parallel, mice lacking the SSTR5R showed increased glucose-induced GLP-1 secretion. Both antagonists improved glycemia in vivo in a GLP-1 receptor–dependent (GLP-1R–dependent) manner, as the glycemic improvements were absent in mice with impaired GLP-1R signaling and in mice treated with a GLP-1R–specific antagonist. SSTR5a had no direct effect on insulin secretion in the perfused pancreas, whereas SSTR2a increased insulin secretion in a GLP-1R–independent manner. Adding a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitor (DPP-4i) in vivo resulted in additive effects on glycemia. However, when glucose was administered intraperitoneally, the antagonist was incapable of lowering blood glucose. Oral administration of SSTR5a, but not SSTR2a, lowered blood glucose in diet-induced obese mice. In summary, we demonstrate that selective SSTR antagonists can improve glucose control primarily through the intestinal GLP-1 system in mice.

Authors

Sara L. Jepsen, Nicolai J. Wewer Albrechtsen, Johanne A. Windeløv, Katrine D. Galsgaard, Jenna E. Hunt, Thomas B. Farb, Hannelouise Kissow, Jens Pedersen, Carolyn F. Deacon, Rainer E. Martin, Jens J. Holst

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Abstract

Background Mitochondrial DNA (MT-DNA) are intrinsically inflammatory nucleic acids released by damaged solid organs. Whether circulating cell-free MT-DNA quantitation could be used to predict the risk of poor COVID-19 outcomes remains undetermined.Methods We measured circulating MT-DNA levels in prospectively collected, cell-free plasma samples from 97 subjects with COVID-19 at hospital presentation. Our primary outcome was mortality. Intensive care unit (ICU) admission, intubation, vasopressor, and renal replacement therapy requirements were secondary outcomes. Multivariate regression analysis determined whether MT-DNA levels were independent of other reported COVID-19 risk factors. Receiver operating characteristic and area under the curve assessments were used to compare MT-DNA levels with established and emerging inflammatory markers of COVID-19.Results Circulating MT-DNA levels were highly elevated in patients who eventually died or required ICU admission, intubation, vasopressor use, or renal replacement therapy. Multivariate regression revealed that high circulating MT-DNA was an independent risk factor for these outcomes after adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidities. We also found that circulating MT-DNA levels had a similar or superior area under the curve when compared against clinically established measures of inflammation and emerging markers currently of interest as investigational targets for COVID-19 therapy.Conclusion These results show that high circulating MT-DNA levels are a potential early indicator for poor COVID-19 outcomes.Funding Washington University Institute of Clinical Translational Sciences COVID-19 Research Program and Washington University Institute of Clinical Translational Sciences (ICTS) NIH grant UL1TR002345.

Authors

Davide Scozzi, Marlene Cano, Lina Ma, Dequan Zhou, Ji Hong Zhu, Jane A. O’Halloran, Charles Goss, Adriana M. Rauseo, Zhiyi Liu, Sanjaya K. Sahu, Valentina Peritore, Monica Rocco, Alberto Ricci, Rachele Amodeo, Laura Aimati, Mohsen Ibrahim, Ramsey Hachem, Daniel Kreisel, Philip A. Mudd, Hrishikesh S. Kulkarni, Andrew E. Gelman

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Abstract

The metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 (mGlu7) is a G protein–coupled receptor that has been recently linked to neurodevelopmental disorders. This association is supported by the identification of GRM7 variants in patients with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and severe developmental delay. One GRM7 mutation previously reported in 2 patients results in a single amino acid change, I154T, within the mGlu7 ligand-binding domain. Here, we report 2 new patients with this mutation who present with severe developmental delay and epilepsy. Functional studies of the mGlu7-I154T mutant reveal that this substitution resulted in significant loss of mGlu7 protein expression in HEK293A cells and in mice. We show that this occurred posttranscriptionally at the level of protein expression and trafficking. Similar to mGlu7–global KO mice, mGlu7-I154T animals exhibited reduced motor coordination, deficits in contextual fear learning, and seizures. This provides functional evidence that a disease-associated mutation affecting the mGlu7 receptor was sufficient to cause neurological dysfunction in mice and further validates GRM7 as a disease-causing gene in the human population.

Authors

Nicole M. Fisher, Aqeela AlHashim, Aditi B. Buch, Hana Badivuku, Manar M. Samman, Kelly M. Weiss, Gabriela I. Cestero, Mark D. Does, Jerri M. Rook, Craig W. Lindsley, P. Jeffrey Conn, Rocco G. Gogliotti, Colleen M. Niswender

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Abstract

Rewiring tumor cells to undergo drug-induced apoptosis is a promising way to overcome chemoresistance. Therefore, identifying causative factors for chemoresistance is of high importance. Unbiased global proteome profiling of sensitive, early, and late cisplatin-resistant oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) lines identified CMTM6 as a top-ranked upregulated protein. Analyses of OSCC patient tumor samples demonstrated significantly higher CMTM6 expression in chemotherapy (CT) nonresponders as compared with CT responders. In addition, a significant association between higher CMTM6 expression and poorer relapse-free survival in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and lung squamous cell carcinoma was observed from Kaplan-Meier plot analysis. Stable knockdown (KD) of CMTM6 restored cisplatin-mediated cell death in chemoresistant OSCC lines. Upon CMTM6 overexpression in CMTM6-KD lines, the cisplatin-resistant phenotype was rescued. The patient-derived cell xenograft model of chemoresistant OSCC displaying CMTM6 depletion restored the cisplatin-induced cell death and tumor burden substantially. The transcriptome analysis of CMTM6-KD and control chemoresistant cells depicted enrichment of the Wnt signaling pathway. We demonstrated that CMTM6 interaction with membrane-bound Enolase-1 stabilized its expression, leading to activation of Wnt signaling mediated by AKT–glycogen synthase kinase-3β. CMTM6 has been identified as a stabilizer of programmed cell death ligand 1. Therefore, as CMTM6 facilitates tumor cells for immune evasion and mediates cisplatin resistance, it could be a promising therapeutic target for treating therapy-resistant OSCC.

Authors

Pallavi Mohapatra, Omprakash Shriwas, Sibasish Mohanty, Arup Ghosh, Shuchi Smita, Sandeep Rai Kaushik, Rakesh Arya, Rachna Rath, Saroj Kumar Das Majumdar, Dillip Kumar Muduly, Sunil K. Raghav, Ranjan K. Nanda, Rupesh Dash

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Abstract

Four endemic human coronaviruses (HCoVs) are commonly associated with acute respiratory infection in humans. B cell responses to these “common cold” viruses remain incompletely understood. Here we report a comprehensive analysis of CoV-specific antibody repertoires in 231 children and 1168 adults using phage immunoprecipitation sequencing. Seroprevalence of antibodies against endemic HCoVs ranged between approximately 4% and 27% depending on the species and cohort. We identified at least 136 novel linear B cell epitopes. Antibody repertoires against endemic HCoVs were qualitatively different between children and adults in that anti-HCoV IgG specificities more frequently found among children targeted functionally important and structurally conserved regions of the spike, nucleocapsid, and matrix proteins. Moreover, antibody specificities targeting the highly conserved fusion peptide region and S2′ cleavage site of the spike protein were broadly cross-reactive with peptides of epidemic human and nonhuman coronaviruses. In contrast, an acidic tandem repeat in the N-terminal region of the Nsp3 subdomain of the HCoV-HKU1 polyprotein was the predominant target of antibody responses in adult donors. Our findings shed light on the dominant species-specific and pan-CoV target sites of human antibody responses to coronavirus infection, thereby providing important insights for the development of prophylactic or therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and vaccine design.

Authors

Taushif Khan, Mahbuba Rahman, Fatima Al Ali, Susie S. Y. Huang, Manar Ata, Qian Zhang, Paul Bastard, Zhiyong Liu, Emmanuelle Jouanguy, Vivien Béziat, Aurélie Cobat, Gheyath K. Nasrallah, Hadi M. Yassine, Maria K. Smatti, Amira Saeed, Isabelle Vandernoot, Jean-Christophe Goffard, Guillaume Smits, Isabelle Migeotte, Filomeen Haerynck, Isabelle Meyts, Laurent Abel, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Mohammad R. Hasan, Nico Marr

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Abstract

In this study, we examined and characterized disease-specific TCR signatures in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with HTLV-1–associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). TCR β libraries using unique molecular identifier–based methodologies were sequenced in paired peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and CSF cells from HAM/TSP patients and normal healthy donors (NDs). The sequence analysis demonstrated that TCR β repertoires in CSF of HAM/TSP patients were highly expanded and contained both TCR clonotypes shared with PBMCs and uniquely enriched within the CSF. In addition, we analyzed TCR β repertoires of highly expanded and potentially immunopathologic HTLV-1 Tax11-19–specific CD8+ T cells from PBMCs of HLA-A*0201+ HAM/TSP and identified a conserved motif (PGLAG) in the CDR3 region. Importantly, TCR β clonotypes of expanded clones in HTLV-1 Tax11-19–specific CD8+ T cells were also expanded and enriched in the CSF of the same patient. These results suggest that exploring TCR repertoires of CSF and antigen-specific T cells may provide a TCR repertoire signature in virus-associated neurologic disorders.

Authors

Satoshi Nozuma, Yoshimi Enose-Akahata, Kory R. Johnson, Maria Chiara Monaco, Nyater Ngouth, Abdel Elkahloun, Joan Ohayon, Jun Zhu, Steven Jacobson

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Abstract

Understanding the mechanisms of allergen-specific immune modulation in nonallergic individuals is key to recapitulate immune tolerance and to develop novel allergy treatments. Herein, we characterized mouse-specific T cell responses in nonallergic laboratory animal-care workers before and after reexposure to mice. PBMCs were collected and stimulated with developed peptide pools identified from high-molecular-weight fractions of mouse allergen extracts. Sizable CD4 T cell responses were noted and were temporarily decreased in most subjects upon reexposure, with the magnitude of decrease positively correlated with time of reexposure but not the duration of the break. Interestingly, the suppression was specific to mouse allergens without affecting responses of bystander antigens. Further, PBMC fractioning studies illustrated that the modulation is unlikely from T cells, while B cell depletion and exchange reversed the suppression of responses, suggesting that B cells may be the key modulators. Increased levels of regulatory cytokines (IL-10 and TGF-β1) in the cell culture supernatant and plasma mouse-specific IgG4 were also observed after reexposure, consistent with B cell–mediated modulation mechanisms. Overall, these results suggest that nonallergic status is achieved by an active, time-related, allergen-specific, B cell-dependent regulatory process upon reexposure, the mechanisms of which should be detailed by further molecular studies.

Authors

Esther Dawen Yu, Luise Westernberg, Alba Grifoni, April Frazier, Aaron Sutherland, Eric Wang, Bjoern Peters, Ricardo da Silva Antunes, Alessandro Sette

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Abstract

Prime-boost immunization strategies are required to control the global tuberculosis (TB) pandemic, which claims approximately 3 lives every minute. Here, we have generated an immunogenic complex against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), consisting of promiscuous T cell epitopes (M.tb peptides) and TLR ligands assembled in liposomes. Interestingly, this complex (peptide–TLR agonist–liposomes; PTL) induced significant activation of CD4+ T cells and IFN-γ production in the PBMCs derived from PPD+ healthy individuals as compared with PPD– controls. Furthermore, intranasal delivery of PTL significantly reduced the bacterial burden in the infected mice by inducing M.tb-specific polyfunctional (IFN-γ+IL-17+TNF-α+IL-2+) immune responses and long-lasting central memory responses, thereby reducing the risk of TB recurrence in DOTS-treated infected animals. The transcriptome analysis of peptide-stimulated immune cells unveiled the molecular basis of enhanced protection. Furthermore, PTL immunization significantly boosted the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin–primed (BCG-primed) immune responses against TB. The greatly enhanced efficacy of the BCG-PTL vaccine model in controlling pulmonary TB projects PTL as an adjunct vaccine against TB.

Authors

Santosh Kumar, Ashima Bhaskar, Gautam Patnaik, Chetan Sharma, Dhiraj Kumar Singh, Sandeep Rai Kaushik, Shivam Chaturvedi, Gobardhan Das, Ved Prakash Dwivedi

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Metabolic flexibility (MF) refers to the relative ability to utilize lipid and carbohydrate substrates and to transition between them. It is not clear whether MF is impaired in obese youth and what the determining factors are.METHODS We investigated the determinants of MF (increased respiratory exchange ratio [ΔRER] under insulin-stimulated conditions) in pubertal youth (n = 104; 15.6 ± 1.8 years) with obesity across the spectrum of glucose tolerance compared with normal weight (NW) controls, including body composition (fat-free mass [FFM], %body fat), visceral adipose fat (VAT) (MRI), glycemia, and insulin sensitivity (IS) [3-hour hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp with measurement of lipolysis ([2H5] glycerol), free fatty acids (FFAs), and RER (indirect calorimetry)].RESULTS Youth with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes had lower ΔRER and oxidative and nonoxidative glucose disposal compared with NW, with no significant difference in ΔRER between NW and obese with normal glucose tolerance. In multiple regression analysis, ISFFM (β = 0.4, P = 0.004), percentage suppression of FFAs (r = 0.26, P = 0.007), and race/ethnicity (β = –0.23, P = 0.02) contributed to the variance in ΔRER (R2 = 0.30, P < 0.001) independent of percentage body fat (or VAT), sex, Tanner stage, and hemoglobin A1c.Conclusion MF is defective at the extreme of the metabolic phenotype in obese youth with dysglycemia related to a defect in IS limiting substrate utilization.FUNDING USDA/ARS Project Number 3092-51000-057.

Authors

Fida Bacha, Sara Klinepeter Bartz, Maurice Puyau, Anne Adolph, Susan Sharma

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Abstract

The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become the worst public health crisis in a century. However, knowledge about the dynamics of antibody responses in patients with COVID-19 is still poorly understood. In this study, we performed a serological study with serum specimens collected at the acute and the convalescent phases from 104 patients with severe COVID-19 who were part of the first wave of COVID-19 cases in Wuhan, China. Our findings revealed that neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are persistent for at least 6 months in patients with severe COVID-19, despite that IgG levels against the receptor binding domain (RBD) and nucleocapsid protein (N) IgG declined from the acute to the convalescent phase. Moreover, we demonstrate that the level of RBD-IgG is capable of correlating with SARS-CoV-2–neutralizing activities in COVID-19 serum. In summary, our findings identify the magnitude, functionality, and longevity of antibody responses in patients with COVID-19, which sheds light on the humoral immune response to COVID-19 and would be beneficial for developing vaccines.

Authors

Yang Han, Peipei Liu, Yang Qiu, Jie Zhou, Ying Liu, Xujuan Hu, Qingyu Yang, Rui Huang, Xinyue Wen, Hao Song, Pengcheng Yu, Mengjie Yang, Jing Zhang, William J. Liu, Ke Peng, Guizhen Wu, Dingyu Zhang, Xi Zhou, Ying Wu

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Abstract

Diarrhea is a major cause of global mortality, and outbreaks of secretory diarrhea such as cholera remain an important problem in the developing world. Current treatment of secretory diarrhea primarily involves supportive measures, such as fluid replacement. The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) regulates multiple biological activities in response to changes in extracellular Ca2+. The FDA-approved drug cinacalcet is an allosteric activator of CaSR used for treatment of hyperparathyroidism. Here, we found by short-circuit current measurements in human colonic T84 cells that CaSR activation by cinacalcet reduced forskolin-induced Cl– secretion by greater than 80%. Cinacalcet also reduced Cl– secretion induced by cholera toxin, heat-stable E. coli enterotoxin, and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). The cinacalcet effect primarily involved indirect inhibition of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator–mediated (CFTR-mediated) Cl– secretion following activation of CaSR and downstream phospholipase C and phosphodiesterases. In mice, cinacalcet reduced fluid accumulation by more than 60% in intestinal closed loop models of cholera and traveler’s diarrhea. The cinacalcet effect involved both inhibition of CFTR-mediated secretion and stimulation of sodium-hydrogen exchanger 3–mediated absorption. These findings support the therapeutic utility of the safe and commonly used drug cinacalcet in CFTR-dependent secretory diarrheas, including cholera, traveler’s diarrhea, and VIPoma.

Authors

Apurva A. Oak, Parth D. Chhetri, Amber A. Rivera, Alan S. Verkman, Onur Cil

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Review
Abstract

Critical periods are discrete developmental stages when the nervous system is especially sensitive to stimuli that facilitate circuit maturation. The distinctive landscapes assumed by the developing CNS create analogous periods of susceptibility to pathogenic insults and responsiveness to therapy. Here, we review critical periods in nervous system development and disease, with an emphasis on the neurodevelopmental disorder DYT1 dystonia. We highlight clinical and laboratory observations supporting the existence of a critical period during which the DYT1 mutation is uniquely harmful, and the implications for future therapeutic development.

Authors

Jay Li, Sumin Kim, Samuel S. Pappas, William T. Dauer

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Perspective
Retraction

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Abstract

ORM1-like 3 (ORMDL3) has strong genetic linkage to childhood onset asthma. To determine whether ORMDL3 selective expression in airway smooth muscle (ASM) influences ASM function we used cre/lox techniques to generate transgenic mice (hORMDL3Myh11eGFP-cre) which express human ORMDL3 selectively in smooth muscle cells. In vitro studies of ASM cells isolated from the bronchi of hORMDL3Myh11eGFP-cre mice demonstrated that they developed hypertrophy (quantitated by FACS and image analysis), hyperplasia (assessed by BrdU incorporation), and expressed increased levels of tropomysin proteins TPM1 and TPM4. siRNA knockdown of TPM1 or TPM4 demonstrated their importance to ORMDL3 mediated ASM proliferation but not hypertrophy. In addition, ASM derived from hORMDL3Myh11eGFP-cre mice had increased contractility to histamine in vitro which was associated with increased levels of intracellular Ca2+, increased cell surface membrane Orai1 Ca2+ channels which mediate influx of Ca2+ into the cytoplasm, and increased expression of ASM contractile genes Serca2b and Sm22. In vivo studies of hORMDL3Myh11eGFP-cre mice demonstrated that they had a spontaneous increase in ASM and AHR. ORMDL3 expression in ASM thus induces changes in ASM (hypertrophy, hyperplasia, increased contractility) which may explain the contribution of ORMDL3 to the development of AHR in childhood onset asthma which is highly linked to ORMDL3 on chromosome 17q12-21.

Authors

Alexa K. Pham, Marina Miller, Peter Rosenthal, Sudipta Das, Ning Weng, Sunghoon Jang, Richard C. Kurten, Jana Badrani, Taylor A. Doherty, Brian G. Oliver, David H. Broide

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Abstract

During denervation induced muscle atrophy, the loss of neuro-muscular junction (NMJ) integrity and the consequent cessation of nerve signal transmission to muscle, lead to a decline in myofiber size mass and contractile activity. However, the identity of the cell types implicated in the muscle response to nerve injury has not been clearly defined. Here, we describe a subpopulation of muscle resident glial cells activated by loss of NMJ integrity. Gene expression analysis at bulk and single cell level revealed the existence of a population of Itga7-expressing cells, which are distinct from muscle satellite cells and are selectively activated upon nerve injury. Upon nerve lesion, these cells expanded and activated a neurotrophic gene program, including the expression of a prospective selection marker – Ngfr – and a number of neurotrophic genes as well as ECM components. Among them, we observed that Tenascin C (Tnc) was specifically produced by muscle glial cells activated by nerve injury and preferentially localized to NMJ. Activation of muscle-resident glial cells by nerve injury induced a neurotrophic phenotype, which was reversible upon recovery of NMJ integrity; by contrast, muscle-resident glial cells in skeletal muscles of a mouse model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) steadily increased over the course of the disease and exhibited an impaired neurotrophic activity, suggesting that pathogenic activation of glial cells may be implicated in ALS progression.

Authors

Daisy Proietti, Lorenzo Giordani, Marco De Bardi, Chiara D'Ercole, Biliana Lozanoska-Ochser, Susanna Amadio, Cinzia Volontè, Sara Marinelli, Antoine Muchir, Marina Bouchè, Giovanna Borsellino, Alessandra Sacco, Pier Lorenzo Puri, Luca Madaro

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Abstract

Secretory protein misfolding has been linked to ER stress and cell death. We expressed a TGrdw transgene encoding TG-G(2298)R, a misfolded mutant thyroglobulin reported to be linked to thyroid cell death. When the TGrdw transgene was expressed at low-level in thyrocytes of TGcog/cog mice that experience severe ER stress, we observed increased thyrocyte cell death and increased expression of CIDE-A (Cell death-inducing DFFA-like effector-A, a protein of lipid droplets) in whole thyroid gland. Here we demonstrate that acute ER stress in cultured PCCL3 thyrocytes increases Cidea mRNA levels, maintained at least in part by increased mRNA stability, while being negatively regulated by ATF6 — with similar observations other cell types. CIDE-A protein is sensitive to proteasomal degradation yet is stabilized by ER stress, and elevated expression levels accompany increased cell death. Unlike acute ER stress, PCCL3 cells adapted and surviving chronic ER stress maintain a disproportionately lower relative mRNA level of Cidea compared to that of other, classical ER stress markers, as well as a blunted Cidea mRNA response to a new, unrelated acute ER stress challenge. We suggest that CIDE-A is a novel marker linked to a non-canonical ER stress-response program, with implications for cell death and survival.

Authors

Yoshiaki Morishita, Aaron P. Kellogg, Dennis Larkin, Wei Chen, Suryakiran Vadrevu, Leslie S. Satin, Ming Liu, Peter Arvan

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Abstract

Introduction: Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) clinical course is heterogeneous, ranging from mild to severe multi-organ failure and death. In this study, we analyzed cell-free DNA (cfDNA) as a biomarker of injury to define the sources of tissue injury that contribute to such different trajectories. Methods: We conducted a multi-center prospective cohort study to enroll COVID-19 patients and collect plasma samples. Plasma cfDNA was subject to bisulfite sequencing. A library of tissue-specific DNA methylation signatures was used to analyze sequence reads to quantitate cfDNA from different tissue types. We then determined the correlation of tissue-specific cfDNA measures to COVID-19 outcomes. Similar analyses was performed for healthy controls and a comparator group of patients with respiratory syncytial virus and influenza. Results: We found markedly elevated levels and divergent tissue sources of cfDNA in COVID-19 patients compared to influenza and respiratory syncytial virus patients or healthy controls. The major sources of cfDNA in COVID-19 were hematopoietic cells, vascular endothelium, hepatocyte, adipocyte, kidney, heart and lung. cfDNA levels positively correlated with COVID-19 disease severity, c reactive protein, D-Dimer. cfDNA profile at admission identified patients who subsequently required intensive care or died during hospitalization. Furthermore, the increased cfDNA in COVID-19 patients generates excessive mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) in renal tubular cells in a concentration-dependent manner. This mtROS production was inhibited by a toll-like receptor 9 (TLR-9)-specific antagonist. Conclusion cfDNA maps tissue injury that predict COVID-19 outcomes, and may mechanistically propagates COVID-19 induced tissue injury. Funding sources: Intramural Targeted Anti-COVID-19 grant, National Institutes of Health

Authors

Temesgen E. Andargie, Naoko Tsuji, Fayaz Seifuddin, Moon Kyoo Jang, Peter S.T. Yuen, Hyesik Kong, Ilker Tunc, Komudi Singh, Ananth Charya, Kenneth J. Wilkins, Steven D. Nathan, Andrea L. Cox, Mehdi Pirooznia, Robert A. Star, Sean Agbor-Enoh

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Abstract

Gene replacement for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) with micro-dystrophins has entered clinical trials, but efficacy on preventing heart failure is unknown. Although most DMD patients die from heart failure, cardiomyopathy is undetectable until the teens so efficacy from trials in young boys will be unknown for a decade. Available DMD animal models were sufficient to demonstrate micro-dystrophin efficacy on earlier onset skeletal muscle pathology underlying loss of ambulation and respiratory insufficiency in patients. However, no mouse models progressed into heart failure and dog models show highly variable progression insufficient to evaluate efficacy of micro-dystrophin or other therapies on DMD heart failure. To overcome this barrier, we have generated the first DMD mouse model that reproducibly progresses into heart failure. This model shows cardiac inflammation and fibrosis occur prior to reduced function. Fibrosis does not continue to accumulate, but inflammation persists after function declines. We used this model to test micro-dystrophin gene therapy efficacy on heart failure prevention for the first time. Micro-dystrophin prevents declines in cardiac function and prohibits onset of inflammation and fibrosis. This model will allow identification of committed pathogenic steps to heart failure and testing of genetic and non-genetic therapies to optimize cardiac care for DMD patients.

Authors

Zachary M. Howard, Lisa E. Dorn, Jeovanna Lowe, Megan D. Gertzen, Pierce C. Ciccone, Neha Rastogi, Guy L. Odom, Federica Accornero, Jeffrey S. Chamberlain, Jill A. Rafael-Fortney

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