Latest issue: May 21, 2020

In the issue

Abstract

There is limited understanding of the role of host metabolism in the pathophysiology of human tuberculosis (TB). Using high-resolution metabolomics with an unbiased approach to metabolic pathway analysis, we discovered that the tryptophan pathway is highly regulated throughout the spectrum of TB infection and disease. This regulation is characterized by increased catabolism of tryptophan to kynurenine, which was evident not only in active TB disease but also in latent TB infection (LTBI). Further, we found that tryptophan catabolism is reversed with effective treatment of both active TB disease and LTBI in a manner commensurate with bacterial clearance. Persons with active TB and LTBI also exhibited increased expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-1 (IDO-1), suggesting IDO-1 mediates observed increases in tryptophan catabolism. Together, these data indicate IDO-1–mediated tryptophan catabolism is highly preserved in the human response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and could be a target for biomarker development as well as host-directed therapies.

Authors

Jeffrey M. Collins, Amnah Siddiqa, Dean P. Jones, Ken Liu, Russell R. Kempker, Azhar Nizam, N. Sarita Shah, Nazir Ismail, Samuel G. Ouma, Nestani Tukvadze, Shuzhao Li, Cheryl L. Day, Jyothi Rengarajan, James C.M. Brust, Neel R. Gandhi, Joel D. Ernst, Henry M. Blumberg, Thomas R. Ziegler

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Abstract

The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays an important role in renal development and is reexpressed in the injured kidney and other organs. β-Catenin signaling is protective in acute kidney injury (AKI) through actions on the proximal tubule, but the current dogma is that Wnt/β-catenin signaling promotes fibrosis and development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). As the role of proximal tubular β-catenin signaling in CKD remains unclear, we genetically stabilized (i.e., activated) β-catenin specifically in murine proximal tubules. Mice with increased tubular β-catenin signaling were protected in 2 murine models of AKI to CKD progression. Oxidative stress, a common feature of CKD, reduced the conventional T cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor–dependent β-catenin signaling and augmented FoxO3-dependent activity in proximal tubule cells in vitro and in vivo. The protective effect of proximal tubular β-catenin in renal injury required the presence of FoxO3 in vivo. Furthermore, we identified cystathionine γ-lyase as a potentially novel transcriptional target of β-catenin/FoxO3 interactions in the proximal tubule. Thus, our studies overturned the conventional dogma about β-catenin signaling and CKD by showing a protective effect of proximal tubule β-catenin in CKD and identified a potentially new transcriptional target of β-catenin/FoxO3 signaling that has therapeutic potential for CKD.

Authors

Stellor Nlandu-Khodo, Yosuke Osaki, Lauren Scarfe, Haichun Yang, Melanie Phillips-Mignemi, Jane Tonello, Kenyi Saito-Diaz, Surekha Neelisetty, Alla Ivanova, Tessa Huffstater, Robert McMahon, M. Mark Taketo, Mark deCaestecker, Balakuntalam Kasinath, Raymond C. Harris, Ethan Lee, Leslie S. Gewin

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Abstract

Although aging represents the most important epidemiologic risk factor for fibrotic disease, the reasons for this are incompletely understood. Excess collagen deposition in tissues is the sine qua non of tissue fibrosis and can be viewed as an imbalance between collagen production and collagen degradation. Yet we still lack a detailed understanding of the changes that take place during development, maturation, and aging in extracellular matrix (ECM) dynamics. Resolution of fibrosis is impaired in aging, and this impairment may explain why age is the most important risk factor for fibrotic diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. However, ECM dynamics and impaired resolution of fibrosis in aging remain understudied. Here we show that cell-mediated collagen uptake and degradation are diminished in aged animals and this finding correlates with downregulation of the collagen endocytic receptor mannose receptor, C-type 2 (Mrc2). We identify myeloid zinc finger-1 as a potentially novel transcriptional regulator of Mrc2, and both this transcription factor and Mrc2 are downregulated in multiple tissues and organisms in an age-dependent manner. Thus, cell-mediated degradation of collagen is an essential process that promotes resolution of fibrosis, and impairment in this process contributes to age-related fibrosis.

Authors

Michael J. Podolsky, Christopher D. Yang, Carlos Lizama Valenzuela, Ritwik Datta, Steven K. Huang, Stephen L. Nishimura, Sarah L. Dallas, Paul J. Wolters, Claude Jourdan Le Saux, Kamran Atabai

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Abstract

Efficient adeno-associated virus–mediated (AAV-mediated) gene delivery remains a significant obstacle to effective retinal gene therapies. Here, we apply directed evolution — guided by deep sequencing and followed by direct in vivo secondary selection of high-performing vectors with a GFP-barcoded library — to create AAV viral capsids with the capability to deliver genes to the outer retina in primates. A replication-incompetent library, produced via providing rep in trans, was created to mitigate risk of AAV propagation. Six rounds of in vivo selection with this library in primates — involving intravitreal library administration, recovery of genomes from outer retina, and extensive next-generation sequencing of each round — resulted in vectors with redirected tropism to the outer retina and increased gene delivery efficiency to retinal cells. These viral vectors expand the toolbox of vectors available for primate retina, and they may enable less invasive delivery of therapeutic genes to patients, potentially offering retina-wide infection at a similar dosage to vectors currently in clinical use.

Authors

Leah C. Byrne, Timothy P. Day, Meike Visel, Jennifer A. Strazzeri, Cécile Fortuny, Deniz Dalkara, William H. Merigan, David V. Schaffer, John G. Flannery

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Abstract

BACKGROUND The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a novel viral pneumonia (COVID-19), which is rapidly spreading throughout the world. The positive result of nucleic acid test is a golden criterion to confirm SARS-CoV-2 infection, but the detection features remain unclear.METHODS We performed a retrospective analysis in 5630 high-risk individuals receiving SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid tests in Wuhan, China, and investigated their characteristics and diagnosis rates.RESULTS The overall diagnosis rate was 34.7% (1952/5630). Male (P = 0.025) and older populations (P = 2.525 × 10–39) were at significantly higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. People were generally susceptible, and most cases concentrated in people of 30–79 years. Furthermore, we investigated the association between diagnosis rate and the amount of testing in 501 subjects. Results revealed a 1.27-fold improvement (from 27.9% to 35.5%) of diagnosis rate from testing once to twice (P = 5.847 × 10–9) and a 1.43-fold improvement (from 27.9% to 39.9%) from testing once to 3 times (P = 7.797 × 10–14). More than 3 testing administrations was not helpful for further improvement. However, this improvement was not observed in subjects with pneumonia (P = 0.097).CONCLUSION All populations are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and male and older-aged populations are at significantly higher risk. Increasing the amount of testing could significantly improve diagnosis rates, except for subjects with pneumonia. It is recommended to test twice in those high-risk individuals whose results are negative the first time, and performing 3 tests is better, if possible.FUNDING This work was supported by National Mega Project on Major Infectious Disease Prevention (no. 2017ZX10103005-007) and National Key Research and Development Program of China (no. 2018YFE0204500).

Authors

Na Shen, Yaowu Zhu, Xiong Wang, Jing Peng, Weiyong Liu, Feng Wang, Yanjun Lu, Liming Cheng, Ziyong Sun

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Abstract

Roughly 10% of the world’s population has chronic kidney disease (CKD). In its advanced stages, CKD greatly increases the risk of hospitalization and death. Although kidney transplantation has revolutionized the care of advanced CKD, clinicians have limited ways of assessing donor kidney quality. Thus, optimal donor kidney–recipient matching cannot be performed, meaning that some patients receive damaged kidneys that function poorly. Fibrosis is a form of chronic damage often present in donor kidneys, and it is an important predictor of future renal function. Currently, no safe, easy-to-perform technique exists that accurately quantifies renal fibrosis. We describe a potentially novel photoacoustic (PA) imaging technique that directly images collagen, the principal component of fibrotic tissue. PA imaging noninvasively quantifies whole kidney fibrotic burden in mice, and cortical fibrosis in pig and human kidneys, with outstanding accuracy and speed. Remarkably, 3-dimensional PA imaging exhibited sufficiently high resolution to capture intrarenal variations in collagen content. We further show that PA imaging can be performed in a setting that mimics human kidney transplantation, suggesting the potential for rapid clinical translation. Taken together, our data suggest that PA collagen imaging is a major advance in fibrosis quantification that could have widespread preclinical and clinical impact.

Authors

Eno Hysi, Xiaolin He, Muhannad N. Fadhel, Tianzhou Zhang, Adriana Krizova, Michael Ordon, Monica Farcas, Kenneth T. Pace, Victoria Mintsopoulos, Warren L. Lee, Michael C. Kolios, Darren A. Yuen

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Abstract

The role CD4+ T cells play in tumor immunity is less well appreciated than the cytotoxic role of CD8+ T cells. Despite clear evidence for CD4+ T cell dependency across multiple immunotherapies, the mechanisms by which CD4+ T cells infiltrate tumors remain poorly understood. Prior studies by our group have shown in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer that systemic activation of the cell surface TNF superfamily member CD40 drives T cell infiltration into tumors and, in combination with immune checkpoint blockade, leads to durable tumor regressions and cures that depend on both CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Here, we used single-cell transcriptomics to examine the tumor microenvironment following treatment with agonist CD40 antibody with or without immune checkpoint blockade. We show that intratumor myeloid cells produce the chemokine CCL5 in response to CD40 agonist and that CCL5 mediates an influx of CD4+ T cells into the tumor microenvironment. Disruption of CCL5 genetically or pharmacologically mitigates the influx of CD4+ but not CD8+ T cells into tumors and blunts the therapeutic efficacy of immunotherapy. These findings highlight a previously unappreciated role for CCL5 in selectively mediating CD4+ T cell tumor infiltration in response to effective immunotherapy.

Authors

Austin P. Huffman, Jeffrey H. Lin, Samuel I. Kim, Katelyn T. Byrne, Robert H. Vonderheide

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Abstract

BACKGROUND The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has caused a severe outbreak throughout the world. The host immunity of COVID-19 patients is unknown.METHODS The routine laboratory tests and host immunity in COVID-19 patients with different severity of illness were compared after patient admission.RESULTS A total of 65 SARS-CoV-2–positive patients were classified as having mild (n = 30), severe (n = 20), and extremely severe (n = 15) illness. Many routine laboratory tests, such as ferritin, lactate dehydrogenase, and D-dimer, were increased in severe and extremely severe patients. The absolute numbers of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, and B cells were gradually decreased with increased severity of illness. The activation markers such as HLA-DR and CD45RO expressed on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were increased in severe and extremely severe patients compared with mild patients. The costimulatory molecule CD28 had opposite results. The percentage of natural Tregs was decreased in extremely severe patients. The percentage of IFN-γ–producing CD8+ T cells was increased in both severe and extremely severe patients compared with mild patients. The percentage of IFN-γ–producing CD4+ T cells was increased in extremely severe patients. IL-2R, IL-6, and IL-10 were all increased in extremely severe patients. The activation of DC and B cells was decreased in extremely severe patients.CONCLUSION The number and function of T cells are inconsistent in COVID-19 patients. The hyperfunction of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells is associated with the pathogenesis of extremely severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.FUNDING This work was funded by the National Mega Project on Major Infectious Disease Prevention (2017ZX10103005-007) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2019kfyRCPY098).

Authors

Feng Wang, Hongyan Hou, Ying Luo, Guoxing Tang, Shiji Wu, Min Huang, Weiyong Liu, Yaowu Zhu, Qun Lin, Liyan Mao, Minghao Fang, Huilan Zhang, Ziyong Sun

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Abstract

Discovery strategies commonly focus on the identification of chemical libraries or natural products, but the modulation of endogenous ligands offers a much better therapeutic strategy due to their low adverse potential. Recently, we found that hexadecanamide (Hex) is present in hippocampal nuclei of normal mice as an endogenous ligand of PPARα. This study underlines the importance of Hex in inducing the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from hippocampal neurons via PPARα. The level of Hex was lower in the hippocampi of 5XFAD mice as compared with that in non-Tg mice. Oral administration of Hex increased the level of this molecule in the hippocampus to stimulate BDNF and its downstream plasticity-associated molecules, promote synaptic functions in the hippocampus, and improve memory and learning in 5XFAD mice. However, oral Hex remained unable to stimulate hippocampal plasticity and improve cognitive behaviors in 5XFADPparα-null and 5XFADPparα-ΔHippo mice, indicating an essential role of hippocampal PPARα in Hex-mediated improvement in hippocampal functions. This is the first demonstration to our knowledge of protection of hippocampal functions by oral administration of a hippocampus-based drug, suggesting that Hex may be explored for therapeutic intervention in AD.

Authors

Dhruv Patel, Avik Roy, Sumita Raha, Madhuchhanda Kundu, Frank J. Gonzalez, Kalipada Pahan

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Abstract

Pancreatic islets secrete insulin from β cells and glucagon from α cells, and dysregulated secretion of these hormones is a central component of diabetes. Thus, an improved understanding of the pathways governing coordinated β and α cell hormone secretion will provide insight into islet dysfunction in diabetes. However, the 3D multicellular islet architecture, essential for coordinated islet function, presents experimental challenges for mechanistic studies of intracellular signaling pathways in primary islet cells. Here, we developed an integrated approach to study the function of primary human islet cells using genetically modified pseudoislets that resemble native islets across multiple parameters. Further, we developed a microperifusion system that allowed synchronous acquisition of GCaMP6f biosensor signal and hormone secretory profiles. We demonstrate the utility of this experimental approach by studying the effects of Gi and Gq GPCR pathways on insulin and glucagon secretion by expressing the designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) hM4Di or hM3Dq. Activation of Gi signaling reduced insulin and glucagon secretion, while activation of Gq signaling stimulated glucagon secretion but had both stimulatory and inhibitory effects on insulin secretion, which occur through changes in intracellular Ca2+. The experimental approach of combining pseudoislets with a microfluidic system allowed the coregistration of intracellular signaling dynamics and hormone secretion and demonstrated differences in GPCR signaling pathways between human β and α cells.

Authors

John T. Walker, Rachana Haliyur, Heather A. Nelson, Matthew Ishahak, Gregory Poffenberger, Radhika Aramandla, Conrad Reihsmann, Joseph R. Luchsinger, Diane C. Saunders, Peng Wang, Adolfo Garcia-Ocaña, Rita Bottino, Ashutosh Agarwal, Alvin C. Powers, Marcela Brissova

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Abstract

The ability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to form serpentine cords is intrinsically related to its virulence, but specifically how M. tuberculosis cording contributes to pathogenesis remains obscure. Here, we show that several M. tuberculosis clinical isolates form intracellular cords in primary human lymphatic endothelial cells (hLECs) in vitro and in the lymph nodes of patients with tuberculosis. We identified via RNA-Seq a transcriptional program that activated, in infected-hLECs, cell survival and cytosolic surveillance of pathogens pathways. Consistent with this, cytosolic access was required for intracellular M. tuberculosis cording. Mycobacteria lacking ESX-1 type VII secretion system or phthiocerol dimycocerosates expression, which failed to access the cytosol, were indeed unable to form cords within hLECs. Finally, we show that M. tuberculosis cording is a size-dependent mechanism used by the pathogen to avoid its recognition by cytosolic sensors and evade either resting or IFN-γ–induced hLEC immunity. These results explain the long-standing association between M. tuberculosis cording and virulence and how virulent mycobacteria use intracellular cording as strategy to successfully adapt and persist in the lymphatic tracts.

Authors

Thomas R. Lerner, Christophe J. Queval, Rachel P. Lai, Matthew R.G. Russell, Antony Fearns, Daniel J. Greenwood, Lucy Collinson, Robert J. Wilkinson, Maximiliano G. Gutierrez

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Abstract

The incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) has been increasing among children and adolescents, in which environmental factors, including gut microbiota, play an important role. However, the underlying mechanisms are yet to be determined. Here, we show that patients with newly diagnosed T1D displayed not only a distinct profile of gut microbiota associated with decreased short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) production, but also an altered IgA-mediated immunity compared with healthy control subjects. Using germ-free NOD mice, we demonstrate that gut microbiota from patients with T1D promoted different IgA-mediated immune responses compared with healthy control gut microbiota. Treatment with the SCFA, acetate, reduced gut bacteria–induced IgA response accompanied by decreased severity of insulitis in NOD mice. We believe our study provides new insights into the functional effects of gut microbiota on inducing IgA immune response in T1D, suggesting that SCFAs might be potential therapeutic agents in T1D prevention and/or treatment.

Authors

Juan Huang, James A. Pearson, Jian Peng, Youjia Hu, Sha Sha, Yanpeng Xing, Gan Huang, Xia Li, Fang Hu, Zhiguo Xie, Yang Xiao, Shuoming Luo, Chen Chao, F. Susan Wong, Zhiguang Zhou, Li Wen

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Abstract

Authors

John P. Mills, Keith S. Kaye, Lona Mody

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Abstract

The impact of transient ischemic-hypoxemic insults on the developing fetal brain is poorly understood despite evidence suggesting an association with neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. To address this, we designed an aberrant uterine hypercontractility paradigm with oxytocin to better assess the consequences of acute, but transient, placental ischemia-hypoxemia in term pregnant rats. Using MRI, we confirmed that oxytocin-induced aberrant uterine hypercontractility substantially compromised uteroplacental perfusion. This was supported by the observation of oxidative stress and increased lactate concentration in the fetal brain. Genes related to oxidative stress pathways were significantly upregulated in male, but not female, offspring 1 hour after oxytocin-induced placental ischemia-hypoxemia. Persistent upregulation of select mitochondrial electron transport chain complex proteins in the anterior cingulate cortex of adolescent male offspring suggested that this sex-specific effect was enduring. Functionally, offspring exposed to oxytocin-induced uterine hypercontractility showed male-specific abnormalities in social behavior with associated region-specific changes in gene expression and functional cortical connectivity. Our findings, therefore, indicate that even transient but severe placental ischemia-hypoxemia could be detrimental to the developing brain and point to a possible mitochondrial link between intrauterine asphyxia and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Authors

Arvind Palanisamy, Tusar Giri, Jia Jiang, Annie Bice, James D. Quirk, Sara B. Conyers, Susan E. Maloney, Nandini Raghuraman, Adam Q. Bauer, Joel R. Garbow, David F. Wozniak

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Abstract

A complete understanding of human immune responses to Ebola virus infection is limited by the availability of specimens and the requirement for biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) containment. In an effort to bridge this gap, we evaluated cryopreserved PBMCs from 4 patients who survived Ebola virus disease (EVD) using an established mass cytometry antibody panel to characterize various cell populations during both the acute and convalescent phases. Acute loss of nonclassical monocytes and myeloid DCs, especially CD1c+ DCs, was noted. Classical monocyte proliferation and CD38 upregulation on plasmacytoid DCs coincided with declining viral load. Unsupervised analysis of cell abundance demonstrated acute declines in monocytic, NK, and T cell populations, but some populations, many of myeloid origin, increased in abundance during the acute phase, suggesting emergency hematopoiesis. Despite cell losses during the acute phase, upregulation of Ki-67 correlated with recovery of cell populations over time. These data provide insights into the human immune response during EVD.

Authors

Anita K. McElroy, Rama S. Akondy, David R. Mcllwain, Han Chen, Zach Bjornson-Hooper, Nilanjan Mukherjee, Aneesh K. Mehta, Garry Nolan, Stuart T. Nichol, Christina F. Spiropoulou

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Abstract

Recent large-scale GWAS and large epidemiologic studies have accelerated the discovery of genes and environmental factors that contribute to the risk of keratinocyte carcinoma (KC), which includes basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This Review summarizes the genomic regions associated with SCC and BCC risk, examines the genetic overlap between SCC and BCC, and discusses biological pathways involved in SCC and BCC development. Next, we review environmental factors that are associated with KC risk, including those that are shared between SCC and BCC as well as others that associated with only one type of KC. We conclude with a critical appraisal of current research and potential directions for future research.

Authors

Hélène Choquet, Sepideh Ashrafzadeh, Yuhree Kim, Maryam M. Asgari, Eric Jorgenson

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Abstract

Sepsis survivors suffer from increased vulnerability to infections, and lymphopenia presumably contributes to this problem. The mechanisms of the recovery of memory CD4+ T cells after sepsis remain elusive. We used the cecal ligation and puncture mouse model of sepsis to study the restoration of the memory CD4+ T cells during recovery from sepsis. Then, adoptive transfer of antigen-specific naive CD4+ T cells followed by immunization and BrdU labeling were performed to trace the proliferation and migration of memory CD4+ T cells. We revealed that the bone marrow (BM) is the primary site of CD4+ memory T cell homing and proliferation after sepsis-induced lymphopenia. Of interest, BM CD4+ T cells had a higher basal proliferation rate in comparison with splenic T cells. These cells also show features of resident memory T cells yet have the capacity to migrate outside the BM niche and engraft secondary lymphoid organs. The BM niche also sustains viability and functionality of CD4+ T cells. We also identified IL-7 as the major inducer of proliferation of the BM memory CD4+ T cells and showed that recombinant IL-7 improves the recovery of these cells. Taken together, we provide data on the mechanism and location of memory CD4+ T cell proliferation during recovery from septic lymphopenia, which are of relevance in studying immunostimulatory therapies in sepsis.

Authors

Tomasz Skirecki, Patrycja Swacha, Grażyna Hoser, Jakub Golab, Dominika Nowis, Ewa Kozłowska

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Abstract

Immunotherapies that modulate T cell function have been firmly established as a pillar of cancer therapy, whereas the potential for B cells in the antitumor immune response is less established. B cell–activating factor (BAFF) is a B cell–activating cytokine belonging to the TNF ligand family that has been associated with autoimmunity, but little is known about its effects on cancer immunity. We find that BAFF upregulates multiple B cell costimulatory molecules; augments IL-12a expression, consistent with Be-1 lineage commitment; and enhances B cell antigen-presentation to CD4+ Th cells in vitro. In a syngeneic mouse model of melanoma, BAFF upregulates B cell CD40 and PD-L1 expression; it also modulates T cell function through increased T cell activation and TH1 polarization, enhanced expression of the proinflammatory leukocyte trafficking chemokine CCR6, and promotion of a memory phenotype, leading to enhanced antitumor immunity. Similarly, adjuvant BAFF promotes a memory phenotype of T cells in vaccine-draining lymph nodes and augments the antitumor efficacy of whole cell vaccines. BAFF also has distinct immunoregulatory functions, promoting the expansion of CD4+Foxp3+ Tregs in the spleen and tumor microenvironment (TME). Human melanoma data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) demonstrate that BAFF expression is positively associated with overall survival and a TH1/IFN-γ gene signature. These data support a potential role for BAFF signaling as a cancer immunotherapy.

Authors

Mark Yarchoan, Won Jin Ho, Aditya Mohan, Yajas Shah, Teena Vithayathil, James Leatherman, Lauren Dennison, Neeha Zaidi, Sudipto Ganguly, Skylar Woolman, Kayla Cruz, Todd D. Armstrong, Elizabeth M. Jaffee

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Abstract

Protein-based, self-assembling nanoparticles elicit superior immunity compared with soluble protein vaccines, but the immune mechanisms underpinning this effect remain poorly defined. Here, we investigated the immunogenicity of a prototypic ferritin-based nanoparticle displaying influenza hemagglutinin (HA) in mice and macaques. Vaccination of mice with HA-ferritin nanoparticles elicited higher serum antibody titers and greater protection against experimental influenza challenge compared with soluble HA protein. Germinal centers in the draining lymph nodes were expanded and persistent following HA-ferritin vaccination, with greater deposition of antigen that colocalized with follicular dendritic cells. Our findings suggest that a highly ordered and repetitive antigen array may directly drive germinal centers through a B cell–intrinsic mechanism that does not rely on ferritin-specific T follicular helper cells. In contrast to mice, enhanced immunogenicity of HA-ferritin was not observed in pigtail macaques, where antibody titers and lymph node immunity were comparable to soluble vaccination. An improved understanding of factors that drive nanoparticle vaccine immunogenicity in small and large animal models will facilitate the clinical development of nanoparticle vaccines for broad and durable protection against diverse pathogens.

Authors

Hannah G. Kelly, Hyon-Xhi Tan, Jennifer A. Juno, Robyn Esterbauer, Yi Ju, Wenbo Jiang, Verena C. Wimmer, Brigette C. Duckworth, Joanna R. Groom, Frank Caruso, Masaru Kanekiyo, Stephen J. Kent, Adam K. Wheatley

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Abstract

Several studies have suggested an oncogenic role for the neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP, encoded by the Wasl gene), but thus far, little is known about its function in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). In this study, we performed in silico analysis of WASL expression in PDAC patients and found a correlation between low WASL expression and prolonged survival. To clarify the role of Wasl in pancreatic carcinogenesis, we used 2 oncogenic Kras–based PDAC mouse models with pancreas-specific Wasl deletion. In line with human data, both mouse models had an increased survival benefit due to either impaired tumor development in the presence of the tumor suppressor Trp53 or the delayed tumor progression and senescent phenotype upon genetic ablation of Trp53. Mechanistically, loss of Wasl resulted in cell-autonomous senescence through displacement of the N-WASP binding partners WASP-interacting protein (WIP) and p120ctn; vesicular accumulation of GSK3β, as well as YAP1 and phosphorylated β-catenin, which are components of the destruction complex; and upregulation of Cdkn1a(p21), a master regulator of senescence. Our findings, thus, indicate that Wasl functions in an oncogenic manner in PDAC by promoting the deregulation of the p120-catenin/β-catenin/p21 pathway. Therefore, strategies to reduce N-WASP activity might improve the survival outcomes of PDAC patients.

Authors

Ana Hidalgo-Sastre, Judit Desztics, Zahra Dantes, Katharina Schulte, Hilal Kabadayi Ensarioglu, Blessing Bassey-Archibong, Rupert Öllinger, Thomas Engleiter, Lyndsay Rayner, Henrik Einwächter, Juliet M. Daniel, Ali Sameer Abdulghani Altaee, Katia Steiger, Marina Lesina, Roland Rad, Maximilian Reichert, Guido von Figura, Jens T. Siveke, Roland M. Schmid, Clara Lubeseder-Martellato

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Abstract

The mechanisms of CAR-T cell mediated anti-tumor immunity and toxicity remain poorly characterized due to few studies examining the intact tumor microenvironment (TME) following CAR T-cell infusion. Axicabtagene ciloleucel is an autologous anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy approved for patients with large B-cell lymphoma. We devised multiplex immunostaining and in-situ hybridization assays to interrogate CAR T cells and other immune cell infiltrates in biopsies of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma following axicabtagene ciloleucel infusion. We found a majority of intratumoral CAR T cells expressed markers of T-cell activation but, unexpectedly, comprised ≤ 5% of all T cells within the TME five days or more after therapy. T cells lacking CAR (non-CAR T cells) were also activated within the TME after axicabtagene ciloleucel infusion, being positive for Ki-67, interferon-γ, granzyme B and/or PD-1, and highest in biopsies with CAR T cells. Additionally, non-CAR immune cells were the exclusive source of IL-6, a cytokine associated with cytokine release syndrome, and highest in biopsies with CAR T cells. These data indicate that intratumoral CAR T cells are associated with generalized immune cell activation within the TME with both beneficial and pathological effects.

Authors

Pei-Hsuan Chen, Mikel Lipschitz, Jason L. Weirather, Caron Jacobson, Philippe Armand, Kyle Wright, F. Stephen Hodi, Zachary J. Roberts, Stuart A. Sievers, John Rossi, Adrian Bot, William Y. Go, Scott J. Rodig

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Abstract

Heterotopic ossification (HO) is defined as abnormal differentiation of local stromal cells of mesenchymal origin resulting in pathologic cartilage and bone matrix deposition. CCN family members are matricellular proteins that have diverse regulatory functions on cell proliferation and differentiation, including the regulation of chondrogenesis. However, little is known regarding CCN family member expression or function in HO. Here, a combination of bulk and single cell RNA sequencing defined the dynamic temporospatial pattern of CCN family member induction within a mouse model of trauma-induced HO. Among CCN family proteins, Wisp1(also known as Ccn4) was most upregulated during the evolution of HO, and Wisp1 expression corresponded with chondrogenic gene profile. Immunohistochemistry confirmed WISP1/CCN4 expression across traumatic and genetic HO mouse models, as well as in human HO samples. Transgenic Wisp1LacZ/LacZ knockin animals showed an increase in endochondral ossification in HO after trauma. Finally, the transcriptome of Wisp1 null tenocytes revealed enrichment in signaling pathways such as STAT3 and PCP signaling that may explain increased HO in the context of Wisp1 deficiency. In sum, CCN family members, and in particular Wisp1, are spatiotemporally associated with and negatively regulate trauma-induced HO formation.

Authors

Ginny Ching-Yun Hsu, Simone Marini, Stefano Negri, Yiyun Wang, Jiajia Xu, Chase A. Pagani, Charles Hwang, David M. Stepien, Carolyn A. Meyers, Sarah Miller, Edward McCarthy, Karen M. Lyons, Benjamin Levi, Aaron W. James

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Abstract

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by synovial joint inflammation, cartilage damage and dysregulation of the adaptive immune system. While neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) have been proposed to play a role in the generation of modified autoantigens and in the activation of synovial fibroblasts, it remains unknown whether NETs are directly involved in cartilage damage. Here, we report a new mechanism by which NET-derived elastase disrupts cartilage matrix and induces release membrane-bound peptidylarginine deiminase-2 (PAD2) by fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). Cartilage fragments are subsequently citrullinated, internalized by FLS, and then presented to antigen-specific CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, immune-complexes containing citrullinated cartilage components can activate macrophages to release pro-inflammatory cytokines. HLA-DRB1*04:01 transgenic mice immunized with NETs develop autoantibodies to citrullinated cartilage proteins and display enhanced cartilage damage. Inhibition of NET-elastase rescues NET-mediated cartilage damage. These results show that NETs and neutrophil elastase externalized in these structures play fundamental pathogenic roles in promoting cartilage damage and synovial inflammation. Strategies targeting neutrophil elastase and NETs could have a therapeutic role in RA and in other inflammatory diseases associated with inflammatory joint damage.

Authors

Carmelo Carmona-Rivera, Philip M. Carlucci, Rishi R. Goel, Eddie A. James, Stephen R. Brooks, Cliff R. Rims, Victoria Hoffmann, David A. Fox, Jane H. Buckner, Mariana J. Kaplan

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Abstract

Whole sporozoite vaccines engender sterilizing immunity against malaria in animal models and importantly, in humans. Gene editing allows for the removal of specific parasite genes, enabling generation of genetically attenuated parasite (GAP) strains for vaccination. Using rodent malaria parasites, we have previously shown that late liver stage-arresting replication-competent (LARC) GAPs confer superior protection when compared to early liver stage-arresting replication-deficient (EARD) GAPs and radiation-attenuated sporozoites. However, generating a LARC GAP in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) has been challenging. Here we report the generation and characterization of an unprecedented Pf LARC GAP generated by targeted gene deletion of the Mei2 gene; Pf mei2–. Robust exoerythrocytic schizogony with extensive cell growth and DNA replication was observed for Pf mei2- liver stages in human liver-chimeric mice. However, Pf mei2– liver stages failed to complete development and did not form infectious exo-erythrocytic merozoites, thereby preventing their transition to asexual blood stage infection. Therefore, Pf mei2– is a replication-competent, attenuated human malaria parasite strain with potentially increased potency, useful for vaccination to protect against Pf malaria infection.

Authors

Debashree Goswami, William Betz, Navin K. Locham, Chaitra Parthiban, Carolyn Brager, Carola Schäfer, Nelly Camargo, Thao Nguyen, Spencer Y. Kennedy, Sean C. Murphy, Ashley M. Vaughan, Stefan H.I. Kappe

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Abstract

Acute gastrointestinal Graft-versus-Host-Disease (GVHD) is a primary determinant of mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (alloSCT). It is mediated by alloreactive donor CD4+ T cells that differentiate into pathogenic subsets expressing IFNγ, IL-17A or GM-CSF, and is regulated by subsets expressing IL-10 and/or Foxp3. Developmental relationships between T-helper states during priming in mesenteric lymph nodes (mLN) and effector function in the GI tract remain undefined at genome-scale. We applied scRNA-seq and computational modelling to a mouse model of donor DC-mediated GVHD exacerbation, creating an atlas of putative CD4+ T-cell differentiation pathways in vivo. Computational trajectory inference suggested emergence of pathogenic and regulatory states along a single developmental trajectory in mLN. Importantly, we inferred an unexpected second trajectory, categorised by little proliferation or cytokine expression, reduced glycolysis, and high tcf7 expression. TCF1hi cells upregulated α4β7 prior to gut migration and failed to express cytokines therein. Nevertheless, they exhibited recall potential and plasticity following secondary transplantation, including cytokine or Foxp3 expression, but reduced TCF1. Thus, scRNA-seq suggested divergence of allo-reactive CD4+ T cells into quiescent and effector states during gut GVHD exacerbation by donor DC, reflecting putative heterogenous priming in vivo. These findings, the first at a single-cell level during GVHD over time, may assist in examination of T cell differentiation in patients undergoing alloSCT.

Authors

Jessica A. Engel, Hyun Jae Lee, Cameron G. Williams, Rachel D. Kuns, Stuart Olver, Lianne I.M. Lansink, Megan S.F. Soon, Stacey B. Andersen, Joseph E. Powell, Valentine Svensson, Sarah A. Teichmann, Geoffrey R. Hill, Antiopi Varelias, Motoko Koyama, Ashraful Haque

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