Latest issue: March 21, 2019

In the issue

Abstract

Alveolar type 2 (AT2) cell endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a prominent feature in adult and pediatric interstitial lung disease (ILD and ChILD), but in vivo models linking AT2 cell ER stress to ILD have been elusive. Based on a clinical ChILD case, we identified a critical cysteine residue in the surfactant protein C gene (SFTPC) BRICHOS domain whose mutation induced ER stress in vitro. To model this in vivo, we generated a knockin mouse model expressing a cysteine-to-glycine substitution at codon 121 (C121G) in the Sftpc gene. SftpcC121G expression during fetal development resulted in a toxic gain-of-function causing fatal postnatal respiratory failure from disrupted lung morphogenesis. Induced SftpcC121G expression in adult mice resulted in an ER-retained pro-protein causing AT2 cell ER stress. SftpcC121G AT2 cells were a source of cytokines expressed in concert with development of polycellular alveolitis. These cytokines were subsequently found in a high-dimensional proteomic screen of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from ChILD patients with the same class of SFTPC mutations. Following alveolitis resolution, SftpcC121G mice developed spontaneous pulmonary fibrosis and restrictive lung impairment. This model provides proof of concept linking AT2 cell ER stress to fibrotic lung disease coupled with translationally relevant biomarkers.

Authors

Jeremy Katzen, Brandie D. Wagner, Alessandro Venosa, Meghan Kopp, Yaniv Tomer, Scott J. Russo, Alvis C. Headen, Maria C. Basil, James M. Stark, Surafel Mulugeta, Robin R. Deterding, Michael F. Beers

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Abstract

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a condition of unknown etiology, characterized by elevated intracranial pressure frequently manifesting with chronic headaches and visual loss. Similar to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), IIH predominantly affects obese women of reproductive age. In this study, we comprehensively examined the systemic and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) androgen metabolome in women with IIH in comparison with sex-, BMI-, and age-matched control groups with either simple obesity or PCOS (i.e., obesity and androgen excess). Women with IIH showed a pattern of androgen excess distinct to that observed in PCOS and simple obesity, with increased serum testosterone and increased CSF testosterone and androstenedione. Human choroid plexus expressed the androgen receptor, alongside the androgen-activating enzyme aldoketoreductase type 1C3. We show that in a rat choroid plexus cell line, testosterone significantly enhanced the activity of Na+/K+-ATPase, a surrogate of CSF secretion. We demonstrate that IIH patients have a unique signature of androgen excess and provide evidence that androgens can modulate CSF secretion via the choroid plexus. These findings implicate androgen excess as a potential causal driver and therapeutic target in IIH.

Authors

Michael W. O’Reilly, Connar S.J. Westgate, Catherine Hornby, Hannah Botfield, Angela E. Taylor, Keira Markey, James L. Mitchell, William J. Scotton, Susan P. Mollan, Andreas Yiangou, Carl Jenkinson, Lorna C. Gilligan, Mark Sherlock, James Gibney, Jeremy W. Tomlinson, Gareth G. Lavery, David J. Hodson, Wiebke Arlt, Alexandra J. Sinclair

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Abstract

B cells are key contributors to chronic autoimmune pathology in multiple sclerosis (MS). Clonally related B cells exist in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), meninges, and CNS parenchyma of MS patients. We sought to investigate the presence of clonally related B cells over time by performing Ig heavy chain variable region repertoire sequencing on B cells from longitudinally collected blood and CSF samples of MS patients (n = 10). All patients were untreated at the time of the initial sampling; the majority (n = 7) were treated with immune-modulating therapies 1.2 (±0.3 SD) years later during the second sampling. We found clonal persistence of B cells in the CSF of 5 patients; these B cells were frequently Ig class-switched and CD27+. Specific blood B cell subsets appear to provide input into CNS repertoires over time. We demonstrate complex patterns of clonal B cell persistence in CSF and blood, even in patients on immune-modulating therapy. Our findings support the concept that peripheral B cell activation and CNS-compartmentalized immune mechanisms can in part be therapy resistant.

Authors

Ariele L. Greenfield, Ravi Dandekar, Akshaya Ramesh, Erica L. Eggers, Hao Wu, Sarah Laurent, William Harkin, Natalie S. Pierson, Martin S. Weber, Roland G. Henry, Antje Bischof, Bruce A.C. Cree, Stephen L. Hauser, Michael R. Wilson, H.-Christian von Büdingen

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Abstract

Airway mucin secretion is necessary for ciliary clearance of inhaled particles and pathogens but can be detrimental in pathologies such as asthma and cystic fibrosis. Exocytosis in mammals requires a Munc18 scaffolding protein, and airway secretory cells express all 3 Munc18 isoforms. Using conditional airway epithelial cell–deletant mice, we found that Munc18a has the major role in baseline mucin secretion, Munc18b has the major role in stimulated mucin secretion, and Munc18c does not function in mucin secretion. In an allergic asthma model, Munc18b deletion reduced airway mucus occlusion and airflow resistance. In a cystic fibrosis model, Munc18b deletion reduced airway mucus occlusion and emphysema. Munc18b deficiency in the airway epithelium did not result in any abnormalities of lung structure, particle clearance, inflammation, or bacterial infection. Our results show that regulated secretion in a polarized epithelial cell may involve more than one exocytic machine at the apical plasma membrane and that the protective roles of mucin secretion can be preserved while therapeutically targeting its pathologic roles.

Authors

Ana M. Jaramillo, Lucia Piccotti, Walter V. Velasco, Anna Sofia Huerta Delgado, Zoulikha Azzegagh, Felicity Chung, Usman Nazeer, Junaid Farooq, Josh Brenner, Jan Parker-Thornburg, Brenton L. Scott, Christopher M. Evans, Roberto Adachi, Alan R. Burns, Silvia M. Kreda, Michael J. Tuvim, Burton F. Dickey

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Abstract

About one-third of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) cases are caused by mutations in sarcomere or cytoskeletal proteins. However, treating the cytoskeleton directly is not possible because drugs that bind to actin are not well tolerated. Mutations in the actin binding protein CAP2 can cause DCM and KO mice, either whole body (CAP2-KO) or cardiomyocyte-specific KOs (CAP2-CKO) develop DCM with cardiac conduction disease. RNA sequencing analysis of CAP2-KO hearts and isolated cardiomyocytes revealed overactivation of fetal genes, including serum response factor–regulated (SRF-regulated) genes such as Myl9 and Acta2 prior to the emergence of cardiac disease. To test if we could treat CAP2-KO mice, we synthesized and tested the SRF inhibitor CCG-1423-8u. CCG-1423-8u reduced expression of the SRF targets Myl9 and Acta2, as well as the biomarker of heart failure, Nppa. The median survival of CAP2-CKO mice was 98 days, while CCG-1423-8u–treated CKO mice survived for 116 days and also maintained normal cardiac function longer. These results suggest that some forms of sudden cardiac death and cardiac conduction disease are under cytoskeletal stress and that inhibiting signaling through SRF may benefit DCM by reducing cytoskeletal stress.

Authors

Yao Xiong, Kenneth Bedi, Simon Berritt, Bennette K. Attipoe, Thomas G. Brooks, Kevin Wang, Kenneth B. Margulies, Jeffrey Field

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Abstract

Acute respiratory distress syndrome is an often fatal disease that develops after acute lung injury and trauma. How released tissue damage signals, or alarmins, orchestrate early inflammatory events is poorly understood. Herein we reveal that IL-33, an alarmin sequestered in the lung epithelium, is required to limit inflammation after injury due to an unappreciated capacity to mediate Foxp3+ Treg control of local cytokines and myeloid populations. Specifically, Il33–/– mice are more susceptible to lung damage–associated morbidity and mortality that is typified by augmented levels of the proinflammatory cytokines and Ly6Chi monocytes in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Local delivery of IL-33 at the time of injury is protective but requires the presence of Treg cells. IL-33 stimulates both mouse and human Tregs to secrete IL-13. Using Foxp3Cre × Il4/Il13fl/fl mice, we show that Treg expression of IL-13 is required to prevent mortality after acute lung injury by controlling local levels of G-CSF, IL-6, and MCP-1 and inhibiting accumulation of Ly6Chi monocytes. Our study identifies a regulatory mechanism involving IL-33 and Treg secretion of IL-13 in response to tissue damage that is instrumental in limiting local inflammatory responses and may shape the myeloid compartment after lung injury.

Authors

Quan Liu, Gaelen K. Dwyer, Yifei Zhao, Huihua Li, Lisa R. Mathews, Anish Bhaswanth Chakka, Uma R. Chandran, Jake A. Demetris, John F. Alcorn, Keven M. Robinson, Luis A. Ortiz, Bruce R. Pitt, Angus W. Thomson, Ming-Hui Fan, Timothy R. Billiar, Hēth R. Turnquist

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Abstract

While anti-VEGF drugs are commonly used to inhibit pathological retinal and choroidal neovascularization, not all patients respond in an optimal manner. Mechanisms underpinning resistance to anti‑VEGF therapy include the upregulation of other proangiogenic factors. Therefore, therapeutic strategies that simultaneously target multiple growth factor signaling pathways would have significant value. Here, we show that Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CAMKII) mediates the angiogenic actions of a range of growth factors in human retinal endothelial cells and that this kinase acts as a key nodal point for the activation of several signal transduction cascades that are known to play a critical role in growth factor–induced angiogenesis. We also demonstrate that endothelial CAMKIIγ and -δ isoforms differentially regulate the angiogenic effects of different growth factors and that genetic deletion of these isoforms suppresses pathological retinal and choroidal neovascularization in vivo. Our studies suggest that CAMKII could provide a novel and efficacious target to inhibit multiple angiogenic signaling pathways for the treatment of vasoproliferative diseases of the eye. CAMKIIγ represents a particularly promising target, as deletion of this isoform inhibited pathological neovascularization, while enhancing reparative angiogenesis in the ischemic retina.

Authors

Sadaf Ashraf, Samuel Bell, Caitriona O’Leary, Paul Canning, Ileana Micu, Jose A. Fernandez, Michael O’Hare, Peter Barabas, Hannah McCauley, Derek P. Brazil, Alan W. Stitt, J. Graham McGeown, Tim M. Curtis

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Abstract

Anthracyclines are among the most effective chemotherapeutics ever developed, but they produce grueling side effects and serious adverse events, and resistance often develops over time. We found that these compounds can be sequestered by secreted cellular prion protein (PrPC), which blocks their cytotoxic activity. This effect was dose dependent using either cell line–conditioned medium or human serum as a source of PrPC. Genetic depletion of PrPC or inhibition of binding via chelation of ionic copper prevented the interaction and restored cytotoxic activity. This was more pronounced for doxorubicin than its epimer, epirubicin. Investigating the relevance to breast cancer management, we found that the levels of PRNP transcript in pretreatment tumor biopsies stratified relapse-free survival after neoadjuvant treatment with anthracyclines, particularly among doxorubicin-treated patients with residual disease at surgery. These data suggest that local sequestration could mediate treatment resistance. Consistent with this, tumor cell expression of PrPC protein correlated with poorer response to doxorubicin but not epirubicin in an independent cohort analyzed by IHC, particularly soluble isoforms released into the extracellular environment by shedding. These findings have important potential clinical implications for frontline regimen decision making. We suggest there is warranted utility for prognostic PrPC/PRNP assays to guide chemosensitization strategies that exploit an understanding of PrPC-anthracycline-copper ion complexes.

Authors

Adrian P. Wiegmans, Jodi M. Saunus, Sunyoung Ham, Richard Lobb, Jamie R. Kutasovic, Andrew J. Dalley, Mariska Miranda, Caroline Atkinson, Simote T. Foliaki, Kaltin Ferguson, Colleen Niland, Cameron N. Johnstone, Victoria Lewis, Steven J. Collins, Sunil R. Lakhani, Fares Al-Ejeh, Andreas Möller

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Abstract

Recovery from acute lung injury (ALI) is an active process. Foxp3+ Tregs contribute to recovery from ALI through modulating immune responses and enhancing alveolar epithelial proliferation and tissue repair. The current study investigates Treg transcriptional profiles during resolution of ALI in mice. Tregs from either lung or splenic tissue were isolated from uninjured mice or mice recovering from ALI and then examined for differential gene expression between these conditions. In mice with ALI, Tregs isolated from the lungs had hundreds of differentially expressed transcripts compared with those from the spleen, indicating that organ specificity and microenvironment are critical in Treg function. These regulated transcripts suggest which intracellular signaling pathways modulate Treg behavior. Interestingly, several transcripts having no prior recognized function in Tregs were differentially expressed by lung Tregs during resolution. Further investigation into 2 identified transcripts, Mmp12 and Sik1, revealed that Treg-specific expression of each plays a role in Treg-promoted ALI resolution. This study provides potentially novel information describing the signals that may expand resident Tregs, recruit or retain them to the lung during ALI, and modulate their function. The results provide insight into both tissue- and immune microenvironment–specific transcriptional differences through which Tregs direct their effects.

Authors

Jason R. Mock, Catherine F. Dial, Miriya K. Tune, Dustin L. Norton, Jessica R. Martin, John C. Gomez, Robert S. Hagan, Hong Dang, Claire M. Doerschuk

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Abstract

Psoriasis (PS) is a systemic, immune-mediated inflammatory disorder. However, the whole lymphocyte compartment and the potential pathologies of PS have not been fully characterized. In the present study, we examined whole lymphocyte subsets and signal transduction proteins using high-dimensional single-cell mass cytometry and a bioinformatics pipeline for an in-depth characterization of the immune cell subsets and protein profiles involved in pathways in the peripheral blood of patients with PS. We identified 15 major immune cell populations in T cell lineages and characterized various CD3+CD4+ Th and CD3+CD8+ T cytotoxic cell populations simultaneously across 24 leukocyte markers and 7 proteins related to the signal transduction pathways. High-dimensional analysis identified 3 new subsets that are abundant in PS peripheral blood, resembling CD3–CD4+ lymphoid tissue inducer cells, Tc17 cells, and CD8+CXCR3+ Tregs. We confirmed the CD3–CD4+ cells, and their features and functions, in an independent PS cohort. The use of single-cell mass cytometry allows systemic-level characterization of lymphocyte subpopulations and dysregulated signaling pathways in the blood of patients with PS, identifying abnormalities of different immune cell subsets. We validated that the CD3–CD4+ cells had elevated OX40 and decreased FRA2 expression, which were positively associated with the PS area and severity index.

Authors

Ruru Guo, Ting Zhang, Xinyu Meng, Zhen Lin, Jinran Lin, Yu Gong, Xuesong Liu, Yuetian Yu, Guilin Zhao, Xianting Ding, Xiaoxiang Chen, Liangjing Lu

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Abstract

The mTOR pathway is central to most cells. How mTOR is activated in macrophages and how it modulates macrophage physiology remain poorly understood. The tumor suppressor folliculin (FLCN) is a GAP for RagC/D, a regulator of mTOR. We show here that LPS potently suppresses FLCN in macrophages, allowing nuclear translocation of the transcription factor TFE3, leading to lysosome biogenesis, cytokine production, and hypersensitivity to inflammatory signals. Nuclear TFE3 additionally activates a transcriptional RagD-positive feedback loop that stimulates FLCN-independent canonical mTOR signaling to S6K and increases cellular proliferation. LPS thus simultaneously suppresses the TFE3 arm and activates the S6K arm of mTOR. In vivo, mice lacking myeloid FLCN reveal chronic macrophage activation, leading to profound histiocytic infiltration and tissue disruption, with hallmarks of human histiocytic syndromes, such as Erdheim-Chester disease. Our data thus identify a critical FLCN-mTOR-TFE3 axis in myeloid cells, modulated by LPS, that balances mTOR activation and curbs innate immune responses.

Authors

Jia Li, Shogo Wada, Lehn K. Weaver, Chhanda Biswas, Edward M. Behrens, Zoltan Arany

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Abstract

miR-155 has recently emerged as an important promoter of antitumor immunity through its functions in T lymphocytes. However, the impact of T cell–expressed miR-155 on immune cell dynamics in solid tumors remains unclear. In the present study, we used single-cell RNA sequencing to define the CD45+ immune cell populations at different time points within B16F10 murine melanoma tumors growing in either wild-type or miR-155 T cell conditional knockout (TCKO) mice. miR-155 was required for optimal T cell activation and reinforced the T cell response at the expense of infiltrating myeloid cells. Further, myeloid cells from tumors growing in TCKO mice were defined by an increase in wound healing genes and a decreased IFN-γ–response gene signature. Finally, we found that miR-155 expression predicted a favorable outcome in human melanoma patients and was associated with a strong immune signature. Moreover, gene expression analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data revealed that miR-155 expression also correlates with an immune-enriched subtype in 29 other human solid tumors. Together, our study provides an unprecedented analysis of the cell types and gene expression signatures of immune cells within experimental melanoma tumors and elucidates the role of miR-155 in coordinating antitumor immune responses in mammalian tumors.

Authors

H. Atakan Ekiz, Thomas B. Huffaker, Allie H. Grossmann, W. Zac Stephens, Matthew A. Williams, June L. Round, Ryan M. O’Connell

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Abstract

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology can be used to engineer the antigen specificity of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and improve their potency as an adoptive cell therapy in multiple disease models. As synthetic receptors, CARs carry the risk of immunogenicity, particularly when derived from nonhuman antibodies. Using an HLA-A*02:01–specific CAR (A2-CAR) encoding a single-chain variable fragment (Fv) derived from a mouse antibody, we developed a panel of 20 humanized A2-CARs (hA2-CARs). Systematic testing demonstrated variations in expression, and ability to bind HLA-A*02:01 and stimulate human Treg suppression in vitro. In addition, we developed a new method to comprehensively map the alloantigen specificity of CARs, revealing that humanization reduced HLA-A cross-reactivity. In vivo bioluminescence imaging showed rapid trafficking and persistence of hA2-CAR Tregs in A2-expressing allografts, with eventual migration to draining lymph nodes. Adoptive transfer of hA2-CAR Tregs suppressed HLA-A2+ cell–mediated xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease and diminished rejection of human HLA-A2+ skin allografts. These data provide a platform for systematic development and specificity testing of humanized alloantigen-specific CARs that can be used to engineer specificity and homing of therapeutic Tregs.

Authors

Nicholas A.J. Dawson, Caroline Lamarche, Romy E. Hoeppli, Peter Bergqvist, Vivian C.W. Fung, Emma McIver, Qing Huang, Jana Gillies, Madeleine Speck, Paul C. Orban, Jonathan W. Bush, Majid Mojibian, Megan K. Levings

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Multiple therapeutic strategies to restore immune regulation and slow type 1 diabetes (T1D) progression are in development and testing. A major challenge has been defining biomarkers to prospectively identify subjects likely to benefit from immunotherapy and/or measure intervention effects. We previously found that, compared with healthy controls, Tregs from children with new-onset T1D have an altered Treg gene signature (TGS), suggesting that this could be an immunoregulatory biomarker. METHODS. nanoString was used to assess the TGS in sorted Tregs (CD4+CD25hiCD127lo) or peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from individuals with T1D or type 2 diabetes, healthy controls, or T1D recipients of immunotherapy. Biomarker discovery pipelines were developed and applied to various sample group comparisons. RESULTS. Compared with controls, the TGS in isolated Tregs or PBMCs was altered in adult new-onset and cross-sectional T1D cohorts, with sensitivity or specificity of biomarkers increased by including T1D-associated SNPs in algorithms. The TGS was distinct in T1D versus type 2 diabetes, indicating disease-specific alterations. TGS measurement at the time of T1D onset revealed an algorithm that accurately predicted future rapid versus slow C-peptide decline, as determined by longitudinal analysis of placebo arms of START and T1DAL trials. The same algorithm stratified participants in a phase I/II clinical trial of ustekinumab (αIL-12/23p40) for future rapid versus slow C-peptide decline. CONCLUSION. These data suggest that biomarkers based on measuring TGSs could be a new approach to stratify patients and monitor autoimmune activity in T1D. FUNDING. JDRF (1-PNF-2015-113-Q-R, 2-PAR-2015-123-Q-R, 3-SRA-2016-209-Q-R, 3-PDF-2014-217-A-N), the JDRF Canadian Clinical Trials Network, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (UM1AI109565 and FY15ITN168), and BCCHRI.

Authors

Anne M. Pesenacker, Virginia Chen, Jana Gillies, Cate Speake, Ashish K. Marwaha, Annika Sun, Samuel Chow, Rusung Tan, Thomas Elliott, Jan P. Dutz, Scott J. Tebbutt, Megan K. Levings

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Abstract

The dysregulated, unbalanced immune response of sepsis results in a mortality exceeding 20%, yet recent findings by our group indicate that patients with allergic, type 2–mediated immune diseases are protected from developing sepsis. We evaluated CD4+ Th cell polarization among patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and confirmed that survivors had a higher percentage of circulating Th2 cells but lower frequencies of Th17 cells and neutrophils early in the course of infection. To establish the mechanism of this protection, we used a mouse model of lethal S. aureus bacteremia and found that intratracheal pretreatment with the type 2–initiating cytokine IL-33 activated pulmonary type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) and promoted eosinophilia. In addition, stimulation of type 2 immunity before lethal infection suppressed the pulmonary neutrophilic response to S. aureus. Mice lacking functional ILC2s did not respond to IL-33 and were not protected from lethal bacteremia, but treatment of these mice with the type 2 cytokines IL-5 and IL-13 rescued them from death. Depletion of eosinophils abrogated IL-33–mediated protection, indicating that eosinophilia is also necessary for the survival benefit. Thus, we have identified a potentially novel mechanism by which type 2 immunity can balance dysregulated septic inflammatory responses, thereby clarifying the protective benefit of type 2 immune diseases on sepsis mortality.

Authors

Paulette A. Krishack, Tyler J. Louviere, Trevor S. Decker, Timothy G. Kuzel, Jared A. Greenberg, Daniel F. Camacho, Cara L. Hrusch, Anne I. Sperling, Philip A. Verhoef

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Abstract

Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common autosomal dominant muscular dystrophy and encompasses both skeletal muscle and cardiac complications. DM is nucleotide repeat expansion disorder in which type 1 (DM1) is due to a trinucleotide repeat expansion on chromosome 19 and type 2 (DM2) arises from a tetranucleotide repeat expansion on chromosome 3. Developing representative models of DM in animals has been challenging due to instability of nucleotide repeat expansions, especially for DM2, which is characterized by nucleotide repeat expansions often greater than 5,000 copies. To investigate mechanisms of human DM, we generated cellular models of DM1 and DM2. We used regulated MyoD expression to reprogram urine-derived cells into myotubes. In this myogenic cell model, we found impaired dystrophin expression, in the presence of muscleblind-like 1 (MBNL1) foci, and aberrant splicing in DM1 but not in DM2 cells. We generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from healthy controls and DM1 and DM2 subjects, and we differentiated these into cardiomyocytes. DM1 and DM2 cells displayed an increase in RNA foci concomitant with cellular differentiation. iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from DM1 but not DM2 had aberrant splicing of known target genes and MBNL sequestration. High-resolution imaging revealed tight association between MBNL clusters and RNA foci in DM1. Ca2+ transients differed between DM1- and DM2 iPSC–derived cardiomyocytes, and each differed from healthy control cells. RNA-sequencing from DM1- and DM2 iPSC–derived cardiomyocytes revealed distinct misregulation of gene expression, as well as differential aberrant splicing patterns. Together, these data support that DM1 and DM2, despite some shared clinical and molecular features, have distinct pathological signatures.

Authors

Ellis Y. Kim, David Y. Barefield, Andy H. Vo, Anthony M. Gacita, Emma J. Schuster, Eugene J. Wyatt, Janel L. Davis, Biqin Dong, Cheng Sun, Patrick Page, Lisa Dellefave-Castillo, Alexis Demonbruen, Hao F. Zhang, Elizabeth M. McNally

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Abstract

Bariatric surgeries including vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) ameliorate obesity and diabetes. Weight loss and accompanying increases to insulin sensitivity contribute to improved glycemia after surgery; however, studies in humans also suggest weight-independent actions of bariatric procedures to lower blood glucose, possibly by improving insulin secretion. To evaluate this hypothesis, we compared VSG-operated mice with pair-fed, sham-surgical controls (PF-Sham) 2 weeks after surgery. This paradigm yielded similar postoperative body weight and insulin sensitivity between VSG and calorically restricted PF-Sham animals. However, VSG improved glucose tolerance and markedly enhanced insulin secretion during oral nutrient and i.p. glucose challenges compared with controls. Islets from VSG mice displayed a unique transcriptional signature enriched for genes involved in Ca2+ signaling and insulin secretion pathways. This finding suggests that bariatric surgery leads to intrinsic changes within the islet that alter function. Indeed, islets isolated from VSG mice had increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and a left-shifted glucose sensitivity curve compared with islets from PF-Sham mice. Isolated islets from VSG animals showed corresponding increases in the pulse duration of glucose-stimulated Ca2+ oscillations. Together, these findings demonstrate a weight-independent improvement in glycemic control following VSG, which is, in part, driven by improved insulin secretion and associated with substantial changes in islet gene expression. These results support a model in which β cells play a key role in the adaptation to bariatric surgery and the improved glucose tolerance that is typical of these procedures.

Authors

Jonathan D. Douros, Jingjing Niu, Sophia Sdao, Trillian Gregg, Kelsey Fisher-Wellman, Manish Bharadwaj, Anthony Molina, Ramamani Arumugam, MacKenzie Martin, Enrico Petretto, Matthew J. Merrins, Mark A. Herman, Jenny Tong, Jonathan Campbell, David D’Alessio

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Abstract

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive disease with unremitting extracellular matrix deposition, leading to a distortion of pulmonary architecture and impaired gas exchange. Fibroblasts from IPF patients acquire an invasive phenotype that is essential for progressive fibrosis. Here, we performed RNA sequencing analysis on invasive and noninvasive fibroblasts and found that the immune checkpoint ligand CD274 (also known as PD-L1) was upregulated on invasive lung fibroblasts and was required for the invasive phenotype of lung fibroblasts, is regulated by p53 and FAK, and drives lung fibrosis in a humanized IPF model in mice. Activating CD274 in IPF fibroblasts promoted invasion in vitro and pulmonary fibrosis in vivo. CD274 knockout in IPF fibroblasts and targeting CD274 by FAK inhibition or CD274-neutralizing antibodies blunted invasion and attenuated fibrosis, suggesting that CD274 may be a novel therapeutic target in IPF.

Authors

Yan Geng, Xue Liu, Jiurong Liang, David M. Habiel, Vrishika Kulur, Ana Lucia Coelho, Nan Deng, Ting Xie, Yizhou Wang, Ningshan Liu, Guanling Huang, Adrianne Kurkciyan, Zhenqiu Liu, Jie Tang, Cory M. Hogaboam, Dianhua Jiang, Paul W. Noble

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Abstract

Chemoresistance in cancer is linked to a subset of cancer cells termed “cancer stem cells” (CSCs), and in particular, those expressing the CD44 variant appear to represent a more aggressive disease phenotype. Herein, we demonstrate that CD44v6 represents a CSC population with increased resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, and its high expression is frequently associated with poor overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). CD44v6+ cells showed elevated resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs and significantly high tumor initiation capacity. Inhibition of CD44v6 resulted in the attenuation of self-renewal capacity and resensitization to chemotherapeutic agents. Of note, miRNA profiling of CD44v6+ spheroid-derived CSCs identified a unique panel of miRNAs indicative of high self-renewal capacity. In particular, miR-1246 was overexpressed in CD44v6+ cells, and associated with poor OS and DFS in CRC patients. We demonstrate that CD44v6+ CSCs induced chemoresistance and enhance tumorigenicity in CRC cells, and this was in part orchestrated by a distinct panel of miRNAs with dysregulated profiles. These findings suggest that specific miRNAs could serve as therapeutic targets as well as promising prognostic biomarkers in patients with colorectal neoplasia.

Authors

Shusuke Toden, Shigeyasu Kunitoshi, Jacob Cardenas, Jinghua Gu, Elizabeth Hutchins, Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen, Hiroyuki Uetake, Yuji Toiyama, Ajay Goel

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Abstract

The heterogeneity of individual cells in a tissue has been well characterized, largely using ex vivo approaches that do not permit longitudinal assessments of the same tissue over long periods of time. We demonstrate a potentially novel application of adaptive optics fluorescence microscopy to visualize and track the in situ mosaicism of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells directly in the human eye. After a short, dynamic period during which RPE cells take up i.v.-administered indocyanine green (ICG) dye, we observed a remarkably stable heterogeneity in the fluorescent pattern that gradually disappeared over a period of days. This pattern could be robustly reproduced with a new injection and follow-up imaging in the same eye out to at least 12 months, which enabled longitudinal tracking of RPE cells. Investigation of ICG uptake in primary human RPE cells and in a mouse model of ICG uptake alongside human imaging corroborated our findings that the observed mosaicism is an intrinsic property of the RPE tissue. We demonstrate a potentially novel application of fluorescence microscopy to detect subclinical changes to the RPE, a technical advance that has direct implications for improving our understanding of diseases such as oculocutaneous albinism, late-onset retinal degeneration, and Bietti crystalline dystrophy.

Authors

HaeWon Jung, Jianfei Liu, Tao Liu, Aman George, Margery G. Smelkinson, Sarah Cohen, Ruchi Sharma, Owen Schwartz, Arvydas Maminishkis, Kapil Bharti, Catherine Cukras, Laryssa A. Huryn, Brian P. Brooks, Robert Fariss, Johnny Tam

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Abstract

Tregs require IL-2 signaling for signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5)-mediated induction of Foxp3. While phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a negative regulator of IL-2 production in effector T cells and Tregs do not produce IL-2, it is not known whether PP2A controls IL-2 signaling in Tregs. To address the role of PP2A in IL-2 signaling in Tregs we studied mice engineered to lack PP2A in all Foxp3-expressing cells. We report that PP2A is required to enable Foxp3 expression and to maintain sufficient numbers of Tregs in the thymus. We show for the first time that PP2A prevents the selective loss of surface IL-2Rβ and preserves IL-2R signaling potency in Tregs. The loss of IL-2Rβ in thymus- and spleen-derived Tregs that lack PP2A is due to increased sheddase activity. Pan-sheddase or selective A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 (ADAM10) inhibition, like forced expression of IL-2Rβ in PP2A-deficient Tregs restored IL-2Rβ expression and signaling. Thus, PP2A restrains the sheddase activity of ADAM10 in Treg cells to prevent the cleavage of IL-2Rβ from the cell surface to enable competent IL-2R signaling which is essential for Tregs development and homeostasis.

Authors

Amir Sharabi, Hao Li, Isaac R. Kasper, Wenliang Pan, Esra Meidan, Maria G. Tsokos, Vaishali R. Moulton, George C. Tsokos

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Abstract

Drug refractory epilepsy (RE) is a chronic neurological disease with varied etiology that represents a group of patients whose seizures do not respond to anti-epileptic drugs. The immune system may have a role in seizure and epilepsy development, but the specific mechanisms of inflammation that lead to epileptogenesis and contribute to RE are unknown. Here, we used mass cytometry to comprehensively study the immune system of pediatric patients with RE and compared their immune profile and function with patients with age-matched autoimmune encephalitis (AIE) and healthy controls. Patients with RE and AIE displayed similar immune profiles overall, with changes in CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets and an unbalance toward pro-inflammatory IL-17 production. In addition, patients with RE uniquely showed an altered balance in natural killer cell subsets. A systems level intercellular network analysis identified rewiring of the immune system leading to loss of inhibitory/regulatory intercellular connections and emergence of pro-inflammatory pathogenic functions in neuro-inflammatory immune-cell networks in patients with AIE and RE. These data underscore the contribution of systemic inflammation to the pathogenesis of seizures and epileptogenesis and have direct translational implications in advancing diagnostics and therapeutics design.

Authors

Pavanish Kumar, Derrick Wei Shih Chan, Amanda Lim, Bhairav Paleja, Simon Ling, Lai Li Yun, Su Li Poh, Adeline Ngoh, Thaschawee Arkachaisri, Joo Guan Yeo, Salvatore Albani

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Abstract

Many lung diseases result from a failure of efficient regeneration of damaged alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) after lung injury. During regeneration, AEC2s proliferate to replace lost cells, after which proliferation halts and some AEC2s transdifferentiate into AEC1s to restore normal alveolar structure and function. Although the mechanisms underlying AEC2 proliferation have been studied, the mechanisms responsible for halting proliferation and inducing transdifferentiation are poorly understood. To identify candidate signaling pathways responsible for halting proliferation and inducing transdifferentiation, we performed single cell RNA sequencing on AEC2s during regeneration in a murine model of lung injury induced by intratracheal LPS. Unsupervised clustering revealed distinct subpopulations of regenerating AEC2s: proliferating, cell cycle arrest, and transdifferentiating. Gene expression analysis of these transitional subpopulations revealed that TGFβ signaling was highly upregulated in the cell cycle arrest subpopulation and relatively downregulated in transdifferentiating cells. In cultured AEC2s, TGFβ was necessary for cell cycle arrest but impeded transdifferentiation. We conclude that during regeneration after LPS-induced lung injury, TGFβ is a critical signal halting AEC2 proliferation but must be inactivated to allow transdifferentiation. This study provides insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating alveolar regeneration and the pathogenesis of diseases resulting from a failure of regeneration.

Authors

Kent A. Riemondy, Nicole L. Jansing, Peng Jiang, Elizabeth F. Redente, Austin E. Gillen, Rui Fu, Alyssa J. Miller, Jason R. Spence, Anthony N. Gerber, Jay R. Hesselberth, Rachel L. Zemans

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Abstract

We have previously reported that the carboxy-terminal proteolytic cleavage product of the COL6α3 chain that we refer to as “endotrophin” has potent effects on transformed mammary ductal epithelial cells in rodents. Endotrophin (ETP) is abundantly expressed in adipose tissue. It is a chemoattractant for macrophages, exerts effects on endothelial cells and through epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) enhances progression of tumor cells. In a recombinant form, human endotrophin exerts similar effects on human macrophages and endothelial cells as its rodent counterpart. It enhances EMT in human breast cancer cells and upon overexpression in tumor cells, the cells become chemoresistant. Here, we report the identification of endotrophin from human plasma. It is circulating at higher levels in breast cancer patients. We have developed neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against human endotrophin and provide evidence for the effectiveness of these antibodies to curb tumor growth and enhance chemosensitivity in a nude mouse model carrying human tumor cell lesions. Combined, the data validate endotrophin as a viable target for anti-tumor therapy for human breast cancer and opens the possibility for further use of these new reagents for anti-fibrotic approaches in liver, kidney, bone marrow and adipose tissue.

Authors

Dawei Bu, Clair Crewe, Christine M. Kusminski, Ruth Gordillo, Alexandra L. Ghaben, Min Kim, Jiyoung Park, Hui Deng, Wei Xiong, Xiao-Zheng Liu, Per Eystein Lønning, Nils Halberg, Adan Rios, Yujun Chang, Anneliese Gonzalez, Ningyan Zhang, Zhiqiang An, Philipp E. Scherer

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Abstract

In demyelinating diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), demyelination of neuronal fibers impairs impulse conduction and causes axon degeneration. While neuronal activity stimulates oligodendrocyte production and myelination in normal conditions, it remains unclear whether the activity of demyelinated axons restores their loss-of-function in a harmful environment. To investigate this question, we established a model to induce a moderate optogenetic stimulation of demyelinated axons in the corpus callosum at the level of the motor cortex in which cortical circuit activation and locomotor effects were reduced in adult freely moving mice. We demonstrate that a moderate activation of demyelinated axons enhances the differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells onto mature oligodendrocytes, but only under a repeated stimulation paradigm. This activity-dependent increase in the oligodendrocyte pool promotes an extensive remyelination and functional restoration of conduction, as revealed by ultrastructural analyses and compound action potential recordings. Our findings reveal the need of preserving an appropriate neuronal activity in the damaged tissue to promote oligodendrocyte differentiation and remyelination, likely by enhancing axon-oligodendroglia interactions. Our results provide new perspectives for translational research using neuromodulation in demyelinating diseases.

Authors

Fernando C. Ortiz, Chloé Habermacher, Mariana Graciarena, Pierre-Yves Houry, Akiko Nishiyama, Brahim Nait-Oumesmar, Maria Cecilia Angulo

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