Issue published August 8, 2022

  • On the cover: Reversal of ciliary mechanisms of disassembly rescues olfactory dysfunction in ciliopathies
  • Xie et al. report that aberrant ciliary redistribution of phospholipid PI(4,5)P2 and filament-actin are necessary for olfactory cilia disassembly and contribute to the pathogenesis of Bardet–Biedl syndrome. Image credit: Nemes Laszlo/Shutterstock.

Research Articles
Abstract

Aging is known to be associated with hippocampus-dependent memory decline, but the underlying causes of this age-related memory impairment remain highly debated. Here, we show that fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from aged, but not young, animal donors into young mice is sufficient to trigger profound hippocampal alterations, including astrogliosis, decreased adult neurogenesis, decreased novelty-induced neuronal activation, and impairment in hippocampus-dependent memory. Furthermore, similar alterations were reported when mice were subjected to an FMT from aged human donors. To decipher the mechanisms involved in mediating these microbiota-induced effects on brain function, we mapped the vagus nerve–related (VN-related) neuronal activity patterns and report that aged FMT animals showed a reduction in neuronal activity in the ascending-VN output brain structure, whether under basal condition or after VN stimulation. Targeted pharmacogenetic manipulation of VN-ascending neurons demonstrated that the decrease in vagal activity is detrimental to hippocampal functions. In contrast, increasing vagal ascending activity alleviated the adverse effects of aged mouse FMT on hippocampal functions and had a promnesic effect in aged mice. Thus, pharmacogenetic VN stimulation is a potential therapeutic strategy to lessen microbiota-dependent age-associated impairments in hippocampal functions.

Authors

Damien Rei, Soham Saha, Marianne Haddad, Anna Haider Rubio, Blanca Liliana Perlaza, Marion Berard, Marie-Noelle Ungeheuer, Harry Sokol, Pierre-Marie Lledo

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Abstract

NK cell exhaustion is caused by chronic exposure to activating stimuli during viral infection, tumorigenesis, and prolonged cytokine treatment. Evidence suggests that exhaustion may play a role in disease progression. However, relative to T cell exhaustion, the mechanisms underlying NK cell exhaustion and methods of reversing it are poorly understood. Here, we describe a potentially novel in vitro model of exhaustion that uses plate-bound agonists of the NK cell activating receptors NKp46 and NKG2D to induce canonical exhaustion phenotypes. In this model, prolonged activation resulted in downregulation of activating receptors, upregulation of checkpoint markers, decreased cytokine production and cytotoxicity in vitro, weakened glycolytic capacity, and decreased persistence, function, and tumor control in vivo. Furthermore, we discovered a beneficial effect of NK cell inhibitory receptor signaling during exhaustion. By simultaneously engaging the inhibitory receptor NKG2A during activation in our model, cytokine production and cytotoxicity defects were mitigated, suggesting that balancing positive and negative signals integrated by effector NK cells can be beneficial for antitumor immunity. Together, these data uncover some of the mechanisms underlying NK cell exhaustion in humans and establish our in vitro model as a valuable tool for studying the processes regulating exhaustion.

Authors

Jacob A. Myers, Dawn Schirm, Laura Bendzick, Rachel Hopps, Carly Selleck, Peter Hinderlie, Martin Felices, Jeffrey S. Miller

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Abstract

Integrins — the principal extracellular matrix (ECM) receptors of the cell — promote cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation, which are key events for cancer growth and metastasis. To date, most integrin-targeted cancer therapeutics have disrupted integrin-ECM interactions, which are viewed as critical for integrin functions. However, such agents have failed to improve cancer patient outcomes. We show that the highly expressed integrin β1 subunit is required for lung adenocarcinoma development in a carcinogen-induced mouse model. Likewise, human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines with integrin β1 deletion failed to form colonies in soft agar and tumors in mice. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that these effects do not require integrin β1–mediated adhesion to ECM but are dependent on integrin β1 cytoplasmic tail-mediated activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). These studies support a critical role for integrin β1 in lung tumorigenesis that is mediated through constitutive, ECM binding–independent signaling involving the cytoplasmic tail.

Authors

Scott M. Haake, Erin J. Plosa, Jonathan A. Kropski, Lindsay A. Venton, Anupama Reddy, Fabian Bock, Betty T. Chang, Allen J. Luna, Kateryna Nabukhotna, Zhi-Qi Xu, Rebecca A. Prather, Sharon Lee, Harikrishna Tanjore, Vasiliy V. Polosukhin, Olga M. Viquez, Angela Jones, Wentian Luo, Matthew H. Wilson, W. Kimryn Rathmell, Pierre P. Massion, Ambra Pozzi, Timothy S. Blackwell, Roy Zent

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Abstract

Genetic polymorphisms are associated with the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Semaphorin7a (Sema7a) deficiency in mouse peritoneal macrophages reduces fatty acid (FA) oxidation. Here, we identified 17 individuals with SEMA7A heterozygous mutations in 470 patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD. SEMA7A heterozygous mutations increased susceptibility to NAFLD, steatosis severity, and NAFLD activity scores in humans and mice. The Sema7aR145W mutation (equivalent to human SEMA7AR148W) significantly induced small lipid droplet accumulation in mouse livers compared with WT mouse livers. Mechanistically, the Sema7aR145W mutation increased N-glycosylated Sema7a and its receptor integrin β1 proteins in the cell membranes of hepatocytes. Furthermore, Sema7aR145W mutation enhanced its protein interaction with integrin β1 and PKC-α and increased PKC-α phosphorylation, which were both abrogated by integrin β1 silencing. Induction of PKCα_WT, but not PKCα_dominant negative, overexpression induced transcriptional factors Srebp1, Chrebp, and Lxr expression and their downstream Acc1, Fasn, and Cd36 expression in primary mouse hepatocytes. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that the SEMA7AR148W mutation is a potentially new strong genetic determinant of NAFLD and promotes intrahepatic lipid accumulation and NAFLD in mice by enhancing PKC-α–stimulated FA and triglyceride synthesis and FA uptake. The inhibition of hepatic PKC-α signaling may lead to novel NAFLD therapies.

Authors

Nan Zhao, Xiaoxun Zhang, Jingjing Ding, Qiong Pan, Ming-Hua Zheng, Wen-Yue Liu, Gang Luo, Jiaquan Qu, Mingqiao Li, Ling Li, Ying Cheng, Ying Peng, Qiaoling Xie, Qinglin Wei, Qiao Li, Lingyun Zou, Xinshou Ouyang, Shi-Ying Cai, James L. Boyer, Jin Chai

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Abstract

Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) is a key mediator of vascular disease during sepsis, and elevated plasma levels of Ang-2 are associated with organ injury scores and poor clinical outcomes. We have previously observed that biomarkers of endothelial glycocalyx (EG) damage correlate with plasma Ang-2 levels, suggesting a potential mechanistic linkage between EG injury and Ang-2 expression during states of systemic inflammation. However, the cell signaling mechanisms regulating Ang-2 expression following EG damage are unknown. In the current study, we determined the temporal associations between plasma heparan sulfate (HS) levels as a marker of EG erosion and plasma Ang-2 levels in children with sepsis and in mouse models of sepsis. Second, we evaluated the role of shear stress–mediated 5′-adenosine monophosphate–activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling in Ang-2 expression following enzymatic HS cleavage from the surface of human primary lung microvascular endothelial cells (HLMVECs). We found that plasma HS levels peaked before plasma Ang-2 levels in children and mice with sepsis. Further, we discovered that impaired AMPK signaling contributed to increased Ang-2 expression following HS cleavage from flow-conditioned HLMVECs, establishing a paradigm by which Ang-2 may be upregulated during sepsis.

Authors

Robert P. Richter, Amit R. Ashtekar, Lei Zheng, Danielle Pretorius, Tripathi Kaushlendra, Ralph D. Sanderson, Amit Gaggar, Jillian R. Richter

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Abstract

Developmental cardiac tissue is regenerative while operating under low oxygen. After birth, ambient oxygen is associated with cardiomyocyte cell cycle exit and regeneration. Likewise, cardiac metabolism undergoes a shift with cardiac maturation. Whether there are common regulators of cardiomyocyte cell cycle linking metabolism to oxygen tension remains unknown. The objective of the study is to determine whether mitochondrial UCP2 is a metabolic oxygen sensor regulating cardiomyocyte cell cycle. Neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs) under moderate hypoxia showed increased cell cycle activity and UCP2 expression. NRVMs exhibited a metabolic shift toward glycolysis, reducing citrate synthase, mtDNA, mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), and DNA damage/oxidative stress, while loss of UCP2 reversed this phenotype. Next, WT and mice from a global UCP2-KO mouse line (UCP2KO) kept under hypoxia for 4 weeks showed significant decline in cardiac function that was more pronounced in UCP2KO animals. Cardiomyocyte cell cycle activity was reduced, while fibrosis and DNA damage was significantly increased in UCP2KO animals compared with WT under hypoxia. Mechanistically, UCP2 increased acetyl-CoA levels and histone acetylation, and it altered chromatin modifiers linking metabolism to cardiomyocyte cell cycle under hypoxia. Here, we show a potentially novel role for mitochondrial UCP2 as an oxygen sensor regulating cardiomyocyte cell cycle activity, acetyl-CoA levels, and histone acetylation in response to moderate hypoxia.

Authors

Vagner O.C. Rigaud, Clare Zarka, Justin Kurian, Daria Harlamova, Andrea Elia, Nicole Kasatkin, Jaslyn Johnson, Michael Behanan, Lindsay Kraus, Hannah Pepper, Nathaniel W. Snyder, Sadia Mohsin, Steven R. Houser, Mohsin Khan

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Abstract

Current treatments fail to modify the underlying pathophysiology and disease progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), necessitating alternative therapies. Here, we show that COPD subjects have increased IL-36γ and decreased IL-36 receptor antagonist (IL-36Ra) in bronchoalveolar and nasal fluid compared with control subjects. IL-36γ is derived from small airway epithelial cells (SAEC) and is further induced by a viral mimetic, whereas IL-36Ra is derived from macrophages. IL-36γ stimulates release of the neutrophil chemoattractants CXCL1 and CXCL8, as well as elastolytic matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) from small airway fibroblasts (SAF). Proteases released from COPD neutrophils cleave and activate IL-36γ, thereby perpetuating IL-36 inflammation. Transfer of culture media from SAEC to SAF stimulated release of CXCL1, which was inhibited by exogenous IL-36Ra. The use of a therapeutic antibody that inhibits binding to the IL-36R attenuated IL-36γ–driven inflammation and cellular crosstalk. We have demonstrated a mechanism for the amplification and propagation of neutrophilic inflammation in COPD and have shown that blocking this cytokine family via a IL-36R neutralizing antibody could be a promising therapeutic strategy in the treatment of COPD.

Authors

Jonathan R. Baker, Peter S. Fenwick, Carolin K. Koss, Harriet B. Owles, Sarah L. Elkin, Jay Fine, Matthew Thomas, Karim C. El Kasmi, Peter J. Barnes, Louise E. Donnelly

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Abstract

Circulating monocytes have emerged as key regulators of the neuroinflammatory milieu in a number of neuropathological disorders. Ephrin type A receptor 4 (Epha4) receptor tyrosine kinase, a prominent axon guidance molecule, has recently been implicated in the regulation of neuroinflammation. Using a mouse model of brain injury and a GFP BM chimeric approach, we found neuroprotection and a lack of significant motor deficits marked by reduced monocyte/macrophage cortical infiltration and an increased number of arginase-1+ cells in the absence of BM-derived Epha4. This was accompanied by a shift in monocyte gene profile from pro- to antiinflammatory that included increased Tek (Tie2 receptor) expression. Inhibition of Tie2 attenuated enhanced expression of M2-like genes in cultured Epha4-null monocytes/macrophages. In Epha4-BM–deficient mice, cortical-isolated GFP+ monocytes/macrophages displayed a phenotypic shift from a classical to an intermediate subtype, which displayed reduced Ly6chi concomitant with increased Ly6clo- and Tie2-expressing populations. Furthermore, clodronate liposome–mediated monocyte depletion mimicked these effects in WT mice but resulted in attenuation of phenotype in Epha4-BM–deficient mice. This demonstrates that monocyte polarization not overall recruitment dictates neural tissue damage. Thus, coordination of monocyte proinflammatory phenotypic state by Epha4 is a key regulatory step mediating brain injury.

Authors

Elizabeth A. Kowalski, Eman Soliman, Colin Kelly, Erwin Kristobal Gudenschwager Basso, John Leonard, Kevin J. Pridham, Jing Ju, Alison Cash, Amanda Hazy, Caroline de Jager, Alexandra M. Kaloss, Hanzhang Ding, Raymundo D. Hernandez, Gabe Coleman, Xia Wang, Michelle L. Olsen, Alicia M. Pickrell, Michelle H. Theus

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Abstract

Older people exhibit dysregulated innate immunity to respiratory viral infections, including influenza and SARS-CoV-2, and show an increase in morbidity and mortality. Nanoparticles are a potential practical therapeutic that could reduce exaggerated innate immune responses within the lungs during viral infection. However, such therapeutics have not been examined for effectiveness during respiratory viral infection, particular in aged hosts. Here, we employed a lethal model of influenza viral infection in vulnerable aged mice to examine the ability of biodegradable, cargo-free nanoparticles, designated ONP-302, to resolve innate immune dysfunction and improve outcomes during infection. We administered ONP-302 via i.v. injection to aged mice at day 3 after infection, when the hyperinflammatory innate immune response was already established. During infection, we found that ONP-302 treatment reduced the numbers of inflammatory monocytes within the lungs and increased their number in both the liver and spleen, without impacting viral clearance. Importantly, cargo-free nanoparticles reduced lung damage, reduced histological lung inflammation, and improved gas exchange and, ultimately, the clinical outcomes in influenza-infected aged mice. In conclusion, ONP-302 improves outcomes in influenza-infected aged mice. Thus, our study provides information concerning a practical therapeutic, which, if translated clinically, could improve disease outcomes for vulnerable older patients suffering from respiratory viral infections.

Authors

William J. Kelley, Kathleen M. Wragg, Judy Chen, Tushar Murthy, Qichen Xu, Michael T. Boyne, Joseph R. Podojil, Adam Elhofy, Daniel R. Goldstein

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Abstract

Striated preferentially expressed protein kinase (SPEG), a myosin light chain kinase, is mutated in centronuclear myopathy (CNM) and/or dilated cardiomyopathy. No precise therapies are available for this disorder, and gene replacement therapy is not a feasible option due to the large size of SPEG. We evaluated the potential of dynamin-2 (DNM2) reduction as a potential therapeutic strategy because it has been shown to revert muscle phenotypes in mouse models of CNM caused by MTM1, DNM2, and BIN1 mutations. We determined that SPEG-β interacted with DNM2, and SPEG deficiency caused an increase in DNM2 levels. The DNM2 reduction strategy in Speg-KO mice was associated with an increase in life span, body weight, and motor performance. Additionally, it normalized the distribution of triadic proteins, triad ultrastructure, and triad number and restored phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate levels in SPEG-deficient skeletal muscles. Although DNM2 reduction rescued the myopathy phenotype, it did not improve cardiac dysfunction, indicating a differential tissue-specific function. Combining DNM2 reduction with other strategies may be needed to target both the cardiac and skeletal defects associated with SPEG deficiency. DNM2 reduction should be explored as a therapeutic strategy against other genetic myopathies (and dystrophies) associated with a high level of DNM2.

Authors

Qifei Li, Jasmine Lin, Jeffrey J. Widrick, Shiyu Luo, Gu Li, Yuanfan Zhang, Jocelyn Laporte, Mark A. Perrella, Xiaoli Liu, Pankaj B. Agrawal

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Abstract

Mucosecretory lung disease compromises airway epithelial function and is characterized by goblet cell hyperplasia and ciliated cell hypoplasia. Goblet and ciliated cell types are derived from tracheobronchial stem/progenitor cells via a Notch-dependent mechanism. Although specific arrays of Notch receptors regulate cell fate determination, the function of the ligands Jagged1 (JAG1) and JAG2 is unclear. This study examined JAG1 and JAG2 function using human air-liquid-interface cultures that were treated with γ-secretase complex (GSC) inhibitors, neutralizing peptides/antibodies, or WNT/β-catenin pathway antagonists/agonists. These experiments revealed that JAG1 and JAG2 regulated cell fate determination in the tracheobronchial epithelium; however, their roles did not adhere to simple necessity and sufficiency rules. Biochemical studies indicated that JAG1 and JAG2 underwent posttranslational modifications that resulted in generation of a JAG1 C-terminal peptide and regulated the abundance of full-length JAG2 on the cell surface. GSC and glycogen synthase kinase 3 were implicated in these posttranslational events, but WNT agonist/antagonist studies and RNA-Seq indicated a WNT-independent mechanism. Collectively, these data suggest that posttranslational modifications create distinct assemblies of JAG1 and JAG2, which regulate Notch signal strength and determine the fate of tracheobronchial stem/progenitor cells.

Authors

Susan D. Reynolds, Cynthia L. Hill, Alfahdah Alsudayri, Scott W. Lallier, Saranga Wijeratne, Zheng Hong Tan, Tendy Chiang, Estelle Cormet-Boyaka

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Abstract

Ciliopathies are a class of genetic diseases resulting in cilia dysfunction in multiple organ systems, including the olfactory system. Currently, there are no available curative treatments for olfactory dysfunction and other symptoms in ciliopathies. The loss or shortening of olfactory cilia, as seen in multiple mouse models of the ciliopathy Bardet–Biedl syndrome (BBS), results in olfactory dysfunction. However, the underlying mechanism of the olfactory cilia reduction is unknown, thus limiting the development of therapeutic approaches for BBS and other ciliopathies. Here, we demonstrated that phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2], a phosphoinositide typically excluded from olfactory cilia, aberrantly redistributed into the residual cilia of BBS mouse models, which caused F-actin ciliary infiltration. Importantly, PI(4,5)P2 and F-actin were necessary for olfactory cilia shortening. Using a gene therapeutic approach, the hydrolyzation of PI(4,5)P2 by overexpression of inositol polyphosphate-5-phosphatase E (INPP5E) restored cilia length and rescued odor detection and odor perception in BBS. Together, our data indicate that PI(4,5)P2/F-actin–dependent cilia disassembly is a common mechanism contributing to the loss of olfactory cilia in BBS and provide valuable pan-therapeutic intervention targets for the treatment of ciliopathies.

Authors

Chao Xie, Julien C. Habif, Kirill Ukhanov, Cedric R. Uytingco, Lian Zhang, Robert J. Campbell, Jeffrey R. Martens

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Abstract

Long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of various diseases, including colorectal cancer (CRC). The gene mutations of adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) were found in most patients with CRC. They function as important inducers of tumorigenesis. Based on our microarray results, we identified a specific upregulated lncRNA in CRC (SURC). Further analysis showed that high SURC expression correlated with poorer disease-free survival and overall survival in patients with CRC. Furthermore, we found that mutated APC genes can promote the transcription of SURC by reducing the degradation of β-catenin protein in CRC. Functional assays revealed that knockdown of SURC impaired CRC cell proliferation, colony formation, cell cycle, and tumor growth. Additionally, SURC promotes CCND2 expression by inhibiting the expression of miR–185-5p in CRC cells. In conclusion, we demonstrate that SURC is a specific upregulated lncRNA in CRC and the SURC/miR–185-5p/CCND2 axis may be targetable for CRC diagnosis and therapy.

Authors

Junshu Li, Yanhong Ji, Na Chen, Huiling Wang, Chao Fang, Xiaonan Yin, Zhiyuan Jiang, Zhexu Dong, Dan Zhu, Jiamei Fu, Wencheng Zhou, Ruiyi Jiang, Ling He, Zhang Hantao, Gang Shi, Lin Cheng, Xiaolan Su, Lei Dai, Hongxin Deng

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Abstract

Hepatic de novo lipogenesis is influenced by the branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase (BCKDH) kinase (BCKDK). Here, we aimed to determine whether circulating levels of the immediate substrates of BCKDH, the branched-chain α-keto acids (BCKAs), and hepatic BCKDK expression are associated with the presence and severity of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Eighty metabolites (3 BCKAs, 14 amino acids, 43 acylcarnitines, 20 ceramides) were quantified in plasma from 288 patients with bariatric surgery with severe obesity and scored liver biopsy samples. Metabolite principal component analysis factors, BCKAs, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and the BCKA/BCAA ratio were tested for associations with steatosis grade and presence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Of all analytes tested, only the Val-derived BCKA, α-keto-isovalerate, and the BCKA/BCAA ratio were associated with both steatosis grade and NASH. Gene expression analysis in liver samples from 2 independent bariatric surgery cohorts showed that hepatic BCKDK mRNA expression correlates with steatosis, ballooning, and levels of the lipogenic transcription factor SREBP1. Experiments in AML12 hepatocytes showed that SREBP1 inhibition lowered BCKDK mRNA expression. These findings demonstrate that higher plasma levels of BCKA and hepatic expression of BCKDK are features of human NAFLD/NASH and identify SREBP1 as a transcriptional regulator of BCKDK.

Authors

Thomas Grenier-Larouche, Lydia Coulter Kwee, Yann Deleye, Paola Leon-Mimila, Jacquelyn M. Walejko, Robert W. McGarrah, Simon Marceau, Sylvain Trahan, Christine Racine, André C. Carpentier, Aldons J. Lusis, Olga Ilkayeva, Marie-Claude Vohl, Adriana Huertas-Vazquez, André Tchernof, Svati H. Shah, Christopher B. Newgard, Phillip J. White

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Abstract

NLRP3 inflammasome and IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) induction are key biological drivers of ineffective hematopoiesis and inflammation in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs). Gene mutations involving mRNA splicing and epigenetic regulatory pathways induce inflammasome activation and myeloid lineage skewing in MDSs through undefined mechanisms. Using immortalized murine hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells harboring these somatic gene mutations and primary MDS BM specimens, we showed accumulation of unresolved R-loops and micronuclei with concurrent activation of the cytosolic sensor cyclic GMP-AMP synthase. Cyclic GMP-AMP synthase/stimulator of IFN genes (cGAS/STING) signaling caused ISG induction, NLRP3 inflammasome activation, and maturation of the effector protease caspase-1. Deregulation of RNA polymerase III drove cytosolic R-loop generation, which upon inhibition, extinguished ISG and inflammasome response. Mechanistically, caspase-1 degraded the master erythroid transcription factor, GATA binding protein 1, provoking anemia and myeloid lineage bias that was reversed by cGAS inhibition in vitro and in Tet2–/– hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell–transplanted mice. Together, these data identified a mechanism by which functionally distinct mutations converged upon the cGAS/STING/NLRP3 axis in MDS, directing ISG induction, pyroptosis, and myeloid lineage skewing.

Authors

Amy F. McLemore, Hsin-An Hou, Benjamin S. Meyer, Nghi B. Lam, Grace A. Ward, Amy L. Aldrich, Matthew A. Rodrigues, Alexis Vedder, Ling Zhang, Eric Padron, Nicole D. Vincelette, David A. Sallman, Omar Abdel-Wahab, Alan F. List, Kathy L. McGraw

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Abstract

Disrupted liver regeneration following hepatectomy represents an “undruggable” clinical challenge associated with poor patient outcomes. Yes-associated protein (YAP), a transcriptional coactivator that is repressed by the Hippo pathway, is instrumental in liver regeneration. We have previously described an alternative, Hippo-independent mechanism of YAP activation mediated by downregulation of protein tyrosine phosphatase nonreceptor type 11 (PTPN11, also known as SHP2) inhibition. Herein, we examined the effects of YAP activation with a selective SHP1/SHP2 inhibitor, NSC-87877, on liver regeneration in murine partial hepatectomy models. In our studies, NSC-87877 led to accelerated hepatocyte proliferation, improved liver regeneration, and decreased markers of injury following partial hepatectomy. The effects of NSC-87877 were lost in mice with hepatocyte-specific Yap/Taz deletion, and this demonstrated dependence on these molecules for the enhanced regenerative response. Furthermore, administration of NSC-87877 to murine models of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis was associated with improved survival and decreased markers of injury after hepatectomy. Evaluation of transcriptomic changes in the context of NSC-87877 administration revealed reduction in fibrotic signaling and augmentation of cell cycle signaling. Cytoprotective changes included downregulation of Nr4a1, an apoptosis inducer. Collectively, the data suggest that SHP2 inhibition induces a pro-proliferative and cytoprotective enhancement of liver regeneration dependent on YAP.

Authors

Ryan D. Watkins, EeeLN H. Buckarma, Jennifer L. Tomlinson, Chantal E. McCabe, Jennifer A. Yonkus, Nathan W. Werneburg, Rachel L. Bayer, Patrick P. Starlinger, Keith D. Robertson, Chen Wang, Gregory J. Gores, Rory L. Smoot

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Abstract

Dysregulation of excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2) contributes to the development of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Several strategies for increasing total EAAT2 levels have been proposed. However, the mechanism underlying the oligomeric assembly of EAAT2, impairment of which inhibits the formation of functional oligomers by EAAT2 monomers, is still poorly understood. In the present study, we identified E3 ubiquitin ligase AMFR as an EAAT2-interacting protein. AMFR specifically increased the level of EAAT2 oligomers rather than inducing protein degradation through K542-specific ubiquitination. By using tissues from humans with TLE and epilepsy model mice, we observed that AMFR and EAAT2 oligomer levels were simultaneously decreased in the hippocampus. Screening of 2386 FDA-approved drugs revealed that the most common analgesic/antipyretic medicine, acetaminophen (APAP), can induce AMFR transcriptional activation via transcription factor SP1. Administration of APAP protected against pentylenetetrazol-induced epileptogenesis. In mice with chronic epilepsy, APAP treatment partially reduced the occurrence of spontaneous seizures and greatly enhanced the antiepileptic effects of 17AAG, an Hsp90 inhibitor that upregulates total EAAT2 levels, when the 2 compounds were administered together. In summary, our studies reveal an essential role for AMFR in regulating the oligomeric state of EAAT2 and suggest that APAP can improve the efficacy of EAAT2-targeted antiepileptic treatments.

Authors

Longze Sha, Guanjun Li, Xiuneng Zhang, Yarong Lin, Yunjie Qiu, Yu Deng, Wanwan Zhu, Qi Xu

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Abstract

Long COVID, a type of post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), has been associated with sustained elevated levels of immune activation and inflammation. However, the mechanisms that drive this inflammation remain unknown. Inflammation during acute coronavirus disease 2019 could be exacerbated by microbial translocation (from the gut and/or lung) to blood. Whether microbial translocation contributes to inflammation during PASC is unknown. We did not observe a significant elevation in plasma markers of bacterial translocation during PASC. However, we observed higher levels of fungal translocation — measured as β-glucan, a fungal cell wall polysaccharide — in the plasma of individuals experiencing PASC compared with those without PASC or SARS-CoV-2–negative controls. The higher β-glucan correlated with higher inflammation and elevated levels of host metabolites involved in activating N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (such as metabolites within the tryptophan catabolism pathway) with established neurotoxic properties. Mechanistically, β-glucan can directly induce inflammation by binding to myeloid cells (via Dectin-1) and activating Syk/NF-κB signaling. Using a Dectin-1/NF-κB reporter model, we found that plasma from individuals experiencing PASC induced higher NF-κB signaling compared with plasma from negative controls. This higher NF-κB signaling was abrogated by piceatannol (Syk inhibitor). These data suggest a potential targetable mechanism linking fungal translocation and inflammation during PASC.

Authors

Leila B. Giron, Michael J. Peluso, Jianyi Ding, Grace Kenny, Netanel F. Zilberstein, Jane Koshy, Kai Ying Hong, Heather Rasmussen, Gregory E. Miller, Faraz Bishehsari, Robert A. Balk, James N. Moy, Rebecca Hoh, Scott Lu, Aaron R. Goldman, Hsin-Yao Tang, Brandon C. Yee, Ahmed Chenna, John W. Winslow, Christos J. Petropoulos, J. Daniel Kelly, Haimanot Wasse, Jeffrey N. Martin, Qin Liu, Ali Keshavarzian, Alan Landay, Steven G. Deeks, Timothy J. Henrich, Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Serum neurofilament light chain (sNFL) is becoming an important biomarker of neuro-axonal injury. Though sNFL correlates with CSF NFL (cNFL), 40% to 60% of variance remains unexplained. We aimed to mathematically adjust sNFL to strengthen its clinical value.METHODS We measured NFL in a blinded fashion in 1138 matched CSF and serum samples from 571 patients. Multiple linear regression (MLR) models constructed in the training cohort were validated in an independent cohort.RESULTS An MLR model that included age, blood urea nitrogen, alkaline phosphatase, creatinine, and weight improved correlations of cNFL with sNFL (from R2 = 0.57 to 0.67). Covariate adjustment significantly improved the correlation of sNFL with the number of contrast-enhancing lesions (from R2 = 0.18 to 0.28; 36% improvement) in the validation cohort of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Unexpectedly, only sNFL, but not cNFL, weakly but significantly correlated with cross-sectional MS severity outcomes. Investigating 2 nonoverlapping hypotheses, we showed that patients with proportionally higher sNFL to cNFL had higher clinical and radiological evidence of spinal cord (SC) injury and probably released NFL from peripheral axons into blood, bypassing the CSF.CONCLUSION sNFL captures 2 sources of axonal injury, central and peripheral, the latter reflecting SC damage, which primarily drives disability progression in MS.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00794352.FUNDING Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH (AI001242 and AI001243).

Authors

Peter Kosa, Ruturaj Masvekar, Mika Komori, Jonathan Phillips, Vighnesh Ramesh, Mihael Varosanec, Mary Sandford, Bibiana Bielekova

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Abstract

Lentiviral vector-based dendritic cell vaccines induce protective T cell responses against viral infection and cancer in animal models. In this study, we tested whether preventative and therapeutic vaccination could be achieved by direct injection of antigen expressing lentiviral vector, obviating the need for ex vivo transduction of dendritic cells. Injected lentiviral vector preferentially transduced splenic dendritic cells and resulted in long-term expression. Injection of a lentiviral vector encoding an MHC class I restricted T cell epitope of LCMV and CD40L induced an antigen-specific cytolytic CD8+ T lymphocyte response that protected the mice from infection. The injection of chronically infected mice with a lentiviral vector encoding LCMV MHC class I and II T cell epitopes and a soluble PD-1 microbody rapidly cleared the virus. Vaccination by direct injection of lentiviral vector was more effective in SAMHD1 knock-out mice, suggesting that lentiviral vectors containing Vpx, a lentiviral protein that increases the efficiency of dendritic cell transduction by inducing the degradation of SAMHD1, would be an effective strategy for the treatment of chronic disease in humans.

Authors

Takuya Tada, Thomas D. Norton, Rebecca Leibowitz, Nathaniel R. Landau

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. New therapeutic combinations to improve the outcome of ovarian cancer patients are clearly needed. Preclinical studies with ribociclib (LEE-011), a CDK4/6 cell cycle checkpoint inhibitor, demonstrate a synergistic effect with platinum chemotherapy and efficacy as a maintenance therapy after chemotherapy. We tested the safety and initial efficacy of ribociclib in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy in recurrent ovarian cancer. METHODS. This phase I trial combined weekly carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy with ribociclib followed by ribociclib maintenance in patients with recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer. Primary objectives were safety and maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of ribociclib when given with platinum and taxane chemotherapy. Secondary endpoints were response rate (RR) and progression-free survival (PFS). RESULTS. Thirty-five patients were enrolled. Patients had a mean 2.5 prior lines of chemotherapy, and 51% received prior maintenance therapy with Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) and/or Bevacizumab. The MTD was 400mg. The most common AEs included anemia (82.9%), neutropenia (82.9%), fatigue (82.9%), and nausea (77.1%). Overall RR was 79.3% with a stable disease (SD) rate of 18% resulting in a clinical benefit rate of 96.6%. The PFS was 11.4 months. RR and PFS did not differ based on number of lines of prior chemotherapy or prior maintenance therapy. CONCLUSIONS. This work demonstrates the combination of ribociclib with chemotherapy in ovarian cancer is feasible and safe. With a clinical benefit rate of 97%, this work provides encouraging evidence of clinical efficacy in patients with recurrent platinum-sensitive disease. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03056833. FUNDING. This investigator-initiated trial was supported by Novartis who provided drug and funds for trial execution.

Authors

Lan G. Coffman, Taylor J. Orellana, Tianshi Liu, Leonard G. Frisbie, Daniel Normolle, Kent Griffith, Shitanshu Uppal, Karen McLean, Jessica L. Berger, Michelle Boisen, Madeleine Courtney-Brooks, Robert P. Edwards, Jamie Lesnock, Haider Mahdi, Alexander Olawaiye, Paniti Sukumvanich, Sarah E. Taylor, Ronald Buckanovich

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Abstract

Cub domain-containing protein 1 (CDCP1) is a surface protein highly expressed on the surface of many cancer cells, however, the distribution of CDCP1 in normal tissues and its potential roles in non-tumor cells are poorly understood. We previously reported that CDCP1 interacts with CD6, a surface marker of T cells, suggesting that it is a novel immunoregulator, but the physiological significance of the newly discovered CDCP1-CD6 interaction remains unclear. In this report, we found that CDCP1 is present on both human and mouse retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPEs), a component of the blood-retina barrier (BRB), using a new anti-CDCP1 monoclonal antibody that we developed. CDCP1 knockout (KO) mice on two different genetic backgrounds both developed significantly attenuated retinal T cell infiltration and uveitis after adoptive transfer of pre-activated pathogenic T cells in a model of autoimmune uveitis. We also found that tight junctions were severely disrupted with infiltrating T cells detected in the RPE flat mounts prepared from the WT but not CDCP1 KO mice during EAU development. Mechanistically, we discovered that CDCP1 on RPE was upregulated by IFNγ in vitro and after EAU induction in vivo. CD6 stimulation induced significantly increased RPE barrier permeability of WT, but not CDCP1 knockdown (KD) RPE, and activated T cells migrated through the WT RPE monolayes more efficiently than the CDCP1 KD RPE monolayers. In addition, CD6 stimulation of WT, but not the CDCP1 KD RPEs, induced massive stress fiber formation and focal adhesion disruption to reduce cell barrier tight junctions. These data suggest that CDCP1 on RPEs interacts with CD6 on T cells to induce RPE cytoskeleton remodeling and focal adhesion disruption, which open up the tight junctions to facilitate T cell infiltration for the development of uveitis.

Authors

Lingjun Zhang, Nozha Borjini, Yu Lun, Sweta Parab, Gospel Enyindah-Asonye, Rupesh Singh, Brent A. Bell, Vera L. Bonilha, Andrei I. Ivanov, David A. Fox, Rachel R. Caspi, Feng Lin

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Abstract

Chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) is the prototypic chitinase-like protein mediating inflammation, cell proliferation, and tissue remodeling. Limited data suggests CHI3L1 is elevated in human pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and is associated with disease severity. Despite its importance as a regulator of injury/repair responses, the relationship between CHI3L1 and pulmonary vascular remodeling is not well understood. We hypothesize that CHI3L1 and its signaling pathways contribute to the vascular remodeling responses that occur in pulmonary hypertension (PH). We examined the relationship of plasma CHI3L1 levels and severity of PH in patients with various forms of PH, including Group 1 PAH and Group 3 PH, and found that circulating levels of serum CHI3L1 were associated with worse hemodynamics and correlated directly with mean pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance. We also used transgenic mice with constitutive knockout and inducible overexpression of CHI3L1 to examine its role in hypoxia-, monocrotaline-, and bleomycin-induced models of pulmonary vascular disease. In all 3 mouse models of pulmonary vascular disease, pulmonary hypertensive responses were mitigated in CHI3L1 null mice and accentuated in transgenic mice that overexpress CHI3L1. Finally, CHI3L1 alone was sufficient to induce pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation, inhibit pulmonary vascular endothelial cell apoptosis, induce the loss of endothelial barrier function, and induce endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition. These findings demonstrate that CHI3L1 and its receptors play an integral role in pulmonary vascular disease pathobiology and may offer a novel target for the treatment PAH and PH associated with fibrotic lung disease.

Authors

Xiuna Sun, Erika Nakajima, Carmelissa Norbrun, Parand Sorkhdini, Alina Xiaoyu Yang, Dongqin Yang, Corey E. Ventetuolo, Julie Braza, Alexander Vang, Jason Aliotta, Debasree Banerjee, Mandy Pereira, Grayson Baird, Qing Lu, Elizabeth O. Harrington, Sharon Rounds, Chun Geun Lee, Hongwei Yao, Gaurav Choudhary, James R. Klinger, Yang Zhou

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune, connective tissue disease characterized by vasculopathy and fibrosis of the skin and internal organs. METHODS. We randomized 15 participants with early diffuse cutaneous SSc to tofacitinib 5 mg twice a day or matching placebo in a Phase I/II double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The primary outcome measure was safety and tolerability at or before Week 24. In order to understand the changes in gene expression associated with tofacitinib treatment in each skin cell populations, we compared single cell gene expression in punch skin biopsies obtained at baseline and 6 weeks following the initiation of treatment. RESULTS. Tofacitinib was well tolerated; there were no participants, who experienced Grade 3 or higher adverse effects (AEs) before or at Week 24. Trends in efficacy outcome measures favored tofacitnib. Baseline gene expression in fibroblast and keratinocyte subpopulations indicates interferon (IFN) activated gene expression. Tofacitinib inhibited IFN-regulated gene expression in the SFRP2/DPP4 fibroblasts (progenitors of myofibroblasts) and MYOC and CCL19, representing adventitial fibroblasts (p< 0.05), as well as in the basal and keratinized layers of the epidermis. Gene expression in macrophages and dendritic cells indicated inhibition of STAT3 by tofacitinib (p<0.05). No clinically meaningful inhibition of T cells and endothelial cells in the skin tissue was observed. CONCLUSION. These results indicate that mesenchymal and epithelial cells of a target organ in SSc, not the infiltrating lymphocytes, may be the primary focus for therapeutic effects of a janus kinase inhibitor. TRIAL REGISTRATION. clinicaltrials.gov NCT03274076. FUNDING SOURCE. This was an investigator-initiated trial designed by the Sponsor and the steering committee. The industry funder, Pfizer, had no role in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data. The manuscript was drafted by the authors and was reviewed by Pfizer Inc. before final submission. No medical writer was involved in creating the manuscript. DK was supported by NIH/NIAMS R01 AR070470 and NIH/NIAMS K24 AR063120. JMK, JEG, LCT are supported by the Taubman Medical Research Institute and NIH-P30 AR075043. LCT was also supported by NIH/NIAMS K01AR072129. The corresponding author had full access to all data congregates in the study and made the final decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Authors

Dinesh Khanna, Cristina M. Padilla, Lam C. Tsoi, Vivek Nagaraja, Puja Khanna, Tracy Tabib, J. Michelle Kahlenberg, Amber Young, Suiyuan Huang, Johann e. Gudjonsson, David A. Fox, Robert Lafyatis

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