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Abstract

Heart failure is often accompanied by titin-dependent myocardial stiffness. Phosphorylation of titin by cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (PKGI) increases cardiomyocyte distensibility. The upstream pathways stimulating PKGI-mediated titin phosphorylation are unclear. We studied whether C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), via its guanylyl cyclase-B (GC-B) receptor and cGMP/PKGI signaling, modulates titin-based ventricular compliance. To dissect GC-B–mediated effects of endogenous CNP in cardiomyocytes, we generated mice with cardiomyocyte-restricted GC-B deletion (CM GC-B–KO mice). The impact on heart morphology and function, myocyte passive tension, and titin isoform expression and phosphorylation was studied at baseline and after increased afterload induced by transverse aortic constriction (TAC). Pressure overload increased left ventricular endothelial CNP expression, with an early peak after 3 days. Concomitantly, titin phosphorylation at Ser4080, the site phosphorylated by PKGI, was augmented. Notably, in CM GC-B–KO mice this titin response was abolished. TAC-induced hypertrophy and fibrosis were not different between genotypes. However, the KO mice presented mild systolic and diastolic dysfunction together with myocyte stiffness, which were not observed in control littermates. In vitro, recombinant PKGI rescued reduced titin-Ser4080 phosphorylation and reverted passive stiffness of GC-B–deficient cardiomyocytes. CNP-induced activation of GC-B/cGMP/PKGI signaling in cardiomyocytes provides a protecting regulatory circuit preventing titin-based myocyte stiffening during early phases of pressure overload.

Authors

Konstanze Michel, Melissa Herwig, Franziska Werner, Katarina Špiranec Spes, Marco Abeßer, Kai Schuh, Swati Dabral, Andreas Mügge, Hideo A. Baba, Boris V. Skryabin, Nazha Hamdani, Michaela Kuhn

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Abstract

Rapid and specific antibody testing is crucial for improved understanding, control, and treatment of COVID-19 pathogenesis. Herein, we describe and apply a rapid, sensitive, and accurate virus neutralization assay for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The assay is based on an HIV-1 lentiviral vector that contains a secreted intron Gaussia luciferase (Gluc) or secreted nano-luciferase reporter cassette, pseudotyped with the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein, and is validated with a plaque-reduction assay using an authentic, infectious SARS-CoV-2 strain. The assay was used to evaluate SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in serum from individuals with a broad range of COVID-19 symptoms; patients included those in the intensive care unit (ICU), health care workers (HCWs), and convalescent plasma donors. The highest neutralizing antibody titers were observed among ICU patients, followed by general hospitalized patients, HCWs, and convalescent plasma donors. Our study highlights a wide phenotypic variation in human antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 and demonstrates the efficacy of a potentially novel lentivirus pseudotype assay for high-throughput serological surveys of neutralizing antibody titers in large cohorts.

Authors

Cong Zeng, John P. Evans, Rebecca Pearson, Panke Qu, Yi-Min Zheng, Richard T. Robinson, Luanne Hall-Stoodley, Jacob Yount, Sonal Pannu, Rama K. Mallampalli, Linda Saif, Eugene Oltz, Gerard Lozanski, Shan-Lu Liu

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Abstract

The challenge of discovering a completely new human tumor virus of unknown phylogeny or sequence depends on detecting viral molecules and differentiating them from host molecules in the virus-associated neoplasm. We developed differential peptide subtraction (DPS) using differential mass spectrometry (dMS) followed by targeted analysis to facilitate this discovery. We validated this approach by analyzing Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), an aggressive human neoplasm, in which ~80% of cases are caused by the human Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV). Approximately 20% of MCC have a high mutational burden and are negative for MCV, but are microscopically indistinguishable from virus positive cases. Using 23 (12 MCV+, 11 MCV–) formalin-fixed MCC, DPS identified both viral and human biomarkers (MCV large T antigen, CDKN2AIP, SERPINB5, and TRIM29) that discriminate MCV+ and MCV– MCC. Statistical analysis of 498,131 dMS features not matching the human proteome by DPS revealed 562 (0.11%) to be upregulated in virus-infected samples. Remarkably, 4 (20%) of the top 20 candidate MS spectra originated from MCV T oncoprotein peptides and confirmed by reverse translation degenerate oligonucleotide sequencing. DPS is a robust proteomic approach to identify potentially novel viral sequences in infectious tumors when nucleic acid–based methods are not feasible.

Authors

Tuna Toptan, Pamela S. Cantrell, Xuemei Zeng, Yang Liu, Mai Sun, Nathan A. Yates, Yuan Chang, Patrick S. Moore

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Abstract

Many mutation analyses of the HBV genome have been performed in the search for new prognostic markers. However, the Kozak sequence preceding precore was covered only infrequently in these analyses. In this study, the HBV core promoter/precore region was sequenced in serum samples from European inactive HBV carriers. Quadruple mutation GCAC1809-1812TTCT was found with a high prevalence of 42% in the Kozak sequence preceding precore among all HBV genotypes. GCAC1809-1812TTCT was strongly associated with coexistence of basal core promoter (BCP) double mutation A1762T/G1764A and lower HBV DNA levels. In vitro GCAC1809-1812TTCT lead to drastically diminished synthesis of pregenomic RNA (pgRNA), precore mRNA, core, HBsAg, and HBeAg. Calculation of the pgRNA secondary structure suggests a destabilization of the pgRNA structure by A1762T/G1764A that was compensated by GCAC1809-1812TTCT. In 125 patients with HBV-related cirrhosis, GCAC1809-1812TTCT was not detected. While a strong association of GCAC1809-1812TTCT with inactive carrier status was observed, BCP double mutation was strongly correlated with cirrhosis, but this was only observed in absence of GCAC1809-1812TTCT. In conclusion, our data reveal that GCAC1809-1812TTCT is highly prevalent in inactive carriers and acts as a compensatory mutation for BCP double mutation. GCAC1809-1812TTCT seems to be a biomarker of good prognosis in HBV infection.

Authors

Kai-Henrik Peiffer, Catrina Spengler, Michael Basic, Bingfu Jiang, Lisa Kuhnhenn, Wiebke Obermann, Tobias Zahn, Mirco Glitscher, Alessandro Loglio, Floriana Facchetti, Gert Carra, Alica Kubesch, Johannes Vermehren, Viola Knop, Christiana Graf, Julia Dietz, Fabian Finkelmeier, Eva Herrmann, Jonel Trebicka, Arnold Grünweller, Stefan Zeuzem, Christoph Sarrazin, Pietro Lampertico, Eberhard Hildt

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Abstract

Intratumoral immune infiltrate was recently reported in gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs). However, the tumor-intrinsic factors that dictate GIST immunogenicity are still largely undefined. To shed light on this issue, a large cohort (82 samples) of primary untreated GISTs, representative of major clinicopathological variables, was investigated by an integrated immunohistochemical, transcriptomic, and computational approach. Our results indicate that tumor genotype, location, and malignant potential concur to shape the immunogenicity of primary naive GISTs. Immune infiltration was greater in overt GISTs compared with that in lesions with limited malignant potential (miniGISTs), in KIT/PDGFRA-mutated tumors compared with that in KIT/PDGFRA WT tumors, and in PDGFRA-mutated compared with KIT-mutated GISTs. Within the KIT-mutated subset, a higher degree of immune colonization was detected in the intestine. Immune hot tumors showed expression patterns compatible with a potentially proficient but curbed antigen-specific immunity, hinting at sensitivity to immunomodulatory treatments. Poorly infiltrated GISTs, primarily KIT/PDGFRA WT intestinal tumors, showed activation of Hedgehog and WNT/β-catenin immune excluding pathways. This finding discloses a potential therapeutic vulnerability, as the targeting of these pathways might prove effective by both inhibiting pro-oncogenic signals and fostering antitumor immune responses. Finally, an intriguing anticorrelation between immune infiltration and ANO1/DOG1 expression was observed, suggesting an immunomodulatory activity for anoctamin-1.

Authors

Daniela Gasparotto, Marta Sbaraglia, Sabrina Rossi, Davide Baldazzi, Monica Brenca, Alessia Mondello, Federica Nardi, Dominga Racanelli, Matilde Cacciatore, Angelo Paolo Dei Tos, Roberta Maestro

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Abstract

Infections caused by multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, especially methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), are responsible for high mortality and morbidity worldwide. Resistant lineages were previously confined to hospitals but are now also causing infections among healthy individuals in the community. It is therefore imperative to explore therapeutic avenues that are less prone to raise drug resistance compared with today’s antibiotics. An opportunity to achieve this ambitious goal could be provided by targeted antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT), which relies on the combination of a bacteria-specific targeting agent and light-induced generation of ROS by an appropriate photosensitizer. Here, we conjugated the near-infrared photosensitizer IRDye700DX to a fully human mAb, specific for the invariantly expressed staphylococcal antigen immunodominant staphylococcal antigen A (IsaA). The resulting immunoconjugate 1D9-700DX was characterized biochemically and in preclinical infection models. As demonstrated in vitro, in vivo, and in a human postmortem orthopedic implant infection model, targeted aPDT with 1D9-700DX is highly effective. Importantly, combined with the nontoxic aPDT-enhancing agent potassium iodide, 1D9-700DX overcomes the antioxidant properties of human plasma and fully eradicates high titers of MRSA. We show that the developed immunoconjugate 1D9-700DX targets MRSA and kills it upon illumination with red light, without causing collateral damage to human cells.

Authors

Mafalda Bispo, Andrea Anaya-Sanchez, Sabrina Suhani, Elisa J. M. Raineri, Marina López-Álvarez, Marjolein Heuker, Wiktor Szymański, Francisco Romero Pastrana, Girbe Buist, Alexander R. Horswill, Kevin P. Francis, Gooitzen M. van Dam, Marleen van Oosten, Jan Maarten van Dijl

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Abstract

WNK1 (with no lysine [K] kinase 1) is an atypical kinase protein ubiquitously expressed in humans and mice. A mutation in its encoding gene causes hypertension in humans, which is associated with abnormal ion homeostasis. WNK1 is critical for in vitro decidualization in human endometrial stromal cells, thereby demonstrating its importance in female reproduction. Using a mouse model, WNK1 was ablated in the female reproductive tract to define its in vivo role in uterine biology. Loss of WNK1 altered uterine morphology, causing endometrial epithelial hyperplasia, adenomyotic features, and a delay in embryo implantation, ultimately resulting in compromised fertility. Combining transcriptomic, proteomic, and interactomic analyses revealed a potentially novel regulatory pathway whereby WNK1 represses AKT phosphorylation through protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) in endometrial cells from both humans and mice. We show that WNK1 interacted with PPP2R1A, the alpha isoform of the PP2A scaffold subunit. This maintained the levels of PP2A subunits and stabilized its activity, which then dephosphorylated AKT. Therefore, loss of WNK1 reduced PP2A activity, causing AKT hypersignaling. Using FOXO1 as a readout of AKT activity, we demonstrate that there was escalated FOXO1 phosphorylation and nuclear exclusion, leading to a disruption in the expression of genes that are crucial for embryo implantation.

Authors

Ru-pin Alicia Chi, Tianyuan Wang, Chou-Long Huang, San-pin Wu, Steven L. Young, John P. Lydon, Francesco J. DeMayo

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Abstract

Plasma antimalarial Ab can mediate antiparasite immunity but has not previously been characterized at the molecular level. Here, we develop an innovative strategy to characterize humoral responses by integrating profiles of plasma immunoglobulins (IGs) or Abs with those expressed on B cells as part of the B cell receptor. We applied this strategy to define plasma IG and to determine variable (V) gene usage after vaccination with the Plasmodium falciparum zygote antigen Pfs25. Using proteomic tools coupled with bulk immunosequencing data, we determined human antigen-binding fragment [F(ab′)2] peptide sequences from plasma IG of adults who received 4 doses of Pfs25-EPA/Alhydrogel. Specifically, Pfs25 antigen-specific F(ab′)2 peptides (Pfs25-IG) were aligned to cDNA sequences of IG heavy (IGH) chain complementarity determining region 3 from a data set generated by total peripheral B cell immunosequencing of the entire vaccinated population. IGHV4 was the most commonly identified IGHV subgroup of Pfs25-IG, a pattern that was corroborated by V heavy/V light chain sequencing of Pfs25-specific single B cells from 5 vaccinees and by matching plasma Pfs25-IG peptides and V-(D)-J sequences of Pfs25-specific single B cells from the same donor. Among 13 recombinant human mAbs generated from IG sequences of Pfs25-specific single B cells, a single IGHV4 mAb displayed strong neutralizing activity, reducing the number of P. falciparum oocysts in infected mosquitoes by more than 80% at 100 μg/mL. Our approach characterizes the human plasma Ab repertoire in response to the Pfs25-EPA/Alhydrogel vaccine and will be useful for studying circulating Abs in response to other vaccines as well as those induced during infections or autoimmune disorders.

Authors

Camila H. Coelho, Steven T. Nadakal, Patricia Gonzales Hurtado, Robert Morrison, Jacob D. Galson, Jillian Neal, Yimin Wu, C. Richter King, Virginia Price, Kazutoyo Miura, Sharon Wong-Madden, Justin Yai Alamou Doritchamou, David L. Narum, Nicholas J. MacDonald, Maryonne Snow-Smith, Marissa Vignali, Justin J. Taylor, Marie-Paule Lefranc, Johannes Trück, Carole A. Long, Issaka Sagara, Michal Fried, Patrick E. Duffy

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease associated with increased obesity, noncalcified coronary artery burden (NCB), and incident myocardial infarction. Here, we sought to assess the relationship among inflammation, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and NCB. Furthermore, we evaluated whether improvement in VAT would be associated with reduction in NCB over time in psoriasis.METHODS Consecutive psoriasis patients underwent coronary CT angiography to quantify NCB and abdominal CT to calculate VAT at baseline (n = 237), 1 year (n = 176), and 4 years (n = 50).RESULTS Patients with high levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) had significantly greater visceral adiposity (17,952.9 ± 849.2 cc3 vs. 13370.7 ± 806.8 cc3, P < 0.001) and noncalcified coronary burden (1.26 ± 0.03 vs. 1.07 ± 0.02 mm2) than those with low levels of hs-CRP. Those with higher levels of VAT had more systemic inflammation (hs-CRP, median [IQR], 2.5 mg/L [1.0–5.3 mg/L] vs. 1.2 mg/L [0.6–2.9 mg/L]), with approximately 50% higher NCB (1.42 ± 0.6 mm2 vs. 0.91 ± 0.2 mm2, P < 0.001). VAT associated with NCB in fully adjusted models (β = 0.47, P < 0.001). At 1-year follow-up, patients who had worsening hs-CRP had an increase in VAT (14,748.7 ± 878.1 cc3 to 15,158.7 ± 881.5 cc3; P = 0.03), whereas those who had improved hs-CRP improved their VAT (16,876.1 ± 915.2 cc3 to 16310.4 ± 889.6 cc3; P = 0.04). At 1 year, there was 10.3% reduction in NCB in those who had decreased VAT (β = 0.26, P < 0.0001), which persisted in a subset of patients at 4 years (β = 0.39, P = 0.003).CONCLUSIONS Inflammation drives development of VAT, increased cardiometabolic risk, and NCB in psoriasis. Reduction of inflammation associated with reduction in VAT and associated with longitudinal improvement in NCB. These findings demonstrate the important role of inflammation in the development of VAT in humans and its effect on early atherogenesis.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01778569.FUNDING This study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Intramural Research Program (HL006193-05), the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program, a public-private partnership supported jointly by the NIH and contributions to the Foundation for the NIH from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (no. 2014194), the American Association for Dental Research, the Colgate-Palmolive Company, Genentech, and Elsevier as well as private donors.

Authors

Aparna Sajja, Khaled M. Abdelrahman, Aarthi S. Reddy, Amit K. Dey, Domingo E. Uceda, Sundus S. Lateef, Alexander V. Sorokin, Heather L. Teague, Jonathan Chung, Joshua Rivers, Aditya A. Joshi, Youssef A. Elnabawi, Aditya Goyal, Justin A. Rodante, Andrew Keel, Julie E. Alvarez, Benjamin Lockshin, Ronald Prussick, Evan Siegel, Martin P. Playford, Marcus Y. Chen, David A. Bluemke, Joel M. Gelfand, Nehal N. Mehta

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Abstract

Epigenetic dysregulation is implicated in the pathogenesis of lupus. We performed a longitudinal analysis to assess changes in DNA methylation in lupus neutrophils over 4 years of follow-up and across disease activity levels using 229 patient samples. We demonstrate that DNA methylation profiles in lupus are partly determined by ancestry-associated genetic variations and are highly stable over time. DNA methylation levels in 2 CpG sites correlated significantly with changes in lupus disease activity. Progressive demethylation in SNX18 was observed with increasing disease activity in African American patients. Importantly, demethylation of a CpG site located within GALNT18 was associated with the development of active lupus nephritis. Differentially methylated genes between African American and European American lupus patients include type I IFN–response genes such as IRF7 and IFI44, and genes related to the NF-κB pathway. TREML4, which plays a vital role in TLR signaling, was hypomethylated in African American patients and demonstrated a strong cis–methylation quantitative trait loci (cis-meQTL) effect among 8855 cis-meQTL associations identified in our study.

Authors

Patrick Coit, Lourdes Ortiz-Fernandez, Emily E. Lewis, W. Joseph McCune, Kathleen Maksimowicz-McKinnon, Amr H. Sawalha

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Abstract

Inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase (ITPA) hydrolyzes inosine triphosphate (ITP) and other deaminated purine nucleotides to the corresponding nucleoside monophosphates. In humans, ITPA deficiency causes severe encephalopathy with epileptic seizure, microcephaly, and developmental retardation. In this study, we established neural stem cell–specific Itpa–conditional KO mice (Itpa-cKO mice) to clarify the effects of ITPA deficiency on the neural system. The Itpa-cKO mice showed growth retardation and died within 3 weeks of birth. We did not observe any microcephaly in the Itpa-cKO mice, although the female Itpa-cKO mice did show adrenal hypoplasia. The Itpa-cKO mice showed limb-clasping upon tail suspension and spontaneous and/or audiogenic seizure. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from entorhinal cortex neurons in brain slices revealed a depolarized resting membrane potential, increased firing, and frequent spontaneous miniature excitatory postsynaptic current and miniature inhibitory postsynaptic current in the Itpa-cKO mice compared with ITPA-proficient controls. Accumulated ITP or its metabolites, such as cyclic inosine monophosphates, or RNA containing inosines may cause membrane depolarization and hyperexcitability in neurons and induce the phenotype of ITPA-deficient mice, including seizure.

Authors

Yuichiro Koga, Daisuke Tsuchimoto, Yoshinori Hayashi, Nona Abolhassani, Yasuto Yoneshima, Kunihiko Sakumi, Hiroshi Nakanishi, Shinya Toyokuni, Yusaku Nakabeppu

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Abstract

Adoptive cell therapy involves the infusion of tumor-reactive T cells into patients with cancer to provide antitumor immunity. The ex vivo expansion and differentiation of such T cells are key parameters that affect their therapeutic potential. Human T cells are presently expanded in culture through the use of anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 mAbs immobilized on beads, expressed on cells, or assembled in the context of soluble antibody complexes. Here we report the design of a small, bispecific single-chain variable fragment construct agonizing both CD3 and CD28 pathways. This soluble T cell expansion protein, termed T-CEP, activates, expands, and differentiates human T cells ex vivo at concentrations in the femtomolar range. Importantly, T-CEP promotes the preferential growth of human CD8+ T cells over the course of 12 days in comparison with methods involving immobilized anti-CD3 mAb/soluble anti-CD28 mAb or soluble anti-CD3/CD28 mAb complexes. The differentiation profile of the resulting human T cell population is also singularly affected by T-CEP, favoring the expansion of a preferred CD8+CD27+ T cell phenotype. The activity profile of T-CEP on human T cells ex vivo suggests its use in generating human T cell populations that are more suited for adoptive cell therapy.

Authors

Esther I. Matus, Amanda Sparkes, Jean Gariépy

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Abstract

Infection-driven inflammation in pregnancy is a major cause of spontaneous preterm birth (PTB). Both systemic infection and bacterial ascension through the vagina/cervix to the amniotic cavity are strongly associated with PTB. However, the contribution of maternal or fetal inflammatory responses in the context of systemic or localized models of infection-driven PTB is not well defined. Here, using intraperitoneal or intraamniotic LPS challenge, we examined the necessity and sufficiency of maternal and fetal Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 signaling in induction of inflammatory vigor and PTB. Both systemic and local LPS challenge promoted induction of inflammatory pathways in uteroplacental tissues and induced PTB. Restriction of TLR4 expression to the maternal compartment was sufficient for induction of LPS-driven PTB in either systemic or intraamniotic challenge models. In contrast, restriction of TLR4 expression to the fetal compartment failed to induce LPS-driven PTB. Vav1-Cre–mediated genetic deletion of TLR4 suggested a critical role for maternal immune cells in inflammation-driven PTB. Further, passive transfer of WT in vitro–derived macrophages and dendritic cells to TLR4-null gravid females was sufficient to induce an inflammatory response and drive PTB. Cumulatively, these findings highlight the critical role for maternal regulation of inflammatory cues in induction of inflammation-driven parturition.

Authors

Monica Cappelletti, Jessica R. Doll, Traci E. Stankiewicz, Matthew J. Lawson, Vivien Sauer, Bingqiang Wen, Vladimir V. Kalinichenko, Xiaofei Sun, Tamara Tilburgs, Senad Divanovic

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Surgery remains the frontline therapy for patients with localized clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC); however, 20%–40% recur. Angiogenesis inhibitors have improved survival in metastatic patients and may result in responses in the neoadjuvant setting. The impact of these agents on the tumor genetic heterogeneity or the immune milieu is largely unknown. This phase II study was designed to evaluate safety, response, and effect on tumor tissue of neoadjuvant pazopanib.METHODS ccRCC patients with localized disease received pazopanib (800 mg daily; median 8 weeks), followed by nephrectomy. Five tumors were examined for mutations by whole exome sequencing from samples collected before therapy and at nephrectomy. These samples underwent RNA sequencing; 17 samples were available for posttreatment assessment.RESULTS Twenty-one patients were enrolled. The overall response rate was 8 of 21 (38%). No patients with progressive disease. At 1-year, response-free survival and overall survival was 83% and 89%, respectively. The most frequent grade 3 toxicity was hypertension (33%, 7 of 21). Sequencing revealed strong concordance between pre- and posttreatment samples within individual tumors, suggesting tumors harbor stable core profiles. However, a reduction in private mutations followed treatment, suggesting a selective process favoring enrichment of driver mutations.CONCLUSION Neoadjuvant pazopanib is safe and active in ccRCC. Future genomic analyses may enable the segregation of driver and passenger mutations. Furthermore, tumor infiltrating immune cells persist during therapy, suggesting that pazopanib can be combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors without dampening the immune response.FUNDING Support was provided by Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline as part of an investigator-initiated study.

Authors

Christopher G. Wood, James E. Ferguson III, Joel S. Parker, Dominic T. Moore, Jennifer G. Whisenant, Susan J. Maygarden, Eric M. Wallen, William Y. Kim, Mathew I. Milowsky, Kathryn E. Beckermann, Nancy B. Davis, Scott M. Haake, Jose A. Karam, Dante S. Bortone, Benjamin G. Vincent, Thomas Powles, W. Kimryn Rathmell

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Abstract

Adult liver has enormous regenerative capacity; it can regenerate after losing two-thirds of its mass while sustaining essential metabolic functions. How the liver balances dual demands for increased proliferative activity with maintenance of organ function is unknown but essential to prevent liver failure. Using partial hepatectomy (PHx) in mice to model liver regeneration, we integrated single-cell RNA- and ATAC-Seq to map state transitions in approximately 13,000 hepatocytes at single-cell resolution as livers regenerated, and validated key findings with IHC, to uncover how the organ regenerates hepatocytes while simultaneously fulfilling its vital tissue-specific functions. After PHx, hepatocytes rapidly and transiently diversified into multiple distinct populations with distinct functional bifurcation: some retained the chromatin landscapes and transcriptomes of hepatocytes in undamaged adult livers, whereas others transitioned to acquire chromatin landscapes and transcriptomes of fetal hepatocytes. Injury-related signaling pathways known to be critical for regeneration were activated in transitioning hepatocytes, and the most fetal-like hepatocytes exhibited chromatin landscapes that were enriched with transcription factors regulated by those pathways.

Authors

Tianyi Chen, Sehhoon Oh, Simon Gregory, Xiling Shen, Anna Mae Diehl

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Abstract

The nonimmune roles of Tregs have been described in various tissues, including the BM. In this study, we comprehensively phenotyped marrow Tregs, elucidating their key features and tissue-specific functions. We show that marrow Tregs are migratory and home back to the marrow. For trafficking, marrow Tregs use S1P gradients, and disruption of this axis allows for specific targeting of the marrow Treg pool. Following Treg depletion, the function and phenotype of both mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) was impaired. Transplantation also revealed that a Treg-depleted niche has a reduced capacity to support hematopoiesis. Finally, we found that marrow Tregs are high producers of IL-10 and that Treg-secreted IL-10 has direct effects on MSC function. This is the first report to our knowledge revealing that Treg-secreted IL-10 is necessary for stromal cell maintenance, and our work outlines an alternative mechanism by which this cytokine regulates hematopoiesis.

Authors

Virginia Camacho, Victoria R. Matkins, Sweta B. Patel, Jeremie M. Lever, Zhengqin Yang, Li Ying, Ashley E. Landuyt, Emma C. Dean, James F. George, Henry Yang, Paul Brent Ferrell, Craig L. Maynard, Casey T. Weaver, Heth R. Turnquist, Robert S. Welner

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Abstract

Successful implantation is associated with a unique spatial pattern of vascular remodeling, characterized by profound peripheral neovascularization surrounding a periembryo avascular niche. We hypothesized that hyaluronan controls the formation of this distinctive vascular pattern encompassing the embryo. This hypothesis was evaluated by genetic modification of hyaluronan metabolism, specifically targeted to embryonic trophoblast cells. The outcome of altered hyaluronan deposition on uterine vascular remodeling and postimplantation development were analyzed by MRI, detailed histological examinations, and RNA sequencing of uterine NK cells. Our experiments revealed that disruption of hyaluronan synthesis, as well as its increased cleavage at the embryonic niche, impaired implantation by induction of decidual vascular permeability, defective vascular sinus folds formation, breach of the maternal-embryo barrier, elevated MMP-9 expression, and interrupted uterine NK cell recruitment and function. Conversely, enhanced deposition of hyaluronan resulted in the expansion of the maternal-embryo barrier and increased diffusion distance, leading to compromised implantation. The deposition of hyaluronan at the embryonic niche is regulated by progesterone-progesterone receptor signaling. These results demonstrate a pivotal role for hyaluronan in successful pregnancy by fine-tuning the periembryo avascular niche and maternal vascular morphogenesis.

Authors

Ron Hadas, Eran Gershon, Aviad Cohen, Ofir Atrakchi, Shlomi Lazar, Ofra Golani, Bareket Dassa, Michal Elbaz, Gadi Cohen, Raya Eilam, Nava Dekel, Michal Neeman

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Abstract

Evidence for reduced expression of cyclin G associated kinase (GAK) in glomeruli of patients with chronic kidney disease was observed in the Nephroseq human database, and GAK was found to be associated with the decline in kidney function. To examine the role of GAK, a protein that functions to uncoat clathrin during endocytosis, we generated podocyte-specific Gak-knockout mice (Gak-KO), which developed progressive proteinuria and kidney failure with global glomerulosclerosis. We isolated glomeruli from the mice carrying the mutation to perform messenger RNA profiling and unearthed evidence for dysregulated podocyte calpain protease activity as an important contributor to progressive podocyte damage. Treatment with calpain inhibitor III specifically inhibited calpain-1/-2 activities, mitigated the degree of proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis, and led to a striking increase in survival in the Gak-KO mice. Podocyte-specific deletion of Capns1, essential for calpain-1 and calpain-2 activities, also improved proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis in Gak-KO mice. Increased podocyte calpain activity–mediated proteolysis of IκBα resulted in increased NF-κB p65–induced expression of growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible 45 beta in the Gak-KO mice. Our results suggest that loss of podocyte-associated Gak induces glomerular injury secondary to calcium dysregulation and aberrant calpain activation, which when inhibited, can provide a protective role.

Authors

Xuefei Tian, Kazunori Inoue, Yan Zhang, Ying Wang, C. John Sperati, Christopher E. Pedigo, Tingting Zhao, Meihua Yan, Marwin Groener, Dennis G. Moledina, Karen Ebenezer, Wei Li, Zhenhai Zhang, Dan A. Liebermann, Lois Greene, Peter Greer, Chirag R. Parikh, Shuta Ishibe

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Abstract

Patient-derived organoid models are proving to be a powerful platform for both basic and translational studies. Here we conduct a methodical analysis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) tumor organoid drug response in paired patient-derived xenograft (PDX) and PDX-derived organoid (PXO) models grown under WNT-free culture conditions. We report a specific relationship between area under the curve value of organoid drug dose response and in vivo tumor growth, irrespective of the drug treatment. In addition, we analyzed the glycome of PDX and PXO models and demonstrate that PXOs recapitulate the in vivo glycan landscape. In addition, we identify a core set of 57 N-glycans detected in all 10 models that represent 50%–94% of the relative abundance of all N-glycans detected in each of the models. Last, we developed a secreted biomarker discovery pipeline using media supernatant of organoid cultures and identified potentially new extracellular vesicle (EV) protein markers. We validated our findings using plasma samples from patients with PDAC, benign gastrointestinal diseases, and chronic pancreatitis and discovered that 4 EV proteins are potential circulating biomarkers for PDAC. Thus, we demonstrate the utility of organoid cultures to not only model in vivo drug responses but also serve as a powerful platform for discovering clinically actionable serologic biomarkers.

Authors

Ling Huang, Bruno Bockorny, Indranil Paul, Dipikaa Akshinthala, Pierre-Oliver Frappart, Omar Gandarilla, Arindam Bose, Veronica Sanchez-Gonzalez, Emily E. Rouse, Sylvain D. Lehoux, Nicole Pandell, Christine M. Lim, John G. Clohessy, Joseph Grossman, Raul Gonzalez, Sofia Perea Del Pino, George Daaboul, Mandeep S. Sawhney, Steven D. Freedman, Alexander Kleger, Richard D. Cummings, Andrew Emili, Lakshmi B. Muthuswamy, Manuel Hidalgo, Senthil K. Muthuswamy

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Abstract

Actin-associated nonmuscle myosin II (NM2) motor proteins play critical roles in a myriad of cellular functions, including endocytosis and organelle transport pathways. Cell type–specific expression and unique subcellular localization of the NM2 proteins, encoded by the Myh9 and Myh10 genes, in the mouse kidney tubules led us to hypothesize that these proteins have specialized functional roles within the renal epithelium. Inducible conditional knockout (cKO) of Myh9 and Myh10 in the renal tubules of adult mice resulted in progressive kidney disease. Prior to overt renal tubular injury, we observed intracellular accumulation of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein uromodulin (UMOD) and gradual loss of Na+ K+ 2Cl– cotransporter from the apical membrane of the thick ascending limb epithelia. The UMOD accumulation coincided with expansion of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) tubules and activation of ER stress and unfolded protein response pathways in Myh9&10-cKO kidneys. We conclude that NM2 proteins are required for localization and transport of UMOD and loss of function results in accumulation of UMOD and ER stress–mediated progressive renal tubulointerstitial disease. These observations establish cell type–specific role(s) for NM2 proteins in regulation of specialized renal epithelial transport pathways and reveal the possibility that human kidney disease associated with MYH9 mutations could be of renal epithelial origin.

Authors

Karla L. Otterpohl, Brook W. Busselman, Ishara Ratnayake, Ryan G. Hart, Kimberly R. Hart, Claire M. Evans, Carrie L. Phillips, Jordan R. Beach, Phil Ahrenkiel, Bruce A. Molitoris, Kameswaran Surendran, Indra Chandrasekar

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Abstract

Enhanced energy expenditure in brown (BAT) and white (WAT) adipose tissues can be therapeutic against metabolic diseases. We examined the thermogenic role of adipose α/β-hydrolase domain-6 (ABHD6), which hydrolyzes monoacylglycerol (MAG), by employing adipose-specific ABHD6-KO mice. Control and KO mice show similar phenotype at room temperature and thermoneutral conditions. However, KO mice are resistant to hypothermia, which can be accounted for by the simultaneously increased lipolysis and lipogenesis of the thermogenic glycerolipid/free fatty acid (GL/FFA) cycle in visceral fat, despite unaltered UCP1 expression. Upon cold-stress, nuclear 2-MAG levels increase in visceral WAT of the KO mice. Evidence is provided that 2-MAG causes activation of PPARα in white adipocytes, leading to elevated expression and activity of GL/FFA cycle enzymes. In the ABHD6-ablated BAT, glucose and oxidative metabolism are elevated upon cold-induction, without changes in GL/FFA cycle and lipid turnover. Moreover, response to in vivo β3-adrenergic stimulation is comparable between KO and control mice. Our data reveal a MAG/PPARα/GL/FFA cycling metabolic signaling network in visceral adipose tissue, which contributes to cold-tolerance, and that adipose ABHD6 is a negative modulator of adaptive thermogenesis.

Authors

Pegah Poursharifi, Camille Attané, Yves Mugabo, Anfal Al-Mass, Anindya Ghosh, Clémence Schmitt, Shangang Zhao, Julian Guida, Roxane Lussier, Heidi Erb, Isabelle Chenier, Marie-Line Peyot, Erik Joly, Christophe Noll, André C. Carpentier, S.R. Murthy Madiraju, Marc Prentki

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Abstract

Background Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is a major contributor to global mortality in children under 5 years. Mortality has decreased, however the long-term cardiometabolic consequences of SAM and its subtypes, severe wasting (SW) and edematous malnutrition (EM), are not well understood. We evaluated the metabolic profiles of adult SAM survivors using targeted metabolomic analyses. Methods This cohort study of 122 adult SAM survivors (SW=69, EM=53) and 90 age, sex and BMI-matched community participants (CPs) quantified serum metabolites using direct flow injection mass spectrometry combined with reverse-phase liquid chromatography. Univariate and sparse partial least square discriminant analyses (sPLS-DA) assessed differences in metabolic profiles and identified the most discriminative metabolites. Results 77 metabolite variables were significant in distinguishing between SAM survivors (28.4 ± 8.8 years, 24.0 ± 6.1 kg/m2) and CPs (28.4 ± 8.9 years, 23.3 ± 4.4 kg/m2) (mean ± SDs) in univariate and sPLS-DA models. Compared to CPs, SAM survivors had less liver fat, higher branched-chained amino acids (BCAAs), urea cycle metabolites and kynurenine-tryptophan (KT) ratio (p<0.001) and lower β-hydroxybutyric acid and acylcarnitine:free carnitine ratio (p<0.001) which were both associated with hepatic steatosis (p<0.001). SW and EM survivors had similar metabolic profiles as did stunted and non-stunted SAM survivors. Conclusions Adult SAM survivors have distinct metabolic profiles that suggest reduced β-oxidation and greater risk of type 2 diabetes (BCAAs, KT ratio, urea cycle metabolites) compared to community participants. This indicates that early childhood SAM exposure has long-term metabolic consequences that may worsen with age and require targeted clinical management. Funding Health Research Council of New Zealand Caribbean Public Health Agency Centre for Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children. DST is an Academic Fellow and a Restracomp Fellow at the Centre for Global Child Health GBG is a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).

Authors

Debbie S. Thompson, Celine Bourdon, Paraskevi Massara, Michael S. Boyne, Terrence Forrester, Gerard Bryan Gonzales, Robert HJ Bandsma

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Abstract

Cardiac fibrosis is a pathophysiologic hallmark of the aging heart. In the uninjured heart, cardiac fibroblasts exist in the quiescent state, but little is known about how proliferation rates and fibroblast transcriptional programs change throughout the lifespan of the organism from the immediate postnatal period to adult life and old age. Using EdU pulse labeling, we demonstrate that more than 50% of cardiac fibroblasts are actively proliferating in the first day of post-natal life. However, within 4 weeks of birth in the juvenile animal, only 10% of cardiac fibroblasts are proliferating. By early adulthood, the fraction of proliferating cardiac fibroblasts further decreases to approximately 2%, where it so remains throughout the rest of the organism’s life span. Examination of absolute cardiac fibroblast numbers demonstrated concordance with age related changes in fibroblast proliferation with no significant differences in absolute cardiac fibroblast numbers between animals 14 weeks and 1.5 years of age. We demonstrate that the maximal changes in cardiac fibroblast transcriptional programs and in particular collagen expression occur within the first weeks of life from the immediate postnatal to the juvenile period. We show that even though the aging heart exhibits an increase in the total amount of accumulated collagen, transcription of various collagens and ECM genes both in the heart and cardiac fibroblast is maximal in the newly born and juvenile animal and decreases with organismal aging. Examination of DNA methylation changes both in the heart and in cardiac fibroblasts did not demonstrate significant changes in differentially methylated regions between young and old mice. Our observations demonstrate that cardiac fibroblasts attain a stable proliferation rate and transcriptional program early in the life span of the organism and suggest a model of cardiac aging where phenotypic changes in the aging heart are not directly attributable to changes in proliferation rate or altered collagen expression in cardiac fibroblasts.

Authors

Rimao Wu, Feiyang Ma, Anela Tosevska, Colin Farrell, Matteo Pellegrini, Arjun Deb

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Abstract

Congenital Zika syndrome (CZS) is associated with microcephaly and various neurological, musculoskeletal, and ocular abnormalities, but the long-term pathogenesis and postnatal progression of ocular defects in infants are not well characterized. Rhesus macaques are superior to rodents as models of CZS because they are natural hosts of the virus and share similar immune and ocular characteristics, including blood-retinal barrier characteristics and the unique presence of a macula. Using a previously-described model of CZS by infecting pregnant rhesus macaques with Zika virus (ZIKV) during the late first trimester, we characterized postnatal ocular development and evolution of ocular defects in 2 infant macaques over 2 years. We found that one of these animals exhibited colobomatous chorioretinal atrophic lesions with macular and vascular dragging, as well as retinal thinning caused by loss of retinal ganglion neuron and photoreceptor layers. Despite these congenital ocular malformations, axial elongation and retinal development in these infants progressed at normal rates compared to healthy animals. The ZIKV-exposed infants displayed a rapid loss of ZIKV-specific antibodies, suggesting the absence of viral replication after birth, and did not show any behavioral or neurological defects postnatally. Our findings suggest that ZIKV infection during early pregnancy can impact fetal retinal development and cause congenital ocular anomalies, but does not appear to affect postnatal ocular growth.

Authors

Glenn Yiu, Sara M. Thomasy, M. Isabel Casanova, Alexander M. Rusakevich, Rebekah I. Keesler, Jennifer Watanabe, Jodie Usachenko, Anil Singapuri, Erin E. Ball, Eliza Bliss-Moreau, Wendi Guo, Helen Webster, Tulika Singh, Sallie R. Permar, Amir Ardeshir, Lark L. Coffey, Koen K.A. Van Rompay

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Abstract

Cantύ Syndrome (CS), caused by gain-of-function (GOF) mutations in pore-forming (Kir6.1, KCNJ8) and accessory (SUR2, ABCC9) ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel subunit genes, is frequently accompanied by gastrointestinal (GI) dysmotility, and we describe one CS patient who required an implanted intestinal irrigation system for successful stooling. We used gene-modified mice to assess the underlying KATP channel subunits in gut smooth muscle, and to model the consequences of altered KATP channels in CS gut. We show that Kir6.1/SUR2 subunits underlie smooth muscle KATP channels throughout the small intestine and colon. Knock-in mice, carrying human KCNJ8 and ABCC9 CS mutations in the endogenous loci, exhibit reduced intrinsic contractility throughout the intestine, resulting in death when weaned onto solid food in the most severely affected animals. Death is avoided by weaning onto a liquid gel diet, implicating intestinal insufficiency and bowel impaction as the underlying cause, and GI transit is normalized by treatment with the KATP inhibitor glibenclamide. We thus define the molecular basis of intestinal KATP channel activity, the mechanism by which overactivity results in GI insufficiency, and a viable approach to therapy.

Authors

Nathaniel W. York, Helen Parker, Zili Xie, David Tyus, Maham A. Waheed, Zihan Yan, Dorothy K. Grange, Maria S. Remedi, Sarah K. England, Hongzhen Hu, Colin G. Nichols

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Latest issue: November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020, issue

On the cover:
WNK1 regulates uterine homeostasis and its ability to support pregnancy

In this issue, Chi et al. report that the atypical kinase WNK1 is critical for maintaining uterine homeostasis and mediating proper implantation through the phosphatase PP2A/AKT signaling pathway. The cover image shows uterine morphology soon after implantation, with the endometrial glands, myometrium, and embryo marked by FOXA2 (green), ACTA2 (red), and OCT4 (purple), respectively, in a uterus-specific Wnk1–knockout mouse.

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November 2020 JCI This Month

JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.

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