Issue published December 8, 2021

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mTORC1 promotes malignant large cell/anaplastic histology and is a therapeutic target in medulloblastomas

Conti et al. report that mTORC1 hyperactivation is a diagnostic marker and therapeutic target in a highly malignant subset of medulloblastomas characterized by p53 mutation and sonic hedgehog activation as well as large cell/anaplastic histology. The cover image shows tumor cells from a murine medulloblastoma visualized using bright-field microscopy to detect pS6 (brown) as a marker for mTORC1 pathway hyperactivation.

Research Articles
Abstract

Bacterial cancer therapy (BCT) shows great promise for treatment of solid tumors, yet basic mechanisms of bacterial-induced tumor suppression remain undefined. Attenuated strains of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (STm) have commonly been used in mouse models of BCT in xenograft and orthotopic transplant cancer models. We aimed to better understand the tumor epithelium–targeted mechanisms of BCT by using autochthonous mouse models of intestinal cancer and tumor organoid cultures to assess the effectiveness and consequences of oral treatment with aromatase A–deficient STm (STmΔaroA). STmΔaroA delivered by oral gavage significantly reduced tumor burden and tumor load in both a colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC) model and in a spontaneous Apcmin/+ intestinal cancer model. STmΔaroA colonization of tumors caused alterations in transcription of mRNAs associated with tumor stemness, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and cell cycle. Metabolomic analysis of tumors demonstrated alteration in the metabolic environment of STmΔaroA-treated tumors, suggesting that STmΔaroA imposes metabolic competition on the tumor. Use of tumor organoid cultures in vitro recapitulated effects seen on tumor stemness, mesenchymal markers, and altered metabolome. Furthermore, live STmΔaroA was required, demonstrating active mechanisms including metabolite usage. We have demonstrated that oral BCT is efficacious in autochthonous intestinal cancer models, that BCT imposes metabolic competition, and that BCT has direct effects on the tumor epithelium affecting tumor stem cells.

Authors

Gillian M. Mackie, Alastair Copland, Masumi Takahashi, Yumiko Nakanishi, Isabel Everard, Tamotsu Kato, Hirotsugu Oda, Takashi Kanaya, Hiroshi Ohno, Kendle M. Maslowski

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Abstract

Cancer cell radioresistance is the primary cause of the decreased curability of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) observed in patients receiving definitive radiotherapy (RT). Following RT, a set of microenvironmental stress responses is triggered, including cell senescence. However, cell senescence is often ignored in designing effective strategies to resolve cancer cell radioresistance. Herein, we identify the senescence-like characteristics of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) after RT and clarify the formidable ability of senescence-like CAFs in promoting NSCLC cell proliferation and radioresistance through the JAK/STAT pathway. Specific induction of senescence-like CAF apoptosis using FOXO4-DRI, a FOXO4-p53–interfering peptide, resulted in remarkable effects on radiosensitizing NSCLC cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, in this study, we also uncovered an obvious therapeutic effect of FOXO4-DRI on alleviating radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis (RIPF) by targeting senescence-like fibroblasts in vivo. In conclusion, by targeting senescence, we offer a strategy that simultaneously decreases radioresistance of NSCLC and the incidence of RIPF.

Authors

Jingshu Meng, Yan Li, Chao Wan, Yajie Sun, Xiaomeng Dai, Jing Huang, Yan Hu, Yanan Gao, Bian Wu, Zhanjie Zhang, Ke Jiang, Shuangbing Xu, Jonathan F. Lovell, Yu Hu, Gang Wu, Honglin Jin, Kunyu Yang

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Abstract

Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) play a key role in controlling synovial inflammation and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The contribution of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) to RA is largely unknown. Here, we show that the lncRNA LINK-A, located mainly in cytoplasm, has higher-than-normal expression in synovial tissues and FLSs from patients with RA. Synovial LINK-A expression was positively correlated with the severity of synovitis in patients with RA. LINK-A knockdown decreased migration, invasion, and expression and secretion of matrix metalloproteinases and proinflammatory cytokines in RA FLSs. Mechanistically, LINK-A controlled RA FLS inflammation and invasion through regulation of tyrosine protein kinase 6–mediated and leucine-rich repeat kinase 2–mediated HIF-1α. On the other hand, we also demonstrate that LINK-A could bind with microRNA 1262 as a sponge to control RA FLS aggression but not inflammation. Our findings suggest that increased level of LINK-A may contribute to FLS-mediated rheumatoid synovial inflammation and aggression. LINK-A might be a potential therapeutic target for RA.

Authors

Jingnan Wang, Chuyu Shen, Ruiru Li, Cuicui Wang, Youjun Xiao, Yu Kuang, Minxi Lao, Siqi Xu, Maohua Shi, Xiaoyan Cai, Liuqin Liang, Hanshi Xu

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Abstract

Emerging evidence suggests that astrocyte loss is one of the most important pathological features in the hippocampus of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and depressive mice. Pyroptosis is a recently discovered form of programmed cell death depending on Caspase–gasdermin D (Casp-GSDMD), which is involved in multiple neuropsychiatric diseases. However, the involvement of pyroptosis in the onset of MDD and glial pathological injury remains obscure. Here, we observed that depressive mice showed astrocytic pyroptosis, which was responsible for astrocyte loss, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment could attenuate the pyroptosis induced by the chronic mild stress (CMS) model. Genetic KO of GSDMD, Casp-1, and astrocytic NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome in mice alleviated depression-like behaviors and inhibited the pyroptosis-associated protein expression. In contrast, overexpression of astrocytic GSDMD–N-terminal domain (GSDMD-N) in the hippocampus could abolish the improvement of behavioral alterations in GSDMD-deficient mice. This work illustrates that targeting the NLRP3/Casp-1/GSDMD–mediated pyroptosis may provide potential therapeutic benefits to stress-related astrocyte loss in the pathogenesis of depression.

Authors

Shanshan Li, Yiming Sun, Mengmeng Song, Yuting Song, Yinquan Fang, Qingyu Zhang, Xueting Li, Nanshan Song, Jianhua Ding, Ming Lu, Gang Hu

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Abstract

Mechanistically driven therapies for atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common cardiac arrhythmia, are urgently needed, the development of which requires improved understanding of the cellular signaling pathways that facilitate the structural and electrophysiological remodeling that occurs in the atria. Similar to humans, increased persistent Na+ current leads to the development of an atrial myopathy and spontaneous and long-lasting episodes of AF in mice. How increased persistent Na+ current causes both structural and electrophysiological remodeling in the atria is unknown. We crossbred mice expressing human F1759A-NaV1.5 channels with mice expressing human mitochondrial catalase (mCAT). Increased expression of mCAT attenuated mitochondrial and cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the structural remodeling that was induced by persistent F1759A-Na+ current. Despite the heterogeneously prolonged atrial action potential, which was unaffected by the reduction in ROS, the incidences of spontaneous AF, pacing-induced after-depolarizations, and AF were substantially reduced. Expression of mCAT markedly reduced persistent Na+ current–induced ryanodine receptor oxidation and dysfunction. In summary, increased persistent Na+ current in atrial cardiomyocytes, which is observed in patients with AF, induced atrial enlargement, fibrosis, mitochondrial dysmorphology, early after-depolarizations, and AF, all of which can be attenuated by resolving mitochondrial oxidative stress.

Authors

Uma Mahesh R. Avula, Haikel Dridi, Bi-xing Chen, Qi Yuan, Alexander N. Katchman, Steven R. Reiken, Amar D. Desai, Samantha Parsons, Haajra Baksh, Elaine Ma, Parmanand Dasrat, Ruiping Ji, Yejun Lin, Christine Sison, W. Jonathan Lederer, Humberto C. Joca, Christopher W. Ward, Maura Greiser, Andrew R. Marks, Steven O. Marx, Elaine Y. Wan

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Abstract

Oral conditions are relatively common in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the contribution of oral maladies to gut inflammation remains unexplored. Here, we investigated the effect of periodontitis on disease phenotypes of patients with IBD. In all, 60 patients with IBD (42 with ulcerative colitis [UC] and 18 with Crohn’s disease [CD]) and 45 healthy controls (HCs) without IBD were recruited for this clinical investigation. The effects of incipient periodontitis on the oral and gut microbiome as well as IBD characteristics were examined. In addition, patients were prospectively monitored for up to 12 months after enrollment. We found that, in both patients with UC and those with CD, the gut microbiome was significantly more similar to the oral microbiome than in HCs, suggesting that ectopic gut colonization by oral bacteria is increased in patients with IBD. Incipient periodontitis did not further enhance gut colonization by oral bacteria. The presence of incipient periodontitis did not significantly affect the clinical outcomes of patients with UC and CD. However, the short CD activity index increased in patients with CD with incipient periodontitis but declined or was unchanged during the study period in patients without periodontitis. Thus, early periodontitis may associate with worse clinically symptoms in some patients with CD.

Authors

Jin Imai, Hitoshi Ichikawa, Sho Kitamoto, Jonathan L. Golob, Motoki Kaneko, Junko Nagata, Miho Takahashi, Merritt G. Gillilland III, Rika Tanaka, Hiroko Nagao-Kitamoto, Atsushi Hayashi, Kohei Sugihara, Shrinivas Bishu, Shingo Tsuda, Hiroyuki Ito, Seiichiro Kojima, Kazunari Karakida, Masashi Matsushima, Takayoshi Suzuki, Katsuto Hozumi, Norihito Watanabe, William V. Giannobile, Takayuki Shirai, Hidekazu Suzuki, Nobuhiko Kamada

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Abstract

Tristetraprolin (TTP), an important immunosuppressive protein regulating mRNA decay through recognition of the AU-rich elements (AREs) within the 3′-UTRs of mRNAs, participates in the pathogenesis of liver diseases. However, whether TTP regulates mRNA stability through other mechanisms remains poorly understood. Here, we report that TTP was upregulated in acute liver failure (ALF), resulting in decreased mRNA stabilities of CCL2 and CCL5 through promotion of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) mRNA methylation. Overexpression of TTP could markedly ameliorate hepatic injury in vivo. TTP regulated the mRNA stabilization of CCL2 and CCL5. Interestingly, increased m6A methylation in CCL2 and CCL5 mRNAs promoted TTP-mediated RNA destabilization. Moreover, induction of TTP upregulated expression levels of WT1 associated protein, methyltransferase like 14, and YT521-B homology N6-methyladenosine RNA binding protein 2, which encode enzymes regulating m6A methylation, resulting in a global increase of m6A methylation and amelioration of liver injury due to enhanced degradation of CCL2 and CCL5. These findings suggest a potentially novel mechanism by which TTP modulates mRNA stabilities of CCL2 and CCL5 through m6A RNA methylation, which is involved in the pathogenesis of ALF.

Authors

Pingping Xiao, Mingxuan Li, Mengsi Zhou, Xuejun Zhao, Cheng Wang, Jinglin Qiu, Qian Fang, Hong Jiang, Huifen Dong, Rui Zhou

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Abstract

Immune cells exhibit low-level, constitutive signaling at rest (tonic signaling). Such tonic signals are required for fundamental processes, including the survival of B lymphocytes, but when they are elevated by genetic or environmental causes, they can lead to autoimmunity. Events that control ongoing signal transduction are, therefore, tightly regulated by submembrane cytoskeletal polymers like F-actin. The actin-binding proteins that underpin the process, however, are poorly described. By investigating patients with ARPC1B deficiency, we report that ARPC1B-containing ARP2/3 complexes are stimulated by Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome protein (WASP) to nucleate the branched actin networks that control tonic signaling from the B cell receptor (BCR). Despite an upregulation of ARPC1A, ARPC1B-deficient cells were not capable of WASP-mediated nucleation by ARP2/3, and this caused the loss of WASP-dependent structures, including podosomes in macrophages and lamellipodia in B cells. In the B cell compartment, ARPC1B deficiency also led to weakening of the cortical F-actin cytoskeleton that normally curtails the diffusion of BCRs and ultimately resulted in increased tonic lipid signaling, oscillatory calcium release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and phosphorylated Akt. These events contributed to skewing the threshold for B cell activation in response to microbial-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs). Thus, ARPC1B is critical for ARP2/3 complexes to control steady-state signaling of immune cells.

Authors

Gabriella Leung, Yuhuan Zhou, Philip Ostrowski, Sivakami Mylvaganam, Parastoo Boroumand, Daniel J. Mulder, Conghui Guo, Aleixo M. Muise, Spencer A. Freeman

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Abstract

Chronic inflammation and localized alterations in immune cell function are suspected to contribute to the progression of endometriosis and its associated symptoms. In particular, the alarmin IL-33 is elevated in the plasma, peritoneal fluid, and endometriotic lesions from patients with endometriosis; however, the exact role of IL-33 in the pathophysiology of endometriosis is not well understood. In this study, we demonstrate, in both humans and a murine model, that IL-33 contributes to the expansion of group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s), and this IL-33–induced ILC2 expansion modulates the endometriosis lesion microenvironment. Importantly, we show that IL-33 drives hallmarks of severe endometriosis, including elevated inflammation, lesion proliferation, and fibrosis, and that this IL-33–induced aggravation is mediated by ILC2s. Finally, we demonstrate the functionality of IL-33 neutralization as a promising and potentially novel therapeutic avenue for treating the debilitating symptoms of endometriosis.

Authors

Jessica E. Miller, Harshavardhan Lingegowda, Lindsey K. Symons, Olga Bougie, Steven L. Young, Bruce A. Lessey, Madhuri Koti, Chandrakant Tayade

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Abstract

In response to liver injury, hepatic stellate cells activate and acquire proliferative and contractile features. The regression of liver fibrosis appears to involve the clearance of activated hepatic stellate cells, either by apoptosis or by reversion toward a quiescent-like state, a process called deactivation. Thus, deactivation of active hepatic stellate cells has emerged as a novel and promising therapeutic approach for liver fibrosis. However, our knowledge of the master regulators involved in the deactivation and/or activation of fibrotic hepatic stellate cells is still limited. The transcription factor GATA4 has been previously shown to play an important role in embryonic hepatic stellate cell quiescence. In this work, we show that lack of GATA4 in adult mice caused hepatic stellate cell activation and, consequently, liver fibrosis. During regression of liver fibrosis, Gata4 was reexpressed in deactivated hepatic stellate cells. Overexpression of Gata4 in hepatic stellate cells promoted liver fibrosis regression in CCl4-treated mice. GATA4 induced changes in the expression of fibrogenic and antifibrogenic genes, promoting hepatic stellate cell deactivation. Finally, we show that GATA4 directly repressed EPAS1 transcription in hepatic stellate cells and that stabilization of the HIF2α protein in hepatic stellate cells leads to liver fibrosis.

Authors

Noelia Arroyo, Laura Villamayor, Irene Díaz, Rita Carmona, Mireia Ramos-Rodríguez, Ramón Muñoz-Chápuli, Lorenzo Pasquali, Miguel G. Toscano, Franz Martín, David A. Cano, Anabel Rojas

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Abstract

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), caused by heterozygous mutations in TSC1 or TSC2, frequently results in intractable epilepsy. Here, we made use of an inducible Tsc1-knockout mouse model, allowing us to study electrophysiological and molecular changes of Tsc1-induced epileptogenesis over time. We recorded from pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus and somatosensory cortex (L2/L3) and combined this with an analysis of transcriptome changes during epileptogenesis. Deletion of Tsc1 resulted in hippocampus-specific changes in excitability and adaptation, which emerged before seizure onset and progressed over time. All phenotypes were rescued after early treatment with rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor. Later in epileptogenesis, we observed a hippocampal increase of excitation-to-inhibition ratio. These cellular changes were accompanied by dramatic transcriptional changes, especially after seizure onset. Most of these changes were rescued upon rapamycin treatment. Of the genes encoding ion channels or belonging to the Gene Ontology term action potential, 27 were differentially expressed just before seizure onset, suggesting a potential driving role in epileptogenesis. Our data highlight the complex changes driving epileptogenesis in TSC, including the changed expression of multiple ion channels. Our study emphasizes inhibition of the TSC/mTOR signaling pathway as a promising therapeutic approach to target epilepsy in patients with TSC.

Authors

Linda M.C. Koene, Eva Niggl, Ilse Wallaard, Martina Proietti-Onori, Diana C. Rotaru, Ype Elgersma

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Abstract

Angiogenesis, a hallmark of cancer, is induced by vascular endothelial growth factor–A (hereafter VEGF). As a result, anti-VEGF therapy is commonly used for cancer treatment. Recent studies have found that VEGF expression is also associated with immune suppression in patients with cancer. This connection has been investigated in preclinical and clinical studies by evaluating the therapeutic effect of combining antiangiogenic reagents with immune therapy. However, the mechanisms of how anti-VEGF strategies enhance immune therapy are not fully understood. We and others have shown selective elevation of VEGFR2 expression on tumor-associated myeloid cells in tumor-bearing animals. Here, we investigated the function of VEGFR2+ myeloid cells in regulating tumor immunity and found VEGF induced an immunosuppressive phenotype in VEGFR2+ myeloid cells, including directly upregulating the expression of programmed cell death 1 ligand 1. Moreover, we found that VEGF blockade inhibited the immunosuppressive phenotype of VEGFR2+ myeloid cells, increased T cell activation, and enhanced the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade. This study highlights the function of VEGFR2 on myeloid cells and provides mechanistic insight on how VEGF inhibition potentiates immune checkpoint blockade.

Authors

Yuqing Zhang, Huocong Huang, Morgan Coleman, Arturas Ziemys, Purva Gopal, Syed M. Kazmi, Rolf A. Brekken

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Abstract

Leukemia stem cells (LSCs) promote the disease and seem resistant to therapy and immune control. Why LSCs are selectively resistant against elimination by CD8+ cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) is still unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that LSCs in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) can be recognized and killed by CD8+ CTLs in vitro. However, Tregs, which preferentially localized close to CD8+ CTLs in CML BM, protected LSCs from MHC class I–dependent CD8+ CTL–mediated elimination in vivo. BM Tregs in CML were characterized by the selective expression of tumor necrosis factor receptor 4 (Tnfrsf4). Stimulation of Tnfrsf4 signaling did not deplete Tregs but reduced the capacity of Tregs to protect LSCs from CD8+ CTL–mediated killing. In the BM of newly diagnosed CML patients, TNFRSF4 mRNA levels were significantly increased and correlated with the expression of the Treg-restricted transcription factor FOXP3. Overall, these results identify Tregs as key regulators of immune escape of LSCs and TNFRSF4 as a potential target to reduce the function of Tregs and boost antileukemic immunity in CML.

Authors

Magdalena Hinterbrandner, Viviana Rubino, Carina Stoll, Stefan Forster, Noah Schnüriger, Ramin Radpour, Gabriela M. Baerlocher, Adrian F. Ochsenbein, Carsten Riether

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Abstract

Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) provides a highly informative means to investigate host-pathogen interactions and enable in vivo proof-of-concept efficacy testing of new drugs and vaccines. However, unlike Plasmodium falciparum, well-characterized P. vivax parasites that are safe and suitable for use in modern CHMI models are limited. Here, 2 healthy malaria-naive United Kingdom adults with universal donor blood group were safely infected with a clone of P. vivax from Thailand by mosquito-bite CHMI. Parasitemia developed in both volunteers, and prior to treatment, each volunteer donated blood to produce a cryopreserved stabilate of infected RBCs. Following stringent safety screening, the parasite stabilate from one of these donors (PvW1) was thawed and used to inoculate 6 healthy malaria-naive United Kingdom adults by blood-stage CHMI, at 3 different dilutions. Parasitemia developed in all volunteers, who were then successfully drug treated. PvW1 parasite DNA was isolated and sequenced to produce a high-quality genome assembly by using a hybrid assembly method. We analyzed leading vaccine candidate antigens and multigene families, including the vivax interspersed repeat (VIR) genes, of which we identified 1145 in the PvW1 genome. Our genomic analysis will guide future assessment of candidate vaccines and drugs, as well as experimental medicine studies.

Authors

Angela M. Minassian, Yrene Themistocleous, Sarah E. Silk, Jordan R. Barrett, Alison Kemp, Doris Quinkert, Carolyn M. Nielsen, Nick J. Edwards, Thomas A. Rawlinson, Fernando Ramos Lopez, Wanlapa Roobsoong, Katherine J.D. Ellis, Jee-Sun Cho, Eerik Aunin, Thomas D. Otto, Adam J. Reid, Florian A. Bach, Geneviève M.C. Labbé, Ian D. Poulton, Arianna Marini, Marija Zaric, Margaux Mulatier, Raquel Lopez Ramon, Megan Baker, Celia H. Mitton, Jason C. Sousa, Nattawan Rachaphaew, Chalermpon Kumpitak, Nongnuj Maneechai, Chayanut Suansomjit, Tianrat Piteekan, Mimi M. Hou, Baktash Khozoee, Kirsty McHugh, David J. Roberts, Alison M. Lawrie, Andrew M. Blagborough, Fay L. Nugent, Iona J. Taylor, Kimberly J. Johnson, Philip J. Spence, Jetsumon Sattabongkot, Sumi Biswas, Julian C. Rayner, Simon J. Draper

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Abstract

Understanding viral rebound in pediatric HIV-1 infection may inform the development of alternatives to lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) to achieve viral remission. We thus investigated viral rebound after analytical treatment interruption (ATI) in 10 infant macaques orally infected with SHIV.C.CH505 and treated with long-term ART. Rebound viremia was detected within 7 to 35 days of ATI in 9 of 10 animals, with posttreatment control of viremia seen in 5 of 5 Mamu-A*01+ macaques. Single-genome sequencing revealed that initial rebound virus was similar to viral DNA present in CD4+ T cells from blood, rectum, and lymph nodes before ATI. We assessed the earliest sites of viral reactivation immediately following ATI using ImmunoPET imaging. The largest increase in signal that preceded detectable viral RNA in plasma was found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, a site with relatively high SHIV RNA/DNA ratios in CD4+ T cells before ATI. Thus, the GI tract may be an initial source of rebound virus, but as ATI progresses, viral reactivation in other tissues likely contributes to the composition of plasma virus. Our study provides potentially novel insight into the features of viral rebound in pediatric infection and highlights the application of a noninvasive technique to monitor areas of HIV-1 expression in children.

Authors

Veronica Obregon-Perko, Katherine M. Bricker, Gloria Mensah, Ferzan Uddin, Laura Rotolo, Daryll Vanover, Yesha Desai, Philip J. Santangelo, Sherrie Jean, Jennifer S. Wood, Fawn C. Connor-Stroud, Stephanie Ehnert, Stella J. Berendam, Shan Liang, Thomas H. Vanderford, Katharine J. Bar, George M. Shaw, Guido Silvestri, Amit Kumar, Genevieve G. Fouda, Sallie R. Permar, Ann Chahroudi

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Abstract

Cancers with homology-directed DNA repair (HRR) deficiency exhibit high response rates to poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) and platinum chemotherapy. Though mutations disrupting BRCA1 and BRCA2 associate with HRR deficiency (HRRd), patterns of genomic aberrations and mutation signatures may be more sensitive and specific indicators of compromised repair. Here, we evaluated whole-exome sequences from 418 metastatic prostate cancers (mPCs) and determined that one-fifth exhibited genomic characteristics of HRRd that included Catalogue Of Somatic Mutations In Cancer mutation signature 3. Notably, a substantial fraction of tumors with genomic features of HRRd lacked biallelic loss of a core HRR-associated gene, such as BRCA2. In this subset, HRRd associated with loss of chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 1 but not with mutations in serine-protein kinase ATM, cyclin dependent kinase 12, or checkpoint kinase 2. HRRd genomic status was strongly correlated with responses to PARPi and platinum chemotherapy, a finding that supports evaluating biomarkers reflecting functional HRRd for treatment allocation.

Authors

Navonil De Sarkar, Sayan Dasgupta, Payel Chatterjee, Ilsa Coleman, Gavin Ha, Lisa S. Ang, Emily A. Kohlbrenner, Sander B. Frank, Talina A. Nunez, Stephen J. Salipante, Eva Corey, Colm Morrissey, Eliezer Van Allen, Michael T. Schweizer, Michael C. Haffner, Radhika Patel, Brian Hanratty, Jared M. Lucas, Ruth F. Dumpit, Colin C. Pritchard, Robert B. Montgomery, Peter S. Nelson

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Abstract

Medulloblastoma (MB), one of the most malignant brain tumors of childhood, comprises distinct molecular subgroups, with p53 mutant sonic hedgehog–activated (SHH-activated) MB patients having a very severe outcome that is associated with unfavorable histological large cell/anaplastic (LC/A) features. To identify the molecular underpinnings of this phenotype, we analyzed a large cohort of MB developing in p53-deficient Ptch+/– SHH mice that, unexpectedly, showed LC/A traits that correlated with mTORC1 hyperactivation. Mechanistically, mTORC1 hyperactivation was mediated by a decrease in the p53-dependent expression of mTORC1 negative regulator Tsc2. Ectopic mTORC1 activation in mouse MB cancer stem cells (CSCs) promoted the in vivo acquisition of LC/A features and increased malignancy; accordingly, mTORC1 inhibition in p53-mutant Ptch+/– SHH MB and CSC-derived MB resulted in reduced tumor burden and aggressiveness. Most remarkably, mTORC1 hyperactivation was detected only in p53-mutant SHH MB patient samples, and treatment with rapamycin of a human preclinical model phenocopying this subgroup decreased tumor growth and malignancy. Thus, mTORC1 may act as a specific druggable target for this subset of SHH MB, resulting in the implementation of a stringent risk stratification and in the potentially rapid translation of this precision medicine approach into the clinical setting.

Authors

Valentina Conti, Manuela Cominelli, Valentina Pieri, Alberto L. Gallotti, Ilaria Pagano, Matteo Zanella, Stefania Mazzoleni, Flavia Pivetta, Monica Patanè, Giulia M. Scotti, Ignazio S. Piras, Bianca Pollo, Andrea Falini, Alessio Zippo, Antonella Castellano, Roberta Maestro, Pietro L. Poliani, Rossella Galli

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Abstract

Point mutations within sarcomeric proteins have been associated with altered function and cardiomyopathy development. Difficulties remain, however, in establishing the pathogenic potential of individual mutations, often limiting the use of genotype in management of affected families. To directly address this challenge, we utilized our all-atom computational model of the human full cardiac thin filament (CTF) to predict how sequence substitutions in CTF proteins might affect structure and dynamics on an atomistic level. Utilizing molecular dynamics calculations, we simulated 21 well-defined genetic pathogenic cardiac troponin T and tropomyosin variants to establish a baseline of pathogenic changes induced in computational observables. Computational results were verified via differential scanning calorimetry on a subset of variants to develop an experimental correlation. Calculations were performed on 9 independent variants of unknown significance (VUS), and results were compared with pathogenic variants to identify high-resolution pathogenic signatures. Results for VUS were compared with the baseline set to determine induced structural and dynamic changes, and potential variant reclassifications were proposed. This unbiased, high-resolution computational methodology can provide unique structural and dynamic information that can be incorporated into existing analyses to facilitate classification both for de novo variants and those where established approaches have provided conflicting information.

Authors

Allison B. Mason, Melissa L. Lynn, Anthony P. Baldo, Andrea E. Deranek, Jil C. Tardiff, Steven D. Schwartz

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Abstract

Severe injuries, such as burns, provoke a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) that imposes pathology on all organs. Simultaneously, severe injury also elicits activation of the fibrinolytic protease plasmin. While the principal adverse outcome of plasmin activation in severe injury is compromised hemostasis, plasmin also possesses proinflammatory properties. We hypothesized that, following a severe injury, early activation of plasmin drives SIRS. Plasmin activation was measured and related to injury severity, SIRS, coagulopathy, and outcomes prospectively in burn patients who are not at risk of hemorrhage. Patients exhibited early, significant activation of plasmin that correlated with burn severity, cytokines, coagulopathy, and death. Burn with a concomitant, remote muscle injury was employed in mice to determine the role of plasmin in the cytokine storm and inflammatory cascades in injured tissue distant from the burn injury. Genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of plasmin reduced the burn-induced cytokine storm and inflammatory signaling in injured tissue. These findings demonstrate (a) that severe injury–induced plasmin activation is a key pathologic component of the SIRS-driven cytokine storm and SIRS-activated inflammatory cascades in tissues distant from the inciting injury and (b) that targeted inhibition of plasmin activation may be effective for limiting both hemorrhage and tissue-damaging inflammation following injury.

Authors

Breanne H. Y. Gibson, Colby C. Wollenman, Stephanie N. Moore-Lotridge, Patrick R. Keller, J. Blair Summitt, Alexey R. Revenko, Matthew J. Flick, Timothy S. Blackwell, Jonathan G. Schoenecker

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Abstract

Ischemic retinopathies including diabetic retinopathy are major causes of blindness. Although neurons and Müller glia are recognized as important regulators of reparative and pathologic angiogenesis, the role of mononuclear phagocytes (MPs) — particularly microglia, the resident retinal immune cells — is unclear. Here, we found MP activation in human diabetic retinopathy, especially in neovessels from human neovascular membranes in proliferative retinopathy, including TNF-α expression. There was similar activation in the mouse oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) model of ischemia-induced neovascularization. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists are in clinical use for glycemic control in diabetes and are also known to modulate microglia. Herein, we investigated the effect of a long-acting GLP-1R agonist, NLY01. Following intravitreal administration, NLY01 selectively localized to MPs in retina with OIR. NLY01 modulated MPs but not retinal endothelial cell viability, apoptosis, and tube formation in vitro. In OIR, NLY01 treatment inhibited MP infiltration and activation, including MP expression of cytokines in vivo. NLY01 significantly suppressed global induction of retinal inflammatory cytokines, promoted reparative angiogenesis, and suppressed pathologic retinal neovascularization. Collectively, these findings indicate the important role of mononuclear phagocytes in regulation of retinal vascularization in ischemia and suggest modulation of MPs as a potentially new treatment strategy for ischemic retinopathies.

Authors

Lingli Zhou, Zhenhua Xu, Yumin Oh, Rico Gamuyao, Grace Lee, Yangyiran Xie, Hongkwan Cho, Seulki Lee, Elia J. Duh

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Abstract

We performed next generation sequencing in patients with familial steroid sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SSNS) and identified a homozygous segregating variant (p.H310Y) in the gene encoding clavesin-1 (CLVS1) in a consanguineous family with three affected individuals. Knockdown of the clavesin gene in zebrafish (clvs2) produced edema phenotypes due to disruption of podocyte structure and loss of glomerular filtration barrier integrity that can be rescued by WT CLVS1 but not the p.H310Y variant. Analysis of cultured human podocytes with CRISPR-Cas9 mediated CLVS1 knockout or homozygous H310Y knockin revealed deficits in clathrin-mediated endocytosis and increased susceptibility to apoptosis that could be rescued with corticosteroid treatment, mimicking the steroid-responsiveness observed in SSNS patients. The p.H310Y variant also disrupts binding of clavesin-1 to alpha-tocopherol transfer protein, resulting in increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation in CLVS1-deficient podocytes. Treatment of CLVS1 knockout or homozygous H310Y knockin podocytes with pharmacological ROS inhibitors restored viability to control levels. Taken together, this data identifies CLVS1 as a candidate gene for SSNS, provides insight into therapeutic effects of corticosteroids on podocyte cellular dynamics and adds to the growing evidence on the importance of endocytosis and oxidative stress regulation to podocyte function.

Authors

Brandon M. Lane, Megan Chryst-Stangl, Guanghong Wu, Mohamed Shalaby, Sherif El Desoky, Claire C. Middleton, Kinsie Huggins, Amika Sood, Alejandro Ochoa, Andrew F. Malone, Ricardo Vancini, Sara E. Miller, Gentzon Hall, So Young Kim, David N. Howell, Jameela A. Kari, Rasheed Gbadegesin

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Abstract

Approximately 80% of pancreatic cancer patients suffer from cachexia and one-third die due to cachexia-related complications such as respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. Although there has been considerable research into cachexia mechanisms and interventions, there are, to date, no FDA-approved therapies. A major contributing factor could be the failure of animal models to accurately recapitulate the human condition. In this study, we generated an aged model of pancreatic cancer cachexia to compare cachexia progression in young versus aged tumor-bearing mice. Comparative skeletal muscle transcriptome analyses identified 3-methyladenine (3-MA) as a candidate anti-wasting compound. In vitro analyses confirmed anti-wasting capacity while in vivo analysis revealed potent anti-tumor effects. Transcriptome analyses of 3-MA-treated tumor cells implicated Perp as a 3-MA target gene. We subsequently 1) observed significantly higher expression of Perp in cancer cell lines compared to control cells, 2) noted a survival disadvantage associated with elevated Perp, and 3) found that 3-MA-associated Perp reduction inhibited tumor cell growth. Finally, we provide in vivo evidence that survival benefits conferred by 3-MA administration are independent of its effect on tumor progression. Taken together, we report a novel mechanism linking 3-MA to Perp inhibition, and further implicate PERP as a novel tumor promoting factor in pancreatic cancer.

Authors

Aneesha Dasgupta, Paige C. Arneson-Wissink, Rebecca E. Schmitt, Dong Seong Cho, Alexandra M. Ducharme, Tara L. Hogenson, Eugene W. Krueger, William R. Bamlet, Lizhi Zhang, Gina L. Razidlo, Martin E. Fernandez-Zapico, Jason D. Doles

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. >1,500 variants in the ABCA4 locus underlie a heterogeneous spectrum of retinal disorders ranging from aggressive childhood-onset chorioretinopathy to milder, late-onset macular disease. Genotype-phenotype correlation studies have been limited in clinical applicability as patient cohorts are typically small and seldom capture the full natural history of individual genotypes. To overcome these limitations, we constructed a genotype-phenotype correlation matrix that provides quantifiable probabilities of long-term disease outcomes associated with specific ABCA4 genotypes from a large, age-restricted patient cohort. METHODS. The study included 112 unrelated patients ≥50 years of age in whom 2 pathogenic variants were identified after sequencing of the ABCA4 locus. Clinical characterization was performed using the results of best-corrected visual acuity, retinal imaging and full-field electroretinogram testing. RESULTS. Four distinct prognostic groups were defined according to the spatial severity of disease features across the fundus. Recurring genotypes were observed in milder prognoses including those associated with a newly defined class of rare hypomorphic alleles. PVS1 (predicted null) variants were enriched in the most severe prognoses; however, missense variants comprised a larger than expected fraction of these patients. Analysis of allele combinations and their respective prognostic severity, showed that certain variants such as p.(Gly1961Glu), and both rare and frequent hypomorphic alleles, are “clinically dominant” with respect to patient phenotypes irrespective of the allele in trans. CONCLUSION. These results provide much needed structure to the complex genetic and clinical landscape of ABCA4 disease and adds a tool to the clinical repertoire to quantitatively assess individual genotype-specific prognoses in patients.

Authors

Winston Lee, Jana Zernant, Pei-Yin Su, Takayuki Nagasaki, Stephen H. Tsang, Rando Allikmets

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Abstract

Nonphlogistic migration of macrophages contributes to the clearance of pathogens and apoptotic cells: critical steps for the resolution of inflammation and return to homeostasis. Angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)] is an heptapeptide of the Renin-Angiotensin system that acts through Mas receptor (MasR). Ang-(1-7) has recently emerged as a novel pro-resolving mediator, yet Ang-(1-7) resolution mechanisms are not fully determined. Herein, Ang-(1-7) stimulated migration of human and murine monocytes/macrophages in a MasR, CCR2 and MEK/ERK1/2-dependent manner. Pleural injection of Ang-(1-7) promoted nonphlogistic mononuclear cell influx alongside increased levels of CCL2, IL-10 and macrophage polarization towards a regulatory phenotype. Ang-(1-7) induction of CCL2 and mononuclear cell migration was also dependent on MasR and MEK/ERK. Noteworthy, MasR was upregulated during resolution phase of inflammation and their pharmacological inhibition or genetic deficiency impaired mononuclear cell recruitment during self-resolving models of LPS pleurisy and E. coli peritonitis. Inhibition/absence of MasR was associated with reduced CCL2 levels, impaired phagocytosis of bacteria, efferocytosis and delayed resolution of inflammation. In summary, we have uncovered a novel pro-resolving feature of Ang-(1-7), namely the recruitment of mononuclear cells favoring efferocytosis, phagocytosis and resolution of inflammation. Mechanistically, cell migration was dependent on MasR, CCR2 and the MEK/ERK pathway.

Authors

Isabella Zaidan, Luciana P. Tavares, Michelle A. Sugimoto, Kátia M. Lima, Graziele L. Negreiros-Lima, Lívia C.R. Teixeira, Thais C. Miranda, Bruno V.S. Valiate, Allysson Cramer, Juliana Priscila Vago, Gabriel H. Campolina-Silva, Jéssica A.M. Souza, Laís C. Grossi, Vanessa Pinho, Maria Jose Campagnole-Santos, Robson A .S. Santos, Mauro M. Teixeira, Izabela Galvão, Lirlândia P. Sousa

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Abstract

Immune checkpoint therapy targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis is a novel development in anticancer therapy and has been applied to clinical medicine. However, there are still some problems, including a relatively low response rate, innate mechanisms of resistance against immune checkpoint blockades, and the absence of reliable biomarkers to predict responsiveness. In this study of in vitro and in vivo models, we demonstrate that PD-L1-vInt4, a splicing variant of PD-L1, plays a role as a decoy in anti-PD-L1 antibody treatment. First, we showed that PD-L1-vInt4 was detectable in clinical samples and that it was possible to visualize the secreting variants with IHC. By overexpressing the PD-L1-secreted splicing variant on MC38 cells, we observed that an immune-suppressing effect was not induced by their secretion alone. We then demonstrated that PD-L1-vInt4 secretion resisted anti-PD-L1 antibody treatment, compared with wild type PD-L1, which was explicable by the PD-L1-vInt4’s decoying of the anti-PD-L1 antibody. The decoying function of PD-L1 splicing variants may be one of the reasons for cancers being resistant to anti-PD-L1 therapy. Measuring serum PD-L1 levels might be helpful in deciding the therapeutic strategy.

Authors

Ray Sagawa, Seiji Sakata, Bo Gong, Yosuke Seto, Ai Takemoto, Satoshi Takagi, Hironori Ninomiya, Noriko Yanagitani, Masayuki Nakao, Mingyon Mun, Ken Uchibori, Makoto Nishio, Yasunari Miyazaki, Yuichi Shiraishi, Seishi Ogawa, Keisuke Kataoka, Naoya Fujita, Kengo Takeuchi, Ryohei Katayama

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