In this issue, Xia et al. explore the role of delta-like 4 (DLL4), an endothelial cell Notch ligand, in the regulation of lung microvascularization and distal lung morphogenesis. Using lung mapping approaches in mouse and human cadaveric samples, as well functional studies in Dll4+/– mice, they show that DLL4 is required for pulmonary microvascularization and alveolarization during lung development. The cover image shows a postnatal day 6 lung sample from a Dll4+/lacZ reporter mouse stained with X-gal (blue) and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM, brown) and counterstained with Nuclear Fast Red.
Extensive activation of glial cells during a latent period has been well documented in various animal models of epilepsy. However, it remains unclear whether activated glial cells contribute to epileptogenesis; i.e., the chronically persistent process leading to epilepsy. Particularly, it is not clear whether inter-glial communication between different types of glial cells contributes to epileptogenesis, as past literature mainly focused on one type of glial cell. Here, we show that temporally distinct activation profiles of microglia and astrocytes collaboratively contribute to epileptogenesis in a drug-induced status epilepticus model. We found that reactive microglia appeared first, followed by reactive astrocytes and increased susceptibility to seizures. Reactive astrocytes exhibited larger Ca2+ signals mediated by IP3R2, whereas deletion of this type of Ca2+ signaling reduced seizure susceptibility after status epilepticus. Immediate, but not late, pharmacological inhibition of microglial activation prevented subsequent reactive astrocytes, aberrant astrocyte Ca2+ signaling, and the enhanced seizure susceptibility. These findings indicate that the sequential activation of glial cells constitutes a cause of epileptogenesis after status epilepticus. Thus, our findings suggest that the therapeutic target to prevent epilepsy after status epilepticus should be shifted from microglia (early phase) to astrocytes (late phase).
Fumikazu Sano, Eiji Shigetomi, Youichi Shinozaki, Haruka Tsuzukiyama, Kozo Saito, Katsuhiko Mikoshiba, Hiroshi Horiuchi, Dennis Lawrence Cheung, Junichi Nabekura, Kanji Sugita, Masao Aihara, Schuichi Koizumi
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive fibrotic lung disease. We previously identified fibrogenic mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) in the lungs of IPF patients that serve as an obligatory driver of progressive fibrosis. Recent single cell RNA sequencing work revealed that IPF MPCs with the highest transcriptomic network entropy differ the most from control MPCs; and that CD44 was a marker of these IPF MPCs. We hypothesize that IPF MPCs with high CD44 (CD44hi) expression will display enhanced fibrogenicity. We demonstrate that CD44 expressing MPCs are present at the periphery of the IPF fibroblastic focus, placing them in regions of active fibrogenesis. In a humanized mouse xenograft model, CD44hi IPF MPCs are more fibrogenic than CD44lo IPF MPCs and knock-down of CD44 diminishes their fibrogenicity. CD44hi IPF MPCs display increased expression of pluripotency markers and self-renewal compared to CD44lo IPF MPCs; properties potentiated by IL-8. The mechanism involves the accumulation of CD44 within the nucleus where it associates with the chromatin modulator protein BRG1 and the Zeb1 transcription factor. This CD44/BRG1/Zeb1 nuclear protein complex targets the Sox2 gene promoting its upregulation and self-renewal. Our data implicates CD44 interaction with the epigenetic modulator protein Brg1 in conveying IPF MPCs with cell-autonomous fibrogenicity.
Libang Yang, Hong Xia, Karen A. Smith, Adam Gilbertsen, Daniel Beisang, Jonathan Kuo, Peter B. Bitterman, Craig A. Henke
T cell receptor (TCR) triggering by antigen results in metabolic reprogramming that, in turn, facilitates T cells’ exit from quiescence. The increased nutrient requirements of activated lymphocytes are met in part by upregulation of cell surface transporters and enhanced uptake of amino acids, fatty acids and glucose from the environment. However, the role of intracellular pathways of amino acid biosynthesis in T cell activation is relatively unexplored. Asparagine (Asn) is a non-essential amino acid that can be synthesized intracellularly through the glutamine-hydrolyzing enzyme asparagine synthetase (ASNS). We set out to define the requirements for uptake of extracellular Asn and ASNS activity in CD8+ T cell activation. At early timepoints of activation in vitro, CD8+ T cells expressed little or no ASNS and, as a consequence, viability and TCR-stimulated growth, activation and metabolic reprogramming were substantially impaired under conditions of Asn deprivation. At later timepoints (>24h of activation), TCR-induced mTOR-dependent signals resulted in upregulation of ASNS, that endowed CD8+ T cells with the capacity to function independently of extracellular Asn. Thus, our data suggest that the coordinated upregulation of ASNS expression and uptake of extracellular Asn is involved in optimal T cell effector responses.
Helen Carrasco Hope, Rebecca J. Brownlie, Christopher M. Fife, Lynette Steele, Mihaela Lorger, Robert J. Salmond
Telomerase catalyzes chromosome end replication in stem cells and other long-lived cells. Mutations in telomerase or telomere-related genes result in diseases known as telomeropathies. Telomerase is recruited to chromosome ends by the ACD/TPP1 protein (TPP1 hereafter), a component of the shelterin complex that protects chromosome ends from unwanted end-joining. TPP1 facilitates end-protection by binding shelterin proteins POT1 and TIN2. TPP1 variants have been associated with telomeropathies, but remain poorly characterized in vivo. Disease variants and mutagenesis scans provide efficient avenues to interrogate the distinct physiological roles of TPP1. Here, we conduct mutagenesis in the TIN2- and POT1-binding domains of TPP1 to discover mutations that dissect TPP1’s functions. Our results extend upon current structural data to reveal that the TPP1-TIN2 interface is more extensive than previously thought, and highlight the robustness of the POT1-TPP1 interface. Introduction of separation-of-function mutants alongside known TPP1 telomeropathy mutations in mouse hematopoietic stem cells (mHSCs) lacking endogenous TPP1 demonstrated a clear phenotypic demarcation. TIN2- and POT1-binding mutants were unable to rescue mHSC failure resulting from end-deprotection. In contrast, TPP1 telomeropathy mutations sustained mHSC viability, consistent with them selectively impacting end-replication. These results highlight the power of scanning mutagenesis in revealing structural interfaces and dissecting multifunctional genes.
Sherilyn Grill, Shilpa Padmanaban, Ann Friedman, Eric Perkey, Frederick Allen, Valerie M. Tesmer, Jennifer Chase, Rami Khoriaty, Catherine E. Keegan, Ivan Maillard, Jayakrishnan Nandakumar
BACKGROUND. Methodology for estimation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tracer clearance could have wide clinical application in predicting excretion of intrathecal drugs and metabolic solutes from brain metabolism, and for diagnostic work-up of cerebrospinal fluid disturbances. METHODS. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent gadobutrol (Gadovist) was utilized as CSF tracer and injected into the lumbar CSF. Gadobutrol is contained outside blood vessels of the central nervous system (CNS) and is thus eliminated along extra-vascular pathways, analogous to many CNS metabolites and intrathecal drugs. Tracer enrichment was verified and assessed in CSF by MRI at level of the cisterna magna in parallel with obtaining blood samples through 48 hours. RESULTS. In a reference patient cohort (REF; n=29), both enrichment within CSF and blood coincided in time. Blood concentration profiles of gadobutrol through 48 hours varied between patients diagnosed with CSF leakage (n=4), idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus dementia (iNPH; n=7), pineal cysts (n=8), and idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH; n=4). CONCLUSION. Assessment of CSF tracer clearance is clinically feasible and may provide a way to predict extra-vascular clearance of intrathecal drugs and endogenous metabolites from the CNS. The peak concentration in blood (at about 10 hrs) preceded by far peak tracer enhancement at MRI in extra-cranial lymphatic structures (at about 24 hrs) as shown in previous studies, indicating a major role of the spinal canal in CSF clearance capacity. FUNDING. The work was supported by Department of Neurosurgery, Oslo university hospital, and Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway, and University of Oslo.
Per K. Eide, Espen Mariussen, Hilde Uggerud, Are H. Pripp, Aslan Lashkarivand, Bjørnar Hassel, Hege Christensen, Markus Herberg Hovd, Geir Ringstad
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.