In this issue of JCI Insight, Ryan et al. explore the mitochondrial phenotype of limb skeletal muscle in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Their work uncovers a unique deficit in skeletal muscle oxidative metabolism in the most severely affected patients with critical limb ischemia. The cover image shows a differentiated myogenic progenitor cell isolated from the gastrocnemius of a patient with intermittent claudication. Nuclei are labeled with Hoechst dye (blue), mitochondria are labeled with an anti-TOM20 antibody (green), and fibrous actin is labeled with phalloidin (red).
The contribution of intracellular hemoglobin (Hb) oxidation to RBC-derived microparticle (MP) formation is poorly defined in sickle cell disease (SCD). Here we report that sickle Hb (HbS) oxidation, coupled with changes in cytosolic antioxidative proteins, is associated with membrane alterations and MP formation in homozygous Townes–sickle cell (Townes-SS) mice. Photometric and proteomic analyses confirmed the presence of high levels of Hb oxidation intermediates (ferric/ferryl) and consequent β-globin posttranslational modifications, including the irreversible oxidation of βCys93 and the ubiquitination of βLys96 and βLys145. This is the first report to our knowledge to link the UPS (via ubiquitinated Hb and other proteins) to oxidative stress. Ferryl Hb also induced complex formation with band 3 and RBC membrane proteins. Incubation of Townes-SS MPs with human endothelial cells caused greater loss of monolayer integrity, apoptotic activation, heme oxygenase-1 induction, and concomitant bioenergetic imbalance compared with control Townes-AA MPs. MPs obtained from Townes-SS mice treated with hydroxyurea produced fewer posttranslational Hb modifications. In vitro, hydroxyurea reduced the levels of ferryl Hb and shielded its target residue, βCys93, by a process of S-nitrosylation. These mechanistic analyses suggest potential antioxidative therapeutic modalities that may interrupt MP heme-mediated pathophysiology in SCD patients.
Sirsendu Jana, Michael Brad Strader, Fantao Meng, Wayne Hicks, Tigist Kassa, Ivan Tarandovskiy, Silvia De Paoli, Jan Simak, Michael R. Heaven, John D. Belcher, Gregory M. Vercellotti, Abdu I. Alayash
Pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema are irreversible chronic events after inhalation injury. However, the mechanism(s) involved in their development remain poorly understood. Higher levels of plasma and lung heme have been recorded in acute lung injury associated with several insults. Here, we provide the molecular basis for heme-induced chronic lung injury. We found elevated plasma heme in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (GOLD stage 4) patients and also in a ferret model of COPD secondary to chronic cigarette smoke inhalation. Next, we developed a rodent model of chronic lung injury, where we exposed C57BL/6 mice to the halogen gas, bromine (Br2) (400 ppm, 30 minutes), and returned them to room air resulting in combined airway fibrosis and emphysematous phenotype, as indicated by high collagen deposition in the peribronchial spaces, increased lung hydroxyproline concentrations, and alveolar septal damage. These mice also had elevated pulmonary endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress as seen in COPD patients; the pharmacological or genetic diminution of ER stress in mice attenuated Br2-induced lung changes. Finally, treating mice with the heme-scavenging protein, hemopexin, reduced plasma heme, ER stress, airway fibrosis, and emphysema. This is the first study to our knowledge to report elevated heme in COPD patients and establishes heme scavenging as a potential therapy after inhalation injury.
Saurabh Aggarwal, Israr Ahmad, Adam Lam, Matthew A. Carlisle, Changzhao Li, J. Michael Wells, S. Vamsee Raju, Mohammad Athar, Steven M. Rowe, Mark T. Dransfield, Sadis Matalon
The precise mechanisms by which oxidative stress (OS) causes atrial fibrillation (AF) are not known. Since AF frequently originates in the posterior left atrium (PLA), we hypothesized that OS, via calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) signaling, creates a fertile substrate in the PLA for triggered activity and reentry. In a canine heart failure (HF) model, OS generation and oxidized-CaMKII–induced (Ox-CaMKII–induced) RyR2 and Nav1.5 signaling were increased preferentially in the PLA (compared with left atrial appendage). Triggered Ca2+ waves (TCWs) in HF PLA myocytes were particularly sensitive to acute ROS inhibition. Computational modeling confirmed a direct relationship between OS/CaMKII signaling and TCW generation. CaMKII phosphorylated Nav1.5 (CaMKII-p-Nav1.5 [S571]) was located preferentially at the intercalated disc (ID), being nearly absent at the lateral membrane. Furthermore, a decrease in ankyrin-G (AnkG) in HF led to patchy dropout of CaMKII-p-Nav1.5 at the ID, causing its distribution to become spatially heterogeneous; this corresponded to preferential slowing and inhomogeneity of conduction noted in the HF PLA. Computational modeling illustrated how conduction slowing (e.g., due to increase in CaMKII-p-Nav1.5) interacts with fibrosis to cause reentry in the PLA. We conclude that OS via CaMKII leads to substrate for triggered activity and reentry in HF PLA by mechanisms independent of but complementary to fibrosis.
Shin Yoo, Gary Aistrup, Yohannes Shiferaw, Jason Ng, Peter J. Mohler, Thomas J. Hund, Trent Waugh, Suzanne Browne, Georg Gussak, Mehul Gilani, Bradley P. Knight, Rod Passman, Jeffrey J. Goldberger, J. Andrew Wasserstrom, Rishi Arora
BACKGROUND. Our understanding of phenotypic and functional signatures of CD8+ T cell dysfunction in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is limited. Deciphering these deranged T cell functional states and how they are impacted by induction chemotherapy is essential for incorporation of novel immune-based strategies to restore and maintain antileukemia immunity. METHODS. We utilized high-dimensional immunophenotyping, gene expression, and functional studies to characterize peripheral blood and bone marrow CD8+ T cells in 72 AML patients at diagnosis and after induction chemotherapy. RESULTS. Our data suggest that multiple aspects of deranged T cell function are operative in AML at diagnosis, with exhaustion and senescence being the dominant processes. Following treatment, the phenotypic and transcriptional profile of CD8+ T cells diverged between responders and nonresponders. Response to therapy correlated with upregulation of costimulatory, and downregulation of apoptotic and inhibitory, T cell signaling pathways, indicative of restoration of T cell function. In functional studies, AML blasts directly altered CD8+ T cell viability, expansion, co-signaling and senescence marker expression. This CD8+ T cell dysfunction was in part reversible upon PD-1 blockade or OX40 costimulation in vitro. CONCLUSION. Our findings highlight the uniqueness of AML in sculpting CD8+ T cell responses and the plasticity of their signatures upon chemotherapy response, providing a compelling rationale for integration of novel immunotherapies to augment antileukemia immunity. FUNDING. This work was supported by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society grant no. 6449-13; NIH grants UM1-CA186691 and R01-HL110907-01; the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation New Investigator Award/Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation; the Vienna Fund for Innovative Cancer Research; and by fellowships from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Swedish Society for Medical Research.
Hanna A. Knaus, Sofia Berglund, Hubert Hackl, Amanda L. Blackford, Joshua F. Zeidner, Raúl Montiel-Esparza, Rupkatha Mukhopadhyay, Katrina Vanura, Bruce R. Blazar, Judith E. Karp, Leo Luznik, Ivana Gojo
Asthma is one of the most common immunological diseases and is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), mucus overproduction, and airway eosinophilia. Although mouse models have provided insight into the mechanisms by which type-2 cytokines induce asthmatic airway inflammation, differences between the rodent and human immune systems hamper efforts to improve understanding of human allergic diseases. In this study, we aim to establish a preclinical animal model of asthmatic airway inflammation using humanized IL-3/GM-CSF or IL-3/GM-CSF/IL-5 Tg NOD/Shi-scid-IL2rγnull (NOG) mice and investigate the roles of human type-2 immune responses in the asthmatic mice. Several important characteristics of asthma — such as AHR, goblet cell hyperplasia, T cell infiltration, IL-13 production, and periostin secretion — were induced in IL-3/GM-CSF Tg mice by intratracheally administered human IL-33. In addition to these characteristics, human eosinophilic inflammation was observed in IL-3/GM-CSF/IL-5 Tg mice. The asthmatic mechanisms of the humanized mice were driven by activation of human Th2 and mast cells by IL-33 stimulation. Furthermore, treatment of the humanized mice with an anti–human IL-13 antibody significantly suppressed these characteristics. Therefore, the humanized mice may enhance our understanding of the pathophysiology of allergic disorders and facilitate the preclinical development of new therapeutics for IL-33–mediated type-2 inflammation in asthma.
Ryoji Ito, Shuichiro Maruoka, Kaori Soda, Ikumi Katano, Kenji Kawai, Mika Yagoto, Asami Hanazawa, Takeshi Takahashi, Tomoyuki Ogura, Motohito Goto, Riichi Takahashi, Shota Toyoshima, Yoshimichi Okayama, Kenji Izuhara, Yasuhiro Gon, Shu Hashimoto, Mamoru Ito, Satoshi Nunomura
BACKGROUND. Tumor content in circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is a promising biomarker, but longitudinal dynamics of tumor-derived and non–tumor-derived cfDNA through multiple courses of therapy have not been well described. METHODS. CfDNA from 663 plasma samples from 140 patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) was subject to sparse whole genome sequencing. Tumor fraction (TFx) estimated using the computational tool ichorCNA was correlated with clinical features and responses to therapy. RESULTS. TFx associated with the number of bone metastases (median TFx = 0.014 with no bone metastases, 0.047 with 1–3 bone metastases, 0.190 for 4+ bone metastases; P < 0.0001) and with visceral metastases (P < 0.0001). In multivariable analysis, TFx remained associated with metastasis location (P = 0.042); TFx was positively correlated with alkaline phosphatase (P = 0.0227) and negatively correlated with hemoglobin (Hgb) (P < 0.001), but it was not correlated with prostate specific antigen (PSA) (P = 0.75). Tumor-derived and non–tumor-derived cfDNA track together and do not increase with generalized tissue damage from chemotherapy or radiation at the time scales examined. All new treatments that led to ≥30% PSA decline at 6 weeks were associated with TFx decline when baseline TFx was >7%; however, TFx in patients being subsequently maintained on secondary hormonal therapy was quite dynamic. CONCLUSION. TFx correlates with clinical features associated with overall survival in CRPC, and TFx decline is a promising biomarker for initial therapeutic response. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) protocol no. 18-135. FUNDING. Wong Family Award in Translational Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute Medical Oncology grant, Gerstner Family Foundation, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Koch Institute Support (core) grant P30-CA14051 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Atish D. Choudhury, Lillian Werner, Edoardo Francini, Xiao X. Wei, Gavin Ha, Samuel S. Freeman, Justin Rhoades, Sarah C. Reed, Gregory Gydush, Denisse Rotem, Christopher Lo, Mary-Ellen Taplin, Lauren C. Harshman, Zhenwei Zhang, Edward P. O’Connor, Daniel G. Stover, Heather A. Parsons, Gad Getz, Matthew Meyerson, J. Christopher Love, William C. Hahn, Viktor A. Adalsteinsson
Cancer incidence increases with age, but paradoxically, cancers have been found to grow more quickly in young mice compared with aged ones. The cause of differential tumor growth has been debated and, over time, attributed to faster tumor cell proliferation, decreased tumor cell apoptosis, and/or increased angiogenesis in young animals. Despite major advances in our understanding of tumor immunity over the past 2 decades, little attention has been paid to comparing immune cell populations in young and aged mice. Using mouse colon adenocarcinoma model MC38 implanted in young and mature mice, we show that age substantially influences the number of tumor-infiltrating cytotoxic CD8+ T cells, which control cancer progression. The different tumor growth pace in young and mature mice was abrogated in RAG1null mice, which lack mature T and B lymphocytes, and upon selective depletion of endogenous CD8+ cells. Transcriptome analysis further indicated that young mice have decreased levels of the Itga4 gene (CD49d, VLA-4) in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes when compared with mature mice. Hypothesizing that VLA-4 can have a tumor-protective effect, we depleted the protein, which resulted in accelerated tumor growth in mature mice. These observations may explain the paradoxical growth rates observed in murine cancers, point to the central role of VLA-4 in controlling tumor growth, and open new venues to therapeutic manipulation.
Juhyun Oh, Angela Magnuson, Christophe Benoist, Mikael J. Pittet, Ralph Weissleder
In this study we evaluated the role of hyaluronan (HA) in reactive adipogenesis, a local expansion of preadipocytes that provides host defense by release of antimicrobial peptides. We observed that HA accumulated during maturation of adipocytes in vitro and was associated with increased expression of preadipocyte factor 1, zinc finger protein 423, and early B cell factor 1. Although HA is normally abundant in the extracellular matrix, a further increase in HA staining occurred in mice at sites of reactive adipogenesis following injury of colon by dextran sodium sulfate or injury of skin from infection with Staphylococcus aureus. HA also abundantly accumulated around adipocytes seen in the colons of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. This HA was necessary for adipocyte maturation because digestion of HA by administration of soluble hyaluronidase or transgenic expression of hyaluronidase 1 inhibited adipogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, hyaluronidase also suppressed inflammation of both skin and colon and decreased antimicrobial peptide expression by developing preadipocytes. This resulted in increased bacterial transit across the epithelial barrier despite decreased tissue injury from inflammation. These observations suggest HA plays an important role in reactive adipogenesis and host defense after injury.
Tatsuya Dokoshi, Ling-juan Zhang, Teruaki Nakatsuji, Christopher A. Adase, James A. Sanford, Rudolph D. Paladini, Hiroki Tanaka, Mikihiro Fujiya, Richard L. Gallo
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is a dominantly inherited ataxia caused by expansion of a translated CAG repeat encoding a glutamine tract in the ataxin-1 (ATXN1) protein. Despite advances in understanding the pathogenesis of SCA1, there are still no therapies to alter its progressive fatal course. RNA-targeting approaches have improved disease symptoms in preclinical rodent models of several neurological diseases. Here, we investigated the therapeutic capability of an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) targeting mouse Atxn1 in Atxn1154Q/2Q-knockin mice that manifest motor deficits and premature lethality. Following a single ASO treatment at 5 weeks of age, mice demonstrated rescue of these disease-associated phenotypes. RNA-sequencing analysis of genes with expression restored to WT levels in ASO-treated Atxn1154Q/2Q mice was used to demonstrate molecular differences between SCA1 pathogenesis in the cerebellum and disease in the medulla. Finally, select neurochemical abnormalities detected by magnetic resonance spectroscopy in vehicle-treated Atxn1154Q/2Q mice were reversed in the cerebellum and brainstem (a region containing the pons and the medulla) of ASO-treated Atxn1154Q/2Q mice. Together, these findings support the efficacy and therapeutic importance of directly targeting ATXN1 RNA expression as a strategy for treating both motor deficits and lethality in SCA1.
Jillian Friedrich, Holly B. Kordasiewicz, Brennon O’Callaghan, Hillary P. Handler, Carmen Wagener, Lisa Duvick, Eric E. Swayze, Orion Rainwater, Bente Hofstra, Michael Benneyworth, Tessa Nichols-Meade, Praseuth Yang, Zhao Chen, Judit Perez Ortiz, H. Brent Clark, Gülin Öz, Sarah Larson, Huda Y. Zoghbi, Christine Henzler, Harry T. Orr
The most severe manifestation of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is critical limb ischemia (CLI). CLI patients suffer high rates of amputation and mortality; accordingly, there remains a clear need both to better understand CLI and to develop more effective treatments. Gastrocnemius muscle was obtained from 32 older (51–84 years) non-PAD controls, 27 claudicating PAD patients (ankle-brachial index [ABI] 0.65 ± 0.21 SD), and 19 CLI patients (ABI 0.35 ± 0.30 SD) for whole transcriptome sequencing and comprehensive mitochondrial phenotyping. Comparable permeabilized myofiber mitochondrial function was paralleled by both similar mitochondrial content and related mRNA expression profiles in non-PAD control and claudicating patient tissues. Tissues from CLI patients, despite being histologically intact and harboring equivalent mitochondrial content, presented a unique bioenergetic signature. This signature was defined by deficits in permeabilized myofiber mitochondrial function and a unique pattern of both nuclear and mitochondrial encoded gene suppression. Moreover, isolated muscle progenitor cells retained both mitochondrial functional deficits and gene suppression observed in the tissue. These findings indicate that muscle tissues from claudicating patients and non-PAD controls were similar in both their bioenergetics profile and mitochondrial phenotypes. In contrast, CLI patient limb skeletal muscles harbor a unique skeletal muscle mitochondriopathy that represents a potentially novel therapeutic site for intervention.
Terence E. Ryan, Dean J. Yamaguchi, Cameron A. Schmidt, Tonya N. Zeczycki, Saame Raza Shaikh, Patricia Brophy, Thomas D. Green, Michael D. Tarpey, Reema Karnekar, Emma J. Goldberg, Genevieve C. Sparagna, Maria J. Torres, Brian H. Annex, P. Darrell Neufer, Espen E. Spangenburg, Joseph M. McClung
Fibrosis is a major contributor to organ disease for which no specific therapy is available. MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) has been implicated in the fibrogenetic response, and inhibitors of miR-21 are currently undergoing clinical trials. Here, we explore how miR-21 inhibition may attenuate fibrosis using a proteomics approach. Transfection of miR-21 mimic or inhibitor in murine cardiac fibroblasts revealed limited effects on extracellular matrix (ECM) protein secretion. Similarly, miR-21–null mouse hearts showed an unaltered ECM composition. Thus, we searched for additional explanations as to how miR-21 might regulate fibrosis. In plasma samples from the community-based Bruneck Study, we found a marked correlation of miR-21 levels with several platelet-derived profibrotic factors, including TGF-β1. Pharmacological miR-21 inhibition with an antagomiR reduced the platelet release of TGF-β1 in mice. Mechanistically, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein, a negative regulator of platelet TGF-β1 secretion, was identified as a direct target of miR-21. miR-21–null mice had lower platelet and leukocyte counts compared with littermate controls but higher megakaryocyte numbers in the bone marrow. Thus, to our knowledge this study reports a previously unrecognized effect of miR-21 inhibition on platelets. The effect of antagomiR-21 treatment on platelet TGF-β1 release, in particular, may contribute to the antifibrotic effects of miR-21 inhibitors.
Temo Barwari, Seda Eminaga, Ursula Mayr, Ruifang Lu, Paul C. Armstrong, Melissa V. Chan, Mahnaz Sahraei, Marta Fernández-Fuertes, Thomas Moreau, Javier Barallobre-Barreiro, Marc Lynch, Xiaoke Yin, Christian Schulte, Ferheen Baig, Raimund Pechlaner, Sarah R. Langley, Anna Zampetaki, Peter Santer, Martin Weger, Roberto Plasenzotti, Markus Schosserer, Johannes Grillari, Stefan Kiechl, Johann Willeit, Ajay M. Shah, Cedric Ghevaert, Timothy D. Warner, Carlos Fernández-Hernando, Yajaira Suárez, Manuel Mayr
BACKGROUND. Commercial gene expression assays are guiding clinical decision making in patients with prostate cancer, particularly when considering active surveillance. Given heterogeneity and multifocality of primary prostate cancer, such assays should ideally be robust to the coexistence of unsampled higher grade disease elsewhere in the prostate in order to have clinical utility. Herein, we comprehensively evaluated transcriptomic profiles of primary multifocal prostate cancer to assess robustness to clinically relevant multifocality. METHODS. We designed a comprehensive, multiplexed targeted RNA-sequencing assay capable of assessing multiple transcriptional classes and deriving commercially available prognostic signatures, including the Myriad Prolaris Cell Cycle Progression score, the Oncotype DX Genomic Prostate Score, and the GenomeDX Decipher Genomic Classifier. We applied this assay to a retrospective, multi-institutional cohort of 156 prostate cancer samples. Derived commercial biomarker scores for 120 informative primary prostate cancer samples from 44 cases were determined and compared. RESULTS. Derived expression scores were positively correlated with tumor grade (rS = 0.53–0.73; all P < 0.001), both within the same case and across the entire cohort. In cases of extreme grade-discordant multifocality (co-occurrence of grade group 1 [GG1] and ≥GG4 foci], gene expression scores were significantly lower in low- (GG1) versus high-grade (≥GG4) foci (all P < 0.001). No significant differences in expression scores, however, were observed between GG1 foci from prostates with and without coexisting higher grade cancer (all P > 0.05). CONCLUSIONS. Multifocal, low-grade and high-grade prostate cancer foci exhibit distinct prognostic expression signatures. These findings demonstrate that prognostic RNA expression assays performed on low-grade prostate cancer biopsy tissue may not provide meaningful information on the presence of coexisting unsampled aggressive disease. FUNDING. Prostate Cancer Foundation, National Institutes of Health (U01 CA214170, R01 CA183857, University of Michigan Prostate Specialized Program of Research Excellence [S.P.O.R.E.] P50 CA186786-05, Weill Cornell Medicine S.P.O.R.E. P50 CA211024-01A1), Men of Michigan Prostate Cancer Research Fund, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center core grant (2-P30-CA-046592-24), A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Research Institute, and Department of Defense.
Simpa S. Salami, Daniel H. Hovelson, Jeremy B. Kaplan, Romain Mathieu, Aaron M. Udager, Nicole E. Curci, Matthew Lee, Komal R. Plouffe, Lorena Lazo de la Vega, Martin Susani, Nathalie Rioux-Leclercq, Daniel E. Spratt, Todd M. Morgan, Matthew S. Davenport, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, Joanna Cyrta, Mark A. Rubin, Shahrokh F. Shariat, Scott A. Tomlins, Ganesh S. Palapattu
TGF-β signals through a receptor complex composed of 2 type I and 2 type II (TGF-βRII) subunits. We investigated the role of macrophage TGF-β signaling in fibrosis after AKI in mice with selective monocyte/macrophage TGF-βRII deletion (macrophage TGF-βRII–/– mice). Four weeks after injury, renal TGF-β1 expression and fibrosis were higher in WT mice than macrophage TGF-βRII–/– mice, which had decreased renal macrophages. The in vitro chemotactic response to f-Met-Leu-Phe was comparable between bone marrow–derived monocytes (BMMs) from WT and macrophage TGF-βRII–/– mice, but TGF-βRII–/– BMMs did not respond to TGF-β. We then implanted Matrigel plugs suffused with either f-Met-Leu-Phe or TGF-β1 into WT or macrophage TGF-βRII–/– mice. After 6 days, f-Met-Leu-Phe induced similar macrophage infiltration into the Matrigel plugs of WT and macrophage TGF-βRII–/– mice, but TGF-β induced infiltration only in WT mice. We further determined the number of labeled WT or TGF-βRII–/– BMMs infiltrating into WT kidneys 20 days after ischemic injury. There were more labeled WT BMMs than TGF-βRII–/– BMMs. Therefore, macrophage TGF-βRII deletion protects against the development of tubulointerstitial fibrosis following severe ischemic renal injury. Chemoattraction of macrophages to the injured kidney through a TGF-β/TGF-βRII axis is a heretofore undescribed mechanism by which TGF-β can mediate renal fibrosis during progressive renal injury.
Sungjin Chung, Jessica M. Overstreet, Yan Li, Yinqiu Wang, Aolei Niu, Suwan Wang, Xiaofeng Fan, Kensuke Sasaki, Guan-Nan Jin, Stellor Nlandu Khodo, Leslie Gewin, Ming-Zhi Zhang, Raymond C. Harris
Patients with severe, treatment-refractory asthma are at risk for death from acute exacerbations. The cytokine IL17A has been associated with airway inflammation in severe asthma, and novel therapeutic targets within this pathway are urgently needed. We recently showed that IL17A increases airway contractility by activating the procontractile GTPase RhoA. Here, we explore the therapeutic potential of targeting the RhoA pathway activated by IL17A by inhibiting RhoA guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs), intracellular activators of RhoA. We first used a ribosomal pulldown approach to profile mouse airway smooth muscle by qPCR and identified Arhgef12 as highly expressed among a panel of RhoGEFs. ARHGEF12 was also the most highly expressed RhoGEF in patients with asthma, as found by RNA sequencing. Tracheal rings from Arhgef12-KO mice and WT rings treated with a RhoGEF inhibitor had evidence of decreased contractility and RhoA activation in response to IL17A treatment. In a house dust mite model of allergic sensitization, Arhgef12-KO mice had decreased airway hyperresponsiveness without effects on airway inflammation. Taken together, our results show that Arhgef12 is necessary for IL17A-induced airway contractility and identify a therapeutic target for severe asthma.
Valerie Fong, Austin Hsu, Esther Wu, Agnieszka P. Looney, Previn Ganesan, Xin Ren, Dean Sheppard, Sarah A. Wicher, Michael A. Thompson, Rodney D. Britt Jr., Y.S. Prakash, Mallar Bhattacharya
BACKGROUND. An intricate fetal-maternal immune crosstalk during pregnancy is essential for a healthy birth. Hence, the infection-induced alterations of maternal immunity often lead to adverse outcomes for mother and/or child. The emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in pregnant women has been associated with more than 3,000 cases of microcephaly and nervous system malformations. METHODS. To explore the potential correlation of ZIKV-induced alteration of maternal immunity with fetal abnormalities, we performed extensive sera immunoprofiling of 74 pregnant women: 30 symptomatic ZIKV+ pregnant patients and 30 healthy pregnant controls in ZIKV-endemic Rio de Janeiro, along with 14 healthy pregnant controls in non-endemic Los Angeles. RESULTS. Extensive multiplexing analysis of 69 cytokines revealed that CXCL10, CCL2, and CCL8 chemokines were specifically associated with symptomatic ZIKV+ infection during pregnancy, and distinct immunoprofiles were detected at different trimesters in ZIKV-infected pregnant women. Intriguingly, the high CCL2 level and its inverse correlation with CD163, TNFRSF1A, and CCL22 levels was apparently associated with ZIKV-induced abnormal birth. CONCLUSION. Our findings provide insights into the alteration of ZIKV-elicited maternal immunity, serving as a potential clinical biomarker platform. FUNDING. NIH (CA200422, CA180779, DE023926, AI073099, AI116585, AI129496, AI140705, AI069120, AI056154, AI078389, AI28697, AI40718 and AI129534-01), Hastings Foundation, Fletcher Jones Foundation, Departamento de Ciência e Tecnologia (DECIT/25000.072811/2016-17) do Ministério da Saúde do Brasil, and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior CAPES/88887.116627/2016-01.
Suan-Sin Foo, Weiqiang Chen, Yen Chan, Wai-Suet Lee, Shin-Ae Lee, Genhong Cheng, Karin Nielsen-Saines, Patrícia Brasil, Jae U. Jung
Immune checkpoint blockade has achieved significant therapeutic success for a subset of cancer patients; however, a large portion of cancer patients do not respond. Unresponsive tumors are characterized as being immunologically “cold,” indicating that these tumors lack tumor antigen-specific primed cytotoxic T cells. Sitravatinib is a spectrum-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor targeting TAM (TYRO3, AXL, MerTK) and split tyrosine-kinase domain–containing receptors (VEGFR and PDGFR families and KIT) plus RET and MET, targets that contribute to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. We report that sitravatinib has potent antitumor activity by targeting the tumor microenvironment, resulting in innate and adaptive immune cell changes that augment immune checkpoint blockade. These results suggest that sitravatinib has the potential to combat resistance to immune checkpoint blockade and expand the number of cancer patients that are responsive to immune therapy.
Wenting Du, Huocong Huang, Noah Sorrelle, Rolf A. Brekken
Glycine encephalopathy (GE), or nonketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH), is a rare recessive genetic disease caused by defective glycine cleavage and characterized by increased accumulation of glycine in all tissues. Here, based on new case reports of GLDC loss-of-function mutations in GE patients, we aimed to generate a zebrafish model of severe GE in order to unravel the molecular mechanism of the disease. Using CRISPR/Cas9, we knocked out the gldc gene and showed that gldc–/– fish recapitulate GE on a molecular level and present a motor phenotype reminiscent of severe GE symptoms. The molecular characterization of gldc–/– mutants showed a broad metabolic disturbance affecting amino acids and neurotransmitters other than glycine, with lactic acidosis at stages preceding death. Although a transient imbalance was found in cell proliferation in the brain of gldc–/– zebrafish, the main brain networks were not affected, thus suggesting that GE pathogenicity is mainly due to metabolic defects. We confirmed that the gldc–/– hypotonic phenotype is due to NMDA and glycine receptor overactivation, and demonstrated that gldc–/– larvae depict exacerbated hyperglycinemia at these synapses. Remarkably, we were able to rescue the motor dysfunction of gldc–/– larvae by counterbalancing pharmacologically or genetically the level of glycine at the synapse.
Raphaëlle Riché, Meijiang Liao, Izabella A. Pena, Kit-Yi Leung, Nathalie Lepage, Nicolas D.E. Greene, Kyriakie Sarafoglou, Lisa A. Schimmenti, Pierre Drapeau, Éric Samarut
Noninvasive tools that target tumor cells could improve the management of glioma. Cancer generally has a high demand for Fe(III), an essential nutrient for a variety of biochemical processes. We tested whether 68Ga-citrate, an Fe(III) biomimetic that binds to apo-transferrin in blood, detects glioma in preclinical models and patients using hybrid PET/MRI. Mouse PET/CT studies showed that 68Ga-citrate accumulates in subcutaneous U87MG xenografts in a transferrin receptor–dependent fashion within 4 hours after injection. Seventeen patients with WHO grade III or IV glioma received 3.7–10.2 mCi 68Ga-citrate and were imaged with PET/MR 123–307 minutes after injection to establish that the radiotracer can localize to human tumors. Multiple contrast-enhancing lesions were PET avid, and tumor to adjacent normal white matter ratios were consistently greater than 10:1. Several contrast-enhancing lesions were not PET avid. One minimally enhancing lesion and another tumor with significantly reduced enhancement following bevacizumab therapy were PET avid. Advanced MR imaging analysis of one patient with contrast-enhancing glioblastoma showed that metabolic hallmarks of viable tumor spatially overlaid with 68Ga-citrate accumulation. These early data underscore that high-grade glioma may be detectable with a radiotracer that targets Fe(III) transport.
Spencer C. Behr, Javier E. Villanueva-Meyer, Yan Li, Yung-Hua Wang, Junnian Wei, Anna Moroz, Julia K.L. Lee, Jeffrey C. Hsiao, Kenneth T. Gao, Wendy Ma, Soonmee Cha, David M. Wilson, Youngho Seo, Sarah J. Nelson, Susan M. Chang, Michael J. Evans
Elevated blood pressure (BP) and renal dysfunction are complex traits representing major global health problems. Single nucleotide polymorphisms identified by genome-wide association studies have identified the Alström syndrome 1 (ALMS1) gene locus to render susceptibility for renal dysfunction, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Mutations in the ALMS1 gene in humans causes Alström syndrome, characterized by progressive metabolic alterations including hypertension and CKD. Despite compelling genetic evidence, the underlying biological mechanism by which mutations in the ALMS1 gene lead to the above-mentioned pathophysiology is not understood. We modeled this effect in a KO rat model and showed that ALMS1 genetic deletion leads to hypertension. We demonstrate that the link between ALMS1 and hypertension involves the activation of the renal Na+/K+/2Cl– cotransporter NKCC2, mediated by regulation of its endocytosis. Our findings establish a link between the genetic susceptibility to hypertension, CKD, and the expression of ALMS1 through its role in a salt-reabsorbing tubular segment of the kidney. These data point to ALMS1 as a potentially novel gene involved in BP and renal function regulation.
Ankita Bachhawat Jaykumar, Paulo S. Caceres, Keyona N. King-Medina, Tang-Dong Liao, Indrani Datta, Dipak Maskey, Jürgen K. Naggert, Mariela Mendez, William H. Beierwaltes, Pablo A. Ortiz
Maternal malnutrition, which causes prenatal exposure to excessive glucocorticoid, induces adverse metabolic programming, leading to hypertension in offspring. In offspring of pregnant rats receiving a low-protein diet or dexamethasone, a synthetic glucocorticoid, mRNA expression of angiotensin receptor type 1a (Agtr1a) in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus was upregulated, concurrent with reduced expression of DNA methyltransferase 3a (Dnmt3a), reduced binding of DNMT3a to the Agtr1a gene, and DNA demethylation. Salt loading increased BP in both types of offspring, suggesting that elevated hypothalamic Agtr1a expression is epigenetically modulated by excessive glucocorticoid and leads to adult-onset salt-sensitive hypertension. Consistent with this, dexamethasone treatment of PVN cells upregulated Agtr1a, while downregulating Dnmt3a, and decreased DNMT3a binding and DNA demethylation at the Agtr1a locus. In addition, Dnmt3a knockdown upregulated Agtr1a independently of dexamethasone. Hypothalamic neuron–specific Dnmt3a-deficient mice exhibited upregulation of Agtr1a in the PVN and salt-induced BP elevation without dexamethasone treatment. By contrast, dexamethasone-treated Agtr1a-deficient mice failed to show salt-induced BP elevation, despite reduced expression of Dnmt3a. Thus, epigenetic modulation of hypothalamic angiotensin signaling contributes to salt-sensitive hypertension induced by prenatal glucocorticoid excess in offspring of mothers that are malnourished during pregnancy.
Fumiko Kawakami-Mori, Mitsuhiro Nishimoto, Latapati Reheman, Wakako Kawarazaki, Nobuhiro Ayuzawa, Kohei Ueda, Daigoro Hirohama, Daisuke Kohno, Shigeyoshi Oba, Tatsuo Shimosawa, Takeshi Marumo, Toshiro Fujita
Mechanical injury to the brain triggers multiple biochemical events whose specific contributions to the pathogenesis define clinical manifestations and the overall outcome. Among many factors, mitochondrial injury has recently attracted much attention due to the importance of the organelle for bioenergetics as well as intra- and extracellular signaling and cell death. Assuming the essentiality of a mitochondria-unique phospholipid, cardiolipin (CL), for the structural and functional organization of mitochondria, here we applied global (phospho) lipidomics and redox lipidomics to reveal and identify CL modifications during controlled cortical impact (CCI). We revealed 2 major pathways activated in the CCI-injured brain as time-specific responses: early accumulation of oxidized CL (CLox) products was followed by hydrolytic reactions yielding monolyso-CLs (mCLs) and free fatty acids. To quantitatively assess possible specific roles of peroxidation and hydrolysis of mitochondrial CL, we performed comparative studies of CL modifications using an animal model of Barth syndrome where deficiency of CL reacylation (Tafazzin [Taz] deficiency) was associated exclusively with the accumulation of mCLs (but not CLox). By comparing the in vitro and in vivo results with genetic manipulation of major CL-, CLox-, and mCL-metabolizing enzymes, calcium-independent phospholipase A2γ and Taz, we concluded that the 2 processes — CL oxidation and CL hydrolysis — act as mutually synergistically enhancing components of the pathogenic mechanism of mitochondrial injury in traumatic brain injury. This emphasizes the need for combined therapeutic approaches preventing the formation of both CLox and mCL.
Honglu Chao, Tamil S. Anthonymuthu, Elizabeth M. Kenny, Andrew A. Amoscato, Laura K. Cole, Grant M. Hatch, Jing Ji, Valerian E. Kagan, Hülya Bayır
MERTK is ectopically expressed and promotes survival in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells and is thus a potential therapeutic target. Here we demonstrate both direct therapeutic effects of MERTK inhibition on leukemia cells and induction of anti-leukemia immunity via suppression of the coinhibitory PD-1 axis. A MERTK-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor, MRX-2843, mediated therapeutic anti-leukemia effects in immunocompromised mice bearing a MERTK-expressing human leukemia xenograft. In addition, inhibition of host MERTK by genetic deletion (Mertk–/– mice) or treatment with MRX-2843 significantly decreased tumor burden and prolonged survival in immune-competent mice inoculated with a MERTK-negative ALL, suggesting immune-mediated therapeutic activity. In this context, MERTK inhibition led to significant decreases in expression of the coinhibitory ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2 on CD11b+ monocytes/macrophages in the leukemia microenvironment. Furthermore, although T cells do not express MERTK, inhibition of MERTK indirectly decreased PD-1 expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and decreased the incidence of splenic FOXP3+ Tregs at sites of leukemic infiltration, leading to increased T cell activation. These data demonstrate direct and immune-mediated therapeutic activities in response to MERTK inhibition in ALL models and provide validation of a translational agent targeting MERTK for modulation of tumor immunity.
Alisa B. Lee-Sherick, Kristen M. Jacobsen, Curtis J. Henry, Madeline G. Huey, Rebecca E. Parker, Lauren S. Page, Amanda A. Hill, Xiaodong Wang, Stephen V. Frye, H. Shelton Earp, Craig T. Jordan, Deborah DeRyckere, Douglas K. Graham
Hypertriglyceridemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Dietary interventions based on protein restriction (PR) reduce circulating triglycerides (TGs), but underlying mechanisms and clinical relevance remain unclear. Here, we show that 1 week of a protein-free diet without enforced calorie restriction significantly lowered circulating TGs in both lean and diet-induced obese mice. Mechanistically, the TG-lowering effect of PR was due, in part, to changes in very low–density lipoprotein (VLDL) metabolism both in liver and peripheral tissues. In the periphery, PR stimulated VLDL-TG consumption by increasing VLDL-bound APOA5 expression and promoting VLDL-TG hydrolysis and clearance from circulation. The PR-mediated increase in Apoa5 expression was controlled by the transcription factor CREBH, which coordinately regulated hepatic expression of fatty acid oxidation–related genes, including Fgf21 and Ppara. The CREBH-APOA5 axis activation upon PR was intact in mice lacking the GCN2-dependent amino acid–sensing arm of the integrated stress response. However, constitutive hepatic activation of the amino acid–responsive kinase mTORC1 compromised CREBH activation, leading to blunted APOA5 expression and PR-recalcitrant hypertriglyceridemia. PR also contributed to hypotriglyceridemia by reducing the rate of VLDL-TG secretion, independently of activation of the CREBH-APOA5 axis. Finally, a randomized controlled clinical trial revealed that 4–6 weeks of reduced protein intake (7%–9% of calories) decreased VLDL particle number, increased VLDL-bound APOA5 expression, and lowered plasma TGs, consistent with mechanistic conservation of PR-mediated hypotriglyceridemia in humans with translational potential as a nutraceutical intervention for dyslipidemia.
J. Humberto Treviño-Villarreal, Justin S. Reynolds, Alexander Bartelt, P. Kent Langston, Michael R. MacArthur, Alessandro Arduini, Valeria Tosti, Nicola Veronese, Beatrice Bertozzi, Lear E. Brace, Pedro Mejia, Kaspar Trocha, Gustavo S. Kajitani, Alban Longchamp, Eylul Harputlugil, Rose Gathungu, Susan S. Bird, Arnold D. Bullock, Robert S. Figenshau, Gerald L. Andriole, Andrew Thompson, Jöerg Heeren, C. Keith Ozaki, Bruce S. Kristal, Luigi Fontana, James R. Mitchell
IQ motif–containing GTPase-activating protein 1 (IQGAP1) is a ubiquitously expressed scaffolding protein that integrates multiple cellular processes, including motility, adhesion, and proliferation, but its role in metabolism is unknown. Here, we show that IQGAP1 is induced upon fasting and regulates β-oxidation of fatty acids and synthesis of ketone bodies in the liver. IQGAP1-null (Iqgap1–/–) mice exhibit reduced hepatic PPARα transcriptional activity, as evidenced during fasting, after ketogenic diet, and upon pharmacological activation. Conversely, we found that the activity of fed-state sensor mTORC1 is enhanced in Iqgap1–/– livers, but acute inhibition of mTOR in Iqgap1–/– mice was unable to rescue the defect in ketone body synthesis. However, reexpressing IQGAP1 in the livers of Iqgap1–/– mice was sufficient to promote ketone body synthesis, increase PPARα signaling, and suppress mTORC1 activity. Taken together, we uncover what we believe to be a previously unidentified role for IQGAP1 in regulating PPARα activity and ketogenesis.
Hanna L. Erickson, Sayeepriyadarshini Anakk
Glioblastoma (GBM) remains uniformly lethal, and despite a large accumulation of immune cells in the microenvironment, there is limited antitumor immune response. To overcome these challenges, a comprehensive understanding of GBM systemic immune response during disease progression is required. Here, we integrated multiparameter flow cytometry and mass cytometry TOF (CyTOF) analysis of patient blood to determine changes in the immune system among tumor types and over disease progression. Utilizing flow cytometry analysis in a cohort of 259 patients ranging from benign to malignant primary and metastatic brain tumors, we found that GBM patients had a significant elevation in myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in peripheral blood but not immunosuppressive Tregs. In GBM patient tissue, we found that increased MDSC levels in recurrent GBM portended poor prognosis. CyTOF analysis of peripheral blood from newly diagnosed GBM patients revealed that reduced MDSCs over time were accompanied by a concomitant increase in DCs. GBM patients with extended survival also had reduced MDSCs, similar to the levels of low-grade glioma (LGG) patients. Our findings provide a rationale for developing strategies to target MDSCs, which are elevated in GBM patients and predict poor prognosis.
Tyler J. Alban, Alvaro G. Alvarado, Mia D. Sorensen, Defne Bayik, Josephine Volovetz, Emily Serbinowski, Erin E. Mulkearns-Hubert, Maksim Sinyuk, James S. Hale, Giovana R. Onzi, Mary McGraw, Pengjing Huang, Matthew M. Grabowski, Connor A. Wathen, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Tomas Radivoyevitch, Harley I. Kornblum, Bjarne W. Kristensen, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Justin D. Lathia