In this issue, Boyer et al. investigate ERK1/2 signaling in skeletal muscle homeostasis and disease. Using genetic mouse models, they find that sustained ERK1/2 activity in skeletal muscle produces a fast-to-slow fiber-type switch that is protective in a mouse model of limb-girdle muscle dystrophy. The cover image shows a cross section of a murine soleus muscle stained with an anti-Myh7 antibody to highlight the slow twitch type I fibers (green), an anti-Myh2 antibody to show type IIA fibers (purple), and with an anti-laminin antibody (blue) to delineate the myofibers.
Immunological tolerance removes or inactivates self-reactive B cells, including those that also recognize cross-reactive foreign antigens. Whereas a few microbial pathogens exploit these “holes” in the B cell repertoire by mimicking host antigens to evade immune surveillance, the extent to which tolerance reduces the B cell repertoire to foreign antigens is unknown. Here, we use single-cell cultures to determine the repertoires of human B cell antigen receptors (BCRs) before (transitional B cells) and after (mature B cells) the second B cell tolerance checkpoint in both healthy donors and in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) . In healthy donors, the majority (~70%) of transitional B cells that recognize foreign antigens also bind human self-antigens (foreign+self), and peripheral tolerance halves the frequency of foreign+self-reactive mature B cells. In contrast, in SLE patients who are defective in the second tolerance checkpoint, frequencies of foreign+self-reactive B cells remain unchanged during maturation of transitional to mature B cells. Patterns of foreign+self-reactivity among mature B cells from healthy donors differ from those of SLE patients. We propose that immune tolerance significantly reduces the scope of the BCR repertoire to microbial pathogens and that cross-reactivity between foreign and self epitopes may be more common than previously appreciated.
Akiko Watanabe, Kuei-Ying Su, Masayuki Kuraoka, Guang Yang, Alexander E. Reynolds, Aaron G. Schmidt, Stephen C. Harrison, Barton F. Haynes, E. William St. Clair, Garnett Kelsoe
The discovery of novel biomarkers has emerged as a critical need for therapeutic development in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). For some subsets of ALS, such as the genetic superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) form, exciting new treatment strategies, such as antisense oligonucleotide–mediated (ASO-mediated) SOD1 silencing, are being tested in clinical trials, so the identification of pharmacodynamic biomarkers for therapeutic monitoring is essential. We identify increased levels of a 7–amino acid endogenous peptide of SOD1 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of human SOD1 mutation carriers but not in other neurological cases or nondiseased controls. Levels of peptide elevation vary based on the specific SOD1 mutation (ranging from 1.1-fold greater than control in D90A to nearly 30-fold greater in V148G) and correlate with previously published measurements of SOD1 stability. Using a mass spectrometry–based method (liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry), we quantified peptides in both extracellular samples (CSF) and intracellular samples (spinal cord from rat) to demonstrate that the peptide distinguishes mutation-specific differences in intracellular SOD1 degradation. Furthermore, 80% and 63% reductions of the peptide were measured in SOD1G93A and SOD1H46R rat CSF samples, respectively, following treatment with ASO, with an improved correlation to mRNA levels in spinal cords compared with the ELISA measuring intact SOD1 protein. These data demonstrate the potential of this peptide as a pharmacodynamic biomarker.
Ilya Gertsman, Joanne Wuu, Melissa McAlonis-Downes, Majid Ghassemian, Karen Ling, Frank Rigo, Frank Bennett, Michael Benatar, Timothy M. Miller, Sandrine Da Cruz
A vast body of literature has established G protein–coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2; family: β-adrenergic receptor kinases [βARKs]) as a key player in the development and progression of heart failure. Inhibition of GRK2 improves cardiac function after injury in numerous animal models. In recent years, discovery of several noncanonical GRK2 targets has expanded our view of this kinase. This article describes the exciting finding that cardiac GRK2 activity can regulate whole-body metabolism. Transgenic mice with cardiac-specific expression of a peptide inhibitor of GRK2 (TgβARKct) display an enhanced obesogenic phenotype when fed a high-fat diet (HFD). In contrast, mice with cardiac-specific overexpression of GRK2 (TgGRK2) show resistance to HFD-induced obesity. White adipose tissue (WAT) mass was significantly enhanced in HFD-fed TgβARKct mice. Furthermore, regulators of adipose differentiation were differentially regulated in WAT from mice with gain or loss of GRK2 function. Using complex metabolomics, we found that cardiac GRK2 signaling altered myocardial branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) and endocannabinoid metabolism. In addition, it modulated circulating BCAA and endocannabinoid metabolite profiles on mice fed an HFD. We also found that one of the BCAA metabolites identified here enhances adipocyte differentiation in vitro. These results suggest that metabolic changes in the heart due to GRK2 signaling on mice fed an HFD control whole-body metabolism.
Benjamin P. Woodall, Kenneth S. Gresham, Meryl A. Woodall, Mesele-Christina Valenti, Alessandro Cannavo, Jessica Pfleger, J. Kurt Chuprun, Konstantinos Drosatos, Walter J. Koch
The bone marrow microenvironment contributes to the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function, though its role in age-associated lineage skewing is poorly understood. Here we show that dysfunction of aged marrow macrophages (Mφs) directs HSC platelet bias. Mφs from the marrow of aged mice and humans exhibited an activated phenotype, with increased expression of inflammatory signals. Aged marrow Mφs also displayed decreased phagocytic function. Senescent neutrophils, typically cleared by marrow Mφs, were markedly increased in aged mice, consistent with functional defects in Mφ phagocytosis and efferocytosis. In aged mice, interleukin-1B (IL-1B) was elevated in the bone marrow, and caspase-1 activity, which can process pro–IL-1B, was increased in marrow Mφs and neutrophils. Mechanistically, IL-1B signaling was necessary and sufficient to induce a platelet bias in HSCs. In young mice, depletion of phagocytic cell populations or loss of the efferocytic receptor Axl expanded platelet-biased HSCs. Our data support a model wherein increased inflammatory signals and decreased phagocytic function of aged marrow Mφs induce the acquisition of platelet bias in aged HSCs. This work highlights the instructive role of Mφs and IL-1B in the age-associated lineage skewing of HSCs, and reveals the therapeutic potential of their manipulation as antigeronic targets.
Benjamin J. Frisch, Corey M. Hoffman, Sarah E. Latchney, Mark W. LaMere, Jason Myers, John Ashton, Allison J. Li, Jerry Saunders II, James Palis, Archibald S. Perkins, Amanda McCabe, Julianne N.P. Smith, Kathleen E. McGrath, Fatima Rivera-Escalera, Andrew McDavid, Jane L. Liesveld, Vyacheslav A. Korshunov, Michael R. Elliott, Katherine C. MacNamara, Michael W. Becker, Laura M. Calvi
The adoptive cell transfer (ACT) of T cells targeting mutated neoantigens can cause objective responses in varieties of metastatic cancers, but the development of new T cell–based treatments relies on accurate animal models. To investigate the therapeutic effect of targeting a neoantigen with ACT, we used T cells from pmel-1 T cell receptor–transgenic mice, known to recognize a WT peptide, gp100, and a mutated version of the peptide that has higher avidity. We gene-engineered B16 cells to express the WT or mutated gp100 epitopes and found that pmel-1–specific T cells targeting a neoantigen tumor target augmented recognition as measured by IFN-γ production. Neoantigen expression by B16 also enhanced the capacity of pmel-1 T cells to trigger the complete and durable regression of large, established, vascularized tumor and required less lymphodepleting conditioning. Targeting neoantigen uncovered the possibility of using enforced expression of the IL-2Rα chain (CD25) in mutation-reactive CD8+ T cells to improve their antitumor functionality. These data reveal that targeting of “mutated-self” neoantigens may lead to improved efficacy and reduced toxicities of T cell–based cellular immunotherapies for patients with cancer.
Ken-ichi Hanada, Zhiya Yu, Gabrielle R. Chappell, Adam S. Park, Nicholas P. Restifo
Biomechanical forces and endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT) are known to mediate valvulogenesis. However, the relative contributions of myocardial contractile and hemodynamic shear forces remain poorly understood. We integrated 4D light-sheet imaging of transgenic zebrafish models with moving-domain computational fluid dynamics to determine effects of changes in contractile forces and fluid wall shear stress (WSS) on ventriculobulbar (VB) valve development. Augmentation of myocardial contractility with isoproterenol increased both WSS and Notch1b activity in the developing outflow tract (OFT) and resulted in VB valve hyperplasia. Increasing WSS in the OFT, achieved by increasing blood viscosity through EPO mRNA injection, also resulted in VB valve hyperplasia. Conversely, decreasing myocardial contractility by Tnnt2a morpholino oligonucleotide (MO) administration, 2,3-butanedione monoxime treatment, or Plcγ1 inhibition completely blocked VB valve formation, which could not be rescued by increasing WSS or activating Notch. Decreasing WSS in the OFT, achieved by slowing heart rate with metoprolol or reducing viscosity with Gata1a MO, did not affect VB valve formation. Immunofluorescent staining with the mesenchymal marker, DM-GRASP, revealed that biomechanical force–mediated Notch1b activity is implicated in EndoMT to modulate valve morphology. Altogether, increases in WSS result in Notch1b- and EndoMT-mediated VB valve hyperplasia, whereas decreases in contractility result in reduced Notch1b activity, absence of EndoMT, and VB valve underdevelopment. Thus, we provide developmental mechanotransduction mechanisms underlying Notch1b-mediated EndoMT in the OFT.
Jeffrey J. Hsu, Vijay Vedula, Kyung In Baek, Cynthia Chen, Junjie Chen, Man In Chou, Jeffrey Lam, Shivani Subhedar, Jennifer Wang, Yichen Ding, Chih-Chiang Chang, Juhyun Lee, Linda L. Demer, Yin Tintut, Alison L. Marsden, Tzung K. Hsiai
Copy number increase or decrease of certain dosage-sensitive genes may cause genetic diseases with distinct phenotypes, conceptually termed genomic disorders. The most common cause of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), an X-linked hypomyelinating leukodystrophy, is genomic duplication encompassing the entire proteolipid protein 1 (PLP1) gene. Although the exact molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying PLP1 duplication, which causes severe hypomyelination in the central nervous system, remain largely elusive, PLP1 overexpression is likely the fundamental cause of this devastating disease. Here, we investigated if adeno-associated virus–mediated (AAV-mediated) gene-specific suppression may serve as a potential cure for PMD by correcting quantitative aberrations in gene products. We developed an oligodendrocyte-specific Plp1 gene suppression therapy using artificial microRNA under the control of human CNP promoter in a self-complementary AAV (scAAV) platform. A single direct brain injection achieved widespread oligodendrocyte-specific Plp1 suppression in the white matter of WT mice. AAV treatment in Plp1-transgenic mice, a PLP1 duplication model, ameliorated cytoplasmic accumulation of Plp1, preserved mature oligodendrocytes from degradation, restored myelin structure and gene expression, and improved survival and neurological phenotypes. Together, our results provide evidence that AAV-mediated gene suppression therapy can serve as a potential cure for PMD resulting from PLP1 duplication and possibly for other genomic disorders.
Heng Li, Hironori Okada, Sadafumi Suzuki, Kazuhisa Sakai, Hitomi Izumi, Yukiko Matsushima, Noritaka Ichinohe, Yu-ichi Goto, Takashi Okada, Ken Inoue
Recently, by using conventional and tamoxifen-inducible brain and muscle Arnt-like protein 1–knockout (Bmal1-KO) mice, we found that delaying the loss of circadian rhythms to adulthood attenuates the impact on general integrity and survival at least under 12-hour light/12-hour dark conditions. To understand further the contribution of Bmal1 in postnatal life under conditions of circadian disruption, we subjected inducible-KO and their littermate controls (ctrls) to forced desynchrony protocols, including cycles with non–24-hour periods, randomized light/dark cycles, and jet lag, and monitored their locomotor activity using radiotelemetry. Under these conditions, ctrl mice cannot be entrained, as reflected by their maintenance of circadian behavior irrespective of schedules. By contrast, KO mice displayed higher activity levels in the dark phases of most cycles. Under a 3-hour light/3-hour dark regime, ctrls displayed higher activity levels in the dark phases of all cycles, although there were still obvious circadian rhythms, suggesting that an ultradian mechanism is also involved. Insulin sensitivity was markedly reduced by disrupted light schedules, as expected in ctrls, but not in the KO mice. Thus, Bmal1 deletion in adult mice facilitates adaptation to new light/dark schedules and protects from insulin resistance induced by circadian disruption.
Guangrui Yang, Lihong Chen, Jiayang Zhang, Baoyin Ren, Garret A. FitzGerald
Although cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbimortality worldwide, promising new drug candidates are lacking. We compared the arterial high-resolution proteome of patients with advanced versus early-stage CVD to predict, from a library of small bioactive molecules, drug candidates able to reverse this disease signature. Of the approximately 4000 identified proteins, 100 proteins were upregulated and 52 were downregulated in advanced-stage CVD. Arachidonyl trifluoromethyl ketone (AACOCF3), a cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) inhibitor was predicted as the top drug able to reverse the advanced-stage CVD signature. Vascular cPLA2 expression was increased in patients with advanced-stage CVD. Treatment with AACOCF3 significantly reduced vascular calcification in a cholecalciferol-overload mouse model and inhibited osteoinductive signaling in vivo and in vitro in human aortic smooth muscle cells. In conclusion, using a systems biology approach, we have identified a potentially new compound that prevented typical vascular calcification in CVD in vivo. Apart from the clear effect of this approach in CVD, such strategy should also be able to generate novel drug candidates in other complex diseases.
Joost P. Schanstra, Trang T.D. Luong, Manousos Makridakis, Sophie Van Linthout, Vasiliki Lygirou, Agnieszka Latosisnska, Ioana Alesutan, Beate Boehme, Nadeshda Schelski, Dirk Von Lewinski, William Mullen, Stuart Nicklin, Christian Delles, Guylène Feuillet, Colette Denis, Florian Lang, Burkert Pieske, Jean-Loup Bascands, Harald Mischak, Jean-Sebastien Saulnier-Blache, Jakob Voelkl, Antonia Vlahou, Julie Klein
Nemaline myopathy is a congenital neuromuscular disorder characterized by muscle weakness, fiber atrophy, and presence of nemaline bodies within myofibers. However, understanding of the underlying pathomechanisms is lacking. Recently, mutations in KBTBD13, KLHL40, and KLHL41, three substrate adaptors for the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cullin-3, have been associated with early-onset nemaline myopathies. We hypothesized that deregulation of Cullin-3 and its muscle protein substrates may be responsible for disease development. Using Cullin-3–knockout mice, we identified accumulation of non-muscle α-actinins (ACTN1 and ACTN4) in muscles of these mice, which we also observed in patients with mutations in KBTBD13. Our data reveal that proper regulation of Cullin-3 activity and ACTN1 levels is essential for normal muscle and neuromuscular junction development. While ACTN1 is naturally downregulated during myogenesis, its overexpression in C2C12 myoblasts triggered defects in fusion, myogenesis, and acetylcholine receptor clustering — features that we characterized in Cullin-3–deficient mice. Taken together, our data highlight the importance of Cullin-3–mediated degradation of ACTN1 for muscle development, and indicate what is to our knowledge new pathomechanism for the etiology of myopathies seen in Cullin-3–knockout mice and patients with nemaline myopathy.
Jordan Blondelle, Kavya Tallapaka, Jane T. Seto, Majid Ghassemian, Madison Clark, Jenni M. Laitila, Adam Bournazos, Jeffrey D. Singer, Stephan Lange
We explored the association between violence victimization and increased risk for acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in women by measuring cellular immune barrier properties from the female reproductive tract. STI-negative participants reporting repeated prior victimization occurrences through the lifetime trauma and victimization history (LTVH) instrument were more likely to exhibit alterations in barrier homeostasis and the composition of critical immune mediators irrespective of demographic parameters or presence of bacterial vaginosis. By combining cellular data with mixed-effect linear modeling, we uncovered differences in local T cells, MHCII+ antigen–presenting cells, and epithelial cells indicative of altered trafficking behavior, increased immunosuppressive function, and decreased barrier integrity at sites of STI exposure that correlate most strongly with LTVH score. These data evidence a biological link between a history of violence victimization and risk of STI acquisition through immune dysregulation in the female reproductive tract.
Alison Swaims-Kohlmeier, Lisa B. Haddad, Zheng-Rong Tiger Li, Kathryn A. Brookmeyer, James M. Baker, Cathy Spatz Widom, James C. Lamousin, Kai-Hua Chi, Cheng Y. Chen, Ellen N. Kersh, Jeffrey A. Johnson, Melissa M. Herbst-Kralovetz, Matthew Hogben, Igho Ofotokun, Jacob E. Kohlmeier
Virulent protozoans named Leishmania in tropical and subtropical areas produce devastating diseases by exploiting host immune responses. Amastigotes of Leishmania amazonensis stimulate macrophages to express CD200, an immunomodulatory ligand, which binds to its cognate receptor (CD200R) and inhibits the inducible nitric oxide synthase and nitric oxide (iNOS/NO) signaling pathways, thereby promoting intracellular survival. However, the mechanisms underlying CD200 induction in macrophages remain largely unknown. Here, we show that phagocytosis-mediated internalization of L. amazonensis amastigotes following activation of endosomal TLR9/MyD88/TRIF signaling is critical for inducing CD200 in infected macrophages. We also demonstrate that Leishmania microvesicles containing DNA fragments activate TLR9-dependent CD200 expression, which inhibits the iNOS/NO pathway and modulates the course of L. amazonensis infection in vivo. These findings demonstrate that Leishmania exploits TLR-signaling pathways not only to inhibit macrophage microbicidal function, but also to evade host systemic immune responses, which has many implications in the severity of the disease.
Ismael P. Sauter, Katerine G. Madrid, Josiane B. de Assis, Anderson Sá-Nunes, Ana C. Torrecilhas, Daniela I. Staquicini, Renata Pasqualini, Wadih Arap, Mauro Cortez
Adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) are crucial for maintaining adipose tissue homeostasis and mediating obesity-induced metabolic abnormalities, including prediabetic conditions and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Despite their key functions in regulating adipose tissue metabolic and immunologic homeostasis under normal and obese conditions, a high-resolution transcriptome annotation system that can capture ATM multifaceted activation profiles has not yet been developed. This is primarily attributed to the complexity of their differentiation/activation process in adipose tissue and their diverse activation profiles in response to microenvironmental cues. Although the concept of multifaceted macrophage action is well accepted, no current model precisely depicts their dynamically regulated in vivo features. To address this knowledge gap, we generated single-cell transcriptome data from primary bone marrow–derived macrophages under polarizing and nonpolarizing conditions to develop new high-resolution algorithms. The outcome was the creation of a 2-index platform, MacSpectrum (https://macspectrum.uconn.edu), that enables comprehensive high-resolution mapping of macrophage activation states from diverse mixed cell populations. MacSpectrum captured dynamic transitions of macrophage subpopulations under both in vitro and in vivo conditions. Importantly, MacSpectrum revealed unique signature gene sets in ATMs and circulating monocytes that displayed significant correlation with BMI and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in obese human patients. Thus, MacSpectrum provides unprecedented resolution to decode macrophage heterogeneity and will open new areas of clinical translation.
Chuan Li, Antoine Menoret, Cullen Farragher, Zhengqing Ouyang, Christopher Bonin, Paul Holvoet, Anthony T. Vella, Beiyan Zhou
Epidemiological findings indicate that coinfection with influenza viruses is associated with an increased risk of death in patients suffering from tuberculosis, but the underlying pathomechanisms are not well understood. In this study, we demonstrate that influenza A virus (IAV) coinfection rapidly impairs control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) in C57BL/6 mice. IAV coinfection was associated with significantly increased bacterial loads, reduced survival, and a substantial modulation of innate and adaptive immune defenses including an impaired onset and development of Mtb-specific CD4+ T cell responses and the accumulation of macrophages with increased arginase-1 production in the lungs. Our findings strongly indicate that IAV coinfection compromises the host’s ability to control Mtb infection via the production of IL-10, which was rapidly induced upon viral infection. The blockade of IL-10 receptor signaling reduced the bacterial load in coinfected mice to a level comparable to that in Mtb-only-infected animals. Taken together, our data suggest that IL-10 signaling constitutes a major pathway that enhances susceptibility to Mtb during concurrent IAV infection.
Sarah Ring, Lars Eggers, Jochen Behrends, Adam Wutkowski, Dominik Schwudke, Andrea Kröger, Alexandra Maximiliane Hierweger, Christoph Hölscher, Gülsah Gabriel, Bianca E. Schneider
Gain of the long arm of chromosome 17 (17q) is a cytogenetic hallmark of high-risk neuroblastoma, yet its contribution to neuroblastoma pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. Combining whole-genome and RNA sequencing of neuroblastomas, we identified the prohibitin (PHB) gene as highly expressed in tumors with 17q gain. High PHB expression correlated with poor prognosis and was associated with loss of gene expression programs promoting neuronal development and differentiation. PHB depletion induced differentiation and apoptosis and slowed cell cycle progression of neuroblastoma cells, at least in part through impaired ERK1/2 activation. Conversely, ectopic expression of PHB was sufficient to increase proliferation of neuroblastoma cells and was associated with suppression of markers associated with neuronal differentiation and favorable neuroblastoma outcome. Thus, PHB is a 17q oncogene in neuroblastoma that promotes tumor cell proliferation and dedifferentiation.
Ian C. MacArthur, Yi Bei, Heathcliff Dorado Garcia, Michael V. Ortiz, Joern Toedling, Filippos Klironomos, Jana Rolff, Angelika Eggert, Johannes H. Schulte, Alex Kentsis, Anton G. Henssen
BACKGROUND In preclinical murine and early clinical studies of hematopoietic cell transplantation, engineering of donor grafts with defined ratios of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Tregs to conventional T cells (Tcons) results in the prevention of graft-versus-host disease and improved immune reconstitution. The use of highly purified primary graft Tregs for direct cell infusion has potential advantages over impure immunomagnetic selection or culture expansion, but has not been tested clinically. We performed a phase I study of the timed addition of CD34-selected hematopoietic stem cells and Tregs, followed by Tcons for the treatment of patients with high-risk hematological malignancies.METHODS We present interim evaluation of a single-center open phase I/II study of administration of human leukocyte-matched Tregs and CD34-selected hematopoietic cells, followed by infusion of an equal ratio of Tcons in adult patients undergoing myeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) for high-risk or active hematological malignancies. Tregs were purified by immunomagnetic selection and high-speed cell sorting.RESULTS Here we report results for the first 12 patients who received Tregs of between 91% and 96% purity. Greater than grade II GVHD was noted in 2 patients in the first cohort of 5 patients, who received cryopreserved Tregs, but neither acute nor chronic GVHD was noted in the second cohort of 7 patients, who received fresh Tregs and single-agent GVHD prophylaxis. Patients in the second cohort appeared to have normal immune reconstitution compared with patients who underwent transplantation and did not develop GVHD.CONCLUSION Our study shows that the use of highly purified fresh Tregs is clinically feasible and supports continued investigation of the strategy.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01660607.FUNDING NIH NHBLI R01 HL114591 and K08HL119590.
Everett H. Meyer, Ginna Laport, Bryan J. Xie, Kate MacDonald, Kartoosh Heydari, Bita Sahaf, Sai-Wen Tang, Jeanette Baker, Randall Armstrong, Keri Tate, Cynthia Tadisco, Sally Arai, Laura Johnston, Robert Lowsky, Lori Muffly, Andrew R. Rezvani, Judith Shizuru, Wen-Kai Weng, Kevin Sheehan, David Miklos, Robert S. Negrin
MAPK signaling consists of an array of successively acting kinases. ERK1 and -2 (ERK1/2) are major components of the greater MAPK cascade that transduce growth factor signaling at the cell membrane. Here, we investigated ERK1/2 signaling in skeletal muscle homeostasis and disease. Using mouse genetics, we observed that the muscle-specific expression of a constitutively active MEK1 mutant promotes greater ERK1/2 signaling that mediates fiber-type switching to a slow, oxidative phenotype with type I myosin heavy chain expression. Using a conditional and temporally regulated Cre strategy, as well as Mapk1 (ERK2) and Mapk3 (ERK1) genetically targeted mice, MEK1-ERK2 signaling was shown to underlie this fast-to-slow fiber-type switching in adult skeletal muscle as well as during development. Physiologic assessment of these activated MEK1-ERK1/2 mice showed enhanced metabolic activity and oxygen consumption with greater muscle fatigue resistance. In addition, induction of MEK1-ERK1/2 signaling increased dystrophin and utrophin protein expression in a mouse model of limb-girdle muscle dystrophy and protected myofibers from damage. In summary, sustained MEK1-ERK1/2 activity in skeletal muscle produces a fast-to-slow fiber-type switch that protects from muscular dystrophy, suggesting a therapeutic approach to enhance the metabolic effectiveness of muscle and protect from dystrophic disease.
Justin G. Boyer, Vikram Prasad, Taejeong Song, Donghoon Lee, Xing Fu, Kelly M. Grimes, Michelle A. Sargent, Sakthivel Sadayappan, Jeffery D. Molkentin
IL-17–producing CD4+ (Th17) cells are pathogenically linked to autoimmunity and, specifically, to autoimmune kidney disease. The newly recognized immunoregulatory functions of erythropoietin (EPO) and its predominant intrarenal source suggested that EPO physiologically regulates Th17 cell differentiation, thereby serving as a barrier to development of autoimmune kidney disease. Using in vitro studies of human and murine cells and in vivo models, we show that EPO ligation of its receptor (EPO-R) on CD4+ T cells directly inhibits Th17 cell generation and promotes transdifferentiation of Th17 cells into IL-17–FOXP3+CD4+ T cells. Mechanistically, EPO/EPO-R ligation abrogates upregulation of SGK1 gene expression and blocks p38 activity to prevent SGK1 phosphorylation, thereby inhibiting RORC-mediated transcription of IL17 and IL23 receptor genes. In a murine model of Th17 cell–dependent aristolochic acid–induced interstitial kidney disease associated with reduced renal EPO production, we demonstrate that transgenic EPO overexpression or recombinant EPO (rEPO) administration limits Th17 cell formation and clinical/histological disease expression. EPO/EPO-R ligations on CD4+ T cells abrogate, while absence of T cell–expressed EPO-R augments, Th17 cell induction and clinical/histological expression of pristane-induced glomerulonephritis (associated with decreased intrarenal EPO). rEPO prevents spontaneous glomerulonephritis and Th17 cell generation in MRL-lpr mice. Together, our findings indicate that EPO physiologically and therapeutically modulates Th17 cells to limit expression of Th17 cell–associated autoimmune kidney disease.
Chiara Donadei, Andrea Angeletti, Chiara Cantarelli, Vivette D. D’Agati, Gaetano La Manna, Enrico Fiaccadori, Julian K. Horwitz, Huabao Xiong, Chiara Guglielmo, Susan Hartzell, Joren C. Madsen, Umberto Maggiore, Peter S. Heeger, Paolo Cravedi
BACKGROUND Clinical diagnosis of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) is challenging because of lack of a diagnostic biomarker and requires a kidney biopsy. We hypothesized that AIN is mediated by specific T cell subsets such that specific T cell cytokine levels could serve as biomarkers to distinguish AIN from other causes of acute kidney disease (AKD).METHODS We enrolled consecutive sampling participants who underwent a kidney biopsy for AKD evaluation at 2 centers between 2015 and 2018. Three pathologists independently established AIN diagnosis through review of kidney biopsies. Through univariable and multivariable analysis of 12 selected urine and plasma cytokines, we identified 2 that were diagnostic of AIN.RESULTS Of the 218 participants, 32 (15%) were diagnosed with AIN by all 3 pathologists. Participants with AIN had consistently higher levels of urine TNF-α and IL-9 than those with other diagnoses, including acute tubular injury, glomerular diseases, and diabetic kidney disease, and those without any kidney disease. As compared with participants in the lowest quartile, we noted higher odds of AIN in participants in the highest quartiles of TNF-α levels (adjusted odds ratio, 10.9 [1.8, 65.9]) and IL-9 levels (7.5 [1.2, 45.7]) when controlling for blood eosinophils, leukocyturia, and proteinuria. Addition of biomarkers improved area under receiver operating characteristic curve over clinicians’ prebiopsy diagnosis (0.84 [0.78, 0.91]) vs. 0.62 [(0.53, 0.71]) and a model of current tests (0.84 [0.76, 0.91] vs. 0.69 [0.58, 0.80]).CONCLUSIONS Inclusion of urinary TNF-α and IL-9 improves discrimination over clinicians’ prebiopsy diagnosis and currently available tests for AIN diagnosis.FUNDING Supported by NIH awards K23DK117065, T32DK007276, K24DK090203, K23DK097201, R01DK113191, UG3-DK114866, P30DK079310; the Robert E. Leet and Clara Guthrie Patterson Trust; and American Heart Association award 18CDA34060118.
Dennis G. Moledina, F. Perry Wilson, Jordan S. Pober, Mark A. Perazella, Nikhil Singh, Randy L. Luciano, Wassim Obeid, Haiqun Lin, Michael Kuperman, Gilbert W. Moeckel, Michael Kashgarian, Lloyd G. Cantley, Chirag R. Parikh
BACKGROUND. Current dosing of intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy (IPFT) in adults with complicated parapneumonic effusion (CPE)/empyema is empiric, as dose-escalation trials have not previously been conducted. We hypothesized that LTI-01 (a single-chain urokinase [scuPA]), which is relatively resistant to plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 (PAI-1), would be well tolerated.METHODS. This was an open-label, dose-escalation trial of LTI-01 IPFT at 50,000-800,000 IU daily for up to 3 days in adults with loculated CPE/empyema and failed pleural drainage. The primary objective was to evaluate safety and tolerability, and secondary objectives included assessments of processing and bioactivity of scuPA in blood and pleural fluid (PF), and early efficacy.RESULTS. LTI-01 was well tolerated, with no bleeding, treatment-emergent adverse events, or surgical referrals (n = 14 subjects). Urokinase PA (uPA) antigen increased in PFs at 3 hours after LTI-01 (P < 0.01) but not in plasma. PF saturated active PAI-1, generated PAI-1–resistant bioactive complexes, and increased PA and fibrinolytic activities and D-dimers. There was no systemic fibrinogenolysis or increments in plasma D-dimers. Decreased pleural opacities occurred in all but 1 subject. Both subjects receiving 800,000 IU required 2 doses to relieve pleural sepsis, with 2 other subjects similarly responding at lower doses.CONCLUSION. LTI-01 IPFT was well tolerated at these doses, with no safety concerns. Bioactivity of LTI-01 IPFT was confirmed, limited to PFs, where its processing simulated that previously reported in preclinical studies. Preliminary efficacy signals including reduction of pleural opacity were observed.TRIAL REGISTRATION. ANZCT ID: ACTRN12616001442493.FUNDING. Lung Therapeutics Inc. (LTI), NIH SMARTT HHSN268201100014C (SI), UO-1 HL121841-01A1 (SI). 1R01HL130402-01A1 (AAK, GF, SI), UTHSCT AG18-09 (AAK).
Lutz Beckert, Ben Brockway, Graham Simpson, Anne Marie Southcott, Y.C. Gary Lee, Najib Rahman, Richard W. Light, Steven Shoemaker, John Gillies, Andrey A. Komissarov, Galina Florova, Timothy Ochran, William Bradley, Harrison Ndetan, Karan P. Singh, Krishna Sarva, Steven Idell
BACKGROUND Sepsis is a complex clinical syndrome with substantial heterogeneity. We sought to identify patterns of serum biomarkers of endothelial activation and dysfunction in individuals with sepsis and evaluate subgroup-specific differences in mortality.METHODS Adult patients with sepsis (n = 426) were consecutively recruited from 2 hospitals in Uganda. Clinical information was collected, and serum concentrations of 11 biomarkers involved in the endothelial response to infection were measured in samples from 315 patients. Latent variable models were fit to evaluate whether the endothelial response to sepsis consists of one unified biologic process or multiple processes and to identify subgroups of patients with distinct host-response profiles. Differences in survival at day 28 were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier survival curves.RESULTS We identified 3 patient subgroups characterized by unique host endothelial response profiles. Patients fitting profile 2 had significantly worse survival (log-rank P < 0.001). Four latent factors (factors 1–4) were identified, each potentially representing distinct biologic processes for the endothelial response to sepsis: factor 1 (CHI3L1, sTREM1, sFLT1), factor 2 (ANGPT1, PF4, VEGF), factor 3 (CXCL10, vWF, sICAM1), and factor 4 (ANGPT2, sTEK).CONCLUSION Patient profiles based on patterns of circulating biomarkers of endothelial responses may provide a clinically meaningful way to categorize patients into homogeneous subgroups and may identify patients with a high risk of mortality. Profile 2 may represent dysfunction of the endothelial response to infection.FUNDING Primary funding: Investigator-Initiated Award provided by Pfizer Inc. Additional support: Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation grant (FDN-148439) and the Canada Research Chair program.
Danielle V. Clark, Patrick Banura, Karen Bandeen-Roche, W. Conrad Liles, Kevin C. Kain, W. Michael Scheld, William J. Moss, Shevin T. Jacob
The E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin plays an important role in regulating clearance of dysfunctional or unwanted mitochondria in tissues, including the heart. However, whether Parkin also functions to prevent cardiac aging by maintaining a healthy population of mitochondria is still unclear. Here, we have examined the role of Parkin in the context of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and myocardial aging using a mouse model carrying a proofreading-defective mtDNA polymerase γ (POLG). We observed both decreased Parkin protein levels and development of cardiac hypertrophy in POLG hearts with age; however, cardiac hypertrophy in POLG mice was neither rescued, nor worsened by cardiac-specific overexpression or global deletion of Parkin, respectively. Unexpectedly, mitochondrial fitness did not substantially decline with age in POLG mice when compared with that in WT mice. We found that baseline mitophagy receptor–mediated mitochondrial turnover and biogenesis were enhanced in aged POLG hearts. We also observed the presence of megamitochondria in aged POLG hearts. Thus, these processes may limit the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria as well as the degree of cardiac functional impairment in the aging POLG heart. Overall, our results demonstrate that Parkin is dispensable for constitutive mitochondrial quality control in a mtDNA mutation model of cardiac aging.
Benjamin P. Woodall, Amabel M. Orogo, Rita H. Najor, Melissa Q. Cortez, Eileen R. Moreno, Hongxia Wang, Ajit S. Divakaruni, Anne N. Murphy, Åsa B. Gustafsson
Strategies that intervene with the development of immune-mediated diseases are urgently needed, as current treatments mostly focus on alleviating symptoms rather than reversing the disease. Targeting enzymes involved in epigenetic modifications to chromatin represents an alternative strategy that has the potential to perturb the function of the lymphocytes that drive the immune response. Here, we report that 2 major epigenetic silencing pathways are increased after T cell activation. By specific inactivation of these molecules in the T cell compartment in vivo, we demonstrate that the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is essential for the generation of allergic responses. Furthermore, we show that small-molecule inhibition of the PRC2 methyltransferase, enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (Ezh2), reduces allergic inflammation in mice. Therefore, by systematically surveying the pathways involved in epigenetic gene silencing we have identified Ezh2 as a target for the suppression of allergic disease.
Christine R. Keenan, Nadia Iannarella, Alexandra L. Garnham, Alexandra C. Brown, Richard Y. Kim, Jay C. Horvat, Philip M. Hansbro, Stephen L. Nutt, Rhys S. Allan
Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) immunotherapy induces potent antitumor immunity across multiple solid tumors, although few patients respond well to this therapy. An emerging biomarker for predicting responsiveness to ICB immunotherapy is tumor mutational burden (TMB). Although several surrogate biomarkers, including deficient mismatch repair, TP53/KRAS mutations, and comutations in DNA damage response pathways, have been shown to be effective for predicting the response to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy, each is positive for only a small cohort of candidates, and many potential responders to ICB are inevitably missed. Here, we found that titin (TTN), which is frequently detected in solid tumors, is associated with increased TMB and correlated with objective response to ICB. In 7 public clinical cohorts, all patients with mutated TTN showed longer progression-free survival or overall survival than those with wild-type status. Furthermore, an improved objective response rate and higher TMB were identified in cohorts with accessible information. Identification of TTN mutation as a predictor of improved outcomes in response to ICBs provides a clinically feasible assessment for estimating TMB and ICB therapy outcomes.
Qingzhu Jia, Jun Wang, Ning He, Ji He, Bo Zhu
Glucagon, a hormone released from pancreatic α cells, plays a key role in maintaining proper glucose homeostasis and has been implicated in the pathophysiology of diabetes. In vitro studies suggest that intraislet glucagon can modulate the function of pancreatic β cells. However, because of the lack of suitable experimental tools, the in vivo physiological role of this intraislet cross-talk has remained elusive. To address this issue, we generated a mouse model that selectively expressed an inhibitory designer GPCR (Gi DREADD) in α cells only. Drug-induced activation of this inhibitory designer receptor almost completely shut off glucagon secretion in vivo, resulting in markedly impaired insulin secretion, hyperglycemia, and glucose intolerance. Additional studies with mouse and human islets indicated that intraislet glucagon stimulates insulin release primarily by activating β cell GLP-1 receptors. These findings strongly suggest that intraislet glucagon signaling is essential for maintaining proper glucose homeostasis in vivo. Our work may pave the way toward the development of novel classes of antidiabetic drugs that act by modulating intraislet cross-talk between α and β cells.
Lu Zhu, Diptadip Dattaroy, Jonathan Pham, Lingdi Wang, Luiz F. Barella, Yinghong Cui, Kenneth J. Wilkins, Bryan L. Roth, Ute Hochgeschwender, Franz M. Matschinsky, Klaus H. Kaestner, Nicolai M. Doliba, Jürgen Wess