In this issue of JCI Insight, Zaidi et al. explore predicted neoepitopes to induce T cell immunity and investigated conformational alterations at the MHC–binding groove induced by neoepitopes. Structural parameters, including the solvent exposed surface area of the neoepitope and the spatial configuration of mutated residues can be used to improve the prediction of immunogenic neoepitopes for inclusion in cancer vaccines. The cover image shows modeling of a neoepitope in a template for MHC Class I.
Previous studies have shown an association between elevated atrial NADPH-dependent oxidative stress and decreased plasma apelin in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), though the basis for this relationship is unclear. In the current study, RT-PCR and immunofluorescence studies of human right atrial appendages (RAAs) showed expression of the apelin receptor, APJ, and reduced apelin content in the atria, but not in plasma, of patients with AF versus normal sinus rhythm. Disruption of the apelin gene in mice increased (2.4-fold) NADPH-stimulated superoxide levels and slowed atrial conduction velocities in optical mapping of a Langendorff-perfused isolated heart model, suggesting that apelin levels may influence AF vulnerability. Indeed, in mice with increased AF vulnerability (induced by chronic intense exercise), apelin administration reduced the incidence and duration of induced atrial arrhythmias in association with prolonged atrial refractory periods. Moreover, apelin decreased AF induction in isolated atria from exercised mice while accelerating conduction velocity and increasing action potential durations. At the cellular level, these changes were associated with increased atrial cardiomyocyte sodium currents. These findings support the conclusion that reduced atrial apelin is maladaptive in fibrillating human atrial myocardium and that increasing apelin bioavailability may be a worthwhile therapeutic strategy for treating and preventing AF.
Young M. Kim, Robert Lakin, Hao Zhang, Jack Liu, Ayaaz Sachedina, Maneesh Singh, Emily Wilson, Marco Perez, Subodh Verma, Thomas Quertermous, Jeffrey Olgin, Peter H. Backx, Euan A. Ashley
Decreased cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyBPC) expression due to inheritable mutations is thought to contribute to the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) phenotype, suggesting that increasing cMyBPC content is of therapeutic benefit. In vitro assays show that cMyBPC N-terminal domains (NTDs) contain structural elements necessary and sufficient to modulate actomyosin interactions, but it is unknown if they can regulate in vivo myocardial function. To test whether NTDs can recapitulate the effects of full-length (FL) cMyBPC in rescuing cardiac function in a cMyBPC-null mouse model of HCM, we assessed the efficacy of AAV9 gene transfer of a cMyBPC NTD that contained domains C0C2 and compared its therapeutic potential with AAV9-FL gene replacement. AAV9 vectors were administered systemically at neonatal day 1, when early-onset disease phenotypes begin to manifest. A comprehensive analysis of in vivo and in vitro function was performed following cMyBPC gene transfer. Our results show that a systemic injection of AAV9-C0C2 significantly improved cardiac function (e.g., 52.24 ± 1.69 ejection fraction in the C0C2-treated group compared with 40.07 ± 1.97 in the control cMyBPC–/– group, P < 0.05) and reduced the histopathologic signs of cardiomyopathy. Furthermore, C0C2 significantly slowed and normalized the accelerated cross-bridge kinetics found in cMyBPC–/– control myocardium, as evidenced by a 32.41% decrease in the rate of cross-bridge detachment (krel). Results indicate that C0C2 can rescue biomechanical defects of cMyBPC deficiency and that the NTD may be a target region for therapeutic myofilament kinetic manipulation.
Jiayang Li, Ranganath Mamidi, Chang Yoon Doh, Joshua B. Holmes, Nikhil Bharambe, Rajesh Ramachandran, Julian E. Stelzer
Dysregulated sensing of self–nucleic acid is a leading cause of autoimmunity in multifactorial and monogenic diseases. Mutations in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp), a key regulator of cytoskeletal dynamics in immune cells, cause autoimmune manifestations and increased production of type I IFNs by innate cells. Here we show that immune complexes of self-DNA and autoantibodies (DNA-ICs) contribute to elevated IFN levels via activation of the cGAS/STING pathway of cytosolic sensing. Mechanistically, lack of endosomal F-actin nucleation by WASp caused a delay in endolysosomal maturation and prolonged the transit time of ingested DNA-ICs. Stalling in maturation-defective organelles facilitated leakage of DNA-ICs into the cytosol, promoting activation of the TBK1/STING pathway. Genetic deletion of STING and STING and cGAS chemical inhibitors abolished IFN production and rescued systemic activation of IFN-stimulated genes in vivo. These data unveil the contribution of cytosolic self–nucleic acid sensing in WAS and underscore the importance of WASp-mediated endosomal actin remodeling in preventing innate activation.
Giulia Maria Piperno, Asma Naseem, Giulia Silvestrelli, Roberto Amadio, Nicoletta Caronni, Karla Evelia Cervantes-Luevano, Nalan Liv, Judith Klumperman, Andrea Colliva, Hashim Ali, Francesca Graziano, Philippe Benaroch, Hans Haecker, Richard N. Hanna, Federica Benvenuti
Diabetes is a risk factor for myocardial infarction, and outcomes after myocardial infarction are worse among diabetics compared with nondiabetics. Diabetes is associated with impaired Heme clearance. Here, we determined whether heme toxicity and impaired heme clearance contribute to diabetic myocardial infarction injury and assessed IL-10 as a therapeutic agent for diabetic myocardial infarction. Plasma-free hemoglobin was significantly elevated in diabetic mice compared with nondiabetic mice after myocardial infarction. Infarct size had strong correlation to the level of plasma-free hemoglobin. Hemoglobin and reactive iron deposition within the infarct zone were also demonstrated in diabetic MI. IL-10 significantly reduced infarct size and improved cardiac function in diabetic mice. Moreover, IL-10 improved capillary density, reduced apoptosis, and decreased inflammation in the border zone of the infarcted hearts, findings that were partially inhibited by Tin protoporphyrin (a heme oxygenase-1 inhibitor). IL-10 upregulated CD163, the hemoglobin:haptoglobin scavenger receptor, and heme oxygenase-1 in THP-1–derived and primary human CD14+ macrophages. IL-10 significantly protected against ischemic injury when HL-1 cardiomyocytes were cotreated with hemoglobin. Together, our findings indicate that IL-10 is cardioprotective in diabetic myocardial infarction via upregulation of heme clearance pathways. These findings implicate heme clearance as a potentially novel therapeutic direction for diabetic myocardial infarction.
Rajesh Gupta, Lijun Liu, Xiaolu Zhang, Xiaoming Fan, Prasanna Krishnamurthy, Suresh Verma, Jörn Tongers, Sol Misener, Nikita Ashcherkin, Hongliu Sun, Jiang Tian, Raj Kishore
New strategies are needed to enhance the efficacy of anti–programmed cell death protein antibody (anti–PD-1 Ab) in cancer. Here, we report that inhibiting palmitoyl-protein thioesterase 1 (PPT1), a target of chloroquine derivatives like hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), enhances the antitumor efficacy of anti–PD-1 Ab in melanoma. The combination resulted in tumor growth impairment and improved survival in mouse models. Genetic suppression of core autophagy genes, but not Ppt1, in cancer cells reduced priming and cytotoxic capacity of primed T cells. Exposure of antigen-primed T cells to macrophage-conditioned medium derived from macrophages treated with PPT1 inhibitors enhanced melanoma-specific killing. Genetic or chemical Ppt1 inhibition resulted in M2 to M1 phenotype switching in macrophages. The combination was associated with a reduction in myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the tumor. Ppt1 inhibition by HCQ, or DC661, induced cyclic GMP-AMP synthase/stimulator of interferon genes/TANK binding kinase 1 pathway activation and the secretion of interferon-β in macrophages, the latter being a key component for augmented T cell–mediated cytotoxicity. Genetic Ppt1 inhibition produced similar findings. These data provide the rationale for this combination in melanoma clinical trials and further investigation in other cancers.
Gaurav Sharma, Rani Ojha, Estela Noguera-Ortega, Vito W. Rebecca, John Attanasio, Shujing Liu, Shengfu Piao, Jennifer J. Lee, Michael C. Nicastri, Sandra L. Harper, Amruta Ronghe, Vaibhav Jain, Jeffrey D. Winkler, David W. Speicher, Jerome Mastio, Phyllis A. Gimotty, Xiaowei Xu, E. John Wherry, Dmitry I. Gabrilovich, Ravi K. Amaravadi
Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) is characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, neutropenia, and skeletal abnormalities. Biallelic mutations in SBDS, which encodes a ribosome maturation factor, are found in 90% of SDS cases. Sbds–/– mice are embryonic lethal. Using CRISPR/Cas9 editing, we created sbds-deficient zebrafish strains. Sbds protein levels progressively decreased and became undetectable at 10 days postfertilization (dpf). Polysome analysis revealed decreased 80S ribosomes. Homozygous mutant fish developed normally until 15 dpf. Mutant fish subsequently had stunted growth and showed signs of atrophy in pancreas, liver, and intestine. In addition, neutropenia occurred by 5 dpf. Upregulation of tp53 mRNA did not occur until 10 dpf, and inhibition of proliferation correlated with death by 21 dpf. Transcriptome analysis showed tp53 activation through upregulation of genes involved in cell cycle arrest, cdkn1a and ccng1, and apoptosis, puma and mdm2. However, elimination of Tp53 function did not prevent lethality. Because of growth retardation and atrophy of intestinal epithelia, we studied the effects of starvation on WT fish. Starved WT fish showed intestinal atrophy, zymogen granule loss, and tp53 upregulation — similar to the mutant phenotype. In addition, there was reduction in neutral lipid storage and ribosomal protein amount, similar to the mutant phenotype. Thus, loss of Sbds in zebrafish phenocopies much of the human disease and is associated with growth arrest and tissue atrophy, particularly of the gastrointestinal system, at the larval stage. A variety of stress responses, some associated with Tp53, contribute to pathophysiology of SDS.
Usua Oyarbide, Arish N. Shah, Wilmer Amaya-Mejia, Matthew Snyderman, Margaret J. Kell, Daniela S. Allende, Eliezer Calo, Jacek Topczewski, Seth J. Corey
In order to prioritize available immune therapeutics, immune profiling across glioma grades was conducted, followed by preclinical determinations of therapeutic effect in immune-competent mice harboring gliomas. T cells and myeloid cells were isolated from the blood of healthy donors and the blood and tumors from patients with glioma and profiled for the expression of immunomodulatory targets with an available therapeutic. Murine glioma models were used to assess therapeutic efficacy of agents targeting the most frequently expressed immune targets. In patients with glioma, the A2aR/CD73/CD39 pathway was most frequently expressed, followed by the PD-1 pathway. CD73 expression was upregulated on immune cells by 2-hydroxyglutarate in IDH1 mutant glioma patients. In murine glioma models, adenosine receptor inhibitors demonstrated a modest therapeutic response; however, the addition of other inhibitors of the adenosine pathway did not further enhance this therapeutic effect. Although adenosine receptor inhibitors could recover immunological effector functions in T cells, immune recovery was impaired in the presence of gliomas, indicating that irreversible immune exhaustion limits the effectiveness of adenosine pathway inhibitors in patients with glioma. This study illustrates vetting steps that should be considered before clinical trial implementation for immunotherapy-resistant cancers, including testing an agent’s ability to restore immunological function in the context of intended use.
Martina Ott, Karl-Heinz Tomaszowski, Anantha Marisetty, Ling-Yuan Kong, Jun Wei, Maya Duna, Katia Blumberg, Xiaorong Ji, Carmen Jacobs, Gregory N. Fuller, Lauren A. Langford, Jason T. Huse, James P. Long, Jian Hu, Shulin Li, Jeffrey S. Weinberg, Sujit S. Prabhu, Raymond Sawaya, Sherise Ferguson, Ganesh Rao, Frederick F. Lang, Michael A. Curran, Amy B. Heimberger
We previously used global Hipk2-null mice in various models of kidney disease to demonstrate the central role of homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) in renal fibrosis development. However, renal tubular epithelial cell–specific (RTEC-specific) HIPK2 function in renal fibrogenesis has yet to be determined. Here, we show that modulation of tubular HIPK2 expression and activity affects renal fibrosis development in vivo. The loss of HIPK2 expression in RTECs resulted in a marked diminution of renal fibrosis in unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) mouse models and HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) mouse models, which was associated with the reduction of Smad3 activation and downstream expression of profibrotic markers. Conversely, WT HIPK2 overexpression in RTECs accentuated the extent of renal fibrosis in the setting of UUO, HIVAN, and folic acid–induced nephropathy in mice. Notably, kinase-dead HIPK2 mutant overexpression or administration of BT173, an allosteric inhibitor of HIPK2-Smad3 interaction, markedly attenuated the renal fibrosis in these mouse models of kidney disease, indicating that HIPK2 requires both the kinase activity and its interaction with Smad3 to promote TGF-β–mediated renal fibrosis. Together, these results establish an important RTEC-specific role of HIPK2 in kidney fibrosis and further substantiate the inhibition of HIPK2 as a therapeutic approach against renal fibrosis.
Wenzhen Xiao, Jing E, Li Bao, Ying Fan, Yuanmeng Jin, Andrew Wang, David Bauman, Zhengzhe Li, Ya-Li Zheng, Ruijie Liu, Kyung Lee, John Cijiang He
Obesity predisposes to cancer and a virtual universality of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the impact of hepatic steatosis on liver metastasis is enigmatic. We find that while control mice were relatively resistant to hepatic metastasis, those which were lipodystrophic or obese, with NAFLD, had a dramatic increase in breast cancer and melanoma liver metastases. NAFLD promotes liver metastasis by reciprocal activation initiated by tumor-induced triglyceride lipolysis in juxtaposed hepatocytes. The lipolytic products are transferred to cancer cells via fatty acid transporter protein 1, where they are metabolized by mitochondrial oxidation to promote tumor growth. The histology of human liver metastasis indicated the same occurs in humans. Furthermore, comparison of isolates of normal and fatty liver established that steatotic lipids had enhanced tumor-stimulating capacity. Normalization of glucose metabolism by metformin did not reduce steatosis-induced metastasis, establishing the process is not mediated by the metabolic syndrome. Alternatively, eradication of NAFLD in lipodystrophic mice by adipose tissue transplantation reduced breast cancer metastasis to that of control mice, indicating the steatosis-induced predisposition is reversible.
Yongjia Li, Xinming Su, Nidhi Rohatgi, Yan Zhang, Jonathan R. Brestoff, Kooresh I. Shoghi, Yalin Xu, Clay F. Semenkovich, Charles A. Harris, Lindsay L. Peterson, Katherine N. Weilbaecher, Steven L. Teitelbaum, Wei Zou
More than 90% of autoimmune-associated variants are located in noncoding regions, leading to challenges in deciphering the underlying causal roles of functional variants and genes and biological mechanisms. Therefore, to reduce the gap between traditional genetic findings and mechanistic understanding of disease etiologies and clinical drug development, it is important to translate systematically the regulatory mechanisms underlying noncoding variants. Here, we prioritized functional noncoding SNPs with regulatory gene targets associated with 19 autoimmune diseases by incorporating hundreds of immune cell–specific multiomics data. The prioritized SNPs are associated with transcription factor (TF) binding, histone modification, or chromatin accessibility, indicating their allele-specific regulatory roles. Their target genes are significantly enriched in immunologically related pathways and other known immunologically related functions. We found that 90.1% of target genes are regulated by distal SNPs involving several TFs (e.g., the DNA-binding protein CCCTC-binding factor [CTCF]), suggesting the importance of long-range chromatin interaction in autoimmune diseases. Moreover, we predicted potential drug targets for autoimmune diseases, including 2 genes (NFKB1 and SH2B3) with known drug indications on other diseases, highlighting their potential drug repurposing opportunities. Taken together, these findings may provide useful information for future experimental follow-up and drug applications on autoimmune diseases.
Xiao-Feng Chen, Ming-Rui Guo, Yuan-Yuan Duan, Feng Jiang, Hao Wu, Shan-Shan Dong, Xiao-Rong Zhou, Hlaing Nwe Thynn, Cong-Cong Liu, Lin Zhang, Yan Guo, Tie-Lin Yang
In prior studies, we delineated the landscape of neoantigens arising from nonsynonymous point mutations in a murine pancreatic cancer model, Panc02. We developed a peptide vaccine by targeting neoantigens predicted using a pipeline that incorporates the MHC binding algorithm NetMHC. The vaccine, when combined with immune checkpoint modulators, elicited a robust neoepitope-specific antitumor immune response and led to tumor clearance. However, only a small fraction of the predicted neoepitopes induced T cell immunity, similarly to that reported for neoantigen vaccines tested in clinical studies. While these studies have used binding affinities to MHC I as surrogates for T cell immunity, this approach does not include spatial information on the mutated residue that is crucial for TCR activation. Here, we investigate conformational alterations in and around the MHC binding groove induced by selected minimal neoepitopes, and we examine the influence of a given mutated residue as a function of its spatial position. We found that structural parameters, including the solvent-accessible surface area (SASA) of the neoepitope and the position and spatial configuration of the mutated residue within the sequence, can be used to improve the prediction of immunogenic neoepitopes for inclusion in cancer vaccines.
Neeha Zaidi, Mariya Soban, Fangluo Chen, Heather Kinkead, Jocelyn Mathew, Mark Yarchoan, Todd D. Armstrong, Shozeb Haider, Elizabeth M. Jaffee
Electroconvulsive therapy is highly effective in resistant depression by unknown mechanisms. Microglial toxicity was suggested to mediate depression and plays key roles in neuroinflammatory and degenerative diseases, where there is critical shortage in therapies. We examined the effects of electroconvulsive seizures (ECS) on chronic neuroinflammation and microglial neurotoxicity. Electric brain stimulation inducing full tonic-clonic seizures during chronic relapsing–progressive experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) reduced spinal immune cell infiltration, reduced myelin and axonal loss, and prevented clinical deterioration. Using the transfer EAE model, we examined the effect of ECS on systemic immune response in donor mice versus ECS effect on CNS innate immune activity in recipient mice. ECS did not affect encephalitogenicity of systemic T cells, but it targeted the CNS directly to inhibit T cell–induced neuroinflammation. In vivo and ex vivo assays indicated that ECS suppressed microglial neurotoxicity by reducing inducible NOS expression, nitric oxide, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and by reducing CNS oxidative stress. Microglia from ECS-treated EAE mice expressed less T cell stimulatory and chemoattractant factors. Our findings indicate that electroconvulsive therapy targets the CNS innate immune system to reduce neuroinflammation by attenuating microglial neurotoxicity. These findings signify a potentially novel therapeutic approach for chronic neuroinflammatory, neuropsychiatric, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Smadar Goldfarb, Nina Fainstein, Tamir Ben-Hur
Orphan nuclear receptor estrogen-related receptor γ (ERRγ) stimulates bile acid production; however, the role and the regulatory mechanism of ERRγ in cholestatic liver disease are largely unknown. This study identifies that Sirt6 is a deacetylase of ERRγ and suggests a potentially novel mechanism by which Sirt6 activation alleviates cholestatic liver damage and fibrosis through regulating ERRγ. We observed that hepatic expression of Sirt6 is repressed, whereas hepatic expression of ERRγ is upregulated in murine cholestasis models. Hepatocyte-specific Sirt6-KO mice were more severely injured after a bile duct ligation (BDL) than WT mice, and adenoviral reexpression of Sirt6 reversed liver damage and fibrosis as demonstrated by biochemical and histological analyses. Mechanistically, Sirt6 deacetylated ERRγ, thereby destabilizing ERRγ and inhibiting its transcriptional activity. Elimination of hepatic ERRγ using Ad-shERRγ abolished the deleterious effects of Sirt6 deficiency, whereas ERRγ overexpression aggravated cholestatic liver injury. Administration of a Sirt6 deacetylase activator prevented BDL-induced liver damage and fibrosis. In patients with cholestasis, Sirt6 expression was decreased, whereas total ERRγ and acetylated ERRγ levels were increased, confirming negative regulation of ERRγ by Sirt6. Thus, Sirt6 activation represents a potentially novel therapeutic strategy for treating cholestatic liver injury.
Lihua Hao, In Hyuk Bang, Jie Wang, Yuancheng Mao, Jae Do Yang, Soon-Young Na, Jeong Kon Seo, Hueng-Sik Choi, Eun Ju Bae, Byung-Hyun Park
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a heterogeneous autoimmune disorder that results in skin fibrosis, autoantibody production, and internal organ dysfunction. We previously identified 4 “intrinsic” subsets of SSc based upon skin gene expression that are found across organ systems. Gene expression regulators that underlie the SSc-intrinsic subsets, or are associated with clinical covariates, have not been systematically characterized. Here, we present a computational framework to calculate the activity scores of gene expression regulators and identify their associations with SSc clinical outcomes. We found that regulator activity scores can reproduce the intrinsic molecular subsets, with distinct sets of regulators identified for inflammatory, fibroproliferative, limited, and normal-like samples. Regulators most highly correlated with modified Rodnan skin score (MRSS) also varied by intrinsic subset. We identified subgroups of patients with fibroproliferative and inflammatory SSc with more severe pathophenotypes, such as higher MRSS and increased likelihood of interstitial lung disease (ILD). Using an independent cohort, we show that the group with more severe ILD was more likely to show forced vital capacity decline over a period of 36–54 months. Our results demonstrate an association among the activation of regulators, gene expression subsets, and clinical variables that can identify patients with SSc with more severe disease.
Yue Wang, Jennifer M. Franks, Monica Yang, Diana M. Toledo, Tammara A. Wood, Monique Hinchcliff, Michael L. Whitfield
BACKGROUND The complement system plays a key role in host defense but is activated by ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI). Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) is a form of acute lung injury occurring predominantly due to IRI, which worsens survival after lung transplantation (LTx). Local complement activation is associated with acute lung injury, but whether it is more reflective of allograft injury compared with systemic activation remains unclear. We proposed that local complement activation would help identify those who develop PGD after LTx. We also aimed to identify which complement activation pathways are associated with PGD.METHODS We performed a multicenter cohort study at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University School of Medicine. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and plasma specimens were obtained from recipients within 24 hours after LTx. PGD was scored based on the consensus definition. Complement activation products and components of each arm of the complement cascade were measured using ELISA.RESULTS In both cohorts, sC4d and sC5b-9 levels were increased in BAL of subjects with PGD compared with those without PGD. Subjects with PGD also had higher C1q, C2, C4, and C4b, compared with subjects without PGD, suggesting classical and lectin pathway involvement. Ba levels were higher in subjects with PGD, suggesting alternative pathway activation. Among lectin pathway–specific components, MBL and FCN-3 had a moderate-to-strong correlation with the terminal complement complex in the BAL but not in the plasma.CONCLUSION Complement activation fragments are detected in the BAL within 24 hours after LTx. Components of all 3 pathways are locally increased in subjects with PGD. Our findings create a precedent for investigating complement-targeted therapeutics to mitigate PGD.FUNDING This research was supported by the NIH, American Lung Association, Children’s Discovery Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, Danish Heart Foundation, Danish Research Foundation of Independent Research, Svend Andersen Research Foundation, and Novo Nordisk Research Foundation.
Hrishikesh S. Kulkarni, Kristy Ramphal, Lina Ma, Melanie Brown, Michelle Oyster, Kaitlyn N. Speckhart, Tsuyoshi Takahashi, Derek E. Byers, Mary K. Porteous, Laurel Kalman, Ramsey R. Hachem, Melanie Rushefski, Ja’Nia McPhatter, Marlene Cano, Daniel Kreisel, Masina Scavuzzo, Brigitte Mittler, Edward Cantu III, Katrine Pilely, Peter Garred, Jason D. Christie, John P. Atkinson, Andrew E. Gelman, Joshua M. Diamond
Macrophages are a primary immune cell involved in inflammation, and their cell plasticity allows for transition from an inflammatory to a reparative phenotype and is critical for normal tissue repair following injury. Evidence suggests that epigenetic alterations play a critical role in establishing macrophage phenotype and function during normal and pathologic wound repair. Here, we find in human and murine wound macrophages that cyclooxygenase 2/prostaglandin E2 (COX-2/PGE2) is elevated in diabetes and regulates downstream macrophage-mediated inflammation and host defense. Using single-cell RNA sequencing of human wound tissue, we identify increased NF-κB–mediated inflammation in diabetic wounds and show increased COX-2/PGE2 in diabetic macrophages. Further, we identify that COX-2/PGE2 production in wound macrophages requires epigenetic regulation of 2 key enzymes in the cytosolic phospholipase A2/COX-2/PGE2 (cPLA2/COX-2/PGE2) pathway. We demonstrate that TGF-β–induced miRNA29b increases COX-2/PGE2 production via inhibition of DNA methyltransferase 3b–mediated hypermethylation of the Cox-2 promoter. Further, we find mixed-lineage leukemia 1 (MLL1) upregulates cPLA2 expression and drives COX-2/PGE2. Inhibition of the COX-2/PGE2 pathway genetically (Cox2fl/fl Lyz2Cre+) or with a macrophage-specific nanotherapy targeting COX-2 in tissue macrophages reverses the inflammatory macrophage phenotype and improves diabetic tissue repair. Our results indicate the epigenetically regulated PGE2 pathway controls wound macrophage function, and cell-targeted manipulation of this pathway is feasible to improve diabetic wound repair.
Frank M. Davis, Lam C. Tsoi, Rachael Wasikowski, Aaron denDekker, Amrita Joshi, Carol Wilke, Hongping Deng, Sonya Wolf, Andrea Obi, Steven Huang, Allison C. Billi, Scott Robinson, Jay Lipinski, William J. Melvin, Christopher O. Audu, Stephan Weidinger, Steven L. Kunkel, Andrew Smith, Johann E. Gudjonsson, Bethany B. Moore, Katherine A. Gallagher
Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a developmental disorder caused by loss of maternally imprinted genes on 15q11-q13, including melanoma antigen gene family member L2 (MAGEL2). The clinical phenotypes of PWS suggest impaired hypothalamic neuroendocrine function; however, the exact cellular defects are unknown. Here, we report deficits in secretory granule (SG) abundance and bioactive neuropeptide production upon loss of MAGEL2 in humans and mice. Unbiased proteomic analysis of Magel2pΔ/m+ mice revealed a reduction in components of SG in the hypothalamus that was confirmed in 2 PWS patient–derived neuronal cell models. Mechanistically, we show that proper endosomal trafficking by the MAGEL2-regulated WASH complex is required to prevent aberrant lysosomal degradation of SG proteins and reduction of mature SG abundance. Importantly, loss of MAGEL2 in mice, NGN2-induced neurons, and human patients led to reduced neuropeptide production. Thus, MAGEL2 plays an important role in hypothalamic neuroendocrine function, and cellular defects in this pathway may contribute to PWS disease etiology. Moreover, these findings suggest unanticipated approaches for therapeutic intervention.
Helen Chen, A. Kaitlyn Victor, Jonathon Klein, Klementina Fon Tacer, Derek J.C. Tai, Celine de Esch, Alexander Nuttle, Jamshid Temirov, Lisa C. Burnett, Michael Rosenbaum, Yiying Zhang, Li Ding, James J. Moresco, Jolene K. Diedrich, John R. Yates III, Heather S. Tillman, Rudolph L. Leibel, Michael E. Talkowski, Daniel D. Billadeau, Lawrence T. Reiter, Patrick Ryan Potts
The angiopoietin-like protein ANGPTL8 (A8) is one of 3 ANGPTLs (A8, A3, A4) that coordinate changes in triglyceride (TG) delivery to tissues by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase (LPL), an enzyme that hydrolyzes TG. Previously we showed that A8, which is expressed in liver and adipose tissue, is required to redirect dietary TG from oxidative to storage tissues following food intake. Here we show that A8 from liver and adipose tissue have different roles in this process. Mice lacking hepatic A8 have no circulating A8, high intravascular LPL activity, low plasma TG levels, and evidence of decreased delivery of dietary lipids to adipose tissue. In contrast, mice lacking A8 in adipose tissue have higher postprandial TG levels and similar intravascular LPL activity and plasma A8 levels and higher levels of plasma TG. Expression of A8, together with A4, in cultured cells reduced A4 secretion and A4-mediated LPL inhibition. Thus, hepatic A8 (with A3) acts in an endocrine fashion to inhibit intravascular LPL in oxidative tissues, whereas A8 in adipose tissue enhances LPL activity by autocrine/paracrine inhibition of A4. These combined actions of A8 ensure that TG stores are rapidly replenished and sufficient energy is available until the next meal.
Federico Oldoni, Haili Cheng, Serena Banfi, Viktoria Gusarova, Jonathan C. Cohen, Helen H. Hobbs
One of the most significant adverse postburn responses is abnormal scar formation, such as keloids. Despite its prolificacy, the underlying pathophysiology of keloid development is unknown. We recently demonstrated that NLRP3 inflammasome, the master regulator of inflammatory and metabolic responses (e.g., aerobic glycolysis), is essential for physiological wound healing. Therefore, burn patients who develop keloids may exhibit altered immunometabolic responses at the site of injury, which interferes with normal healing and portends keloid development. Here, we confirmed keloid NLRP3 activation (cleaved caspase-1 [P < 0.05], IL-1β [P < 0.05], IL-18 [P < 0.01]) and upregulation in Glut1 (P < 0.001) and glycolytic enzymes. Burn skin similarly displayed enhanced glycolysis and Glut1 expression (P < 0.01). However, Glut1 was significantly higher in keloid compared with nonkeloid burn patients (>2 SD above mean). Targeting aberrant glucose metabolism with shikonin, a pyruvate kinase M2 inhibitor, dampened NLRP3-mediated inflammation (cleaved caspase-1 [P < 0.05], IL-1β [P < 0.01]) and improved healing in vivo. In summary, burn skin exhibited evidence of Warburg-like metabolism, similar to keloids. Targeting this altered metabolism could change the trajectory toward normal scarring, indicating the clinical possibility of shikonin for abnormal scar prevention.
Roohi Vinaik, Dalia Barayan, Christopher Auger, Abdikarim Abdullahi, Marc G. Jeschke
BACKGROUND Elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines have been associated with poor outcomes among COVID-19 patients. It is unknown, however, how these levels compare with those observed in critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or sepsis due to other causes.METHODS We used a Luminex assay to determine expression of 76 cytokines from plasma of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and banked plasma samples from ARDS and sepsis patients. Our analysis focused on detecting statistical differences in levels of 6 cytokines associated with cytokine storm (IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-8, IL-18, and TNF-α) between patients with moderate COVID-19, severe COVID-19, and ARDS or sepsis.RESULTS Fifteen hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 9 of whom were critically ill, were compared with critically ill patients with ARDS (n = 12) or sepsis (n = 16). There were no statistically significant differences in baseline levels of IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-8, IL-18, and TNF-α between patients with COVID-19 and critically ill controls with ARDS or sepsis.CONCLUSION Levels of inflammatory cytokines were not higher in severe COVID-19 patients than in moderate COVID-19 or critically ill patients with ARDS or sepsis in this small cohort. Broad use of immunosuppressive therapies in ARDS has failed in numerous Phase 3 studies; use of these therapies in unselected patients with COVID-19 may be unwarranted.FUNDING Funding was received from NHLBI K23 HL125663 (AJR); The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation OPP1113682 (AJR and CAB); Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases #1016687 NIH/NIAID U19AI057229-16; Stanford Maternal Child Health Research Institute; and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (CAB).
Jennifer G. Wilson, Laura J. Simpson, Anne-Maud Ferreira, Arjun Rustagi, Jonasel Roque, Adijat Asuni, Thanmayi Ranganath, Philip M. Grant, Aruna Subramanian, Yael Rosenberg-Hasson, Holden T. Maecker, Susan P. Holmes, Joseph E. Levitt, Catherine A. Blish, Angela J. Rogers
Cardiac energetic dysfunction has been reported in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and is an independent predictor of mortality. Identification of the mechanisms driving mitochondrial dysfunction, and therapeutic strategies to rescue these modifications, will improve myocardial energetics in T2D. We demonstrate using 31P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P-MRS) that decreased cardiac ATP and phosphocreatine (PCr) concentrations occurred before contractile dysfunction or a reduction in PCr/ATP ratio in T2D. Real-time mitochondrial ATP synthesis rates and state 3 respiration rates were similarly depressed in T2D, implicating dysfunctional mitochondrial energy production. Driving this energetic dysfunction in T2D was an increase in mitochondrial protein acetylation, and increased ex vivo acetylation was shown to proportionally decrease mitochondrial respiration rates. Treating T2D rats in vivo with the mitochondrial deacetylase SIRT3 activator honokiol reversed the hyperacetylation of mitochondrial proteins and restored mitochondrial respiration rates to control levels. Using 13C-hyperpolarized MRS, respiration with different substrates, and enzyme assays, we localized this improvement to increased glutamate dehydrogenase activity. Finally, honokiol treatment increased ATP and PCr concentrations and increased total ATP synthesis flux in the T2D heart. In conclusion, hyperacetylation drives energetic dysfunction in T2D, and reversing acetylation with the SIRT3 activator honokiol rescued myocardial and mitochondrial energetics in T2D.
Matthew Kerr, Jack J. Miller, Dharendra Thapa, Sophie Stiewe, Kerstin N. Timm, Claudia N. Montes Aparicio, Iain Scott, Damian J. Tyler, Lisa C. Heather
COVID-19–associated morbidity and mortality have been attributed to a pathologic host response. Two divergent hypotheses have been proposed: hyperinflammatory cytokine storm; and failure of host protective immunity that results in unrestrained viral dissemination and organ injury. A key explanation for the inability to address this controversy has been the lack of diagnostic tools to evaluate immune function in COVID-19 infections. ELISpot, a highly sensitive, functional immunoassay, was employed in 27 patients with COVID-19, 51 patients with sepsis, 18 critically ill nonseptic (CINS) patients, and 27 healthy control volunteers to evaluate adaptive and innate immune status by quantitating T cell IFN-ɣ and monocyte TFN-α production. Circulating T cell subsets were profoundly reduced in COVID-19 patients. Additionally, stimulated blood mononuclear cells produced less than 40%–50% of the IFN-ɣ and TNF-α observed in septic and CINS patients, consistent with markedly impaired immune effector cell function. Approximately 25% of COVID-19 patients had increased IL-6 levels that were not associated with elevations in other canonical proinflammatory cytokines. Collectively, these findings support the hypothesis that COVID-19 suppresses host functional adaptive and innate immunity. Importantly, IL-7 administered ex vivo restored T cell IFN-ɣ production in COVID-19 patients. Thus, ELISpot may functionally characterize host immunity in COVID-19 and inform prospective therapies.
Kenneth E. Remy, Monty Mazer, David A. Striker, Ali H. Ellebedy, Andrew H. Walton, Jacqueline Unsinger, Teresa M. Blood, Philip A. Mudd, Daehan J. Yi, Daniel A. Mannion, Dale F. Osborne, R. Scott Martin, Nitin J. Anand, James P. Bosanquet, Jane Blood, Anne M. Drewry, Charles C. Caldwell, Isaiah R. Turnbull, Scott C. Brakenridge, Lyle L. Moldwawer, Richard S. Hotchkiss
Tirzepatide (LY3298176) is a dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist under development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), obesity, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Early phase trials in T2DM indicate that tirzepatide improves clinical outcomes beyond those achieved by a selective GLP-1 receptor agonist. Therefore, we hypothesized that the integrated potency and signaling properties of tirzepatide provide a unique pharmacological profile tailored for improving broad metabolic control. Here, we establish methodology for calculating occupancy of each receptor for clinically efficacious doses of the drug. This analysis reveals a greater degree of engagement of tirzepatide for the GIP receptor than the GLP-1 receptor, corroborating an imbalanced mechanism of action. Pharmacologically, signaling studies demonstrate that tirzepatide mimics the actions of native GIP at the GIP receptor but shows bias at the GLP-1 receptor to favor cAMP generation over β-arrestin recruitment, coincident with a weaker ability to drive GLP-1 receptor internalization compared with GLP-1. Experiments in primary islets reveal β-arrestin1 limits the insulin response to GLP-1, but not GIP or tirzepatide, suggesting that the biased agonism of tirzepatide enhances insulin secretion. Imbalance toward GIP receptor, combined with distinct signaling properties at the GLP-1 receptor, together may account for the promising efficacy of this investigational agent.
Francis S. Willard, Jonathan D. Douros, Maria B.N. Gabe, Aaron D. Showalter, David B. Wainscott, Todd M. Suter, Megan E. Capozzi, Wijnand J.C. van der Velden, Cynthia Stutsman, Guemalli R. Cardona, Shweta Urva, Paul J. Emmerson, Jens J. Holst, David A. D’Alessio, Matthew P. Coghlan, Mette M. Rosenkilde, Jonathan E. Campbell, Kyle W. Sloop
Marisa L. Conte, Santiago Schnell, Adrienne S. Ettinger, M. Bishr Omary