In this issue, Igoillo-Esteve et al. investigated the high prevalence of diabetes associated with Friedreich ataxia, a neurodegenerative disease caused by triplet expansion in the gene encoding frataxin that results in oxidative stress and mitochrondrial dysfunction. They report that glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogs improve mitochondrial function in frataxin-deficient cells and induce frataxin expression in a pilot trial in Friedreich ataxia patients. The cover image shows human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived sensory neurons, labelled with sensory neuron-specific markers, Brn3a (green) and peripherin (red).
Hepatic inflammasome activation is considered a major contributor to liver fibrosis in NASH. Apoptosis signal–regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is an apical mitogen-activated protein kinase that activates hepatic JNK and p38 to promote apoptosis, inflammation, and fibrosis. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether pharmacologic inhibition of ASK1 could attenuate hepatic fibrosis driven by inflammasome activation using gain-of-function NOD-like receptor protein 3 (Nlrp3) mutant mice. Tamoxifen-inducible Nlrp3 knock-in (Nlrp3A350V/+CreT-KI) mice and WT mice were administered either control chow diet or diet containing the selective ASK1 inhibitor GS-444217 for 6 weeks. Livers of Nlrp3-KI mice had increased inflammation, cell death, and fibrosis and increased phosphorylation of ASK1, p38, and c-Jun. GS-444217 reduced ASK1 pathway activation, liver cell death, and liver fibrosis. ASK1 inhibition resulted in a significant downregulation of genes involved in collagen production and extracellular matrix deposition, as well as in a reduced hepatic TNF-α expression. ASK1 inhibition also directly reduced LPS-induced gene expression of Collagen 1A1 (Col1a1) in hepatic stellate cells isolated from Nlrp3-KI mice. In conclusion, ASK1 inhibition reduced liver cell death and fibrosis downstream of inflammatory signaling induced by NLRP3. These data provide mechanistic insight into the antifibrotic mechanisms of ASK1 inhibition.
Susanne Schuster-Gaul, Lukas Jonathan Geisler, Matthew D. McGeough, Casey D. Johnson, Anna Zagorska, Li Li, Alexander Wree, Vivian Barry, Igor Mikaelian, Lily J. Jih, Bettina G. Papouchado, Grant Budas, Hal M. Hoffman, Ariel E. Feldstein
Genetic variants within or near the interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) locus associate with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) across ancestral groups. The major IRF5-SLE risk haplotype is common across populations, yet immune functions for the risk haplotype are undefined. We characterized the global immune phenotype of healthy donors homozygous for the major risk and nonrisk haplotypes and identified cell lineage–specific alterations that mimic presymptomatic SLE. Contrary to previous studies in B lymphoblastoid cell lines and SLE immune cells, IRF5 genetic variants had little effect on IRF5 protein levels in healthy donors. Instead, we detected basal IRF5 hyperactivation in the myeloid compartment of risk donors that drives the SLE immune phenotype. Risk donors were anti-nuclear antibody positive with anti-Ro and -MPO specificity, had increased circulating plasma cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells, and had enhanced spontaneous NETosis. The IRF5-SLE immune phenotype was conserved over time and probed mechanistically by ex vivo coculture, indicating that risk neutrophils are drivers of the global immune phenotype. RNA-Seq of risk neutrophils revealed increased IRF5 transcript expression, IFN pathway enrichment, and decreased expression of ROS pathway genes. Altogether, the data support that individuals carrying the IRF5-SLE risk haplotype are more susceptible to environmental/stochastic influences that trigger chronic immune activation, predisposing to the development of clinical SLE.
Dan Li, Bharati Matta, Su Song, Victoria Nelson, Kirsten Diggins, Kim R. Simpfendorfer, Peter K. Gregersen, Peter Linsley, Betsy J. Barnes
A recent study of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) for active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) showed efficacy in preventing disease worsening. However, the immunologic basis for efficacy remains poorly defined. Multiple sclerosis pathology is known to be driven by inflammatory T cells that infiltrate the CNS. Therefore, we hypothesized that the preexisting T cell repertoire in the intrathecal compartment of active RRMS participants was ablated and replaced with new clones following AHSCT. T cell repertoires were assessed using high-throughput TCRβ chain sequencing in paired cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and peripheral blood CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from participants that underwent AHSCT, before and up to 4 years following transplantation. More than 90% of the preexisting CSF repertoire in participants with active RRMS was removed following AHSCT and replaced with clonotypes predominantly generated from engrafted autologous stem cells. Of the preexisting clones in CSF, approximately 60% were also detected in blood before therapy, and concordant treatment effects were observed for clonotypes in both compartments following AHSCT. These results indicate that replacement of the preexisting TCR repertoire in active RRMS is a mechanism for AHSCT efficacy and suggest that peripheral blood could serve as a surrogate for CSF to define mechanisms associated with efficacy in future studies of AHSCT.
Kristina M. Harris, Noha Lim, Paul Lindau, Harlan Robins, Linda M. Griffith, Richard A. Nash, Laurence A. Turka, Paolo A. Muraro
Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and arginase-2 (ARG2) share a common substrate, arginine. Higher expression of iNOS and exhaled NO are linked to airway inflammation in patients. iNOS deletion in animal models suggests that eosinophilic inflammation is regulated by arginine metabolism. Moreover, ARG2 is a regulator of Th2 response, as shown by the development of severe eosinophilic inflammation in ARG2–/– mice. However, potential synergistic roles of iNOS and ARG2 in asthma have not been explored. Here, we hypothesized that arginine metabolic fate via iNOS and ARG2 may govern airway inflammation. In an asthma cohort, ARG2 variant genotypes were associated with arginase activity. ARG2 variants with lower arginase activity, combined with levels of exhaled NO, identified a severe asthma phenotype. Airway inflammation was present in WT, ARG2–/–, iNOS–/–, and ARG2–/–/iNOS–/– mice but was greatest in ARG2–/–. Eosinophilic and neutrophilic infiltration in the ARG2–/– mice was abrogated in ARG2–/–/iNOS–/– animals. Similarly, angiogenic airway remodeling was greatest in ARG2–/– mice. Cytokines driving inflammation and remodeling were highest in lungs of asthmatic ARG2–/– mice and lowest in the iNOS–/–. ARG2 metabolism of arginine suppresses inflammation, while iNOS metabolism promotes airway inflammation, supporting a central role for arginine metabolic control of inflammation.
Kewal Asosingh, Chris D. Lauruschkat, Mario Alemagno, Matthew Frimel, Nicholas Wanner, Kelly Weiss, Sean Kessler, Deborah A. Meyers, Carole Bennett, Weiling Xu, Serpil Erzurum
Integrins, the extracellular matrix receptors that facilitate cell adhesion and migration, are necessary for organ morphogenesis; however, their role in maintaining adult tissue homeostasis is poorly understood. To define the functional importance of β1 integrin in adult mouse lung, we deleted it after completion of development in type 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AECs). Aged β1 integrin–deficient mice exhibited chronic obstructive pulmonary disease–like (COPD-like) pathology characterized by emphysema, lymphoid aggregates, and increased macrophage infiltration. These histopathological abnormalities were preceded by β1 integrin–deficient AEC dysfunction such as excessive ROS production and upregulation of NF-κB–dependent chemokines, including CCL2. Genetic deletion of the CCL2 receptor, Ccr2, in mice with β1 integrin–deficient type 2 AECs impaired recruitment of monocyte-derived macrophages and resulted in accelerated inflammation and severe premature emphysematous destruction. The lungs exhibited reduced AEC efferocytosis and excessive numbers of inflamed type 2 AECs, demonstrating the requirement for recruited monocytes/macrophages in limiting lung injury and remodeling in the setting of a chronically inflamed epithelium. These studies support a critical role for β1 integrin in alveolar homeostasis in the adult lung.
Erin J. Plosa, John T. Benjamin, Jennifer M. Sucre, Peter M. Gulleman, Linda A. Gleaves, Wei Han, Seunghyi Kook, Vasiliy V. Polosukhin, Scott M. Haake, Susan H. Guttentag, Lisa R. Young, Ambra Pozzi, Timothy S. Blackwell, Roy Zent
To investigate nationwide severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) infection status, we isolated SFTSVs from patients with suspected severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in 207 hospitals throughout South Korea between 2013 and April 2017. A total of 116 SFTSVs were isolated from 3137 SFTS-suspected patients, with an overall 21.6% case fatality rate. Genetic characterization revealed that at least 6 genotypes of SFTSVs were co-circulating in South Korea, with multiple reassortments among them. Of these, the genotype B-2 strains were the most prevalent, followed by the A and F genotypes. Clinical and epidemiologic investigations revealed that genotype B strains were associated with the highest case fatality rate, while genotype A caused only one fatality among 10 patients. Further, ferret infection studies demonstrated varying clinical manifestations and case mortality rates with different strains of SFTSV, which suggests this virus could exhibit genotype-dependent pathogenicity.
Seok-Min Yun, Su-Jin Park, Young-Il Kim, Sun-Whan Park, Min-Ah Yu, Hyeok-Il Kwon, Eun-Ha Kim, Kwang-Min Yu, Hye Won Jeong, Jungsang Ryou, Won-Ja Lee, Youngmee Jee, Joo-Yeon Lee, Young Ki Choi
Dystrophic muscle is characterized by chronic injury and a steady recruitment of inflammatory Ly6Chi monocytes. Recent studies have identified the spleen as the dominant reservoir of these cells during chronic inflammation. Here, we investigated the contribution of splenic Ly6Chi monocytes to dystrophic muscle pathology. Using the mdx mouse model of muscular dystrophy, we show that Ly6Chi monocytes accumulate in great numbers in the spleen over the course of the disease. The chemokine receptor CCR2 was upregulated on Ly6Chi monocytes in mdx spleen before disease onset, thereby enabling their recruitment to dystrophic muscle. Splenectomy performed before disease onset significantly reduced the number of Ly6Chi monocytes infiltrating dystrophic limb muscle. Moreover, in the absence of splenic Ly6Chi monocytes there was a significant reduction in dystrophic muscle inflammation and necrosis, along with improved regeneration during early disease. However, during late disease, a lack of splenic Ly6Chi monocytes adversely affected muscle fiber repair, due to a delay in the phenotypic shift of proinflammatory F4/80+Ly6ChiCD206lo to antiinflammatory F4/80+Ly6CloCD206+ macrophages. Overall, we show that the spleen is an indispensable source of Ly6Chi monocytes in muscular dystrophy and that splenic monocytes are critical players in both muscle fiber injury and repair.
Giuseppe Rizzo, Rosanna Di Maggio, Anna Benedetti, Jacopo Morroni, Marina Bouche, Biliana Lozanoska-Ochser
Anti–programmed cell death protein 1 (anti–PD-1) therapy has become an immunotherapeutic backbone for treating many cancer types. Although many studies have aimed to characterize the immune response to anti–PD-1 therapy in the tumor and in the peripheral blood, relatively less is known about the changes in the tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs). TDLNs are primary sites of tumor antigen exposure that are critical to both regulation and cross-priming of the antitumor immune response. We used multipanel mass cytometry to obtain a high-parameter proteomic (39 total unique markers) immune profile of the TDLNs in a well-studied PD-1–responsive, immunocompetent mouse model. Based on combined hierarchal gating and unsupervised clustering analyses, we found that anti–PD-1 therapy enhances remodeling of both B and T cell compartments toward memory phenotypes. Functionally, expression of checkpoint markers was increased in conjunction with production of IFN-γ, TNF-α, or IL-2 in key cell types, including B and T cell subtypes, and rarer subsets, such as Tregs and NKT cells. A deeper profiling of the immunologic changes that occur in the TDLN milieu during effective anti–PD-1 therapy may lead to the discovery of novel biomarkers for monitoring response and provide key insights toward developing combination immunotherapeutic strategies.
Won Jin Ho, Mark Yarchoan, Soren Charmsaz, Rebecca M. Munday, Ludmila Danilova, Marcelo B. Sztein, Elana J. Fertig, Elizabeth M. Jaffee
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are potent neuroparalytic toxins that cause mortality through respiratory paralysis. The approved medical countermeasure for BoNT poisoning is infusion of antitoxin immunoglobulins. However, antitoxins have poor therapeutic efficacy in symptomatic patients; thus, there is an urgent need for treatments that reduce the need for artificial ventilation. We report that the US Food and Drug Administration–approved potassium channel blocker 3,4-diaminopyridine (3,4-DAP) reverses respiratory depression and neuromuscular weakness in murine models of acute and chronic botulism. In ex vivo studies, 3,4-DAP restored end-plate potentials and twitch contractions of diaphragms isolated from mice at terminal stages of BoNT serotype A (BoNT/A) botulism. In vivo, human-equivalent doses of 3,4-DAP reversed signs of severe respiratory depression and restored mobility in BoNT/A-intoxicated mice at terminal stages of respiratory collapse. Multiple-dosing administration of 3,4-DAP improved respiration and extended survival at up to 5 LD50 BoNT/A. Finally, 3,4-DAP reduced gastrocnemius muscle paralysis and reversed respiratory depression in sublethal models of serotype A–, B–, and E–induced botulism. These findings make a compelling argument for repurposing 3,4-DAP to symptomatically treat symptoms of muscle paralysis caused by botulism, independent of serotype. Furthermore, they suggest that 3,4-DAP is effective for a range of botulism symptoms at clinically relevant time points.
Edwin Vazquez-Cintron, James Machamer, Celinia Ondeck, Kathleen Pagarigan, Brittany Winner, Paige Bodner, Kyle Kelly, M. Ross Pennington, Patrick McNutt
We hypothesized that dynamic perfluorinated gas MRI would sensitively detect mild cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. This cross-sectional study enrolled 20 healthy volunteers and 24 stable subjects with CF, including a subgroup of subjects with normal forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1; >80% predicted, n = 9). Dynamic fluorine-19–enhanced MRI (19F MRI) were acquired during sequential breath holds while breathing perfluoropropane (PFP) and during gas wash-out. Outcomes included the fraction of lung without significant ventilation (ventilation defect percent, VDP) and time constants that described PFP wash-in and wash-out kinetics. VDP values (mean ± SD) of healthy controls (3.87% ± 2.7%) were statistically different from moderate CF subjects (19.5% ± 15.5%, P = 0.001) but not from mild CF subjects (10.4% ± 9.9%, P = 0.24). In contrast, the fractional lung volume with slow gas wash-out was elevated both in subjects with mild (9.61% ± 4.87%; P = 0.0066) and moderate CF (16.01% ± 5.01%; P = 0.0002) when compared with healthy controls (3.84% ± 2.16%) and distinguished mild from moderate CF (P = 0.006). 19F MRI detected significant ventilation abnormalities in subjects with CF. The ability of gas wash-out kinetics to distinguish between healthy and mild CF lung disease subjects makes 19F MRI a potentially valuable method for the characterization of early lung disease in CF. This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03489590).
Jennifer L. Goralski, Sang Hun Chung, Tyler M. Glass, Agathe S. Ceppe, Esther O. Akinnagbe-Zusterzeel, Aaron T. Trimble, Richard C. Boucher, Brian J. Soher, H. Cecil Charles, Scott H. Donaldson, Yueh Z. Lee
BACKGROUND Current clinical biomarkers for the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) blockade therapy are insufficient because they rely only on the tumor properties, such as programmed cell death ligand 1 expression frequency and tumor mutation burden. Identifying reliable, responsive biomarkers based on the host immunity is necessary to improve the predictive values.METHODS We investigated levels of plasma metabolites and T cell properties, including energy metabolism markers, in the blood of patients with non-small cell lung cancer before and after treatment with nivolumab (n = 55). Predictive values of combination markers statistically selected were evaluated by cross-validation and linear discriminant analysis on discovery and validation cohorts, respectively. Correlation between plasma metabolites and T cell markers was investigated.RESULTS The 4 metabolites derived from the microbiome (hippuric acid), fatty acid oxidation (butyrylcarnitine), and redox (cystine and glutathione disulfide) provided high response probability (AUC = 0.91). Similarly, a combination of 4 T cell markers, those related to mitochondrial activation (PPARγ coactivator 1 expression and ROS), and the frequencies of CD8+PD-1hi and CD4+ T cells demonstrated even higher prediction value (AUC = 0.96). Among the pool of selected markers, the 4 T cell markers were exclusively selected as the highest predictive combination, probably because of their linkage to the abovementioned metabolite markers. In a prospective validation set (n = 24), these 4 cellular markers showed a high accuracy rate for clinical responses of patients (AUC = 0.92).CONCLUSION Combination of biomarkers reflecting host immune activity is quite valuable for responder prediction.FUNDING AMED under grant numbers 18cm0106302h0003, 18gm0710012h0105, and 18lk1403006h0002; the Tang Prize Foundation; and JSPS KAKENHI grant numbers JP16H06149, 17K19593, and 19K17673.
Ryusuke Hatae, Kenji Chamoto, Young Hak Kim, Kazuhiro Sonomura, Kei Taneishi, Shuji Kawaguchi, Hironori Yoshida, Hiroaki Ozasa, Yuichi Sakamori, Maryam Akrami, Sidonia Fagarasan, Izuru Masuda, Yasushi Okuno, Fumihiko Matsuda, Toyohiro Hirai, Tasuku Honjo
Mutations in cardiac myosin binding protein C (MyBP-C, encoded by MYBPC3) are the most common cause of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Most MYBPC3 mutations result in premature termination codons (PTCs) that cause RNA degradation and a reduction of MyBP-C in HCM patient hearts. However, a reduction in MyBP-C has not been consistently observed in MYBPC3-mutant induced pluripotent stem cell cardiomyocytes (iPSCMs). To determine early MYBPC3 mutation effects, we used patient and genome-engineered iPSCMs. iPSCMs with frameshift mutations were compared with iPSCMs with MYBPC3 promoter and translational start site deletions, revealing that allelic loss of function is the primary inciting consequence of mutations causing PTCs. Despite a reduction in wild-type mRNA in all heterozygous iPSCMs, no reduction in MyBP-C protein was observed, indicating protein-level compensation through what we believe is a previously uncharacterized mechanism. Although homozygous mutant iPSCMs exhibited contractile dysregulation, heterozygous mutant iPSCMs had normal contractile function in the context of compensated MyBP-C levels. Agnostic RNA-Seq analysis revealed differential expression in genes involved in protein folding as the only dysregulated gene set. To determine how MYBPC3-mutant iPSCMs achieve compensated MyBP-C levels, sarcomeric protein synthesis and degradation were measured with stable isotope labeling. Heterozygous mutant iPSCMs showed reduced MyBP-C synthesis rates but a slower rate of MyBP-C degradation. These findings indicate that cardiomyocytes have an innate capacity to attain normal MyBP-C stoichiometry despite MYBPC3 allelic loss of function due to truncating mutations. Modulating MyBP-C degradation to maintain MyBP-C protein levels may be a novel treatment approach upstream of contractile dysfunction for HCM.
Adam S. Helms, Vi T. Tang, Thomas S. O’Leary, Sabrina Friedline, Mick Wauchope, Akul Arora, Aaron H. Wasserman, Eric D. Smith, Lap Man Lee, Xiaoquan W. Wen, Jordan A. Shavit, Allen P. Liu, Michael J. Previs, Sharlene M. Day
BACKGROUND Inflammation is implicated in many aging-related disorders. In animal models, menopause leads to increased gut permeability and inflammation. Our primary objective was to determine if gut permeability increases during the menopause transition (MT) in women. Our exploratory objectives were to examine whether greater gut permeability is associated with more inflammation and lower bone mineral density (BMD).METHODS We included 65 women from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). Key measures were markers of gut permeability (gut barrier dysfunction, fatty acid binding protein 2 [FABP2]) and immune activation secondary to gut microbial translocation (LPS binding protein [LBP], soluble CD14 [sCD14]), inflammation (high-sensitivity CRP), and lumbar spine (LS) or total hip (TH) BMD.RESULTS In our primary analysis, FABP2, LBP, and sCD14 increased by 22.8% (P = 0.001), 3.7% (P = 0.05), and 8.9% (P = 0.0002), respectively, from pre- to postmenopause. In exploratory, repeated measures, mixed-effects linear regression (adjusted for BMI, age at the premenopausal visit, race/ethnicity, and study site), greater gut permeability was associated with greater inflammation, along with lower LS and TH BMD.CONCLUSION Gut permeability increases during the MT. Greater gut permeability is associated with more inflammation and lower BMD. Future studies should examine the longitudinal associations of gut permeability, inflammation, and BMD.FUNDING Funding for this research was provided by NIH, Department of Health and Human Services, through the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Nursing Research, and NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (U01NR004061, U01AG012505, U01AG012535, U01AG012531, U01AG012539, U01AG012546, U01AG012553, U01AG012554, and U01AG012495).
Albert Shieh, Marta Epeldegui, Arun S. Karlamangla, Gail A. Greendale
The ciliopathies Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Alström syndrome are genetically inherited pleiotropic disorders with hyperphagia and obesity as primary clinical features. Methionine aminopeptidase 2 inhibitors (MetAP2i) have been shown in preclinical and clinical studies to reduce food intake, body weight, and adiposity. Here, we investigated the effects of MetAP2i administration in a mouse model of ciliopathy produced by conditional deletion of the Thm1 gene in adulthood. Thm1 conditional knockout (cko) mice showed decreased hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin expression as well as hyperphagia, obesity, metabolic disease, and hepatic steatosis. In obese Thm1-cko mice, 2-week administration of MetAP2i reduced daily food intake and reduced body weight 17.1% from baseline (vs. 5% reduction for vehicle). This was accompanied by decreased levels of blood glucose, insulin, and leptin. Further, MetAP2i reduced gonadal adipose depots and adipocyte size and improved liver morphology. This is the first report to our knowledge of MetAP2i reducing hyperphagia and body weight and ameliorating metabolic indices in a mouse model of ciliopathy. These results support further investigation of MetAP2 inhibition as a potential therapeutic strategy for ciliary-mediated forms of obesity.
Tana S. Pottorf, Micaella P. Fagan, Bryan F. Burkey, David J. Cho, James E. Vath, Pamela V. Tran
In the RV144 HIV-1 phase III trial, vaccine efficacy directly correlated with the magnitude of the variable region 2–specific (V2-specific) IgG antibody response, and in the presence of low plasma IgA levels, with the magnitude of plasma antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Reenrollment of RV144 vaccinees in the RV305 trial offered the opportunity to define the function, maturation, and persistence of vaccine-induced V2-specific and other mAb responses after boosting. We show that the RV144 vaccine regimen induced persistent V2 and other HIV-1 envelope–specific memory B cell clonal lineages that could be identified throughout the approximately 11-year vaccination period. Subsequent boosts increased somatic hypermutation, a critical requirement for antibody affinity maturation. Characterization of 22 vaccine-induced V2-specific mAbs with epitope specificities distinct from previously characterized RV144 V2-specific mAbs CH58 and CH59 found increased in vitro antibody-mediated effector functions. Thus, when inducing non-neutralizing antibodies, one method by which to improve HIV-1 vaccine efficacy may be through late boosting to diversify the V2-specific response to increase the breadth of antibody-mediated anti–HIV-1 effector functions.
David Easterhoff, Justin Pollara, Kan Luo, Benjamin Janus, Neelakshi Gohain, LaTonya D. Williams, Matthew Zirui Tay, Anthony Monroe, Kristina Peachman, Misook Choe, Susie Min, Paolo Lusso, Peng Zhang, Eden P. Go, Heather Desaire, Mattia Bonsignori, Kwan-Ki Hwang, Charles Beck, Matina Kakalis, Robert J. O’Connell, Sandhya Vasan, Jerome H. Kim, Nelson L. Michael, Jean-Louis Excler, Merlin L. Robb, Supachai Rerks-Ngarm, Jaranit Kaewkungwal, Punnee Pitisuttithum, Sorachai Nitayaphan, Faruk Sinangil, James Tartaglia, Sanjay Phogat, Kevin Wiehe, Kevin O. Saunders, David C. Montefiori, Georgia D. Tomaras, M. Anthony Moody, James Arthos, Mangala Rao, M. Gordon Joyce, Gilad Ofek, Guido Ferrari, Barton F. Haynes
Vision loss in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) stems from disruption of photoreceptor cells in the macula, the central retinal area required for high-acuity vision. Mice and rats have no macula, but surgical insertion of a subretinal implant can induce localized photoreceptor degeneration due to chronic separation from retinal pigment epithelium, simulating a key aspect of AMD. We find that the implant-induced loss of photoreceptors in rat retina leads to local changes in the physiology of downstream retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), similar to changes in RGCs of rodent models of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited disease causing retina-wide photoreceptor degeneration. The local implant-induced changes in RGCs include enhanced intrinsic excitability leading to accelerated spontaneous firing, increased membrane permeability to fluorescent dyes, and enhanced photosensitization by azobenzene photoswitches. The local physiological changes are correlated with an increase in retinoic acid receptor–induced (RAR-induced) gene transcription, the key process underlying retinal remodeling in mouse models of RP. Hence the loss of photoreceptors, whether by local physical perturbation or by inherited mutation, leads to a stereotypical set of pathophysiological consequences in RGCs. These findings implicate RAR as a possible common therapeutic target for reversing the signal-corrupting effects of retinal remodeling in both RP and AMD.
Bristol Denlinger, Zachary Helft, Michael Telias, Henri Lorach, Daniel Palanker, Richard H. Kramer
Our integrative genomic and functional analysis identified transforming acidic coiled-coil–containing protein 2 (TACC2) as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) candidate gene. Here, we found that smokers with COPD exhibit a marked decrease in lung TACC2 protein levels relative to smokers without COPD. Single cell RNA sequencing reveals that TACC2 is expressed primarily in lung epithelial cells in normal human lungs. Furthermore, suppression of TACC2 expression impairs the efficiency of homologous recombination repair and augments spontaneous and cigarette smoke extract–induced (CSE-induced) DNA damage and cytotoxicity in immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells. By contrast, enforced expression of TACC2 attenuates the CSE effects. We also found that CSE enhances TACC2 degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system mediated by the ubiquitin E3 ligase subunit, F box L7. Furthermore, cellularly expressed TACC2 proteins harboring naturally occurring mutations exhibited altered protein lifespan coupled with modified DNA damage repair and cytotoxic responses. CS triggers emphysematous changes accompanied by accumulated DNA damage, apoptosis of alveolar epithelia, and lung inflammation in Tacc2–/– compared with Tacc2+/+ mice. Our results suggest that CS destabilizes TACC2 protein in lung epithelia by the ubiquitin proteasome system, leading to subsequent DNA damage, cytotoxicity, and emphysema.
Rama K. Mallampalli, Xiuying Li, Jun-Ho Jang, Tomasz Kaminski, Aki Hoji, Tiffany Coon, Divay Chandra, Starr Welty, Yaqun Teng, John Sembrat, Mauricio Rojas, Yutong Zhao, Robert Lafyatis, Chunbin Zou, Frank Sciurba, Prithu Sundd, Li Lan, Toru Nyunoya
Friedreich ataxia is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease associated with a high diabetes prevalence. No treatment is available to prevent or delay disease progression. Friedreich ataxia is caused by intronic GAA trinucleotide repeat expansions in the frataxin-encoding FXN gene that reduce frataxin expression, impair iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis, cause oxidative stress, and result in mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis. Here we examined the metabolic, neuroprotective, and frataxin-inducing effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogs in in vivo and in vitro models and in patients with Friedreich ataxia. The GLP-1 analog exenatide improved glucose homeostasis of frataxin-deficient mice through enhanced insulin content and secretion in pancreatic β cells. Exenatide induced frataxin and iron-sulfur cluster–containing proteins in β cells and brain and was protective to sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia. GLP-1 analogs also induced frataxin expression, reduced oxidative stress, and improved mitochondrial function in Friedreich ataxia patients’ induced pluripotent stem cell–derived β cells and sensory neurons. The frataxin-inducing effect of exenatide was confirmed in a pilot trial in Friedreich ataxia patients, showing modest frataxin induction in platelets over a 5-week treatment course. Taken together, GLP-1 analogs improve mitochondrial function in frataxin-deficient cells and induce frataxin expression. Our findings identify incretin receptors as a therapeutic target in Friedreich ataxia.
Mariana Igoillo-Esteve, Ana F. Oliveira, Cristina Cosentino, Federica Fantuzzi, Céline Demarez, Sanna Toivonen, Amélie Hu, Satyan Chintawar, Miguel Lopes, Nathalie Pachera, Ying Cai, Baroj Abdulkarim, Myriam Rai, Lorella Marselli, Piero Marchetti, Mohammad Tariq, Jean-Christophe Jonas, Marina Boscolo, Massimo Pandolfo, Décio L. Eizirik, Miriam Cnop
Iron is an essential element for multiple fundamental biological processes required for life; yet iron overload can be cytotoxic. Consequently, iron concentrations at the cellular and tissue level must be exquisitely governed by mechanisms that complement and fine-tune systemic control. It is well appreciated that macrophages are vital for systemic iron homeostasis, supplying or sequestering iron as needed for erythropoiesis or bacteriostasis, respectively. Indeed, recycling of iron through erythrophagocytosis by splenic macrophages is a major contributor to systemic iron homeostasis. However, accumulating evidence suggests that tissue-resident macrophages regulate local iron availability and modulate the tissue microenvironment, contributing to cellular and tissue function. Here, we summarize the significance of tissue-specific regulation of iron availability and highlight how resident macrophages are critical for this process. This tissue-dependent regulation has broad implications for understanding both resident macrophage function and tissue iron homeostasis in health and disease.
Nathan C. Winn, Katrina M. Volk, Alyssa H. Hasty