In this issue of JCI Insight, Artibani et al. characterized the molecular characteristics of minimal residual disease in patients with ovarian cancer to better understand the drivers of survival and cancer recurrence. Their findings identified metabolic rewiring and fat dependency, as well as a portion of cells that had undergone epithelial-mesenchymal transition. The cover image shows H&E staining of chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer cells in between stroma and connective tissue.
β3-Adrenergic receptors (β3-ARs) are the predominant regulators of rodent brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis. However, in humans, the physiological relevance of BAT and β3-AR remains controversial. Herein, using primary human adipocytes from supraclavicular neck fat and immortalized brown/beige adipocytes from deep neck fat from 2 subjects, we demonstrate that the β3-AR plays a critical role in regulating lipolysis, glycolysis, and thermogenesis. Silencing of the β3-AR compromised genes essential for thermogenesis, fatty acid metabolism, and mitochondrial mass. Functionally, reduction of β3-AR lowered agonist-mediated increases in intracellular cAMP, lipolysis, and lipolysis-activated, uncoupling protein 1–mediated thermogenic capacity. Furthermore, mirabegron, a selective human β3-AR agonist, stimulated BAT lipolysis and thermogenesis, and both processes were lost after silencing β3-AR expression. This study highlights that β3-ARs in human brown/beige adipocytes are required to maintain multiple components of the lipolytic and thermogenic cellular machinery and that β3-AR agonists could be used to achieve metabolic benefit in humans.
Cheryl Cero, Hannah J. Lea, Kenneth Y. Zhu, Farnaz Shamsi, Yu-Hua Tseng, Aaron M. Cypess
TIGIT is a recently identified coinhibitory receptor that is upregulated in the setting of cancer and functionally contributes to the impairment of antitumor immunity. However, its role during sepsis is unknown. Because patients with cancer are 10 times more likely to die of sepsis than previously healthy (PH) patients with sepsis, we interrogated the role of TIGIT during sepsis in the context of preexistent malignancy. PH mice or cancer (CA) mice inoculated with lung carcinoma cells were made septic by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). We found that sepsis induced TIGIT upregulation predominantly on Tregs and NK cells in both PH and CA mice. Anti-TIGIT Ab improved the 7-d survival of CA septic mice but not PH mice after CLP. Treatment of CA septic animals but not PH septic animals with anti-TIGIT mAb significantly reversed sepsis-induced loss of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, Foxp3+ Treg, and CD19+ B cells in the spleen, which was the result of decreased caspase-3+ apoptotic cells. In sum, we found that anti-TIGIT Ab reversed sepsis-induced T cell apoptosis in CA septic mice and led to a significant survival benefit, suggesting its use as a potential immunotherapy to improve outcomes in septic patients with cancer.
Wenxiao Zhang, Jerome C. Anyalebechi, Kimberly M. Ramonell, Ching-wen Chen, Jianfeng Xie, Zhe Liang, Deena B. Chihade, Shunsuke Otani, Craig M. Coopersmith, Mandy L. Ford
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is characterized by aberrant repair that diminishes lung function via mechanisms that remain poorly understood. CC chemokine receptor (CCR10) and its ligand CCL28 were both elevated in IPF compared with normal donors. CCR10 was highly expressed by various cells from IPF lungs, most notably stage-specific embryonic antigen-4–positive mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs). In vitro, CCL28 promoted the proliferation of CCR10+ MPCs while CRISPR/Cas9–mediated targeting of CCR10 resulted in the death of MPCs. Following the intravenous injection of various cells from IPF lungs into immunodeficient (NOD/SCID-γ, NSG) mice, human CCR10+ cells initiated and maintained fibrosis in NSG mice. Eph receptor A3 (EphA3) was among the highest expressed receptor tyrosine kinases detected on IPF CCR10+ cells. Ifabotuzumab-targeted killing of EphA3+ cells significantly reduced the numbers of CCR10+ cells and ameliorated pulmonary fibrosis in humanized NSG mice. Thus, human CCR10+ cells promote pulmonary fibrosis, and EphA3 mAb–directed elimination of these cells inhibits lung fibrosis.
Miriam S. Hohmann, David M. Habiel, Milena S. Espindola, Guanling Huang, Isabelle Jones, Rohan Narayanan, Ana Lucia Coelho, Justin M. Oldham, Imre Noth, Shwu-Fan Ma, Adrianne Kurkciyan, Jonathan L. McQualter, Gianni Carraro, Barry Stripp, Peter Chen, Dianhua Jiang, Paul W. Noble, William Parks, John Woronicz, Geoffrey Yarranton, Lynne A. Murray, Cory M. Hogaboam
The chemokine system of ligands and receptors is implicated in the progression of alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH). Finding upstream regulators could lead to novel therapies. This study involved coordinated expression of chemokines in livers of healthy controls (HC) and patients with AH in 2 distinct cohorts of patients with various chronic liver diseases. Studies in cultured hepatocytes and in tissue-specific KO were used for mechanistic insight into a potential upstream regulator of chemokine expression in AH. Selected C-X-C chemokine members of the IL-8 chemokine family and C-C chemokine CCL20 were highly associated with AH compared with HC but not in patients with liver diseases of other etiologies (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease [NAFLD] and hepatitis C virus [HCV]). Our previous studies implicate macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) as a pleiotropic cytokine/chemokine with the potential to coordinately regulate chemokine expression in AH. LPS-stimulated expression of multiple chemokines in cultured hepatocytes was dependent on MIF. Gao-binge ethanol feeding to mice induced a similar coordinated chemokine expression in livers of WT mice; this was prevented in hepatocyte-specific Mif–KO (MifΔHep) mice. This study demonstrates that patients with AH exhibit a specific, coordinately expressed chemokine signature and that hepatocyte-derived MIF might drive this inflammatory response.
Kyle L. Poulsen, Xiude Fan, Christopher D. Kibler, Emily Huang, Xiaoqin Wu, Megan R. McMullen, Lin Leng, Richard Bucala, Meritxell Ventura-Cots, Josepmaria Argemi, Ramon Bataller, Laura E. Nagy
The hypothalamus is a critical regulator of glucose metabolism and is capable of correcting diabetes conditions independently of an effect on energy balance. The small GTPase Rap1 in the forebrain is implicated in high-fat diet–induced (HFD-induced) obesity and glucose imbalance. Here, we report that increasing Rap1 activity selectively in the medial hypothalamus elevated blood glucose without increasing the body weight of HFD-fed mice. In contrast, decreasing hypothalamic Rap1 activity protected mice from diet-induced hyperglycemia but did not prevent weight gain. The remarkable glycemic effect of Rap1 was reproduced when Rap1 was specifically deleted in steroidogenic factor-1–positive (SF-1–positive) neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH) known to regulate glucose metabolism. While having no effect on body weight regardless of sex, diet, and age, Rap1 deficiency in the VMH SF1 neurons markedly lowered blood glucose and insulin levels, improved glucose and insulin tolerance, and protected mice against HFD-induced neural leptin resistance and peripheral insulin resistance at the cellular and whole-body levels. Last, acute pharmacological inhibition of brain exchange protein directly activated by cAMP 2, a direct activator of Rap1, corrected glucose imbalance in obese mouse models. Our findings uncover the primary role of VMH Rap1 in glycemic control and implicate Rap1 signaling as a potential target for therapeutic intervention in diabetes.
Kentaro Kaneko, Hsiao-Yun Lin, Yukiko Fu, Pradip K. Saha, Ana B. De la Puente-Gomez, Yong Xu, Kousaku Ohinata, Peter Chen, Alexei Morozov, Makoto Fukuda
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are increasingly implicated in the pathology of diabetic complications. Here, we examined the role of lncRNAs in monocyte dysfunction and inflammation associated with human type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D). RNA sequencing analysis of CD14+ monocytes from patients with T2D versus healthy controls revealed downregulation of antiinflammatory and antiproliferative genes, along with several lncRNAs, including a potentially novel divergent lncRNA diabetes regulated antiinflammatory RNA (DRAIR) and its nearby gene CPEB2. High glucose and palmitic acid downregulated DRAIR in cultured CD14+ monocytes, whereas antiinflammatory cytokines and monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation upregulated DRAIR via KLF4 transcription factor. DRAIR overexpression increased antiinflammatory and macrophage differentiation genes but inhibited proinflammatory genes. Conversely, DRAIR knockdown attenuated antiinflammatory genes, promoted inflammatory responses, and inhibited phagocytosis. DRAIR regulated target gene expression through interaction with chromatin, as well as inhibition of the repressive epigenetic mark H3K9me2 and its corresponding methyltransferase G9a. Mouse orthologous Drair and Cpeb2 were also downregulated in peritoneal macrophages from T2D db/db mice, and Drair knockdown in nondiabetic mice enhanced proinflammatory genes in macrophages. Thus, DRAIR modulates the inflammatory phenotype of monocytes/macrophages via epigenetic mechanisms, and its downregulation in T2D may promote chronic inflammation. Augmentation of endogenous lncRNAs like DRAIR could serve as novel antiinflammatory therapies for diabetic complications.
Marpadga A. Reddy, Vishnu Amaram, Sadhan Das, Vinay Singh Tanwar, Rituparna Ganguly, Mei Wang, Linda Lanting, Lingxiao Zhang, Maryam Abdollahi, Zhuo Chen, Xiwei Wu, Sridevi Devaraj, Rama Natarajan
The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) inversely relates to neurological impairments with aging; however, limited nondietary models manipulating brain DHA have hindered a direct linkage. We discovered that loss of long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase 6 in mice (Acsl6–/–) depletes brain membrane phospholipid DHA levels, independent of diet. Here, Acsl6–/– brains contained lower DHA compared with controls across the life span. The loss of DHA- and increased arachidonate-enriched phospholipids were visualized by MALDI imaging predominantly in neuron-rich regions where single-molecule RNA in situ hybridization localized Acsl6 to neurons. ACSL6 is also astrocytic; however, we found that astrocyte-specific ACSL6 depletion did not alter membrane DHA because astrocytes express a non–DHA-preferring ACSL6 variant. Across the life span, Acsl6–/– mice exhibited hyperlocomotion, impairments in working spatial memory, and increased cholesterol biosynthesis genes. Aging caused Acsl6–/– brains to decrease the expression of membrane, bioenergetic, ribosomal, and synaptic genes and increase the expression of immune response genes. With age, the Acsl6–/– cerebellum became inflamed and gliotic. Together, our findings suggest that ACSL6 promotes membrane DHA enrichment in neurons, but not in astrocytes, and is important for neuronal DHA levels across the life span. The loss of ACSL6 impacts motor function, memory, and age-related neuroinflammation, reflecting the importance of neuronal ACSL6-mediated lipid metabolism across the life span.
Regina F. Fernandez, Andrea S. Pereyra, Victoria Diaz, Emily S. Wilson, Karen A. Litwa, Jonatan Martínez-Gardeazabal, Shelley N. Jackson, J. Thomas Brenna, Brian P. Hermann, Jeffrey B. Eells, Jessica M. Ellis
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease suffer from increased cardiovascular events and cardiac mortality. Prior studies have demonstrated that a portion of this enhanced risk can be attributed to the accumulation of microbiota-derived toxic metabolites, with most studies focusing on the sulfonated form of p-cresol (PCS). However, unconjugated p-cresol (uPC) itself was never assessed due to rapid and extensive first-pass metabolism that results in negligible serum concentrations of uPC. These reports thus failed to consider the host exposure to uPC prior to hepatic metabolism. In the current study, not only did we measure the effect of altering the intestinal microbiota on lipid accumulation in coronary arteries, but we also examined macrophage lipid uptake and handling pathways in response to uPC. We found that atherosclerosis-prone mice fed a high-fat diet exhibited significantly higher coronary artery lipid deposits upon receiving fecal material from CKD mice. Furthermore, treatment with uPC increased total cholesterol, triglycerides, and hepatic and aortic fatty deposits in non-CKD mice. Studies employing an in vitro macrophage model demonstrated that uPC exposure increased apoptosis whereas PCS did not. Additionally, uPC exhibited higher potency than PCS to stimulate LDL uptake and only uPC induced endocytosis- and pinocytosis-related genes. Pharmacological inhibition of varying cholesterol influx and efflux systems indicated that uPC increased macrophage LDL uptake by activating macropinocytosis. Overall, these findings indicate that uPC itself had a distinct effect on macrophage biology that might have contributed to increased cardiovascular risk in patients with CKD.
Lee D. Chaves, Sham Abyad, Amanda M. Honan, Mark A. Bryniarski, Daniel I. McSkimming, Corrine M. Stahura, Steven C. Wells, Donna M. Ruszaj, Marilyn E. Morris, Richard J. Quigg, Rabi Yacoub
Using genetically engineered mouse models, this work demonstrates that protein synthesis is essential for efficient urothelial cancer formation and growth but dispensable for bladder homeostasis. Through a candidate gene analysis for translation regulators implicated in this dependency, we discovered that phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor eIF4E at serine 209 is increased in both murine and human bladder cancer, and this phosphorylation corresponds with an increase in de novo protein synthesis. Employing an eIF4E serine 209 to alanine knock-in mutant mouse model, we show that this single posttranslational modification is critical for bladder cancer initiation and progression, despite having no impact on normal bladder tissue maintenance. Using murine and human models of advanced bladder cancer, we demonstrate that only tumors with high levels of eIF4E phosphorylation are therapeutically vulnerable to eFT508, the first clinical-grade inhibitor of MNK1 and MNK2, the upstream kinases of eIF4E. Our results show that phospho-eIF4E plays an important role in bladder cancer pathogenesis, and targeting its upstream kinases could be an effective therapeutic option for bladder cancer patients with high levels of eIF4E phosphorylation.
Sujata Jana, Rucha Deo, Rowan P. Hough, Yuzhen Liu, Jessie L. Horn, Jonathan L. Wright, Hung-Ming Lam, Kevin R. Webster, Gary G. Chiang, Nahum Sonenberg, Andrew C. Hsieh
BACKGROUND Identifying a quantitative biomarker of neuropsychiatric dysfunction in people with HIV (PWH) remains a significant challenge in the neuroHIV field. The strongest evidence to date implicates the role of monocytes in central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction in HIV, yet no study has examined monocyte subsets in blood as a correlate and/or predictor of neuropsychiatric function in virally suppressed PWH.METHODS In 2 independent cohorts of virologically suppressed women with HIV (vsWWH; n = 25 and n = 18), whole blood samples were obtained either in conjunction with neuropsychiatric assessments (neuropsychological [NP] test battery, self-report depression and stress-related symptom questionnaires) or 1 year prior to assessments. Immune cell subsets were assessed by flow cytometry.RESULTS A higher proportion of intermediate monocytes (CD14+CD16+) was associated with lower global NP function when assessing monocytes concurrently and approximately 1 year before (predictive) NP testing. The same pattern was seen for executive function (mental flexibility) and processing speed. Conversely, there were no associations with monocyte subsets and depression or stress-related symptoms. Additionally, we found that a higher proportion of classical monocytes was associated with better cognition.CONCLUSION Although it is widely accepted that lentiviral infection of the CNS targets cells of monocyte-macrophage-microglial lineage and is associated with an increase in intermediate monocytes in the blood and monocyte migration into the brain, the percentage of intermediate monocytes in blood of vsWWH has not been associated with neuropsychiatric outcomes. Our findings provide evidence for a new, easily measured, blood-based cognitive biomarker in vsWWH.FUNDING R01-MH113512, R01-MH113512-S, P30-AI094189, R01-MH112391, R01-AI127142, R00-DA044838, U01-AI35004, and P30-MH075673
Rebecca T. Veenhuis, Dionna W. Williams, Erin N. Shirk, Celina M. Abreu, Edna A. Ferreira, Jennifer M. Coughlin, Todd T. Brown, Pauline M. Maki, Kathryn Anastos, Joan W. Berman, Janice E. Clements, Leah H. Rubin
BACKGROUND Little is known about pathogen-specific humoral immunity after chimeric antigen receptor–modified T (CAR-T) cell therapy for B cell malignancies.METHODS We conducted a prospective cross-sectional study of CD19-targeted or B cell maturation antigen–targeted (BCMA-targeted) CAR-T cell therapy recipients at least 6 months posttreatment and in remission. We measured pathogen-specific IgG against 12 vaccine-preventable infections and the number of viral and bacterial epitopes to which IgG was detected (“epitope hits”) using a serological profiling assay. The primary outcome was the proportion of participants with IgG levels above a threshold correlated with seroprotection for vaccine-preventable infections.RESULTS We enrolled 65 children and adults a median of 20 months after CD19- (n = 54) or BCMA- (n = 11) CAR-T cell therapy. Among 30 adults without IgG replacement therapy (IGRT) in the prior 16 weeks, 27 (90%) had hypogammaglobulinemia. These individuals had seroprotection to a median of 67% (IQR, 59%–73%) of tested infections. Proportions of participants with seroprotection per pathogen were comparable to population-based studies, but most individuals lacked seroprotection to specific pathogens. Compared with CD19-CAR-T cell recipients, BCMA-CAR-T cell recipients were half as likely to have seroprotection (prevalence ratio, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.18–1.25) and had fewer pathogen-specific epitope hits (mean difference, –90 epitope hits; 95% CI, –157 to –22).CONCLUSION Seroprotection for vaccine-preventable infections in adult CD19-CAR-T cell recipients was comparable to the general population. BCMA-CAR-T cell recipients had fewer pathogen-specific antibodies. Deficits in both groups support the need for vaccine and immunoglobulin replacement therapy studies.FUNDING Swiss National Science Foundation (Early Postdoc Mobility grant P2BSP3_188162), NIH/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI) (U01CA247548 and P01CA018029), NIH/NCI Cancer Center Support Grants (P30CA0087-48 and P30CA015704-44), American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, and Juno Therapeutics/BMS.
Carla S. Walti, Elizabeth M. Krantz, Joyce Maalouf, Jim Boonyaratanakornkit, Jacob Keane-Candib, Laurel Joncas-Schronce, Terry Stevens-Ayers, Sayan Dasgupta, Justin J. Taylor, Alexandre V. Hirayama, Merav Bar, Rebecca A. Gardner, Andrew J. Cowan, Damian J. Green, Michael J. Boeckh, David G. Maloney, Cameron J. Turtle, Joshua A. Hill
NK cells are innate immune cells implicated in ALS; whether NK cells impact ALS in a sex- and age-specific manner was investigated. Herein, NK cells were depleted in male and female SOD1G93A ALS mice, survival and neuroinflammation were assessed, and data were stratified by sex. NK cell depletion extended survival in female but not male ALS mice with sex-specific effects on spinal cord microglia. In humans, NK cell numbers, NK cell subpopulations, and NK cell surface markers were examined in prospectively blood collected from subjects with ALS and control subjects; longitudinal changes in these metrics were correlated to revised ALS functional rating scale (ALSFRS-R) slope and stratified by sex and age. Expression of NK cell trafficking and cytotoxicity markers was elevated in subjects with ALS, and changes in CXCR3+ NK cells and 7 trafficking and cytotoxicity markers (CD11a, CD11b, CD38, CX3CR1, NKG2D, NKp30, NKp46) correlated with disease progression. Age affected the associations between ALSFRS-R and markers NKG2D and NKp46, whereas sex impacted the NKp30 association. Collectively, these findings suggest that NK cells contribute to ALS progression in a sex- and age-specific manner and demonstrate that age and sex are critical variables when designing and assessing ALS immunotherapy.
Benjamin J. Murdock, Joshua P. Famie, Caroline E. Piecuch, Kristen D. Raue, Faye E. Mendelson, Cole H. Pieroni, Sebastian D. Iniguez, Lili Zhao, Stephen A. Goutman, Eva L. Feldman
BACKGROUND Assessment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk after acute kidney injury (AKI) is based on limited markers primarily reflecting glomerular function. We evaluated markers of cell integrity (EGF) and inflammation (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, MCP-1) for predicting long-term kidney outcomes after cardiac surgery.METHODS We measured EGF and MCP-1 in postoperative urine samples from 865 adults who underwent cardiac surgery at 2 sites in Canada and the United States and assessed EGF and MCP-1’s associations with the composite outcome of CKD incidence or progression. We used single-cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) of AKI patient biopsies to perform transcriptomic analysis of programs corregulated with the associated genes.RESULTS Over a median (IQR) follow-up of 5.8 (4.2–7.1) years, 266 (30.8%) patients developed the composite CKD outcome. Postoperatively, higher levels of urinary EGF were protective and higher levels of MCP-1 were associated with the composite CKD outcome (adjusted HR 0.83, 95% CI 0.73–0.95 and 1.10, 95% CI 1.00–1.21, respectively). Intrarenal scRNA-Seq transcriptomes in patients with AKI-defined cell populations revealed concordant changes in EGF and MCP-1 levels and underlying molecular processes associated with loss of EGF expression and gain of CCL2 (encoding MCP-1) expression.CONCLUSION Urinary EGF and MCP-1 were each independently associated with CKD after cardiac surgery. These markers may serve as noninvasive indicators of tubular damage, supported by tissue transcriptomes, and provide an opportunity for novel interventions in cardiac surgery.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00774137.FUNDING The NIH funded the TRIBE-AKI Consortium and Kidney Precision Medicine Project. Yale O’Brien Kidney Center, American Heart Association, Patterson Trust Fund, Dr. Adam Linton Chair in Kidney Health Analytics, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, ICES, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Academic Medical Organization of Southwestern Ontario, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, Lawson Health Research Institute, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Human Cell Atlas Kidney Seed Network.
Steven Menez, Wenjun Ju, Rajasree Menon, Dennis G. Moledina, Heather Thiessen Philbrook, Eric McArthur, Yaqi Jia, Wassim Obeid, Sherry G. Mansour, Jay L. Koyner, Michael G. Shlipak, Steven G. Coca, Amit X. Garg, Andrew S. Bomback, John A. Kellum, Matthias Kretzler, Chirag R. Parikh, for the Translational Research Investigating Biomarker Endpoints in AKI (TRIBE-AKI) Consortium and the Kidney Precision Medicine Project
Abnormal action potential (AP) properties, as occurs in long or short QT syndromes (LQTS and SQTS, respectively), can cause life-threatening arrhythmias. Optogenetics strategies, utilizing light-sensitive proteins, have emerged as experimental platforms for cardiac pacing, resynchronization, and defibrillation. We tested the hypothesis that similar optogenetic tools can modulate the cardiomyocyte’s AP properties, as a potentially novel antiarrhythmic strategy. Healthy control and LQTS/SQTS patient–specific human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) were transduced to express the light-sensitive cationic channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) or the anionic-selective opsin, ACR2. Detailed patch-clamp, confocal-microscopy, and optical mapping studies evaluated the ability of spatiotemporally defined optogenetic protocols to modulate AP properties and prevent arrhythmogenesis in the hiPSC-CMs cell/tissue models. Depending on illumination timing, light-induced ChR2 activation induced robust prolongation or mild shortening of AP duration (APD), while ACR2 activation allowed effective APD shortening. Fine-tuning these approaches allowed for the normalization of pathological AP properties and suppression of arrhythmogenicity in the LQTS/SQTS hiPSC-CM cellular models. We next established a SQTS–hiPSC-CMs–based tissue model of reentrant-arrhythmias using optogenetic cross-field stimulation. An APD-modulating optogenetic protocol was then designed to dynamically prolong APD of the propagating wavefront, completely preventing arrhythmogenesis in this model. This work highlights the potential of optogenetics in studying repolarization abnormalities and in developing novel antiarrhythmic therapies.
Amit Gruber, Oded Edri, Irit Huber, Gil Arbel, Amira Gepstein, Assad Shiti, Naim Shaheen, Snizhana Chorna, Michal Landesberg, Lior Gepstein
Despite the availability of multiple human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–targeted (HER2-targeted) treatments, therapeutic resistance in HER2+ breast cancer remains a clinical challenge. Intratumor heterogeneity for HER2 and resistance-conferring mutations in the PIK3CA gene (encoding PI3K catalytic subunit α) have been investigated in response and resistance to HER2-targeting agents, while the role of divergent cellular phenotypes and tumor epithelial-stromal cell interactions is less well understood. Here, we assessed the effect of intratumor cellular genetic heterogeneity for ERBB2 (encoding HER2) copy number and PIK3CA mutation on different types of neoadjuvant HER2-targeting therapies and clinical outcome in HER2+ breast cancer. We found that the frequency of cells lacking HER2 was a better predictor of response to HER2-targeted treatment than intratumor heterogeneity. We also compared the efficacy of different therapies in the same tumor using patient-derived xenograft models of heterogeneous HER2+ breast cancer and single-cell approaches. Stromal determinants were better predictors of response than tumor epithelial cells, and we identified alveolar epithelial and fibroblastic reticular cells as well as lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1–positive (Lyve1+) macrophages as putative drivers of therapeutic resistance. Our results demonstrate that both preexisting and acquired resistance to HER2-targeting agents involve multiple mechanisms including the tumor microenvironment. Furthermore, our data suggest that intratumor heterogeneity for HER2 should be incorporated into treatment design.
Michalina Janiszewska, Shayna Stein, Otto Metzger Filho, Jennifer Eng, Natalie L. Kingston, Nicholas W. Harper, Inga H. Rye, Maša Alečković, Anne Trinh, Katherine C. Murphy, Elisabetta Marangoni, Simona Cristea, Benjamin Oakes, Eric P. Winer, Ian E. Krop, Hege G. Russnes, Paul T. Spellman, Elmar Bucher, Zhi Hu, Koei Chin, Joe W. Gray, Franziska Michor, Kornelia Polyak
SLC26A6 (also known as putative anion transporter 1 [PAT1]) is a Cl–/HCO3– exchanger expressed at the luminal membrane of enterocytes where it facilitates intestinal Cl– and fluid absorption. Here, high-throughput screening of 50,000 synthetic small molecules in cells expressing PAT1 and a halide-sensing fluorescent protein identified several classes of inhibitors. The most potent compound, the pyrazolo-pyrido-pyrimidinone PAT1inh-B01, fully inhibited PAT1-mediated anion exchange (IC50 ~350 nM), without inhibition of the related intestinal transporter SLC26A3 (also known as DRA). In closed midjejunal loops in mice, PAT1inh-B01 inhibited fluid absorption by 50%, which increased to >90% when coadministered with DRA inhibitor DRAinh-A270. In ileal loops, PAT1inh-B01 blocked fluid absorption by >80%, whereas DRAinh-A270 was without effect. In colonic loops, PAT1inh-B01 was without effect, whereas DRAinh-A270 completely blocked fluid absorption. In a loperamide constipation model, coadministration of PAT1inh-B01 with DRAinh-A270 increased stool output compared with DRAinh-A270 alone. These results provide functional evidence for complementary and region-specific roles of PAT1 and DRA in intestinal fluid absorption, with PAT1 as the predominant anion exchanger in mouse ileum. We believe that PAT1inh-B01 is a novel tool to study intestinal ion and fluid transport and perhaps a drug candidate for small intestinal hyposecretory disorders such as cystic fibrosis–related meconium ileus and distal intestinal obstruction syndrome.
Onur Cil, Peter M. Haggie, Joseph-Anthony Tapia Tan, Amber A. Rivera, Alan S. Verkman
Similar to tumor-initiating cells (TICs), minimal residual disease (MRD) is capable of reinitiating tumors and causing recurrence. However, the molecular characteristics of solid tumor MRD cells and drivers of their survival have remained elusive. Here we performed dense multiregion transcriptomics analysis of paired biopsies from 17 ovarian cancer patients before and after chemotherapy. We reveal that while MRD cells share important molecular signatures with TICs, they are also characterized by an adipocyte-like gene expression signature and a portion of them had undergone epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). In a cell culture MRD model, MRD-mimic cells showed the same phenotype and were dependent on fatty acid oxidation (FAO) for survival and resistance to cytotoxic agents. These findings identify EMT and FAO as attractive targets to eradicate MRD in ovarian cancer and make a compelling case for the further testing of FAO inhibitors in treating MRD.
Mara Artibani, Kenta Masuda, Zhiyuan Hu, Pascal C. Rauher, Garry Mallett, Nina Wietek, Matteo Morotti, Kay Chong, Mohammad KaramiNejadRanjbar, Christos E. Zois, Sunanda Dhar, Salma El-Sahhar, Leticia Campo, Sarah P. Blagden, Stephen Damato, Pubudu N. Pathiraja, Shibani Nicum, Fergus Gleeson, Alexandros Laios, Abdulkhaliq Alsaadi, Laura Santana Gonzalez, Takeshi Motohara, Ashwag Albukhari, Zhen Lu, Robert C. Bast Jr., Adrian L. Harris, Christer S. Ejsing, Robin W. Klemm, Christopher Yau, Tatjana Sauka-Spengler, Ahmed Ashour Ahmed
The epithelial cell–derived cytokines IL-25, IL-33, and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) initiate type 2 inflammation in allergic diseases, including asthma. However, the signaling pathway regulating these cytokines expression remains elusive. Since microRNAs are pivotal regulators of gene expression, we profiled microRNA expression in bronchial epithelial brushings from type 2–low and type 2–high asthma patients. miR-206 was the most highly expressed epithelial microRNA in type 2–high asthma relative to type 2–low asthma but was downregulated in both subsets compared with healthy controls. CD39, an ectonucleotidase degrading ATP, was a target of miR-206 and upregulated in asthma. Allergen-induced acute extracellular ATP accumulation led to miR-206 downregulation and CD39 upregulation in human bronchial epithelial cells, forming a feedback loop to eliminate excessive ATP. Airway ATP levels were markedly elevated and strongly correlated with IL-25 and TSLP expression in asthma patients. Intriguingly, airway miR-206 antagonism increased Cd39 expression; reduced ATP accumulation; suppressed IL-25, IL-33, and Tslp expression and group 2 innate lymphoid cell expansion; and alleviated type 2 inflammation in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation. In contrast, airway miR-206 overexpression had opposite effects. Overall, epithelial miR-206 upregulates airway IL-25 and TSLP expression by targeting the CD39–extracellular ATP axis, which represents a potentially novel therapeutic target in type 2–high asthma.
Kan Zhang, Yuchen Feng, Yuxia Liang, Wenliang Wu, Chenli Chang, Dian Chen, Shengchong Chen, Jiali Gao, Gongqi Chen, Lingling Yi, Dan Cheng, Guohua Zhen
BACKGROUND Early diagnosis and treatment are key to the long-term survival of lung cancer patients. Although CT has significantly contributed to the early diagnosis of lung cancer, there are still consequences of excessive or delayed treatment. By improving the sensitivity and specificity of circulating tumor cell (CTC) detection, a solution was proposed for differentiating benign from malignant pulmonary nodules.METHODS In this study, we used telomerase reverse transcriptase–based (TERT-based) CTC detection (TBCD) to distinguish benign from malignant pulmonary nodules < 2 cm and compared this method with the pathological diagnosis as the gold standard. FlowSight and FISH were used to confirm the CTCs detected by TBCD.RESULTS Our results suggest that CTCs based on TBCD can be used as independent biomarkers to distinguish benign from malignant nodules and are significantly superior to serum tumor markers. When the detection threshold was 1, the detection sensitivity and specificity of CTC diagnosis were 0.854 and 0.839, respectively. For pulmonary nodules ≤ 1 cm and 1–2 cm, the sensitivity and specificity of CTCs were both higher than 77%. Additionally, the diagnostic ability of CTC-assisted CT was compared by CT detection. The results show that CT combined with CTCs could significantly improve the differentiation ability of benign and malignant nodules in lung nodules < 2 cm and that the sensitivity and specificity could reach 0.899 and 0.839, respectively.CONCLUSION TBCD can effectively diagnose pulmonary nodules and be used as an effective auxiliary diagnostic scheme for CT diagnosis.FUNDING National Key Research and Development Project grant nos. 2019YFC1315700 and 2017YFC1308702, CAMS Initiative for Innovative Medicine grant no. 2017-I2M-1-005, and National Natural Science Foundation of China grant no. 81472013.
Wen Zhang, Xinchun Duan, Zhenrong Zhang, Zhenrong Yang, Changyun Zhao, Chunzi Liang, Zhidong Liu, Shujun Cheng, Kaitai Zhang
Clinical phenotyping of term and preterm labor is imprecise, and disagreement persists on categorization relative to underlying pathobiology, which remains poorly understood. We performed RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) of 31 specimens of human uterine myometrium from 10 term and 21 preterm cesarean deliveries with rich clinical context information. A molecular signature of 4814 transcripts stratified myometrial samples into quiescent (Q) and nonquiescent (NQ) phenotypes, independent of gestational age and incision site. Similar stratifications were achieved using expressed genes in Ca2+ signaling and TGF-β pathways. For maximal parsimony, we evaluated the expression of just 2 Ca2+ transporter genes, ATP2B4 (encoding PMCA4) and ATP2A2 (coding for SERCA2), and we found that their ratio reliably distinguished NQ and Q specimens in the current study, and also in 2 publicly available RNA-seq data sets (GSE50599 and GSE80172), with an overall AUC of 0.94. Cross-validation of the ATP2B4/ATP2A2 ratio by quantitative PCR in an expanded cohort (by 11 additional specimens) achieved complete separation (AUC of 1.00) of NQ versus Q specimens. While providing additional insight into the associations between clinical features of term and preterm labor and myometrial gene expression, our study also offers a practical algorithm for unbiased classification of myometrial biopsies by their overall contractile program.
William E. Ackerman IV, Catalin S. Buhimschi, Ali Snedden, Taryn L. Summerfield, Guomao Zhao, Irina A. Buhimschi
Complete absence of thyroid hormone is incompatible with life in vertebrates. Thyroxine is synthesized within thyroid follicles upon iodination of thyroglobulin conveyed from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), via the Golgi complex, to the extracellular follicular lumen. In congenital hypothyroidism from biallelic thyroglobulin mutation, thyroglobulin is misfolded and cannot advance from the ER, eliminating its secretion and triggering ER stress. Nevertheless, untreated patients somehow continue to synthesize sufficient thyroxine to yield measurable serum levels that sustain life. Here, we demonstrate that TGW2346R/W2346R humans, TGcog/cog mice, and TGrdw/rdw rats exhibited no detectable ER export of thyroglobulin, accompanied by severe thyroidal ER stress and thyroid cell death. Nevertheless, thyroxine was synthesized, and brief treatment of TGrdw/rdw rats with antithyroid drug was lethal to the animals. When untreated, remarkably, thyroxine was synthesized on the mutant thyroglobulin protein, delivered via dead thyrocytes that decompose within the follicle lumen, where they were iodinated and cannibalized by surrounding live thyrocytes. As the animals continued to grow goiters, circulating thyroxine increased. However, when TGrdw/rdw rats age, they cannot sustain goiter growth that provided the dying cells needed for ongoing thyroxine synthesis, resulting in profound hypothyroidism. These results establish a disease mechanism wherein dead thyrocytes support organismal survival.
Xiaohan Zhang, Aaron P. Kellogg, Cintia E. Citterio, Hao Zhang, Dennis Larkin, Yoshiaki Morishita, Héctor M. Targovnik, Viviana A. Balbi, Peter Arvan
BACKGROUND Continued androgen receptor (AR) signaling constitutes a key target for treatment in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Studies have identified 11-ketotestosterone (11KT) as a potent AR agonist, but it is unknown if 11KT is present at physiologically relevant concentrations in patients with CRPC to drive AR activation. The goal of this study was to investigate the circulating steroid metabolome including all active androgens in patients with CRPC.METHODS Patients with metastatic CRPC (n = 29) starting a new line of systemic therapy were included. Sequential plasma samples were obtained for measurement of circulating steroid concentrations by multisteroid profiling employing liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Metastatic tumor biopsy samples were obtained at baseline and subjected to RNA sequencing.RESULTS 11KT was the most abundant circulating active androgen in 97% of patients with CRPC (median 0.39 nmol/L, range: 0.03–2.39 nmol/L), constituting 60% (IQR 43%–79%) of the total active androgen (TA) pool. Treatment with glucocorticoids reduced 11KT by 84% (49%–89%) and testosterone by 68% (38%–79%). Circulating TA concentrations at baseline were associated with a distinct intratumor gene expression signature comprising AR-regulated genes.CONCLUSION The potent AR agonist 11KT is the predominant circulating active androgen in patients with CRPC and, therefore, one of the potential drivers of AR activation in CRPC. Assessment of androgen status should be extended to include 11KT, as current clinical approaches likely underestimate androgen abundance in patients with CRPC.TRIAL REGISTRATION Netherlands Trial Register: NL5625 (NTR5732).FUNDING Daniel den Hoed Foundation and Wellcome Trust (Investigator Award WT209492/Z/17/Z).
Gido Snaterse, Lisanne F. van Dessel, Job van Riet, Angela E. Taylor, Michelle van der Vlugt-Daane, Paul Hamberg, Ronald de Wit, Jenny A. Visser, Wiebke Arlt, Martijn P. Lolkema, Johannes Hofland
Neurodegeneration mediates neurological disability in inflammatory demyelinating diseases of the CNS. The role of innate immune cells in mediating this damage has remained controversial with evidence for destructive and protective effects. This has complicated efforts to develop treatment. The time sequence and dynamic evolution of the opposing functions are especially unclear. Given limits of in vivo monitoring in human diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), animal models are warranted to investigate the association and timing of innate immune activation with neurodegeneration. Using noninvasive in vivo retinal imaging of experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) in CX3CR1GFP/+–knock-in mice followed by transcriptional profiling, we are able to show 2 distinct waves separated by a marked reduction in the number of innate immune cells and change in cell morphology. The first wave is characterized by an inflammatory phagocytic phenotype preceding the onset of EAE, whereas the second wave is characterized by a regulatory, antiinflammatory phenotype during the chronic stage. Additionally, the magnitude of the first wave is associated with neuronal loss. Two transcripts identified — growth arrest–specific protein 6 (GAS6) and suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) — might be promising targets for enhancing protective effects of microglia in the chronic phase after initial injury.
Andrés Cruz-Herranz, Frederike C. Oertel, Kicheol Kim, Ester Cantó, Garrett Timmons, Jung H. Sin, Michael Devereux, Nicholas Baker, Brady Michel, Ryan D. Schubert, Lakshmisahithi Rani, Christian Cordano, Sergio E. Baranzini, Ari J. Green