Metabolic stress is an important cause of pathological atrial remodeling and atrial fibrillation. AMPK is a ubiquitous master metabolic regulator, yet its biological function in the atria is poorly understood in both health and disease. We investigated the impact of atrium-selective cardiac AMPK deletion on electrophysiological and structural remodeling in mice. Loss of atrial AMPK expression caused atrial changes in electrophysiological properties and atrial ectopic activity prior to the onset of spontaneous atrial fibrillation. Concomitant transcriptional downregulation of connexins and atrial ion channel subunits manifested with delayed left atrial activation and repolarization. The early molecular and electrophysiological abnormalities preceded left atrial structural remodeling and interstitial fibrosis. AMPK inactivation induced downregulation of transcription factors (Mef2c and Pitx2c) linked to connexin and ion channel transcriptional reprogramming. Thus, AMPK plays an essential homeostatic role in atria, protecting against adverse remodeling potentially by regulating key transcription factors that control the expression of atrial ion channels and gap junction proteins.
Kevin N. Su, Yina Ma, Marine Cacheux, Zeki Ilkan, Nour Raad, Grace K. Muller, Xiaohong Wu, Nicole Guerrera, Stephanie L. Thorn, Albert J. Sinusas, Marc Foretz, Benoit Viollet, Joseph G. Akar, Fadi G. Akar, Lawrence H. Young
The capacity of ADAMTS3 to cleave pro-VEGFC into active VEGFC able to bind its receptors and to stimulate lymphangiogenesis has been clearly established during embryonic life. However, this function of ADAMTS3 is unlikely to persist in adulthood because of its restricted expression pattern after birth. Because ADAMTS2 and ADAMTS14 are closely related to ADAMTS3 and are mainly expressed in connective tissues where the lymphatic network extends, we hypothesized that they could substitute for ADAMTS3 during adulthood in mammals allowing proteolytic activation of pro-VEGFC. Here, we demonstrated that ADAMTS2 and ADAMTS14 are able to process pro-VEGFC into active VEGFC as efficiently as ADAMTS3. In vivo, adult mice lacking Adamts2 developed skin lymphedema due to a reduction of the density and diameter of lymphatic vessels, leading to a decrease of lymphatic functionality, while genetic ablation of Adamts14 had no impact. In a model of thermal cauterization of cornea, lymphangiogenesis was significantly reduced in Adamts2- and Adamts14-KO mice and further repressed in Adamts2/Adamts14 double-KO mice. In summary, we have demonstrated that ADAMTS2 and ADAMTS14 are as efficient as ADAMTS3 in activation of pro-VEGFC and are involved in the homeostasis of the lymphatic vasculature in adulthood, both in physiological and pathological processes.
Laura Dupont, Loïc Joannes, Florent Morfoisse, Silvia Blacher, Christine Monseur, Christophe F. Deroanne, Agnès Noël, Alain C.M.A. Colige
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder. As disease progresses, motor neurons are affected, and their dysfunction contributes toward the inability to maintain proper respiratory function, a major driving force for premature death in SCA1. To investigate the isolated role of motor neurons in SCA1, we created a conditional SCA1 (cSCA1) mouse model. This model suppresses expression of the pathogenic SCA1 allele with a floxed stop cassette. cSCA1 mice crossed to a ubiquitous Cre line recapitulate all the major features of the original SCA1 mouse model; however, they took twice as long to develop. We found that the cSCA1 mice produced less than half of the pathogenic protein compared with the unmodified SCA1 mice at 3 weeks of age. In contrast, restricted expression of the pathogenic SCA1 allele in motor neurons only led to a decreased distance traveled of mice in the open field assay and did not affect body weight or survival. We conclude that a 50% or greater reduction of the mutant protein has a dramatic effect on disease onset and progression; furthermore, we conclude that expression of polyglutamine-expanded ATXN1 at this level specifically in motor neurons is not sufficient to cause premature lethality.
James P. Orengo, Larissa Nitschke, Meike E. van der Heijden, Nicholas A. Ciaburri, Harry T. Orr, Huda Y. Zoghbi
Inflammasomes are a class of innate immune signaling platforms that activate in response to an array of cellular damage and pathogens. Inflammasomes promote inflammation under many circumstances to enhance immunity against pathogens and inflammatory responses through their effector cytokines, IL-1β and IL-18. Multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), are autoimmune conditions influenced by inflammasomes. Despite work investigating inflammasomes during EAE, little remains known concerning the role of inflammasomes in the central nervous system (CNS) during the disease. Here, we used multiple genetically modified mouse models to monitor activated inflammasomes in situ based on oligomerization of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) in the spinal cord. Using inflammasome reporter mice, we found heightened inflammasome activation in astrocytes after the disease peak. In contrast, microglia and CNS-infiltrated myeloid cells had few activated inflammasomes in the CNS during EAE. Astrocyte inflammasome activation during EAE was dependent on absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2), but low IL-1β release and no significant signs of cell death were found. Thus, the AIM2 inflammasome activation in astrocytes may have a distinct role from traditional inflammasome-mediated inflammation.
William E. Barclay, Nupur Aggarwal, M. Elizabeth Deerhake, Makoto Inoue, Toshiaki Nonaka, Kengo Nozaki, Nathan A. Luzum, Edward A. Miao, Mari L. Shinohara
The persistence of virally infected cells as reservoirs despite effective antiretroviral therapy is a major barrier to an HIV/SIV cure. These reservoirs are predominately contained within cells present in the B cell follicles (BCFs) of secondary lymphoid tissues, a site that is characteristically difficult for most cytolytic antiviral effector cells to penetrate. Here, we identified a population of NK cells in macaque lymph nodes that expressed BCF-homing receptor CXCR5 and accumulated within BCFs during chronic SHIV infection. These CXCR5+ follicular NK cells exhibited an activated phenotype coupled with heightened effector functions and a unique transcriptome characterized by elevated expression of cytolytic mediators (e.g., perforin and granzymes, LAMP-1). CXCR5+ NK cells exhibited high expression of FcγRIIa and FcγRIIIa, suggesting a potential for elevated antibody-dependent effector functionality. Consistently, accumulation of CXCR5+ NK cells showed a strong inverse association with plasma viral load and the frequency of germinal center follicular Th cells that comprise a significant fraction of the viral reservoir. Moreover, CXCR5+ NK cells showed increased expression of transcripts associated with IL-12 and IL-15 signaling compared with the CXCR5– subset. Indeed, in vitro treatment with IL-12 and IL-15 enhanced the proliferation of CXCR5+ granzyme B+ NK cells. Our findings suggest that follicular homing NK cells might be important in immune control of chronic SHIV infection, and this may have important implications for HIV cure strategies.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman, James M. Billingsley, Ashish Arunkumar Sharma, Tiffany M. Styles, Sakthivel Govindaraj, Uma Shanmugasundaram, Hemalatha Babu, Susan Pereira Riberio, Syed A. Ali, Gregory K. Tharp, Chris Ibegbu, Stephen N. Waggoner, R. Paul Johnson, Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, Francois Villinger, Steve E. Bosinger, Rama Rao Amara, Vijayakumar Velu
Platelet homeostasis is dependent on a tight regulation of both platelet production and clearance. The small GTPase Rap1 mediates platelet adhesion and hemostatic plug formation. However, Rap1 signaling is also critical for platelet homeostasis as both Rap1 deficiency and uninhibited Rap1 signaling lead to marked thrombocytopenia in mice. Here, we investigated the mechanism by which deficiency in Rasa3, a critical negative regulator of Rap1, causes macrothrombocytopenia in mice. Despite marked morphological and ultrastructural abnormalities, megakaryocytes in hypomorphic Rasa3hlb/hlb (R3hlb/hlb) or Rasa3–/– mice demonstrated robust proplatelet formation in vivo, suggesting that defective thrombopoiesis is not the main cause of thrombocytopenia. Rather, we observed that R3hlb/hlb platelets became trapped in the spleen marginal zone/red pulp interface, with evidence of platelet phagocytosis by macrophages. Clearance of mutant platelets was also observed in the liver, especially in splenectomized mice. Platelet count and platelet life span in Rasa3-mutant mice were restored by genetic or pharmacological approaches to inhibit the Rap1/talin1/αIIbβ3 integrin axis. A similar pattern of splenic clearance was observed in mice injected with anti-αIIbβ3 but not anti–glycoprotein Ibα platelet-depleting antibodies. In summary, we describe a potentially novel, integrin-based mechanism of platelet clearance that could be critical for our understanding of select inherited and acquired thrombocytopenias.
Robert H. Lee, Dorsaf Ghalloussi, Gabriel L. Harousseau, Joseph P. Kenny, Patrick A. Kramer, Fabienne Proamer, Bernhard Nieswandt, Matthew J. Flick, Christian Gachet, Caterina Casari, Anita Eckly, Wolfgang Bergmeier
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a fibrotic autoimmune disease characterized by pathogenic activation of fibroblasts enhanced by local oxidative stress. The tyrosine phosphatase PTP4A1 was identified as a critical promoter of TGF-β signaling in SSc. Oxidative stress is known to functionally inactivate tyrosine phosphatases. Here, we assessed whether oxidation of PTP4A1 modulates its profibrotic action and found that PTP4A1 forms a complex with the kinase SRC in scleroderma fibroblasts, but surprisingly, oxidative stress enhanced rather than reduced PTP4A1’s association with SRC and its profibrotic action. Through structural assessment of the oxo-PTP4A1-SRC complex, we unraveled an unexpected mechanism whereby oxidation of a tyrosine phosphatase promotes its function through modification of its protein complex. Considering the importance of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of SSc and fibrosis, our findings suggest routes for leveraging PTP4A1 oxidation as a potential strategy for developing antifibrotic agents.
Ruiyuan Zhang, Ganesan Senthil Kumar, Uwe Hansen, Martina Zoccheddu, Cristiano Sacchetti, Zachary J. Holmes, Megan C. Lee, Denise Beckmann, Yutao Wen, Zbigniew Mikulski, Shen Yang, Eugenio Santelli, Rebecca Page, Francesco Boin, Wolfgang Peti, Nunzio Bottini
Severe viral infections of the skin can occur in patients with inborn errors of immunity (IEI). We report an all-in-one whole-transcriptome sequencing–based method by RNA-Seq on a single skin biopsy for concomitantly identifying the cutaneous virome and the underlying IEI. Skin biopsies were obtained from healthy and lesional skin from patients with cutaneous infections suspected to be of viral origin. RNA-Seq was utilized as the first-tier strategy for unbiased human genome-wide rare variant detection. Reads unaligned to the human genome were utilized for the exploration of 926 viruses in a viral genome catalog. In 9 families studied, the patients carried pathogenic variants in 6 human IEI genes, including IL2RG, WAS, CIB1, STK4, GATA2, and DOCK8. Gene expression profiling also confirmed pathogenicity of the human variants and permitted genome-wide homozygosity mapping, which assisted in identification of candidate genes in consanguineous families. This automated, online, all-in-one computational pipeline, called VirPy, enables simultaneous detection of the viral triggers and the human genetic variants underlying skin lesions in patients with suspected IEI and viral dermatosis.
Amir Hossein Saeidian, Leila Youssefian, Charles Y. Huang, Fahimeh Palizban, Mahtab Naji, Zahra Saffarian, Hamidreza Mahmoudi, Azadeh Goodarzi, Soheila Sotoudeh, Fatemeh Vahidnezhad, Maliheh Amani, Narjes Tavakoli, Ali Ajami, Samaneh Mozafarpoor, Mehrdad Teimoorian, Saeed Dorgaleleh, Sima Shokri, Mohammad Shenagari, Nima Abedi, Sirous Zeinali, Paolo Fortina, Vivien Béziat, Emmanuelle Jouanguy, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Jouni Uitto, Hassan Vahidnezhad
We previously found that kidney-infiltrating T cells (KITs) in murine lupus nephritis (LN) resembled dysfunctional T cells that infiltrate tumors. This unexpected finding raised the question of how to reconcile the “exhausted” phenotype of KITs with ongoing tissue destruction in LN. To address this, we performed single-cell RNA-Seq and TCR-Seq of KITs in murine lupus models. We found that CD8+ KITs existed first in a transitional state, before clonally expanding and evolving toward exhaustion. On the other hand, CD4+ KITs did not fit into current differentiation paradigms but included both hypoxic and cytotoxic subsets with a pervasive exhaustion signature. Thus, autoimmune nephritis is unlike acute pathogen immunity; rather, the kidney microenvironment suppresses T cells by progressively inducing exhausted states. Our findings suggest that LN, a chronic condition, results from slow evolution of damage caused by dysfunctional T cells and their precursors on the way to exhaustion. These findings have implications for both autoimmunity and tumor immunology.
Shuchi Smita, Maria Chikina, Mark J. Shlomchik, Jeremy S. Tilstra
Cell-free extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA) as a distinct topological form from linear DNA has recently gained increasing research interest, with possible clinical applications as a class of biomarkers. In this study, we aimed to explore the relationship between nucleases and eccDNA characteristics in plasma. By using knockout mouse models with deficiencies in deoxyribonuclease 1 (DNASE1) or deoxyribonuclease 1 like 3 (DNASE1L3), we found that cell-free eccDNA in Dnase1l3−/− mice exhibited larger size distributions than that in wild-type mice. Such size alterations were not found in tissue eccDNA of either Dnase1−/− or Dnase1l3−/− mice, suggesting that DNASE1L3 could digest eccDNA extracellularly but did not seem to affect intracellular eccDNA. Using a mouse pregnancy model, we observed that in Dnase1l3−/− mice pregnant with Dnase1l3+/− fetuses, the eccDNA in the maternal plasma was shorter compared with that of Dnase1l3−/− mice carrying Dnase1l3−/− fetuses, highlighting the systemic effects of circulating fetal DNASE1L3 degrading the maternal eccDNA extracellularly. Furthermore, plasma eccDNA in patients with DNASE1L3 mutations also exhibited longer size distributions than that in healthy controls. Taken together, this study provided a hitherto missing link between nuclease activity and the biological manifestations of eccDNA in plasma, paving the way for future biomarker development of this special form of DNA molecules.
Sarah T.K. Sin, Jiaen Deng, Lu Ji, Masashi Yukawa, Rebecca W.Y. Chan, Stefano Volpi, Augusto Vaglio, Paride Fenaroli, Paola Bocca, Suk Hang Cheng, Danny K.L. Wong, Kathy O. Lui, Peiyong Jiang, K.C. Allen Chan, Rossa W.K. Chiu, Y.M. Dennis Lo
Cutaneous lupus is commonly present in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). T cells have been strongly suspected to contribute to the pathology of cutaneous lupus; however, our understanding of the relevant T cell phenotypes and functions remains incomplete. Here, we present a detailed single-cell RNA-Seq profile of T and NK cell populations present within lesional and nonlesional skin biopsies of patients with cutaneous lupus. T cells across clusters from lesional and nonlesional skin biopsies expressed elevated levels of IFN-simulated genes (ISGs). Compared with T cells from control skin, however, T cells from cutaneous lupus lesions did not show elevated expression profiles of activation, cytotoxicity, or exhaustion. Integrated analyses indicated that skin lymphocytes appeared less activated and lacked the expanded cytotoxic populations prominent in lupus nephritis kidney T/NK cells. Comparison of skin T cells from lupus and systemic sclerosis skin biopsies further revealed an elevated ISG signature specific to cells from lupus biopsies. Overall, these data represent the first detailed transcriptomic analysis to our knowledge of the T and NK cells in cutaneous lupus at the single-cell level and have enabled a cross-tissue comparison that highlights stark differences in composition and activation of T/NK cells in distinct tissues in lupus.
Garrett S. Dunlap, Allison C. Billi, Xianying Xing, Feiyang Ma, Mitra P. Maz, Lam C. Tsoi, Rachael Wasikowski, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Johann E. Gudjonsson, J. Michelle Kahlenberg, Deepak A. Rao
While critical for neurotransmitter synthesis, 14-3-3 proteins are often assumed to have redundant functions due to their ubiquitous expression, but despite this assumption, various 14-3-3 isoforms have been implicated in regulating metabolism. We previously reported contributions of 14-3-3ζ in β cell function, but these studies were performed in tumor-derived MIN6 cells and systemic KO mice. To further characterize the regulatory roles of 14-3-3ζ in β cell function, we generated β cell–specific 14-3-3ζ–KO mice. Although no effects on β cell mass were detected, potentiated glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), mitochondrial function, and ATP synthesis were observed. Deletion of 14-3-3ζ also altered the β cell transcriptome, as genes associated with mitochondrial respiration and oxidative phosphorylation were upregulated. Acute 14-3-3 protein inhibition in mouse and human islets recapitulated the enhancements in GSIS and mitochondrial function, suggesting that 14-3-3ζ is the critical isoform in β cells. In dysfunctional db/db islets and human islets from type 2 diabetic donors, expression of Ywhaz/YWHAZ, the gene encoding 14-3-3ζ, was inversely associated with insulin secretion, and pan–14-3-3 protein inhibition led to enhanced GSIS and mitochondrial function. Taken together, this study demonstrates important regulatory functions of 14-3-3ζ in the regulation of β cell function and provides a deeper understanding of how insulin secretion is controlled in β cells.
Yves Mugabo, Cheng Zhao, Ju Jing Tan, Anindya Ghosh, Scott A. Campbell, Evgenia Fadzeyeva, Frédéric Paré, Siew Siew Pan, Maria Galipeau, Julia Ast, Johannes Broichhagen, David J. Hodson, Erin E. Mulvihill, Sophie Petropoulos, Gareth E. Lim
Chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) frequently evolve to a blast phase (BP) that is almost uniformly resistant to induction chemotherapy or hypomethylating agents. We explored the functional properties, genomic architecture, and cell of origin of MPN-BP initiating cells (IC) using a serial NSG mouse xenograft transplantation model. Transplantation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNC) from 7 of 18 patients resulted in a high degree of leukemic cell chimerism and recreated clinical characteristics of human MPN-BP. The function of MPN-BP ICs was not dependent on the presence of JAK2V617F, a driver mutation associated with the initial underlying MPN. By contrast, multiple MPN-BP IC subclones coexisted within MPN-BP MNCs characterized by different myeloid malignancy gene mutations and cytogenetic abnormalities. MPN-BP ICs in 4 patients exhibited extensive proliferative and self-renewal capacity, as demonstrated by their ability to recapitulate human MPN-BP in serial recipients. These MPN-BP IC subclones underwent extensive continuous clonal competition within individual xenografts and across multiple generations, and their subclonal dynamics were consistent with functional evolution of MPN-BP IC. Finally, we show that MPN-BP ICs originate from not only phenotypically identified hematopoietic stem cells, but also lymphoid-myeloid progenitor cells, which were each characterized by differences in MPN-BP initiating activity and self-renewal capacity.
Xiaoli Wang, Raajit K. Rampal, Cing Siang Hu, Joseph Tripodi, Noushin Farnoud, Bruce Petersen, Michael R. Rossi, Minal Patel, Erin McGovern, Vesna Najfeld, Camelia Iancu-Rubin, Min Lu, Andrew Davis, Marina Kremyanskaya, Rona Singer Weinberg, John Mascarenhas, Ronald Hoffman
Most therapeutic mAbs target the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, the RBD is a hot spot for mutations in SARS-CoV-2 variants, which will lead to loss of the neutralizing function of current therapeutic mAbs. Universal mAbs for different variants are necessary. We identified mAbs that recognized the S2 region of the spike protein, which is identical in different variants. The mAbs could neutralize SARS-CoV-2 infection and protect animals from SARS-CoV-2 challenge. After cloning the variable region of the light chain and heavy chain, the variable region sequences were humanized to select a high-affinity humanized mAb, hMab5.17. hMab5.17 protected animals from SARS-CoV-2 challenge and neutralized SARS-CoV-2 variant infection. We further identified the linear epitope of the mAb, which is not mutated in any variant of concern. These data suggest that a mAb recognizing the S2 region of the spike protein will be a potential universal therapeutic mAb for COVID-19.
Wan-Ling Wu, Chen-Yi Chiang, Szu-Chia Lai, Chia-Yi Yu, Yu-Ling Huang, Hung-Chun Liao, Ching-Len Liao, Hsin-Wei Chen, Shih-Jen Liu
Background SARS-CoV-2 infections are frequently milder in children than adults, suggesting that immune responses may vary with age. However, information is limited regarding SARS-CoV-2 immune responses in young children.Methods We compared receptor binding domain–binding antibody (RBDAb) titers and SARS-CoV-2–neutralizing antibody titers, measured by pseudovirus-neutralizing antibody assay in serum specimens obtained from children aged 0–4 years and 5–17 years and in adults aged 18–62 years at the time of enrollment in a prospective longitudinal household study of SARS-CoV-2 infection.Results Among 56 seropositive participants at enrollment, children aged 0–4 years had more than 10-fold higher RBDAb titers than adults (416 vs. 31, P < 0.0001) and the highest RBDAb titers in 11 of 12 households with seropositive children and adults. Children aged 0–4 years had only 2-fold higher neutralizing antibody than adults, resulting in higher binding-to-neutralizing antibody ratios compared with adults (2.36 vs. 0.35 for ID50, P = 0.0004).Conclusion These findings suggest that young children mount robust antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 following community infections. Additionally, these results support using neutralizing antibody to measure the immunogenicity of COVID-19 vaccines in children aged 0–4 years.Funding CDC (award 75D30120C08737).
Ruth A. Karron, Maria Garcia Quesada, Elizabeth A. Schappell, Stephen D. Schmidt, Maria Deloria Knoll, Marissa K. Hetrich, Vic Veguilla, Nicole Doria-Rose, Fatimah S. Dawood, SEARCh Study Team
Pancreatic fibrosis is a complication of chronic pancreatitis and is a prominent feature of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic fibrosis is commonly observed in patients with prolonged pancreatic duct obstruction, which elevates intrapancreatic pressure. We show here that increased pancreatic duct pressure causes fibrosis and describes the mechanism by which pressure increases deposition of extracellular matrix proteins and fibrosis. We found that pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs), the source of the extracellular matrix proteins in fibrosis, express the mechanically activated ion channel Piezo1. By increasing intracellular calcium, mechanical stress or the Piezo1 agonist Yoda1-activated PSCs manifest by loss of perinuclear fat droplets and increased TGF-β1, fibronectin, and type I collagen expression. These effects were blocked by the Piezo1 inhibitor GsMTx4 and absent in PSCs from mice with conditional genetic deletion of Piezo1 in stellate cells, as was pancreatic duct ligation–induced fibrosis. Although TRPV4 has been proposed to have direct mechanosensing properties, we discovered that PSCs from Trpv4-KO mice were protected against Yoda1-triggered activation. Moreover, mice devoid of TRPV4 were protected from pancreatic duct ligation–induced fibrosis. Thus, high pressure within the pancreas stimulates Piezo1 channel opening, and subsequent activation of TRPV4 leads to stellate cell activation and pressure-induced chronic pancreatitis and fibrosis.
Sandip M. Swain, Joelle M-J Romac, Steven R. Vigna, Rodger A. Liddle