Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is a group of inherited retinal diseases characterized by early-onset, rapid loss of photoreceptor cells. Despite the discovery of a growing number of genes associated with this disease, the molecular mechanisms of photoreceptor cell degeneration of most LCA subtypes remain poorly understood. Here, using retina-specific affinity proteomics combined with ultrastructure expansion microscopy, we reveal the structural and molecular defects underlying LCA type 5 (LCA5) with nanoscale resolution. We show that LCA5-encoded lebercilin, together with retinitis pigmentosa 1 protein (RP1) and the intraflagellar transport (IFT) proteins IFT81 and IFT88, localized at the bulge region of the photoreceptor outer segment (OS), a region crucial for OS membrane disc formation. Next, we demonstrate that mutant mice deficient in lebercilin exhibited early axonemal defects at the bulge region and the distal OS, accompanied by reduced levels of RP1 and IFT proteins, affecting membrane disc formation and presumably leading to photoreceptor death. Finally, adeno-associated virus–based LCA5 gene augmentation partially restored the bulge region, preserved OS axoneme structure and membrane disc formation, and resulted in photoreceptor cell survival. Our approach thus provides a next level of assessment of retinal (gene) therapy efficacy at the molecular level.
Siebren Faber, Olivier Mercey, Katrin Junger, Alejandro Garanto, Helen May-Simera, Marius Ueffing, Rob W.J. Collin, Karsten Boldt, Paul Guichard, Virginie Hamel, Ronald Roepman
Viral illnesses like SARS-CoV-2 have pathologic effects on nonrespiratory organs in the absence of direct viral infection. We injected mice with cocktails of rodent equivalents of human cytokine storms resulting from SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 or rhinovirus common cold infection. At low doses, COVID-19 cocktails induced glomerular injury and albuminuria in zinc fingers and homeoboxes 2 (Zhx2) hypomorph and Zhx2+/+ mice to mimic COVID-19–related proteinuria. Common Cold cocktail induced albuminuria selectively in Zhx2 hypomorph mice to model relapse of minimal change disease, which improved after depletion of TNF-α, soluble IL-4Rα, or IL-6. The Zhx2 hypomorph state increased cell membrane to nuclear migration of podocyte ZHX proteins in vivo (both cocktails) and lowered phosphorylated STAT6 activation (COVID-19 cocktail) in vitro. At higher doses, COVID-19 cocktails induced acute heart injury, myocarditis, pericarditis, acute liver injury, acute kidney injury, and high mortality in Zhx2+/+ mice, whereas Zhx2 hypomorph mice were relatively protected, due in part to early, asynchronous activation of STAT5 and STAT6 pathways in these organs. Dual depletion of cytokine combinations of TNF-α with IL-2, IL-13, or IL-4 in Zhx2+/+ mice reduced multiorgan injury and eliminated mortality. Using genome sequencing and CRISPR/Cas9, an insertion upstream of ZHX2 was identified as a cause of the human ZHX2 hypomorph state.
Maria Del Nogal Avila, Ranjan Das, Joubert Kharlyngdoh, Eduardo Molina-Jijon, Hector Donoro Blazquez, Stéphanie Gambut, Michael Crowley, David K. Crossman, Rasheed A. Gbadagesin, Sunveer S. Chugh, Sunjeet S. Chugh, Carmen Avila-Casado, Camille Macé, Lionel C. Clement, Sumant S. Chugh
The prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes is growing at an alarming rate, including among pregnant women. Low-calorie sweeteners (LCSs) have increasingly been used as an alternative to sugar to deliver a sweet taste without the excessive caloric load. However, there is little evidence regarding their biological effects, particularly during development. Here, we used a mouse model of maternal LCS consumption to explore the impact of perinatal LCS exposure on the development of neural systems involved in metabolic regulation. We report that adult male, but not female, offspring from both aspartame- and rebaudioside A–exposed dams displayed increased adiposity and developed glucose intolerance. Moreover, maternal LCS consumption reorganized hypothalamic melanocortin circuits and disrupted parasympathetic innervation of pancreatic islets in male offspring. We then identified phenylacetylglycine (PAG) as a unique metabolite that was upregulated in the milk of LCS-fed dams and the serum of their pups. Furthermore, maternal PAG treatment recapitulated some of the key metabolic and neurodevelopmental abnormalities associated with maternal LCS consumption. Together, our data indicate that maternal LCS consumption has enduring consequences on the offspring’s metabolism and neural development and that these effects are likely to be mediated through the gut microbial co-metabolite PAG.
Soyoung Park, Amine M. Belfoul, Marialetizia Rastelli, Alice Jang, Magali Monnoye, Hosung Bae, Anna Kamitakahara, Patrick Giavalisco, Shan Sun, Pierre-Yves Barelle, Jasmine Plows, Cholsoon Jang, Anthony Fodor, Michael I. Goran, Sebastien G. Bouret
Although thymidylate synthase (TYMS) inhibitors have served as components of chemotherapy regimens, the currently available inhibitors induce TYMS overexpression or alter folate transport/metabolism feedback pathways that tumor cells exploit for drug resistance, limiting overall benefit. Here we report a small molecule TYMS inhibitor that i) exhibited enhanced antitumor activity as compared with current fluoropyrimidines and antifolates without inducing TYMS overexpression, ii) is structurally distinct from classical antifolates, iii) extended survival in both pancreatic xenograft tumor models and an hTS/Ink4a/Arf null genetically engineered mouse tumor model, and iv) is well tolerated with equal efficacy using either intraperitoneal or oral administration. Mechanistically, we verify the compound is a multifunctional nonclassical antifolate, and using a series of analogs, we identify structural features allowing direct TYMS inhibition while maintaining the ability to inhibit dihydrofolate reductase. Collectively, this work identifies nonclassical antifolate inhibitors that optimize inhibition of thymidylate biosynthesis with a favorable safety profile, highlighting the potential for enhanced cancer therapy.
Maria V. Guijarro, Patrick C. Kellish, Peter E. Dib, Nicholas G. Paciaroni, Akbar Nawab, Jacob Andring, Lidia Kulemina, Nicholas V. Borrero, Carlos Modenutti, Michael Feely, Elham Nasri, Robert P. Seifert, Xiaoping Luo, Richard L. Bennett, Daniil Shabashvili, Jonathan D. Licht, Robert McKenna, Adrian Roitberg, Robert W. Huigens III, Frederic J. Kaye, Maria Zajac-Kaye
Patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) and diabetes compose a high-risk population for development of critical limb ischemia (CLI) and amputation, although the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Comparison of dysregulated microRNAs from diabetic patients with PAD and diabetic mice with limb ischemia revealed the conserved microRNA, miR–130b-3p. In vitro angiogenic assays demonstrated that miR-130b rapidly promoted proliferation, migration, and sprouting in endothelial cells (ECs), whereas miR-130b inhibition exerted antiangiogenic effects. Local delivery of miR-130b mimics into ischemic muscles of diabetic mice (db/db) following femoral artery ligation (FAL) promoted revascularization by increasing angiogenesis and markedly improved limb necrosis and amputation. RNA-Seq and gene set enrichment analysis from miR-130b–overexpressing ECs revealed the BMP/TGF-β signaling pathway as one of the top dysregulated pathways. Accordingly, overlapping downregulated transcripts from RNA-Seq and miRNA prediction algorithms identified that miR-130b directly targeted and repressed the TGF-β superfamily member inhibin-β-A (INHBA). miR-130b overexpression or siRNA-mediated knockdown of INHBA induced IL-8 expression, a potent angiogenic chemokine. Lastly, ectopic delivery of silencer RNAs (siRNA) targeting Inhba in db/db ischemic muscles following FAL improved revascularization and limb necrosis, recapitulating the phenotype of miR-130b delivery. Taken together, a miR-130b/INHBA signaling axis may provide therapeutic targets for patients with PAD and diabetes at risk of developing CLI.
Henry S. Cheng, Daniel Pérez-Cremades, Rulin Zhuang, Anurag Jamaiyar, Winona Wu, Jingshu Chen, Aspasia Tzani, Lauren Stone, Jorge Plutzky, Terence E. Ryan, Philip P. Goodney, Mark A. Creager, Marc S. Sabatine, Marc P. Bonaca, Mark W. Feinberg
Elevated blood glucose levels, or hyperglycemia, can increase brain excitability and amyloid-β (Aβ) release, offering a mechanistic link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Since the cellular mechanisms governing this relationship are poorly understood, we explored whether ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels, which couple changes in energy availability with cellular excitability, play a role in AD pathogenesis. First, we demonstrate that KATP channel subunits Kir6.2/KCNJ11 and SUR1/ABCC8 were expressed on excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the human brain, and cortical expression of KCNJ11 and ABCC8 changed with AD pathology in humans and mice. Next, we explored whether eliminating neuronal KATP channel activity uncoupled the relationship between metabolism, excitability, and Aβ pathology in a potentially novel mouse model of cerebral amyloidosis and neuronal KATP channel ablation (i.e., amyloid precursor protein [APP]/PS1 Kir6.2–/– mouse). Using both acute and chronic paradigms, we demonstrate that Kir6.2-KATP channels are metabolic sensors that regulate hyperglycemia-dependent increases in interstitial fluid levels of Aβ, amyloidogenic processing of APP, and amyloid plaque formation, which may be dependent on lactate release. These studies identify a potentially new role for Kir6.2-KATP channels in AD and suggest that pharmacological manipulation of Kir6.2-KATP channels holds therapeutic promise in reducing Aβ pathology in patients with diabetes or prediabetes.
John Grizzanti, William R. Moritz, Morgan C. Pait, Molly Stanley, Sarah D. Kaye, Caitlin M. Carroll, Nicholas J. Constantino, Lily J. Deitelzweig, James A. Snipes, Derek Kellar, Emily E. Caesar, Ryan J. Pettit-Mee, Stephen M. Day, Jonathon P. Sens, Noelle I. Nicol, Jasmeen Dhillon, Maria S. Remedi, Drew D. Kiraly, Celeste M. Karch, Colin G. Nichols, David M. Holtzman, Shannon L. Macauley
Neutrophilic inflammation characterizes several respiratory viral infections, including COVID-19–related acute respiratory distress syndrome, although its contribution to disease pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Blood and airway immune cells from 52 patients with severe COVID-19 were phenotyped by flow cytometry. Samples and clinical data were collected at 2 separate time points to assess changes during ICU stay. Blockade of type I interferon and interferon-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 3 (IFIT3) signaling was performed in vitro to determine their contribution to viral clearance in A2 neutrophils. We identified 2 neutrophil subpopulations (A1 and A2) in the airway compartment, where loss of the A2 subset correlated with increased viral burden and reduced 30-day survival. A2 neutrophils exhibited a discrete antiviral response with an increased interferon signature. Blockade of type I interferon attenuated viral clearance in A2 neutrophils and downregulated IFIT3 and key catabolic genes, demonstrating direct antiviral neutrophil function. Knockdown of IFIT3 in A2 neutrophils led to loss of IRF3 phosphorylation, with consequent reduced viral catabolism, providing the first discrete mechanism to our knowledge of type I interferon signaling in neutrophils. The identification of this neutrophil phenotype and its association with severe COVID-19 outcomes emphasizes its likely importance in other respiratory viral infections and potential for new therapeutic approaches in viral illness.
Camilla Margaroli, Timothy Fram, Nirmal S. Sharma, Siddharth B. Patel, Jennifer Tipper, Sarah W. Robison, Derek W. Russell, Seth D. Fortmann, Mudassir M. Banday, Yixel Soto-Vazquez, Tarek Abdalla, Sawanan Saitornuang, Matthew C. Madison, Sixto M. Leal Jr., Kevin S. Harrod, Nathaniel B. Erdmann, Amit Gaggar
ASXL1 (additional sex combs–like 1) plays key roles in epigenetic regulation of early developmental gene expression. De novo protein-truncating mutations in ASXL1 cause Bohring-Opitz syndrome (BOS; OMIM #605039), a rare neurodevelopmental condition characterized by severe intellectual disabilities, distinctive facial features, hypertrichosis, increased risk of Wilms tumor, and variable congenital anomalies, including heart defects and severe skeletal defects giving rise to a typical BOS posture. These BOS-causing ASXL1 variants are also high-prevalence somatic driver mutations in acute myeloid leukemia. We used primary cells from individuals with BOS (n = 18) and controls (n = 49) to dissect gene regulatory changes caused by ASXL1 mutations using comprehensive multiomics assays for chromatin accessibility (ATAC-seq), DNA methylation, histone methylation binding, and transcriptome in peripheral blood and skin fibroblasts. Our data show that regardless of cell type, ASXL1 mutations drive strong cross-tissue effects that disrupt multiple layers of the epigenome. The data showed a broad activation of canonical Wnt signaling at the transcriptional and protein levels and upregulation of VANGL2, which encodes a planar cell polarity pathway protein that acts through noncanonical Wnt signaling to direct tissue patterning and cell migration. This multiomics approach identifies the core impact of ASXL1 mutations and therapeutic targets for BOS and myeloid leukemias.
Isabella Lin, Angela Wei, Zain Awamleh, Meghna Singh, Aileen Ning, Analeyla Herrera, REACH Biobank and Registry, Bianca E. Russell, Rosanna Weksberg, Valerie A. Arboleda
To improve our limited understanding of the pathogenesis of thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) that leads to acute aortic dissection, single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) was employed to profile disease-relevant transcriptomic changes of aortic cell populations in a well-characterized mouse model of the most commonly diagnosed form of Marfan syndrome (MFS). As result, 2 discrete subpopulations of aortic cells (SMC3 and EC4) were identified only in the aorta of Fbn1mgR/mgR mice. SMC3 cells highly express genes related to extracellular matrix formation and nitric oxide signaling, whereas the EC4 transcriptional profile is enriched in smooth muscle cell (SMC), fibroblast, and immune cell–related genes. Trajectory analysis predicted close phenotypic modulation between SMC3 and EC4, which were therefore analyzed together as a discrete MFS-modulated (MFSmod) subpopulation. In situ hybridization of diagnostic transcripts located MFSmod cells at the intima of Fbn1mgR/mgR aortas. Reference-based data set integration revealed transcriptomic similarity between MFSmod- and SMC-derived cell clusters modulated in human TAA. Consistent with the angiotensin II type I receptor (At1r) contribution to TAA development, MFSmod cells were absent in the aorta of Fbn1mgR/mgR mice treated with the At1r antagonist losartan. Altogether, our findings indicate that a discrete dynamic alteration of aortic cell identity is associated with dissecting TAA in MFS mice and increased risk of aortic dissection in MFS patients.
Yifei Sun, Keiichi Asano, Lauriane Sedes, Anna Cantalupo, Jens Hansen, Ravi Iyengar, Martin J. Walsh, Francesco Ramirez
Muscular dystrophies make up a group of genetic neuromuscular disorders that involve severe muscle wasting. TGF-β–activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is an important signaling protein that regulates cell survival, growth, and inflammation. TAK1 has been recently found to promote myofiber growth in the skeletal muscle of adult mice. However, the role of TAK1 in muscle diseases remains poorly understood. In the present study, we have investigated how TAK1 affects the progression of dystrophic phenotype in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). TAK1 is highly activated in the dystrophic muscle of mdx mice during the peak necrotic phase. While targeted inducible inactivation of TAK1 inhibits myofiber injury in young mdx mice, it results in reduced muscle mass and contractile function. TAK1 inactivation also causes loss of muscle mass in adult mdx mice. By contrast, forced activation of TAK1 through overexpression of TAK1 and TAB1 induces myofiber growth without having any deleterious effect on muscle histopathology. Collectively, our results suggest that TAK1 is a positive regulator of skeletal muscle mass and that targeted regulation of TAK1 can suppress myonecrosis and ameliorate disease progression in DMD.
Anirban Roy, Tatiana E. Koike, Aniket S. Joshi, Meiricris Tomaz da Silva, Kavya Mathukumalli, Mingfu Wu, Ashok Kumar
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