Thyroid hormone (TH) levels are low during development, and the deiodinases control TH signaling through tissue-specific activation or inactivation of TH. Here, we studied human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived (iPSC-derived) hepatic organoids and identified a robust induction of DIO2 expression (the deiodinase that activates T4 to T3) that occurs in hepatoblasts. The surge in DIO2-T3 (the deiodinase that activates thyroxine [T4] to triiodothyronine [T3]) persists until the hepatoblasts differentiate into hepatocyte- or cholangiocyte-like cells, neither of which expresses DIO2. Preventing the induction of the DIO2-T3 signaling modified the expression of key transcription factors, decreased the number of hepatocyte-like cells by ~60%, and increased the number of cholangiocyte-like cells by ~55% without affecting the growth or the size of the mature liver organoid. Physiological levels of T3 could not fully restore the transition from hepatoblasts to mature cells. This indicates that the timed surge in DIO2-T3 signaling critically determines the fate of developing human hepatoblasts and the transcriptome of the maturing hepatocytes, with physiological and clinical implications for how the liver handles energy substrates.
Jorge Hidalgo-Álvarez, Federico Salas-Lucia, Diana Vera Cruz, Tatiana L. Fonseca, Antonio C. Bianco
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have potential for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and graft rejection. Antigen specificity and functional stability are considered critical for their therapeutic efficacy. In this study, expansion of human Tregs in the presence of porcine PBMCs (xenoantigen-expanded Tregs, Xn-Treg) allowed the selection of a distinct Treg subset, coexpressing the activation/memory surface markers HLA-DR and CD27 with enhanced proportion of FOXP3+Helios+ Tregs. Compared with their unsorted and HLA-DR+CD27+ double-positive (DP) cell–depleted Xn-Treg counterparts, HLA-DR+CD27+ DP-enriched Xn-Tregs expressed upregulated Treg function markers CD95 and ICOS with enhanced suppression of xenogeneic but not polyclonal mixed lymphocyte reaction. They also had less Treg-specific demethylation in the region of FOXP3 and were more resistant to conversion to effector cells under inflammatory conditions. Adoptive transfer of porcine islet recipient NOD/SCID IL2 receptor γ–/– mice with HLA-DR+CD27+ DP-enriched Xn-Tregs in a humanized mouse model inhibited porcine islet graft rejection mediated by 25-fold more human effector cells. The prolonged graft survival was associated with enhanced accumulation of FOXP3+ Tregs and upregulated expression of Treg functional genes, IL10 and cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4, but downregulated expression of effector Th1, Th2, and Th17 cytokine genes, within surviving grafts. Collectively, human HLA-DR+CD27+ DP-enriched Xn-Tregs expressed a specific regulatory signature that enabled identification and isolation of antigen-specific and functionally stable Tregs with potential as a Treg-based therapy.
Xiaoqian Ma, Lu Cao, Martina Raneri, Hannah Wang, Qi Cao, Yuanfei Zhao, Naiara G. Bediaga, Gaetano Naselli, Leonard C. Harrison, Wayne J. Hawthorne, Min Hu, Shounan Yi, Philip J. O’Connell
Aberrant angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is associated with tumor growth, progression, and local or distant metastasis. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) is a transcription factor that plays a major role in regulating angiogenesis during adaptation of tumor cells to nutrient-deprived microenvironments. Genetic defects in Krebs cycle enzymes, such as succinate dehydrogenase and fumarate hydratase, result in elevation of oncometabolites succinate and fumarate, thereby increasing HIF-1α stability and activating the HIF-1α signaling pathway. However, whether other metabolites regulate HIF-1α stability remains unclear. Here, we reported that deficiency of the enzyme in phenylalanine/tyrosine catabolism, glutathione S-transferase zeta 1 (GSTZ1), led to accumulation of succinylacetone, which was structurally similar to α-ketoglutarate. Succinylacetone competed with α-ketoglutarate for prolyl hydroxylase domain 2 (PHD2) binding and inhibited PHD2 activity, preventing hydroxylation of HIF-1α, thus resulting in its stabilization and consequent expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Our findings suggest that GSTZ1 may serve as an important tumor suppressor owing to its ability to inhibit the HIF-1α/VEGFA axis in HCC. Moreover, we explored the therapeutic potential of HIF-1α inhibitor combined with anti–programmed cell death ligand 1 therapy to effectively prevent HCC angiogenesis and tumorigenesis in Gstz1-knockout mice, suggesting a potentially actionable strategy for HCC treatment.
Huating Luo, Qiujie Wang, Fan Yang, Rui Liu, Qingzhu Gao, Bin Cheng, Xue Lin, Luyi Huang, Chang Chen, Jin Xiang, Kai Wang, Bo Qin, Ni Tang
The management of preretinal fibrovascular membranes, a devastating complication of advanced diabetic retinopathy (DR), remains challenging. We characterized the molecular profile of cell populations in these fibrovascular membranes to identify potentially new therapeutic targets. Preretinal fibrovascular membranes were surgically removed from patients and submitted for single-cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq). Differential gene expression was implemented to define the transcriptomics profile of these cells and revealed the presence of endothelial, inflammatory, and stromal cells. Endothelial cell reclustering identified subclusters characterized by noncanonical transcriptomics profile and active angiogenesis. Deeper investigation of the inflammatory cells showed a subcluster of macrophages expressing proangiogenic cytokines, presumably contributing to angiogenesis. The stromal cell cluster included a pericyte-myofibroblast transdifferentiating subcluster, indicating the involvement of pericytes in fibrogenesis. Differentially expressed gene analysis showed that Adipocyte Enhancer-binding Protein 1, AEBP1, was significantly upregulated in myofibroblast clusters, suggesting that this molecule may have a role in transformation. Cell culture experiments with human retinal pericytes (HRP) in high-glucose condition confirmed the molecular transformation of pericytes toward myofibroblastic lineage. AEBP1 siRNA transfection in HRP reduced the expression of profibrotic markers in high glucose. In conclusion, AEBP1 signaling modulates pericyte-myofibroblast transformation, suggesting that targeting AEBP1 could prevent scar tissue formation in advanced DR.
Katia Corano Scheri, Jeremy A. Lavine, Thomas Tedeschi, Benjamin R. Thomson, Amani A. Fawzi
Patients with Down syndrome (DS), or trisomy 21 (T21), are at increased risk of transient abnormal myelopoiesis (TAM) and acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (ML-DS). Both TAM and ML-DS require prenatal somatic mutations in GATA1, resulting in the truncated isoform GATA1s. The mechanism by which individual chromosome 21 (HSA21) genes synergize with GATA1s for leukemic transformation is challenging to study, in part due to limited human cell models with wild-type GATA1 (wtGATA1) or GATA1s. HSA21-encoded DYRK1A is overexpressed in ML-DS and may be a therapeutic target. To determine how DYRK1A influences hematopoiesis in concert with GATA1s, we used gene editing to disrupt all 3 alleles of DYRK1A in isogenic T21 induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with and without the GATA1s mutation. Unexpectedly, hematopoietic differentiation revealed that DYRK1A loss combined with GATA1s leads to increased megakaryocyte proliferation and decreased maturation. This proliferative phenotype was associated with upregulation of D-type cyclins and hyperphosphorylation of Rb to allow E2F release and derepression of its downstream targets. Notably, DYRK1A loss had no effect in T21 iPSCs or megakaryocytes with wtGATA1. These surprising results suggest that DYRK1A and GATA1 may synergistically restrain megakaryocyte proliferation in T21 and that DYRK1A inhibition may not be a therapeutic option for GATA1s-associated leukemias.
Ying Ting Sit, Kaoru Takasaki, Hyun Hyung An, Yan Xiao, Christian Hurtz, Peter A. Gearhart, Zhe Zhang, Paul Gadue, Deborah L. French, Stella T. Chou
The selective targeting of pathogenic T cells is a holy grail in the development of new therapeutics for T cell–mediated disorders, including many autoimmune diseases and graft versus host disease. We describe the development of a CD6-targeted antibody-drug conjugate (CD6-ADC) by conjugating an inactive form of monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE), a potent mitotic toxin, onto a mAb against CD6, an established T cell surface marker. Even though CD6 is present on all T cells, only the activated (pathogenic) T cells vigorously divide and thus are susceptible to the antimitotic MMAE-mediated killing via the CD6-ADC. We found CD6-ADC selectively killed activated proliferating human T cells and antigen-specific mouse T cells in vitro. Furthermore, in vivo, whereas the CD6-ADC had no significant detrimental effect on normal T cells in naive CD6-humanized mice, the same dose of CD6-ADC, but not the controls, efficiently treated 2 preclinical models of autoimmune uveitis and a model of graft versus host disease. These results provide evidence suggesting that CD6-ADC could be further developed as a potential therapeutic agent for the selective elimination of pathogenic T cells and treatment of many T cell–mediated disorders.
Lingjun Zhang, Liping Luo, Jin Y. Chen, Rupesh Singh, William M. Baldwin III, David A. Fox, Daniel J. Lindner, Daniel F. Martin, Rachel R. Caspi, Feng Lin
Intestinal epithelial transit-amplifying cells are essential stem progenitors required for intestinal homeostasis, but their rapid proliferation renders them vulnerable to DNA damage from radiation and chemotherapy. Despite these cells’ critical roles in intestinal homeostasis and disease, few studies have described genes that are essential to transit-amplifying cell function. We report that RNA methyltransferase-like 3 (METTL3) is required for survival of transit-amplifying cells in the murine small intestine. Transit-amplifying cell death after METTL3 deletion was associated with crypt and villus atrophy, loss of absorptive enterocytes, and uniform wasting and death in METTL3-depleted mice. Sequencing of polysome-bound and methylated RNAs in enteroids and in vivo demonstrated decreased translation of hundreds of methylated transcripts after METTL3 deletion, particularly transcripts involved in growth factor signal transduction such as Kras. Further investigation verified a relationship between METTL3 and Kras methylation and protein levels in vivo. Our study identifies METTL3 as an essential factor supporting the homeostasis of small intestinal tissue via direct maintenance of transit-amplifying cell survival. We highlight the crucial role of RNA modifications in regulating growth factor signaling in the intestine with important implications for both homeostatic tissue renewal and epithelial regeneration.
Charles H. Danan, Kaitlyn E. Naughton, Katharina E. Hayer, Sangeevan Vellappan, Emily A. McMillan, Yusen Zhou, Rina Matsuda, Shaneice K. Nettleford, Kay Katada, Louis R. Parham, Xianghui Ma, Afrah Chowdhury, Benjamin J. Wilkins, Premal Shah, Matthew D. Weitzman, Kathryn E. Hamilton
Diabetes commonly affects patients with cancer. We investigated the influence of diabetes on breast cancer biology using a 3-pronged approach that included analysis of orthotopic human tumor xenografts, patient tumors, and breast cancer cells exposed to diabetes/hyperglycemia-like conditions. We aimed to identify shared phenotypes and molecular signatures by investigating the metabolome, transcriptome, and tumor mutational burden. Diabetes and hyperglycemia did not enhance cell proliferation but induced mesenchymal and stem cell–like phenotypes linked to increased mobility and odds of metastasis. They also promoted oxyradical formation and both a transcriptome and mutational signatures of DNA repair deficiency. Moreover, food- and microbiome-derived metabolites tended to accumulate in breast tumors in the presence of diabetes, potentially affecting tumor biology. Breast cancer cells cultured under hyperglycemia-like conditions acquired increased DNA damage and sensitivity to DNA repair inhibitors. Based on these observations, we conclude that diabetes-associated breast tumors may show an increased drug response to DNA damage repair inhibitors.
Gatikrushna Panigrahi, Julián Candia, Tiffany H. Dorsey, Wei Tang, Yuuki Ohara, Jung S. Byun, Tsion Zewdu Minas, Amy Zhang, Anuoluwapo Ajao, Ashley Cellini, Harris G. Yfantis, Amy L. Flis, Dean Mann, Olga Ioffe, Xin W. Wang, Huaitian Liu, Christopher A. Loffredo, Anna Maria Napoles, Stefan Ambs
Nipah virus (NiV), a bat-borne paramyxovirus, results in neurological and respiratory diseases with high mortality in humans and animals. Developing vaccines is crucial for fighting these diseases. Previously, only a few studies focused on the fusion (F) protein alone as the immunogen. Numerous NiV strains have been identified, including 2 representative strains from Malaysia (NiV-M) and Bangladesh (NiV-B), which differ significantly from each other. In this study, an F protein sequence with the potential to prevent different NiV strain infections was designed by bioinformatics analysis after an in-depth study of NiV sequences in GenBank. Then, a chimpanzee adenoviral vector vaccine and a DNA vaccine were developed. High levels of immune responses were detected after AdC68-F, pVAX1-F, and a prime-boost strategy (pVAX1-F/AdC68-F) in mice. After high titers of humoral responses were induced, the hamsters were challenged by the lethal NiV-M and NiV-B strains separately. The vaccinated hamsters did not show any clinical signs and survived 21 days after infection with either strain of NiV, and no virus was detected in different tissues. These results indicate that the vaccines provided complete protection against representative strains of NiV infection and have the potential to be developed as a broad-spectrum vaccine for human use.
Mingqing Lu, Yanfeng Yao, Hang Liu, Xuekai Zhang, Xuejie Li, Yuanhua Liu, Yun Peng, Tong Chen, Yun Sun, Ge Gao, Miaoyu Chen, Jiaxuan Zhao, XiaoYu Zhang, Chunhong Yin, Weiwei Guo, Peipei Yang, Xue Hu, Juhong Rao, Entao Li, Gary Wong, Zhiming Yuan, Sandra Chiu, Chao Shan, Jiaming Lan
IL-12 is a potent cytokine that can promote innate and adaptive anticancer immunity, but its clinical development has been limited by toxicity when delivered systemically. Intratumoral (i.t.) administration can expand the therapeutic window of IL-12 and other cytokines but is in turn limited by rapid drug clearance from the tumor, which reduces efficacy, necessitates frequent administration, and increases systemic accumulation. To address these limitations, we developed an anchored IL-12 designated ANK-101, composed of an engineered IL-12 variant that forms a stable complex with the FDA-approved vaccine adjuvant aluminum hydroxide (Alhydrogel). Following i.t. administration of murine ANK-101 (mANK-101) in early intervention syngeneic mouse tumors, the complex formed a depot that was locally retained for weeks as measured by IVIS or SPECT/CT imaging, while unanchored protein injected i.t. was cleared within hours. One or 2 i.t. injections of mANK-101 induced single-agent antitumor activity across a diverse range of syngeneic tumors, including models resistant to checkpoint blockade at doses where unanchored IL-12 had no efficacy. Local treatment with mANK-101 further induced regressions of noninjected lesions, especially when combined with systemic checkpoint blockade. Antitumor activity was associated with remodeling of the tumor microenvironment, including prolonged IFN-γ and chemokine expression, recruitment and activation of T and NK cells, M1 myeloid cell skewing, and increased antigen processing and presentation. Subcutaneous administration of ANK-101 in cynomolgus macaques was well tolerated. Together, these data demonstrate that ANK-101 has an enhanced efficacy and safety profile and warrants future clinical development.
Sailaja Battula, Gregory Papastoitsis, Howard L. Kaufman, K. Dane Wittrup, Michael M. Schmidt
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