Sarcomeric disarray is a hallmark of gene mutations in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). However, it is unknown when detrimental sarcomeric changes first occur and whether they originate in the developing embryonic heart. Furthermore, Rho kinase (ROCK) is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is critical for regulating the function of several sarcomeric proteins, and therefore, our aim was to determine whether disruption of ROCK signaling during the earliest stages of heart development would disrupt the integrity of sarcomeres, altering heart development and function. Using a mouse model in which the function of ROCK is specifically disrupted in embryonic cardiomyocytes, we demonstrate a progressive cardiomyopathy that first appeared as sarcomeric disarray during cardiogenesis. This led to abnormalities in the structure of the embryonic ventricular wall and compensatory cardiomyocyte hypertrophy during fetal development. This sarcomeric disruption and hypertrophy persisted throughout adult life, triggering left ventricular concentric hypertrophy with systolic dysfunction, and reactivation of fetal gene expression and cardiac fibrosis, all typical features of HCM. Taken together, our findings establish a mechanism for the developmental origin of the sarcomeric phenotype of HCM and suggest that variants in the ROCK genes or disruption of ROCK signaling could, in part, contribute to its pathogenesis.
Kate E. Bailey, Guy A. MacGowan, Simon Tual-Chalot, Lauren Phillips, Timothy J. Mohun, Deborah J. Henderson, Helen M. Arthur, Simon D. Bamforth, Helen M. Phillips
AXL overexpression is a common resistance mechanism to anticancer therapies, including the resistance to BYL719 (Alpelisib) — the p110α isoform specific inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) — in esophagus squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, the mechanisms underlying AXL overexpression in resistance to BYL719 remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that the AP-1 transcription factors c-JUN and c-FOS regulate AXL overexpression in HNSCC and ESCC. The expression of AXL was correlated with that of c-JUN both in HNSCC patients and in HNSCC and ESCC cell lines. Silencing of c-JUN and c-FOS expression in tumor cells downregulated AXL expression and enhanced the sensitivity of human papilloma virus–positive (HPVPos) and –negative (HPVNeg) tumor cells to BYL719 in vitro. Blocking of JNK using SP600125 in combination with BYL719 showed a synergistic antiproliferative effect in vitro, which was accompanied by AXL downregulation and potent inhibition of the mTOR pathway. In vivo, the BYL719–SP600125 drug combination led to the arrest of tumor growth in cell line–derived and patient-derived xenograft models, as well as in syngeneic head and neck murine cancer models. Collectively, our data suggest that JNK inhibition, in combination with anti-PI3K therapy, is a new therapeutic strategy that should be tested in HPVPos and HPVNeg HNSCC and ESCC patients.
Mai Badarni, Manu Prasad, Noa Balaban, Jonathan Zorea, Ksenia M. Yegodayev, Joshua Ben-Zion, Anat Bahat Dinur, Reidar Grénman, Barak Rotblat, Limor Cohen, Moshe Elkabets
Drug refractory epilepsy (RE) is a chronic neurological disease with varied etiology that represents a group of patients whose seizures do not respond to antiepileptic drugs. The immune system may have a role in seizure and epilepsy development, but the specific mechanisms of inflammation that lead to epileptogenesis and contribute to RE are unknown. Here, we used mass cytometry to comprehensively study the immune system of pediatric patients with RE and compared their immune profile and function with patients with age-matched autoimmune encephalitis (AIE) and healthy controls. Patients with RE and AIE displayed similar immune profiles overall, with changes in CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets and an unbalance toward proinflammatory IL-17 production. In addition, patients with RE uniquely showed an altered balance in NK cell subsets. A systems-level intercellular network analysis identified rewiring of the immune system, leading to loss of inhibitory/regulatory intercellular connections and emergence of proinflammatory pathogenic functions in neuroinflammatory immune cell networks in patients with AIE and RE. These data underscore the contribution of systemic inflammation to the pathogenesis of seizures and epileptogenesis and have direct translational implications in advancing diagnostics and therapeutics design.
Pavanish Kumar, Derrick Chan Wei Shih, Amanda Lim, Bhairav Paleja, Simon Ling, Lai Li Yun, Su Li Poh, Adeline Ngoh, Thaschawee Arkachaisri, Joo Guan Yeo, Salvatore Albani
Changes in neuronal activity alter blood flow to match energy demand with the supply of oxygen and nutrients. This functional hyperemia is maintained by interactions among neurons, vascular cells, and glia. However, how changing neuronal activity prevalent at the onset of neurodegenerative disease affects neurovascular elements is unclear. Here, in mice with photoreceptor degeneration, a model of neuron-specific dysfunction, we combined the assessment of visual function, neurovascular unit structure, and blood-retina barrier permeability. We found that the rod loss paralleled remodeling of the neurovascular unit, comprising photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium, and Muller glia. When substantial visual function was still present, blood flow became disrupted and the blood-retina barrier began to fail, facilitating cone loss and vision decline. Thus, in contrast to the established view, the vascular deficit in neuronal degeneration is not a late consequence of neuronal dysfunction but is present early in the course of disease. These findings further establish the importance of vascular deficit and blood-retina barrier function in neuron-specific loss and highlight it as a target for early therapeutic intervention.
Elena Ivanova, Nazia M. Alam, Glen T. Prusky, Botir T. Sagdullaev
MHC I–restricted epitopes of chicken ovalbumin (OVA) were originally identified using CD8+ T cells as probes. Here, using bioinformatics tools, we identify 4 additional epitopes in OVA in addition to a cryptic epitope. Each additional epitope is presented in vivo, as deduced from the lack of CD8+ T cell response to it in OVA-transgenic mice. In addition, CD8 responses to the previously known epitopes and those identified in this study are examined in C57BL/6J mice exposed to the OVA-expressing tumor E.G7 in several ways. No responses to any epitope, including SIINFEKL, are detected in mice with growing E.G7 or mice immunized with the tumor. Only in E.G7-bearing mice treated with an anti–CTLA-4 antibody, which depletes tumor-infiltrating regulatory T cells, are CD8 responses to SIINFEKL and the epitope EKYNLTSVL identified in this study detected. Finally, all epitopes fail to treat mice with preexisting tumors. These observations force an important reconsideration of the common assumptions about the therapeutic value of neoepitopes detected by CD8 responses in tumor-bearing hosts.
Sukrut Hemant Karandikar, John Sidney, Alessandro Sette, Mark Joseph Selby, Alan Jerry Korman, Pramod Kumar Srivastava
Tregs are key modulators of inflammation and are important for the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. Adoptive immunotherapy with polyclonal Tregs holds promise in organ transplantation, graft-versus-host disease, and autoimmune diseases but may be enhanced by antigen-specific, long-lived Tregs. We modified primary human Tregs with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) bearing different costimulatory domains and performed in vitro analyses of their phenotype and function. While neither the presence of a CAR nor the type of costimulation domain influenced Foxp3 expression in Tregs, the costimulation domain of the CARs affected CAR-Treg surface phenotype and functions, such as cytokine production. Furthermore, signaling from the CD28 costimulation domain maintained CAR-Treg suppressor function, whereas 4-1B costimulation did not. In vivo, CAR-Tregs accumulated at sites expressing target antigen and suppressed antigen-specific effector T cell responses; however, only CAR-Tregs with CD28 signaling domains were potent inhibitors of effector T cell–mediated graft rejection in vivo. Our findings support the use of CD28-based CAR-Tregs for tissue-specific immune suppression in the clinic.
Angela C. Boroughs, Rebecca C. Larson, Bryan D. Choi, Amanda A. Bouffard, Lauren S. Riley, Erik Schiferle, Anupriya S. Kulkarni, Curtis L. Cetrulo, David Ting, Bruce R. Blazar, Shadmehr Demehri, Marcela V. Maus
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of cancer cells needs to adapt to the enhanced proteotoxic stress associated with the accumulation of unfolded, misfolded, and transformation-associated proteins. One way by which tumors thrive in the context of ER stress is by promoting ER-associated degradation (ERAD), although the mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we show that the small p97/VCP-interacting protein (SVIP), an endogenous inhibitor of ERAD, undergoes DNA hypermethylation–associated silencing in tumorigenesis to achieve this goal. SVIP exhibits tumor suppressor features and its recovery is associated with increased ER stress and growth inhibition. Proteomic and metabolomic analyses show that cancer cells with epigenetic loss of SVIP are depleted in mitochondrial enzymes and oxidative respiration activity. This phenotype is reverted upon SVIP restoration. The dependence of SVIP-hypermethylated cancer cells on aerobic glycolysis and glucose was also associated with sensitivity to an inhibitor of the glucose transporter GLUT1. This could be relevant to the management of tumors carrying SVIP epigenetic loss, because these occur in high-risk patients who manifest poor clinical outcomes. Overall, our study provides insights into how epigenetics helps deal with ER stress and how SVIP epigenetic loss in cancer may be amenable to therapies that target glucose transporters.
Pere Llinàs-Arias, Margalida Rosselló-Tortella, Paula López-Serra, Montserrat Pérez-Salvia, Fernando Setién, Silvia Marin, Juan P. Muñoz, Alexandra Junza, Jordi Capellades, María E. Calleja-Cervantes, Humberto J. Ferreira, Manuel Castro de Moura, Marina Srbic, Anna Martínez-Cardús, Carolina de la Torre, Alberto Villanueva, Marta Cascante, Oscar Yanes, Antonio Zorzano, Catia Moutinho, Manel Esteller
Many lung diseases result from a failure of efficient regeneration of damaged alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) after lung injury. During regeneration, AEC2s proliferate to replace lost cells, after which proliferation halts and some AEC2s transdifferentiate into AEC1s to restore normal alveolar structure and function. Although the mechanisms underlying AEC2 proliferation have been studied, the mechanisms responsible for halting proliferation and inducing transdifferentiation are poorly understood. To identify candidate signaling pathways responsible for halting proliferation and inducing transdifferentiation, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing on AEC2s during regeneration in a murine model of lung injury induced by intratracheal LPS. Unsupervised clustering revealed distinct subpopulations of regenerating AEC2s: proliferating, cell cycle arrest, and transdifferentiating. Gene expression analysis of these transitional subpopulations revealed that TGF-β signaling was highly upregulated in the cell cycle arrest subpopulation and relatively downregulated in transdifferentiating cells. In cultured AEC2s, TGF-β was necessary for cell cycle arrest but impeded transdifferentiation. We conclude that during regeneration after LPS-induced lung injury, TGF-β is a critical signal halting AEC2 proliferation but must be inactivated to allow transdifferentiation. This study provides insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating alveolar regeneration and the pathogenesis of diseases resulting from a failure of regeneration.
Kent A. Riemondy, Nicole L. Jansing, Peng Jiang, Elizabeth F. Redente, Austin E. Gillen, Rui Fu, Alyssa J. Miller, Jason R. Spence, Anthony N. Gerber, Jay R. Hesselberth, Rachel L. Zemans
Because injured mitochondria can accelerate cell death through the elaboration of oxidative free radicals and other mediators, it is striking that proliferator γ coactivator 1-α (PGC1α), a stimulator of increased mitochondrial abundance, protects stressed renal cells instead of potentiating injury. Here, we report that PGC1α’s induction of lysosomes via transcription factor EB (TFEB) may be pivotal for kidney protection. CRISPR and stable gene transfer showed that PGC1α-KO tubular cells were sensitized to the genotoxic stressor cisplatin, whereas Tg cells were protected. The biosensor mitochondrial-targeted Keima (mtKeima) unexpectedly revealed that cisplatin blunts mitophagy both in cells and mice. PGC1α and its downstream mediator NAD+ counteracted this effect. PGC1α did not consistently affect known autophagy pathways modulated by cisplatin. Instead RNA sequencing identified coordinated regulation of lysosomal biogenesis via TFEB. This effector pathway was sufficiently important that inhibition of TFEB or lysosomes unveiled a striking harmful effect of excess PGC1α in cells and conditional mice. These results uncover an unexpected effect of cisplatin on mitophagy and PGC1α’s reliance on lysosomes for kidney protection. Finally, the data illuminate TFEB as a potentially novel target for renal tubular stress resistance.
Matthew R. Lynch, Mei T. Tran, Kenneth M. Ralto, Zsuzsanna K. Zsengeller, Vinod Raman, Swati S. Bhasin, Nuo Sun, Xiuying Chen, Daniel Brown, Ilsa I. Rovira, Kensei Taguchi, Craig R. Brooks, Isaac E. Stillman, Manoj K. Bhasin, Toren Finkel, Samir M. Parikh
The identification of new sources of β cells is an important endeavor with therapeutic implications for diabetes. Insulin resistance, in physiological states such as pregnancy or in pathological states such as type 2 diabetes (T2D), is characterized by a compensatory increase in β cell mass. To explore the existence of a dynamic β cell reserve, we superimposed pregnancy on the liver-specific insulin receptor–KO (LIRKO) model of insulin resistance that already exhibits β cell hyperplasia and used lineage tracing to track the source of new β cells. Although both control and LIRKO mice displayed increased β cell mass in response to the relative insulin resistance of pregnancy, the further increase in mass in the latter supported a dynamic source that could be traced to pancreatic ducts. Two observations support the translational significance of these findings. First, NOD/SCID-γ LIRKO mice that became pregnant following cotransplantation of human islets and human ducts under the kidney capsule showed enhanced β cell proliferation and an increase in ductal cells positive for transcription factors expressed during β cell development. Second, we identified duct cells positive for immature β cell markers in pancreas sections from pregnant humans and in individuals with T2D. Taken together, during increased insulin demand, ductal cells contribute to the compensatory β cell pool by differentiation/neogenesis.
Ercument Dirice, Dario F. De Jesus, Sevim Kahraman, Giorgio Basile, Raymond W.S. Ng, Abdelfattah El Ouaamari, Adrian Kee Keong Teo, Shweta Bhatt, Jiang Hu, Rohit N. Kulkarni
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