The discovery of novel biomarkers has emerged as a critical need for therapeutic development in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). For some subsets of ALS, such as the genetic superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) form, exciting new treatment strategies, such as antisense oligonucleotide–mediated (ASO-mediated) SOD1 silencing, are being tested in clinical trials, so the identification of pharmacodynamic biomarkers for therapeutic monitoring is essential. We identify increased levels of a 7–amino acid endogenous peptide of SOD1 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of human SOD1 mutation carriers but not in other neurological cases or nondiseased controls. Levels of peptide elevation vary based on the specific SOD1 mutation (ranging from 1.1-fold greater than control in D90A to nearly 30-fold greater in V148G) and correlate with previously published measurements of SOD1 stability. Using a mass spectrometry–based method (liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry), we quantified peptides in both extracellular samples (CSF) and intracellular samples (spinal cord from rat) to demonstrate that the peptide distinguishes mutation-specific differences in intracellular SOD1 degradation. Furthermore, 80% and 63% reductions of the peptide were measured in SOD1G93A and SOD1H46R rat CSF samples, respectively, following treatment with ASO, with an improved correlation to mRNA levels in spinal cords compared with the ELISA measuring intact SOD1 protein. These data demonstrate the potential of this peptide as a pharmacodynamic biomarker.
Ilya Gertsman, Joanne Wuu, Melissa McAlonis-Downes, Majid Ghassemian, Karen Ling, Frank Rigo, Frank Bennett, Michael Benatar, Timothy M. Miller, Sandrine Da Cruz
Impaired insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes (T2D) is linked to reduced insulin granule docking, disorganization of the exocytotic site, and an impaired glucose-dependent facilitation of insulin exocytosis. We show in β-cells from 80 human donors that the glucose-dependent amplification of exocytosis is disrupted in T2D. Spatial analyses of granule fusion, visualized by total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy in 24 of these donors, demonstrate that these are non-random across the surface of β-cells from donors with no diabetes (ND). The compartmentalization of events occurs within regions defined by concurrent or recent membrane-resident secretory granules. This organization, and the number of membrane-associated granules, is glucose-dependent and notably impaired in T2D β-cells. Mechanistically, multi-channel Kv2.1 clusters contribute to maintaining the density of membrane-resident granules and the number of fusion ‘hotspots’, while SUMOylation sites at the channel N- (K145) and C-terminus (K470) determine the relative proportion of fusion events occurring within these regions. Thus, a glucose-dependent compartmentalization of fusion, regulated in part by a structural role for Kv2.1, is disrupted in β-cells from donors with type 2 diabetes.
Jianyang Fu, John Maringa Githaka, Xiaoqing Dai, Gregory Plummer, Kunimasa Suzuki, Aliya F. Spigelman, Austin Bautista, Ryekjang Kim, Dafna Greitzer-Antes, Jocelyn E. Manning Fox, Herbert Y. Gaisano, Patrick E. MacDonald
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and accounts for substantial morbidity and mortality. Recently, we created a mouse model with spontaneous and sustained AF caused by a mutation in the NaV1.5 channel (F1759A) that enhances persistent Na+ current, thereby enabling the investigation of molecular mechanisms that cause AF and the identification of novel treatment strategies. The mice have regional heterogeneity of action potential duration of the atria similar to observations in patients with AF. In these mice, we found that the initiation and persistence of the rotational reentrant AF arrhythmias, known as spiral waves or rotors, were dependent upon action potential duration heterogeneity. The centers of the rotors were localized to regions of greatest heterogeneity of the action potential duration. Pharmacologically attenuating the action potential duration heterogeneity reduced both spontaneous and pacing-induced AF. Computer-based simulations also demonstrated that the action potential duration heterogeneity is sufficient to generate rotors that manifest as AF. Taken together, these findings suggest that action potential duration heterogeneity in mice and humans is one mechanism by which AF is initiated and that reducing action potential duration heterogeneity can lessen the burden of AF.
Uma Mahesh R. Avula, Jeffrey Abrams, Alexander Katchman, Sergey Zakharov, Sergey Mironov, Joseph Bayne, Daniel Roybal, Anirudh Gorti, Lin Yang, Vivek Iyer, Marc Waase, Deepak Saluja, Edward J. Ciaccio, Hasan Garan, Andrew R. Marks, Steven O. Marx, Elaine Y. Wan
Potassium (K+) secretion by kidney tubule cells is central to electrolyte homeostasis in mammals. In the K+ secretory “principal” cells of the distal nephron, electrogenic Na+ transport by the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) generates the electrical driving force for K+ transport across the apical membrane. Regulation of this process is attributable in part to aldosterone, which stimulates the gene transcription of the ENaC-regulatory kinase, SGK1. However, a wide range of evidence supports the conclusion that an unidentified aldosterone-independent pathway exists. We show here that in principal cells, K+ itself acts through the type 2 mTOR complex (mTORC2) to activate SGK1, which stimulates ENaC to enhance K+ excretion. The effect depends on changes in K+ concentration on the blood side of the cells, and requires basolateral membrane K+-channel activity. However, it does not depend on changes in aldosterone, or on enhanced distal delivery of Na+ from upstream nephron segments. These data strongly support the idea that K+ is sensed directly by principal cells to stimulate its own secretion by activating the mTORC2-SGK1 signaling module, and stimulate ENaC. We propose that this local effect acts in concert with aldosterone and increased Na+ delivery from upstream nephron segments to sustain K+ homeostasis.
Mads Vaarby Sørensen, Bidisha Saha, Iben Skov Jensen, Peng Wu, Niklas Ayasse, Catherine E. Gleason, Samuel Levi Svendsen, Wen-Hui Wang, David Pearce
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
Fibrosis is a hallmark in the pathogenesis of various diseases, with very limited therapeutic solutions. A key event in the fibrotic process is the expression of contractile proteins, including α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) by fibroblasts, which become myofibroblasts. Here, we report the results of a high-throughput screening of a library of approved drugs that led to the discovery of haloperidol, a common antipsychotic drug, as a potent inhibitor of myofibroblast activation. We show that haloperidol exerts its antifibrotic effect on primary murine and human fibroblasts by binding to sigma receptor 1, independent from the canonical transforming growth factor-β signaling pathway. Its mechanism of action involves the modulation of intracellular calcium, with moderate induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress response, which in turn abrogates Notch1 signaling and the consequent expression of its targets, including αSMA. Importantly, haloperidol also reduced the fibrotic burden in 3 different animal models of lung, cardiac, and tumor-associated fibrosis, thus supporting the repurposing of this drug for the treatment of fibrotic conditions.
Michael Rehman, Simone Vodret, Luca Braga, Corrado Guarnaccia, Fulvio Celsi, Giulia Rossetti, Valentina Martinelli, Tiziana Battini, Carlin Long, Kristina Vukusic, Tea Kocijan, Chiara Collesi, Nadja Ring, Natasa Skoko, Mauro Giacca, Giannino Del Sal, Marco Confalonieri, Marcello Raspa, Alessandro Marcello, Michael P. Myers, Sergio Crovella, Paolo Carloni, Serena Zacchigna
Human placenta development and a successful pregnancy is incumbent upon precise oxygen-dependent control of trophoblast migration/invasion. Persistent low oxygen leading to failed trophoblast invasion promotes inadequate spiral artery remodeling, a characteristic of preeclampsia. Angiomotin (AMOT) is a multifaceted scaffolding protein involved in cell polarity and migration, yet its upstream regulation and significance in the human placenta remain unknown. Herein, we show that AMOT is primarily expressed in migratory extravillous trophoblast cells (EVTs) of the intermediate and distal anchoring column. Its expression increases after 10 weeks of gestation when oxygen tension rises and EVT migration/invasion peaks. Time-lapse imaging confirmed that the AMOT 80-kDa isoform promotes migration of trophoblastic JEG3 and HTR-8/SVneo cells. In preeclampsia, however, AMOT expression is decreased and its localization to migratory fetomaternal interface EVTs is disrupted. We demonstrate that Jumonji C domain–containing protein 6 (JMJD6), an oxygen sensor, positively regulates AMOT via oxygen-dependent lysyl hydroxylation. Furthermore, in vitro and ex vivo studies show that transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) regulates AMOT expression, its interaction with polarity protein PAR6, and its subcellular redistribution from tight junctions to cytoskeleton. Our data reveal an oxygen- and TGF-β–driven migratory function for AMOT in the human placenta, and implicate its deficiency in impaired trophoblast migration that plagues preeclampsia.
Abby Farrell, Sruthi Alahari, Leonardo Ermini, Andrea Tagliaferro, Michael Litvack, Martin Post, Isabella Caniggia
The E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin plays an important role in regulating clearance of dysfunctional or unwanted mitochondria in tissues, including the heart. However, whether Parkin also functions to prevent cardiac aging by maintaining a healthy population of mitochondria is still unclear. Here, we have examined the role of Parkin in the context of mtDNA damage and myocardial aging using a mouse model carrying a proofreading defective mitochondrial DNA polymerase gamma (POLG). We observed both decreased Parkin protein levels and development of cardiac hypertrophy in POLG hearts with age; however, cardiac hypertrophy in POLG mice was neither rescued, nor worsened by cardiac specific overexpression or global deletion of Parkin, respectively. Unexpectedly, mitochondrial fitness did not substantially decline with age in POLG mice when compared to WT. We found that baseline mitophagy receptor-mediated mitochondrial turnover and biogenesis were enhanced in aged POLG hearts. We also observed the presence of megamitochondria in aged POLG hearts. Thus, these processes may limit the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria as well as the degree of cardiac functional impairment in the aging POLG heart. Overall, our results demonstrate that Parkin is dispensable for constitutive mitochondrial quality control in a mtDNA mutation model of cardiac aging.
Benjamin P. Woodall, Amabel M. Orogo, Rita H. Najor, Melissa Q. Cortez, Eileen R. Moreno, Hongxia Wang, Ajit S. Divakaruni, Anne N. Murphy, Asa B. Gustafsson
A vast body of literature has established GRK2 as a key player in the development and progression of heart failure. Inhibition of GRK2 improves cardiac function post injury in numerous animal models. In recent years, discovery of several non-canonical GRK2 targets has expanded our view of this kinase. Here, we describe the novel and exciting finding that cardiac GRK2 activity can regulate whole body metabolism. Transgenic mice with cardiac-specific expression of a peptide inhibitor of GRK2 (TgβARKct) display an enhanced obesogenic phenotype when fed a high fat diet (HFD). In contrast, mice with cardiac-specific overexpression of GRK2 (TgGRK2) show resistance to HFD induced obesity. White adipose tissue (WAT) mass was significantly enhanced in HFD fed TgβARKct mice. Furthermore, regulators of adipose differentiation were differentially regulated in WAT from mice with gain or loss of GRK2 function. Using complex metabolomics we found that cardiac GRK2 signaling altered myocardial BCAA and endocannabinoid metabolism and modulated circulating BCAA and endocannabinoid metabolite profiles on a HFD, and one of the BCAA metabolites identified here enhances adipocyte differentiation in vitro. Taken together, these results suggest that metabolic changes in the heart due to GRK2 signaling on a HFD control whole body metabolism.
Benjamin P. Woodall, Kenneth S. Gresham, Meryl A. Woodall, Mesele-Christina Valenti, Alessandro Cannavo, Jessica Pfleger, J. Kurt Chuprun, Konstantinos Drosatos, Walter J. Koch
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder that predominantly affects women and is driven by autoreactive T cell–mediated inflammation. It is known that individuals with multiple X-chromosomes are at increased risk for developing SLE; however, the mechanisms underlying this genetic basis are unclear. Here, we use single cell imaging to determine the epigenetic features of the inactive X (Xi) in developing thymocytes, mature T cell subsets, and T cells from SLE patients and mice. We show that Xist RNA and heterochromatin modifications transiently reappear at the Xi and are missing in mature single positive T cells. Activation of mature T cells restores Xist RNA and heterochromatin marks simultaneously back to the Xi. Notably, X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) maintenance is altered in T cells of SLE patients and late-stage–disease NZB/W F1 female mice, and we show that X-linked genes are abnormally upregulated in SLE patient T cells. SLE T cells also have altered expression of XIST RNA interactome genes, accounting for perturbations of Xi epigenetic features. Thus, abnormal XCI maintenance is a feature of SLE disease, and we propose that Xist RNA localization at the Xi could be an important factor for maintaining dosage compensation of X-linked genes in T cells.
Camille M. Syrett, Bam Paneru, Donavon Sandoval-Heglund, Jianle Wang, Sarmistha Banerjee, Vishal Sindhava, Edward M. Behrens, Michael Atchison, Montserrat C. Anguera
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