Kabuki syndrome 1 (KS1) is a Mendelian disorder of the epigenetic machinery caused by mutations in the gene encoding KMT2D, which methylates lysine 4 on histone H3 (H3K4). KS1 is characterized by intellectual disability, postnatal growth retardation, and distinct craniofacial dysmorphisms. A mouse model (Kmt2d+/βGeo) exhibits features of the human disorder and has provided insight into other phenotypes; however, the mechanistic basis of skeletal abnormalities and growth retardation remains elusive. Using high-resolution micro-CT, we show that Kmt2d+/βGeo mice have shortened long bones and ventral bowing of skulls. In vivo expansion of growth plates within skulls and long bones suggests disrupted endochondral ossification as a common disease mechanism. Stable chondrocyte cell lines harboring inactivating mutations in Kmt2d exhibit precocious differentiation, further supporting this mechanism. A known inducer of chondrogenesis, SOX9, and its targets show markedly increased expression in Kmt2d–/– chondrocytes. By transcriptome profiling, we identify Shox2 as a putative KMT2D target. We propose that decreased KMT2D-mediated H3K4me3 at Shox2 releases Sox9 inhibition and thereby leads to enhanced chondrogenesis, providing a potentially novel and plausible explanation for precocious chondrocyte differentiation. Our findings provide insight into the pathogenesis of growth retardation in KS1 and suggest therapeutic approaches for this and related disorders.
Jill A. Fahrner, Wan-Ying Lin, Ryan C. Riddle, Leandros Boukas, Valerie B. DeLeon, Sheetal Chopra, Susan E. Lad, Teresa Romeo Luperchio, Kasper D. Hansen, Hans T. Bjornsson
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and has caused over 2400 cases and more than 800 deaths. Epidemiological studies identified diabetes as the primary comorbidity associated with severe or lethal MERS-CoV infection. Understanding how diabetes affects MERS is important because of the global burden of diabetes and pandemic potential of MERS-CoV. We used a model in which mice were made susceptible to MERS-CoV by expressing human DPP4, and type 2 diabetes was induced by administering a high-fat diet. Upon infection with MERS-CoV, diabetic mice had a prolonged phase of severe disease and delayed recovery that was independent of virus titers. Histological analysis revealed that diabetic mice had delayed inflammation, which was then prolonged through 21 days after infection. Diabetic mice had fewer inflammatory monocyte/macrophages and CD4+ T cells, which correlated with lower levels of Ccl2 and Cxcl10 expression. Diabetic mice also had lower levels of Tnfa, Il6, Il12b, and Arg1 expression and higher levels of Il17a expression. These data suggest that the increased disease severity observed in individuals with MERS and comorbid type 2 diabetes is likely due to a dysregulated immune response, which results in more severe and prolonged lung pathology.
Kirsten A. Kulcsar, Christopher M. Coleman, Sarah E. Beck, Matthew B. Frieman
Increased fibrosis is a characteristic remodeling response to biomechanical and neurohumoral stress and a determinant of cardiac mechanical and electrical dysfunction in disease. Stress-induced activation of cardiac fibroblasts (CFs) is a critical step in the fibrotic response, although the precise sequence of events underlying activation of these critical cells in vivo remain unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that a βIV-spectrin/STAT3 complex is essential for maintenance of a quiescent phenotype (basal nonactivated state) in CFs. We reported increased fibrosis, decreased cardiac function, and electrical impulse conduction defects in genetic and acquired mouse models of βIV-spectrin deficiency. Loss of βIV-spectrin function promoted STAT3 nuclear accumulation and transcriptional activity, and it altered gene expression and CF activation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that a quiescent phenotype may be restored in βIV-spectrin–deficient fibroblasts by expressing a βIV-spectrin fragment including the STAT3-binding domain or through pharmacological STAT3 inhibition. We found that in vivo STAT3 inhibition abrogates fibrosis and cardiac dysfunction in the setting of global βIV-spectrin deficiency. Finally, we demonstrate that fibroblast-specific deletion of βIV-spectrin is sufficient to induce fibrosis and decreased cardiac function. We propose that the βIV-spectrin/STAT3 complex is a determinant of fibroblast phenotype and fibrosis, with implications for remodeling response in cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Nehal J. Patel, Drew M. Nassal, Amara D. Greer-Short, Sathya D. Unudurthi, Benjamin W. Scandling, Daniel Gratz, Xianyao Xu, Anuradha Kalyanasundaram, Vadim V. Fedorov, Federica Accornero, Peter J. Mohler, Keith J. Gooch, Thomas J. Hund
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by pathologic T cell–B cell interactions and autoantibody production. Defining the T cell populations that drive B cell responses in SLE may enable design of therapies that specifically target pathologic cell subsets. Here, we evaluated the phenotypes of CD4+ T cells in the circulation of 52 SLE patients drawn from multiple cohorts and identified a highly expanded PD-1hiCXCR5–CD4+ T cell population. Cytometric, transcriptomic, and functional assays demonstrated that PD-1hiCXCR5–CD4+ T cells from SLE patients are T peripheral helper (Tph) cells, a CXCR5– T cell population that stimulates B cell responses via IL-21. The frequency of Tph cells, but not T follicular helper (Tfh) cells, correlated with both clinical disease activity and the frequency of CD11c+ B cells in SLE patients. PD-1hiCD4+ T cells were found within lupus nephritis kidneys and correlated with B cell numbers in the kidney. Both IL-21 neutralization and CRISPR-mediated deletion of MAF abrogated the ability of Tph cells to induce memory B cell differentiation into plasmablasts in vitro. These findings identify Tph cells as a highly expanded T cell population in SLE and suggest a key role for Tph cells in stimulating pathologic B cell responses.
Alexandra V. Bocharnikov, Joshua Keegan, Vanessa S. Wacleche, Ye Cao, Chamith Y. Fonseka, Guoxing Wang, Eric S. Muise, Kelvin X. Zhang, Arnon Arazi, Gregory Keras, Zhihan J. Li, Yujie Qu, Michael F. Gurish, Michelle Petri, Jill P. Buyon, Chaim Putterman, David Wofsy, Judith A. James, Joel M. Guthridge, Betty Diamond, Jennifer H. Anolik, Matthew F. Mackey, Stephen E. Alves, Peter A. Nigrovic, Karen H. Costenbader, Michael B. Brenner, James A. Lederer, Deepak A. Rao, Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) RA/SLE Network
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disorder and a major cause of stroke. Unfortunately, current therapies for AF are suboptimal, largely because the molecular mechanisms underlying AF are poorly understood. Since the autonomic nervous system is thought to increase vulnerability to AF, we used a rapid atrial pacing (RAP) canine model to investigate the anatomic and electrophysiological characteristics of autonomic remodeling in different regions of the left atrium. RAP led to marked hypertrophy of parent nerve bundles in the posterior left atrium (PLA), resulting in a global increase in parasympathetic and sympathetic innervation throughout the left atrium. Parasympathetic fibers were more heterogeneously distributed in the PLA when compared with other left atrial regions; this led to greater fractionation and disorganization of AF electrograms in the PLA. Computational modeling revealed that heterogeneously distributed parasympathetic activity exacerbates sympathetic substrate for wave break and reentry. We further discovered that levels of nerve growth factor (NGF) were greatest in the left atrial appendage (LAA), where AF was most organized. Preferential NGF release by the LAA — likely a direct function of frequency and regularity of atrial stimulation — may have important implications for creation of a vulnerable AF substrate.
Georg Gussak, Anna Pfenniger, Lisa Wren, Mehul Gilani, Wenwei Zhang, Shin Yoo, David A. Johnson, Amy Burrell, Brandon Benefield, Gabriel Knight, Bradley P. Knight, Rod Passman, Jeffrey J. Goldberger, Gary Aistrup, J. Andrew Wasserstrom, Yohannes Shiferaw, Rishi Arora
The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) is a potentially novel and promising anticancer target due to its critical roles in proliferation, apoptosis, and metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells. However, the activity and function of mTORC2 in distinct cells within malignant tissue in vivo is insufficiently explored. Surprisingly, in primary human and mouse colorectal cancer (CRC) samples, mTORC2 signaling could not be detected in tumor cells. In contrast, only macrophages in tumor-adjacent areas showed mTORC2 activity, which was downregulated in stromal macrophages residing within human and mouse tumor tissues. Functionally, inhibition of mTORC2 by specific deletion of Rictor in macrophages stimulated tumorigenesis in a colitis-associated CRC mouse model. This phenotype was driven by a proinflammatory reprogramming of mTORC2-deficient macrophages that promoted colitis via the cytokine SPP1/osteopontin to stimulate tumor growth. In human CRC patients, high SPP1 levels and low mTORC2 activity in tumor-associated macrophages correlated with a worsened clinical prognosis. Treatment of mice with a second-generation mTOR inhibitor that inhibits mTORC2 and mTORC1 exacerbated experimental colorectal tumorigenesis in vivo. In conclusion, mTORC2 activity is confined to macrophages in CRC and limits tumorigenesis. These results suggest activation but not inhibition of mTORC2 as a therapeutic strategy for colitis-associated CRC.
Karl Katholnig, Birgit Schütz, Stephanie D. Fritsch, David Schörghofer, Monika Linke, Nyamdelger Sukhbaatar, Julia M. Matschinger, Daniela Unterleuthner, Martin Hirtl, Michaela Lang, Merima Herac, Andreas Spittler, Andreas Bergthaler, Gernot Schabbauer, Michael Bergmann, Helmut Dolznig, Markus Hengstschläger, Mark A. Magnuson, Mario Mikula, Thomas Weichhart
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Although the alveolar macrophage (AM) comprises the major resident immune cell in the lung, few studies have investigated its role in lung cancer development. We recently discovered a potentially novel mechanism wherein AMs regulate STAT-induced inflammatory responses in neighboring epithelial cells (ECs) via secretion and delivery of suppressors of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) within extracellular vesicles (EVs). Here, we explored the impact of SOCS3 transfer on EC tumorigenesis and the integrity of AM SOCS3 secretion during development of lung cancer. AM-derived EVs containing SOCS3 inhibited STAT3 activation as well as proliferation and survival of lung adenocarcinoma cells. Levels of secreted SOCS3 were diminished in lungs of patients with non–small cell lung cancer and in a mouse model of lung cancer, and the impaired ability of murine AMs to secrete SOCS3 within EVs preceded the development of lung tumors. Loss of this homeostatic brake on tumorigenesis prompted our effort to “rescue” it. Provision of recombinant SOCS3 loaded within synthetic liposomes inhibited proliferation and survival of lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro as well as malignant transformation of normal ECs. Intratumoral injection of SOCS3 liposomes attenuated tumor growth in a lung cancer xenograft model. This work identifies AM-derived vesicular SOCS3 as an endogenous antitumor mechanism that is disrupted within the tumor microenvironment and whose rescue by synthetic liposomes can be leveraged as a potential therapeutic strategy for lung cancer.
Jennifer M. Speth, Loka R. Penke, Joseph D. Bazzill, Kyung Soo Park, Rafael Gil de Rubio, Daniel J. Schneider, Hideyasu Ouchi, James J. Moon, Venkateshwar G. Keshamouni, Rachel L. Zemans, Vibha N. Lama, Douglas A. Arenberg, Marc Peters-Golden
During pregnancy the maternal pancreatic islets of Langerhans undergo adaptive changes to compensate for gestational insulin resistance. Kisspeptin has been shown to stimulate insulin release, through its receptor, GPR54. The placenta releases high levels of kisspeptin into the maternal circulation, suggesting a role in modulating the islet adaptation to pregnancy. In the present study we show that pharmacological blockade of endogenous kisspeptin in pregnant mice resulted in impaired glucose homeostasis. This glucose intolerance was due to a reduced insulin response to glucose as opposed to any effect on insulin sensitivity. A β cell–specific GPR54-knockdown mouse line was found to exhibit glucose intolerance during pregnancy, with no phenotype observed outside of pregnancy. Furthermore, in pregnant women circulating kisspeptin levels significantly correlated with insulin responses to oral glucose challenge and were significantly lower in women with gestational diabetes (GDM) compared with those without GDM. Thus, kisspeptin represents a placental signal that plays a physiological role in the islet adaptation to pregnancy, maintaining maternal glucose homeostasis by acting through the β cell GPR54 receptor. Our data suggest reduced placental kisspeptin production, with consequent impaired kisspeptin-dependent β cell compensation, may be a factor in the development of GDM in humans.
James E. Bowe, Thomas G. Hill, Katharine F. Hunt, Lorna I.F. Smith, Sian J.S. Simpson, Stephanie A. Amiel, Peter M. Jones
Intrathecal (IT) delivery and pharmacology of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) for the CNS have been successfully developed to treat spinal muscular atrophy. However, ASO pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) properties remain poorly understood in the IT compartment. We applied multimodal imaging techniques to elucidate the IT PK and PD of unlabeled, radioactively labeled, or fluorescently labeled ASOs targeting ubiquitously expressed or neuron-specific RNAs. Following lumbar IT bolus injection in rats, all ASOs spread rostrally along the neuraxis, adhered to meninges, and were partially cleared to peripheral lymph nodes and kidneys. Rapid association with the pia and arterial walls preceded passage of ASOs across the glia limitans, along arterial intramural basement membranes, and along white-matter axonal bundles. Several neuronal and glial cell types accumulated ASOs over time, with evidence of probable glial accumulation preceding neuronal uptake. IT doses of anti-GluR1 and anti-Gabra1 ASOs markedly reduced the mRNA and protein levels of their respective neurotransmitter receptor protein targets by 2 weeks and anti-Gabra1 ASOs also reduced binding of the GABAA receptor PET ligand 18F-flumazenil in the brain over 4 weeks. Our multimodal imaging approaches elucidate multiple transport routes underlying the CNS distribution, clearance, and efficacy of IT-dosed ASOs.
Curt Mazur, Berit Powers, Kenneth Zasadny, Jenna M. Sullivan, Hemi Dimant, Fredrik Kamme, Jacob Hesterman, John Matson, Michael Oestergaard, Marc Seaman, Robert W. Holt, Mohammed Qutaish, Ildiko Polyak, Richard Coelho, Vijay Gottumukkala, Carolynn M. Gaut, Marc Berridge, Nazira J. Albargothy, Louise Kelly, Roxana O. Carare, Jack Hoppin, Holly Kordasiewicz, Eric E. Swayze, Ajay Verma
Intestinally derived glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), encoded by the preproglucagon (Gcg) gene, is believed to function as an incretin. However, our previous work questioned this dogma and demonstrated that pancreatic peptides rather than intestinal Gcg peptides, including GLP-1, are a primary regulator of glucose homeostasis in normal mice. The objective of these experiments was to determine whether changes in nutrition or alteration of gut hormone secretion by bariatric surgery would result in a larger role for intestinal GLP-1 in the regulation of insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis. Multiple transgenic models, including mouse models with intestine- or pancreas tissue–specific Gcg expression and a whole-body Gcg-null mouse model, were generated to study the role of organ-specific GLP-1 production on glucose homeostasis under dietary-induced obesity and after weight loss from bariatric surgery (vertical sleeve gastrectomy; VSG). Our findings indicated that the intestine is a major source of circulating GLP-1 after various nutrient and surgical stimuli. However, even with the 4-fold increase in intestinally derived GLP-1 with VSG, it is pancreatic peptides, not intestinal Gcg peptides, that are necessary for surgery-induced improvements in glucose homeostasis.
Ki-Suk Kim, Chelsea R. Hutch, Landon Wood, Irwin J. Magrisso, Randy J. Seeley, Darleen A. Sandoval
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