The mTOR pathway is central to most cells. How mTOR is activated in macrophages and how it modulates macrophage physiology remain poorly understood. The tumor suppressor folliculin (FLCN) is a GAP for RagC/D, a regulator of mTOR. We show here that LPS potently suppresses FLCN in macrophages, allowing nuclear translocation of the transcription factor TFE3, leading to lysosome biogenesis, cytokine production, and hypersensitivity to inflammatory signals. Nuclear TFE3 additionally activates a transcriptional RagD-positive feedback loop that stimulates FLCN-independent canonical mTOR signaling to S6K and increases cellular proliferation. LPS thus simultaneously suppresses the TFE3 arm and activates the S6K arm of mTOR. In vivo, mice lacking myeloid FLCN reveal chronic macrophage activation, leading to profound histiocytic infiltration and tissue disruption, with hallmarks of human histiocytic syndromes, such as Erdheim-Chester disease. Our data thus identify a critical FLCN-mTOR-TFE3 axis in myeloid cells, modulated by LPS, that balances mTOR activation and curbs innate immune responses.
Jia Li, Shogo Wada, Lehn K. Weaver, Chhanda Biswas, Edward M. Behrens, Zoltan Arany
miR-155 has recently emerged as an important promoter of antitumor immunity through its functions in T lymphocytes. However, the impact of T cell–expressed miR-155 on immune cell dynamics in solid tumors remains unclear. In the present study, we used single-cell RNA sequencing to define the CD45+ immune cell populations at different time points within B16F10 murine melanoma tumors growing in either wild-type or miR-155 T cell conditional knockout (TCKO) mice. miR-155 was required for optimal T cell activation and reinforced the T cell response at the expense of infiltrating myeloid cells. Further, myeloid cells from tumors growing in TCKO mice were defined by an increase in wound healing genes and a decreased IFN-γ–response gene signature. Finally, we found that miR-155 expression predicted a favorable outcome in human melanoma patients and was associated with a strong immune signature. Moreover, gene expression analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data revealed that miR-155 expression also correlates with an immune-enriched subtype in 29 other human solid tumors. Together, our study provides an unprecedented analysis of the cell types and gene expression signatures of immune cells within experimental melanoma tumors and elucidates the role of miR-155 in coordinating antitumor immune responses in mammalian tumors.
H. Atakan Ekiz, Thomas B. Huffaker, Allie H. Grossmann, W. Zac Stephens, Matthew A. Williams, June L. Round, Ryan M. O’Connell
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology can be used to engineer the antigen specificity of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and improve their potency as an adoptive cell therapy in multiple disease models. As synthetic receptors, CARs carry the risk of immunogenicity, particularly when derived from nonhuman antibodies. Using an HLA-A*02:01–specific CAR (A2-CAR) encoding a single-chain variable fragment (Fv) derived from a mouse antibody, we developed a panel of 20 humanized A2-CARs (hA2-CARs). Systematic testing demonstrated variations in expression, and ability to bind HLA-A*02:01 and stimulate human Treg suppression in vitro. In addition, we developed a new method to comprehensively map the alloantigen specificity of CARs, revealing that humanization reduced HLA-A cross-reactivity. In vivo bioluminescence imaging showed rapid trafficking and persistence of hA2-CAR Tregs in A2-expressing allografts, with eventual migration to draining lymph nodes. Adoptive transfer of hA2-CAR Tregs suppressed HLA-A2+ cell–mediated xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease and diminished rejection of human HLA-A2+ skin allografts. These data provide a platform for systematic development and specificity testing of humanized alloantigen-specific CARs that can be used to engineer specificity and homing of therapeutic Tregs.
Nicholas A.J. Dawson, Caroline Lamarche, Romy E. Hoeppli, Peter Bergqvist, Vivian C.W. Fung, Emma McIver, Qing Huang, Jana Gillies, Madeleine Speck, Paul C. Orban, Jonathan W. Bush, Majid Mojibian, Megan K. Levings
The dysregulated, unbalanced immune response of sepsis results in a mortality exceeding 20%, yet recent findings by our group indicate that patients with allergic, type 2–mediated immune diseases are protected from developing sepsis. We evaluated CD4+ Th cell polarization among patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and confirmed that survivors had a higher percentage of circulating Th2 cells but lower frequencies of Th17 cells and neutrophils early in the course of infection. To establish the mechanism of this protection, we used a mouse model of lethal S. aureus bacteremia and found that intratracheal pretreatment with the type 2–initiating cytokine IL-33 activated pulmonary type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) and promoted eosinophilia. In addition, stimulation of type 2 immunity before lethal infection suppressed the pulmonary neutrophilic response to S. aureus. Mice lacking functional ILC2s did not respond to IL-33 and were not protected from lethal bacteremia, but treatment of these mice with the type 2 cytokines IL-5 and IL-13 rescued them from death. Depletion of eosinophils abrogated IL-33–mediated protection, indicating that eosinophilia is also necessary for the survival benefit. Thus, we have identified a potentially novel mechanism by which type 2 immunity can balance dysregulated septic inflammatory responses, thereby clarifying the protective benefit of type 2 immune diseases on sepsis mortality.
Paulette A. Krishack, Tyler J. Louviere, Trevor S. Decker, Timothy G. Kuzel, Jared A. Greenberg, Daniel F. Camacho, Cara L. Hrusch, Anne I. Sperling, Philip A. Verhoef
Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common autosomal dominant muscular dystrophy and encompasses both skeletal muscle and cardiac complications. DM is nucleotide repeat expansion disorder in which type 1 (DM1) is due to a trinucleotide repeat expansion on chromosome 19 and type 2 (DM2) arises from a tetranucleotide repeat expansion on chromosome 3. Developing representative models of DM in animals has been challenging due to instability of nucleotide repeat expansions, especially for DM2, which is characterized by nucleotide repeat expansions often greater than 5,000 copies. To investigate mechanisms of human DM, we generated cellular models of DM1 and DM2. We used regulated MyoD expression to reprogram urine-derived cells into myotubes. In this myogenic cell model, we found impaired dystrophin expression, in the presence of muscleblind-like 1 (MBNL1) foci, and aberrant splicing in DM1 but not in DM2 cells. We generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from healthy controls and DM1 and DM2 subjects, and we differentiated these into cardiomyocytes. DM1 and DM2 cells displayed an increase in RNA foci concomitant with cellular differentiation. iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from DM1 but not DM2 had aberrant splicing of known target genes and MBNL sequestration. High-resolution imaging revealed tight association between MBNL clusters and RNA foci in DM1. Ca2+ transients differed between DM1- and DM2 iPSC–derived cardiomyocytes, and each differed from healthy control cells. RNA-sequencing from DM1- and DM2 iPSC–derived cardiomyocytes revealed distinct misregulation of gene expression, as well as differential aberrant splicing patterns. Together, these data support that DM1 and DM2, despite some shared clinical and molecular features, have distinct pathological signatures.
Ellis Y. Kim, David Y. Barefield, Andy H. Vo, Anthony M. Gacita, Emma J. Schuster, Eugene J. Wyatt, Janel L. Davis, Biqin Dong, Cheng Sun, Patrick Page, Lisa Dellefave-Castillo, Alexis Demonbruen, Hao F. Zhang, Elizabeth M. McNally
Bariatric surgeries including vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) ameliorate obesity and diabetes. Weight loss and accompanying increases to insulin sensitivity contribute to improved glycemia after surgery; however, studies in humans also suggest weight-independent actions of bariatric procedures to lower blood glucose, possibly by improving insulin secretion. To evaluate this hypothesis, we compared VSG-operated mice with pair-fed, sham-surgical controls (PF-Sham) 2 weeks after surgery. This paradigm yielded similar postoperative body weight and insulin sensitivity between VSG and calorically restricted PF-Sham animals. However, VSG improved glucose tolerance and markedly enhanced insulin secretion during oral nutrient and i.p. glucose challenges compared with controls. Islets from VSG mice displayed a unique transcriptional signature enriched for genes involved in Ca2+ signaling and insulin secretion pathways. This finding suggests that bariatric surgery leads to intrinsic changes within the islet that alter function. Indeed, islets isolated from VSG mice had increased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and a left-shifted glucose sensitivity curve compared with islets from PF-Sham mice. Isolated islets from VSG animals showed corresponding increases in the pulse duration of glucose-stimulated Ca2+ oscillations. Together, these findings demonstrate a weight-independent improvement in glycemic control following VSG, which is, in part, driven by improved insulin secretion and associated with substantial changes in islet gene expression. These results support a model in which β cells play a key role in the adaptation to bariatric surgery and the improved glucose tolerance that is typical of these procedures.
Jonathan D. Douros, Jingjing Niu, Sophia Sdao, Trillian Gregg, Kelsey Fisher-Wellman, Manish Bharadwaj, Anthony Molina, Ramamani Arumugam, MacKenzie Martin, Enrico Petretto, Matthew J. Merrins, Mark A. Herman, Jenny Tong, Jonathan Campbell, David D’Alessio
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive disease with unremitting extracellular matrix deposition, leading to a distortion of pulmonary architecture and impaired gas exchange. Fibroblasts from IPF patients acquire an invasive phenotype that is essential for progressive fibrosis. Here, we performed RNA sequencing analysis on invasive and noninvasive fibroblasts and found that the immune checkpoint ligand CD274 (also known as PD-L1) was upregulated on invasive lung fibroblasts and was required for the invasive phenotype of lung fibroblasts, is regulated by p53 and FAK, and drives lung fibrosis in a humanized IPF model in mice. Activating CD274 in IPF fibroblasts promoted invasion in vitro and pulmonary fibrosis in vivo. CD274 knockout in IPF fibroblasts and targeting CD274 by FAK inhibition or CD274-neutralizing antibodies blunted invasion and attenuated fibrosis, suggesting that CD274 may be a novel therapeutic target in IPF.
Yan Geng, Xue Liu, Jiurong Liang, David M. Habiel, Vrishika Kulur, Ana Lucia Coelho, Nan Deng, Ting Xie, Yizhou Wang, Ningshan Liu, Guanling Huang, Adrianne Kurkciyan, Zhenqiu Liu, Jie Tang, Cory M. Hogaboam, Dianhua Jiang, Paul W. Noble
Chemoresistance in cancer is linked to a subset of cancer cells termed “cancer stem cells” (CSCs), and in particular, those expressing the CD44 variant appear to represent a more aggressive disease phenotype. Herein, we demonstrate that CD44v6 represents a CSC population with increased resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, and its high expression is frequently associated with poor overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). CD44v6+ cells showed elevated resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs and significantly high tumor initiation capacity. Inhibition of CD44v6 resulted in the attenuation of self-renewal capacity and resensitization to chemotherapeutic agents. Of note, miRNA profiling of CD44v6+ spheroid-derived CSCs identified a unique panel of miRNAs indicative of high self-renewal capacity. In particular, miR-1246 was overexpressed in CD44v6+ cells, and associated with poor OS and DFS in CRC patients. We demonstrate that CD44v6+ CSCs induced chemoresistance and enhance tumorigenicity in CRC cells, and this was in part orchestrated by a distinct panel of miRNAs with dysregulated profiles. These findings suggest that specific miRNAs could serve as therapeutic targets as well as promising prognostic biomarkers in patients with colorectal neoplasia.
Shusuke Toden, Shigeyasu Kunitoshi, Jacob Cardenas, Jinghua Gu, Elizabeth Hutchins, Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen, Hiroyuki Uetake, Yuji Toiyama, Ajay Goel
The clinical application of advanced next-generation sequencing technologies is increasingly uncovering novel classes of mutations that may serve as potential targets for precision medicine therapeutics. Here, we show that a deep intronic splice defect in the COL6A1 gene, originally discovered by applying muscle RNA sequencing in patients with clinical findings of collagen VI–related dystrophy (COL6-RD), inserts an in-frame pseudoexon into COL6A1 mRNA, encodes a mutant collagen α1(VI) protein that exerts a dominant-negative effect on collagen VI matrix assembly, and provides a unique opportunity for splice-correction approaches aimed at restoring normal gene expression. Using splice-modulating antisense oligomers, we efficiently skipped the pseudoexon in patient-derived fibroblast cultures and restored a wild-type matrix. Similarly, we used CRISPR/Cas9 to precisely delete an intronic sequence containing the pseudoexon and efficiently abolish its inclusion while preserving wild-type splicing. Considering that this splice defect is emerging as one of the single most frequent mutations in COL6-RD, the design of specific and effective splice-correction therapies offers a promising path for clinical translation.
Véronique Bolduc, A. Reghan Foley, Herimela Solomon-Degefa, Apurva Sarathy, Sandra Donkervoort, Ying Hu, Grace S. Chen, Katherine Sizov, Matthew Nalls, Haiyan Zhou, Sara Aguti, Beryl B. Cummings, Monkol Lek, Taru Tukiainen, Jamie L. Marshall, Oded Regev, Dina Marek-Yagel, Anna Sarkozy, Russell J. Butterfield, Cristina Jou, Cecilia Jimenez-Mallebrera, Yan Li, Corine Gartioux, Kamel Mamchaoui, Valérie Allamand, Francesca Gualandi, Alessandra Ferlini, Eric Hanssen, the COL6A1 Intron 11 Study Group, Steve D. Wilton, Shireen R. Lamandé, Daniel G. MacArthur, Raimund Wagener, Francesco Muntoni, Carsten G. Bönnemann
TCR1640 mice, which have a T cell receptor (TCR) directed against MOG92–106, spontaneously develop experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Female mice mostly develop a relapsing-remitting (RR) course and have a higher incidence of disease, while males most frequently suffer from progressive disease, reflecting the unresolved clinical sex discrepancies seen in multiple sclerosis. Herein, we performed adoptive transfers of male and female TCR1640 immune cells into WT animals to investigate if disease course is dependent on the sex of the donor immune cells or on the sex of the recipient animal. We found that transfer of female TCR1640 immune cells led to a RR disease while transfer of male TCR1640 immune cells led to a progressive course, independent of the sex of the recipient. In addition, regulatory and pathogenic T cell infiltration after transfer was also immune cell sex intrinsic. We performed genetic profiling of the donor immune cells and found significant differences between the transcriptomic profiles of male and female TCR1640 immune cells, interestingly, within genes related to immune regulation of T lymphocytes. These results suggest that differences in gene expression profiles related to regulation of T cell immunity seen in male and female neuroinflammatory disease drive relapsing versus progressive disease course.
Tessa Dhaeze, Catherine Lachance, Laurence Tremblay, Camille Grasmuck, Lyne Bourbonnière, Sandra Larouche, Olivia Saint-Laurent, Marc-André Lécuyer, Rose-Marie Rébillard, Stephanie Zandee, Alexandre Prat
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