Emerging knowledge indicates the difficulty in categorizing unusual cystic fibrosis (CF) mutations, with regard to both pathogenic mechanism and theratype. As case in point, we present data concerning P67L mutation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a defect carried by a small number of individuals with CF and sometimes attributed to a channel conductance abnormality. Findings from our laboratory and others establish that P67L causes protein misfolding, disrupts maturation, confers gating defects, is thermally stable, and exhibits near normal conductance. These results provide one framework by which rare CF alleles such as P67L can be more comprehensively profiled vis-à-vis molecular pathogenesis. We also demonstrate that emerging CF treatments — ivacaftor and lumacaftor — can mediate pronounced pharmacologic activation of P67L CFTR. Infrequent CF alleles are often improperly characterized, in part, due to the small numbers of patients involved. Moreover, access to new personalized treatments among patients with ultra-orphan genotypes has been limited by difficulty arranging phase III clinical trials, and off-label prescribing has been impaired by high drug cost and difficulty arranging third party reimbursement. Rare CFTR mutations such as P67L are emblematic of the challenges to “precision” medicine, including use of the best available mechanistic knowledge to treat patients with unusual forms of disease.
Carleen M. Sabusap, Wei Wang, Carmel M. McNicholas, W. Joon Chung, Lianwu Fu, Hui Wen, Marina Mazur, Kevin L. Kirk, James F. Collawn, Jeong S. Hong, Eric J. Sorscher
Genome-wide association studies of asthma have identified genetic variants in the
Erin D. Gordon, Joe Palandra, Agata Wesolowska-Andersen, Lando Ringel, Cydney L. Rios, Marrah E. Lachowicz-Scroggins, Louis Z. Sharp, Jamie L. Everman, Hannah J. MacLeod, Jae W. Lee, Robert J. Mason, Michael A. Matthay, Richard T. Sheldon, Michael C. Peters, Karl H. Nocka, John V. Fahy, Max A. Seibold
The physiological components that contribute to cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease are steadily being elucidated. Gene therapy could potentially correct these defects.
Benjamin Steines, David D. Dickey, Jamie Bergen, Katherine J.D.A. Excoffon, John R. Weinstein, Xiaopeng Li, Ziying Yan, Mahmoud H. Abou Alaiwa, Viral S. Shah, Drake C. Bouzek, Linda S. Powers, Nicholas D. Gansemer, Lynda S. Ostedgaard, John F. Engelhardt, David A. Stoltz, Michael J. Welsh, Patrick L. Sinn, David V. Schaffer, Joseph Zabner
In carcinogen-driven cancers, a high mutational burden results in neoepitopes that can be recognized immunologically. Such carcinogen-induced tumors may evade this immune response through “immunoediting,” whereby tumors adapt to immune pressure and escape T cell–mediated killing. Many tumors lack a high neoepitope burden, and it remains unclear whether immunoediting occurs in such cases. Here, we evaluated T cell immunity in an autochthonous mouse model of pancreatic cancer and found a low mutational burden, absence of predicted neoepitopes derived from tumor mutations, and resistance to checkpoint immunotherapy. Spontaneous tumor progression was identical in the presence or absence of T cells. Moreover, tumors arising in T cell–depleted mice grew unchecked in immune-competent hosts. However, introduction of the neoantigen ovalbumin (OVA) led to tumor rejection and T cell memory, but this did not occur in OVA immune-tolerant mice. Thus, immunoediting does not occur in this mouse model — a likely consequence, not a cause, of absent neoepitopes. Because many human tumors also have a low missense mutational load and minimal neoepitope burden, our findings have clinical implications for the design of immunotherapy for patients with such tumors.
Rebecca A. Evans, Mark S. Diamond, Andrew J. Rech, Timothy Chao, Max W. Richardson, Jeffrey H. Lin, David L. Bajor, Katelyn T. Byrne, Ben Z. Stanger, James L. Riley, Nune Markosyan, Rafael Winograd, Robert H. Vonderheide
Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for gene therapy of CNS disorders. However, host factors that influence the spread, clearance, and transduction efficiency of AAV vectors in the brain are not well understood. Recent studies have demonstrated that fluid flow mediated by aquaporin-4 (AQP4) channels located on astroglial end feet is essential for exchange of solutes between interstitial and cerebrospinal fluid. This phenomenon, which is essential for interstitial clearance of solutes from the CNS, has been termed glial-associated lymphatic transport or glymphatic transport. In the current study, we demonstrate that glymphatic transport profoundly affects various aspects of AAV gene transfer in the CNS. Altered localization of AQP4 in aged mouse brains correlated with significantly increased retention of AAV vectors in the parenchyma and reduced systemic leakage following ventricular administration. We observed a similar increase in AAV retention and transgene expression upon i.c.v. administration in AQP4–/– mice. Consistent with this observation, fluorophore-labeled AAV vectors showed markedly reduced flux from the ventricles of AQP4–/– mice compared with WT mice. These results were further corroborated by reduced AAV clearance from the AQP4-null brain, as demonstrated by reduced transgene expression and vector genome accumulation in systemic organs. We postulate that deregulation of glymphatic transport in aged and diseased brains could markedly affect the parenchymal spread, clearance, and gene transfer efficiency of AAV vectors. Assessment of biomarkers that report the kinetics of CSF flux in prospective gene therapy patients might inform variable treatment outcomes and guide future clinical trial design.
Giridhar Murlidharan, Andrew Crowther, Rebecca A. Reardon, Juan Song, Aravind Asokan
Pirfenidone is a recently approved antifibrotic drug for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Because tuberculosis (TB) is characterized by granulomatous inflammation in conjunction with parenchymal destruction and replacement fibrosis, we sought to determine whether the addition of pirfenidone as an adjunctive, host-directed therapy provides a beneficial effect during antimicrobial treatment of TB. We hypothesized that pirfenidone’s antiinflammatory and antifibrotic properties would reduce inflammatory lung damage and increase antimicrobial drug penetration in granulomas to accelerate treatment response. The effectiveness of adjunctive pirfenidone during TB drug therapy was evaluated using a murine model of chronic TB. Mice treated with standard therapy 2HRZ/4HR (H, isoniazid; R, rifampin; and Z, pyrazinamide) were compared with 2 alternative regimens containing pirfenidone (Pf) (2HRZPf/4HRPf and 2HRZPf/4HR). Contrary to our hypothesis, adjunctive pirfenidone use leads to reduced bacterial clearance and increased relapse rates. This treatment failure is closely associated with the emergence of isoniazid monoresistant bacilli, increased cavitation, and significant lung pathology. While antifibrotic agents may eventually be used as part of adjunctive host-directed therapy of TB, this study clearly demonstrates that caution must be exercised. Moreover, as pirfenidone becomes more widely used in clinical practice, increased patient monitoring would be required in endemic TB settings.
Bintou A. Ahidjo, Mariama C. Maiga, Elizabeth A. Ihms, Mamoudou Maiga, Alvaro A. Ordonez, Laurene S. Cheung, Sarah Beck, Bruno B. Andrade, Sanjay Jain, William R. Bishai
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in CF transmembrane conductance regulator (
Ashley L. Cooney, Mahmoud H. Abou Alaiwa, Viral S. Shah, Drake C. Bouzek, Mallory R. Stroik, Linda S. Powers, Nick D. Gansemer, David K. Meyerholz, Michael J. Welsh, David A. Stoltz, Patrick L. Sinn, Paul B. McCray Jr.
Hypertension is nearly universal yet poorly controlled in the elderly despite proven benefits of intensive treatment. Mice lacking mineralocorticoid receptors in smooth muscle cells (SMC-MR-KO) are protected from rising blood pressure (BP) with aging, despite normal renal function. Vasoconstriction is attenuated in aged SMC-MR-KO mice, thus they were used to explore vascular mechanisms that may contribute to hypertension with aging. MicroRNA (miR) profiling identified miR-155 as the most down-regulated miR with vascular aging in MR-intact but not SMC-MR-KO mice. The aging-associated decrease in miR-155 in mesenteric resistance vessels was associated with increased mRNA abundance of MR and of predicted miR-155 targets Cav1.2 (L-type calcium channel (LTCC) subunit) and angiotensin type-1 receptor (AgtR1). SMC-MR-KO mice lacked these aging-associated vascular gene expression changes. In HEK293 cells, MR repressed miR-155 promoter activity. In cultured SMCs, miR-155 decreased Cav1.2 and AgtR1 mRNA. Compared to MR-intact littermates, aged SMC-MR-KO mice had decreased systolic BP, myogenic tone, SMC LTCC current, mesenteric vessel calcium influx, LTCC-induced vasoconstriction and angiotensin II-induced vasoconstriction and oxidative stress. Restoration of miR-155 specifically in SMCs of aged MR-intact mice decreased Cav1.2 and AgtR1 mRNA and attenuated LTCC-mediated and angiotensin II-induced vasoconstriction and oxidative stress. Finally, in a trial of MR blockade in elderly humans, changes in serum miR-155 predicted the BP treatment response. Thus, SMC-MR regulation of miR-155, Cav1.2 and AgtR1 impacts vasoconstriction with aging. This novel mechanism identifies potential new treatment strategies and biomarkers to improve and individualize antihypertensive therapy in the elderly.
Jennifer J. DuPont, Amy McCurley, Ana P. Davel, Joseph McCarthy, Shawn B. Bender, Kwangseok Hong, Yan Yang, Jeung-Ki Yoo, Mark Aronovitz, Wendy E. Baur, Demetra D. Christou, Michael A. Hill, Iris Z. Jaffe
Infantile hemangioma (IH) is the most common vascular tumor of infancy, and it uniquely regresses in response to oral propranolol. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as key regulators of vascular development and are dysregulated in many disease processes, but the role of miRNAs in IH growth has not been investigated. We report expression of C19MC, a primate-specific megacluster of miRNAs expressed in placenta with rare expression in postnatal tissues, in glucose transporter 1–expressing (GLUT-1–expressing) IH endothelial cells and in the plasma of children with IH. Tissue or circulating C19MC miRNAs were not detectable in patients having 9 other types of vascular anomalies or unaffected children, identifying C19MC miRNAs as the first circulating biomarkers of IH. Levels of circulating C19MC miRNAs correlated with IH tumor size and propranolol treatment response, and IH tissue from children treated with propranolol or from children with partially involuted tumors contained lower levels of C19MC miRNAs than untreated, proliferative tumors, implicating C19MC miRNAs as potential drivers of IH pathogenesis. Detection of C19MC miRNAs in the circulation of infants with IH may provide a specific and noninvasive means of IH diagnosis and identification of candidates for propranolol therapy as well as a means to monitor treatment response.
Graham M. Strub, Andrew L. Kirsh, Mark E. Whipple, Winston P. Kuo, Rachel B. Keller, Raj P. Kapur, Mark W. Majesky, Jonathan A. Perkins
A large portion of the global population carries latent herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can periodically reactivate, resulting in asymptomatic shedding or formation of ulcerative lesions. Current anti-HSV drugs do not eliminate latent virus from sensory neurons where HSV resides, and therefore do not eliminate the risk of transmission or recurrent disease. Here, we report the ability of HSV-specific endonucleases to induce mutations of essential HSV genes both in cultured neurons and in latently infected mice. In neurons, viral genomes are susceptible to endonuclease-mediated mutagenesis, regardless of the time of treatment after HSV infection, suggesting that both HSV lytic and latent forms can be targeted. Mutagenesis frequency after endonuclease exposure can be increased nearly 2-fold by treatment with a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. Using a mouse model of latent HSV infection, we demonstrate that a targeted endonuclease can be delivered to viral latency sites via an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector, where it is able to induce mutation of latent HSV genomes. These data provide the first proof-of-principle to our knowledge for the use of a targeted endonuclease as an antiviral agent to treat an established latent viral infection in vivo.
Martine Aubert, Emily A. Madden, Michelle Loprieno, Harshana S. DeSilva Feelixge, Laurence Stensland, Meei-Li Huang, Alexander L. Greninger, Pavitra Roychoudhury, Nixon Niyonzima, Thuy Nguyen, Amalia Magaret, Roman Galleto, Daniel Stone, Keith R. Jerome
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