Glycine encephalopathy (GE), or nonketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH), is a rare recessive genetic disease caused by defective glycine cleavage and characterized by increased accumulation of glycine in all tissues. Here, based on new case reports of GLDC loss-of-function mutations in GE patients, we aimed to generate a zebrafish model of severe GE in order to unravel the molecular mechanism of the disease. Using CRISPR/Cas9, we knocked out the gldc gene and showed that gldc–/– fish recapitulate GE on a molecular level and present a motor phenotype reminiscent of severe GE symptoms. The molecular characterization of gldc–/– mutants showed a broad metabolic disturbance affecting amino acids and neurotransmitters other than glycine, with lactic acidosis at stages preceding death. Although a transient imbalance was found in cell proliferation in the brain of gldc–/– zebrafish, the main brain networks were not affected, thus suggesting that GE pathogenicity is mainly due to metabolic defects. We confirmed that the gldc–/– hypotonic phenotype is due to NMDA and glycine receptor overactivation, and demonstrated that gldc–/– larvae depict exacerbated hyperglycinemia at these synapses. Remarkably, we were able to rescue the motor dysfunction of gldc–/– larvae by counterbalancing pharmacologically or genetically the level of glycine at the synapse.
Raphaëlle Riché, Meijiang Liao, Izabella A. Pena, Kit-Yi Leung, Nathalie Lepage, Nicolas D.E. Greene, Kyriakie Sarafoglou, Lisa A. Schimmenti, Pierre Drapeau, Éric Samarut
Maternal malnutrition, which causes prenatal exposure to excessive glucocorticoid, induces adverse metabolic programming, leading to hypertension in offspring. In offspring of pregnant rats receiving a low-protein diet or dexamethasone, a synthetic glucocorticoid, mRNA expression of angiotensin receptor type 1a (Agtr1a) in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus was upregulated, concurrent with reduced expression of DNA methyltransferase 3a (Dnmt3a), reduced binding of DNMT3a to the Agtr1a gene, and DNA demethylation. Salt loading increased BP in both types of offspring, suggesting that elevated hypothalamic Agtr1a expression is epigenetically modulated by excessive glucocorticoid and leads to adult-onset salt-sensitive hypertension. Consistent with this, dexamethasone treatment of PVN cells upregulated Agtr1a, while downregulating Dnmt3a, and decreased DNMT3a binding and DNA demethylation at the Agtr1a locus. In addition, Dnmt3a knockdown upregulated Agtr1a independently of dexamethasone. Hypothalamic neuron–specific Dnmt3a-deficient mice exhibited upregulation of Agtr1a in the PVN and salt-induced BP elevation without dexamethasone treatment. By contrast, dexamethasone-treated Agtr1a-deficient mice failed to show salt-induced BP elevation, despite reduced expression of Dnmt3a. Thus, epigenetic modulation of hypothalamic angiotensin signaling contributes to salt-sensitive hypertension induced by prenatal glucocorticoid excess in offspring of mothers that are malnourished during pregnancy.
Fumiko Kawakami-Mori, Mitsuhiro Nishimoto, Latapati Reheman, Wakako Kawarazaki, Nobuhiro Ayuzawa, Kohei Ueda, Daigoro Hirohama, Daisuke Kohno, Shigeyoshi Oba, Tatsuo Shimosawa, Takeshi Marumo, Toshiro Fujita
Noninvasive tools that target tumor cells could improve the management of glioma. Cancer generally has a high demand for Fe(III), an essential nutrient for a variety of biochemical processes. We tested whether 68Ga-citrate, an Fe(III) biomimetic that binds to apo-transferrin in blood, detects glioma in preclinical models and patients using hybrid PET/MRI. Mouse PET/CT studies showed that 68Ga-citrate accumulates in subcutaneous U87MG xenografts in a transferrin receptor–dependent fashion within 4 hours after injection. Seventeen patients with WHO grade III or IV glioma received 3.7–10.2 mCi 68Ga-citrate and were imaged with PET/MR 123–307 minutes after injection to establish that the radiotracer can localize to human tumors. Multiple contrast-enhancing lesions were PET avid, and tumor to adjacent normal white matter ratios were consistently greater than 10:1. Several contrast-enhancing lesions were not PET avid. One minimally enhancing lesion and another tumor with significantly reduced enhancement following bevacizumab therapy were PET avid. Advanced MR imaging analysis of one patient with contrast-enhancing glioblastoma showed that metabolic hallmarks of viable tumor spatially overlaid with 68Ga-citrate accumulation. These early data underscore that high-grade glioma may be detectable with a radiotracer that targets Fe(III) transport.
Spencer C. Behr, Javier E. Villanueva-Meyer, Yan Li, Yung-Hua Wang, Junnian Wei, Anna Moroz, Julia K.L. Lee, Jeffrey C. Hsiao, Kenneth T. Gao, Wendy Ma, Soonmee Cha, David M. Wilson, Youngho Seo, Sarah J. Nelson, Susan M. Chang, Michael J. Evans
The contribution of intracellular hemoglobin (Hb) oxidation to RBC-derived microparticle (MP) formation is poorly defined in sickle cell disease (SCD). Here we report that sickle Hb (HbS) oxidation, coupled with changes in cytosolic antioxidative proteins, is associated with membrane alterations and MP formation in homozygous Townes–sickle cell (Townes-SS) mice. Photometric and proteomic analyses confirmed the presence of high levels of Hb oxidation intermediates (ferric/ferryl) and consequent β-globin posttranslational modifications, including the irreversible oxidation of βCys93 and the ubiquitination of βLys96 and βLys145. This is the first report to our knowledge to link the UPS (via ubiquitinated Hb and other proteins) to oxidative stress. Ferryl Hb also induced complex formation with band 3 and RBC membrane proteins. Incubation of Townes-SS MPs with human endothelial cells caused greater loss of monolayer integrity, apoptotic activation, heme oxygenase-1 induction, and concomitant bioenergetic imbalance compared with control Townes-AA MPs. MPs obtained from Townes-SS mice treated with hydroxyurea produced fewer posttranslational Hb modifications. In vitro, hydroxyurea reduced the levels of ferryl Hb and shielded its target residue, βCys93, by a process of S-nitrosylation. These mechanistic analyses suggest potential antioxidative therapeutic modalities that may interrupt MP heme-mediated pathophysiology in SCD patients.
Sirsendu Jana, Michael Brad Strader, Fantao Meng, Wayne Hicks, Tigist Kassa, Ivan Tarandovskiy, Silvia De Paoli, Jan Simak, Michael R. Heaven, John D. Belcher, Gregory M. Vercellotti, Abdu I. Alayash
Asthma is one of the most common immunological diseases and is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), mucus overproduction, and airway eosinophilia. Although mouse models have provided insight into the mechanisms by which type-2 cytokines induce asthmatic airway inflammation, differences between the rodent and human immune systems hamper efforts to improve understanding of human allergic diseases. In this study, we aim to establish a preclinical animal model of asthmatic airway inflammation using humanized IL-3/GM-CSF or IL-3/GM-CSF/IL-5 Tg NOD/Shi-scid-IL2rγnull (NOG) mice and investigate the roles of human type-2 immune responses in the asthmatic mice. Several important characteristics of asthma — such as AHR, goblet cell hyperplasia, T cell infiltration, IL-13 production, and periostin secretion — were induced in IL-3/GM-CSF Tg mice by intratracheally administered human IL-33. In addition to these characteristics, human eosinophilic inflammation was observed in IL-3/GM-CSF/IL-5 Tg mice. The asthmatic mechanisms of the humanized mice were driven by activation of human Th2 and mast cells by IL-33 stimulation. Furthermore, treatment of the humanized mice with an anti–human IL-13 antibody significantly suppressed these characteristics. Therefore, the humanized mice may enhance our understanding of the pathophysiology of allergic disorders and facilitate the preclinical development of new therapeutics for IL-33–mediated type-2 inflammation in asthma.
Ryoji Ito, Shuichiro Maruoka, Kaori Soda, Ikumi Katano, Kenji Kawai, Mika Yagoto, Asami Hanazawa, Takeshi Takahashi, Tomoyuki Ogura, Motohito Goto, Riichi Takahashi, Shota Toyoshima, Yoshimichi Okayama, Kenji Izuhara, Yasuhiro Gon, Shu Hashimoto, Mamoru Ito, Satoshi Nunomura
MERTK is ectopically expressed and promotes survival in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells and is thus a potential therapeutic target. Here we demonstrate both direct therapeutic effects of MERTK inhibition on leukemia cells and induction of anti-leukemia immunity via suppression of the coinhibitory PD-1 axis. A MERTK-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor, MRX-2843, mediated therapeutic anti-leukemia effects in immunocompromised mice bearing a MERTK-expressing human leukemia xenograft. In addition, inhibition of host MERTK by genetic deletion (Mertk–/– mice) or treatment with MRX-2843 significantly decreased tumor burden and prolonged survival in immune-competent mice inoculated with a MERTK-negative ALL, suggesting immune-mediated therapeutic activity. In this context, MERTK inhibition led to significant decreases in expression of the coinhibitory ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2 on CD11b+ monocytes/macrophages in the leukemia microenvironment. Furthermore, although T cells do not express MERTK, inhibition of MERTK indirectly decreased PD-1 expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and decreased the incidence of splenic FOXP3+ Tregs at sites of leukemic infiltration, leading to increased T cell activation. These data demonstrate direct and immune-mediated therapeutic activities in response to MERTK inhibition in ALL models and provide validation of a translational agent targeting MERTK for modulation of tumor immunity.
Alisa B. Lee-Sherick, Kristen M. Jacobsen, Curtis J. Henry, Madeline G. Huey, Rebecca E. Parker, Lauren S. Page, Amanda A. Hill, Xiaodong Wang, Stephen V. Frye, H. Shelton Earp, Craig T. Jordan, Deborah DeRyckere, Douglas K. Graham
Mechanical injury to the brain triggers multiple biochemical events whose specific contributions to the pathogenesis define clinical manifestations and the overall outcome. Among many factors, mitochondrial injury has recently attracted much attention due to the importance of the organelle for bioenergetics as well as intra- and extracellular signaling and cell death. Assuming the essentiality of a mitochondria-unique phospholipid, cardiolipin (CL), for the structural and functional organization of mitochondria, here we applied global (phospho) lipidomics and redox lipidomics to reveal and identify CL modifications during controlled cortical impact (CCI). We revealed 2 major pathways activated in the CCI-injured brain as time-specific responses: early accumulation of oxidized CL (CLox) products was followed by hydrolytic reactions yielding monolyso-CLs (mCLs) and free fatty acids. To quantitatively assess possible specific roles of peroxidation and hydrolysis of mitochondrial CL, we performed comparative studies of CL modifications using an animal model of Barth syndrome where deficiency of CL reacylation (Tafazzin [Taz] deficiency) was associated exclusively with the accumulation of mCLs (but not CLox). By comparing the in vitro and in vivo results with genetic manipulation of major CL-, CLox-, and mCL-metabolizing enzymes, calcium-independent phospholipase A2γ and Taz, we concluded that the 2 processes — CL oxidation and CL hydrolysis — act as mutually synergistically enhancing components of the pathogenic mechanism of mitochondrial injury in traumatic brain injury. This emphasizes the need for combined therapeutic approaches preventing the formation of both CLox and mCL.
Honglu Chao, Tamil S. Anthonymuthu, Elizabeth M. Kenny, Andrew A. Amoscato, Laura K. Cole, Grant M. Hatch, Jing Ji, Valerian E. Kagan, Hülya Bayır
Glioblastoma (GBM) remains uniformly lethal, and despite a large accumulation of immune cells in the microenvironment, there is limited antitumor immune response. To overcome these challenges, a comprehensive understanding of GBM systemic immune response during disease progression is required. Here, we integrated multiparameter flow cytometry and mass cytometry TOF (CyTOF) analysis of patient blood to determine changes in the immune system among tumor types and over disease progression. Utilizing flow cytometry analysis in a cohort of 259 patients ranging from benign to malignant primary and metastatic brain tumors, we found that GBM patients had a significant elevation in myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in peripheral blood but not immunosuppressive Tregs. In GBM patient tissue, we found that increased MDSC levels in recurrent GBM portended poor prognosis. CyTOF analysis of peripheral blood from newly diagnosed GBM patients revealed that reduced MDSCs over time were accompanied by a concomitant increase in DCs. GBM patients with extended survival also had reduced MDSCs, similar to the levels of low-grade glioma (LGG) patients. Our findings provide a rationale for developing strategies to target MDSCs, which are elevated in GBM patients and predict poor prognosis.
Tyler J. Alban, Alvaro G. Alvarado, Mia D. Sorensen, Defne Bayik, Josephine Volovetz, Emily Serbinowski, Erin E. Mulkearns-Hubert, Maksim Sinyuk, James S. Hale, Giovana R. Onzi, Mary McGraw, Pengjing Huang, Matthew M. Grabowski, Connor A. Wathen, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Tomas Radivoyevitch, Harley I. Kornblum, Bjarne W. Kristensen, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Justin D. Lathia
Elevated blood pressure (BP) and renal dysfunction are complex traits representing major global health problems. Single nucleotide polymorphisms identified by genome-wide association studies have identified the Alström syndrome 1 (ALMS1) gene locus to render susceptibility for renal dysfunction, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Mutations in the ALMS1 gene in humans causes Alström syndrome, characterized by progressive metabolic alterations including hypertension and CKD. Despite compelling genetic evidence, the underlying biological mechanism by which mutations in the ALMS1 gene lead to the above-mentioned pathophysiology is not understood. We modeled this effect in a KO rat model and showed that ALMS1 genetic deletion leads to hypertension. We demonstrate that the link between ALMS1 and hypertension involves the activation of the renal Na+/K+/2Cl– cotransporter NKCC2, mediated by regulation of its endocytosis. Our findings establish a link between the genetic susceptibility to hypertension, CKD, and the expression of ALMS1 through its role in a salt-reabsorbing tubular segment of the kidney. These data point to ALMS1 as a potentially novel gene involved in BP and renal function regulation.
Ankita Bachhawat Jaykumar, Paulo S. Caceres, Keyona N. King-Medina, Tang-Dong Liao, Indrani Datta, Dipak Maskey, Jürgen K. Naggert, Mariela Mendez, William H. Beierwaltes, Pablo A. Ortiz
The precise mechanisms by which oxidative stress (OS) causes atrial fibrillation (AF) are not known. Since AF frequently originates in the posterior left atrium (PLA), we hypothesized that OS, via calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) signaling, creates a fertile substrate in the PLA for triggered activity and reentry. In a canine heart failure (HF) model, OS generation and oxidized-CaMKII–induced (Ox-CaMKII–induced) RyR2 and Nav1.5 signaling were increased preferentially in the PLA (compared with left atrial appendage). Triggered Ca2+ waves (TCWs) in HF PLA myocytes were particularly sensitive to acute ROS inhibition. Computational modeling confirmed a direct relationship between OS/CaMKII signaling and TCW generation. CaMKII phosphorylated Nav1.5 (CaMKII-p-Nav1.5 [S571]) was located preferentially at the intercalated disc (ID), being nearly absent at the lateral membrane. Furthermore, a decrease in ankyrin-G (AnkG) in HF led to patchy dropout of CaMKII-p-Nav1.5 at the ID, causing its distribution to become spatially heterogeneous; this corresponded to preferential slowing and inhomogeneity of conduction noted in the HF PLA. Computational modeling illustrated how conduction slowing (e.g., due to increase in CaMKII-p-Nav1.5) interacts with fibrosis to cause reentry in the PLA. We conclude that OS via CaMKII leads to substrate for triggered activity and reentry in HF PLA by mechanisms independent of but complementary to fibrosis.
Shin Yoo, Gary Aistrup, Yohannes Shiferaw, Jason Ng, Peter J. Mohler, Thomas J. Hund, Trent Waugh, Suzanne Browne, Georg Gussak, Mehul Gilani, Bradley P. Knight, Rod Passman, Jeffrey J. Goldberger, J. Andrew Wasserstrom, Rishi Arora
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