Crohn’s disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Cigarette smoke (CS) exposure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are risk factors for CD, although the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. We employed a mouse model of CS-induced experimental COPD and clinical studies to examine these mechanisms. Concurrent with the development of pulmonary pathology and impaired gas exchange, CS-exposed mice developed CD-associated pathology in the colon and ileum, including gut mucosal tissue hypoxia, HIF-2 stabilization, inflammation, increased microvasculature, epithelial cell turnover, and decreased intestinal barrier function. Subsequent smoking cessation reduced GIT pathology, particularly in the ileum. Dimethyloxaloylglycine, a pan-prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor, ameliorated CS-induced GIT pathology independently of pulmonary pathology. Prior smoke exposure exacerbated intestinal pathology in 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid–induced (TNBS-induced) colitis. Circulating vascular endothelial growth factor, a marker of systemic hypoxia, correlated with CS exposure and CD in mice and humans. Increased mucosal vascularisation was evident in ileum biopsies from CD patients who smoke compared with nonsmokers, supporting our preclinical data. We provide strong evidence that chronic CS exposure and, for the first time to our knowledge, associated impaired gas exchange cause systemic and intestinal ischemia, driving angiogenesis and GIT epithelial barrier dysfunction, resulting in increased risk and severity of CD.
Michael Fricker, Bridie J. Goggins, Sean Mateer, Bernadette Jones, Richard Y. Kim, Shaan L. Gellatly, Andrew G. Jarnicki, Nicholas Powell, Brian G. Oliver, Graham Radford-Smith, Nicholas J. Talley, Marjorie M. Walker, Simon Keely, Philip M. Hansbro
Pancreatic cancer is characterized by nearly universal activating mutations in KRAS. Among other somatic mutations, TP53 is mutated in more than 75% of human pancreatic tumors. Genetically engineered mice have proven instrumental in studies of the contribution of individual genes to carcinogenesis. Oncogenic Kras mutations occur early during pancreatic carcinogenesis and are considered an initiating event. In contrast, mutations in p53 occur later during tumor progression. In our model, we recapitulated the order of mutations of the human disease, with p53 mutation following expression of oncogenic Kras. Further, using an inducible and reversible expression allele for mutant p53, we inactivated its expression at different stages of carcinogenesis. Notably, the function of mutant p53 changes at different stages of carcinogenesis. Our work establishes a requirement for mutant p53 for the formation and maintenance of pancreatic cancer precursor lesions. In tumors, mutant p53 becomes dispensable for growth. However, it maintains the altered metabolism that characterizes pancreatic cancer and mediates its malignant potential. Further, mutant p53 promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer cell invasion. This work generates new mouse models that mimic human pancreatic cancer and expands our understanding of the role of p53 mutation, common in the majority of human malignancies.
Heather K. Schofield, Jörg Zeller, Carlos Espinoza, Christopher J. Halbrook, Annachiara del Vecchio, Brian Magnuson, Tania Fabo, Ayse Ece Cali Daylan, Ilya Kovalenko, Ho-Joon Lee, Wei Yan, Ying Feng, Saadia A. Karim, Daniel M. Kremer, Chandan Kumar-Sinha, Costas A. Lyssiotis, Mats Ljungman, Jennifer P. Morton, Stefanie Galbán, Eric R. Fearon, Marina Pasca di Magliano
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus mediated by an IL-13–driven epithelial cell transcriptional program. Herein, we show that the cytoskeletal protein synaptopodin (SYNPO), previously associated with podocytes, is constitutively expressed in esophageal epithelium and induced during allergic inflammation. In addition, we show that the SYNPO gene is transcriptionally and epigenetically regulated by IL-13 in esophageal epithelial cells. SYNPO was expressed in the basal layer of homeostatic esophageal epithelium, colocalized with actin filaments, and expanded into the suprabasal epithelium in EoE patients, where expression was elevated 25-fold compared with control individuals. The expression level of SYNPO in esophageal biopsies correlated with esophageal eosinophil density and was improved following anti–IL-13 treatment in EoE patients. In esophageal epithelial cells, SYNPO gene silencing reduced epithelial motility in a wound healing model, whereas SYNPO overexpression impaired epithelial barrier integrity and reduced esophageal differentiation. Taken together, we demonstrate that SYNPO is induced by IL-13 in vitro and in vivo, is a nonredundant regulator of epithelial cell barrier function and motility, and is likely involved in EoE pathogenesis.
Mark Rochman, Jared Travers, J. Pablo Abonia, Julie M. Caldwell, Marc E. Rothenberg
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder in which epithelium-generated fluid flow from the lung, intestine, and pancreas is impaired due to mutations disrupting CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) channel function. CF manifestations of the pancreas and lung are present in the vast majority of CF patients, and 15% of CF infants are born with obstructed gut or meconium ileus. However, constipation is a significantly underreported outcome of CF disease, affecting 47% of the CF patients, and management becomes critical in the wake of increasing life span of CF patients. In this study, we unraveled a potentially novel molecular role of a membrane-bound cyclic guanosine monophosphate–synthesizing (cGMP-synthesizing) intestinal enzyme, guanylate cyclase 2C (GCC) that could be targeted to ameliorate CF-associated intestinal fluid deficit. We demonstrated that GCC agonism results in functional rescue of murine F508del/F508del and R117H/R117H Cftr and CFTR mutants in CF patient–derived intestinal spheres. GCC coexpression and activation facilitated processing and ER exit of F508del CFTR and presented a potentially novel rescue modality in the intestine, similar to the CF corrector VX-809. Our findings identify GCC as a biological CFTR corrector and potentiator in the intestine.
Kavisha Arora, Yunjie Huang, Kyushik Mun, Sunitha Yarlagadda, Nambirajan Sundaram, Marco M. Kessler, Gerhard Hannig, Caroline B. Kurtz, Inmaculada Silos-Santiago, Michael Helmrath, Joseph J. Palermo, John P. Clancy, Kris A. Steinbrecher, Anjaparavanda P. Naren
MTG16 is a member of the myeloid translocation gene (MTG) family of transcriptional corepressors. While MTGs were originally identified in chromosomal translocations in acute myeloid leukemia, recent studies have uncovered a role in intestinal biology. For example, Mtg16–/– mice have increased intestinal proliferation and are more sensitive to intestinal injury in colitis models. MTG16 is also underexpressed in patients with moderate/severe ulcerative colitis. Based on these findings, we postulated that MTG16 might protect against colitis-associated carcinogenesis. MTG16 was downregulated at the protein and RNA levels in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and in those with colitis-associated carcinoma. Mtg16–/– mice subjected to inflammatory carcinogenesis modeling exhibited worse colitis and increased tumor multiplicity and size. Loss of MTG16 also increased severity of dysplasia, apoptosis, proliferation, DNA damage, and WNT signaling. Moreover, transplantation of WT marrow into Mtg16–/– mice failed to rescue the Mtg16–/– protumorigenic phenotypes, indicating an epithelium-specific role for MTG16. While MTG dysfunction is widely appreciated in hematopoietic malignancies, the role of this gene family in epithelial homeostasis, and in colon cancer, was unrealized. This report identifies MTG16 as an important modulator of colitis and tumor development in inflammatory carcinogenesis.
Elizabeth M. McDonough, Caitlyn W. Barrett, Bobak Parang, Mukul K. Mittal, J. Joshua Smith, Amber M. Bradley, Yash A. Choksi, Lori A. Coburn, Sarah P. Short, Joshua J. Thompson, Baolin Zhang, Shenika V. Poindexter, Melissa A. Fischer, Xi Chen, Jiang Li, Frank L. Revetta, Rishi Naik, M. Kay Washington, Michael J. Rosen, Scott W. Hiebert, Keith T. Wilson, Christopher S. Williams
Familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis 5 (FHL5) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in STXBP2, coding for Munc18-2, which is required for SNARE-mediated membrane fusion. FHL5 causes hematologic and gastrointestinal symptoms characterized by chronic enteropathy that is reminiscent of microvillus inclusion disease (MVID). However, the molecular pathophysiology of FHL5-associated diarrhea is poorly understood. Five FHL5 patients, including four previously unreported patients, were studied. Morphology of duodenal sections was analyzed by electron and fluorescence microscopy. Small intestinal enterocytes and organoid-derived monolayers displayed the subcellular characteristics of MVID. For the analyses of Munc18-2–dependent SNARE-protein interactions, a Munc18-2 CaCo2–KO model cell line was generated by applying CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Munc18-2 is required for Slp4a/Stx3 interaction in fusion of cargo vesicles with the apical plasma membrane. Cargo trafficking was investigated in patient biopsies, patient-derived organoids, and the genome-edited model cell line. Loss of Munc18-2 selectively disrupts trafficking of certain apical brush-border proteins (NHE3 and GLUT5), while transport of DPPIV remained unaffected. Here, we describe the molecular mechanism how the loss of function of Munc18-2 leads to cargo-selective mislocalization of brush-border components and a subapical accumulation of cargo vesicles, as it is known from the loss of polarity phenotype in MVID.
Georg F. Vogel, Jorik M. van Rijn, Iris M. Krainer, Andreas R. Janecke, Carsten Posovzsky, Marta Cohen, Claire Searle, Prevost Jantchou, Johanna C. Escher, Natalie Patey, Ernest Cutz, Thomas Müller, Sabine Middendorp, Michael W. Hess, Lukas A. Huber
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease prevalence is soaring with the obesity pandemic, but the pathogenic mechanisms leading to the progression toward active nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and fibrosis, major causes of liver-related death, are poorly defined. To identify key components during the progression toward NASH and fibrosis, we investigated the liver transcriptome in a human cohort of NASH patients. The transition from histologically proven fatty liver to NASH and fibrosis was characterized by gene expression patterns that successively reflected altered functions in metabolism, inflammation, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. A meta-analysis combining our and public human transcriptomic datasets with murine models of NASH and fibrosis defined a molecular signature characterizing NASH and fibrosis and evidencing abnormal inflammation and extracellular matrix (ECM) homeostasis. Dermatopontin expression was found increased in fibrosis, and reversal of fibrosis after gastric bypass correlated with decreased dermatopontin expression. Functional studies in mice identified an active role for dermatopontin in collagen deposition and fibrosis. PPARα activation lowered dermatopontin expression through a transrepressive mechanism affecting the Klf6/TGFβ1 pathway. Liver fibrotic histological damages are thus characterized by the deregulated expression of a restricted set of inflammation- and ECM-related genes. Among them, dermatopontin may be a valuable target to reverse the hepatic fibrotic process.
Philippe Lefebvre, Fanny Lalloyer, Eric Baugé, Michal Pawlak, Céline Gheeraert, Hélène Dehondt, Jonathan Vanhoutte, Eloise Woitrain, Nathalie Hennuyer, Claire Mazuy, Marie Bobowski-Gérard, Francesco Paolo Zummo, Bruno Derudas, Ann Driessen, Guy Hubens, Luisa Vonghia, Wilhelmus J. Kwanten, Peter Michielsen, Thomas Vanwolleghem, Jérôme Eeckhoute, An Verrijken, Luc Van Gaal, Sven Francque, Bart Staels
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with devastating clinical manifestations. In PD, neuronal death is associated with intracellular aggregates of the neuronal protein α-synuclein known as Lewy bodies. Although the cause of sporadic PD is not well understood, abundant clinical and pathological evidence show that misfolded α-synuclein is found in enteric nerves before it appears in the brain. This suggests a model in which PD pathology originates in the gut and spreads to the central nervous system via cell-to-cell prion-like propagation, such that transfer of misfolded α-synuclein initiates misfolding of native α-synuclein in recipient cells. We recently discovered that enteroendocrine cells (EECs), which are part of the gut epithelium and directly face the gut lumen, also possess many neuron-like properties and connect to enteric nerves. In this report, we demonstrate that α-synuclein is expressed in the EEC line, STC-1, and native EECs of mouse and human intestine. Furthermore, α-synuclein–containing EECs directly connect to α-synuclein–containing nerves, forming a neural circuit between the gut and the nervous system in which toxins or other environmental influences in the gut lumen could affect α-synuclein folding in the EECs, thereby beginning a process by which misfolded α-synuclein could propagate from the gut epithelium to the brain.
Rashmi Chandra, Annie Hiniker, Yien-Ming Kuo, Robert L. Nussbaum, Rodger A. Liddle
A major challenge for studying authentic liver cell function and cell replacement therapies is that primary human hepatocytes rapidly lose their advanced function in conventional, 2-dimensional culture platforms. Here, we describe the fabrication of 3-dimensional hexagonally arrayed lobular human liver tissues inspired by the liver’s natural architecture. The engineered liver tissues exhibit key features of advanced differentiation, such as human-specific cytochrome P450–mediated drug metabolism and the ability to support efficient infection with patient-derived inoculums of hepatitis C virus. The tissues permit the assessment of antiviral agents and maintain their advanced functions for over 5 months in culture. This extended functionality enabled the prediction of a fatal human-specific hepatotoxicity caused by fialuridine (FIAU), which had escaped detection by preclinical models and short-term clinical studies. The results obtained with the engineered human liver tissue in this study provide proof-of-concept determination of human-specific drug metabolism, demonstrate the ability to support infection with human hepatitis virus derived from an infected patient and subsequent antiviral drug testing against said infection, and facilitate detection of human-specific drug hepatotoxicity associated with late-onset liver failure. Looking forward, the scalability and biocompatibility of the scaffold are also ideal for future cell replacement therapeutic strategies.
Soon Seng Ng, Anming Xiong, Khanh Nguyen, Marilyn Masek, Da Yoon No, Menashe Elazar, Eyal Shteyer, Mark A. Winters, Amy Voedisch, Kate Shaw, Sheikh Tamir Rashid, Curtis W. Frank, Nam Joon Cho, Jeffrey S. Glenn
Intestinal tuft cells are a rare, poorly understood cell type recently shown to be a critical mediator of type 2 immune response to helminth infection. Here, we present advances in segmentation algorithms and analytical tools for multiplex immunofluorescence (MxIF), a platform that enables iterative staining of over 60 antibodies on a single tissue section. These refinements have enabled a comprehensive analysis of tuft cell number, distribution, and protein expression profiles as a function of anatomical location and physiological perturbations. Based solely on DCLK1 immunoreactivity, tuft cell numbers were similar throughout the mouse small intestine and colon. However, multiple subsets of tuft cells were uncovered when protein coexpression signatures were examined, including two new intestinal tuft cell markers, Hopx and EGFR phosphotyrosine 1068. Furthermore, we identified dynamic changes in tuft cell number, composition, and protein expression associated with fasting and refeeding and after introduction of microbiota to germ-free mice. These studies provide a foundational framework for future studies of intestinal tuft cell regulation and demonstrate the utility of our improved MxIF computational methods and workflow for understanding cellular heterogeneity in complex tissues in normal and disease states.
Eliot T. McKinley, Yunxia Sui, Yousef Al-Kofahi, Bryan A. Millis, Matthew J. Tyska, Joseph T. Roland, Alberto Santamaria-Pang, Christina L. Ohland, Christian Jobin, Jeffrey L. Franklin, Ken S. Lau, Michael J. Gerdes, Robert J. Coffey
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