Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality, and they are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Environmental risk factors may contribute to birth defects in genetically susceptible infants by altering critical molecular pathways during embryogenesis, but experimental evidence for gene-environment interactions is limited. Fetal hyperglycemia associated with maternal diabetes results in a 5-fold increased risk of congenital heart disease (CHD), but the molecular basis for this correlation is unknown. Here, we show that the effects of maternal hyperglycemia on cardiac development are sensitized by haploinsufficiency of Notch1, a key transcriptional regulator known to cause CHD. Using ATAC-seq, we found that hyperglycemia decreased chromatin accessibility at the endothelial NO synthase (Nos3) locus, resulting in reduced NO synthesis. Transcription of Jarid2, a regulator of histone methyltransferase complexes, was increased in response to reduced NO, and this upregulation directly resulted in inhibition of Notch1 expression to levels below a threshold necessary for normal heart development. We extended these findings using a Drosophila maternal diabetic model that revealed the evolutionary conservation of this interaction and the Jarid2-mediated mechanism. These findings identify a gene-environment interaction between maternal hyperglycemia and Notch signaling and support a model in which environmental factors cause birth defects in genetically susceptible infants.
Madhumita Basu, Jun-Yi Zhu, Stephanie LaHaye, Uddalak Majumdar, Kai Jiao, Zhe Han, Vidu Garg
Genetic defects in the synaptic scaffolding protein gene, SHANK2, are linked to a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, intellectual disability, and bipolar disorder, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the pleotropic effects of SHANK2 mutations are poorly understood. We generated and characterized a line of Shank2 mutant mice by deleting exon 24 (Δe24). Shank2Δe24–/– mice engage in significantly increased locomotor activity, display abnormal reward-seeking behavior, are anhedonic, have perturbations in circadian rhythms, and show deficits in social and cognitive behaviors. While these phenotypes recapitulate the pleotropic behaviors associated with human SHANK2-related disorders, major behavioral features in these mice are reminiscent of bipolar disorder. For instance, their hyperactivity was augmented with amphetamine but was normalized with the mood stabilizers lithium and valproate. Shank2 deficiency limited to the forebrain recapitulated the bipolar mania phenotype. The composition and functions of NMDA and AMPA receptors were altered at Shank2-deficient synapses, hinting toward the mechanism underlying these behavioral abnormalities. Human genetic findings support construct validity, and the behavioral features in Shank2 Δe24 mice support face and predictive validities of this model for bipolar mania. Further genetic studies to understand the contribution of SHANK2 deficiencies in bipolar disorder are warranted.
Andrea L. Pappas, Alexandra L. Bey, Xiaoming Wang, Mark Rossi, Yong Ho Kim, Haidun Yan, Fiona Porkka, Lara J. Duffney, Samantha M. Phillips, Xinyu Cao, Jin-dong Ding, Ramona M. Rodriguiz, Henry H. Yin, Richard J. Weinberg, Ru-Rong Ji, William C. Wetsel, Yong-hui Jiang
Ventricular chamber growth and development during perinatal circulatory transition is critical for functional adaptation of the heart. However, the chamber-specific programs of neonatal heart growth are poorly understood. We used integrated systems genomic and functional biology analyses of the perinatal chamber specific transcriptome and we identified Wnt11 as a prominent regulator of chamber-specific proliferation. Importantly, downregulation of Wnt11 expression was associated with cyanotic congenital heart defect (CHD) phenotypes and correlated with O2 saturation levels in hypoxemic infants with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). Perinatal hypoxia treatment in mice suppressed Wnt11 expression and induced myocyte proliferation more robustly in the right ventricle, modulating Rb1 protein activity. Wnt11 inactivation was sufficient to induce myocyte proliferation in perinatal mouse hearts and reduced Rb1 protein and phosphorylation in neonatal cardiomyocytes. Finally, downregulated Wnt11 in hypoxemic TOF infantile hearts was associated with Rb1 suppression and induction of proliferation markers. This study revealed a previously uncharacterized function of Wnt11-mediated signaling as an important player in programming the chamber-specific growth of the neonatal heart. This function influences the chamber-specific development and pathogenesis in response to hypoxia and cyanotic CHDs. Defining the underlying regulatory mechanism may yield chamber-specific therapies for infants born with CHDs.
Marlin Touma, Xuedong Kang, Fuying Gao, Yan Zhao, Ashley A. Cass, Reshma Biniwale, Xinshu Xiao, Mansuoreh Eghbali, Giovanni Coppola, Brian Reemtsen, Yibin Wang
We developed an in vitro model system where induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) differentiate into 3-dimensional human hepatic organoids (HOs) through stages that resemble human liver during its embryonic development. The HOs consist of hepatocytes, and cholangiocytes, which are organized into epithelia that surround the lumina of bile duct–like structures. The organoids provide a potentially new model for liver regenerative processes, and were used to characterize the effect of different JAG1 mutations that cause: (a) Alagille syndrome (ALGS), a genetic disorder where NOTCH signaling pathway mutations impair bile duct formation, which has substantial variability in its associated clinical features; and (b) Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), which is the most common form of a complex congenital heart disease, and is associated with several different heritable disorders. Our results demonstrate how an iPSC-based organoid system can be used with genome editing technologies to characterize the pathogenetic effect of human genetic disease-causing mutations.
Yuan Guan, Dan Xu, Phillip M. Garfin, Ursula Ehmer, Melissa Hurwitz, Greg Enns, Sara Michie, Manhong Wu, Ming Zheng, Toshihiko Nishimura, Julien Sage, Gary Peltz
Bone metastases (BoM) are a significant cause of morbidity in patients with estrogen receptor–positive (ER-positive) breast cancer; yet, characterizations of human specimens are limited. In this study, exome-capture RNA sequencing (ecRNA-seq) on aged (8–12 years), formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE), and decalcified cancer specimens was evaluated. Gene expression values and ecRNA-seq quality metrics from FFPE or decalcified tumor RNA showed minimal differences when compared with matched flash-frozen or nondecalcified tumors. ecRNA-seq was then applied on a longitudinal collection of 11 primary breast cancers and patient-matched synchronous or recurrent BoMs. Overtime, BoMs exhibited gene expression shifts to more Her2 and LumB PAM50 subtype profiles, temporally influenced expression evolution, recurrently dysregulated prognostic gene sets, and longitudinal expression alterations of clinically actionable genes, particularly in the CDK/Rb/E2F and FGFR signaling pathways. Taken together, this study demonstrates the use of ecRNA-seq on decade-old and decalcified specimens and defines recurrent longitudinal transcriptional remodeling events in estrogen-deprived breast cancers.
Nolan Priedigkeit, Rebecca J. Watters, Peter C. Lucas, Ahmed Basudan, Rohit Bhargava, William Horne, Jay K. Kolls, Zhou Fang, Margaret Q. Rosenzweig, Adam M. Brufsky, Kurt R. Weiss, Steffi Oesterreich, Adrian V. Lee
BACKGROUND. Cross-reactive immunological material–negative (CRIM-negative) infantile Pompe disease (IPD) patients develop an immune response against enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with alglucosidase alfa that nullifies ERT efficacy. Prophylactic immune tolerance induction (ITI) with rituximab, methotrexate, and IVIG successfully prevents development of deleterious rhGAA IgG antibodies; however, safety, likelihood of success, and long-term efficacy of ITI in a larger cohort remain unknown. METHODS. Clinical data were analyzed for 19 CRIM-negative IPD patients who received ITI with rituximab, methotrexate, and IVIG in the ERT-naive setting (ERT+ITI) and compared to a historical cohort of 10 CRIM-negative IPD patients on ERT monotherapy. RESULTS. ITI was safely tolerated, although infections were reported in 4 patients. Fourteen (74%) ERT+ITI patients were alive, with a median age of 44.2 months at their final assessment. The eldest survivor was 103.9 months old, with 100.2 months of follow-up after initiation of ERT+ITI. Death (n = 5) occurred at a median age of 29.2 months and was unrelated to the administration of ITI. Fifteen patients either did not seroconvert (n = 8) or maintained low titers (n = 7; defined as titers of ≤6,400 throughout the course of ERT) following ERT+ITI. Only one patient developed high and sustained antibody titers (defined as titers of ≥51,200 at or beyond 6 months on ERT). Left ventricular mass index (LVMI) decreased from a median of 248.5 g/m2 at baseline to 76.8 g/m2 at a median time from ERT+ITI initiation to 59 weeks. ERT+ITI significantly improved overall survival (P = 0.001), eliminated/reduced antibodies at values of ≤6,400 at week 52 on ERT (P = 0.0004), and improved LVMI at week 52 on ERT (P = 0.02) when compared with ERT monotherapy. CONCLUSION. Evidence from this international cohort of CRIM-negative IPD patients further supports the safety, feasibility, and efficacy of ITI in the prevention of immune responses to ERT. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01665326. FUNDING. This research was supported in part by the Lysosomal Disease Network, a part of NIH Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, and by a grant from Genzyme, a Sanofi company.
Zoheb B. Kazi, Ankit K. Desai, Kathryn L. Berrier, R. Bradley Troxler, Raymond Y. Wang, Omar A. Abdul-Rahman, Pranoot Tanpaiboon, Nancy J. Mendelsohn, Eli Herskovitz, David Kronn, Michal Inbar-Feigenberg, Catherine Ward-Melver, Michelle Polan, Punita Gupta, Amy S. Rosenberg, Priya S. Kishnani
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
Sierra Leone was the most severely affected country in Western Africa during the 2013–2016 outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD). Previous genome surveillance studies have revealed the origin, diversity, and evolutionary dynamics of the Ebola virus (EBOV); however, the information regarding EBOV sequences is insufficient, especially the clinical outcomes, given that the correlation between the clinical outcomes and the genetic evolution of EBOV is still not clear. Here, we collected and curated a comprehensive data set that includes 514 EBOV genome sequences from patients with confirmed EVD (including 60 sequences not previously studied), >87.5% of which have residence information and definitive clinical outcomes. Phylogenetic reconstruction revealed 11 lineages of EBOV in Sierra Leone. The median-joining haplotype network showed that haplotypes that are associated with lethal outcomes tend to contribute more to the spread of the EBOV in Sierra Leone than those with live outcomes. Analyses of the spatial-temporal distribution unraveled the lineage-distinctive distribution patterns. Different viral lineages have different case fatality rates (CFRs) during the same stage of the outbreak, implying that several lineages featuring SNPs may correlate with increased/decreased CFRs. This study provides invaluable data sets of EBOV infection and highlights the potential SNPs for further in-depth investigation.
Tao Li, Hong-Wu Yao, Di Liu, Hong-Guang Ren, Yi Hu, David Kargbo, Yue Teng, Yong-Qiang Deng, Hui-Jun Lu, Xiong Liu, Kun Liu, Li-Qun Fang, Nian-Zhi Ning, Gary Wong, Foday Dafae, Abdul Kamara, AiPing Wu, Tai-Jiao Jiang, Zhan Li, Jie Huang, Yu Sun, Jun Qian, Brima Kargbo, Jia-Fu Jiang, Hui Wang, Wu-Chun Cao
Among children with the most severe presentation of Marfan syndrome (MFS), an inherited disorder of connective tissue caused by a deficiency of extracellular fibrillin-1, heart failure is the leading cause of death. Here, we show that, while MFS mice (Fbn1C1039G/+ mice) typically have normal cardiac function, pressure overload (PO) induces an acute and severe dilated cardiomyopathy in association with fibrosis and myocyte enlargement. Failing MFS hearts show high expression of TGF-β ligands, with increased TGF-β signaling in both nonmyocytes and myocytes; pathologic ERK activation is restricted to the nonmyocyte compartment. Informatively, TGF-β, angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R), or ERK antagonism (with neutralizing antibody, losartan, or MEK inhibitor, respectively) prevents load-induced cardiac decompensation in MFS mice, despite persistent PO. In situ analyses revealed an unanticipated axis of activation in nonmyocytes, with AT1R-dependent ERK activation driving TGF-β ligand expression that culminates in both autocrine and paracrine overdrive of TGF-β signaling. The full compensation seen in wild-type mice exposed to mild PO correlates with enhanced deposition of extracellular fibrillin-1. Taken together, these data suggest that fibrillin-1 contributes to cardiac reserve in the face of hemodynamic stress, critically implicate nonmyocytes in disease pathogenesis, and validate ERK as a therapeutic target in MFS-related cardiac decompensation.
Rosanne Rouf, Elena Gallo MacFarlane, Eiki Takimoto, Rahul Chaudhary, Varun Nagpal, Peter P. Rainer, Julia G. Bindman, Elizabeth E. Gerber, Djahida Bedja, Christopher Schiefer, Karen L. Miller, Guangshuo Zhu, Loretha Myers, Nuria Amat-Alarcon, Dong I. Lee, Norimichi Koitabashi, Daniel P. Judge, David A. Kass, Harry C. Dietz
In recent years, the extent of our vulnerability to misinterpretation due to poorly characterized reagents has become an issue of great concern. Antibody reagents have been identified as a major source of error, contributing to the “reproducibility crisis.” In the current report, we define an additional dimension of the crisis; in particular, we define variation of the targets being analyzed. We report that natural variation in the immunoglobulin “constant” region alters the reactivity with commonly used subtype-specific anti-IgG reagents, resulting in cross-reactivity of polyclonal regents with inappropriate targets and blind spots of monoclonal reagents for desired targets. This raises the practical concern that numerous studies characterizing IgG subtypes in human disease may contain errors due to such previously unappreciated defects. These studies also focus attention on the broader concern that genetic variation may affect the performance of any laboratory or research test that uses antibodies for detection.
Heather L. Howie, Meghan Delaney, Xiaohong Wang, Lay See Er, Linda Kapp, Jenna N. Lebedev, James C. Zimring
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