Although aging represents the most important epidemiologic risk factor for fibrotic disease, the reasons for this are incompletely understood. Excess collagen deposition in tissues is the sine qua non of tissue fibrosis and can be viewed as an imbalance between collagen production and collagen degradation. Yet we still lack a detailed understanding of the changes that take place during development, maturation and aging in extracellular-matrix (ECM) dynamics. Resolution of fibrosis is impaired in aging and this impairment may explain why age is the most important risk factor for fibrotic diseases such as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. However, ECM dynamics and impaired resolution of fibrosis in aging remain understudied. Here we show that cell-mediated collagen uptake and degradation are diminished in aged animals and this finding correlates with downregulation of the collagen endocytic receptor Mrc2. We identify Myeloid Zinc Finger-1 as a novel transcriptional regulator of Mrc2 and both this transcription factor and Mrc2 are downregulated in multiple tissues and organisms in an age-dependent manner. Thus, cell-mediated degradation of collagen is an essential process that promotes resolution of fibrosis and impairment in this process contributes to age-related fibrosis.
Michael J. Podolsky, Christopher D. Yang, Carlos Lizama, Ritwik Datta, Steven K. Huang, Stephen L. Nishimura, Sarah L. Dallas, Paul Wolters, Claude Jourdan Le Saux, Kamran Atabai
Infections due to carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae have emerged as a global threat due to its wide-spread antimicrobial resistance. Transplant recipients and patients with hematologic malignancies have high mortality rate suggesting host factors in susceptibility. We developed a model of pulmonary infection using ST258 C4, KPC-2 clone, which are predominant Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing bacteria, and demonstrated that Rag2-/-Il2rg-/- mice, but not wildtype C57BL/6 or Rag2-/- mice, were susceptible to this opportunistic infection. Using single-cell RNA-seq in infected Rag2-/- mice, we identified distinct clusters of Ifng+ NK cells and Il17a+, Il22+, and inducible T-cell costimulatory molecule (ICOS)+ group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) that were critical for host resistance. As solid organ transplantation is a risk factor, we generated a more clinically relevant model using FK506 in wildtype C57BL/6 mice. We further demonstrated that immunotherapy with recombinant IL-22 treatment ameliorated the ST258 pulmonary infection in both FK506 treated WT mice and Rag2-/-Il2rg-/- mice via hepatic IL-22ra1 signaling. These data support the development of host directed immunotherapy as an adjunct treatment to new antibiotics.
Naoki Iwanaga, Ivy Sandquist, Alanna Wanek, Janet E. McCombs, Kejing Song, Jay Kolls
Abnormal wound repair has been observed in the airway epithelium of patients with chronic respiratory diseases including asthma. Therapies focusing on repairing vulnerable airways, particularly in early life, present an extremely novel treatment strategy. We report defective lower airway epithelial cell repair to strongly associate with common pre-school and school-aged wheezing phenotypes, characterised by aberrant migration patterns and reduced α5β1 integrin expression. Next generation sequencing identified the PI3K/Akt pathway as the top upstream transcriptional regulator of α5β1 integrin, where Akt activation enhanced repair and α5β1 integrin expression in primary cultures from children with wheeze. Conversely, inhibition of PI3K/Akt signaling in primary cultures from children without wheeze reduced α5β1 expression and attenuated repair. Importantly, the FDA-approved drug celecoxib, and its non-COX2-inhibiting analogue dimethyl-celecoxib, stimulated the PI3K/Akt-integrin α5β1 axis and restored airway epithelial repair in cells from children with wheeze. When compared with published clinical datasets the identified transcriptomic signature was also associated with viral-induced wheeze exacerbations highlighting the clinical potential of such therapy. Collectively, these results identify airway epithelial restitution via targeting the PI3K/Akt-integrin axis as a novel therapeutic avenue for childhood wheeze and asthma. We propose that the next step in the therapeutic development process should be a proof-of-concept clinical trial since relevant animal models to test the crucial underlying premise are unavailable.
Thomas Iosifidis, Erika N. Sutanto, Alysia Buckley, Laura A. Coleman, Erin E. Gill, Amy H. Lee, Kak-Ming Ling, Jessica Hillas, Kevin Looi, Luke W. Garratt, Kelly M. Martinovich, Nicole C. Shaw, Samuel T. Montgomery, Elizabeth Kicic-Starcevich, Yuliya V. Karpievitch, Peter Le Souef, Ingrid A. Laing, Shyan Vijayasekaran, Francis J. Lannigan, Paul J. Rigby, Robert E.W. Hancock, Darryl Knight, Stephen M. Stick, Anthony Kicic, on behalf of WAERP, on behalf of AusREC
Relatively little is known about interactions between the airway microbiome and airway host transcriptome in asthma. Since asthma affects and is affected by the entire airway, studying the upper (e.g., nasal) and lower (e.g., bronchial) airways together represents a powerful approach to understanding asthma. Here, we performed a systematic, integrative study of the nasal and bronchial microbiomes and nasal and bronchial host transcriptomes of children with severe persistent asthma and healthy controls. We found that (a) the microbiomes and host transcriptomes of asthmatic children are each distinct by site (nasal versus bronchial); (b) among asthmatic children, Moraxella and Alloiococcus are hub genera in the nasal microbiome, while there are no hubs among bronchial genera; (c) bronchial Actinomyces is negatively associated with bronchial genes for inflammation, suggesting Actinomyces may be protective; (d) compared with healthy children, asthmatic children express more nasal genes for ciliary function and harbor more nasal Streptococcus; and (e) nasal genera such as Corynebacterium are negatively associated with significantly more nasal genes for inflammation in healthy versus asthmatic children, suggesting a potentially stronger protective role for such nasal genera in healthy versus asthmatic children. Our systematic, integrative study provides a window into host-microbiome associations in asthma.
Yoojin Chun, Anh Do, Galina Grishina, Alexander Grishin, Gang Fang, Samantha Rose, Chantal Spencer, Alfin Vicencio, Eric Schadt, Supinda Bunyavanich
Recent studies have presented compelling evidence that it is not tissue-resident, but rather monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages (TR-AMs vs. Mo-AMs) are essential to development of experimental lung fibrosis. However, whether Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), which is produced abundantly by Mo-AMs in the lung, plays a role in the pathogenesis is unclear. In this study, we found that pulmonary ApoE was almost exclusively produced by Mo-AMs in mice with bleomycin induced lung fibrosis. We showed although ApoE was not necessary for developing maximal fibrosis in bleomycin injured lung, it was required for the resolution of this pathology. We found that ApoE directly bound to Collagen I and mediated Collagen I phagocytosis in vitro and in vivo, and this process was dependent on low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LPR1). Furthermore, interference of ApoE/LRP1 interaction impaired the resolution of lung fibrosis in bleomycin treated wild-type mice. In contrast, supplementation of ApoE promoted this process in ApoE–/– animals. In conclusion, Mo-AM derived ApoE is beneficial to the resolution of lung fibrosis, supporting the notion that Mo-AMs may have distinct functions in different phases of lung fibrogenesis. The findings also suggest a novel therapeutic target for treating lung fibrosis, to which effective remedies remain scarce.
Huachun Cui, Dingyuan Jiang, Sami Banerjee, Na Xie, Tejaswini Kulkarni, Rui-Ming Liu, Steven R. Duncan, Gang Liu
Our integrative genomic and functional analysis identified transforming acidic coiled-coil–containing protein 2 (TACC2) as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) candidate gene. Here, we found that smokers with COPD exhibit a marked decrease in lung TACC2 protein levels relative to smokers without COPD. Single cell RNA sequencing reveals that TACC2 is expressed primarily in lung epithelial cells in normal human lungs. Furthermore, suppression of TACC2 expression impairs the efficiency of homologous recombination repair and augments spontaneous and cigarette smoke extract–induced (CSE-induced) DNA damage and cytotoxicity in immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells. By contrast, enforced expression of TACC2 attenuates the CSE effects. We also found that CSE enhances TACC2 degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system mediated by the ubiquitin E3 ligase subunit, F box L7. Furthermore, cellularly expressed TACC2 proteins harboring naturally occurring mutations exhibited altered protein lifespan coupled with modified DNA damage repair and cytotoxic responses. CS triggers emphysematous changes accompanied by accumulated DNA damage, apoptosis of alveolar epithelia, and lung inflammation in Tacc2–/– compared with Tacc2+/+ mice. Our results suggest that CS destabilizes TACC2 protein in lung epithelia by the ubiquitin proteasome system, leading to subsequent DNA damage, cytotoxicity, and emphysema.
Rama K. Mallampalli, Xiuying Li, Jun-Ho Jang, Tomasz Kaminski, Aki Hoji, Tiffany Coon, Divay Chandra, Starr Welty, Yaqun Teng, John Sembrat, Mauricio Rojas, Yutong Zhao, Robert Lafyatis, Chunbin Zou, Frank Sciurba, Prithu Sundd, Li Lan, Toru Nyunoya
Interleukin-3 (IL3) receptor α (IL3Rα) is the alpha subunit of the ligand-specific IL3 receptor and initiates intracellular signaling in response to IL3. IL3 amplifies pro-inflammatory signaling and cytokine storm in murine sepsis models. Here we found that RNFT2 (RING finger transmembrane-domain containing protein 2, also TMEM118), a previously uncharacterized RING finger ubiquitin E3 ligase, negatively regulated IL3-dependent cellular responses through IL3Rα ubiquitination and degradation in the proteasome. In vitro, IL3 stimulation promoted IL3Rα proteasomal degradation dependent on RNFT2, and we identified IL3Rα Lysine 357 as a ubiquitin acceptor site. We determined that LPS-priming reduces RNFT2 abundance, extends IL3Rα half-life, and sensitizes cells to the effects of IL3, acting synergistically to increase pro-inflammatory signaling. In vivo, IL3 synergized with LPS to exacerbate lung inflammation in LPS and Pseudomonas aeruginosa-challenged mice; conversely, IL3 neutralization reduced LPS-induce lung injury. Further, RNFT2 over-expression reduced lung inflammation and injury, whereas Rnft2 knockdown exacerbated inflammatory responses in LPS-induced murine lung injury. Lastly, we examined RNFT2 and IL3Rα in human lung explants from patients with Cystic Fibrosis, and also showed that IL3 is elevated in mechanically-ventilated critically ill humans at risk for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). These results identify RNFT2 as a negative regulator of IL3Rα, and show a potential role for the RNFT2/IL3Rα/IL3 axis in regulating innate immune responses in the lung.
Yao Tong, Travis B. Lear, John Evankovich, Yanwen Chen, James D. Londino, Michael M. Myerburg, Yingze Zhang, Iulia D. Popescu, John F. McDyer, Bryan J. McVerry, Karina C. Lockwood, Michael J. Jurczak, Yuan Liu, Bill B. Chen
Community-acquired pneumonia is a widespread disease with significant morbidity and mortality. Alveolar macrophages are tissue-resident lung cells that play a crucial role in innate immunity against bacteria that cause pneumonia. We hypothesized that alveolar macrophages display adaptive characteristics after resolution of bacterial pneumonia. We studied mice one to six months after self-limiting lung infections with Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Alveolar macrophages, but not other myeloid cells recovered from the lung, showed long-term modifications of their surface marker phenotype. The remodeling of alveolar macrophages was: (i) long-lasting (still observed 6 months post infection), (ii) regionally localized (only observed in the affected lobe after lobar pneumonia), and (iii) associated with macrophage-dependent enhanced protection against another pneumococcal serotype. Metabolomic and transcriptomic profiling revealed that alveolar macrophages of mice that recovered from pneumonia had new baseline activities and altered responses to infection that better resembled those of adult humans. The enhanced lung protection after mild and self-limiting bacterial respiratory infections includes a profound remodeling of the alveolar macrophage pool that is long-lasting, compartmentalized, and manifest across surface receptors, metabolites, and both resting and stimulated transcriptomes.
Antoine Guillon, Emad I. Arafa, Kimberly A. Barker, Anna C. Belkina, Ian M.C. Martin, Anukul T. Shenoy, Alicia K. Wooten, Carolina Lyon De Ana, Anqi Dai, Adam Labadorf, Jaileene Hernandez-Escalante, Hans Dooms, Helene Blasco, Katrina E. Traber, Matthew R. Jones, Lee J. Quinton, Joseph P. Mizgerd
Pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis (PLCH) is a rare, smoking-related, lung disease characterized by dendritic cell (DC) accumulation, bronchiolocentric nodule formation, and cystic lung remodeling. Approximately 50% of PLCH patients harbor somatic BRAF-V600E mutations in cells of the myeloid/monocyte lineage. However, the rarity of the disease and lack of animal models has impeded the study of PLCH pathogenesis. Here, we established a cigarette smoke (CS)-exposed, BRAF-V600E mutant mouse model that recapitulates many hallmark characteristics of PLCH. We show that CD11c-targeted expression of BRAF-V600E increases DC responsiveness to stimuli, including the chemokine CCL20, and that mutant DC accumulation in the lungs of CS-exposed mice is due to both increased cellular viability and enhanced recruitment. Moreover, we report that the chemokine CCL7 is secreted from DCs and human peripheral blood monocytes in a BRAF-V600E-dependent manner, suggesting a possible mechanism for recruitment of cells known to dominate PLCH lesions. Inflammatory lesions and airspace dilation in BRAF-V600E mice in response to CS are attenuated by transitioning animals to filtered air and treatment with a BRAF-V600E inhibitor, PLX4720. Collectively, this model provides mechanistic insights into the role of DCs, the BRAF-V600E mutation and CS exposure in PLCH pathogenesis, and provides a platform to develop therapeutic targets.
Huan Liu, Andrew R. Osterburg, Jennifer Flury, Zulma Swank, Dennis W. McGraw, Nishant Gupta, Kathryn A. Wikenheiser-Brokamp, Ashish Kumar, Abdellatif Tazi, Yoshikazu Inoue, Masaki Hirose, Francis X. McCormack, Michael Borchers
The T helper 2 (Th2) inflammatory cytokine interleukin-13 (IL-13) has been associated with both obstructive and fibrotic lung diseases; however, its specific effect on the epithelial stem cells in the gas exchange compartment of the lung (alveolar space) has not been explored. Here, we used in vivo lung models of homeostasis and repair, ex vivo organoid platforms, and potentially novel quantitative proteomic techniques to show that IL-13 disrupts the self-renewal and differentiation of both murine and human type 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AEC2s). Significantly, we find that IL-13 promotes ectopic expression of markers typically associated with bronchiolar airway cells and commonly seen in the alveolar region of lung tissue from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Furthermore, we identify a number of proteins that are differentially secreted by AEC2s in response to IL-13 and may provide biomarkers to identify subsets of patients with pulmonary disease driven by “Th2-high” biology.
Kristen M. Glisinski, Adam J. Schlobohm, Sarah V. Paramore, Anastasiya Birukova, M. Arthur Moseley, Matthew W. Foster, Christina E. Barkauskas
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