Skeletal muscle can regenerate from muscle stem cells and their myogenic precursor cell progeny, myoblasts. However, precise gene editing in human muscle stem cells for autologous cell replacement therapies of untreatable genetic muscle diseases has not yet been reported. Loss-of-function mutations in SGCA, encoding α-sarcoglycan, cause limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2D/R3, an early onset, severe and rapidly progressive form of muscular dystrophy affecting equally girls and boys. Patients suffer from muscle degeneration and atrophy affecting the limbs, respiratory muscles, and the heart. We isolated human muscle stem cells from two donors with the common SGCA c.157G>A mutation affecting the last coding nucleotide of exon 2. We found that c.157G>A is an exonic splicing mutation that induces skipping of two co-regulated exons. Using adenine base editing, we corrected the mutation in the cells from both donors with >90% efficiency, thereby rescuing the splicing defect and α-sarcoglycan expression. Base edited patient cells regenerated muscle and contributed to the Pax7 positive satellite cell compartment in vivo in mouse xenografts. We hereby provide the first evidence that autologous gene repaired human muscle stem cells can be harnessed for cell replacement therapies of muscular dystrophies.
Helena Escobar, Anne Krause, Sandra Keiper, Janine Kieshauer, Stefanie Müthel, Manuel García de Paredes, Eric Metzler, Ralf Kühn, Florian Heyd, Simone Spuler
Sphingosine-1-phosphate lyase insufficiency syndrome (SPLIS) is a rare metabolic disorder caused by inactivating mutations in SGPL1, which is required for the final step of sphingolipid metabolism. SPLIS features include steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) and impairment of neurological, endocrine, and hematopoietic systems. Many affected individuals die within the first two years. No targeted therapy for SPLIS is available. We hypothesized that SGPL1 gene replacement would address the root cause of SPLIS, thereby serving as a universal treatment for the condition. As proof of concept, we evaluated the efficacy of adeno-associated virus 9-mediated transfer of human SGPL1 (AAV-SPL) given to newborn Sgpl1 KO mice that model SPLIS and die in the first weeks of life. Treatment dramatically prolonged survival and prevented nephrosis, neurodevelopmental delay, anemia, and hypercholesterolemia. STAT3 pathway activation and elevated pro-inflammatory and fibrogenic cytokines observed in KO kidneys were attenuated by treatment. Plasma and tissue sphingolipids were reduced in treated compared to untreated KO pups. SGPL1 expression and activity were measurable for at least 40 weeks. In summary, early AAV-SPL treatment prevents nephrosis, lipidosis and neurological impairment in a mouse model of SPLIS. Our results suggest that SGPL1 gene replacement holds promise as a durable and universal targeted treatment for SPLIS.
Piming Zhao, Gizachew B. Tassew, Joanna Y. Lee, Babak Oskouian, Denise P. Muñoz, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Gordon L. Watson, Felicia Tang, Jen-Yeu Wang, Jinghui Luo, Yingbao Yang, Sarah M. King, Ronald M. Krauss, Nancy Keller, Julie D. Saba
To identify small molecules that shield mammalian sensory hair cells from the ototoxic side effects of aminoglycoside antibiotics we screened 10,240 compounds, selecting those that protected against neomycin and gentamicin in zebrafish lateral-line hair cells and, when retested in mouse cochlear cultures, prevented gentamicin-induced death of outer hair cells (OHCs). Of 64 compounds that protected zebrafish hair cells, 8 protect OHCs from gentamicin in vitro. These hits share structural features and all block, to varying degrees, the OHC’s mechano-electrical transducer (MET) channel, a known route of aminoglycoside entry into hair cells. Further characterisation of one of the strongest MET-channel blockers, UoS-7692, revealed it additionally protects against kanamycin and tobramycin, and does not abrogate the bactericidal activity of gentamicin. UoS-7692 behaves, like the aminoglycosides, as a permeant blocker of the MET channel, significantly reduces gentamicin-Texas Red loading into OHCs, and preserves lateral-line function in neomycin-treated zebrafish. Trans-tympanic injection of UoS-7692 protects mouse OHCs from furosemide-kanamycin exposure in vivo and partially preserves hearing. The results confirm the hair-cell MET channel as a viable target for the identification of compounds that protect the cochlea from aminoglycosides, and provide a series of hit compounds that will inform the design of future otoprotectants.
Emma J. Kenyon, Nerissa K. Kirkwood, Siân R. Kitcher, Richard J. Goodyear, Marco Derudas, Daire M. Cantillon, Sarah Baxendale, Antonio de la Vega de León, Virginia N. Mahieu, Richard T. Osgood, Charlotte Donald Wilson, James C. Bull, Simon J. Waddell, Tanya T. Whitfield, Simon E. Ward, Corné J. Kros, Guy P. Richardson.
Currently, no effective therapies exist for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), a rare congenital syndrome in which heterotopic bone is formed in soft tissues due to dysregulated activity of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) receptor kinase ALK2/ACVR1. From a screen of known biologically active compounds, we identified saracatinib as a potent ALK2 kinase inhibitor. In enzymatic and cell-based assays, saracatinib preferentially inhibited ALK2 compared with other receptors of the BMP/TGFb signaling pathway, and induced dorsalization in zebrafish embryos consistent with BMP antagonism. We further tested the efficacy of saracatinib using an inducible ACVR1Q207D transgenic mouse line, which provides a model of heterotopic ossification, as well as an inducible ACVR1R206H knock-in, which serves as a genetically and physiologically faithful model of FOP. In both models, saracatinib was well tolerated and potently inhibited the development of heterotopic ossification even when administered transiently following soft tissue injury. Together, these data suggest that saracatinib is an efficacious clinical candidate for repositioning in the treatment of FOP, offering an accelerated path to clinical proof of efficacy studies and potentially significant benefits to individuals with this devastating condition.
Eleanor P. Williams, Jana Bagarova, Georgina Kerr, Dong-Dong Xia, Elsie S. Place, Devaveena Dey, Yue Shen, Geoffrey A. Bocobo, Agustin H. Mohedas, Xiuli Huang, Philip E. Sanderson, Arthur Lee, Wei Zheng, Aris N. Economides, James C. Smith, Paul B. Yu, Alex N. Bullock
Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes severe disability, and the current inability to restore function to the damaged spinal cord leads to lasting detrimental consequences to patients. One strategy to reduce SCI morbidity involves limiting the spread of secondary damage after injury. Previous studies have shown that connexin 43 (Cx43), a gap junction protein richly expressed in spinal cord astrocytes, is a potential mediator of secondary damage. Here, we developed a specific inhibitory antibody, mouse-human chimeric MHC1 antibody (MHC1), that inhibited Cx43 hemichannels, but not gap junctions, and reduced secondary damage in 2 incomplete SCI mouse models. MHC1 inhibited the activation of Cx43 hemichannels in both primary spinal astrocytes and astrocytes in situ. In both SCI mouse models, administration of MHC1 after SCI significantly improved hind limb locomotion function. Remarkably, a single administration of MHC1 30 minutes after injury improved the recovery up to 8 weeks post-SCI. Moreover, MHC1 treatment decreased gliosis and lesion sizes, increased white and gray matter sparing, and improved neuronal survival. Together, these results suggest that inhibition of Cx43 hemichannel function after traumatic SCI reduces secondary damage, limits perilesional gliosis, and improves functional recovery. By targeting hemichannels specifically with an antibody, this study provides a potentially new, innovative therapeutic approach in treating SCI.
Chao Zhang, Zhao Yan, Asif Maknojia, Manuel A. Riquelme, Sumin Gu, Grant Booher, David J. Wallace, Viktor Bartanusz, Akshay Goswami, Wei Xiong, Ningyan Zhang, Michael J. Mader, Zhiqiang An, Naomi L. Sayre, Jean X. Jiang
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a prevalent neurodegenerative disease with no approved disease-modifying therapies. Multiplications, mutations, and single nucleotide polymorphisms in the SNCA gene, encoding α-synuclein (aSyn) protein, either cause or increase risk for PD. Intracellular accumulations of aSyn are pathological hallmarks of PD. Taken together, reduction of aSyn production may provide a disease-modifying therapy for PD. We show that antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) reduce production of aSyn in rodent preformed fibril (PFF) models of PD. Reduced aSyn production leads to prevention and removal of established aSyn pathology and prevents dopaminergic cell dysfunction. In addition, we address the translational potential of the approach through characterization of human SNCA-targeting ASOs that efficiently suppress the human SNCA transcript in vivo. We demonstrate broad activity and distribution of the human SNCA ASOs throughout the nonhuman primate brain and a corresponding decrease in aSyn cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) levels. Taken together, these data suggest that, by inhibiting production of aSyn, it may be possible to reverse established pathology; thus, these data support the development of SNCA ASOs as a potential disease-modifying therapy for PD and related synucleinopathies.
Tracy A. Cole, Hien Zhao, Timothy J. Collier, Ivette Sandoval, Caryl E. Sortwell, Kathy Steece-Collier, Brian F. Daley, Alix Booms, Jack Lipton, Mackenzie Welch, Melissa Berman, Luke Jandreski, Danielle Graham, Andreas Weihofen, Stephanie Celano, Emily Schulz, Allyson Cole-Strauss, Esteban Luna, Duc Quach, Apoorva Mohan, C. Frank Bennett, Eric E. Swayze, Holly B. Kordasiewicz, Kelvin C. Luk, Katrina L. Paumier
The impact of respiratory virus infections on global health is felt not just during a pandemic but for many, endemic seasonal infections pose an equal and ongoing risk of severe disease. Moreover, vaccines and antiviral drugs are not always effective or available for many respiratory viruses. We investigated how induction of effective and appropriate antigen independent innate immunity in the upper airways can prevent spread of respiratory virus infection to the vulnerable lower airways. Activation of Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR2), when restricted to the nasal turbinates results in prompt induction of innate immune-driven anti-viral responses through action of cytokines, chemokines and cellular activity in the upper but not the lower airways. We define how nasal epithelial cells and recruitment of macrophages work in concert and play pivotal roles to limit progression of influenza virus to the lungs and sustain protection for up to seven days. These results reveal underlying mechanisms of how control of viral infection in the upper airways can occur and also support the implementation of strategies that can activate TLR2 in nasal passages to provide rapid protection, especially for at-risk populations, against severe respiratory infection when vaccines and antiviral drugs are not always effective or available.
Georgia Deliyannis, Chinn Yi Wong, Hayley A. McQuilten, Annabell Bachem, Michele V. Clarke, Xiaoxiao Jia, Kylie Horrocks, Weiguang Zeng, Jason Girkin, Nichollas E. Scott, Sarah L. Londrigan, Patrick C. Reading, Nathan W. Bartlett, Katherine Kedzierska, Lorena E. Brown, Francesca A. Mercuri, Christophe Demaison, David C. Jackson, Brendon Y. Chua
To date, there are no inhibitors that directly and specifically target activated STAT3 and c-Myc in the clinic. Although peptide-based inhibitors can selectively block activated targets, their clinical usage is limited because of low cell penetration and/or serum stability. Here, we generated cell-penetrating acetylated (acet.) STAT3, c-Myc, and Gp130 targeting peptides by attaching phosphorothioated (PS) polymer backbone to peptides. The cell-penetrating peptides efficiently penetrated cells and inhibited activation of the intended targets and their downstream genes. Locally or systemically treating tumor-bearing mice with PS-acet.-STAT3 peptide at low concentrations effectively blocked STAT3 in vivo, resulting in significant antitumor effects in 2 human xenograft models. Moreover, PS-acet.-STAT3 peptide penetrated and activated splenic CD8+ T cells in vitro. Treating immune-competent mice bearing mouse melanoma with PS-acet.-STAT3 peptide inhibited STAT3 in tumor-infiltrating T cells, downregulating tumor-infiltrating CD4+ T regulatory cells while activating CD8+ T effector cells. Similarly, systemic injections of the cell-penetrating c-Myc and Gp130 peptides prevented pancreatic tumor growth and induced antitumor immune responses. Taken together, we have developed therapeutic peptides that effectively and specifically block challenging cancer targets, resulting in antitumor effects through both direct tumor cell killing and indirectly through antitumor immune responses.
Maryam Aftabizadeh, Yi-Jia Li, Qianqian Zhao, Chunyan Zhang, Nigus Ambaye, Jieun Song, Toshikage Nagao, Christoph Lahtz, Marwan Fakih, David K. Ann, Hua Yu, Andreas Herrmann
Severe acute pancreatitis (AP) is a life-threatening disease with up to 30% mortality. Therefore, prevention of AP aggravation and promotion of pancreatic regeneration are critical during the course and treatment of AP. Hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) is an established aggravating factor for AP that hinders pancreatic regeneration; however, its exact mechanism remains unclear. Using miRNA sequencing and further verification, we found that miRNA-153 (miR-153) was upregulated in the pancreas of HTG animal models and in the plasma of patients with HTG-AP. Increased miR-153 aggravated HTG-AP and delayed pancreatic repair via targeting TRAF3. Furthermore, miR-153 was transcriptionally suppressed by sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor 1c (SREBP1c), which was suppressed by lipoprotein lipase malfunction-induced HTG. Overexpressing SREBP1c suppressed miR-153 expression, alleviated the severity of AP, and facilitated tissue regeneration in vivo. Finally, therapeutic administration of insulin also protected against HTG-AP via upregulating SREBP1c. Collectively, our results not only provide evidence that HTG leads to the development of more severe AP and hinders pancreatic regeneration via inducing persistent dysregulation of SREBP1c/miR-153 signaling, but also demonstrate that SREBP1c activators, including insulin, might be used to treat HTG-AP in patients.
Juanjuan Dai, Mingjie Jiang, Yangyang Hu, Jingbo Xiao, Bin Hu, Jiyao Xu, Xiao Han, Shuangjun Shen, Bin Li, Zengkai Wu, Yan He, Yingchun Ren, Li Wen, Xingpeng Wang, Guoyong Hu
TAK-243 is a first-in-class inhibitor of ubiquitin-like modifier activating enzyme 1 (UBA1) that catalyzes ubiquitin activation, the first step in the ubiquitylation cascade. Based on its preclinical efficacy and tolerability, TAK-243 has been advanced to phase 1 clinical trials in advanced malignancies. Nonetheless, the determinants of TAK-243 sensitivity remain largely unknown. Here, we conducted a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screen in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells in the presence of TAK-243 to identify genes essential for TAK-243 action. We identified BEN domain-containing protein 3 (BEND3), a transcriptional repressor and a regulator of chromatin organization, as the top gene whose knockout confers resistance to TAK-243 in vitro and in vivo. Knockout of BEND3 dampened TAK-243 effects on ubiquitylation, proteotoxic stress, and DNA damage response. BEND3 knockout upregulated the ABC efflux transporter breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP; ABCG2), and reduced the intracellular levels of TAK-243. TAK-243 sensitivity correlated with BCRP expression in cancer cell lines of different origin. Moreover, chemical inhibition and genetic knockdown of BCRP sensitized intrinsically resistant high-BCRP cells to TAK-243. Thus, our data demonstrate that BEND3 regulates the expression of BCRP for which TAK-243 is a substrate. Moreover, BCRP expression could serve as a predictor of TAK-243 sensitivity.
Samir H. Barghout, Ahmed Aman, Kazem Nouri, Zachary Blatman, Karen Arevalo, Geethu E. Thomas, Neil MacLean, Rose Hurren, Troy Ketela, Mehakpreet Saini, Moustafa Abohawya, Taira Kiyota, Rima Al-Awar, Aaron D. Schimmer
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