Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia and a major risk factor for stroke, often arises through ectopic electrical impulses derived from the pulmonary veins (PV). Sequence variants in enhancers controlling expression of the transcription factor PITX2, which is expressed in the cardiomyocytes (CMs) of the PV and left atrium (LA), have been implicated in AF predisposition. Single nuclei multiomic profiling of RNA and analysis of chromatin accessibility combined with spectral clustering uncovered distinct PV- and LA-enriched CM cell states. Pitx2 mutant PV and LA CMs exhibited gene expression changes consistent with cardiac dysfunction through cell-type-distinct, PITX2-directed, cis-regulatory grammars controlling target gene expression. The perturbed network targets in each CM were enriched in distinct human AF-predisposition genes, suggesting combinatorial risk for AF-genesis. Our data further reveals that PV and LA Pitx2 mutant CMs signal to endothelial and endocardial cells through BMP10 signaling with pathogenic potential. This work provides a multiomic framework for interrogating the basis of AF-predisposition in the PV of humans.
Jeffrey D. Steimle, Francisco J. Grisanti Canozo, Minjun Park, Zachary A. Kadow, Md. Abul Hassan Samee, James F. Martin
Inflammasomes are a class of innate immune signaling platforms that activate in response to an array of cellular damage and pathogens. Inflammasomes promote inflammation under many circumstances to enhance immunity against pathogens and inflammatory responses through their effector cytokines, IL-1β and IL-18. Multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), are autoimmune conditions influenced by inflammasomes. Despite work investigating inflammasomes during EAE, little remains known concerning the role of inflammasomes in the central nervous system (CNS) during the disease. Here, we used multiple genetically modified mouse models to monitor activated inflammasomes in situ based on oligomerization of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) in the spinal cord. Using inflammasome reporter mice, we found heightened inflammasome activation in astrocytes after the disease peak. In contrast, microglia and CNS-infiltrated myeloid cells had few activated inflammasomes in the CNS during EAE. Astrocyte inflammasome activation during EAE was dependent on absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2), but low IL-1β release and no significant signs of cell death were found. Thus, the AIM2 inflammasome activation in astrocytes may have a distinct role from traditional inflammasome-mediated inflammation.
William E. Barclay, Nupur Aggarwal, M. Elizabeth Deerhake, Makoto Inoue, Toshiaki Nonaka, Kengo Nozaki, Nathan A. Luzum, Edward A. Miao, Mari L. Shinohara
Severe COVID-19 disease is associated with dysregulation of the myeloid compartment during acute infection. Survivors frequently experience long-lasting sequelae but little is known about the eventual persistence of this immune alteration. Herein, we evaluated Toll-like receptor-induced cytokine responses in a cohort of mild to critical patients during acute or convalescent phases (n=97). In the acute phase, we observed impaired cytokine production by monocytes in the most severe patients. This capacity was globally restored in convalescent patients. Yet, we observed increased responsiveness to TLR1/2 ligation in patients that recovered from severe disease, indicating that these cells display distinct functional properties at the different stages of the disease. We identified a specific transcriptomic and epigenomic state in monocytes from acute severe patients that can account for their functional refractoriness. The molecular profile of monocytes from recovering patients was distinct and characterized by increased chromatin accessibility at AP1 and MAF loci. These results demonstrate that severe COVID-19 infection has a profound impact on the differentiation status and function of circulating monocytes both during the acute and the convalescent phases in a completely distinct manner. This could have important implications for our understanding of short and long-term COVID19-related morbidity.
Elisa Brauns, Abdulkader Azouz, David Grimaldi, Hanxi Xiao, Séverine Thomas, Muriel Nguyen, Véronique Olislagers, Ines Vu Duc, Carmen Orte Cano, Véronique Del Marmol, Pieter Pannus, Frédérick Libert, Sven Saussez, Nicolas Dauby, Jishnu Das, Arnaud Marchant, Stanislas Goriely
Type 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AT2s), facultative progenitor cells of the lung alveolus, play a vital role in the biology of the distal lung. In vitro model systems that incorporate human cells, recapitulate the biology of primary AT2s, and interface with the outside environment could serve as useful tools to elucidate functional characteristics of AT2s in homeostasis and disease. We and others recently adapted human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived AT2s (iAT2s) for air-liquid interface (ALI) culture. Here, we comprehensively characterize the effects of ALI culture on iAT2s and benchmark their transcriptional profile relative to both freshly sorted and cultured primary human fetal and adult AT2s. We find that iAT2s cultured at ALI maintain an AT2 phenotype while upregulating expression of transcripts associated with AT2 maturation. We then leverage this platform to assay the effects of exposure to clinically significant, inhaled toxicants including cigarette smoke and electronic cigarette vapor.
Kristine M. Abo, Julio Sainz de Aja, Jonathan Lindstrom-Vautrin, Konstantinos-Dionysios Alysandratos, Alexsia Richards, Carolina Garcia-de-Alba, Jessie Huang, Olivia T. Hix, Rhiannon B. Werder, Esther Bullitt, Anne Hinds, Isaac Falconer, Carlos Villacorta-Martin, Rudolf Jaenisch, Carla F. Kim, Darrell N. Kotton, Andrew A. Wilson
Severe viral infections of the skin can occur in patients with inborn errors of immunity (IEI). We report an all-in-one whole-transcriptome sequencing-based method by RNA-Seq on a single skin biopsy for concomitant identification of the cutaneous virome and underlying IEI. Skin biopsies were obtained from normal and lesional skin from patients with cutaneous infections suspected to be of viral origin. RNA-Seq was utilized as the first-tier strategy for unbiased human genome-wide rare variant detection. Reads unaligned to the human genome were utilized for the exploration of 926 different viruses in a viral genome catalog. In nine families studied, the patients carried pathogenic variants in six human IEI genes, including IL2RG, WAS, CIB1, STK4, GATA2, and DOCK8. Gene expression profiling also confirmed pathogenicity of the human variants and permitted genome-wide homozygosity mapping which assisted in identification of candidate genes in consanguineous families. This automated, all-in-one computational pipeline, called VirPy, enables simultaneous detection of the viral triggers and the human genetic variants underlying skin lesions in patients with suspicion of IEI and viral dermatosis.
Amir Hossein Saeidian, Leila Youssefian, Charles Y. Huang, Fahimeh Palizban, Mahtab Naji, Zahra Saffarian, Hamidreza Mahmoudi, Azadeh Goodarzi, Soheila Sotoudeh, Fatemeh Vahidnezhad, Maliheh Amani, Narjes Tavakoli, Ali Ajami, Samaneh Mozafarpoor, Mehrdad Teimoorian, Saeed Dorgaleleh, Sima Shokri, Mohammad Shenagari, Nima Abedi, Sirous Zeinali, Paolo Fortina, Vivien Béziat, Emmanuelle Jouanguy, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Jouni Uitto, Hassan Vahidnezhad
Cutaneous lupus is commonly present in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). T cells have been strongly suspected to contribute to the pathology of cutaneous lupus, yet our understanding of the relevant T cell phenotypes and functions remains incomplete. Here, we present a detailed single-cell RNA sequencing profile of T and NK cell populations present within lesional and non-lesional skin biopsies of patients with cutaneous lupus. T cells across clusters from lesional and non-lesional skin biopsies expressed elevated levels of interferon-simulated genes (ISGs); however, compared to T cells from control skin, T cells from cutaneous lupus lesions did not show elevated expression profiles of activation, cytotoxicity, or exhaustion. Integrated analyses indicated that skin lymphocytes appeared less activated and lacked the expanded cytotoxic populations prominent in lupus nephritis kidney T/NK cells. Comparison of skin T cells from lupus and systemic sclerosis skin biopsies further revealed an elevated ISG signature specific to cells from lupus biopsies. Overall, these data represent the first detailed transcriptomic analysis of the T and NK cells in cutaneous lupus at the single cell level and have enabled a cross-tissue comparison that highlights stark differences in composition and activation of T/NK cells in distinct tissues in lupus.
Garrett S. Dunlap, Allison C. Billi, Xianying Xing, Feiyang Ma, Mitra P. Maz, Lam C. Tsoi, Rachael Wasikowski, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Johann E. Gudjonsson, J. Michelle Kahlenberg, Deepak A. Rao
Spinocerebellar ataxia type1 (SCA1) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder. As disease progresses motor neurons are affected, and their dysfunction contributes towards the inability to maintain proper respiratory function, a major driving force for premature death in SCA1. To investigate the isolated role of motor neurons in SCA1 we created a novel conditional SCA1 (cSCA1) mouse model. This model suppresses expression of the pathogenic SCA1 allele with a floxed stop cassette. cSCA1 mice crossed to a ubiquitous Cre line recapitulate all the major features of the original SCA1 mouse model, except they took twice as long to develop. We found that the cSCA1 mice produce less than half of the pathogenic protein compared to the unmodified SCA1 mice at 3 weeks of age. In contrast, restricted expression of the pathogenic SCA1 allele in motor neurons only leads to a decreased distance traveled of mice in the open field assay and did not affect body weight or survival. We conclude that a fifty percent or greater reduction of the mutant protein has a dramatic effect on disease onset and progression, and that expression of polyglutamine expanded ATXN1 at this level specifically in motor neurons is not sufficient to cause premature lethality.
James P. Orengo, Larissa Nitschke, Meike E. van der Heijden, Nicholas A. Ciaburri, Harry T. Orr, Huda Y. Zoghbi
The current strategy to detect acute injury of kidney tubular cells relies on changes in serum levels of creatinine. Yet serum creatinine (sCr) is a marker of both functional and pathological processes and does not specifically assay tubular injury. In addition, sCr may require days to reach diagnostic thresholds, yet tubular cells respond with programs of damage and repair within minutes or hours. To detect acute responses to clinically relevant stimuli, we created Rosa26-floxed-stop uracil phosphoribosyl-transferase (Uprt) expressing mice and inoculated 4-thiouracil (TU) to tag nascent RNA at selected time points. Cre-driven TU-tagged RNA was isolated from whole kidneys and demonstrated that volume depletion and ischemia induced different genetic programs. Even lineage related cell types expressed different genes in response to the two stressors. TU-tagging also demonstrated the transient nature of the responses. Because we placed Uprt in the ubiquitously active Rosa-26 locus, RNAs from many cell types can be tagged in vivo and their roles interrogated under various conditions. In short, TU labeling identifies stimulus-specific, cell-specific, and time-dependent acute responses that are otherwise difficult to detect with other technologies and are entirely obscured when sCr is the sole metric of kidney damage.
Tian Huai Shen, Jacob Stauber, Katherine Xu, Alexandra Jacunski, Neal Paragas, Miriam Callahan, Run Banlengchit, Abraham D. Levitman, Beatriz Desanti de Oliveira, Andrew Beenken, Madeleine S. Grau, Edwin Mathieu, Qingyin Zhang, Yuanji Li, Tejashree Gopal, Nathaniel Askanase, Siddarth Arumugam, Sumit Mohan, Pamela I. Good, Jacob S. Stevens, Fangming Lin, Samuel K. Sia, Chyuan-Sheng Lin, Vivette D'Agati, Krzysztof Kiryluk, Nicholas P. Tatonetti, Jonathan Barasch
Mechanisms governing entry and exit of immune cells into, and out of, inflamed joints, remain poorly understood. We sought herein to identify the key molecular pathways regulating such migration. Using murine models of inflammation in conjunction with mice expressing a photoconvertible fluorescent protein we characterized the migration of cells from joints to draining lymph nodes (LN) and performed RNA-seq analysis on isolated cells, identifying genes associated with migration and retention. We further refined the gene list to those specific for joint inflammation. RNA-seq data revealed pathways and genes previously highlighted as characteristic of RA in patient studies, validating the methodology. Focusing on gene regulatory pathways associated with cell migration, adhesion and movement, we identified genes involved in the retention of immune cells in the inflamed joint, namely JAM-A, and identified a role for such molecules in T cell differentiation in vivo.Thus, using a combination of novel cell tracking approaches and murine models of inflammatory arthritis we have identified genes, pathways and anatomically specific tissue signatures regulating cell migration in a variety of inflamed sites. This unique skin and joint specific dataset will be an invaluable resource for the identification of novel therapeutic targets for arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
Catriona T. Prendergast, Robert A. Benson, Hannah E. Scales, Caio S. Bonilha, John J. Cole, Iain McInnes, James M. Brewer, Paul Garside
Studying temporal gene expression shifts during disease progression provides important insights into the biological mechanisms that distinguish adaptive and maladaptive responses. Existing tools for the analysis of time course transcriptomic data are not designed to optimally identify distinct temporal patterns when analyzing dynamic differentially expressed genes (DDEGs). Moreover, there is a lack of methods to assess and visualize the temporal progression of biological pathways mapped from time course transcriptomic datasets. In this study, we developed an open-source R package TrendCatcher (https://github.com/jaleesr/TrendCatcher), which applies the smoothing spline ANOVA model and break point searching strategy to identify and visualize distinct dynamic transcriptional gene signatures and biological processes from longitudinal datasets. We used TrendCatcher to perform a systematic temporal analysis of COVID-19 peripheral blood transcriptomes, including bulk and single-cell RNA sequencing time course data. TrendCatcher uncovered the early and persistent activation of neutrophils and coagulation pathways as well as impaired type I interferon (IFN-I) signaling in circulating cells as a hallmark of patients who progressed to severe COVID-19, whereas no such patterns were identified in individuals receiving SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations or patients with mild COVID-19. These results underscore the importance of systematic temporal analysis to identify early biomarkers and possible pathogenic therapeutic targets.
Xinge Wang, Mark A. Sanborn, Yang Dai, Jalees Rehman
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