Since the proper activation of T cells requires the physical interaction with target cells through the formation of immunological synapses (IS), an alteration at this level could be a reason why tumors escape the immune response. As part of their life cycle, it is thought that T cells alternate between a static phase, the IS, and a dynamic phase, the immunological kinapse (IK), depending on high or low antigen sensing. Our investigation performed in tissue samples of human glioma shows that T cells are able to establish synapsing interactions not only with glioma tumorigenic cells, but also with stromal myeloid cells. Particularly, the IS displaying a T cell receptor–rich (TCR-rich) central supramolecular activation cluster (cSMAC) is preferentially established with stromal cells, as opposed to malignant cells. Conversely, T cells in the malignant areas showed distinct morphometric parameters compared with nonneoplastic tissue — the former characterized by an elongated shape, well-suited to kinaptic dynamics. Importantly, high-resolution 3-dimensional analyses demonstrated the existence of bona-fide IK preferentially arranged in malignant areas of the tumor. This imbalance of IS/IK states between these 2 microenvironments reveals the low antigenic sensing of T cells when patrolling tumorigenic cells and reflects the immunoevasive environment of the tumor.
Laura R. Díaz, Elena Saavedra-López, Leire Romarate, Izaskun Mitxitorena, Paola V. Casanova, George P. Cribaro, José M. Gallego, Ana Pérez-Vallés, Jerónimo Forteza-Vila, Clara Alfaro-Cervello, José M. García-Verdugo, Carlos Barcia Sr., Carlos Barcia Jr.
Pneumonia represents the leading infectious cause of death in the United States. Foxp3+ regulatory T cells promote recovery from severe pneumonia in mice, but T cell responses in patients with pneumonia remain incompletely characterized because of the limited ability to serially sample the distal airspaces and perform multidimensional molecular assessments on the small numbers of recovered cells. As T cell function is governed by their transcriptional and epigenetic landscape, we developed a method to safely perform high-resolution transcriptional and DNA methylation profiling of T cell subsets from the alveoli of critically ill patients. Our method involves nonbronchoscopic bronchoalveolar lavage combined with multiparameter fluorescence-activated cell sorting, unsupervised low-input RNA-sequencing, and a modified reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing protocol. Here, we demonstrate the safety and feasibility of our method and use it to validate functional genomic elements that were predicted by mouse models. Because of its potential for widespread application, our techniques allow unprecedented insights into the biology of human pneumonia.
James M. Walter, Kathryn A. Helmin, Hiam Abdala-Valencia, Richard G. Wunderink, Benjamin D. Singer
Noninvasive imaging of visual system components in vivo is critical for understanding the causal mechanisms of retinal diseases and for developing therapies for their treatment. However, ultraviolet light needed to excite endogenous fluorophores that participate in metabolic processes of the retina is highly attenuated by the anterior segment of the human eye. In contrast, 2-photon excitation fluorescence imaging with pulsed infrared light overcomes this obstacle. Reducing retinal exposure to laser radiation remains a major barrier in advancing this technology to studies in humans. To increase fluorescence intensity and reduce the requisite laser power, we modulated ultrashort laser pulses with high-order dispersion compensation and applied sensorless adaptive optics and custom image recovery software and observed an over 300% increase in fluorescence of endogenous retinal fluorophores when laser pulses were shortened from 75 fs to 20 fs. No functional or structural changes to the retina were detected after exposure to 2-photon excitation imaging light with 20-fs pulses. Moreover, wide bandwidth associated with short pulses enables excitation of multiple fluorophores with different absorption spectra and thus can provide information about their relative changes and intracellular distribution. These data constitute a substantial advancement for safe 2-photon fluorescence imaging of the human eye.
Grazyna Palczewska, Patrycjusz Stremplewski, Susie Suh, Nathan Alexander, David Salom, Zhiqian Dong, Daniel Ruminski, Elliot H. Choi, Avery E. Sears, Timothy S. Kern, Maciej Wojtkowski, Krzysztof Palczewski
Mice are extremely important as the premier model organism in human biomedical and mammalian genetic research. The genomes of several tens of mouse inbred strains have been sequenced. They have been compared to the genome of C57BL/6J, considered by convention as the reference genome. Based on a comparison of this reference genome with 36 other sequenced mouse strains, we generated an overview of all protein-coding genes that are deviant in this reference genome, compared with consensus protein-coding mouse gene sequences. We provide PROVEAN scores, reflecting the likelihood that these C57BL/6J proteins have lost function. We thus identified numerous abnormal proteins, and biological pathways, specifically present in C57BL/6J, suggesting the important caveats of this reference mouse strain, and linking candidate genes to some of the best-known phenotypes of this strain.
Steven Timmermans, Claude Libert
Nonneuronal cell types in the CNS are increasingly implicated as critical players in brain health and disease. While gene expression profiling of bulk brain tissue is routinely used to examine alterations in the brain under various conditions, it does not capture changes that occur within single cell types or allow interrogation of crosstalk among cell types. To this end, we have developed a concurrent brain cell type acquisition (CoBrA) methodology, enabling the isolation and profiling of microglia, astrocytes, endothelia, and oligodendrocytes from a single adult mouse forebrain. By identifying and validating anti-ACSA-2 and anti-CD49a antibodies as cell surface markers for astrocytes and vascular endothelial cells, respectively, and using established antibodies to isolate microglia and oligodendrocytes, we document that these 4 major cell types are isolated with high purity and RNA quality. We validated our procedure by performing acute peripheral LPS challenge, while highlighting the underappreciated changes occurring in astrocytes and vascular endothelia in addition to microglia. Furthermore, we assessed cell type–specific gene expression changes in response to amyloid pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Our CoBrA methodology can be readily implemented to interrogate multiple CNS cell types in any mouse model at any age.
Dan B. Swartzlander, Nicholas E. Propson, Ethan R. Roy, Takashi Saito, Takaomi Saido, Baiping Wang, Hui Zheng
Hemodynamic shear force has been implicated as modulating Notch signaling–mediated cardiac trabeculation. Whether the spatiotemporal variations in wall shear stress (WSS) coordinate the initiation of trabeculation to influence ventricular contractile function remains unknown. Using light-sheet fluorescent microscopy, we reconstructed the 4D moving domain and applied computational fluid dynamics to quantify 4D WSS along the trabecular ridges and in the groves. In WT zebrafish, pulsatile shear stress developed along the trabecular ridges, with prominent endocardial Notch activity at 3 days after fertilization (dpf), and oscillatory shear stress developed in the trabecular grooves, with epicardial Notch activity at 4 dpf. Genetic manipulations were performed to reduce hematopoiesis and inhibit atrial contraction to lower WSS in synchrony with attenuation of oscillatory shear index (OSI) during ventricular development. γ-Secretase inhibitor of Notch intracellular domain (NICD) abrogated endocardial and epicardial Notch activity. Rescue with NICD mRNA restored Notch activity sequentially from the endocardium to trabecular grooves, which was corroborated by observed Notch-mediated cardiomyocyte proliferations on WT zebrafish trabeculae. We also demonstrated in vitro that a high OSI value correlated with upregulated endothelial Notch-related mRNA expression. In silico computation of energy dissipation further supports the role of trabeculation to preserve ventricular structure and contractile function. Thus, spatiotemporal variations in WSS coordinate trabecular organization for ventricular contractile function.
Juhyun Lee, Vijay Vedula, Kyung In Baek, Junjie Chen, Jeffrey J. Hsu, Yichen Ding, Chih-Chiang Chang, Hanul Kang, Adam Small, Peng Fei, Cheng-ming Chuong, Rongsong Li, Linda Demer, René R. Sevag Packard, Alison L. Marsden, Tzung K. Hsiai
Recent advances in the management of cystic fibrosis (CF) target underlying defects in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein, but efficacy analyses remain limited to specific genotype–based subgroups. Patient-derived model systems may therefore aid in expanding access to these drugs. Brushed human nasal epithelial cells (HNEs) are an attractive tissue source, but it remains unclear how faithfully they recapitulate human bronchial epithelial cell (HBE) CFTR activity. We examined this gap using paired, brushed HNE/HBE samples from pediatric CF subjects with a wide variety of CFTR mutations cultured at the air-liquid interface. Growth and structural characteristics for the two cell types were similar, including differentiation into mature respiratory epithelia. In electrophysiologic analysis, no correlation was identified between nasal and bronchial cultures in baseline resistance or epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) activity. Conversely, robust correlation was demonstrated between nasal and bronchial cultures in both stimulated and inhibited CFTR activity. There was close correlation in modulator-induced change in CFTR activity, and CFTR activity in both cell types correlated with in vivo sweat chloride measurements. These data confirm that brushed HNE cell cultures recapitulate the functional CFTR characteristics of HBEs with fidelity and are therefore an appropriate noninvasive HBE surrogate for individualized CFTR analysis.
John J. Brewington, Erin T. Filbrandt, F.J. LaRosa III, Jessica D. Moncivaiz, Alicia J. Ostmann, Lauren M. Strecker, John P. Clancy
Mucin 1 (MUC1) is a heterodimeric protein that is aberrantly overexpressed on the surface of diverse human carcinomas and is an attractive target for the development of mAb-based therapeutics. However, attempts at targeting the shed MUC1 N-terminal subunit have been unsuccessful. We report here the generation of mAb 3D1 against the nonshed oncogenic MUC1 C-terminal (MUC1-C) subunit. We show that mAb 3D1 binds with low nM affinity to the MUC1-C extracellular domain at the restricted α3 helix. mAb 3D1 reactivity is selective for MUC1-C–expressing human cancer cell lines and primary cancer cells. Internalization of mAb 3D1 into cancer cells further supported the conjugation of mAb 3D1 to monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE). The mAb 3D1-MMAE antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) (a) kills MUC1-C–positive cells in vitro, (b) is nontoxic in MUC1-transgenic (MUC1.Tg) mice, and (c) is active against human HCC827 lung tumor xenografts. Humanized mAb (humAb) 3D1 conjugated to MMAE also exhibited antitumor activity in (a) MUC1.Tg mice harboring syngeneic MC-38/MUC1 tumors, (b) nude mice bearing human ZR-75-1 breast tumors, and (c) NCG mice engrafted with a patient-derived triple-negative breast cancer. These findings and the absence of associated toxicities support clinical development of humAb 3D1-MMAE ADCs as a therapeutic for the many cancers with MUC1-C overexpression.
Govind Panchamoorthy, Caining Jin, Deepak Raina, Ajit Bharti, Masaaki Yamamoto, Dennis Adeebge, Qing Zhao, Roderick Bronson, Shirley Jiang, Linjing Li, Yozo Suzuki, Ashujit Tagde, P. Peter Ghoroghchian, Kwok-Kin Wong, Surender Kharbanda, Donald Kufe
Loss of the NF1 tumor suppressor gene causes the autosomal dominant condition, neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Children and adults with NF1 suffer from pathologies including benign and malignant tumors to cognitive deficits, seizures, growth abnormalities, and peripheral neuropathies. NF1 encodes neurofibromin, a Ras-GTPase activating protein, and NF1 mutations result in hyperactivated Ras signaling in patients. Existing NF1 mutant mice mimic individual aspects of NF1, but none comprehensively models the disease. We describe a potentially novel Yucatan miniswine model bearing a heterozygotic mutation in NF1 (exon 42 deletion) orthologous to a mutation found in NF1 patients. NF1+/ex42del miniswine phenocopy the wide range of manifestations seen in NF1 patients, including café au lait spots, neurofibromas, axillary freckling, and neurological defects in learning and memory. Molecular analyses verified reduced neurofibromin expression in swine NF1+/ex42del fibroblasts, as well as hyperactivation of Ras, as measured by increased expression of its downstream effectors, phosphorylated ERK1/2, SIAH, and the checkpoint regulators p53 and p21. Consistent with altered pain signaling in NF1, dysregulation of calcium and sodium channels was observed in dorsal root ganglia expressing mutant NF1. Thus, these NF1+/ex42del miniswine recapitulate the disease and provide a unique, much-needed tool to advance the study and treatment of NF1.
Katherine A. White, Vicki J. Swier, Jacob T. Cain, Jordan L. Kohlmeyer, David K. Meyerholz, Munir R. Tanas, Johanna Uthoff, Emily Hammond, Hua Li, Frank A. Rohret, Adam Goeken, Chun-Hung Chan, Mariah R. Leidinger, Shaikamjad Umesalma, Margaret R. Wallace, Rebecca D. Dodd, Karin Panzer, Amy H. Tang, Benjamin W. Darbro, Aubin Moutal, Song Cai, Wennan Li, Shreya S. Bellampalli, Rajesh Khanna, Christopher S. Rogers, Jessica C. Sieren, Dawn E. Quelle, Jill M. Weimer
Liver damage is typically inferred from serum measurements of cytoplasmic liver enzymes. DNA molecules released from dying hepatocytes are an alternative biomarker, unexplored so far, potentially allowing for quantitative assessment of liver cell death. Here we describe a method for detecting acute hepatocyte death, based on quantification of circulating, cell-free DNA (cfDNA) fragments carrying hepatocyte-specific methylation patterns. We identified 3 genomic loci that are unmethylated specifically in hepatocytes, and used bisulfite conversion, PCR, and massively parallel sequencing to quantify the concentration of hepatocyte-derived DNA in mixed samples. Healthy donors had, on average, 30 hepatocyte genomes/ml plasma, reflective of basal cell turnover in the liver. We identified elevations of hepatocyte cfDNA in patients shortly after liver transplantation, during acute rejection of an established liver transplant, and also in healthy individuals after partial hepatectomy. Furthermore, patients with sepsis had high levels of hepatocyte cfDNA, which correlated with levels of liver enzymes aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients, in which elevated AST and ALT derive from damaged muscle rather than liver, did not have elevated hepatocyte cfDNA. We conclude that measurements of hepatocyte-derived cfDNA can provide specific and sensitive information on hepatocyte death, for monitoring human liver dynamics, disease, and toxicity.
Roni Lehmann-Werman, Judith Magenheim, Joshua Moss, Daniel Neiman, Ofri Abraham, Sheina Piyanzin, Hai Zemmour, Ilana Fox, Talya Dor, Markus Grompe, Giora Landesberg, Bao-Li Loza, Abraham Shaked, Kim Olthoff, Benjamin Glaser, Ruth Shemer, Yuval Dor
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