Novel prime-boost immunization strategies are required to control the global Tuberculosis (TB) pandemic, which claims approximately 3 lives every minute. Here, we have generated an immunogenic complex against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), consisting of promiscuous T cell epitopes (M.tb peptides) and TLR ligands assembled in liposomes. Interestingly, this complex (PTLs; peptide-TLR agonist-liposomes) induced significant activation of CD4+ T cells and IFNγ production in the PBMCs derived from PPD+ healthy individuals as compared to PPD- controls. Furthermore, intranasal delivery of PTLs significantly reduced the bacterial burden in the infected mice by inducing M.tb specific polyfunctional (IFNγ+IL17+TNFα+IL2+) immune responses and long-lasting central memory responses thereby reducing the risk of TB recurrence in DOTS treated infected animals. The transcriptome analysis of peptide-stimulated immune cells unveiled the molecular basis of enhanced protection. Furthermore, PTLs immunization significantly boosted the BCG-primed immune responses against TB. The greatly enhanced efficacy of BCG-PTLs vaccine model in controlling pulmonary TB projects PTLs as an adjunct vaccine against TB.
Santosh Kumar, Ashima Bhaskar, Gautam Patnaik, Chetan Sharma, Dhiraj K. Singh, Sandeep Kaushik, Shivam Chaturvedi, Gobardhan Das, Ved Prakash Dwivedi
Background: Mitochondrial DNA (MT-DNA) are intrinsically inflammatory nucleic acids released by damaged solid organs. Whether circulating cell-free MT-DNA quantitation could be used to predict the risk of poor COVID-19 outcomes remains undetermined. Methods: We measured circulating MT-DNA levels in prospectively collected, cell-free plasma samples from 97 subjects with COVID-19 at hospital presentation. Our primary outcome was mortality. ICU admission, intubation, vasopressor and renal replacement therapy requirements were secondary outcomes. Multivariate regression analysis determined whether MT-DNA levels were independent of other reported COVID-19 risk factors. Receiver operating characteristics and area under-the-curve assessment were used to compare MT-DNA levels to established and emerging inflammatory markers of COVID-19. Results: Circulating MT-DNA levels were highly elevated in patients who eventually died, required ICU admission, intubation, vasopressor use or renal replacement therapy. Multivariate regression revealed that high circulating MT-DNA is an independent risk factor for these outcomes after adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidities. We also found that circulating MT-DNA levels have a similar or superior area-under-the curve when compared against clinically-established measures of inflammation and emerging markers currently of interest as investigational targets for COVID-19 therapy. Conclusions: These results show that high circulating MT-DNA levels are a potential early indicator for poor COVID-19 outcomes. Funding: This project was supported by Washington University Institute of Clinical Translational Sciences COVID-19 Research Program. Sample procurement and patient outcome data collection was supported by the Washington University ICTS NIH grant UL1TR002345.
Davide Scozzi, Marlene Cano, Lina Ma, Dequan Zhou, Ji Hong Zhu, Jane A. O’Halloran, Charles W. Goss, Adriana M. Rauseo, Zhiyi Liu, Sanjaya Kumar Sahu, Valentina Peritore, Monica Rocco, Alberto Ricci, Rachele Amodeo, Laura Aimati, Mohsen Ibrahim, Ramsey R. Hachem, Daniel Kreisel, Philip A. Mudd, Hrishikesh S. Kulkarni, Andrew E. Gelman
Somatostatin (SS) inhibits glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion in a paracrine manner. We hypothesized that blocking somatostatin subtype receptor 2 (SSTR2) and 5 (SSTR5) would improve glycaemia by enhancing GLP-1 secretion. In the perfused mouse small intestine the selective SSTR5 antagonist (SSTR5a) stimulated glucose-induced GLP-1 secretion to a larger degree than the SSTR2 antagonist (SSTR2a). In parallel, mice lacking the SSTR5R showed increased glucose-induced GLP-1 secretion. Both antagonists improved glycaemia in vivo in a GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) dependent manner, as the glycaemic improvements were absent in mice with impaired GLP-1R signalling and in mice treated with a GLP-1R specific antagonist. SSTR5a had no direct effect on insulin secretion in the perfused pancreas whereas SSTR2a increased insulin secretion in a GLP-1R independent manner. Adding a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitor (DPP-4i) in vivo resulted in additive effects on glycaemia, however, when glucose was administered intraperitoneally the antagonists was incapable of lowering blood glucose. Oral administration of SSTR5a, but not SSTR2a lowered blood glucose in diet induced obese mice. In summary, we demonstrate that selective SSTR antagonists can improve glucose control primarily through the intestinal GLP-1 system in mice.
Sara L. Jepsen, Nicolai J. Wewer Albrechtsen, Johanne Agerlin Windeløv, Katrine D. Galsgaard, Jenna Elizabeth Hunt, Thomas B. Farb, Hannelouise Kissow, Jens Pedersen, Carolyn F. Deacon, Rainer E. Martin, Jens J. Holst
Rewiring tumor cells to undergo drug-induced apoptosis could be a promising way to overcome chemoresistance, therefore identifying causative factors for chemoresistance is of high importance. Global proteome-profiling of sensitive, early and late cisplatin resistant OSCC lines identified CMTM6 as a top ranked up-regulated protein. Analyses of OSCC patient tumor samples demonstrated significantly higher CMTM6 expression in chemotherapy-non-responders as compared to responders. In addition, a significant association between higher CMTM6 expression and poorer relapse-free survival in ESCC, HNSCC was monitored from Kaplan-Meier-Plot analysis. Stable knockdown of CMTM6 restores cisplatin-mediated cell death in chemoresistant OSCC cell lines. Similarly, upon CMTM6 overexpression in CMTM6KD lines, the cisplatin resistant phenotype was efficiently rescued. The patient-derived cell xenograft model of chemoresistant OSCC displayed CMTM6 depletion restored the cisplatin-induced cell death and tumor burden significantly. The transcriptome analysis of CMTM6KD and control chemoresistant cells depicted enrichment of Wnt-signaling pathway. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that CMTM6 interaction with membrane bound Enolase-1 stabilized its expression, leading to AKT-GSK3β mediated activation of Wnt-signaling. CMTM6 has been identified as a stabilizer of PD-L1 thereby facilitates immune evasion by tumor cells. As CMTM6 facilitates tumor cells for immune evasion and mediates cisplatin resistance, it can be an important therapeutic target for therapy resistant OSCC.
Pallavi Mohapatra, Omprakash Shriwas, Sibasish Mohanty, Arup Ghosh, Shuchi Smita, Sandeep Rai Kaushik, Rakesh Arya, Rachna Rath, Saroj Das Majumdar, Dillip Kumar Muduly, Sunil Raghav, Ranjan K. Nanda, Rupesh Dash
MC4R mutations represent the largest monogenic cause of obesity, resulting mainly from receptor misfolding and intracellular retention by the cellular quality control system. The present study aimed at determining whether pharmacological chaperones (PC) that restore folding and plasma membrane trafficking by stabilizing near native protein conformation, may represent valid therapeutic avenues for the treatment of melanocortin type 4 receptor (MC4R) linked obesity.To test the therapeutic PC potential, we engineered humanized MC4R mouse models expressing either the wild type (WT) human MC4R or a prevalent obesity-causing mutant (R165W). Administration of a PC able to rescue cell surface expression and functional activity of R165W-hMC4R in cells, restored the anorexigenic response of the R165W-hMC4R obese mice to melanocortin agonist, providing a proof-of-principle for the therapeutic potential of MC4R-targetting PC in vivo. Interestingly, the expression of the WT-hMC4R in mice revealed lower sensitivity of the human receptor to alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) but not β-MSH or MTII, resulting in a lower penetrance obese phenotype in the WT-hMC4R versus R165W-hMC4R mice. In conclusion, we created two new obesity models, one hypomorph highlighting species differences, and one amorphic that provides a pre-clinical model to test the therapeutic potential of PC to treat MC4R-linked obesity.
Patricia René, Damien Lanfray, Denis Richard, Michel Bouvier
Insulin-mediated suppression of white adipose tissue (WAT) lipolysis is an important anabolic function that is dysregulated in states of overnutrition. However, the mechanism of short-term high-fat diet (HFD)-induced WAT insulin resistance is poorly understood. Based on our recent studies we hypothesize that a short-term HFD causes WAT insulin resistance through increases in plasma membrane (PM) sn-1,2-diacylglycerols (DAG), which promotes protein kinase C-ε (PKCε) activation to impair insulin signaling by phosphorylating insulin receptor (Insr) Thr1160. To test this hypothesis, we assessed WAT insulin action in 7-day HFD-fed versus regular chow diet-fed rats during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. HFD feeding caused WAT insulin resistance, reflected by reductions in both insulin-mediated WAT glucose uptake and suppression of WAT lipolysis. These changes were specifically associated with increased PM sn-1,2-diacylglycerol (DAG) content, increased PKCε activation and impaired insulin-stimulated InsrY1162 phosphorylation. In order to examine the role of InsrT1160 phosphorylation in mediating lipid-induced WAT insulin resistance, we examined these same parameters in short-term HFD-fed InsrT1150A knockin mice (mouse homolog for human Thr1160). Similar to the rat study HFD feeding induced WAT insulin resistance in WT control mice but failed to induce WAT insulin resistance in InsrT1150A mice. Taken together these data demonstrate that the PM sn-1,2-DAG - PKCε - InsrT1160 phosphorylation pathway plays an important role in mediating lipid-induced WAT insulin resistance and represents a potential therapeutic target to improve insulin sensitivity in WAT.
Kun Lyu, Dongyan Zhang, Joongyu D. Song, Xiruo Li, Rachel J. Perry, Varman T. Samuel, Gerald I. Shulman
Reestablishing an appropriate balance between T effector cells (Teff) and T regulatory cells (Treg) is essential for correcting autoimmunity. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated chronic central nervous system (CNS) disease characterized by neuroinflammation, demyelination, and neuronal degeneration, in which the Teff:Treg balance is skewed toward pathogenic Teff cells, Th1 and Th17 cells. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a key regulator of Teff:Treg balance. Using the structure-based design, we have developed a novel small-molecule prodrug LLL12b that specifically inhibits STAT3 and suppresses Th17 differentiation and expansion. Moreover, LLL12b regulates the fate decision between Th17 and Tregs in an inflammatory environment, shifting Th17:Treg balance toward Tregs and favoring the resolution of inflammation. Therapeutic administration of LLL12b after disease onset significantly suppresses disease progression in adoptively transferred, chronic, and relapsing-remitting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Disease relapses were also significantly suppressed by LLL12b given during the remission phase. Additionally, LLL12b shifts Th17:Treg balance of CD4 T cells from MS patients toward Tregs and increases Teff sensitivity to Treg-mediated suppression. These data suggest selective inhibition of STAT3 by the novel small molecule LLL12b recalibrates the effector and regulatory arms of CD4 T responses, representing a potentially clinically translatable therapeutic strategy for MS.
Saba I. Aqel, Xiaozhi Yang, Emma E. Kraus, Jinhua Song, Marissa F. Farinas, Erin Y. Zhao, Wei Pei, Amy E. Lovett-Racke, Michael K. Racke, Chenglong Li, Yuhong Yang
Glucagon regulates glucose and lipid metabolism and also promotes weight loss. Thus, therapeutics stimulating glucagon-receptor (GCGR) signaling are promising for obesity treatment; however, the underlying mechanism(s) have yet to be fully elucidated. We previously identified that hepatic GCGR signaling increases circulating Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 (FGF21), a potent regulator of energy balance. We reported that mice deficient for liver Fgf21 are partially resistant to GCGR-mediated weight loss, implicating FGF21 as a regulator of glucagon’s weight-loss effects. FGF21 signaling requires an obligate co-receptor (B-Klotho, KLB), with expression limited to adipose tissue, liver, pancreas, and brain. We hypothesized that the GCGR-FGF21 system mediates weight loss through a central mechanism. Mice deficient for neuronal Klb (Klb∆CNS) exhibit a partial reduction in body weight with chronic GCGR-agonism (via IUB288) compared to controls (p<0.0001), supporting a role for central FGF21 signaling in GCGR-mediated weight loss. Substantiating these results, mice with central KLB inhibition via a pharmacological KLB antagonist (1153) also display partial weight loss (p<0.0001). Central KLB, however, is dispensable for GCGR-mediated improvements in plasma cholesterol and liver triglycerides. Together, these data suggest GCGR-agonism mediates part of its weight loss properties through central KLB and has implications for future treatments against obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Shelly R. Nason, Jessica P. Antipenko, Natalie Presedo, Stephen E. Cunningham, Tanya H. Pierre, Teayoun Kim, Jodi R. Paul, Cassie L. Holleman, Martin E. Young, Karen L. Gamble, Brian Finan, Richard DiMarchi, Chad S. Hunter, Alexei Kharitonenkov, Kirk M. Habegger
Background: Loss-of-function variants in SCN1B, encoding voltage-gated sodium channel β1 subunits, are linked to human diseases with high risk of sudden death, including epileptic encephalopathy and cardiac arrhythmia. β1 subunits modulate the cell-surface localization, gating, and kinetics of sodium channel pore-forming a subunits. They also participate in cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion, resulting in intracellular signal transduction, promotion of cell migration, calcium handling, and regulation of cell morphology. Methods: We investigated regulated intramembrane proteolysis (RIP) of β1 by BACE1 and γ-secretase.Results: We show that β1 subunits are substrates for sequential RIP by BACE1 and γ-secretase, resulting in the generation of a soluble intracellular domain (ICD) that is translocated to the nucleus. Using RNA-seq, we identified a subset of genes that are downregulated by β1-ICD overexpression in heterologous cells but upregulated in Scn1b null cardiac tissue which, by definition, lacks β1-ICD signaling, suggesting that the β1-ICD may normally function as a molecular brake on gene transcription in vivo. Conclusion: We propose that human disease variants resulting in SCN1B loss-of-function cause transcriptional dysregulation that contributes to altered excitability. These results provide important new insights into the mechanism of SCN1B-linked channelopathies, adding RIP-excitation coupling to the multi-functionality of sodium channel β1 subunits.
Alexandra A. Bouza, Nnamdi Edokobi, Samantha L. Hodges, Alexa M. Pinsky, James Offord, Lin Piao, Yan-Ting Zhao, Anatoli N. Lopatin, Luis F. Lopez-Santiago, Lori L. Isom
2'3'-cGAMP is known as a non-classical 2nd messenger and small immune modulator that possesses potent anti-tumor and antiviral activities through stimulating STING-mediated signaling pathway. However, its function in regulating type 2 immune responses remains unknown. We sought to determine a role of STING activation by 2'3'-cGAMP in type 2 inflammatory reactions in multiple mouse models of eosinophilic asthma. We discovered that 2'3'-cGAMP administration strongly attenuated type 2 lung immunopathology and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) induced by IL-33 and a fungal allergen, A. flavus. Mechanistically, upon the respiratory delivery, 2'3'-cGAMP was mainly internalized by alveolar macrophages, in which it activated the STING-IRF3-IFN-I signaling axis to induce the production of inhibitory factors containing IFNα, which blocked the IL-33-mediated activation of group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) in vivo. We further demonstrated that 2'3'-cGAMP directly suppressed the proliferation and function of both human and mouse ILC2 in vitro. Taken together, our findings suggest that STING activation by 2'3'-cGAMP in alveolar macrophages and ILC2 cells can negatively regulate type 2 immune responses, implying that the respiratory delivery of 2'3'-cGAMP might be further developed as an alternative strategy for treating type 2 immunopathologic diseases such as eosinophilic asthma.
Li She, Gema D. Barrera, Liping Yan, Hamad Hazzaa Alanazi, Edward G. Brooks, Peter H. Dube, Yilun Sun, Hong Zan, Daniel P. Chupp, Nu Zhang, Xin Zhang, Yong Liu, Xiao-Dong Li
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