Increased airway vagal sensory C-fiber activity contributes to the symptoms of inflammatory airway diseases. The KCNQ/Kv7/M-channel is a well-known determinant of neuronal excitability, yet whether it regulates the activity of vagal bronchopulmonary C-fibers and airway reflex sensitivity remain unknown. Here we addressed this issue using single-cell RT-PCR, patch clamp technique, extracellular recording of single vagal nerve fibers innervating the mouse lungs, and telemetric recording of cough in free-moving mice. Single-cell mRNA analysis and biophysical properties of M-current (IM) indicate that KCNQ3/Kv7.3 is the major M-channel subunit in mouse nodose neurons. The M-channel opener retigabine negatively shifted the voltage-dependent activation of IM, leading to membrane hyperpolarization, increased rheobase and suppression of both evoked and spontaneous action potential (AP) firing in nodose neurons in the M-channel inhibitor XE991-sensitive manner. Retigabine also markedly suppressed the α,β-methylene ATP-induced AP firing in nodose C-fiber terminals innervating the mouse lungs, and irritant gases-evoked coughing in awake mice. In conclusion, KCNQ/M-channels play a role in regulating the excitability of vagal airway C-fibers at both the cell soma and nerve terminals. Drugs that open M-channels in airway sensory afferents may relieve the sufferings associated with pulmonary inflammatory diseases such as chronic coughing.
Hui Sun, An-Hsuan Lin, Fei Ru, Mayur J. Patil, Sonya Meeker, Lu-Yuan Lee, Bradley J. Undem
Macrophages are well-recognized for their dual roles in orchestrating inflammatory responses and regulating tissue repair. In almost all acutely inflamed tissues, two main subclasses of macrophages co-exist. These include embryonically-derived resident tissue macrophages and bone marrow-derived recruited macrophages. While it is clear that macrophage subsets categorized in this fashion display distinct transcriptional and functional profiles, whether all cells within these categories and in the same inflammatory microenvironment share similar functions or whether further specialization exists has not been determined. To investigate inflammatory macrophage heterogeneity on a more granular level, we induced acute lung inflammation in mice and performed single cell RNA sequencing of macrophages isolated from the airspaces during health, peak inflammation, and resolution of inflammation. In doing so, we confirm that cell origin is the major determinant of AM programing and describe two previously uncharacterized, transcriptionally distinct subdivisions of AMs based on proliferative capacity and inflammatory programing.
Kara J. Mould, Nathan D. Jackson, Peter M. Henson, Max A. Seibold, William J. Janssen
While anti-VEGF drugs are commonly used to inhibit pathological retinal and choroidal neovascularization, not all patients respond in an optimal manner. Mechanisms underpinning resistance to anti-VEGF therapy include the upregulation of other pro-angiogenic factors. Therefore, therapeutic strategies that simultaneously target multiple growth factor signalling pathways would have significant value. Here, we show that Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CAMKII) mediates the angiogenic actions of a range of growth factors in human retinal endothelial cells and that this kinase acts as a key nodal point for the activation of several signal transduction cascades that are known to play a critical role in growth factor-induced angiogenesis. We also demonstrate that endothelial CAMKIIγ and δ isoforms differentially regulate the angiogenic effects of different growth factors and that genetic deletion of these isoforms suppresses pathological retinal and choroidal neovascularisation in vivo. Our studies suggest that CAMKII could provide a novel and efficacious target to inhibit multiple angiogenic signalling pathways for the treatment of vasoproliferative diseases of the eye. CAMKIIγ represents a particularly promising target, as deletion of this isoform inhibited pathological neovascularisation, whilst enhancing reparative angiogenesis in the ischemic retina.
Sadaf Ashraf, Samuel Bell, Caitriona O'Leary, Paul Canning, Ileana Micu, Jose A. Fernandez, Michael O'Hare, Peter Barabas, Hannah McCauley, Derek P. Brazil, Alan W. Stitt, J. Graham McGeown, Tim M. Curtis
The dysregulated, unbalanced immune response of sepsis results in a mortality exceeding 20%, yet recent findings by our group indicate that patients with allergic, type 2-mediated immune diseases are protected from developing sepsis. We evaluated CD4+ T helper (Th) cell polarization among patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and confirmed that survivors had a higher percentage of circulating Th2 cells, but lower frequencies of Th17 cells and neutrophils early in the course of infection. To establish the mechanism of this protection, we employed a mouse model of lethal S. aureus bacteremia and found that intratracheal pretreatment with the type 2-initiating cytokine IL-33 activated pulmonary type 2 innate lymphocytes (ILC2s) and promoted eosinophilia. In addition, stimulation of type 2 immunity prior to lethal infection suppressed the pulmonary neutrophilic response to S. aureus. Mice lacking functional ILC2s did not respond to IL-33 and were not protected from lethal bacteremia, but treatment of these mice with the type 2 cytokines IL-5 and IL-13 rescued them from death. Depletion of eosinophils abrogated IL-33-mediated protection, indicating that eosinophilia is also necessary for the survival benefit. Thus, we have identified a novel mechanism by which type 2 immunity can balance dysregulated septic inflammatory responses, thereby clarifying the protective benefit of type 2 immune diseases on sepsis mortality.
Paulette A. Krishack, Tyler J. Louviere, Trevor S. Decker, Timothy G. Kuzel, Jared A. Greenberg, Daniel F. Camacho, Cara L. Hrusch, Anne I. Sperling, Philip A. Verhoef
Airway mucin secretion is necessary for ciliary clearance of inhaled particles and pathogens, but can be detrimental in pathologies such as asthma and cystic fibrosis. Exocytosis in mammals requires a Munc18 scaffolding protein, and airway secretory cells express all three Munc18 isoforms. Using conditional airway epithelial deletant mice, we found that Munc18a has the major role in baseline mucin secretion, Munc18b has the major role in stimulated mucin secretion, and Munc18c does not function in mucin secretion. In an allergic asthma model, Munc18b deletion reduced airway mucus occlusion and airflow resistance. In a cystic fibrosis model, Munc18b deletion reduced airway mucus occlusion and emphysema. Munc18b deficiency in the airway epithelium did not result in any abnormalities of lung structure, particle clearance, inflammation, or bacterial infection. Our results show that regulated secretion in a polarized epithelial cell may involve more than one exocytic machine at the apical plasma membrane, and that the protective roles of mucin secretion can be preserved while therapeutically targeting its pathologic roles.
Ana M. Jaramillo, Lucia Piccotti, Walter V. Velasco, Anna Sofia Huerta Delgado, Zoulikha Azzegagh, Felicity S. Chung, Usman I. Nazeer, Junaid Farooq, Joshua M. Brenner, Jan Parker-Thornburg, Brenton L. Scott, Christopher M. Evans, Roberto Adachi, Alan R. Burns, Silvia M. Kreda, Michael J. Tuvim, Burton F. Dickey
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is caused by autoimmune destruction of pancreatic β cells. Mounting evidence supports a central role for β-cell alterations in triggering the activation of self-reactive T-cells in T1D. However, the early deleterious events that occur in β cells, underpinning islet autoimmunity are not known. We hypothesized that epigenetic modifications induced in β cells by inflammatory mediators play a key role in initiating the autoimmune response. We analyzed DNA methylation (DNAm) patterns and gene expression in human islets exposed to IFNα, a cytokine associated with T1D development. We found that IFNα triggers DNA demethylation and increases expression of genes controlling inflammatory and immune pathways. We then demonstrated that DNA demethylation was caused by up-regulation of the exoribonuclease, PNPase Old-35 (PNPT1), which caused degradation of miR-26a. This in turn promoted the up-regulation of ten-eleven translocation TET2 enzyme and increased 5-hydoxymethylcytosine levels in human islets and pancreatic β-cells. Moreover, we showed that specific IFNα expression in the β cells of IFNα-INS1CreERT2 transgenic mice, led to development of T1D that was preceded by increased islet DNA hydroxymethylation through a PNPT1/TET2-dependent mechanism. Our results suggest a new mechanism through which IFNα regulates DNAm in β cells, leading to changes in expression of genes in inflammatory and immune pathways that can initiate islet autoimmunity in T1D.
Mihaela Stefan-Lifshitz, Esra Karakose, Lingguang Cui, Abora Ettela, Zhengzi Yi, Weijia Zhang, Yaron Tomer
Alveolar type 2 (AT2) cell endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a prominent feature in adult and pediatric interstitial lung disease (ILD and ChILD), but in vivo models linking AT2 cell ER stress to ILD have been elusive. Based on a clinical ChILD case we identified a critical cysteine residue in the Surfactant Protein C gene (SFTPC) BRICHOS domain whose mutation induced ER stress in vitro. To model this in vivo, we generated a knock-in model expressing a cysteine-to-glycine substitution at codon 121 (C121G) in the Sftpc gene. SftpcC121G expression during fetal development resulted in a toxic gain of function resulting in fatal post-natal respiratory failure from disrupted lung morphogenesis. Induced SftpcC121G expression in adult mice resulted in an ER retained pro-protein causing AT2 cell ER stress. SftpcC121G AT2 cells were a source of cytokines expressed in concert with development of a polycellular alveolitis. These cytokines were subsequently found in a high-dimensional proteomic screen of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from ChILD patients with the same class of SFTPC mutations. Following alveolitis resolution, SftpcC121G mice developed spontaneous pulmonary fibrosis and restrictive lung impairment. This model provides proof of concept linking AT2 cell ER stress to fibrotic lung disease coupled with translationally relevant biomarkers.
Jeremy Katzen, Brandie D. Wagner, Alessandro Venosa, Meghan Kopp, Yaniv Tomer, Scott J. Russo, Alvis C. Headen, Maria C. Basil, James M. Stark, Surafel Mulugeta, Robin R. Deterding, Michael F. Beers
miR-155 has recently emerged as an important promoter of antitumor immunity through its functions in T lymphocytes. However, the impact of T cell expressed miR-155 on immune cell dynamics in solid tumors remains unclear. In the present study, we used single-cell RNA-sequencing to define the CD45+ immune cell populations at different timepoints within B16F10 murine melanoma tumors growing in either wild-type or miR-155 T cell conditional knockout (TCKO) mice. miR-155 was required for optimal T cell activation and reinforced the T cell response at the expense of infiltrating myeloid cells. Further, myeloid cells from tumors growing in TCKO mice were defined by an increase in wound healing genes and a decreased IFN-γ response gene signature. Finally, we found that miR-155 expression predicted a favorable outcome in human melanoma patients and was associated with a strong immune signature. Moreover, gene expression analysis of the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data revealed that miR-155 expression also correlates with an immune-enriched subtype in 29 other human solid tumors. Together, our study provides an unprecedented analysis of the cell types and gene expression signatures of immune cells within experimental melanoma tumors and elucidates the role of miR-155 in coordinating antitumor immune responses in mammalian tumors.
H. Atakan Ekiz, Thomas B. Huffaker, Allie H. Grossmann, W. Zac Stephens, Matthew A. Williams, June L. Round, Ryan M. O'Connell
The tumor microenvironment presents physical, immunologic, and metabolic barriers to durable immunotherapy responses. We have recently described roles for both T cell metabolic insufficiency as well as tumor hypoxia as inhibitory mechanisms which prevent T cell activity in murine tumors, but whether intratumoral T cell activity or response to immunotherapy vary between patients as a function of distinct metabolic profiles in tumor cells remains unclear. Here we show that metabolic derangement can vary widely in both degree and type in patient-derived cell lines and in ex vivo analysis of patient samples, such that some cells demonstrate solely deregulated oxidative or glycolytic metabolism. Further, deregulated oxidative, but not glycolytic, metabolism was associated with increased generation of hypoxia upon implantation into immunodeficient animals. Generation of murine single cell melanoma cell lines that lacked either oxidative or glycolytic metabolism showed that elevated tumor oxygen consumption was associated with increased T cell exhaustion and decreased immune activity. Further, melanoma lines lacking oxidative metabolism were solely responsive to anti-PD1 therapy among those tested. Prospective analysis of patient samples immunotherapy revealed that oxidative, but not glycolytic, metabolism was associated with progression on PD-1 blockade. Our data highlight a role for oxygen as a crucial metabolite required for the tumor-infiltrating T cells to differentiate appropriately upon PD-1 blockade, and suggesting tumor oxidative metabolism may be a target to improve immunotherapeutic response.
Yana G. Najjar, Ashley V. Menk, Cindy Sander, Uma Rao, Arivarasan Karunamurthy, Roma Bhatia, Shuyan Zhai, John M. Kirkwood, Greg M. Delgoffe
Beta-2 microglobulin (β2M) is a molecular chaperone for the major histocompatibility class I (MHC I) complex, hemochromatosis factor protein (HFE), and the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn), but β2M may also have less understood chaperoneindependent functions. Elevated plasma β2M has a direct role in neurocognitive decline and is a risk factor for adverse cardiovascular events. β2M mRNA is present in platelets at very high levels and β2M is part of the activated platelet releasate. In addition to their more well studied thrombotic functions, platelets are important immune regulatory cells that release inflammatory molecules and contribute to leukocyte trafficking, activation, and differentiation. We have now found that platelet-derived β2M is a mediator of monocyte pro-inflammatory differentiation through non-canonical TGF-β receptor signaling. Circulating monocytes from mice lacking β2M only in platelets (Plt-β2M–/–) had a more pro-reparative monocyte phenotype, in part dependent on increased platelet-derived TGF-β signaling in the absence of β2M. Using a mouse myocardial infarction (MI) model, Plt-β2M–/– mice had limited post-MI pro-inflammatory monocyte responses, and instead demonstrated early pro-reparative monocyte differentiation, profibrotic myofibroblast responses, and a rapid decline in heart function compared to WT mice. These data demonstrate a novel chaperone-independent, monocyte phenotype regulatory function for platelet β2M, and that platelet-derived β2M and TGF-β have opposing roles in monocyte differentiation that may be important in tissue injury responses.
Zachary T. Hilt, Daphne N. Pariser, Sara K. Ture, Amy Mohan, Pearl Quijada, Akua Asante, Scott J. Cameron, Julie A. Sterling, Alyssa R. Merkel, Andrew L. Johanson, Jermaine L. Jenkins, Eric M. Small, Kathleen E. McGrath, James Palis, Michael R. Elliott, Craig N. Morrell
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