Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies have achieved promising outcomes in several cancers, however more challenging oncology indications may necessitate advanced antigen receptor designs and functions. Here we describe a bipartite receptor system comprised of separate antigen targeting and signal transduction polypeptides, each containing an extracellular dimerization domain. We demonstrate that T cell activation remains antigen dependent but can only be achieved in the presence of a dimerizing drug, rapamycin. Studies performed in vitro and in xenograft mouse models illustrate equivalent to superior anti-tumor potency compared to currently used CAR designs, and at rapamycin concentrations well below immunosuppressive levels. We further show that the extracellular positioning of the dimerization domains enables the administration of recombinant re-targeting modules, potentially extending antigen targeting. Overall, this novel regulatable CAR design has exquisite drug sensitivity, provides robust anti-tumor responses, and is uniquely flexible for multiplex antigen targeting or retargeting, which may further assist the development of safe, potent and durable T cell therapeutics.
Wai-Hang Leung, Joel Gay, Unja Martin, Tracy E. Garrett, Holly M. Horton, Michael T. Certo, Bruce R. Blazar, Richard A. Morgan, Philip D. Gregory, Jordan Jarjour, Alexander Astrakhan
Enchondroma and chondrosarcoma are the most common benign and malignant cartilaginous neoplasms. Mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (IDH1/2) are present in the majority of these tumors. We performed RNA-seq analysis on chondrocytes from Col2a1Cre;Idh1LSL/+ animals and found that genes implied in cholesterol synthesis pathway were significantly upregulated in the mutant chondrocytes. We examined the phenotypic effect of inhibiting intracellular cholesterol biosynthesis on enchondroma formation by conditionally deleting SCAP (sterol regulatory element-binding protein cleavage-activating protein), a protein activating intracellular cholesterol synthesis, in IDH1 mutant mice. We found fewer enchondromas in animals lacking SCAP. Furthermore, in chondrosarcomas, pharmacological inhibition of intracellular cholesterol synthesis significantly reduced chondrosarcoma cell viability in vitro and suppressed tumor growth in vivo. Taken together, these data suggest that intracellular cholesterol synthesis is a potential therapeutic target for enchondromas and chondrosarcomas.
Hongyuan Zhang, Qingxia Wei, Hidetoshi Tsushima, Vijitha Puviindran, Yuning J. Tang, Sinthu Pathmanapan, Raymond Poon, Eyal Ramu, Mushriq Al-Jazrawe, Jay S. Wunder, Benjamin A. Alman
In the current preclinical study, we demonstrate the therapeutic potential of sarcospan (SSPN) overexpression to alleviate cardiomyopathy associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) utilizing dystrophin-deficient mdx mice with utrophin haploinsufficiency that more accurately represent the severe disease course of human DMD. SSPN interacts with dystrophin, the DMD disease gene product, and its autosomal paralog utrophin, which is upregulated in DMD as a partial compensatory mechanism. SSPN transgenic mice have enhanced abundance of fully glycosylated α-dystroglycan, which may further protect dystrophin-deficient cardiac membranes. Baseline echocardiography reveals SSPN improves systolic function and hypertrophic indices in mdx and mdx:utr-heterozygous mice. Assessment of SSPN transgenic mdx mice by hemodynamic pressure-volume methods highlights enhanced systolic performance compared to mdx controls. SSPN restores cardiac sarcolemma stability, the primary defect in DMD disease, reduces fibrotic response and improves contractile function. We demonstrate that SSPN ameliorates more advanced cardiac disease in the context of diminished sarcolemma expression of utrophin and β1D integrin that mitigate disease severity and partially restores responsiveness to β-adrenergic stimulation. Overall, our current and previous findings suggest SSPN overexpression in DMD mouse models positively impacts skeletal, pulmonary and cardiac performance by addressing the stability of proteins at the sarcolemma that protect the heart from injury, supporting SSPN and membrane stabilization as a therapeutic target for DMD.
Michelle S. Parvatiyar, Alexandra J. Brownstein, Rosemeire M. Kanashiro-Takeuchi, Judd R. Collado, Karissa M. Dieseldorff Jones, Jay Gopal, Katherine G. Hammond, Jamie L. Marshall, Abel Ferrel, Aaron M. Beedle, Jeffrey S. Chamberlain, Jose Renato Pinto, Rachelle H. Crosbie
Monosomy 7 or deletion of 7q (del(7q)) are common clonal cytogenetic abnormalities associated with high grade myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) arising in inherited and acquired bone marrow failure. Current non-transplant approaches to treat marrow failure may be complicated by stimulation of clonal outgrowth. To study the biological consequences of del(7q) within the context of a failing marrow, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from patients with Shwachman Diamond Syndrome (SDS), a bone marrow failure disorder with MDS predisposition, and genomically engineered a 7q deletion. The TGFβ pathway was the top differentially regulated pathway in transcriptomic analysis of SDS versus SDSdel(7q) iPSCs. SMAD2 phosphorylation was increased in SDS relative to wild type cells consistent with hyperactivation of the TGFbeta pathway in SDS. Phospho-SMAD2 levels were reduced following 7q deletion in SDS cells and increased upon restoration of 7q diploidy. Inhibition of the TGFbeta pathway rescued hematopoiesis in SDS-iPSCs and in bone marrow hematopoietic cells from SDS patients while it had no impact on the SDSdel(7q) cells. These results identified a potential targetable vulnerability to improve hematopoiesis in an MDS-predisposition syndrome, and highlight the importance of the germline context of somatic alterations to inform precision medicine approaches to therapy.
Melisa Ruiz-Gutierrez, Özge Vargel Bölükbaşi, Gabriela Alexe, Andriana G. Kotini, Kaitlyn Ballotti, Cailin E. Joyce, David W. Russell, Kimberly Stegmaier, Kasiani Myers, Carl D. Novina, Eirini P. Papapetrou, Akiko Shimamura
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and accounts for substantial morbidity and mortality. Recently, we created a mouse model with spontaneous and sustained AF caused by a mutation in the NaV1.5 channel (F1759A) that enhances persistent Na+ current, thereby enabling the investigation of molecular mechanisms that cause AF and the identification of novel treatment strategies. The mice have regional heterogeneity of action potential duration of the atria similar to observations in patients with AF. In these mice, we found that the initiation and persistence of the rotational reentrant AF arrhythmias, known as spiral waves or rotors, were dependent upon action potential duration heterogeneity. The centers of the rotors were localized to regions of greatest heterogeneity of the action potential duration. Pharmacologically attenuating the action potential duration heterogeneity reduced both spontaneous and pacing-induced AF. Computer-based simulations also demonstrated that the action potential duration heterogeneity is sufficient to generate rotors that manifest as AF. Taken together, these findings suggest that action potential duration heterogeneity in mice and humans is one mechanism by which AF is initiated and that reducing action potential duration heterogeneity can lessen the burden of AF.
Uma Mahesh R. Avula, Jeffrey Abrams, Alexander Katchman, Sergey Zakharov, Sergey Mironov, Joseph Bayne, Daniel Roybal, Anirudh Gorti, Lin Yang, Vivek Iyer, Marc Waase, Deepak Saluja, Edward J. Ciaccio, Hasan Garan, Andrew R. Marks, Steven O. Marx, Elaine Y. Wan
Right ventricular dysfunction is highly prevalent across cardiopulmonary diseases and independently predicts death in both heart failure (HF) and pulmonary hypertension (PH). Progression towards right ventricular failure (RVF) can occur in spite of optimal medical treatment of HF or PH, highlighting current insufficient understanding of RVF molecular pathophysiology. To identify molecular mechanisms that may distinctly underlie RVF, we investigated the cardiac ventricular transcriptome of advanced HF patients, with and without RVF. Using an integrated systems genomic and functional biology approach, we identified an RVF-specific gene module, for which WIPI1 served as a hub and HSPB6 and MAP4 as drivers, and confirmed the ventricular specificity of Wipi1, Hspb6, and Map4 transcriptional changes in adult murine models of pressure overload induced RV- versus LV- failure. We uncovered a shift towards non-canonical autophagy in the failing RV that correlated with RV-specific Wipi1 upregulation. In vitro siRNA silencing of Wipi1 in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes limited non-canonical autophagy and blunted aldosterone-induced mitochondrial superoxide levels. Our findings suggest that Wipi1 regulates mitochondrial oxidative signaling and non-canonical autophagy in cardiac myocytes. Together with our human transcriptomic analysis and corroborating studies in an RVF mouse model, these data render Wipi1 a potential target for RV-directed HF therapy.
Christos Tzimas, Christoph D. Rau, Petra E. Buergisser, Gaston Jean-Louis Jr., Katherine Lee, Jeffrey Chukwuneke, Wen Dun, Yibin Wang, Emily J. Tsai
Bi-allelic inactivating mutations in DOCK8 cause a combined immunodeficiency characterised by severe pathogen infections, eczema, allergies, malignancy and impaired humoral responses. These clinical features result from functional defects in most lymphocyte lineages. Thus, DOCK8 plays a key role in immune cell function. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is curative for DOCK8 deficiency. While previous reports have described clinical outcomes for DOCK8 deficiency following HSCT, the effect on lymphocyte reconstitution and function has not been investigated. Our study determined whether defects in lymphocyte differentiation and function in DOCK8-deficient patients were restored following HSCT. DOCK8-deficient T and B lymphocytes exhibited aberrant activation and effector function in vivo and in vitro. Frequencies of αβ T and MAIT cells were reduced while γδT cells were increased in DOCK8-deficient patients. HSCT improved, abnormal lymphocyte function in DOCK8-deficient patients. Elevated total and allergen-specific IgE in DOCK8-deficient patients decreased over time following HSCT. Our results document the extensive catalogue of cellular defects in DOCK8-deficient patients, and the efficacy of HSCT to correct these defects, concurrent with improvements in clinical phenotypes. Overall, our findings provide mechanisms at a functional cellular level for improvements in clinical features of DOCK8 deficiency post-HSCT, identify biomarkers that correlate with improved clinical outcomes, and inform the general dynamics of immune reconstitution in patients with monogenic immune disorders following HSCT.
Bethany A. Pillay, Danielle T. Avery, Joanne M. Smart, Theresa Cole, Sharon Choo, Damien Chan, Paul E. Gray, Katie Frith, Richard Mitchell, Tri Giang Phan, Melanie Wong, Dianne E. Campbell, Peter Hsu, John B. Ziegler, Jane Peake, Frank Alvaro, Capucine Picard, Jacinta Bustamante, Benedicte Neven, Andrew J. Cant, Gulbu Uzel, Peter D. Arkwright, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Helen C. Su, Alexandra Freeman, Nirali Shah, Dennis D. Hickstein, Stuart G. Tangye, Cindy S. Ma
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a highly prevalent, and potentially morbid, disease that affects one-third of the U.S. population. Normal liver safely accommodates lipid excess during fasting or carbohydrate restriction by increasing their oxidation to acetyl-CoA and ketones, yet lipid excess during NAFLD leads to hyperglycemia and, in some, steatohepatitis. To examine potential mechanisms, flux through pathways of hepatic oxidative metabolism and gluconeogenesis were studied using five simultaneous stable isotope tracers in ketotic (24-hour fast) individuals with a wide range of hepatic triglyceride contents (0-52%). Ketogenesis was progressively impaired as hepatic steatosis and glycemia worsened. Conversely, the alternative pathway for acetyl-CoA metabolism, oxidation in the tricarboxylic (TCA) cycle, was upregulated in NAFLD as ketone production diminished and positively correlated with rates of gluconeogenesis and plasma glucose concentrations. Increased respiration and energy generation that occurred in liver when β-oxidation and TCA cycle activity were coupled may explain these findings, inasmuch as oxygen consumption was higher during fatty liver and highly correlated with gluconeogenesis. These findings demonstrate that increased glucose production and hyperglycemia in NAFLD is not a consequence of acetyl-CoA production per se, but how acetyl-CoA is further metabolized in liver.
Justin A. Fletcher, Stanislaw Deja, Santhosh Satapati, Xiaorong Fu, Shawn C. Burgess, Jeffrey D. Browning
Glucagon, a hormone released from pancreatic alpha-cells, plays a key role in maintaining proper glucose homeostasis and has been implicated in the pathophysiology of diabetes. In vitro studies suggest that intra-islet glucagon can modulate the function of pancreatic beta-cells. However, because of the lack of suitable experimental tools, the in vivo physiological role of this intra-islet cross-talk has remained elusive. To address this issue, we generated a novel mouse model that selectively expressed an inhibitory designer G protein-coupled receptor (Gi DREADD) in α-cells only. Drug-induced activation of this inhibitory designer receptor almost completely shut off glucagon secretion in vivo, resulting in significantly impaired insulin secretion, hyperglycemia, and glucose intolerance. Additional studies with mouse and human islets indicated that intra-islet glucagon stimulates insulin release primarily by activating β-cell GLP-1 receptors. These new findings strongly suggest that intra-islet glucagon signaling is essential for maintaining proper glucose homeostasis in vivo. Our work may pave the way toward the development of novel classes of antidiabetic drugs that act by modulating intra-islet cross-talk between α- and β-cells.
Lu Zhu, Diptadip Dattaroy, Jonathan Pham, Lingdi Wang, Luiz F. Barella, Yinghong Cui, Kenneth J. Wilkins, Bryan L. Roth, Ute Hochgeschwender, Franz M. Matschinsky, Klaus H. Kaestner, Nicolai M. Doliba, Jürgen Wess
IL-17-producing CD4+ cells (TH17) are pathogenically linked to autoimmunity including to autoimmune kidney disease. Erythropoietin’s (EPO) newly recognized immunoregulatory functions and its predominant intra-renal source suggested that EPO physiologically regulates TH17 differentiation, thereby serving as a barrier to the development of autoimmune kidney disease. Using in vitro studies of human and murine cells and in vivo models, we show that EPO ligation of its receptor (EPO-R) on CD4+ T cells directly inhibits TH17 generation and promotes trans-differentiation of TH17 into IL-17-FOXP3+CD4+ T cells. Mechanistically, EPO/EPO-R ligation abrogates upregulation of SGK1 gene expression and blocks p38 activity to prevent SGK1 phosphorylation, thereby inhibiting RORC-mediated transcription of IL-17 and IL-23 receptor genes. In a murine model of TH17-dependent aristolochic acid (ArA)-induced, interstitial kidney disease associated with reduced renal EPO production, we demonstrate that transgenic EPO overexpression or recombinant EPO (rEPO) administration limits TH17 formation and clinical/histological disease expression. EPO/EPO-R ligations on CD4+ T cells abrogate, while absence of T cell-expressed EPO-R augments, TH17 induction and clinical/histological expression of pristane-induced glomerulonephritis (associated with decreased intrarenal EPO). rEPO prevents spontaneous glomerulonephritis and TH17 generation in MRL-lpr mice. Together, our findings indicate that EPO physiologically and therapeutically modulate TH17 cells to limit expression of TH17-associated autoimmune kidney disease.
Chiara Donadei, Andrea Angeletti, Chiara Cantarelli, Vivette D. D'Agati, Gaetano La Manna, Enrico Fiaccadori, Julian Horwitz, Huabao Xiong, Chiara Guglielmo, Susan Hartzell, Joren C. Madsen, Umberto Maggiore, Peter S. Heeger, Paolo Cravedi
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