Chronic inflammation causes target organ damage in patients with systemic autoimmune diseases. The factors that allow this protracted response are poorly understood. We analyzed the transcriptional regulation of PPP2R2B (B55ß), a molecule necessary for the termination of the immune response, in patients with autoimmune diseases. Altered expression of B55ß conditioned resistance to cytokine withdrawal-induced death (CWID) in patients with autoimmune diseases. The impaired upregulation of B55ß was caused by inflammation-driven hypermethylation of specific cytosines located within a regulatory element of PPP2R2B preventing CTCF binding. This phenotype could be induced in healthy T cells by exposure to TNF-α. Our results reveal a gene whose expression is affected by an acquired defect, through an epigenetic mechanism, in the setting of systemic autoimmunity. Because failure to remove activated T cells through CWID could contribute to autoimmune pathology, this mechanism illustrates a vicious cycle through which autoimmune inflammation contributes to its own perpetuation.
Iris K. Madera-Salcedo, Beatriz E. Sánchez-Hernández, Yevgeniya Svyryd, Marcela Esquivel-Velázquez, Noé Rodríguez-Rodríguez, María Isabel Trejo-Zambrano, H. Benjamín García-González, Gabriela Hernández-Molina, Osvaldo M. Mutchinick, Jorge Alcocer-Varela, Florencia Rosetti, José C. Crispín
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a major cause of cancer-related death with limited therapeutic options available. This highlights the need for improved understanding of the biology of PDA progression, a highly complex and dynamic process featuring changes in cancer cells and stromal cells. A comprehensive characterization of PDA cancer cell and stromal cell heterogeneity during disease progression is lacking. In this study, we aimed to profile cell populations and understand their phenotypic changes during PDA progression. To that end, we employed single-cell RNA sequencing technology to agnostically profile cell heterogeneity during different stages of PDA progression in genetically engineered mouse models. Our data indicate that an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of cancer cells accompanies tumor progression in addition to distinct populations of macrophages with increasing inflammatory features. We also noted the existence of three distinct molecular subtypes of fibroblasts in the normal mouse pancreas, which ultimately gave rise to two distinct populations of fibroblasts in advanced PDA, supporting recent reports on intratumoral fibroblast heterogeneity. Our data also suggest that cancer cells and fibroblasts may be dynamically regulated by epigenetic mechanisms. This study systematically describes the landscape of cellular heterogeneity during the progression of PDA and has the potential to act as a resource in the development of therapeutic strategies against specific cell populations of the disease.
Abdel Nasser Hosein, Huocong Huang, Zhaoning Wang, Kamalpreet Parmar, Wenting Du, Jonathan Huang, Anirban Maitra, Eric Olson, Udit Verma, Rolf A. Brekken
Glucagon and insulin are commonly believed to have counteracting effects on blood glucose levels. However, recent studies have demonstrated that glucagon has a physiologic role to activate β-cells and enhance insulin secretion. To date, the actions of glucagon have been studied mostly in fasting or hypoglycemic states, yet it is clear that mixed-nutrient meals elicit secretion of both glucagon and insulin, suggesting that glucagon also contributes to glucose regulation in the postprandial state. We hypothesized that the elevated glycemia seen in the fed state would allow glucagon to stimulate insulin secretion and reduce blood glucose. In fact, exogenous glucagon given under fed conditions did robustly stimulate insulin secretion and lower glycemia. Exogenous glucagon given to fed Gcgr:Glp1rβcell-/- mice failed to stimulate insulin secretion or reduce glycemia, demonstrating the importance of an insulinotropic glucagon effect. The action of endogenous glucagon to reduce glycemia in the fed state was tested with administration of alanine, a potent glucagon secretagogue. Alanine raised blood glucose in fasted WT mice or fed Gcgr:Glp1rβcell-/- mice, conditions where glucagon is unable to stimulate β-cell activity. However, alanine given to fed WT mice produced a decrease in glycemia, along with elevated insulin and glucagon levels. Overall, our data support a model in which glucagon serves as an insulinotropic hormone in the fed state and complements rather than opposes insulin action to maintain euglycemia.
Megan E. Capozzi, Jacob B. Wait, Jepchumba Koech, Andrew N. Gordon, Reilly W. Coch, Berit Svendsen, Brian Finan, David A. D'Alessio, Jonathan E. Campbell
Cardiac pressure overload (for example due to aortic stenosis) induces irreversible myocardial dysfunction, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis in patients. In contrast to adult, neonatal mice can efficiently regenerate the heart after injury in the first week after birth. To decipher whether insufficient cardiac regeneration contributes to the progression of pressure overload dependent disease, we established a transverse aortic constriction protocol in neonatal mice (nTAC). nTAC in the non-regenerative stage (at postnatal day P7) induced cardiac dysfunction, myocardial fibrosis and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. In contrast, nTAC in the regenerative stage (at P1) largely prevented these maladaptive responses and was in particular associated with enhanced myocardial angiogenesis and increased cardiomyocyte proliferation, which both supported adaptation during nTAC. A comparative transcriptomic analysis between hearts after regenerative versus non-regenerative nTAC suggested the transcription factor GATA4 as master regulator of the regenerative gene-program. Indeed, cardiomyocyte specific deletion of GATA4 converted the regenerative nTAC into a non-regenerative, maladaptive response. Our new nTAC model can be used to identify mediators of adaptation during pressure overload and to discover novel potential therapeutic strategies.
Mona Malek Mohammadi, Aya Abouissa, Azizah Isyatul, Yinuo Xie, Julio Cordero, Amir Shirvani, Anna Gigina, Maren Engelhardt, Felix A. Trogisch, Robert Geffers, Gergana Dobreva, Johann Bauersachs, Joerg Heineke
Fibrotic scarring drives the progression of heart failure after myocardial infarction (MI). Therefore, the development of specific treatment regimens to counteract fibrosis is of high clinical relevance. The transcription factor SOX9 functions as an important regulator during embryogenesis, but recent data point towards an additional causal role in organ fibrosis. We show here that SOX9 is upregulated in the scar after MI in mice. Fibroblast specific deletion of Sox9 ameliorated MI-induced left ventricular dysfunction, dilatation and myocardial scarring in vivo. Unexpectedly, deletion of Sox9 also potently eliminated persisting leukocyte infiltration of the scar in the chronic phase after MI. RNA-sequencing from the infarct scar revealed that Sox9 deletion in fibroblasts resulted in strongly downregulated expression of genes related to extracellular matrix, proteolysis and inflammation. Importantly, Sox9 deletion in isolated cardiac fibroblasts in vitro similarly affected gene expression as in the cardiac scar and reduced fibroblast proliferation, migration and contraction capacity. Together, our data demonstrate that fibroblast SOX9 functions as a master regulator of cardiac fibrosis and inflammation and might constitute a novel therapeutic target during MI.
Gesine M. Scharf, Katja Kilian, Julio Cordero, Yong Wang, Andrea Grund, Melanie Hofmann, Natali Froese, Xue Wang, Andreas Kispert, Ralf Kist, Simon J. Conway, Robert Geffers, Kai C. Wollert, Gergana Dobreva, Johann Bauersachs, Joerg Heineke
The synthesis of lipid and sterol species through de novo lipogenesis (DNL) is regulated by two functionally overlapping but distinct transcription factors: the sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) and carbohydrate response element binding protein (ChREBP). ChREBP is considered to be the dominant regulator of DNL in adipose tissue (AT); however, the SREBPs are highly expressed and robustly regulated in adipocytes, suggesting that the model of AT DNL may be incomplete. Here we describe a new mouse model of inducible, adipocyte-specific overexpression of the insulin-induced gene 1 (Insig1), a negative regulator of SREBP transcriptional activity. Contrary to convention, Insig1 overexpression did block AT lipogenic gene expression. However, this was immediately met with a compensatory mechanism triggered by redox activation of mTORC1 to restore SREBP1 DNL gene expression. Thus, we demonstrate that SREBP1 activity sustains adipocyte lipogenesis, a conclusion that has been elusive due to the constitutive nature of current mouse models.
Clair Crewe, Yi Zhu, Vivian A. Paschoal, Nolwenn Joffin, Alexandra L. Ghaben, Ruth Gordillo, Da Young Oh, Guosheng Liang, Jay D. Horton, Philipp E. Scherer
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal motor neuron disease with diverse etiologies. Therefore, the identification of common disease mechanisms and therapeutics targeting these mechanisms could dramatically improve clinical outcomes. To this end, we developed induced motor neuron (iMN) models from C9ORF72 and sporadic ALS (sALS) patients to identify targets that are effective against these types of cases, which together comprise ~90% of patients. We find that iMNs from C9ORF72 and several sporadic ALS patients share two common defects – impaired autophagosome formation and the aberrant accumulation of glutamate receptors. Moreover, we show that an anticoagulation-deficient form of activated protein C, 3K3A-APC, rescues these defects in both C9ORF72 and sporadic ALS iMNs. As a result, 3K3A-APC treatment lowers C9ORF72 dipeptide repeat protein (DPR) levels, restores nuclear TDP-43 localization, and rescues the survival of both C9ORF72 and sporadic ALS iMNs. Importantly, 3K3A-APC also lowers glutamate receptor levels and rescues proteostasis in vivo in C9ORF72 gain- and loss-of-function mouse models. Thus, motor neurons from C9ORF72 and at least a subset of sporadic ALS patients share common, early defects in autophagosome formation and glutamate receptor homeostasis and a single therapeutic approach may be efficacious against these disease processes.
Yingxiao Shi, Shu-Ting Hung, Gabriel Rocha, Shaoyu Lin, Gabriel R. Linares, Kim A. Staats, Carina Seah, Yaoming Wang, Michael Chickering, Jesse Lai, Tohru Sugawara, Abhay P. Sagare, Berislav V. Zlokovic, Justin K. Ichida
Solid organ transplantation can treat end-stage organ failure, but the half-life of transplanted organs colonized with commensals is much shorter than that of sterile organs. Whether organ colonization plays a role in this shorter half-life is not known. We have previously shown that an intact whole-body microbiota can accelerate the kinetics of solid organ allograft rejection in untreated colonized mice when compared to germ-free (GF) or to antibiotic-pre-treated colonized mice, by enhancing the capacity of antigen presenting cells (APCs) to activate graft-reactive T cells. However, the contribution of intestinal versus skin microbiota to these effects was unknown. Here, we demonstrate that colonizing the skin of GF mice with a single commensal, Staphylococcus epidermidis (S. epi), while preventing intestinal colonization with oral vancomycin, was sufficient to accelerate skin graft rejection. Notably, unlike the mechanism by which whole-body microbiota accelerates skin graft rejection, cutaneous S. epi did not enhance the priming of alloreactive T cells in the skin-draining lymph nodes (LNs). Rather, cutaneous S. epi augmented the ability of skin APCs to drive the differentiation of alloreactive T cells. This study reveals that the extra-intestinal donor microbiota can affect transplant outcome and may contribute to the shorter half-life of colonized organs.
Yuk Man Lei, Martin Sepulveda, Luqiu Chen, Ying Wang, Isabella Pirozzolo, Betty Theriault, Anita S. Chong, Yasmine Belkaid, Maria-Luisa Alegre
Podoplanin, a small mucine-type transmembrane glycoprotein, has been recently shown to be expressed by lymphangiogenic, fibrogenic and mesenchymal progenitor cells in the acutely and chronically infarcted myocardium. Podoplanin binds to CLEC-2, a C-type lectin-like receptor 2 highly expressed by CD11bhigh cells following inflammatory stimuli. Why podoplanin expression appears only after organ injury is currently unknown. Here, we characterize the role of podoplanin in different stages of myocardial repair after infarction and propose a podoplanin-mediated mechanism in the resolution of post-MI inflammatory response and cardiac repair. Neutralization of podoplanin led to significant improvements in the left ventricular functions and scar composition in animals treated with podoplanin neutralizing antibody. The inhibition of the interaction between podoplanin and CLEC-2 expressing immune cells in the heart enhances the cardiac performance, regeneration and angiogenesis post MI. Our data indicates that modulating the interaction between podoplanin positive cells with the immune cells after myocardial infarction positively affects immune cell recruitment and may represent a novel therapeutic target to augment post-MI cardiac repair, regeneration and function.
Maria Cimini, Venkata Naga Srikanth Garikipati, Claudio de Lucia, Zhongjian Cheng, Chunlin Wang, May M. Truongcao, Anna Maria Lucchese, Rajika Roy, Cindy Benedict, David A. Goukassian, Walter J. Koch, Raj Kishore
Obesity-related insulin resistance is associated with intramyocellular lipid accumulation in skeletal muscle. We hypothesized that in contrast to current dogma, this linkage is related to an upstream mechanism that coordinately regulates both processes. We demonstrate that the muscle-enriched transcription factor MondoA is glucose/fructose responsive in human skeletal myotubes and directs the transcription of genes in cellular metabolic pathways involved in diversion of energy substrate from a catabolic fate into nutrient storage pathways including fatty acid desaturation and elongation, triacylglyeride (TAG) biosynthesis, glycogen storage, and hexosamine biosynthesis. MondoA also reduces myocyte glucose uptake by suppressing insulin signaling. Mice with muscle-specific MondoA deficiency were partially protected from insulin resistance and muscle TAG accumulation in the context of diet-induced obesity. These results identify MondoA as a nutrient-regulated transcription factor that under normal physiological conditions serves a dynamic checkpoint function to prevent excess energy substrate flux into muscle catabolic pathways when myocyte nutrient balance is positive. However, in conditions of chronic caloric excess, this mechanism becomes persistently activated leading to progressive myocyte lipid storage and insulin resistance.
Byungyong Ahn, Shibiao Wan, Natasha Jaiswal, Rick B. Vega, Donald E. Ayer, Paul M. Titchenell, Xianlin Han, Kyoung Jae Won, Daniel P. Kelly
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