About one-third of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) cases are caused by mutations in sarcomere or cytoskeletal proteins. Yet treating the cytoskeleton directly is not possible because drugs that bind to actin are not well tolerated. Mutations in the actin binding protein CAP2 can cause DCM and knockout mice, either whole body (CAP2 KO) or cardiomyocyte-specific knockouts (CAP2 CKO), develop DCM with cardiac conduction disease. RNA-seq analysis of CAP2 KO hearts and isolated cardiomyocytes revealed over-activation of fetal genes including serum response factor (SRF) regulated genes such as Myl9 and Acta2 prior to the emergence of cardiac disease. To test if we could treat CAP2 KO mice, we synthesized and tested the SRF inhibitor CCG-1423-8u. CCG-1423-8u reduced expression of the SRF targets Myl9 and Acta2, as well as the biomarker of heart failure, Nppa. The median survival of CAP2 CKO mice was 98 days, while CCG-1423-8u treated CKO mice survived for 116 days and also maintain normal cardiac function longer. These results suggest that some forms of sudden cardiac death and cardiac conduction disease are under cytoskeletal stress and that inhibiting signaling through SRF may benefit DCM by reducing cytoskeletal stress.
Yao Xiong, Kenneth C. Bedi, Simon Berritt, Thomas G. Brooks, Bennette K. Attipoe, Kevin Wang, Kenneth B. Margulies, Jeffrey Field
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive disease with unremitting extracellular matrix deposition, leading to a distortion of pulmonary architecture and impaired gas exchange. Fibroblasts from IPF patients acquire an invasive phenotype that is essential for progressive fibrosis. Here, we performed RNA-seq analysis on invasive and non-invasive fibroblasts and found that the immune checkpoint ligand CD274 (PD-L1) was up-regulated on invasive lung fibroblasts and was required for the invasive phenotype of lung fibroblasts, is regulated by P53 and FAK, and drives lung fibrosis in a humanized IPF model in mice. Activating CD274 in IPF fibroblasts promoted invasion in vitro and pulmonary fibrosis in vivo. CD274 knockout in IPF fibroblasts and targeting CD274 by FAK inhibition or CD274 neutralizing antibodies blunted invasion and attenuated fibrosis, suggesting that CD274 may be a novel therapeutic target in IPF.
Yan Geng, Xue Liu, Jiurong Liang, David M. Habiel, Kulur Vrishika, Ana Lucia Coelho, Nan Deng, Ting Xie, Yizhou Wang, Ningshan Liu, Guanling Huang, Adrianne Kurkciyan, Zhenqiu Liu, Jie Tang, Cory M. Hogaboam, Dianhua Jiang, Paul W. Noble
B-cells are key contributors to chronic autoimmune pathology in multiple sclerosis (MS). Clonally related B-cells exist in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), meninges, and central nervous system (CNS) parenchyma of MS patients. We sought to investigate the presence of clonally related B-cells over time by performing immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region repertoire sequencing on B-cells from longitudinally collected blood and CSF samples of MS patients (n=10). All patients were untreated at the time of the initial sampling; the majority (n=7) were treated with immune modulating therapies 1.2 (+/-0.3 SD) years later during the second sampling. We found clonal persistence of B-cells in the CSF of five patients; these B-cells were frequently immunoglobulin (Ig) class-switched and CD27+. We identified specific blood B-cell subsets that appear to provide input into CNS repertoires over time. We demonstrate complex patterns of clonal B-cell persistence in CSF and blood, even in patients on immune modulating therapy. Our findings support the concept that peripheral B-cell activation and CNS-compartmentalized immune mechanisms can in part therapy-resistant.
Ariele L. Greenfield, Ravi Dandekar, Akshaya Ramesh, Erica L. Eggers, Hao Wu, Sarah Laurent, William Harkin, Natalie S. Pierson, Martin S. Weber, Roland G. Henry, Antje Bischof, Bruce A.C. Cree, Stephen L. Hauser, Michael R. Wilson, H.-Christian von Büdingen
Psoriasis (PS) is a systemic, immune-mediated inflammatory disorder. However, the whole lymphocyte compartment and the potential pathologies of PS have not been fully characterized. In the present study, we examined whole lymphocyte subsets and signal transduction proteins using high-dimensional single-cell mass cytometry and a bioinformatics pipeline for an in-depth characterization of the immune cell subsets and protein profiles involved in pathways in the peripheral blood of patients with PS. We identified 15 major immune cell populations in T cell lineages, and characterized various CD3+CD4+T helper and CD3+CD8+T cytotoxic cell populations simultaneously across 24 leukocyte markers and 7 proteins related to the signal transduction pathways. High-dimensional analysis identified three new subsets that are abundant in PS peripheral blood, resembling CD3-CD4+ lymphoid tissue inducer cells, Tc17, and CD8+CXCR3+ Tregs. We confirmed the CD3-CD4+ cells, and their features and functions, in an independent PS cohort. The use of single-cell mass cytometry allows systemic-level characterization of lymphocyte subpopulations and dysregulated signaling pathways in the blood of patients with PS, identifying abnormalities of different immune cell subsets. We validated that the CD3-CD4+ cells had elevated OX40 and decreased FRA2 expression, which were positively associated with the psoriasis area and severity index.
Ruru Guo, Ting Zhang, Xinyu Meng, Zhen Lin, Jinran Lin, Yu Gong, Xuesong Liu, Yuetian Yu, Guilin Zhao, Xianting Ding, Xiaoxiang Chen, Liangjing Lu
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a condition of unknown etiology, characterized by elevated intracranial pressure frequently manifesting with chronic headaches and visual loss. Similar to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), IIH predominantly affects obese women of reproductive age. In this study, we comprehensively examined the systemic and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) androgen metabolome in women with IIH in comparison to sex-, body mass index- and age-matched control groups with either simple obesity and PCOS, i.e. obesity and androgen excess. IIH women showed a pattern of androgen excess distinct to that observed in PCOS and simple obesity, with increased serum testosterone, and increased CSF testosterone and androstenedione. Human choroid plexus expressed the androgen receptor, alongside the androgen-activating enzyme aldoketoreductase type 1C3. We show that in a rat choroid plexus cell line testosterone significantly enhanced the activity of Na+/K+ ATPase, a surrogate of CSF secretion. We demonstrate that IIH patients have a unique signature of androgen excess and provide evidence that androgens can modulate CSF secretion via the choroid plexus. These findings implicate androgen excess as a potential causal driver and therapeutic target in IIH.
Michael W. O'Reilly, Connar S.J. Westgate, Catherine Hornby, Hannah Botfield, Angela E. Taylor, Keira Markey, James L. Mitchell, William J. Scotton, Susan P. Mollan, Andreas Yiangou, Carl Jenkinson, Lorna C. Gilligan, Mark Sherlock, James Gibney, Jeremy W. Tomlinson, Gareth G. Lavery, David J. Hodson, Wiebke Arlt, Alexandra J. Sinclair
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology can be used to engineer the antigen-specificity of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and improve their potency as an adoptive cell therapy in multiple disease models. As synthetic receptors, CARs carry the risk of immunogenicity, particularly when derived from non-human antibodies. Using an HLA-A*02:01-specific CAR (A2-CAR) encoding a single-chain Fv derived from a mouse antibody, we developed a panel of 20 humanized (h)A2-CARs. Systematic testing demonstrated variations in expression, ability to bind HLA-A*02:01, and stimulate human Treg suppression in vitro. In addition, we developed a new method to comprehensively map the alloantigen-specificity of CARs, revealing that humanization reduced HLA-A cross reactivity. In vivo bioluminescence imaging showed rapid trafficking and persistence of hA2-CAR Tregs in A2-expressing allografts, with eventual migration to draining lymph nodes. Adoptive transfer of hA2-CAR Tregs suppressed HLA-A2+ cell mediated xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease and diminished rejection of human HLA-A2+ skin allografts. These data provide a platform for systematic development and specificity testing of humanized alloantigen-specific CARs which can be used to engineer specificity and homing of therapeutic Tregs.
Nicholas A.J. Dawson, Caroline Lamarche, Romy E. Hoeppli, Peter Bergqvist, Vivian Fung, Emma McIver, Qing Huang, Jana Gillies, Madeleine Speck, Paul C. Orban, Jonathan W. Bush, Majid Mojibian, Megan K. Levings
Recovery from acute lung injury (ALI) is an active process. Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) contribute to recovery from ALI through modulating immune responses and enhancing alveolar epithelial proliferation and tissue repair. The current study investigates Treg transcriptional profiles during resolution of ALI in mice. Tregs from either lung or splenic tissue were isolated from uninjured mice or mice recovering from ALI and then examined for differential gene expression between these conditions. In mice with ALI, Tregs isolated from the lungs had hundreds of differentially expressed transcripts compared to those from the spleen, indicating that organ-specificity and microenvironment are critical in Treg function. These regulated transcripts suggest which intracellular signaling pathways modulate Treg behavior. Interestingly, several transcripts having no prior recognized function in Tregs were differentially expressed by lung Tregs during resolution. Further investigation into two identified transcripts, Mmp12 and Sik1, revealed that Treg-specific expression of each play a role in Treg-promoted ALI resolution. This study provides novel information describing the signals that may expand resident Tregs, recruit or retain them to the lung during ALI, and modulate their function. The results provide insight into both tissue- and immune microenvironment-specific transcriptional differences through which Tregs direct their effects.
Jason R. Mock, Catherine F. Dial, Miriya K. Tune, Dustin L. Norton, Jessica R. Martin, John C. Gomez, Robert S. Hagan, Hong Dang, Claire M. Doerschuk
Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common autosomal dominant muscular dystrophy and encompasses both skeletal muscle and cardiac complications. Myotonic dystrophy is nucleotide repeat expansion disorder in which type 1 (DM1) is due to a trinucleotide repeat expansion on chromosome 19 and type 2 (DM2) arises from a tetranucleotide repeat expansion on chromosome 3. Developing representative models of myotonic dystrophy in animals has been challenging due to instability of nucleotide repeat expansions, especially for DM2 which is characterized by nucleotide repeat expansions often greater than 5000 copies. To investigate mechanisms of human DM, we generated cellular models of DM1 and DM2. We used regulated MyoD expression to reprogram urine-derived cells into myotubes. In this myogenic cell model, we found impaired dystrophin expression, MBNL foci, and aberrant splicing in DM1 but not in DM2 cells. We generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from healthy controls, DM1 and DM2 subjects and differentiated these into cardiomyocytes. DM1 and DM2 cells displayed an increase in RNA foci concomitant with cellular differentiation. IPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from DM1 but not DM2 had aberrant splicing of known target genes and MBNL sequestration. High resolution imaging revealed tight association between MBNL clusters and RNA FISH foci in DM1. Ca2+ transients differed between DM1 and DM2 IPSC-derived cardiomyocytes and each differed from healthy control cells. RNA-sequencing from DM1 and DM2 iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes revealed distinct misregulation of gene expression as well as differential aberrant splicing patterns. Together these data support that DM1 and DM2, despite some shared clinical and molecular features, have distinct pathological signatures.
Ellis Y. Kim, David Y. Barefield, Andy H. Vo, Anthony M. Gacita, Emma J. Schuster, Eugene J. Wyatt, Janel L. Davis, Biqin Dong, Cheng Sun, Patrick Page, Lisa Dellefave-Castillo, Alexis Demonbreun, Hao F. Zhang, Elizabeth M. McNally
Although Type-2 (T2) induced epithelial dysfunction is likely to profoundly alter epithelial differentiation and repair in asthma, the mechanisms for these effects are poorly understood. A role for specific mucins, heavily N-glycosylated epithelial glycoproteins, in orchestrating epithelial cell fate in response to T2 stimuli has not previously been investigated. Levels of a sialylated MUC4β isoform were found to be increased in airway specimens from asthmatic patients, in association with T2 inflammation. We hypothesized that IL-13 would increase sialylation of MUC4β, thereby altering its function and that the β-galactoside α-2,6-sialyltranferase 1 (ST6GAL1) would regulate the sialylation. Using human biologic specimens and cultured primary human airway epithelial cells (HAECs), we demonstrated that IL-13 increased sialylation of MUC4β under control of ST6GAL1, and that both were increased in asthma, particularly in those with elevated T2 biomarkers. ST6GAL1 induced sialylation of MUC4β altered its lectin binding and secretion. Both ST6GAL1 and MUC4β inhibited epithelial cell proliferation while promoting goblet cell differentiation. These in vivo and in vitro data provide strong evidence for a critical role for ST6GAL1 induced sialylation of MUC4β in epithelial dysfunction associated with T2-High asthma, thereby identifying specific sialylation pathways as potential targets in asthma.
Xiuxia Zhou, Carol L. Kinlough, Rebecca P. Hughey, Mingzhu Jin, Hideki Inoue, Emily Etling, Brian D. Modena, Naftali Kaminski, Eugene R. Bleecker, Deborah A. Meyers, Nizar N. Jarjour, John B. Trudeau, Fernando Holguin, Anuradha Ray, Sally E. Wenzel
The circadian clock network is an evolutionally conserved system involved in the regulation of metabolic homeostasis; however, its impacts on skeletal metabolism remain largely unknown. We herein demonstrated that circadian clock network in the intestines plays pivotal roles in skeletal metabolism such that the lack of Bmal1 gene in the intestines (Bmal1Int-/- mice) caused bone loss with bone resorption being activated and bone formation suppressed. Mechanistically, Clock interaction with Vitamin D receptor (Vdr) accelerated its binding to VDR response element by enhancing histone acetylation in a circadian-dependent manner, and this was lost in Bmal1Int-/- mice because nuclear translocation of Clock required the presence of Bmal1. Accordingly, the rhythmic expression of Vdr-target genes involved in transcellular calcium (Ca) absorption was created, and this was not observed in Bmal1Int-/- mice. As a result, transcellular Ca absorption was impaired and bone resorption was activated in Bmal1Int-/- mice. Additionally, sympathetic tone, the activation of which suppresses bone formation, was elevated through afferent vagal nerves in Bmal1Int-/- mice, the blockade of which partially recovered bone loss by increasing bone formation and suppressing bone resorption in Bmal1Int-/- mice. These results demonstrate that the intestinal circadian system regulates skeletal bone homeostasis.
Masanobu Kawai, Saori Kinoshita, Miwa Yamazaki, Keiko Yamamoto, Clifford J. Rosen, Shigeki Shimba, Keiichi Ozono, Toshimi Michigami
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