The mechanisms that regulate cell death and inflammation play an important role in liver disease and cancer. Receptor-interacting protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) induces apoptosis and necroptosis via kinase-dependent mechanisms and exhibits kinase-independent prosurvival and proinflammatory functions. Here, we have used genetic mouse models to study the role of RIPK1 in liver homeostasis, injury, and cancer. While ablating either RIPK1 or RelA in liver parenchymal cells (LPCs) did not cause spontaneous liver pathology, mice with combined deficiency of RIPK1 and RelA in LPCs showed increased hepatocyte apoptosis and developed spontaneous chronic liver disease and cancer that were independent of TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) signaling. In contrast, mice with LPC-specific knockout of Ripk1 showed reduced diethylnitrosamine-induced (DEN-induced) liver tumorigenesis that correlated with increased DEN-induced hepatocyte apoptosis. Lack of RIPK1 kinase activity did not inhibit DEN-induced liver tumor formation, showing that kinase-independent functions of RIPK1 promote DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. Moreover, mice lacking both RIPK1 and TNFR1 in LPCs displayed normal tumor formation in response to DEN, demonstrating that RIPK1 deficiency decreases DEN-induced liver tumor formation in a TNFR1-dependent manner. Therefore, these findings indicate that RIPK1 cooperates with NF-κB signaling to prevent TNFR1-independent hepatocyte apoptosis and the development of chronic liver disease and cancer, but acts downstream of TNFR1 signaling to promote DEN-induced liver tumorigenesis.
Trieu-My Van, Apostolos Polykratis, Beate Katharina Straub, Vangelis Kondylis, Nikoletta Papadopoulou, Manolis Pasparakis
Mutations in WNT1 cause osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) and early-onset osteoporosis, identifying it as a key Wnt ligand in human bone homeostasis. However, how and where WNT1 acts in bone are unclear. To address this mechanism, we generated late-osteoblast-specific and osteocyte-specific WNT1 loss- and gain-of-function mouse models. Deletion of Wnt1 in osteocytes resulted in low bone mass with spontaneous fractures similar to that observed in OI patients. Conversely, Wnt1 overexpression from osteocytes stimulated bone formation by increasing osteoblast number and activity, which was due in part to activation of mTORC1 signaling. While antiresorptive therapy is the mainstay of OI treatment, it has limited efficacy in WNT1-related OI. In this study, anti-sclerostin antibody (Scl-Ab) treatment effectively improved bone mass and dramatically decreased fracture rate in swaying mice, a model of global Wnt1 loss. Collectively, our data suggest that WNT1-related OI and osteoporosis are caused in part by decreased mTORC1-dependent osteoblast function resulting from loss of WNT1 signaling in osteocytes. As such, this work identifies an anabolic function of osteocytes as a source of Wnt in bone development and homoeostasis, complementing their known function as targets of Wnt signaling in regulating osteoclastogenesis. Finally, this study suggests that Scl-Ab is an effective genotype-specific treatment option for WNT1-related OI and osteoporosis.
Kyu Sang Joeng, Yi-Chien Lee, Joohyun Lim, Yuqing Chen, Ming-Ming Jiang, Elda Munivez, Catherine Ambrose, Brendan H. Lee
HIV-1 causes a chronic, incurable disease due to its persistence in CD4+ T cells that contain replication-competent provirus, but exhibit little or no active viral gene expression and effectively resist combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). These latently infected T cells represent an extremely small proportion of all circulating CD4+ T cells but possess a remarkable long-term stability and typically persist throughout life, for reasons that are not fully understood. Here we performed massive single-genome, near-full-length next-generation sequencing of HIV-1 DNA derived from unfractionated peripheral blood mononuclear cells, ex vivo-isolated CD4+ T cells, and subsets of functionally polarized memory CD4+ T cells. This approach identified multiple sets of independent, near-full-length proviral sequences from cART-treated individuals that were completely identical, consistent with clonal expansion of CD4+ T cells harboring intact HIV-1. Intact, near-full-genome HIV-1 DNA sequences that were derived from such clonally expanded CD4+ T cells constituted 62% of all analyzed genome-intact sequences in memory CD4 T cells, were preferentially observed in Th1-polarized cells, were longitudinally detected over a duration of up to 5 years, and were fully replication- and infection-competent. Together, these data suggest that clonal proliferation of Th1-polarized CD4+ T cells encoding for intact HIV-1 represents a driving force for stabilizing the pool of latently infected CD4+ T cells.
Guinevere Q. Lee, Nina Orlova-Fink, Kevin Einkauf, Fatema Z. Chowdhury, Xiaoming Sun, Sean Harrington, Hsiao-Hsuan Kuo, Stephane Hua, Hsiao-Rong Chen, Zhengyu Ouyang, Kavidha Reddy, Krista Dong, Thumbi Ndung’u, Bruce D. Walker, Eric S. Rosenberg, Xu G. Yu, Mathias Lichterfeld
Obesity increases sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) via activation of proopiomelanocortin neurons in the arcuate nucleus (ArcN), and this action requires simultaneous withdrawal of tonic neuropeptide Y (NPY) sympathoinhibition. However, the sites and neurocircuitry by which NPY decreases SNA are unclear. Here, using designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) to selectively activate or inhibit ArcN NPY neurons expressing agouti-related peptide (AgRP) in mice, we have demonstrated that this neuronal population tonically suppresses splanchnic SNA (SSNA), arterial pressure, and heart rate via projections to the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH). First, we found that ArcN NPY/AgRP fibers closely appose PVN and DMH presympathetic neurons. Second, nanoinjections of NPY or an NPY receptor Y1 (NPY1R) antagonist into PVN or DMH decreased or increased SSNA, respectively. Third, blockade of DMH NPY1R reversed the sympathoinhibition elicited by selective, DREADD-mediated activation of ArcN NPY/AgRP neurons. Finally, stimulation of ArcN NPY/AgRP terminal fields in the PVN and DMH decreased SSNA. Considering that chronic obesity decreases ArcN NPY content, we propose that the ArcN NPY neuropathway to the PVN and DMH is pivotal in obesity-induced elevations in SNA.
Zhigang Shi, Christopher J. Madden, Virginia L. Brooks
Epidemiologic and animal studies implicate overconsumption of fructose in the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, but the molecular mechanisms underlying fructose-induced chronic liver diseases remain largely unknown. Here, we have presented evidence supporting the essential function of the lipogenic transcription factor carbohydrate response element–binding protein (ChREBP) in mediating adaptive responses to fructose and protecting against fructose-induced hepatotoxicity. In WT mice, a high-fructose diet (HFrD) activated hepatic lipogenesis in a ChREBP-dependent manner; however, in Chrebp-KO mice, a HFrD induced steatohepatitis. In Chrebp-KO mouse livers, a HFrD reduced levels of molecular chaperones and activated the C/EBP homologous protein–dependent (CHOP-dependent) unfolded protein response, whereas administration of a chemical chaperone or Chop shRNA rescued liver injury. Elevated expression levels of cholesterol biosynthesis genes in HFrD-fed Chrebp-KO livers were paralleled by an increased nuclear abundance of sterol regulatory element–binding protein 2 (SREBP2). Atorvastatin-mediated inhibition of hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis or depletion of hepatic Srebp2 reversed fructose-induced liver injury in Chrebp-KO mice. Mechanistically, we determined that ChREBP binds to nuclear SREBP2 to promote its ubiquitination and destabilization in cultured cells. Therefore, our findings demonstrate that ChREBP provides hepatoprotection against a HFrD by preventing overactivation of cholesterol biosynthesis and the subsequent CHOP-mediated, proapoptotic unfolded protein response. Our findings also identified a role for ChREBP in regulating SREBP2-dependent cholesterol metabolism.
Deqiang Q. Zhang, Xin Tong, Kyle VanDommelen, Neil Gupta, Kenneth Stamper, Graham F. Brady, Zhuoxian Meng, Jiandie D. Lin, Liangyou Y. Rui, M. Bishr Omary, Lei Yin
Preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME) is a cancer-testis antigen that is expressed in many cancers and leukemias. In healthy tissue, PRAME expression is limited to the testes and ovaries, making it a highly attractive cancer target. PRAME is an intracellular protein that cannot currently be drugged. After proteasomal processing, the PRAME300–309 peptide ALYVDSLFFL (ALY) is presented in the context of human leukocyte antigen HLA-A*02:01 molecules for recognition by the T cell receptor (TCR) of cytotoxic T cells. Here, we have described Pr20, a TCR mimic (TCRm) human IgG1 antibody that recognizes the cell-surface ALY peptide/HLA-A2 complex. Pr20 is an immunological tool and potential therapeutic agent. Pr20 bound to PRAME+HLA-A2+ cancers. An afucosylated Fc form (Pr20M) directed antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity against PRAME+HLA-A2+ leukemia cells and was therapeutically effective against mouse xenograft models of human leukemia. In some tumors, Pr20 binding markedly increased upon IFN-γ treatment, mediated by induction of the immunoproteasome catalytic subunit β5i. The immunoproteasome reduced internal destructive cleavages within the ALY epitope compared with the constitutive proteasome. The data provide rationale for developing TCRm antibodies as therapeutic agents for cancer, offer mechanistic insight on proteasomal regulation of tumor-associated peptide/HLA antigen complexes, and yield possible therapeutic solutions to target antigens with ultra-low surface presentation.
Aaron Y. Chang, Tao Dao, Ron S. Gejman, Casey A. Jarvis, Andrew Scott, Leonid Dubrovsky, Melissa D. Mathias, Tatyana Korontsvit, Victoriya Zakhaleva, Michael Curcio, Ronald C. Hendrickson, Cheng Liu, David A. Scheinberg
Patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) are at high risk for reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) and development of herpes zoster (HZ). Here, we found that macrophages from patients with CAD actively suppress T cell activation and expansion, leading to defective VZV-specific T cell immunity. Monocyte-derived and plaque-infiltrating macrophages from patients with CAD spontaneously expressed high surface density of the immunoinhibitory ligand programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), thereby providing negative signals to programmed death-1+ (PD-1+) T cells. We determined that aberrant PD-L1 expression in patient-derived macrophages was metabolically controlled. Oversupply of the glycolytic intermediate pyruvate in mitochondria from CAD macrophages promoted expression of PD-L1 via induction of the bone morphogenetic protein 4/phosphorylated SMAD1/5/IFN regulatory factor 1 (BMP4/p-SMAD1/5/IRF1) signaling pathway. Thus, CAD macrophages respond to nutrient excess by activating the immunoinhibitory PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint, leading to impaired T cell immunity. This finding indicates that metabolite-based immunotherapy may be a potential strategy for restoring adaptive immunity in CAD.
Ryu Watanabe, Tsuyoshi Shirai, Hong Namkoong, Hui Zhang, Gerald J. Berry, Barbara B. Wallis, Benedikt Schaefgen, David G. Harrison, Jennifer A. Tremmel, John C. Giacomini, Jörg J. Goronzy, Cornelia M. Weyand
The graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) is potent against chronic phase chronic myelogenous leukemia (CP-CML), but blast crisis CML (BC-CML) and acute myeloid leukemias (AML) are GVL resistant. To understand GVL resistance, we studied GVL against mouse models of CP-CML, BC-CML, and AML generated by the transduction of mouse BM with fusion cDNAs derived from human leukemias. Prior work has shown that CD4+ T cell–mediated GVL against CP-CML and BC-CML required intact leukemia MHCII; however, stem cells from both leukemias were MHCII negative. Here, we show that CP-CML, BC-CML, and AML stem cells upregulate MHCII in alloSCT recipients. Using gene-deficient leukemias, we determined that BC-CML and AML MHC upregulation required IFN-γ stimulation, whereas CP-CML MHC upregulation was independent of both the IFN-γ receptor (IFN-γR) and the IFN-γ/γ receptor IFNAR1. Importantly, IFN-γR–deficient BC-CML and AML were completely resistant to CD4- and CD8-mediated GVL, whereas IFN-γR/IFNAR1 double-deficient CP-CML was fully GVL sensitive. Mouse AML and BC-CML stem cells were MHCI+ without IFN-γ stimulation, suggesting that IFN-γ sensitizes these leukemias to T cell killing by mechanisms other than MHC upregulation. Our studies identify the requirement of IFN-γ stimulation as a mechanism for BC-CML and AML GVL resistance, whereas independence from IFN-γ renders CP-CML more GVL sensitive, even with a lower-level alloimmune response.
Catherine Matte-Martone, Jinling Liu, Meng Zhou, Maria Chikina, Douglas R. Green, John T. Harty, Warren D. Shlomchik
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is driven by mutations in PKD1 and PKD2 genes. Recent work suggests that epigenetic modulation of gene expression and protein function may play a role in ADPKD pathogenesis. In this study, we identified SMYD2, a SET and MYND domain protein with lysine methyltransferase activity, as a regulator of renal cyst growth. SMYD2 was upregulated in renal epithelial cells and tissues from Pkd1-knockout mice as well as in ADPKD patients. SMYD2 deficiency delayed renal cyst growth in postnatal kidneys from Pkd1 mutant mice. Pkd1 and Smyd2 double-knockout mice lived longer than Pkd1-knockout mice. Targeting SMYD2 with its specific inhibitor, AZ505, delayed cyst growth in both early- and later-stage Pkd1 conditional knockout mouse models. SMYD2 carried out its function via methylation and activation of STAT3 and the p65 subunit of NF-κB, leading to increased cystic renal epithelial cell proliferation and survival. We further identified two positive feedback loops that integrate epigenetic regulation and renal inflammation in cyst development: SMYD2/IL-6/STAT3/SMYD2 and SMYD2/TNF-α/NF-κB/SMYD2. These pathways provide mechanisms by which SMYD2 might be induced by cyst fluid IL-6 and TNF-α in ADPKD kidneys. The SMYD2 transcriptional target gene Ptpn13 also linked SMYD2 to other PKD-associated signaling pathways, including ERK, mTOR, and Akt signaling, via PTPN13-mediated phosphorylation.
Linda Xiaoyan Li, Lucy X. Fan, Julie Xia Zhou, Jared J. Grantham, James P. Calvet, Julien Sage, Xiaogang Li
Aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) are benign tumors of the adrenal gland that constitutively produce the salt-retaining steroid hormone aldosterone and cause millions of cases of severe hypertension worldwide. Either of 2 somatic mutations in the potassium channel KCNJ5 (G151R and L168R, hereafter referred to as KCNJ5MUT) in adrenocortical cells account for half of APAs worldwide. These mutations alter channel selectivity to allow abnormal Na+ conductance, resulting in membrane depolarization, calcium influx, aldosterone production, and cell proliferation. Because APA diagnosis requires a difficult invasive procedure, patients often remain undiagnosed and inadequately treated. Inhibitors of KCNJ5MUT could allow noninvasive diagnosis and therapy of APAs carrying KCNJ5 mutations. Here, we developed a high-throughput screen for rescue of KCNJ5MUT-induced lethality and identified a series of macrolide antibiotics, including roxithromycin, that potently inhibit KCNJ5MUT, but not KCNJ5WT. Electrophysiology demonstrated direct KCNJ5MUT inhibition. In human aldosterone-producing adrenocortical cancer cell lines, roxithromycin inhibited KCNJ5MUT-induced induction of CYP11B2 (encoding aldosterone synthase) expression and aldosterone production. Further exploration of macrolides showed that KCNJ5MUT was similarly selectively inhibited by idremcinal, a macrolide motilin receptor agonist, and by synthesized macrolide derivatives lacking antibiotic or motilide activity. Macrolide-derived selective KCNJ5MUT inhibitors thus have the potential to advance the diagnosis and treatment of APAs harboring KCNJ5MUT.
Ute I. Scholl, Laura Abriola, Chengbiao Zhang, Esther N. Reimer, Mark Plummer, Barbara I. Kazmierczak, Junhui Zhang, Denton Hoyer, Jane S. Merkel, Wenhui Wang, Richard P. Lifton
The progressive death of retinal ganglion cells and resulting visual deficits are hallmarks of glaucoma, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In many neurodegenerative diseases, cell death induced by primary insult is followed by a wave of secondary loss. Gap junctions (GJs), intercellular channels composed of subunit connexins, can play a major role in secondary cell death by forming conduits through which toxic molecules from dying cells pass to and injure coupled neighbors. Here we have shown that pharmacological blockade of GJs or genetic ablation of connexin 36 (Cx36) subunits, which are highly expressed by retinal neurons, markedly reduced loss of neurons and optic nerve axons in a mouse model of glaucoma. Further, functional parameters that are negatively affected in glaucoma, including the electroretinogram, visual evoked potential, visual spatial acuity, and contrast sensitivity, were maintained at control levels when Cx36 was ablated. Neuronal GJs may thus represent potential therapeutic targets to prevent the progressive neurodegeneration and visual impairment associated with glaucoma.
Abram Akopian, Sandeep Kumar, Hariharasubramanian Ramakrishnan, Kaushambi Roy, Suresh Viswanathan, Stewart A. Bloomfield
Somatostatin secreted by pancreatic δ cells mediates important paracrine interactions in Langerhans islets, including maintenance of glucose metabolism through the control of reciprocal insulin and glucagon secretion. Disruption of this circuit contributes to the development of diabetes. However, the precise mechanisms that control somatostatin secretion from islets remain elusive. Here, we found that a super-complex comprising the cullin 4B-RING E3 ligase (CRL4B) and polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) epigenetically regulates somatostatin secretion in islets. Constitutive ablation of CUL4B, the core component of the CRL4B-PRC2 complex, in δ cells impaired glucose tolerance and decreased insulin secretion through enhanced somatostatin release. Moreover, mechanistic studies showed that the CRL4B-PRC2 complex, under the control of the δ cell–specific transcription factor hematopoietically expressed homeobox (HHEX), determines the levels of intracellular calcium and cAMP through histone posttranslational modifications, thereby altering expression of the Cav1.2 calcium channel and adenylyl cyclase 6 (AC6) and modulating somatostatin secretion. In response to high glucose levels or urocortin 3 (UCN3) stimulation, increased expression of cullin 4B (CUL4B) and the PRC2 subunit histone-lysine N-methyltransferase EZH2 and reciprocal decreases in Cav1.2 and AC6 expression were found to regulate somatostatin secretion. Our results reveal an epigenetic regulatory mechanism of δ cell paracrine interactions in which CRL4B-PRC2 complexes, Cav1.2, and AC6 expression fine-tune somatostatin secretion and facilitate glucose homeostasis in pancreatic islets.
Qing Li, Min Cui, Fan Yang, Na Li, Baichun Jiang, Zhen Yu, Daolai Zhang, Yijing Wang, Xibin Zhu, Huili Hu, Pei-Shan Li, Shang-Lei Ning, Si Wang, Haibo Qi, Hechen Song, Dongfang He, Amy Lin, Jingjing Zhang, Feng Liu, Jiajun Zhao, Ling Gao, Fan Yi, Tian Xue, Jin-Peng Sun, Yaoqin Gong, Xiao Yu
Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD) is an autosomal dominant human disorder characterized by abnormal bone development that is mainly due to defective intramembranous bone formation by osteoblasts. Here, we describe a mouse strain lacking the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF146 that shows phenotypic similarities to CCD. Loss of RNF146 stabilized its substrate AXIN1, leading to impairment of WNT3a-induced β-catenin activation and reduced
Yoshinori Matsumoto, Jose La Rose, Melissa Lim, Hibret A. Adissu, Napoleon Law, Xiaohong Mao, Feng Cong, Paula Mera, Gerard Karsenty, David Goltzman, Adele Changoor, Lucia Zhang, Megan Stajkowski, Marc D. Grynpas, Carsten Bergmann, Robert Rottapel
NK cells are highly efficient at preventing cancer metastasis but are infrequently found in the core of primary tumors. Here, have we demonstrated that freshly isolated mouse and human NK cells express low levels of the endo-β-D-glucuronidase heparanase that increase upon NK cell activation. Heparanase deficiency did not affect development, differentiation, or tissue localization of NK cells under steady-state conditions. However, mice lacking heparanase specifically in NK cells (
Eva M. Putz, Alyce J. Mayfosh, Kevin Kos, Deborah S. Barkauskas, Kyohei Nakamura, Liam Town, Katharine J. Goodall, Dean Y. Yee, Ivan K.H. Poon, Nikola Baschuk, Fernando Souza-Fonseca-Guimaraes, Mark D. Hulett, Mark J. Smyth
Photopharmacological control of neuronal activity using synthetic photochromic ligands, or photoswitches, is a promising approach for restoring visual function in patients suffering from degenerative retinal diseases. Azobenzene photoswitches, such as AAQ and DENAQ, have been shown to restore the responses of retinal ganglion cells to light in mouse models of retinal degeneration but do not recapitulate native retinal signal processing. Here, we describe diethylamino-azo-diethylamino (DAD), a third-generation photoswitch that is capable of restoring retinal ganglion cell light responses to blue or white light. In acute brain slices of murine layer 2/3 cortical neurons, we determined that the photoswitch quickly relaxes to its inactive form in the dark. DAD is not permanently charged, and the uncharged form enables the photoswitch to rapidly and effectively cross biological barriers and thereby access and photosensitize retinal neurons. Intravitreal injection of DAD restored retinal light responses and light-driven behavior to blind mice. Unlike DENAQ, DAD acts upstream of retinal ganglion cells, primarily conferring light sensitivity to bipolar cells. Moreover, DAD was capable of generating ON and OFF visual responses in the blind retina by utilizing intrinsic retinal circuitry, which may be advantageous for restoring visual function.
Laura Laprell, Ivan Tochitsky, Kuldeep Kaur, Michael B. Manookin, Marco Stein, David M. Barber, Christian Schön, Stylianos Michalakis, Martin Biel, Richard H. Kramer, Martin P. Sumser, Dirk Trauner, Russell N. Van Gelder
The quantity and activation state of adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) impact the development of obesity-induced metabolic diseases. Appetite-controlling hormones play key roles in obesity; however, our understanding of their effects on ATMs is limited. Here, we have shown that human and mouse ATMs express NPFFR2, a receptor for the appetite-reducing neuropeptide FF (NPFF), and that NPFFR2 expression is upregulated by IL-4, an M2-polarizing cytokine. Plasma levels of NPFF decreased in obese patients and high-fat diet–fed mice and increased following caloric restriction. NPFF promoted M2 activation and increased the proliferation of murine and human ATMs. Both M2 activation and increased ATM proliferation were abolished in NPFFR2-deficient ATMs. Mechanistically, the effects of NPFF involved the suppression of E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF128 expression, resulting in enhanced stability of phosphorylated STAT6 and increased transcription of the M2 macrophage–associated genes IL-4 receptor α (Il4ra), arginase 1 (Arg1), IL-10 (Il10), and alkylglycerol monooxygenase (Agmo). NPFF induced ATM proliferation concomitantly with the increase in N-Myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (Ndrg2) expression and suppressed the transcription of Ifi200 cell-cycle inhibitor family members and MAF bZIP transcription factor B (Mafb), a negative regulator of macrophage proliferation. NPFF thus plays an important role in supporting healthy adipose tissue via the maintenance of metabolically beneficial ATMs.
Syed F. Hassnain Waqas, Anh Cuong Hoang, Ya-Tin Lin, Grace Ampem, Hind Azegrouz, Lajos Balogh, Julianna Thuróczy, Jin-Chung Chen, Ivan C. Gerling, Sorim Nam, Jong-Seok Lim, Juncal Martinez-Ibañez, José T. Real, Stephan Paschke, Raphaëlle Quillet, Safia Ayachi, Frédéric Simonin, E. Marion Schneider, Jacqueline A. Brinkman, Dudley W. Lamming, Christine M. Seroogy, Tamás Röszer
Design of efficacious Treg-based therapies and establishment of clinical tolerance in autoimmune diseases have proven to be challenging. The clinical implementation of Treg immunotherapy has been hampered by various impediments related to the stability and isolation procedures of Tregs as well as the specific in vivo targets of Treg modalities. Herein, we have demonstrated that Foxp3+ Tregs potently suppress autoimmune responses in vivo through inhibition of the autophagic machinery in DCs in a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4–dependent (CTLA4-dependent) manner. Autophagy-deficient DCs exhibited reduced immunogenic potential and failed to prime autoantigen-specific CD4+ T cells to mediate autoimmunity. Mechanistically, CTLA4 binding promoted activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis and FoxO1 nuclear exclusion in DCs, leading to decreased transcription of the autophagy component microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3β (Lc3b). Human DCs treated with CTLA4-Ig, a fusion protein composed of the Fc region of IgG1 and the extracellular domain of CTLA4 (also known as abatacept, marketed as Orencia), demonstrated reduced levels of autophagosome formation, while DCs from CTLA4-Ig–treated rheumatoid arthritis patients displayed diminished LC3B transcripts. Collectively, our data identify the canonical autophagy pathway in DCs as a molecular target of Foxp3+ Treg–mediated suppression that leads to amelioration of autoimmune responses. These findings may pave the way for the development of therapeutic protocols that exploit Tregs for the treatment of autoimmunity as well as diseases in which disturbed tolerance is a common denominator.
Themis Alissafi, Aggelos Banos, Louis Boon, Tim Sparwasser, Alessandra Ghigo, Kajsa Wing, Dimitrios Vassilopoulos, Dimitrios Boumpas, Triantafyllos Chavakis, Ken Cadwell, Panayotis Verginis
TGF-β is considered a master switch in the pathogenesis of organ fibrosis. The primary mediators of this activity are the SMAD proteins, particularly SMAD3. In the current study, we have developed a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) conjugate of the HIV TAT protein that is fused to an aminoterminal sequence of sorting nexin 9 (SNX9), which was previously shown to bind phosphorylated SMAD3 (pSMAD3). We determined that specifically preventing the nuclear import of pSMAD3 using the TAT-SNX9 peptide inhibited profibrotic TGF-β activity in murine cells and human lung fibroblasts as well as in vivo with no demonstrable toxicity. TGF-β signaling mediated by pSMAD2, bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), EGF, or PDGF was unaffected by the TAT-SNX9 peptide. Furthermore, while the TAT-SNX9 peptide prevented TGF-β’s profibrotic activity in vitro as well as in 2 murine treatment models of pulmonary fibrosis, a 3–amino acid point mutant that was unable to bind pSMAD3 proved ineffective. These findings indicate that specifically targeting pSMAD3 can ameliorate both the direct and indirect fibroproliferative actions of TGF-β.
Jeong-Han Kang, Mi-Yeon Jung, Xueqian Yin, Mahefatiana Andrianifahanana, Danielle M. Hernandez, Edward B. Leof
Voltage-gated sodium channel (NaV) mutations cause genetic pain disorders that range from severe paroxysmal pain to a congenital inability to sense pain. Previous studies on NaV1.7 and NaV1.8 established clear relationships between perturbations in channel function and divergent clinical phenotypes. By contrast, studies of NaV1.9 mutations have not revealed a clear relationship of channel dysfunction with the associated and contrasting clinical phenotypes. Here, we have elucidated the functional consequences of a NaV1.9 mutation (L1302F) that is associated with insensitivity to pain. We investigated the effects of L1302F and a previously reported mutation (L811P) on neuronal excitability. In transfected heterologous cells, the L1302F mutation caused a large hyperpolarizing shift in the voltage-dependence of activation, leading to substantially enhanced overlap between activation and steady-state inactivation relationships. In transfected small rat dorsal root ganglion neurons, expression of L1302F and L811P evoked large depolarizations of the resting membrane potential and impaired action potential generation. Therefore, our findings implicate a cellular loss of function as the basis for impaired pain sensation. We further demonstrated that a U-shaped relationship between the resting potential and the neuronal action potential threshold explains why NaV1.9 mutations that evoke small degrees of membrane depolarization cause hyperexcitability and familial episodic pain disorder or painful neuropathy, while mutations evoking larger membrane depolarizations cause hypoexcitability and insensitivity to pain.
Jianying Huang, Carlos G. Vanoye, Alison Cutts, Y. Paul Goldberg, Sulayman D. Dib-Hajj, Charles J. Cohen, Stephen G. Waxman, Alfred L. George Jr.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive disease with a prevalence of 1 million persons worldwide. The fibrosis spreads from affected alveoli into contiguous alveoli and leads to death by asphyxiation. We previously discovered that the IPF lung harbors fibrogenic mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) that serve as a cell of origin for disease-mediating myofibroblasts. In a prior genomewide transcriptional analysis, we found that IPF MPCs displayed increased expression of S100 calcium-binding A4 (S100A4), a protein linked to cancer cell proliferation and invasiveness. Here, we have examined whether S100A4 mediates MPC fibrogenicity. Ex vivo analysis revealed that IPF MPCs had increased levels of nuclear S100A4, which interacts with L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase to promote p53 degradation and MPC self-renewal. In vivo, injection of human IPF MPCs converted a self-limited bleomycin-induced mouse model of lung fibrosis to a model of persistent fibrosis in an S100A4-dependent manner. S100A4 gain of function was sufficient to confer fibrotic properties to non-IPF MPCs. In IPF tissue, fibroblastic foci contained cells expressing Ki67 and the MPC markers SSEA4 and S100A4. The expression colocalized in an interface region between myofibroblasts in the focus core and normal alveolar structures, defining this region as an active fibrotic front. Our findings indicate that IPF MPCs are intrinsically fibrogenic and that S100A4 confers MPCs with fibrogenicity.
Hong Xia, Adam Gilbertsen, Jeremy Herrera, Emilian Racila, Karen Smith, Mark Peterson, Timothy Griffin, Alexey Benyumov, Libang Yang, Peter B. Bitterman, Craig A. Henke