Osteoporosis is characterized by changes in bone architecture, including reduced bone mass and increased bone marrow fat. On page 3101 of this issue, Liu and colleagues examined the role of VEGF-A in regulating osteoblast/adipocyte lineage differentiation. Their findings indicate that VEGF controls the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells, promoting the formation of adipocytes over that of osteoblasts. Here, a microCT image reveals reduced trabecular bone density in mice with conditional deletion of
Stem cells are the critical unit affecting tissue maintenance, regeneration, and repair, with particular relevance to the tissues with high cell turnover. Stem cell regulation accommodates the conflicting needs of prompt responsiveness to injury and long-term preservation through quiescence. They are, in essence, the fundamental unit by which a tissue handles changing physiologic needs throughout the lifetime of the organism. As such, they are the focal point of dynamic tissue function, and their governance is physiology expressed at a cellular and molecular level. Here, we discuss the multiple components representing the stem cell niche in hematopoiesis and argue for a unbiased mapping of the niche constituents under different conditions as the first step in developing systems physiology.
Jonathan Hoggatt, David T. Scadden
Our understanding of thyroid hormone action has been substantially altered by recent clinical observations of thyroid signaling defects in syndromes of hormone resistance and in a broad range of conditions, including profound mental retardation, obesity, metabolic disorders, and a number of cancers. The mechanism of thyroid hormone action has been informed by these clinical observations as well as by animal models and has influenced the way we view the role of local ligand availability; tissue and cell-specific thyroid hormone transporters, corepressors, and coactivators; thyroid hormone receptor (TR) isoform–specific action; and cross-talk in metabolic regulation and neural development. In some cases, our new understanding has already been translated into therapeutic strategies, especially for treating hyperlipidemia and obesity, and other drugs are in development to treat cardiac disease and cancer and to improve cognitive function.
Gregory A. Brent
A single encounter with a dialysis patient led to the study of complement and neutrophil aggregation, which in turn spawned our work and the remarkable development of the field of vascular biology. As our understanding of these cellular interactions and the signaling pathways involved in these processes has expanded, so has our appreciation for the broad impact of this work on an array of human diseases.
Gregory M. Vercellotti, Charles F. Moldow, Harry S. Jacob
Dystroglycan is a prominent cell surface protein that mediates attachment to the extracellular matrix. Although broadly expressed, glycosylated dystroglycan is critically important for muscle cell adherence to its surrounding matrix. A subgroup of muscular dystrophies, which often manifest in infancy, is associated with reduced glycosylation of dystroglycan. In this issue of the JCI, Beedle et al. used conditional gene targeting of Fktn, the gene responsible for Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy, to investigate a developmental requirement for glycosylation of dystroglycan.
Elizabeth M. McNally
The growth and survival of tumor cells can depend upon the expression of a single oncogene, and therapeutically targeting this oncogene addiction has already proven to be an effective approach in fighting cancer. However, it is also clear that cancer cells can adapt and become resistant to therapy through compensatory activation of downstream pathways that relieve the cell of its addicted phenotype. In this issue of the JCI, two groups — Lee et al. and Cipriano et al. — identify two related candidate oncogenes that might both contribute to therapeutic resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). If validated, this information could help to identify new targets for therapeutic interventions in breast cancer and possibly other cancers and may also assist in the development of strategies designed to overcome resistance to currently available TKIs.
Our ability to track the progression of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease (PD) is hampered by a lack of biomarkers, rendering the neuronal changes that underlie clinical symptoms largely a mystery. In this issue of the JCI, Fanara et al. report the development of an innovative approach to biomarker development. They describe a method to measure axonal microtubule function via cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sampling and use this technique to provide evidence of deficiencies in this process in PD patients. This both sheds light on the pathophysiology of PD and has implications for the more general problem of developing biomarkers for any brain process.
William Z. Potter
Cells of the immune system have evolved various molecular mechanisms to sense their environment and react to alterations of self. NK cells are lymphocytes with effector and regulatory functions, which are remarkably adaptable to changes in self. In a study published in this issue of the JCI, Tarek and colleagues report the clinical benefits of manipulating NK cell adaptation to self in an innovative mAb-based therapy against neuroblastoma (NB). This novel therapeutic strategy should stimulate further research on NK cell therapies.
Baptiste N. Jaeger, Eric Vivier
Although the neural crest and its derivatives have been studied for a very long time, disorders of derivatives of the crest, the neurocristopathies, are not well understood. In this issue of the JCI, Nagashimada et al. provide an elegant analysis of one neurocristopathy, the association of neuroblastoma (NB) with Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) (aganglionosis of the terminal bowel) and congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) (also known as NB-HSCR-CCHS), linked to mutations in PHOX2B. In a mouse model, Nagashimada et al. demonstrate that a disease-linked mutation promotes tumorigenesis and disrupts neurogenesis, sympathetic gangliogenesis, and crest cell colonization of the terminal bowel. They also show that mutant PHOX2B results in decreased proliferation of crest-derived cells and the development of glia at the expense of neurons. The work raises intriguing issues about the possible common origin of sympathetic and enteric nervous systems and provides new hope that we may someday understand the vexing abnormalities in gastrointestinal function that persist after the surgical treatment of HSCR.
Michael D. Gershon
HIV infection leads to progressive destruction of infected CD4 T cells, hypergammaglobulinemia, and loss of memory B cells. Germinal centers, which are key to memory B cell formation and protective antibody responses, are major HIV reservoirs in which the virus replicates within T follicular helper (TFH) cells. In this issue of the JCI, the Koup and Streeck groups report that chronic SIV/HIV infection promotes TFH cell accumulation, which may drive B cell dysregulation. Their discoveries suggest that HIV harnesses TFH cells to evade the antibody response.
Carola G. Vinuesa
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive disease associated with neuronal cell death that is thought to involve aberrant immune responses. Here we investigated the role of innate immunity in a mouse model of ALS. We found that inflammatory monocytes were activated and that their progressive recruitment to the spinal cord, but not brain, correlated with neuronal loss. We also found a decrease in resident microglia in the spinal cord with disease progression. Prior to disease onset, splenic Ly6Chi monocytes expressed a polarized macrophage phenotype (M1 signature), which included increased levels of chemokine receptor CCR2. As disease onset neared, microglia expressed increased CCL2 and other chemotaxis-associated molecules, which led to the recruitment of monocytes to the CNS by spinal cord–derived microglia. Treatment with anti-Ly6C mAb modulated the Ly6Chi monocyte cytokine profile, reduced monocyte recruitment to the spinal cord, diminished neuronal loss, and extended survival. In humans with ALS, the analogous monocytes (CD14+CD16–) exhibited an ALS-specific microRNA inflammatory signature similar to that observed in the ALS mouse model, linking the animal model and the human disease. Thus, the profile of monocytes in ALS patients may serve as a biomarker for disease stage or progression. Our results suggest that recruitment of inflammatory monocytes plays an important role in disease progression and that modulation of these cells is a potential therapeutic approach.
Oleg Butovsky, Shafiuddin Siddiqui, Galina Gabriely, Amanda J. Lanser, Ben Dake, Gopal Murugaiyan, Camille E. Doykan, Pauline M. Wu, Reddy R. Gali, Lakshmanan K. Iyer, Robert Lawson, James Berry, Anna M. Krichevsky, Merit E. Cudkowicz, Howard L. Weiner
Cancer cells exhibit an aberrant metabolism that facilitates more efficient production of biomass and hence tumor growth and progression. However, the genetic cues modulating this metabolic switch remain largely undetermined. We identified a metabolic function for the promyelocytic leukemia (PML) gene, uncovering an unexpected role for this bona fide tumor suppressor in breast cancer cell survival. We found that PML acted as both a negative regulator of PPARγ coactivator 1A (PGC1A) acetylation and a potent activator of PPAR signaling and fatty acid oxidation. We further showed that PML promoted ATP production and inhibited anoikis. Importantly, PML expression allowed luminal filling in 3D basement membrane breast culture models, an effect that was reverted by the pharmacological inhibition of fatty acid oxidation. Additionally, immunohistochemical analysis of breast cancer biopsies revealed that PML was overexpressed in a subset of breast cancers and enriched in triple-negative cases. Indeed, PML expression in breast cancer correlated strikingly with reduced time to recurrence, a gene signature of poor prognosis, and activated PPAR signaling. These findings have important therapeutic implications, as PML and its key role in fatty acid oxidation metabolism are amenable to pharmacological suppression, a potential future mode of cancer prevention and treatment.
Arkaitz Carracedo, Dror Weiss, Amy K. Leliaert, Manoj Bhasin, Vincent C.J. de Boer, Gaelle Laurent, Andrew C. Adams, Maria Sundvall, Su Jung Song, Keisuke Ito, Lydia S. Finley, Ainara Egia, Towia Libermann, Zachary Gerhart-Hines, Pere Puigserver, Marcia C. Haigis, Elefteria Maratos-Flier, Andrea L. Richardson, Zachary T. Schafer, Pier P. Pandolfi
Osteoporotic bones have reduced spongy bone mass, altered bone architecture, and increased marrow fat. Bone marrow stem cells from osteoporotic patients are more likely to differentiate into adipocytes than control cells, suggesting that adipocyte differentiation may play a role in osteoporosis. VEGF is highly expressed in osteoblastic precursor cells and is known to stimulate bone formation. Here we tested the hypothesis that VEGF is also an important regulator of cell fate, determining whether differentiation gives rise to osteoblasts or adipocytes. Mice with conditional VEGF deficiency in osteoblastic precursor cells exhibited an osteoporosis-like phenotype characterized by reduced bone mass and increased bone marrow fat. In addition, reduced VEGF expression in mesenchymal stem cells resulted in reduced osteoblast and increased adipocyte differentiation. Osteoblast differentiation was reduced when VEGF receptor 1 or 2 was knocked down but was unaffected by treatment with recombinant VEGF or neutralizing antibodies against VEGF. Our results suggested that VEGF controls differentiation in mesenchymal stem cells by regulating the transcription factors RUNX2 and PPARγ2 as well as through a reciprocal interaction with nuclear envelope proteins lamin A/C. Importantly, our data support a model whereby VEGF regulates differentiation through an intracrine mechanism that is distinct from the role of secreted VEGF and its receptors.
Yanqiu Liu, Agnes D. Berendsen, Shidong Jia, Sutada Lotinun, Roland Baron, Napoleone Ferrara, Bjorn R. Olsen
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of large and medium-sized arteries characterized by leukocyte accumulation in the vessel wall. Both innate and adaptive immune responses contribute to atherogenesis, but the identity of atherosclerosis-relevant antigens and the role of antigen presentation in this disease remain poorly characterized. We developed live-cell imaging of explanted aortas to compare the behavior and role of APCs in normal and atherosclerotic mice. We found that CD4+ T cells were capable of interacting with fluorescently labeled (CD11c-YFP+) APCs in the aortic wall in the presence, but not the absence, of cognate antigen. In atherosclerosis-prone Apoe–/–CD11c-YFP+ mice, APCs extensively interacted with CD4+ T cells in the aorta, leading to cell activation and proliferation as well as secretion of IFN-γ and TNF-α. These cytokines enhanced uptake of oxidized and minimally modified LDL by macrophages. We conclude that antigen presentation by APCs to CD4+ T cells in the arterial wall causes local T cell activation and production of proinflammatory cytokines, which promote atherosclerosis by maintaining chronic inflammation and inducing foam cell formation.
Ekaterina K. Koltsova, Zacarias Garcia, Grzegorz Chodaczek, Michael Landau, Sara McArdle, Spencer R. Scott, Sibylle von Vietinghoff, Elena Galkina, Yury I. Miller, Scott T. Acton, Klaus Ley
The chemokine receptor CXCR2 is a key mediator of neutrophil migration that also plays a role in tumor development. However, CXCR2 influences tumors through multiple mechanisms and might promote or inhibit tumor development depending on context. Here, we used several mouse models of spontaneous and inflammation-driven neoplasia to define indispensable roles for CXCR2 in benign and malignant tumors. CXCR2-activating chemokines were part of the secretome of cultured primary benign intestinal adenomas (
Thomas Jamieson, Mairi Clarke, Colin W. Steele, Michael S. Samuel, Jens Neumann, Andreas Jung, David Huels, Michael F. Olson, Sudipto Das, Robert J.B. Nibbs, Owen J. Sansom
The most common forms of neurocristopathy in the autonomic nervous system are Hirschsprung disease (HSCR), resulting in congenital loss of enteric ganglia, and neuroblastoma (NB), childhood tumors originating from the sympathetic ganglia and adrenal medulla. The risk for these diseases dramatically increases in patients with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) harboring a nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of the Paired-like homeobox 2b (PHOX2B) gene, but the molecular mechanism of pathogenesis remains unknown. We found that introducing nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of the PHOX2B into the mouse Phox2b locus recapitulates the clinical features of the CCHS associated with HSCR and NB. In mutant embryos, enteric and sympathetic ganglion progenitors showed sustained sex-determining region Y (SRY) box10 (Sox10) expression, with impaired proliferation and biased differentiation toward the glial lineage. Nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of PHOX2B reduced transactivation of wild-type PHOX2B on its known target, dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), in a dominant-negative fashion. Moreover, the introduced mutation converted the transcriptional effect of PHOX2B on a Sox10 enhancer from repression to transactivation. Collectively, these data reveal that nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of PHOX2B is both a dominant-negative and gain-of-function mutation. Our results also demonstrate that Sox10 regulation by PHOX2B is pivotal for the development and pathogenesis of the autonomic ganglia.
Mayumi Nagashimada, Hiroshi Ohta, Chong Li, Kazuki Nakao, Toshihiro Uesaka, Jean-François Brunet, Jeanne Amiel, Delphine Trochet, Teruhiko Wakayama, Hideki Enomoto
Progress in neurodegenerative disease research is hampered by the lack of biomarkers of neuronal dysfunction. We here identified a class of cerebrospinal fluid–based (CSF-based) kinetic biomarkers that reflect altered neuronal transport of protein cargo, a common feature of neurodegeneration. After a pulse administration of heavy water (2H2O), distinct, newly synthesized 2H-labeled neuronal proteins were transported to nerve terminals and secreted, and then appeared in CSF. In 3 mouse models of neurodegeneration, distinct 2H-cargo proteins displayed delayed appearance and disappearance kinetics in the CSF, suggestive of aberrant transport kinetics. Microtubule-modulating pharmacotherapy normalized CSF-based kinetics of affected 2H-cargo proteins and ameliorated neurodegenerative symptoms in mice. After 2H2O labeling, similar neuronal transport deficits were observed in CSF of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) compared with non-PD control subjects, which indicates that these biomarkers are translatable and relevant to human disease. Measurement of transport kinetics may provide a sensitive method to monitor progression of neurodegeneration and treatment effects.
Patrizia Fanara, Po-Yin A. Wong, Kristofor H. Husted, Shanshan Liu, Victoria M. Liu, Lori A. Kohlstaedt, Timothy Riiff, Joan C. Protasio, Drina Boban, Salena Killion, Maudi Killian, Lorrie Epling, Elisabeth Sinclair, Julia Peterson, Richard W. Price, Deborah E. Cabin, Robert L. Nussbaum, Jörg Brühmann, Roland Brandt, Chadwick W. Christine, Michael J. Aminoff, Marc K. Hellerstein
Metastatic cancer is extremely difficult to treat, and the presence of metastases greatly reduces a cancer patient’s likelihood of long-term survival. The ZEB1 transcriptional repressor promotes metastasis through downregulation of microRNAs (miRs) that are strong inducers of epithelial differentiation and inhibitors of stem cell factors. Given that each miR can target multiple genes with diverse functions, we posited that the prometastatic network controlled by ZEB1 extends beyond these processes. We tested this hypothesis using a mouse model of human lung adenocarcinoma metastasis driven by ZEB1, human lung carcinoma cells, and human breast carcinoma cells. Transcriptional profiling studies revealed that ZEB1 controls the expression of numerous oncogenic and tumor-suppressive miRs, including miR-34a. Ectopic expression of miR-34a decreased tumor cell invasion and metastasis, inhibited the formation of promigratory cytoskeletal structures, suppressed activation of the RHO GTPase family, and regulated a gene expression signature enriched in cytoskeletal functions and predictive of outcome in human lung adenocarcinomas. We identified several miR-34a target genes, including Arhgap1, which encodes a RHO GTPase activating protein that was required for tumor cell invasion. These findings demonstrate that ZEB1 drives prometastatic actin cytoskeletal remodeling by downregulating miR-34a expression and provide a compelling rationale to develop miR-34a as a therapeutic agent in lung cancer patients.
Young-Ho Ahn, Don L. Gibbons, Deepavali Chakravarti, Chad J. Creighton, Zain H. Rizvi, Henry P. Adams, Alexander Pertsemlidis, Philip A. Gregory, Josephine A. Wright, Gregory J. Goodall, Elsa R. Flores, Jonathan M. Kurie
Chemotactic cytokines (chemokines) can help regulate tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Here, we show that chemokine 25 (CCL25) and its cognate receptor chemokine receptor 9 (CCR9) inhibit colorectal cancer (CRC) invasion and metastasis. We found that CCR9 protein expression levels were highest in colon adenomas and progressively decreased in invasive and metastatic CRCs. CCR9 was expressed in both primary tumor cell cultures and colon-cancer-initiating cell (CCIC) lines derived from early-stage CRCs but not from metastatic CRC. CCL25 stimulated cell proliferation by activating AKT signaling. In vivo, systemically injected CCR9+ early-stage CCICs led to the formation of orthotopic gastrointestinal xenograft tumors. Blocking CCR9 signaling inhibited CRC tumor formation in the native gastrointestinal CCL25+ microenvironment, while increasing extraintestinal tumor incidence. NOTCH signaling, which promotes CRC metastasis, increased extraintestinal tumor frequency by stimulating CCR9 proteasomal degradation. Overall, these data indicate that CCL25 and CCR9 regulate CRC progression and invasion and further demonstrate an appropriate in vivo experimental system to study CRC progression in the native colon microenvironment.
Huanhuan Joyce Chen, Robert Edwards, Serena Tucci, Pengcheng Bu, Jeff Milsom, Sang Lee, Winfried Edelmann, Zeynep H. Gümüs, Xiling Shen, Steven Lipkin
Aberrant regulation of growth signaling is a hallmark of cancer development that often occurs through the constitutive activation of growth factor receptors or their downstream effectors. Using validation-based insertional mutagenesis (VBIM), we identified family with sequence similarity 83, member B (FAM83B), based on its ability to substitute for RAS in the transformation of immortalized human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs). We found that FAM83B coprecipitated with a downstream effector of RAS, CRAF. Binding of FAM83B with CRAF disrupted CRAF/14-3-3 interactions and increased CRAF membrane localization, resulting in elevated MAPK and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. Ablation of FAM83B inhibited the proliferation and malignant phenotype of tumor-derived cells or RAS-transformed HMECs, implicating FAM83B as a key intermediary in EGFR/RAS/MAPK signaling. Analysis of human tumor specimens revealed that FAM83B expression was significantly elevated in cancer and was associated with specific cancer subtypes, increased tumor grade, and decreased overall survival. Cumulatively, these results suggest that FAM83B is an oncogene and potentially represents a new target for therapeutic intervention.
Rocky Cipriano, James Graham, Kristy L.S. Miskimen, Benjamin L. Bryson, Ronald C. Bruntz, Sarah A. Scott, H. Alex Brown, George R. Stark, Mark W. Jackson
Breast cancers commonly become resistant to EGFR–tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs); however, the mechanisms of this resistance remain largely unknown. We hypothesized that resistance may originate, at least in part, from molecular alterations that activate signaling downstream of EGFR. Using a screen to measure reversion of malignant cells into phenotypically nonmalignant cells in 3D gels, we identified
Sun-Young Lee, Roland Meier, Saori Furuta, Marc E. Lenburg, Paraic A. Kenny, Ren Xu, Mina J. Bissell
Mutations in the photoreceptor-specific flippase ABCA4 are associated with Stargardt disease and many other forms of retinal degeneration that currently lack curative therapies. Gene replacement is a logical strategy for ABCA4-associated disease, particularly given the current success of traditional viral-mediated gene delivery, such as with adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors. However, the large size of the ABCA4 cDNA (6.8 kbp) has hampered progress in the development of genetic treatments. Nonviral DNA nanoparticles (NPs) can accommodate large genes, unlike traditional viral vectors, which have capacity limitations. We utilized an optimized DNA NP technology to subretinally deliver ABCA4 to Abca4-deficient mice. We detected persistent ABCA4 transgene expression for up to 8 months after injection and found marked correction of functional and structural Stargardt phenotypes, such as improved recovery of dark adaptation and reduced lipofuscin granules. These data suggest that DNA NPs may be an excellent, clinically relevant gene delivery approach for genes too large for traditional viral vectors.
Zongchao Han, Shannon M. Conley, Rasha S. Makkia, Mark J. Cooper, Muna I. Naash
Plasmodium falciparum is the major cause of malaria globally and is transmitted by mosquitoes. During parasitic development, P. falciparum–infected erythrocytes (P. falciparum–IEs) express multiple polymorphic proteins known as variant surface antigens (VSAs), including the P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1). VSA-specific antibodies are associated with protection from symptomatic and severe malaria. However, the importance of the different VSA targets of immunity to malaria remains unclear, which has impeded an understanding of malaria immunity and vaccine development. In this study, we developed assays using transgenic P. falciparum with modified PfEMP1 expression to quantify serum antibodies to VSAs among individuals exposed to malaria. We found that the majority of the human antibody response to the IE targets PfEMP1. Furthermore, our longitudinal studies showed that individuals with PfEMP1-specific antibodies had a significantly reduced risk of developing symptomatic malaria, whereas antibodies to other surface antigens were not associated with protective immunity. Using assays that measure antibody-mediated phagocytosis of IEs, an important mechanism in parasite clearance, we identified PfEMP1 as the major target of these functional antibodies. Taken together, these data demonstrate that PfEMP1 is a key target of humoral immunity. These findings advance our understanding of the targets and mediators of human immunity to malaria and have major implications for malaria vaccine development.
Jo-Anne Chan, Katherine B. Howell, Linda Reiling, Ricardo Ataide, Claire L. Mackintosh, Freya J.I. Fowkes, Michaela Petter, Joanne M. Chesson, Christine Langer, George M. Warimwe, Michael F. Duffy, Stephen J. Rogerson, Peter C. Bull, Alan F. Cowman, Kevin Marsh, James G. Beeson
Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by increased susceptibility to specific human papillomaviruses, the betapapillomaviruses. These EV-HPVs cause warts and increase the risk of skin carcinomas in otherwise healthy individuals. Inactivating mutations in epidermodysplasia verruciformis 1 (EVER1) or EVER2 have been identified in most, but not all, patients with autosomal recessive EV. We found that 2 young adult siblings presenting with T cell deficiency and various infectious diseases, including persistent EV-HPV infections, were homozygous for a mutation creating a stop codon in the ras homolog gene family member H (RHOH) gene. RHOH encodes an atypical Rho GTPase expressed predominantly in hematopoietic cells. Patients’ circulating T cells contained predominantly effector memory T cells, which displayed impaired TCR signaling. Additionally, very few circulating T cells expressed the β7 integrin subunit, which homes T cells to specific tissues. Similarly, Rhoh-null mice exhibited a severe overall T cell defect and abnormally small numbers of circulating β7-positive cells. Expression of the WT, but not of the mutated RHOH, allele in Rhoh–/– hematopoietic stem cells corrected the T cell lymphopenia in mice after bone marrow transplantation. We conclude that RHOH deficiency leads to T cell defects and persistent EV-HPV infections, suggesting that T cells play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic EV-HPV infections.
Amandine Crequer, Anja Troeger, Etienne Patin, Cindy S. Ma, Capucine Picard, Vincent Pedergnana, Claire Fieschi, Annick Lim, Avinash Abhyankar, Laure Gineau, Ingrid Mueller-Fleckenstein, Monika Schmidt, Alain Taieb, James Krueger, Laurent Abel, Stuart G. Tangye, Gérard Orth, David A. Williams, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Emmanuelle Jouanguy
Crosstalk between the Notch and wingless-type MMTV integration site (WNT) signaling pathways has been investigated for many developmental processes. However, this negative correlation between Notch and WNT/β-catenin signaling activity has been studied primarily in normal developmental and physiological processes in which negative feedback loops for both signaling pathways are intact. We found that Notch1 signaling retained the capability of suppressing the expression of WNT target genes in colorectal cancers even when β-catenin destruction by the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) complex was disabled. Activation of Notch1 converted high-grade adenoma into low-grade adenoma in an Apcmin mouse colon cancer model and suppressed the expression of WNT target genes in human colorectal cancer cells through epigenetic modification recruiting histone methyltransferase SET domain bifurcated 1 (SETDB1). Extensive microarray analysis of human colorectal cancers also showed a negative correlation between the Notch1 target gene, Notch-regulated ankyrin repeat protein 1 (NRARP), and WNT target genes. Notch is known to be a strong promoter of tumor initiation, but here we uncovered an unexpected suppressive role of Notch1 on WNT/β-catenin target genes involved in colorectal cancer.
Hyun-A Kim, Bon-Kyoung Koo, Ji-Hoon Cho, Yoon-Young Kim, Jinwoo Seong, Hee Jin Chang, Young Min Oh, Daniel E. Stange, Jae-Gahb Park, Daehee Hwang, Young-Yun Kong
Survival outcomes for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma (NB) have significantly improved with anti-disialoganglioside GD2 mAb therapy, which promotes NK cell activation through antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. NK cell activation requires an interaction between inhibitory killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and HLA class I ligands. NK cells lacking KIRs that are specific for self HLA are therefore “unlicensed” and hyporesponsive. mAb-treated NB patients lacking HLA class I ligands for their inhibitory KIRs have significantly higher survival rates, suggesting that NK cells expressing KIRs for non-self HLA are mediating tumor control in these individuals. We found that, in the presence of mAb, both licensed and unlicensed NK cells are highly activated in vitro. However, HLA class I expression on NB cell lines selectively inhibited licensed NK cell activity, permitting primarily unlicensed NK cells to mediate antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. These results indicate that unlicensed NK cells play a key antitumor role in patients undergoing mAb therapy via antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, thus explaining the potent “missing KIR ligand” benefit in patients with NB.
Nidale Tarek, Jean-Benoit Le Luduec, Meighan M. Gallagher, Junting Zheng, Jeffrey M. Venstrom, Elizabeth Chamberlain, Shakeel Modak, Glenn Heller, Bo Dupont, Nai-Kong V. Cheung, Katharine C. Hsu
HIV targets CD4 T cells, which are required for the induction of high-affinity antibody responses and the formation of long-lived B cell memory. The depletion of antigen-specific CD4 T cells during HIV infection is therefore believed to impede the development of protective B cell immunity. Although several different HIV-related B cell dysfunctions have been described, the role of CD4 T follicular helper (TFH) cells in HIV infection remains unknown. Here, we assessed HIV-specific TFH responses in the lymph nodes of treatment-naive and antiretroviral-treated HIV-infected individuals. Strikingly, both the bulk TFH and HIV-specific TFH cell populations were significantly expanded in chronic HIV infection and were highly associated with viremia. In particular, GAG-specific TFH cells were detected at significantly higher levels in the lymph nodes compared with those of GP120-specific TFH cells and showed preferential secretion of the helper cytokine IL-21. In addition, TFH cell expansion was associated with an increase of germinal center B cells and plasma cells as well as IgG1 hypersecretion. Thus, our study suggests that high levels of HIV viremia drive the expansion of TFH cells, which in turn leads to perturbations of B cell differentiation, resulting in dysregulated antibody production.
Madelene Lindqvist, Jan van Lunzen, Damien Z. Soghoian, Bjorn D. Kuhl, Srinika Ranasinghe, Gregory Kranias, Michael D. Flanders, Samuel Cutler, Naomi Yudanin, Matthias I. Muller, Isaiah Davis, Donna Farber, Philip Hartjen, Friedrich Haag, Galit Alter, Julian Schulze zur Wiesch, Hendrik Streeck
CD4 T follicular helper (TFH) cells interact with and stimulate the generation of antigen-specific B cells. TFH cell interaction with B cells correlates with production of SIV-specific immunoglobulins. However, the fate of TFH cells and their participation in SIV-induced antibody production is not well understood. We investigated the phenotype, function, location, and molecular signature of TFH cells in rhesus macaques. Similar to their human counterparts, TFH cells in rhesus macaques represented a heterogeneous population with respect to cytokine function. In a highly differentiated subpopulation of TFH cells, characterized by CD150lo expression, production of Th1 cytokines was compromised while IL-4 production was augmented, and cells exhibited decreased survival, cycling, and trafficking capacity. TFH cells exhibited a distinct gene profile that was markedly altered by SIV infection. TFH cells were infected by SIV; yet, in some animals, these cells actually accumulated during chronic SIV infection. Generalized immune activation and increased IL-6 production helped drive TFH differentiation during SIV infection. Accumulation of TFH cells was associated with increased frequency of activated germinal center B cells and SIV-specific antibodies. Therefore, chronic SIV does not disturb the ability of TFH cells to help B cell maturation and production of SIV-specific immunoglobulins.
Constantinos Petrovas, Takuya Yamamoto, Michael Y. Gerner, Kristin L. Boswell, Kaska Wloka, Emily C. Smith, David R. Ambrozak, Netanya G. Sandler, Katherina J. Timmer, Xiaoyong Sun, Li Pan, Amanda Poholek, Srinivas S. Rao, Jason M. Brenchley, S. Munir Alam, Georgia D. Tomaras, Mario Roederer, Daniel C. Douek, Robert A. Seder, Ronald N. Germain, Elias K. Haddad, Richard A. Koup
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are zinc endopeptidases that block release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in neuromuscular synapses through cleavage of soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion (NSF) attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins, which promote fusion of synaptic vesicles to the plasma membrane. We designed and tested a BoNT-derived targeted secretion inhibitor (TSI) targeting pituitary somatotroph cells to suppress growth hormone (GH) secretion and treat acromegaly. This recombinant protein, called SXN101742, contains a modified GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) domain and the endopeptidase domain of botulinum toxin serotype D (GHRH-LHN/D, where HN/D indicates endopeptidase and translocation domain type D). In vitro, SXN101742 targeted the GHRH receptor and depleted a SNARE protein involved in GH exocytosis, vesicle-associated membrane protein 2 (VAMP2). In vivo, administering SXN101742 to growing rats produced a dose-dependent inhibition of GH synthesis, storage, and secretion. Consequently, hepatic IGF1 production and resultant circulating IGF1 levels were reduced. Accordingly, body weight, body length, organ weight, and bone mass acquisition were all decreased, reflecting the biological impact of SXN101742 on the GH/IGF1 axis. An inactivating 2–amino acid substitution within the zinc coordination site of the endopeptidase domain completely abolished SXN101742 inhibitory actions on GH and IGF1. Thus, genetically reengineered BoNTs can be targeted to nonneural cells to selectively inhibit hormone secretion, representing a new approach to treating hormonal excess.
Emmanuel Somm, Nicolas Bonnet, Alberto Martinez, Philip M.H. Marks, Verity A. Cadd, Mark Elliott, Audrey Toulotte, Serge L. Ferrari, René Rizzoli, Petra S. Hüppi, Elaine Harper, Shlomo Melmed, Richard Jones, Michel L. Aubert
Over half of the mature hepatocytes in mice and humans are aneuploid and yet retain full ability to undergo mitosis. This observation has raised the question of whether this unusual somatic genetic variation evolved as an adaptive mechanism in response to hepatic injury. According to this model, hepatotoxic insults select for hepatocytes with specific numerical chromosome abnormalities, rendering them differentially resistant to injury. To test this hypothesis, we utilized a strain of mice heterozygous for a mutation in the homogentisic acid dioxygenase (Hgd) gene located on chromosome 16. Loss of the remaining Hgd allele protects from fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (Fah) deficiency, a genetic liver disease model. When adult mice heterozygous for Hgd and lacking Fah were exposed to chronic liver damage, injury-resistant nodules consisting of Hgd-null hepatocytes rapidly emerged. To determine whether aneuploidy played a role in this phenomenon, array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and metaphase karyotyping were performed. Strikingly, loss of chromosome 16 was dramatically enriched in all mice that became completely resistant to tyrosinemia-induced hepatic injury. The frequency of chromosome 16–specific aneuploidy was approximately 50%. This result indicates that selection of a specific aneuploid karyotype can result in the adaptation of hepatocytes to chronic liver injury. The extent to which aneuploidy promotes hepatic adaptation in humans remains under investigation.
Andrew W. Duncan, Amy E. Hanlon Newell, Weimin Bi, Milton J. Finegold, Susan B. Olson, Arthur L. Beaudet, Markus Grompe
The myeloid-specific transcription factor, CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein ε (C/EBPε) is a critical mediator of myelopoiesis. Mutation of this gene is responsible for neutrophil-specific granule deficiency in humans, a condition that confers susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus infection. We found that C/EBPε-deficient mice are severely affected by infection with S. aureus, and C/EBPε deficiency in neutrophils contributes to the infectious phenotype. Conversely, exposure to the epigenetic modulator nicotinamide (vitamin B3) increased expression of C/EBPε in WT myeloid cells. Further, nicotinamide increased the activity of C/EBPε and select downstream antimicrobial targets, particularly in neutrophils. In a systemic murine infection model as well as in murine and human peripheral blood, nicotinamide enhanced killing of S. aureus by up to 1,000 fold but had no effect when administered to either C/EBPε-deficient mice or mice depleted of neutrophils. Nicotinamide was efficacious in both prophylactic and therapeutic settings. Our findings suggest that C/EBPε is an important target to boost killing of bacteria by the innate immune system.
Pierre Kyme, Nils H. Thoennissen, Ching Wen Tseng, Gabriela B. Thoennissen, Andrea J. Wolf, Kenichi Shimada, Utz O. Krug, Kunik Lee, Carsten Müller-Tidow, Wolfgang E. Berdel, W. David Hardy, Adrian F. Gombart, H. Phillip Koeffler, George Y. Liu
Dystroglycan is a transmembrane glycoprotein that links the extracellular basement membrane to cytoplasmic dystrophin. Disruption of the extensive carbohydrate structure normally present on α-dystroglycan causes an array of congenital and limb girdle muscular dystrophies known as dystroglycanopathies. The essential role of dystroglycan in development has hampered elucidation of the mechanisms underlying dystroglycanopathies. Here, we developed a dystroglycanopathy mouse model using inducible or muscle-specific promoters to conditionally disrupt fukutin (Fktn), a gene required for dystroglycan processing. In conditional Fktn-KO mice, we observed a near absence of functionally glycosylated dystroglycan within 18 days of gene deletion. Twenty-week-old KO mice showed clear dystrophic histopathology and a defect in glycosylation near the dystroglycan O-mannose phosphate, whether onset of Fktn excision driven by muscle-specific promoters occurred at E8 or E17. However, the earlier gene deletion resulted in more severe phenotypes, with a faster onset of damage and weakness, reduced weight and viability, and regenerating fibers of smaller size. The dependence of phenotype severity on the developmental timing of muscle Fktn deletion supports a role for dystroglycan in muscle development or differentiation. Moreover, given that this conditional Fktn-KO mouse allows the generation of tissue- and timing-specific defects in dystroglycan glycosylation, avoids embryonic lethality, and produces a phenotype resembling patient pathology, it is a promising new model for the study of secondary dystroglycanopathy.
Aaron M. Beedle, Amy J. Turner, Yoshiaki Saito, John D. Lueck, Steven J. Foltz, Marisa J. Fortunato, Patricia M. Nienaber, Kevin P. Campbell
Lipid overload and adipocyte dysfunction are key to the development of insulin resistance and can be induced by a high-fat diet. CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells have been proposed as mediators between lipid overload and insulin resistance, but recent studies found decreased iNKT cell numbers and marginal effects of iNKT cell depletion on insulin resistance under high-fat diet conditions. Here, we focused on the role of iNKT cells under normal conditions. We showed that iNKT cell–deficient mice on a low-fat diet, considered a normal diet for mice, displayed a distinctive insulin resistance phenotype without overt adipose tissue inflammation. Insulin resistance was characterized by adipocyte dysfunction, including adipocyte hypertrophy, increased leptin, and decreased adiponectin levels. The lack of liver abnormalities in CD1d-null mice together with the enrichment of CD1d-restricted iNKT cells in both mouse and human adipose tissue indicated a specific role for adipose tissue–resident iNKT cells in the development of insulin resistance. Strikingly, iNKT cell function was directly modulated by adipocytes, which acted as lipid antigen-presenting cells in a CD1d-mediated fashion. Based on these findings, we propose that, especially under low-fat diet conditions, adipose tissue–resident iNKT cells maintain healthy adipose tissue through direct interplay with adipocytes and prevent insulin resistance.
Henk S. Schipper, Maryam Rakhshandehroo, Stan F.J. van de Graaf, Koen Venken, Arjen Koppen, Rinke Stienstra, Serge Prop, Jenny Meerding, Nicole Hamers, Gurdyal Besra, Louis Boon, Edward E.S. Nieuwenhuis, Dirk Elewaut, Berent Prakken, Sander Kersten, Marianne Boes, Eric Kalkhoven
Tight regulation of calcium levels is required for many critical biological functions. The Ca2+-sensing receptor (CaSR) expressed by parathyroid cells controls blood calcium concentration by regulating parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion. However, CaSR is also expressed in other organs, such as the kidney, but the importance of extraparathyroid CaSR in calcium metabolism remains unknown. Here, we investigated the role of extraparathyroid CaSR using thyroparathyroidectomized, PTH-supplemented rats. Chronic inhibition of CaSR selectively increased renal tubular calcium absorption and blood calcium concentration independent of PTH secretion change and without altering intestinal calcium absorption. CaSR inhibition increased blood calcium concentration in animals pretreated with a bisphosphonate, indicating that the increase did not result from release of bone calcium. Kidney CaSR was expressed primarily in the thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle (TAL). As measured by in vitro microperfusion of cortical TAL, CaSR inhibitors increased calcium reabsorption and paracellular pathway permeability but did not change NaCl reabsorption. We conclude that CaSR is a direct determinant of blood calcium concentration, independent of PTH, and modulates renal tubular calcium transport in the TAL via the permeability of the paracellular pathway. These findings suggest that CaSR inhibitors may provide a new specific treatment for disorders related to impaired PTH secretion, such as primary hypoparathyroidism.
Alexandre Loupy, Suresh Krishna Ramakrishnan, Bharath Wootla, Régine Chambrey, Renaud de la Faille, Soline Bourgeois, Patrick Bruneval, Chantal Mandet, Erik Ilso Christensen, Hélène Faure, Lydie Cheval, Kamel Laghmani, Corinne Collet, Dominique Eladari, Robert H. Dodd, Martial Ruat, Pascal Houillier