BACKGROUND DICER1 is the only miRNA biogenesis component associated with an inherited tumor syndrome, featuring multinodular goiter (MNG) and rare pediatric-onset lesions. Other susceptibility genes for familial forms of MNG likely exist.METHODS Whole-exome sequencing of a kindred with early-onset MNG and schwannomatosis was followed by investigation of germline pathogenic variants that fully segregated with the disease. Genome-wide analyses were performed on 13 tissue samples from familial and nonfamilial DGCR8-E518K–positive tumors, including MNG, schwannomas, papillary thyroid cancers (PTCs), and Wilms tumors. miRNA profiles of 4 tissue types were compared, and sequencing of miRNA, pre-miRNA, and mRNA was performed in a subset of 9 schwannomas, 4 of which harbor DGCR8-E518K.RESULTS We identified c.1552G>A;p.E518K in DGCR8, a microprocessor component located in 22q, in the kindred. The variant identified is a somatic hotspot in Wilms tumors and has been identified in 2 PTCs. Copy number loss of chromosome 22q, leading to loss of heterozygosity at the DGCR8 locus, was found in all 13 samples harboring c.1552G>A;p.E518K. miRNA profiling of PTCs, MNG, schwannomas, and Wilms tumors revealed a common profile among E518K hemizygous tumors. In vitro cleavage demonstrated improper processing of pre-miRNA by DGCR8-E518K. MicroRNA and RNA profiling show that this variant disrupts precursor microRNA production, impacting populations of canonical microRNAs and mirtrons.CONCLUSION We identified DGCR8 as the cause of an unreported autosomal dominant mendelian tumor susceptibility syndrome: familial multinodular goiter with schwannomatosis.FUNDING Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Compute Canada, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, the Mia Neri Foundation for Childhood Cancer, Cassa di Sovvenzioni e Risparmio fra il Personale della Banca d’Italia, and the KinderKrebsInitiative Buchholz/Holm-Seppensen.
Barbara Rivera, Javad Nadaf, Somayyeh Fahiminiya, Maria Apellaniz-Ruiz, Avi Saskin, Anne-Sophie Chong, Sahil Sharma, Rabea Wagener, Timothée Revil, Vincenzo Condello, Zineb Harra, Nancy Hamel, Nelly Sabbaghian, Karl Muchantef, Christian Thomas, Leanne de Kock, Marie-Noëlle Hébert-Blouin, Angelia V. Bassenden, Hannah Rabenstein, Ozgur Mete, Ralf Paschke, Marc P. Pusztaszeri, Werner Paulus, Albert Berghuis, Jiannis Ragoussis, Yuri E. Nikiforov, Reiner Siebert, Steffen Albrecht, Robert Turcotte, Martin Hasselblatt, Marc R. Fabian, William D. Foulkes
Current antiangiogenic therapy is limited by its cytostatic property, scarce drug delivery to the tumor, and side toxicity. To address these limitations, we unveiled the role of ZEB1, a tumor endothelium–enriched zinc-finger transcription factor, during tumor progression. We discovered that the patients who had lung adenocarcinomas with high ZEB1 expression in tumor endothelium had increased prevalence of metastases and markedly reduced overall survival after the diagnosis of lung cancer. Endothelial ZEB1 deletion in tumor-bearing mice diminished tumor angiogenesis while eliciting persistent tumor vascular normalization by epigenetically repressing TGF-β signaling. This consequently led to improved blood and oxygen perfusion, enhanced chemotherapy delivery and immune effector cell infiltration, and reduced tumor growth and metastasis. Moreover, targeting vascular ZEB1 remarkably potentiated the anticancer activity of nontoxic low-dose cisplatin. Treatment with low-dose anti–programmed cell death protein 1 (anti–PD-1) antibody elicited tumor regression and markedly extended survival in ZEB1-deleted mice, conferring long-term protective anticancer immunity. Collectively, we demonstrated that inactivation of endothelial ZEB1 may offer alternative opportunities for cancer therapy with minimal side effects. Targeting endothelium-derived ZEB1 in combination with conventional chemotherapy or immune checkpoint blockade therapy may yield a potent and superior anticancer effect.
Rong Fu, Yi Li, Nan Jiang, Bo-Xue Ren, Chen-Zi Zang, Li-Juan Liu, Wen-Cong Lv, Hong-Mei Li, Stephen Weiss, Zheng-Yu Li, Tao Lu, Zhao-Qiu Wu
Cancer cachexia is a major cause of patient morbidity and mortality, with no efficacious treatment or management strategy. Despite cachexia sharing pathophysiological features with a number of neuromuscular wasting conditions, including age-related sarcopenia, the mechanisms underlying cachexia remain poorly understood. Studies of related conditions suggest that pathological targeting of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) may play a key role in cachexia, but this has yet to be investigated in human patients. Here, high-resolution morphological analyses were undertaken on NMJs of rectus abdominis obtained from patients undergoing upper GI cancer surgery compared with controls (N = 30; n = 1,165 NMJs). Cancer patients included those with cachexia and weight-stable disease. Despite the low skeletal muscle index and significant muscle fiber atrophy (P < 0.0001) in patients with cachexia, NMJ morphology was fully conserved. No significant differences were observed in any of the pre- and postsynaptic variables measured. We conclude that NMJs remain structurally intact in rectus abdominis in both cancer and cachexia, suggesting that denervation of skeletal muscle is not a major driver of pathogenesis. The absence of NMJ pathology is in stark contrast to what is found in related conditions, such as age-related sarcopenia, and supports the hypothesis that intrinsic changes within skeletal muscle, independent of any changes in motor neurons, represent the primary locus of neuromuscular pathology in cancer cachexia.
Ines Boehm, Janice Miller, Thomas M. Wishart, Stephen J. Wigmore, Richard J.E. Skipworth, Ross A. Jones, Thomas H. Gillingwater
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging arbovirus, endemic in many parts of the world, that is spread by travelers and adapts to new mosquito vectors that live in temperate climates. CHIKV replicates in many host tissues and initially causes a self-limiting febrile illness similar to dengue. However, in 30%–40% of cases, CHIKV also causes long-term painful and debilitating muscle and joint pain, the pathogenesis of which remains unknown. In this issue of the JCI, Lentscher et al. engineered a skeletal muscle–restricted CHIKV to show that while musculoskeletal disease requires viral replication in affected muscle, muscular pathology is mediated by host immunological factors. These findings de-link viral replication and disease symptoms, illuminate the virus-host interplay in CHIKV symptomatology, and raise the possibility that immune modulation is a therapeutic option. The results also highlight possible solutions to existing vaccine barriers and provide insights that may apply to other viral diseases.
Mutations in APC promote colorectal cancer (CRC) progression through uncontrolled WNT signaling. Patients with desmoplastic CRC have a significantly worse prognosis and do not benefit from chemotherapy, but the mechanisms underlying the differential responses of APC-mutant CRCs to chemotherapy are not well understood. We report that expression of the transcription factor prospero homeobox 1 (PROX1) was reduced in desmoplastic APC-mutant human CRCs. In genetic Apc-mutant mouse models, loss of Prox1 promoted the growth of desmoplastic, angiogenic, and immunologically silent tumors through derepression of Mmp14. Although chemotherapy inhibited Prox1-proficient tumors, it promoted further stromal activation, angiogenesis, and invasion in Prox1-deficient tumors. Blockade of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) and angiopoietin-2 (ANGPT2) combined with CD40 agonistic antibodies promoted antiangiogenic and immunostimulatory reprogramming of Prox1-deficient tumors, destroyed tumor fibrosis, and unleashed T cell–mediated killing of cancer cells. These results pinpoint the mechanistic basis of chemotherapy-induced hyperprogression and illustrate a therapeutic strategy for chemoresistant and desmoplastic CRCs.
Simone Ragusa, Borja Prat-Luri, Alejandra González-Loyola, Sina Nassiri, Mario Leonardo Squadrito, Alan Guichard, Sabrina Cavin, Nikolce Gjorevski, David Barras, Giancarlo Marra, Matthias P. Lutolf, Jean Perentes, Emily Corse, Roberta Bianchi, Laureline Wetterwald, Jaeryung Kim, Guillermo Oliver, Mauro Delorenzi, Michele De Palma, Tatiana V. Petrova
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MEK inhibitors (EGFRi/MEKi) are beneficial for the treatment of solid cancers but are frequently associated with severe therapy-limiting acneiform skin toxicities. The underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Using gene expression profiling we identified IL-36γ and IL-8 as candidate drivers of EGFRi/MEKi skin toxicity. We provide molecular and translational evidence that EGFRi/MEKi in concert with the skin commensal bacterium Cutibacterium acnes act synergistically to induce IL-36γ in keratinocytes and subsequently IL-8, leading to cutaneous neutrophilia. IL-36γ expression was the combined result of C. acnes–induced NF-κB activation and EGFRi/MEKi–mediated expression of the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4), due to the presence of both NF-κB and KLF4 binding sites in the human IL-36γ gene promoter. EGFRi/MEKi increased KLF4 expression by blockade of the EGFR/MEK/ERK pathway. These results provide an insight into understanding the pathological mechanism of the acneiform skin toxicities induced by EGFRi/MEKi and identify IL-36γ and the transcription factor KLF4 as potential therapeutic targets.
Takashi K. Satoh, Mark Mellett, Barbara Meier-Schiesser, Gabriele Fenini, Atsushi Otsuka, Hans-Dietmar Beer, Tamara Rordorf, Julia-Tatjana Maul, Jürg Hafner, Alexander A. Navarini, Emmanuel Contassot, Lars E. French
High levels of ecto-5′-nucleotidase (CD73) have been implicated in immune suppression and tumor progression, and have also been observed in cancer patients who progress on anti–PD-1 immunotherapy. Although regulatory T cells can express CD73 and inhibit T cell responses via the production of adenosine, less is known about CD73 expression in other immune cell populations. We found that tumor-infiltrating NK cells upregulate CD73 expression and the frequency of these CD73-positive NK cells correlated with larger tumor size in breast cancer patients. In addition, the expression of multiple alternative immune checkpoint receptors including LAG-3, VISTA, PD-1, and PD-L1 was significantly higher in CD73-positive NK cells than in CD73-negative NK cells. Mechanistically, NK cells transport CD73 in intracellular vesicles to the cell surface and the extracellular space via actin polymerization–dependent exocytosis upon engagement of 4-1BBL on tumor cells. These CD73-positive NK cells undergo transcriptional reprogramming and upregulate IL-10 production via STAT3 transcriptional activity, suppressing CD4-positive T cell proliferation and IFN-γ production. Taken together, our results support the notion that tumors can hijack NK cells as a means to escape immunity and that CD73 expression defines an inducible population of NK cells with immunoregulatory properties within the tumor microenvironment.
Shi Yong Neo, Ying Yang, Julien Record, Ran Ma, Xinsong Chen, Ziqing Chen, Nicholas P. Tobin, Emily Blake, Christina Seitz, Ron Thomas, Arnika Kathleen Wagner, John Andersson, Jana de Boniface, Jonas Bergh, Shannon Murray, Evren Alici, Richard Childs, Martin Johansson, Lisa S. Westerberg, Felix Haglund, Johan Hartman, Andreas Lundqvist
Therapy with antineoplastic agents that inhibit EGFR and MEK is frequently limited by cutaneous adverse reactions, most commonly acne-like eruptions. In this issue of the JCI, Satoh et al. define a mechanism for acneiform skin toxicity wherein EGFR/MEK inhibitors cooperate with the skin commensal Cutibacterium acnes to induce IL-36γ in keratinocytes via the combined actions of Krüppel-like factor 4 and NF-κB transcription factors at the IL-36γ promoter, resulting in neutrophil recruitment. In addition to elucidating why EGFR/MEK inhibitor–induced rashes are often pustular and folliculocentric, this mechanism provides justification for the long-standing practice of management with antibiotic therapy.
Allison C. Billi, Mrinal K. Sarkar, Johann E. Gudjonsson
Despite advancements in targeting the immune checkpoints program cell death protein 1 (PD-1), programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), and cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) for cancer immunotherapy, a large number of patients and cancer types remain unresponsive. Current immunotherapies focus on modulating an antitumor immune response by directly or indirectly expanding antitumor CD8 T cells. A complementary strategy might involve inhibition of Tregs that otherwise suppress antitumor immune responses. Here, we sought to identify functional immune molecules preferentially expressed on tumor-infiltrating Tregs. Using genome-wide RNA-Seq analysis of purified Tregs sorted from multiple human cancer types, we identified a conserved Treg immune checkpoint signature. Using immunocompetent murine tumor models, we found that antibody-mediated depletion of 4-1BB–expressing cells (4-1BB is also known as TNFRSF9 or CD137) decreased tumor growth without negatively affecting CD8 T cell function. Furthermore, we found that the immune checkpoint 4-1BB had a high selectivity for human tumor Tregs and was associated with worse survival outcomes in patients with multiple tumor types. Thus, antibody-mediated depletion of 4-1BB–expressing Tregs represents a strategy with potential activity across cancer types.
Zachary T. Freeman, Thomas R. Nirschl, Daniel H. Hovelson, Robert J. Johnston, John J. Engelhardt, Mark J. Selby, Christina M. Kochel, Ruth Y. Lan, Jingyi Zhai, Ali Ghasemzadeh, Anuj Gupta, Alyza M. Skaist, Sarah J. Wheelan, Hui Jiang, Alexander T. Pearson, Linda A. Snyder, Alan J. Korman, Scott A. Tomlins, Srinivasan Yegnasubramanian, Charles G. Drake
BACKGROUND An increase in intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) is the hallmark feature of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and is decreased by weight loss. Hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) contributes to steatosis in individuals with NAFLD. The physiological factors that stimulate hepatic DNL and the effect of weight loss on hepatic DNL are not clear.METHODS Hepatic DNL, 24-hour integrated plasma insulin and glucose concentrations, and both liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity were determined in individuals who were lean (n = 14), obese with normal IHTG content (n = 26), or obese with NAFLD (n = 27). Hepatic DNL was assessed using the deuterated water method corrected for the potential confounding contribution of adipose tissue DNL. Liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity was assessed using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure in conjunction with glucose tracer infusion. Six subjects in the obese-NAFLD group were also evaluated before and after a diet-induced weight loss of 10%.RESULTS The contribution of hepatic DNL to IHTG-palmitate was 11%, 19%, and 38% in the lean, obese, and obese-NAFLD groups, respectively. Hepatic DNL was inversely correlated with hepatic and whole-body insulin sensitivity, but directly correlated with 24-hour plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Weight loss decreased IHTG content, in conjunction with a decrease in hepatic DNL and 24-hour plasma glucose and insulin concentrations.CONCLUSIONS These data suggest hepatic DNL is an important regulator of IHTG content and that increases in circulating glucose and insulin stimulate hepatic DNL in individuals with NAFLD. Weight loss decreased IHTG content, at least in part, by decreasing hepatic DNL.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02706262.FUNDING This study was supported by NIH grants DK56341 (Nutrition Obesity Research Center), DK20579 (Diabetes Research Center), DK52574 (Digestive Disease Research Center), and RR024992 (Clinical and Translational Science Award), and by grants from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, the College of Natural Resources of UCB, and the Pershing Square Foundation.
Gordon I. Smith, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Mihoko Yoshino, George G. Schweitzer, Maria Chondronikola, Joseph W. Beals, Adewole L. Okunade, Bruce W. Patterson, Edna Nyangau, Tyler Field, Claude B. Sirlin, Saswata Talukdar, Marc K. Hellerstein, Samuel Klein
The drug efflux pump ABCB1 is a key driver of chemoresistance, and high expression predicts treatment failure in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this study, we identified and functionally validated the network of enhancers that controls expression of ABCB1. We show that exposure of leukemia cells to daunorubicin activated an integrated stress response–like transcriptional program to induce ABCB1 through remodeling and activation of an ATF4-bound, stress-responsive enhancer. Protracted stress primed enhancers for rapid increases in activity following re-exposure of cells to daunorubicin, providing an epigenetic memory of prior drug treatment. In primary human AML, exposure of fresh blast cells to daunorubicin activated the stress-responsive enhancer and led to dose-dependent induction of ABCB1. Dynamic induction of ABCB1 by diverse stressors, including chemotherapy, facilitated escape of leukemia cells from targeted third-generation ABCB1 inhibition, providing an explanation for the failure of ABCB1 inhibitors in clinical trials. Stress-induced upregulation of ABCB1 was mitigated by combined use of the pharmacologic inhibitors U0126 and ISRIB, which inhibit stress signaling and have potential for use as adjuvants to enhance the activity of ABCB1 inhibitors.
Mark S. Williams, Fabio M.R. Amaral, Fabrizio Simeoni, Tim C.P. Somervaille
Understanding the circuits that promote an efficient resolution of inflammation is crucial to deciphering the molecular and cellular processes required to promote tissue repair. Macrophages play a central role in the regulation of inflammation, resolution, and repair/regeneration. Using a model of skeletal muscle injury and repair, herein we identified annexin A1 (AnxA1) as the extracellular trigger of macrophage skewing toward a pro-reparative phenotype. Brought into the injured tissue initially by migrated neutrophils, and then overexpressed in infiltrating macrophages, AnxA1 activated FPR2/ALX receptors and the downstream AMPK signaling cascade, leading to macrophage skewing, dampening of inflammation, and regeneration of muscle fibers. Mice lacking AnxA1 in all cells or only in myeloid cells displayed a defect in this reparative process. In vitro experiments recapitulated these properties, with AMPK-null macrophages lacking AnxA1-mediated polarization. Collectively, these data identified the AnxA1/FPR2/AMPK axis as an important pathway in skeletal muscle injury regeneration.
Simon McArthur, Gaëtan Juban, Thomas Gobbetti, Thibaut Desgeorges, Marine Theret, Julien Gondin, Juliana E. Toller-Kawahisa, Chris P. Reutelingsperger, Bénédicte Chazaud, Mauro Perretti, Rémi Mounier
Ventriculomegaly and hydrocephalus are associated with loss of function of glycine decarboxylase (Gldc) in mice and in humans suffering from non-ketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH), a neurometabolic disorder characterized by accumulation of excess glycine. Here, we showed that ventriculomegaly in Gldc-deficient mice is preceded by stenosis of the Sylvian aqueduct and malformation or absence of the subcommissural organ and pineal gland. Gldc functions in the glycine cleavage system, a mitochondrial component of folate metabolism, whose malfunction results in accumulation of glycine and diminished supply of glycine-derived 1-carbon units to the folate cycle. We showed that inadequate 1-carbon supply, as opposed to excess glycine, is the cause of hydrocephalus associated with loss of function of the glycine cleavage system. Maternal supplementation with formate prevented both ventriculomegaly, as assessed at prenatal stages, and postnatal development of hydrocephalus in Gldc-deficient mice. Furthermore, ventriculomegaly was rescued by genetic ablation of 5,10-methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (Mthfr), which results in retention of 1-carbon groups in the folate cycle at the expense of transfer to the methylation cycle. In conclusion, a defect in folate metabolism can lead to prenatal aqueduct stenosis and resultant hydrocephalus. These defects are preventable by maternal supplementation with formate, which acts as a 1-carbon donor.
Chloe Santos, Yun Jin Pai, M. Raasib Mahmood, Kit-Yi Leung, Dawn Savery, Simon N. Waddington, Andrew J. Copp, Nicholas D.E. Greene
Certain matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family proteins have been associated with cell proliferation and invasion in aggressive cancers. However, attempts to target the MMPs with the hope of treating tumors have thus far failed. In this issue of the JCI, Ragusa and coworkers identified an intestinal cancer subgroup of slow-growing, chemotherapy-resistant, and very aggressive matrix-rich tumors that mimic a hard-to-treat colorectal cancer subtype in humans. These tumors showed downregulated levels of the transcription factor prospero homeobox protein 1 (PROX1), which relieved repression of the matrix metalloproteinase MMP14. Upregulated MMP14 levels correlated with blood vessel dysfunction and a lack of cytotoxic T cells. Notably, blockade of proangiogenic factors in combination with stimulation of the CD40 pathway in the mouse cancer model boosted cytotoxic T cell infiltration. The study illustrates how combinatorial treatments for aggressive, T cell–deficient cancers can launch an antitumor immune response.
Epigenetic integrity is critical for many eukaryotic cellular processes. An important question is how different epigenetic regulators control development and influence disease. Lysine acetyltransferase 8 (KAT8) is critical for acetylation of histone H4 at lysine 16 (H4K16), an evolutionarily conserved epigenetic mark. It is unclear what roles KAT8 plays in cerebral development and human disease. Here, we report that cerebrum-specific knockout mice displayed cerebral hypoplasia in the neocortex and hippocampus, along with improper neural stem and progenitor cell (NSPC) development. Mutant cerebrocortical neuroepithelia exhibited faulty proliferation, aberrant neurogenesis, massive apoptosis, and scant H4K16 propionylation. Mutant NSPCs formed poor neurospheres, and pharmacological KAT8 inhibition abolished neurosphere formation. Moreover, we describe KAT8 variants in 9 patients with intellectual disability, seizures, autism, dysmorphisms, and other anomalies. The variants altered chromobarrel and catalytic domains of KAT8, thereby impairing nucleosomal H4K16 acetylation. Valproate was effective for treating epilepsy in at least 2 of the individuals. This study uncovers a critical role of KAT8 in cerebral and NSPC development, identifies 9 individuals with KAT8 variants, and links deficient H4K16 acylation directly to intellectual disability, epilepsy, and other developmental anomalies.
Lin Li, Mohammad Ghorbani, Monika Weisz-Hubshman, Justine Rousseau, Isabelle Thiffault, Rhonda E. Schnur, Catherine Breen, Renske Oegema, Marjan M.M. Weiss, Quinten Waisfisz, Sara Welner, Helen Kingston, Jordan A. Hills, Elles M.J. Boon, Lina Basel-Salmon, Osnat Konen, Hadassa Goldberg-Stern, Lily Bazak, Shay Tzur, Jianliang Jin, Xiuli Bi, Michael Bruccoleri, Kirsty McWalter, Megan T. Cho, Maria Scarano, G. Bradley Schaefer, Susan S. Brooks, Susan Starling Hughes, K.L.I. van Gassen, Johanna M. van Hagen, Tej K. Pandita, Pankaj B. Agrawal, Philippe M. Campeau, Xiang-Jiao Yang
The prion agent is unique in biology and is comprised of prion protein scrapie (PrPSc), a self-templating conformational variant of the host encoded prion protein cellular (PrPC). The deposition patterns of PrPSc in the CNS can vary considerably from a diffuse synaptic pattern to large plaque-like aggregates. Alterations of PrPC posttranslational processing can change PrPSc deposition patterns; however, the mechanism underlying these observations is unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Sevillano and authors determined that parenchymal PrPSc plaques of the mouse brain preferentially incorporated underglycosylated PrPC that had been liberated from the cell surface by the metalloproteinase, ADAM-10, in combination with heparan sulfate. These results provide mechanistic insight into the formation of PrPSc plaques and suggest that PrP posttranslational modifications direct pathogenicity as well as the rate of disease progression.
Jason C. Bartz
Posttranslational modifications (PTMs) are common among proteins that aggregate in neurodegenerative disease, yet how PTMs impact the aggregate conformation and disease progression remains unclear. By engineering knockin mice expressing prion protein (PrP) lacking 2 N-linked glycans (Prnp180Q/196Q), we provide evidence that glycans reduce spongiform degeneration and hinder plaque formation in prion disease. Prnp180Q/196Q mice challenged with 2 subfibrillar, non–plaque-forming prion strains instead developed plaques highly enriched in ADAM10-cleaved PrP and heparan sulfate (HS). Intriguingly, a third strain composed of intact, glycophosphatidylinositol-anchored (GPI-anchored) PrP was relatively unchanged, forming diffuse, HS-deficient deposits in both the Prnp180Q/196Q and WT mice, underscoring the pivotal role of the GPI-anchor in driving the aggregate conformation and disease phenotype. Finally, knockin mice expressing triglycosylated PrP (Prnp187N) challenged with a plaque-forming prion strain showed a phenotype reversal, with a striking disease acceleration and switch from plaques to predominantly diffuse, subfibrillar deposits. Our findings suggest that the dominance of subfibrillar aggregates in prion disease is due to the replication of GPI-anchored prions, with fibrillar plaques forming from poorly glycosylated, GPI-anchorless prions that interact with extracellular HS. These studies provide insight into how PTMs impact PrP interactions with polyanionic cofactors, and highlight PTMs as a major force driving the prion disease phenotype.
Alejandro M. Sevillano, Patricia Aguilar-Calvo, Timothy D. Kurt, Jessica A. Lawrence, Katrin Soldau, Thu H. Nam, Taylor Schumann, Donald P. Pizzo, Sofie Nyström, Biswa Choudhury, Hermann Altmeppen, Jeffrey D. Esko, Markus Glatzel, K. Peter R. Nilsson, Christina J. Sigurdson
Influenza A virus (IAV) is among the most common causes of pneumonia-related death worldwide. Pulmonary epithelial cells are the primary target for viral infection and replication and respond by releasing inflammatory mediators that recruit immune cells to mount the host response. Severe lung injury and death during IAV infection result from an exuberant host inflammatory response. The linear ubiquitin assembly complex (LUBAC), composed of SHARPIN, HOIL-1L, and HOIP, is a critical regulator of NF-κB–dependent inflammation. Using mice with lung epithelial–specific deletions of HOIL-1L or HOIP in a model of IAV infection, we provided evidence that, while a reduction in the inflammatory response was beneficial, ablation of the LUBAC-dependent lung epithelial–driven response worsened lung injury and increased mortality. Moreover, we described a mechanism for the upregulation of HOIL-1L in infected and noninfected cells triggered by the activation of type I IFN receptor and mediated by IRF1, which was maladaptive and contributed to hyperinflammation. Thus, we propose that lung epithelial LUBAC acts as a molecular rheostat that could be selectively targeted to modulate the immune response in patients with severe IAV-induced pneumonia.
Patricia L. Brazee, Luisa Morales-Nebreda, Natalia D. Magnani, Joe G.N. Garcia, Alexander V. Misharin, Karen M. Ridge, G.R. Scott Budinger, Kazuhiro Iwai, Laura A. Dada, Jacob I. Sznajder
The human lipidome comprises over tens of thousands of distinct lipid species in addition to total cholesterol and the other conventional lipid traits that are routinely measurable in the peripheral circulation. Of the lipid species considered to exhibit bioactive functions, sphingolipids are a class of molecules that have shown relevance to human disease risk and cardiovascular outcomes in particular. In this issue of the JCI, Poss et al. conducted targeted lipidomics in a case-control study involving over 600 individuals and found a sphingolipid profile that predicted coronary artery disease status. In the context of emerging evidence linking sphingolipid biology with cardiovascular pathophysiology, these results suggest the potential utility of serum sphingolipids as cholesterol-independent markers of risk and even future targets for optimizing cardiovascular health.
Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui, Mohit Jain, Susan Cheng
Cortical hyperexcitability and mislocalization of the RNA-binding protein TDP43 are highly conserved features in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Nevertheless, the relationship between these phenomena remains poorly defined. Here, we showed that hyperexcitability recapitulates TDP43 pathology by upregulating shortened TDP43 (sTDP43) splice isoforms. These truncated isoforms accumulated in the cytoplasm and formed insoluble inclusions that sequestered full-length TDP43 via preserved N-terminal interactions. Consistent with these findings, sTDP43 overexpression was toxic to mammalian neurons, suggesting neurodegeneration arising from complementary gain- and loss-of-function mechanisms. In humans and mice, sTDP43 transcripts were enriched in vulnerable motor neurons, and we observed a striking accumulation of sTDP43 within neurons and glia of ALS patients. Collectively, these studies uncover a pathogenic role for alternative TDP43 isoforms in ALS, and implicate sTDP43 as a key contributor to the susceptibility of motor neurons in this disorder.
Kaitlin Weskamp, Elizabeth M. Tank, Roberto Miguez, Jonathon P. McBride, Nicolás B. Gómez, Matthew White, Ziqiang Lin, Carmen Moreno Gonzalez, Andrea Serio, Jemeen Sreedharan, Sami J. Barmada