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Abstract

Gene therapy approaches are being deployed to treat recessive genetic disorders by restoring the expression of mutated genes. However, the feasibility of these approaches for dominantly inherited diseases — where treatment may require reduction in the expression of a toxic mutant protein resulting from a gain-of-function allele — is unclear. Here we show the efficacy of allele-specific RNAi as a potential therapy for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2D (CMT2D), caused by dominant mutations in glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GARS). A de novo mutation in GARS was identified in a patient with a severe peripheral neuropathy, and a mouse model precisely recreating the mutation was produced. These mice developed a neuropathy by 3–4 weeks of age, validating the pathogenicity of the mutation. RNAi sequences targeting mutant GARS mRNA, but not wild-type, were optimized and then packaged into AAV9 for in vivo delivery. This almost completely prevented the neuropathy in mice treated at birth. Delaying treatment until after disease onset showed modest benefit, though this effect decreased the longer treatment was delayed. These outcomes were reproduced in a second mouse model of CMT2D using a vector specifically targeting that allele. The effects were dose dependent, and persisted for at least 1 year. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of AAV9-mediated allele-specific knockdown and provide proof of concept for gene therapy approaches for dominant neuromuscular diseases.

Authors

Kathryn H. Morelli, Laurie B. Griffin, Nettie K. Pyne, Lindsay M. Wallace, Allison M. Fowler, Stephanie N. Oprescu, Ryuichi Takase, Na Wei, Rebecca Meyer-Schuman, Dattatreya Mellacheruvu, Jacob O. Kitzman, Samuel G. Kocen, Timothy J. Hines, Emily L. Spaulding, James R. Lupski, Alexey Nesvizhskii, Pedro Mancias, Ian J. Butler, Xiang-Lei Yang, Ya-Ming Hou, Anthony Antonellis, Scott Q. Harper, Robert W. Burgess

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Abstract

The microphthalmia family of transcription factors (MiT/TFEs) controls lysosomal biogenesis and is negatively regulated by the nutrient sensor mTORC1. However, the mechanisms by which cells with constitutive mTORC1 signaling maintain lysosomal catabolism remain to be elucidated. Using the murine epidermis as a model system, we found that epidermal Tsc1 deletion resulted in a phenotype characterized by wavy hair and curly whiskers, and was associated with increased EGFR and HER2 degradation. Unexpectedly, constitutive mTORC1 activation with Tsc1 loss increased lysosomal content via upregulated expression and activity of MiT/TFEs, whereas genetic deletion of Rheb or Rptor or prolonged pharmacologic mTORC1 inactivation had the reverse effect. This paradoxical increase in lysosomal biogenesis by mTORC1 was mediated by feedback inhibition of AKT, and a resulting suppression of AKT-induced MiT/TFE downregulation. Thus, inhibiting hyperactive AKT signaling in the context of mTORC1 loss-of-function fully restored MiT/TFE expression and activity. These data suggest that signaling feedback loops work to restrain or maintain cellular lysosomal content during chronically inhibited or constitutively active mTORC1 signaling, respectively, and reveal a mechanism by which mTORC1 regulates upstream receptor tyrosine kinase signaling.

Authors

Kaushal Asrani, Sanjana Murali, Brandon Lam, Chan-Hyun Na, Pornima Phatak, Akshay Sood, Harsimar Kaur, Zoya Khan, Michaël Noë, Ravi K. Anchoori, C. Conover Talbot Jr., Barbara Smith, Michael Skaro, Tamara L. Lotan

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Abstract

Catecholamines released by sympathetic nerves can activate adrenergic receptors present on nearly every cell type, including myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Using in vitro systems, murine tumor models in wild-type and genetically modified (β2-AR–/–) mice, and adoptive transfer approaches, we found that the degree of β2-AR signaling significantly influences MDSC frequency and survival in tumors and other tissues. It also modulates their expression of immunosuppressive molecules such as arginase-I and PD-L1 and alters their ability to suppress the proliferation of T cells. The regulatory functions of β2-AR signaling in MDSCs were also found to be dependent upon STAT3 phosphorylation. Moreover, we observed that the β2-AR–mediated increase in MDSC survival is dependent upon Fas-FasL interactions, and this is consistent with gene expression analyses, which reveal a greater expression of apoptosis-related genes in β2-AR–/– MDSCs. Our data reveal the potential of β2-AR signaling to increase the generation of MDSCs from both murine and human peripheral blood cells and that the immunosuppressive function of MDSCs can be mitigated by treatment with β-AR antagonists, or enhanced by β-AR agonists. This strongly supports the possibility that reducing stress-induced activation of β2-ARs could help to overcome immune suppression and enhance the efficacy of immunotherapy and other cancer therapies.

Authors

Hemn Mohammadpour, Cameron R. MacDonald, Guanxi Qiao, Minhui Chen, Bowen Dong, Bonnie L. Hylander, Philip L. McCarthy, Scott I. Abrams, Elizabeth A. Repasky

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Abstract

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and secondary pulmonary embolism cause approximately 100,000 deaths per year in the United States. Physical immobility is the most significant risk factor for DVT, but a molecular and cellular basis for this link has not been defined. We found that the endothelial cells surrounding the venous valve, where DVTs originate, express high levels of FOXC2 and PROX1, transcription factors known to be activated by oscillatory shear stress. The perivalvular venous endothelial cells exhibited a powerful antithrombotic phenotype characterized by low levels of the prothrombotic proteins vWF, P-selectin, and ICAM1 and high levels of the antithrombotic proteins thrombomodulin (THBD), endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR), and tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI). The perivalvular antithrombotic phenotype was lost following genetic deletion of FOXC2 or femoral artery ligation to reduce venous flow in mice, and at the site of origin of human DVT associated with fatal pulmonary embolism. Oscillatory blood flow was detected at perivalvular sites in human veins following muscular activity, but not in the immobile state or after activation of an intermittent compression device designed to prevent DVT. These findings support a mechanism of DVT pathogenesis in which loss of muscular activity results in loss of oscillatory shear–dependent transcriptional and antithrombotic phenotypes in perivalvular venous endothelial cells, and suggest that prevention of DVT and pulmonary embolism may be improved by mechanical devices specifically designed to restore perivalvular oscillatory flow.

Authors

John D. Welsh, Mark H. Hoofnagle, Sharika Bamezai, Michael Oxendine, Lillian Lim, Joshua D. Hall, Jisheng Yang, Susan Schultz, James Douglas Engel, Tsutomu Kume, Guillermo Oliver, Juan M. Jimenez, Mark L. Kahn

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Abstract

microRNA-21 (miR-21) is the most commonly upregulated miRNA in solid tumors. This cancer-associated microRNA (oncomiR) regulates various downstream effectors associated with tumor pathogenesis during all stages of carcinogenesis. In this study, we analyzed the function of miR-21 in noncancer cells of the tumor microenvironment to further evaluate its contribution to tumor progression. We report that the expression of miR-21 in cells of the tumor immune infiltrate, and in particular in macrophages, was responsible for promoting tumor growth. Absence of miR-21 expression in tumor- associated macrophages (TAMs), caused a global rewiring of their transcriptional regulatory network that was skewed toward a proinflammatory angiostatic phenotype. This promoted an antitumoral immune response characterized by a macrophage-mediated improvement of cytotoxic T-cell responses through the induction of cytokines and chemokines, including IL-12 and C-X-C motif chemokine 10. These effects translated to a reduction in tumor neovascularization and an induction of tumor cell death that led to decreased tumor growth. Additionally, using the carrier peptide pH (low) insertion peptide, we were able to target miR-21 in TAMs, which decreased tumor growth even under conditions where miR-21 expression was deficient in cancer cells. Consequently, miR-21 inhibition in TAMs induced an angiostatic and immunostimulatory activation with potential therapeutic implications.

Authors

Mahnaz Sahraei, Balkrishna Chaube, Yuting Liu, Jonathan Sun, Alanna Kaplan, Nathan L. Price, Wen Ding, Stanley Oyaghire, Rolando García-Milian, Sameet Mehta, Yana K. Reshetnyak, Raman Bahal, Paolo Fiorina, Peter M. Glazer, David L. Rimm, Carlos Fernández-Hernando, Yajaira Suárez

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Abstract

Tumor-induced immunosuppression is a common obstacle for cancer treatment. Adrenergic signaling triggered by chronic stress participates in the creation of an immunosuppressive microenvironment by promoting myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) proliferation and activation. In this issue of the JCI, Mohammadpour et al. elegantly delve into the mechanisms underlying MDSC contribution to tumor development. They used in vitro and in vivo mouse models to demonstrate that chronic stress results in MDSC accumulation, survival, and immune-inhibitory activity. Of therapeutic relevance, the authors showed that propranolol, a commonly prescribed β-blocker, can reduce MDSC immunosuppression and enhance the effect of other cancer therapies.

Authors

Ignacio Iñigo-Marco, Marta M. Alonso

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Abstract

CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) rely on rapid reorganization of the branched F-actin network to drive the polarized secretion of lytic granules, initiating target cell death during the adaptive immune response. Branched F-actin is generated by the nucleation factor actin-related protein 2/3 (Arp2/3) complex. Patients with mutations in the actin-related protein complex 1B (ARPC1B) subunit of Arp2/3 show combined immunodeficiency, with symptoms of immune dysregulation, including recurrent viral infections and reduced CD8+ T cell count. Here, we show that loss of ARPC1B led to loss of CTL cytotoxicity, with the defect arising at 2 different levels. First, ARPC1B is required for lamellipodia formation, cell migration, and actin reorganization across the immune synapse. Second, we found that ARPC1B is indispensable for the maintenance of TCR, CD8, and GLUT1 membrane proteins at the plasma membrane of CTLs, as recycling via the retromer and WASH complexes was impaired in the absence of ARPC1B. Loss of TCR, CD8, and GLUT1 gave rise to defects in T cell signaling and proliferation upon antigen stimulation of ARPC1B-deficient CTLs, leading to a progressive loss of CD8+ T cells. This triggered an activation-induced immunodeficiency of CTL activity in ARPC1B-deficient patients, which could explain the susceptibility to severe and prolonged viral infections.

Authors

Lyra O. Randzavola, Katharina Strege, Marie Juzans, Yukako Asano, Jane C. Stinchcombe, Christian M. Gawden-Bone, Matthew N.J. Seaman, Taco W. Kuijpers, Gillian M. Griffiths

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Abstract

Consuming a high-fat diet (HFD) is a risk factor for obesity and diabetes; both of these diseases are also associated with systemic inflammation, similar to HIV infection. A HFD induces intestinal dysbiosis and impairs liver function and coagulation, with a potential negative impact on HIV/SIV pathogenesis. We administered a HFD rich in saturated fats and cholesterol to nonpathogenic (African green monkeys) and pathogenic (pigtailed macaques) SIV hosts. The HFD had a negative impact on SIV disease progression in both species. Thus, increased cell-associated SIV DNA and RNA occurred in the HFD-receiving nonhuman primates, indicating a potential reservoir expansion. The HFD induced prominent immune cell infiltration in the adipose tissue, an important SIV reservoir, and heightened systemic immune activation and inflammation, altering the intestinal immune environment and triggering gut damage and microbial translocation. Furthermore, HFD altered lipid metabolism and HDL oxidation and also induced liver steatosis and fibrosis. These metabolic disturbances triggered incipient atherosclerosis and heightened cardiovascular risk in the SIV-infected HFD-receiving nonhuman primates. Our study demonstrates that dietary intake has a discernable impact on the natural history of HIV/SIV infections and suggests that dietary changes can be used as adjuvant approaches for HIV-infected subjects, to reduce inflammation and the risk of non-AIDS comorbidities and possibly other infectious diseases.

Authors

Tianyu He, Cuiling Xu, Noah Krampe, Stephanie M. Dillon, Paola Sette, Elizabeth Falwell, George S. Haret-Richter, Tiffany Butterfield, Tammy L. Dunsmore, William M. McFadden Jr., Kathryn J. Martin, Benjamin B. Policicchio, Kevin D. Raehtz, Ellen P. Penn, Russell P. Tracy, Ruy M. Ribeiro, Daniel N. Frank, Cara C. Wilson, Alan L. Landay, Cristian Apetrei, Ivona Pandrea

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Abstract

Cancer immunotherapy and its budding effectiveness at improving patient outcomes has revitalized our hope to fight cancer in a logical and safe manner. Immunotherapeutic approaches to reengage the immune system have largely focused on reversing immune checkpoint inhibitor pathways, which suppress the antitumor response. Although these approaches have generated much excitement, they still lack absolute success. Interestingly, newly described host-tumor sugar chains (glycosylations) and glycosylation-binding proteins (lectins) play key roles in evading the immune system to determine cancer progression. In this issue of the JCI, Nambiar et al. used patient head and neck tumors and a mouse model system to investigate the role of galactose-binding lectin 1 (Gal1) in immunotherapy resistance. The authors demonstrated that Gal1 can affect immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy by increasing immune checkpoint molecules and immunosuppressive signaling in the tumor. Notably, these results suggest that targeting a tumor’s glycobiological state will improve treatment efficacy.

Authors

Asmi Chakraborty, Charles J. Dimitroff

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Abstract

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), although promising, have variable benefit in head and neck cancer (HNC). We noted that tumor galectin-1 (Gal1) levels were inversely correlated with treatment response and survival in patients with HNC who were treated with ICIs. Using multiple HNC mouse models, we show that tumor-secreted Gal1 mediates immune evasion by preventing T cell migration into the tumor. Mechanistically, Gal1 reprograms the tumor endothelium to upregulate cell-surface programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and galectin-9. Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, we show that Gal1 blockade increases intratumoral T cell infiltration, leading to a better response to anti-PD1 therapy with or without radiotherapy. Our study reveals the function of Gal1 in transforming the tumor endothelium into an immune-suppressive barrier and that its inhibition synergizes with ICIs.

Authors

Dhanya K. Nambiar, Todd Aguilera, Hongbin Cao, Shirley Kwok, Christina Kong, Joshua Bloomstein, Zemin Wang, Vangipuram S. Rangan, Dadi Jiang, Rie von Eyben, Rachel Liang, Sonya Agarwal, A. Dimitrios Colevas, Alan Korman, Clint T. Allen, Ravindra Uppaluri, Albert C. Koong, Amato Giaccia, Quynh Thu Le

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Abstract

The proximal tubule has a remarkable capacity for repair after acute injury, but the cellular lineage and molecular mechanisms underlying this repair response are incompletely understood. Here, we developed a Kim1-GFPCreERt2 knockin mouse line (Kim1-GCE) in order to perform genetic lineage tracing of dedifferentiated cells while measuring the cellular transcriptome of proximal tubule during repair. Acutely injured genetically labeled clones coexpressed KIM1, VIMENTIN, SOX9, and KI67, indicating a dedifferentiated and proliferative state. Clonal analysis revealed clonal expansion of Kim1+ cells, indicating that acutely injured, dedifferentiated proximal tubule cells, rather than fixed tubular progenitor cells, account for repair. Translational profiling during injury and repair revealed signatures of both successful and unsuccessful maladaptive repair. The transcription factor Foxm1 was induced early in injury, was required for epithelial proliferation in vitro, and was dependent on epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) stimulation. In conclusion, dedifferentiated proximal tubule cells effect proximal tubule repair, and we reveal an EGFR/FOXM1-dependent signaling pathway that drives proliferative repair after injury.

Authors

Monica Chang-Panesso, Farid F. Kadyrov, Matthew Lalli, Haojia Wu, Shiyo Ikeda, Eirini Kefaloyianni, Mai M. Abdelmageed, Andreas Herrlich, Akio Kobayashi, Benjamin D. Humphreys

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Abstract

Manganese (Mn), an essential metal and nutrient, is toxic in excess. Toxicity classically results from inhalational exposures in individuals who work in industrial settings. The first known disease of inherited Mn excess, identified in 2012, is caused by mutations in the metal exporter SLC30A10 and is characterized by Mn excess, dystonia, cirrhosis, and polycythemia. To investigate the role of SLC30A10 in Mn homeostasis, we first generated whole-body Slc30a10–deficient mice, which developed severe Mn excess and impaired systemic and biliary Mn excretion. Slc30a10 localized to canalicular membranes of hepatocytes, but mice with liver Slc30a10 deficiency developed minimal Mn excess despite impaired biliary Mn excretion. Slc30a10 also localized to the apical membrane of enterocytes, but mice with Slc30a10 deficiency in small intestines developed minimal Mn excess despite impaired Mn export into the lumen of the small intestines. Finally, mice with Slc30a10 deficiency in liver and small intestines developed Mn excess that was less severe than that observed in mice with whole-body Slc30a10 deficiency, suggesting that additional sites of Slc30a10 expression contribute to Mn homeostasis. Overall, these results indicated that Slc30a10 is essential for Mn excretion by hepatocytes and enterocytes and could be an effective target for pharmacological intervention to treat Mn toxicity.

Authors

Courtney J. Mercadante, Milankumar Prajapati, Heather L. Conboy, Miriam E. Dash, Carolina Herrera, Michael A. Pettiglio, Layra Cintron-Rivera, Madeleine A. Salesky, Deepa B. Rao, Thomas B. Bartnikas

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Abstract

Myocardin (MYOCD) is the founding member of a class of transcriptional coactivators that bind the serum-response factor to activate gene expression programs critical in smooth muscle (SM) and cardiac muscle development. Insights into the molecular functions of MYOCD have been obtained from cell culture studies, and to date, knowledge about in vivo roles of MYOCD comes exclusively from experimental animals. Here, we defined an often lethal congenital human disease associated with inheritance of pathogenic MYOCD variants. This disease manifested as a massively dilated urinary bladder, or megabladder, with disrupted SM in its wall. We provided evidence that monoallelic loss-of-function variants in MYOCD caused congenital megabladder in males only, whereas biallelic variants were associated with disease in both sexes, with a phenotype additionally involving the cardiovascular system. These results were supported by cosegregation of MYOCD variants with the phenotype in 4 unrelated families by in vitro transactivation studies in which pathogenic variants resulted in abrogated SM gene expression and by the finding of megabladder in 2 distinct mouse models with reduced Myocd activity. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that variants in MYOCD result in human disease, and the collective findings highlight a vital role for MYOCD in mammalian organogenesis.

Authors

Arjan C. Houweling, Glenda M. Beaman, Alex V. Postma, T. Blair Gainous, Klaske D. Lichtenbelt, Francesco Brancati, Filipa M. Lopes, Ingeborg van der Made, Abeltje M. Polstra, Michael L. Robinson, Kevin D. Wright, Jamie M. Ellingford, Ashley R. Jackson, Eline Overwater, Rita Genesio, Silvio Romano, Letizia Camerota, Emanuela D’Angelo, Elizabeth J. Meijers-Heijboer, Vincent M. Christoffels, Kirk M. McHugh, Brian L. Black, William G. Newman, Adrian S. Woolf, Esther E. Creemers

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Abstract

Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with spontaneous burning pain, hyperalgesia, and allodynia. Although acetaldehyde has been implicated in the painful alcoholic neuropathy, the mechanism by which the ethanol metabolite causes pain symptoms is unknown. Acute ethanol ingestion caused delayed mechanical allodynia in mice. Inhibition of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) or deletion of transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), a sensor for oxidative and carbonyl stress, prevented allodynia. Acetaldehyde generated by ADH in both liver and Schwann cells surrounding nociceptors was required for TRPA1-induced mechanical allodynia. Plp1-Cre Trpa1fl/fl mice with a tamoxifen-inducible specific deletion of TRPA1 in Schwann cells revealed that channel activation by acetaldehyde in these cells initiates a NADPH oxidase-1–dependent (NOX1-dependent) production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), which sustains allodynia by paracrine targeting of nociceptor TRPA1. Chronic ethanol ingestion caused prolonged mechanical allodynia and loss of intraepidermal small nerve fibers in WT mice. While Trpa1–/– or Plp1-Cre Trpa1fl/fl mice did not develop mechanical allodynia, they did not show any protection from the small-fiber neuropathy. Human Schwann cells express ADH/TRPA1/NOX1 and recapitulate the proalgesic functions of mouse Schwann cells. TRPA1 antagonists might attenuate some symptoms of alcohol-related pain.

Authors

Francesco De Logu, Simone Li Puma, Lorenzo Landini, Francesca Portelli, Alessandro Innocenti, Daniel Souza Monteiro de Araujo, Malvin N. Janal, Riccardo Patacchini, Nigel W. Bunnett, Pierangelo Geppetti, Romina Nassini

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Abstract

Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) frequently invades the maxillary or mandibular bone, and this bone invasion is closely associated with poor prognosis and survival. Here, we show that CCL28 functions as a negative regulator of OSCC bone invasion. CCL28 inhibited invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and its inhibition of EMT was characterized by induced E-cadherin expression and reduced nuclear localization of β-catenin in OSCC cells with detectable RUNX3 expression levels. CCL28 signaling via CCR10 increased retinoic acid receptor-β (RARβ) expression by reducing the interaction between RARα and HDAC1. In addition, CCL28 reduced RANKL production in OSCC and osteoblastic cells and blocked RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis in osteoclast precursors. Intraperitoneally administered CCL28 inhibited tumor growth and osteolysis in mouse calvaria and tibia inoculated with OSCC cells. RARβ expression was also increased in tumor tissues. In patients with OSCC, low CCL28, CCR10, and RARβ expression levels were highly correlated with bone invasion. Patients with OSCC who had higher expression of CCL28, CCR10, or RARβ had significantly better overall survival. These findings suggest that CCL28, CCR10, and RARβ are useful markers for the prediction and treatment of OSCC bone invasion. Furthermore, CCL28 upregulation in OSCC cells or CCL28 treatment can be a therapeutic strategy for OSCC bone invasion.

Authors

Junhee Park, Xianglan Zhang, Sun Kyoung Lee, Na-Young Song, Seung Hwa Son, Ki Rim Kim, Jae Hoon Shim, Kwang-Kyun Park, Won-Yoon Chung

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Abstract

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a devastating autoimmune disease in which hyperactive T cells play a critical role. Understanding molecular mechanisms underlying the T cell hyperactivity will lead to identification of specific therapeutic targets. Serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 1 (SRSF1) is an essential RNA-binding protein that controls posttranscriptional gene expression. We have demonstrated that SRSF1 levels are aberrantly decreased in T cells from patients with SLE and that they correlate with severe disease, yet the role of SRSF1 in T cell physiology and autoimmune disease is largely unknown. Here we show that T cell–restricted Srsf1-deficient mice develop systemic autoimmunity and lupus-nephritis. Mice exhibit increased frequencies of activated/effector T cells producing proinflammatory cytokines, and an elevated T cell activation gene signature. Mechanistically, we noted increased activity of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and reduced expression of its repressor PTEN. The mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) inhibitor rapamycin suppressed proinflammatory cytokine production by T cells and alleviated autoimmunity in Srsf1-deficient mice. Of direct clinical relevance, PTEN levels correlated with SRSF1 in T cells from patients with SLE, and SRSF1 overexpression rescued PTEN and suppressed mTORC1 activation and proinflammatory cytokine production. Our studies reveal the role of a previously unrecognized molecule, SRSF1, in restraining T cell activation, averting the development of autoimmune disease, and acting as a potential therapeutic target for lupus.

Authors

Takayuki Katsuyama, Hao Li, Denis Comte, George C. Tsokos, Vaishali R. Moulton

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Abstract

Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by intellectual disability, lack of speech, ataxia, EEG abnormalities, and epilepsy. Seizures in individuals with AS are common, debilitating, and often drug resistant. Thus, there is an unmet need for better treatment options. Cannabidiol (CBD), a major phytocannabinoid constituent of cannabis, has shown antiseizure activity and behavioral benefits in preclinical and clinical studies for some disorders associated with epilepsy, suggesting that the same could be true for AS. Here, we show that acute CBD (100 mg/kg) treatment attenuated hyperthermia- and acoustically induced seizures in a mouse model of AS. However, neither acute CBD nor a 2-week-long course of CBD administered immediately after a kindling protocol could halt the proepileptogenic plasticity observed in AS model mice. CBD had a dose-dependent sedative effect but did not have an impact on motor performance. CBD abrogated the enhanced intracortical local field potential power, including the delta and theta rhythms observed in AS model mice, indicating that CBD administration could also help normalize the EEG deficits observed in individuals with AS. We believe our results provide critical preclinical evidence supporting CBD treatment of seizures and alleviation of EEG abnormalities in AS and will thus help guide the rational development of CBD as a treatment for AS.

Authors

Bin Gu, Manhua Zhu, Madison R. Glass, Marie Rougié, Viktoriya D. Nikolova, Sheryl S. Moy, Paul R. Carney, Benjamin D. Philpot

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Abstract

Both miRNAs and A-to-I RNA editing, a widespread nucleotide modification mechanism, have recently emerged as key players in cancer pathophysiology. However, the functional impact of RNA editing of miRNAs in cancer remains largely unexplored. Here, we focused on an ADAR2-catalyzed RNA editing site within the miR-379-5p seed region. This site was under-edited in tumors relative to normal tissues, with a high editing level being correlated with better patient survival times across cancer types. We demonstrated that in contrast to wild-type miRNA, edited miR-379-5p inhibited cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis in diverse tumor contexts in vitro, which was due to the ability of edited but not wild-type miR-379-5p to target CD97. Importantly, through nanoliposomal delivery, edited miR-379-5p mimics significantly inhibited tumor growth and extended survival of mice. Our study indicates a role of RNA editing in diversifying miRNA function during cancer progression and highlights the translational potential of edited miRNAs as a new class of cancer therapeutics.

Authors

Xiaoyan Xu, Yumeng Wang, Kamalika Mojumdar, Zhicheng Zhou, Kang Jin Jeong, Lingegowda S. Mangala, Shuangxing Yu, Yiu Huen Tsang, Cristian Rodriguez-Aguayo, Yiling Lu, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, Anil K. Sood, Gordon B. Mills, Han Liang

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Abstract

Manganese (Mn) participates in a variety of distinct physiological processes, including acting as a cofactor for several enzymes and metalloenzymes, in addition to playing a role in immune function, endocrine function, hematopoiesis, and oxidative stress regulation. Mn homeostasis is tightly regulated via intestinal absorption and hepatobiliary and intestinal excretion. In this issue of the JCI, Mercadante and colleagues explored the role of the metal transporter Slc30a10 in vivo using a mouse model system. The authors used whole-body and tissue-specific gene knockouts to show that Slc30a10 is paramount for Mn excretion in the liver and small intestines. These findings provide further insights into mechanisms for Mn homeostasis as well as potential targets for addressing Mn-associated disorders or environmental exposures.

Authors

Nathan Katz, Daniel J. Rader

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Abstract

Neuronal hyperexcitability and cytoplasmic mislocalization of the nuclear RNA binding proteinTDP43 are universal features in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but the relationshipbetween these phenomena remains poorly defined. Here, we show that neuronalhyperexcitability drives TDP43 pathology by upregulating shortened (s)TDP43 splice variantsmissing the canonical C-terminus. sTDP43 isoforms preferentially accumulate in the cytoplasm,forming insoluble inclusions that sequester full-length TDP43 via preserved N-terminalinteractions. Consistent with these findings, sTDP43 overexpression is highly toxic tomammalian neurons, suggesting that neurodegeneration results from complementary gain- andloss-of-function mechanisms. In humans and mice, sTDP43 transcripts are significantlyenriched in vulnerable motor neurons, and we observed a striking accumulation of sTDP43protein within neurons and glia of ALS patients. These studies uncover a hitherto unknown roleof alternative TDP43 splice isoforms in ALS, and indicate that sTDP43 production may be a keycontributor to the susceptibility of motor neurons in ALS.

Authors

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

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Abstract

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 results 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 non-infected cells triggered by the activation of type I interferon receptor and mediated by IRF1, which was maladaptive and contributed to hyper-inflammation. 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.

Authors

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

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Abstract

Cancer immune evasion is achieved through multiple layers of immune tolerance mechanisms including immune editing, recruitment of tolerogenic immune cells, and secretion of immune suppressive cytokines. Recent success with immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer immunotherapy suggests a dysfunctional immune synapse as a pivotal tolerogenic mechanism. Tumor cells express immune synapse proteins to suppress the immune system, which is often modulated by epigenetic mechanisms. When the methylation status of key immune synapse genes was interrogated, we observed disproportionately hyper-methylated co-stimulatory genes and hypo-methylation of immune checkpoint genes, which were negatively associated with functional T-cell recruitment to the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, the methylation status of immune synapse genes reflects tumor immunogenicity and correlates with survival.

Authors

Anders Berglund, Matthew Mills, Ryan M. Putney, Imène Hamaidi, James Mulé, Sungjune Kim

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Abstract

Increases in the number of cell therapies in the preclinical and clinical phases have prompted the need for reliable and non-invasive assays to validate transplant function in clinical biomanufacturing. We developed a robust characterization methodology composed of quantitative bright-field absorbance microscopy (QBAM) and deep neural networks (DNNs) to non-invasively predict tissue function and cellular donor identity. The methodology was validated using clinical-grade induced pluripotent stem cell derived retinal pigment epithelial cells (iPSC-RPE). QBAM images of iPSC-RPE were used to train DNNs that predicted iPSC-RPE monolayer transepithelial resistance, predicted polarized vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion, and matched iPSC-RPE monolayers to the stem cell donors. DNN predictions were supplemented with traditional machine learning algorithms that identified shape and texture features of single cells that were used to predict tissue function and iPSC donor identity. These results demonstrate non-invasive cell therapy characterization can be achieved with QBAM and machine learning.

Authors

Nicholas J. Schaub, Nathan A. Hotaling, Petre Manescu, Sarala Padi, Qin Wan, Ruchi Sharma, Aman George, Joe Chalfoun, Mylene Simon, Mohamed Ouladi, Carl G. Simon, Jr., Peter Bajcsy, Kapil Bharti

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Abstract

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with loss of striatal dopamine, secondary to degeneration of midbrain dopamine (mDA) neurons in the substantia nigra, rendering cell transplantation a promising therapeutic strategy. To establish human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-based autologous cell therapy, we report a platform of core techniques for the production of mDA progenitors as a safe and effective therapeutic product. First, by combining metabolism-regulating microRNAs with reprogramming factors, we developed a method to more efficiently generate clinical grade iPSCs, as evidenced by genomic integrity and unbiased pluripotent potential. Second, we established a “spotting”-based in vitro differentiation methodology to generate functional and healthy mDA cells in a scalable manner. Third, we developed a chemical method that safely eliminates undifferentiated cells from the final product. Dopaminergic cells thus produced express high levels of characteristic mDA markers, produce and secrete dopamine, and exhibit electrophysiological features typical of mDA cells. Transplantation of these cells into rodent models of PD robustly restores motor dysfunction and reinnervates host brain, while showing no evidence of tumor formation or redistribution of the implanted cells. We propose that this platform is suitable for the successful implementation of human personalized autologous cell therapy for PD.

Authors

Bin Song, Young Cha, Sanghyeok Ko, Jeha Jeon, Nayeon Lee, Hyemyung Seo, Kyung-joon Park, In-Hee Lee, Claudia Lopes, Melissa Feitosa, María José Luna, Jin Hyuk Jung, Jisun Kim, Dabin Hwang, Bruce Cohen, Martin Teicher, Pierre Leblanc, Bob Carter, Jeffrey H. Kordower, Vadim Y. Bolshakov, Sek Won Kong, Jeffrey S. Schweitzer, Kwang-Soo Kim

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November 2019

November 2019 Issue

On the cover:
ANGPTL4 destabilizes the retinal vasculature in diabetic macular edema

Anti-VEGF therapy, the standard of care for patients with diabetic macular edema (DME), does not substantially improve vision in many treated patients. In this issue of the JCI, Sodhi et al. explore the role of another protein, ANGPTL4, in driving vascular leakage in DME. Their work revealed that ANGPTL4 and VEGF work in concert to destabilize the retina’s vasculature. ANGPTL4’s binding to neuropilin 1 and 2 on endothelial cells disrupts vascular barriers by activating RhoA/ROCK signaling. Treating diabetic mice with a soluble neuropilin 1 fragment blocked ANGPTL1-induced vascular leakage, supporting a potential therapeutic avenue for interfering in ANGPTL4-mediated mechanisms in DME. This issue’s cover depicts the pathological leakage of the retinal vasculature in a patient with diabetic eye disease. Image courtesy of Wilmer Photography; modified by Isabella and Adriana Sodhi.

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November 2019 JCI This Month

JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.

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Review Series - More

Mechanisms Underlying the Metabolic Syndrome

Series edited by Philipp E. Scherer

Obesity often occurs with a quintessential array of metabolic abnormalities: elevations in blood pressure, visceral fat, and circulating blood lipids, and, importantly, insulin resistance. Together, this constellation of conditions constitutes the metabolic syndrome and forecasts an individual’s increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Although metabolic syndrome presents as dysfunction across multiple tissues, its onset stems from pathological increases in adipose tissue. The 9 review in this series, conceptualized by series editor Philipp Scherer, delve into the complex biology underlying the metabolic syndrome. These reviews address adipocyte and beta cell dysfunction in the metabolic syndrome; the functions of adipose tissue fibrosis, the microbiome, and exosomal communication in obesity; and the concepts we use to define metabolic health.

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