For gene therapy of gain-of-function autosomal dominant diseases, either correcting or deleting the disease allele is potentially curative. To test whether there may be an advantage of one approach over the other for WHIM (warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections and myelokathexis) syndrome — a primary immunodeficiency disorder caused by gain-of-function autosomal dominant mutations in chemokine receptor CXCR4 — we performed competitive transplantation experiments using both lethally irradiated wild-type (Cxcr4+/+) and unconditioned WHIM (Cxcr4+/w) recipient mice. In both models, hematopoietic reconstitution was markedly superior using bone marrow (BM) cells from donors hemizygous for Cxcr4 (Cxcr4+/o) compared with BM cells from Cxcr4+/+ donors. Remarkably, only ~6% Cxcr4+/o hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) chimerism post-transplantation in unconditioned Cxcr4+/w recipient BM supported >70% long-term donor myeloid chimerism in blood and corrected myeloid cell deficiency in blood. Donor Cxcr4+/o HSCs differentiated normally and did not undergo exhaustion as late as 465 days post-transplantation. Thus, disease allele deletion resulting in Cxcr4 haploinsufficiency was superior to disease allele repair in a mouse model of gene therapy for WHIM syndrome, allowing correction of leukopenia without recipient conditioning.
Ji-Liang Gao, Erin Yim, Marie Siwicki, Alexander Yang, Qian Liu, Ari Azani, Albert Owusu-Ansah, David H. McDermott, Philip M. Murphy
The superoxide-generating enzyme Nox2 contributes to hypertension and cardiovascular remodeling triggered by activation of the renin-angiotensin system. Multiple Nox2-expressing cells are implicated in angiotensin II (AngII)-induced pathophysiology, but the importance of Nox2 in leukocyte subsets is poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role of Nox2 in T cells, particularly Tregs. Mice globally deficient in Nox2 displayed increased numbers of Tregs in the heart at baseline whereas AngII-induced T-effector cell (Teffs) infiltration was inhibited. To investigate the role of Treg Nox2, we generated a mouse line with CD4-targeted Nox2 deficiency (Nox2fl/flCD4Cre+). These animals showed inhibition of AngII-induced hypertension and cardiac remodeling related to increased tissue-resident Tregs and reduction in infiltrating Teffs, including Th17 cells. The protection in Nox2fl/flCD4Cre+ mice was reversed by anti-CD25 Ab-depletion of Tregs. Mechanistically, Nox2–/y Tregs showed higher in vitro suppression of Teffs proliferation than WT Tregs, increased nuclear levels of FoxP3 and NF-κB, and enhanced transcription of CD25, CD39, and CD73. Adoptive transfer of Tregs confirmed that Nox2-deficient cells had greater inhibitory effects on AngII-induced heart remodeling than WT cells. These results identify a previously unrecognized role of Nox2 in modulating suppression of Tregs, which acts to enhance hypertension and cardiac remodeling.
Amber Emmerson, Silvia Cellone Trevelin, Heloise Mongue-Din, Pablo D. Becker, Carla Ortiz, Lesley A. Smyth, Qi Peng, Raul Elgueta, Greta Sawyer, Aleksandar Ivetic, Robert I. Lechler, Giovanna Lombardi, Ajay M. Shah
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a degenerative motor neuron (MN) disease caused by loss of functional SMN protein due to SMN1 gene mutations, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Increasing SMN levels ameliorates the disease phenotype and is unanimously accepted as a therapeutic approach for SMA patients. The ubiquitin/proteasome system is known to regulate SMN protein levels; however whether autophagy controls SMN levels remains poorly explored. Here we show that SMN protein is degraded by autophagy. Pharmacological and genetic inhibition of autophagy increase SMN levels, while induction of autophagy decreases SMN. SMN degradation occurs via its interaction with the autophagy adapter p62/SQSTM1. We also show that SMA neurons display reduced autophagosome clearance, increased p62/ubiquitinated protein levels, and hyperactivated mTORC1 signaling. Importantly, reducing p62 levels markedly increases SMN and its binding partner gemin2, promotes MN survival and extends lifespan in fly and mouse SMA models revealing p62 as a new potential therapeutic target to treat SMA.
Natalia Rodriguez-Muela, Andrey Parkhitko, Tobias Grass, Rebecca M. Gibbs, Erika M. Norabuena, Norbert Perrimon, Rajat Singh, Lee L. Rubin
Progression of chronic kidney disease associated with progressive fibrosis and impaired tubular epithelial regeneration is still an unmet biomedical challenge, because once chronic lesions have manifested, no effective therapies are available as of yet for clinical use. Prompted by various studies across multiple organs demonstrating that preconditioning regimens to induce endogenous regenerative mechanisms protect various organs from later incurring acute injuries, we here aimed to gain insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying successful protection and to explore whether such pathways could be utilized to inhibit progression of chronic organ injury. We identified a protective mechanism that is controlled by the transcription factor ARNT, which effectively inhibits progression of chronic kidney injury by transcriptional induction of ALK3, the principal mediator of anti-fibrotic and pro-regenerative BMP signaling responses. We further report that ARNT expression itself is controlled by the FKBP12/YY1 transcriptional repressor complex, and that disruption of such FKBP12/YY1 complexes by picomolar FK506 at sub-immunosuppressive doses increases ARNT expression, subsequently leading to homodimeric ARNT-induced ALK3 transcription. Direct targeting of FKBP12/YY1 with in vivo-morpholino approaches or small molecule inhibitors including GPI-1046 were equally effective to induce ARNT expression with subsequent activation of ALK3-dependent canonical BMP signaling responses and attenuated chronic organ failure in models of chronic kidney, but also cardiac and liver injuries. In summary, we report an organ protective mechanism, which can be pharmacologically modulated by immunophilin ligands FK506, GPI-1046 or therapeutically targeted by in vivo-morpholino approaches.
Björn Tampe, Désirée Tampe, Gunsmaa Nyamsuren, Friederike Klöpper, Gregor Rapp, Anne Kauffels, Thomas Lorf, Elisabeth M. Zeisberg, Gerhard A. Müller, Raghu Kalluri, Samy Hakroush, Michael Zeisberg
Complications of diabetes affect tissues throughout body, including central nervous system. Epidemiological studies show that diabetic patients have increased risk of depression, anxiety, age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Mice lacking insulin receptor in brain or on hypothalamic neurons display an array of metabolic abnormalities, however, the role of insulin action on astrocytes and neurobehaviors remains less well-studied. Here, we demonstrate that astrocytes are a direct insulin target in the brain and that knockout of IR on astrocytes causes increased anxiety and depressive-like behaviors in mice. This can be reproduced in part by deletion of IR on astrocytes in the nucleus accumbens. At a molecular level, loss of insulin signaling in astrocytes impaired tyrosine phosphorylation of Munc18c. This led to decreased exocytosis of ATP from astrocytes, resulting in decreased purinergic signaling on dopaminergic neurons. These reductions contributed to decreased dopamine release from brain slices. Central administration of ATP analogues could reverse depressive-like behaviors in mice with astrocyte IR knockout. Thus, astrocytic insulin signaling plays an important role in dopaminergic signaling, providing a potential mechanism by which astrocytic insulin action may contribute to increased rates of depression in people with diabetes, obesity and other insulin resistant states.
Weikang Cai, Chang Xue, Masaji Sakaguchi, Masahiro Konishi, Alireza Shirazian, Heather A. Ferris, Mengyao Li, Ruichao Yu, Andre Kleinridders, Emmanuel N. Pothos, C. Ronald Kahn
Synthetic lethality-based strategy has been developed to identify therapeutic targets in cancer harboring tumor suppressor gene mutations, as exemplified by the effectiveness of PARP inhibitors in BRCA1/2-mutated tumors. However, many synthetic lethal interactors are less reliable due to the fact that such genes usually do not perform fundamental or indispensable functions in the cell. Here we developed an approach to identify the “essential lethality” arose from these mutated/deleted essential genes, which are largely tolerated in cancer cells due to genetic redundancy. We uncovered the cohesion subunit SA1 as a putative synthetic-essential target in cancers carrying inactivating mutations of its paralog, SA2. In SA2-deficient Ewing sarcoma and bladder cancer, further depletion of SA1 profoundly and specifically suppressed cancer cell proliferation, survival and tumorigenic potential. Mechanistically, inhibition of SA1 in the SA2-mutated cells led to premature chromatid separation, dramatic extension of mitotic duration, and consequently lethal failure of cell division. More importantly, depletion of SA1 rendered those SA2-mutated cells more susceptible to DNA damage, especially double-strand breaks (DSBs), due to reduced functionality of DNA repair. Furthermore, inhibition of SA1 sensitized the SA2-deficient cancer cells to PARP inhibitors in vitro and in vivo, providing a potential therapeutic strategy for patients with SA2-deficient tumors.
Yunhua Liu, Hanchen Xu, Kevin Van der Jeught, Yujing Li, Sheng Liu, Lu Zhang, Yuanzhang Fang, Xinna Zhang, Milan Rodovich, Bryan P. Schneider, Xiaoming He, Cheng Huang, Chi Zhang, Jun Wan, Guang Ji, Xiongbin Lu
BACKGROUND. Monogenic Interferon (IFN)-mediated autoinflammatory diseases present in infancy with systemic inflammation, an IFN-response-gene-signature (IRS), inflammatory organ damage and high mortality. We used the janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor baricitinib with IFN-blocking activity in vitro, to ameliorate disease. METHODS. Between October 2011 and February 2017, 10 patients with CANDLE (chronic atypical neutrophilic dermatosis with lipodystrophy and elevated temperatures), 4 with SAVI (Stimulator of IFN genes (STING)-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy), and 4 patients with other interferonopathies were enrolled in an Expanded Access Program. Patients underwent dose-escalation, benefit was assessed by reductions in daily disease symptoms and corticosteroid requirement. Quality-of-life, organ inflammation, changes in IFN-induced biomarkers, and safety were longitudinally assessed. RESULTS. 18 patients were treated for a mean duration of 3.0 years (1.5–4.9 years). The median daily symptom score decreased from 1.3 (IQR 0.93–1.78) to 0.25 (IQR 0.1-0.63) (P < 0.0001). In 14 patients receiving steroids at baseline, daily prednisone doses decreased from 0.44 mg/kg/day (IQR 0.31–1.09) to 0.11 mg/kg/day (IQR 0.02–0.24) (P < 0.01); 5 of 10 CANDLE patients achieved lasting clinical remission. Quality of life, height and bone mineral density Z-scores significantly improved, and IFN biomarkers decreased. Three patients discontinued, two with genetically undefined conditions due to lack of efficacy, and one CANDLE patient due to BK viremia and azotemia. The most common adverse events were upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, BK viruria and viremia. CONCLUSION. On baricitinib treatment, clinical manifestations, inflammatory and IFN biomarkers improved in patients with the monogenic interferonopathies, CANDLE, SAVI and 2 other interferonopathies. Monitoring safety and efficacy is important in benefit-risk assessment. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01724580 and NCT02974595. FUNDING. NIH, NIAID, NIAMS, NIDDK, NHLBI, NINDS, and the Clinical Center. Baricitinib was provided by Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly is the sponsor of the compassionate use program.
Gina A. Montealegre Sanchez, Adam Reinhardt, Suzanne Ramsey, Helmut Wittkowski, Philip J. Hashkes, Yackov Berkun, Susanne Schalm, Sara Murias, Jason A. Dare, Diane Brown, Deborah L. Stone, Ling Gao, Thomas Klausmeier, Dirk Foell, Adriana A. de Jesus, Dawn C. Chapelle, Hanna Kim, Samantha Dill, Robert Colbert, Laura Failla, Bahar Kost, Michelle O'Brien, James C. Reynolds, Les R. Folio, Katherine R. Calvo, Scott M. Paul, Nargues Weir, Alessandra Brofferio, Ariane Soldatos, Angélique Biancotto, Edward W. Cowen, John G. Digiovanna, Massimo Gadina, Andrew J. Lipton, Colleen Hadigan, Steven M. Holland, Joseph Fontana, Ahmad S. Alawad, Rebecca J. Brown, Kristina I. Rother, Theo Heller, Kristina M. Brooks, Parag Kumar, Stephen R. Brooks, Meryl Waldman, Harsharan K. Singh, Volker Nickeleit, Maria Silk, Apurva Prakash, Jonathan M. Janes, Seza Ozen, Paul G. Wakim, Paul A. Brogan, William L. Macias, Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky
Activation of non-neuronal microglia is thought to play a causal role in spinal processing of neuropathic pain. To specifically investigate microglia-mediated effects in a model of neuropathic pain and overcome methodological limitations of previous approaches exploring microglia function upon nerve injury, we selectively ablated resident microglia by intracerebroventricular (icv) ganciclovir infusion into male CD11b-HSVTK transgenic mice, which was followed by a rapid, complete and persistent (23 weeks) repopulation of the CNS by peripheral myeloid cells. In repopulated mice that underwent sciatic nerve injury, we observed a normal response to mechanical stimuli, but an absence of thermal hypersensitivity ipsilateral to the injured nerve. Furthermore, we found that neuronal expression of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which is a marker of neurons essential for heat responses, was diminished in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord in repopulated mice. These findings demonstrate distinct mechanisms for heat and mechanical hypersensitivity, highlighting a crucial contribution of CNS myeloid cells in the facilitation of noxious heat.
Stefanie Kälin, Kelly R. Miller, Roland E. Kälin, Marina Jendrach, Christian Witzel, Frank L. Heppner
Although aberrant Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) signaling is widespread in cancer, EGFR inhibition is effective only in a subset of NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) with EGFR activating mutations. A majority of NSCLCs express EGFR wild type (EGFRwt) and do not respond to EGFR inhibition. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a major mediator of inflammation-induced cancer. We find that a rapid increase in TNF level is a universal adaptive response to EGFR inhibition in NSCLC regardless of EGFR status. EGFR signaling actively suppresses TNF mRNA levels by inducing expression of miR-21 resulting in decreased TNF mRNA stability. Conversely, EGFR inhibition results in loss of miR-21 and increased TNF mRNA stability. In addition, TNF-induced NF-kB activation leads to increased TNF transcription in a feedforward loop. Inhibition of TNF signaling renders EGFRwt expressing NSCLC cell lines and an EGFRwt Patient-Derived Xenograft (PDX) model highly sensitive to EGFR inhibition. In EGFR mutant oncogene-addicted cells, blocking TNF enhances the effectiveness of EGFR inhibition. EGFR plus TNF inhibition is also effective in NSCLC with acquired resistance to EGFR inhibition. We suggest concomitant EGFR and TNF inhibition as a new treatment approach that could be beneficial for a majority of lung cancer patients.
Ke Gong, Gao Guo, David E. Gerber, Boning Gao, Michael Peyton, Chun Huang, John D. Minna, Kimmo J. Hatanpaa, Kemp Kernstine, Ling Cai, Yang Xie, Hong Zhu, Farjana Fattah, Shanrong Zhang, Masaya Takahashi, Bipasha Mukherjee, Sandeep Burma, Jonathan Dowell, Kathryn Dao, Vassiliki A. Papadimitrakopoulou, Victor Olivas, Trever G. Bivona, Dawen Zhao, Amyn A. Habib
In situ cancer vaccines are under active clinical investigation due to their reported ability to eradicate both local and disseminated malignancies. Intratumoral vaccine administration is thought to activate a T cell mediated immune response, which begins in the treated tumor and cascades systemically. We describe a positron emission tomography tracer (64Cu-DOTA-AbOX40) that enabled non-invasive and longitudinal imaging of OX40, a cell surface marker of T cell activation. We report the spatiotemporal dynamics of T cell activation following in situ vaccination with CpG oligodeoxynucleotide, in a dual tumor bearing mouse model. We demonstrate that OX40 imaging could predict tumor responses at day 9 post treatment based on tumor tracer uptake at day 2, with higher accuracy than both anatomical and blood-based measurements. These studies provide key insights into global T cell activation following local CpG treatment and indicate that 64Cu-DOTA-AbOX40 is a promising candidate for monitoring clinical cancer immunotherapy strategies.
Israt S. Alam, Aaron T. Mayer, Idit Sagiv-Barfi, Kezheng Wang, Ophir Vermesh, Debra K. Czerwinski, Emily M. Johnson, Michelle L. James, Ronald Levy, Sanjiv S. Gambhir
In the brain, the ventral hypothalamus (VHT) regulates energy and bone metabolism. Whether this regulation uses the same or different neuronal circuits is unknown. Alteration of AP1 signaling in the VHT increases energy expenditure, glucose utilization, and bone density, yet the specific neurons responsible for each or all of these phenotypes are not identified. Using neuron-specific genetically targeted AP1 alterations as a tool in adult mice, we found that AgRP- or POMC- expressing neurons, predominantly present in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) within the VHT, stimulate whole body energy expenditure, glucose utilization and bone formation and density, although their effects on bone resorption differed. In contrast, AP1 alterations in Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1)-expressing neurons, present in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), increase energy, but decrease bone density, suggesting that these effects are independent. Altered AP1 signaling also increased the levels of the neuromediator galanin in the hypothalamus and global galanin deletion, VHT galanin silencing using shRNA, or pharmacological galanin receptor blockade, counteracted the observed effects on energy and bone. Thus, AP1 antagonism reveals that AgRP- and POMC- expressing neurons can stimulate body metabolism and increase bone density, with galanin acting as a central downstream effector. The results obtained with SF1-expressing neurons, however, indicate that bone homeostasis is not always dictated by the global energy status, and vice versa.
Anna Idelevich, Kazusa Sato, Kenichi Nagano, Glenn Rowe, Francesca Gori, Roland Baron
Neurofibromatosis type 1 associates with multiple neoplasms and the Schwann cell tumor neurofibroma is the most prevalent. A hallmark feature of neurofibroma is mast cell infiltration which is recruited by chemoattractant stem cell factor (SCF) that has been suggested to sustain neurofibroma tumorigenesis. In this study, using new genetically engineered Scf mice, we decipher the contributions of tumor-derived SCF and mast cells to neurofibroma development. We demonstrate that mast cell infiltration is dependent on SCF from tumor Schwann cells. However, removal of mast cells by depleting this main SCF source only slightly affects neurofibroma progression. Other inflammation signatures show that all neurofibromas are associated with high levels of macrophages regardless of Scf status. These findings suggest an active inflammation in neurofibromas and partly explain why mast cell removal alone is not sufficient to relieve tumor burden in this experimental neurofibroma model. Furthermore, we show that plexiform neurofibromas are highly associated with injury-prone spinal nerves that are close to flexible vertebras. In summary, our study details the role of inflammation in neurofibromagenesis. These data paired with the observed tumor locations indicate that prevention of inflammation, and possibly nerve injury, are therapeutic approaches for neurofibroma prophylaxis and treatment that should be explored.
Chung-Ping Liao, Reid C. Booker, Jean-Philippe Brosseau, Zhiguo Chen, Juan Mo, Edem Tchegnon, Yong Wang, D. Wade Clapp, Lu Q. Le
Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are PPARγ agonists with potent insulin-sensitizing effects. However, their use has been curtailed by significant adverse effects on weight, bone, heart, and hemodynamic balance. TZDs induce the deacetylation of PPARγ on K268 and K293 to cause the browning of white adipocytes. Here we showed that targeted PPARγ mutations resulting in constitutive deacetylation (K268R/K293R, 2KR) increased energy expenditure, and protected from visceral adiposity and diet-induced obesity by augmenting brown remodeling of white adipose tissues. Strikingly, when 2KR mice were treated with rosiglitazone, they maintained the insulin-sensitizing, glucose-lowering response to TZDs, while displaying little, if any, adverse effects on fat deposition, bone density, fluid retention, and cardiac hypertrophy. Thus, deacetylation appears to fulfill the goal of dissociating the metabolic benefits of PPARγ activation from its adverse effects. Strategies to leverage PPARγ deacetylation may lead to the design of safer, more effective agonists of this nuclear receptor in the treatment of metabolic diseases.
Michael J. Kraakman, Qiongming Liu, Jorge Postigo-Fernandez, Ruiping Ji, Ning Kon, Delfina Larrea, Maria Namwanje, Lihong Fan, Michelle Chan, Estela Area-Gomez, Wenxian Fu, Remi J. Creusot, Li Qiang
Emerging data suggest that hypercholesterolemia has stimulatory effects on adaptive immunity and that these effects can promote atherosclerosis and perhaps other inflammatory diseases. However, research in this area has relied primarily on inbred strains of mice, whose adaptive immune system can differ substantially from that of humans. Moreover, the genetically induced hypercholesterolemia in these models typically results in plasma cholesterol levels that are much higher than those in most humans. To overcome these obstacles, we studied human immune system-reconstituted mice (hu-mice) rendered hypercholesterolemic by treatment with AAV8- PCSK9 and a high-fat/high-cholesterol Western-type diet (WD). These mice had a high percentage of human T cells and moderate hypercholesterolemia. Compared with hu-mice having lower plasma cholesterol, the PCSK9-WD mice developed a T cell-mediated inflammatory response in the lung and liver. Human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells bearing an effector memory phenotype were significantly elevated in the blood, spleen, and lungs of PCSK9-WD hu-mice, while splenic and circulating regulatory T cells were reduced. These data show that moderately high plasma cholesterol can disrupt human T cell homeostasis in vivo. This process may not only exacerbate atherosclerosis but also contribute to T cell-mediated inflammatory diseases in the setting of hypercholesterolemia.
Jonathan D. Proto, Amanda C. Doran, Manikandan Subramanian, Hui Wang, Mingyou Zhang, Erdi Sozen, Christina Rymond, George Kuriakose, Vivette D'Agati, Robert Winchester, Megan Sykes, Yong-Guang Yang, Ira Tabas
Despite significant advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), most patients succumb to disease progression. One of the major immunosuppressive mechanisms that is believed to play a role in myeloma progression, is the expansion of regulatory T-cells (Tregs). In this study, we demonstrate that myeloma cells drive Treg expansion and activation by secreting type-1 interferon (IFN). Blocking IFNAR1 (interferon alpha and beta receptor 1) on Tregs significantly decreases both, myeloma-associated Treg immunosuppressive function and myeloma progression. Using syngeneic transplantable murine myeloma models and bone marrow (BM) aspirates of multiple myeloma patients, we found that Tregs were expanded and activated in the BM microenvironment at early stages of myeloma development. Selective depletion of Tregs led to a complete remission and prolonged survival in mice injected with myeloma cells. Further analysis of the interaction between myeloma cells and Tregs using gene sequencing and enrichment analysis uncovered a feedback loop, wherein myeloma-cell-secreted type-1 IFN induced proliferation and expansion of Tregs. By using IFNAR1-blocking antibody treatment and IFNAR1 knockout Tregs, we demonstrated a significant decrease in myeloma-associated Treg proliferation, which was associated with longer survival of myeloma-injected mice. Our results thus suggest that blocking type-1 IFN signaling represents a potential strategy to target immunosuppressive Treg function in MM.
Yawara Kawano, Oksana Zavidij, Jihye Park, Michele Moschetta, Katsutoshi Kokubun, Tarek H. Mouhieddine, Salomon Manier, Yuji Mishima, Naoka Murakami, Mark Bustoros, Romanos Sklavenitis Pistofidis, Mairead Reidy, Yu J. Shen, Mahshid Rahmat, Pavlo Lukyanchykov, Esilida Sula Karreci, Shokichi Tsukamoto, Jiantao Shi, Satoshi Takagi, Daisy Huynh, Antonio Sacco, Yu-Tzu Tai, Marta Chesi, P. Leif Bergsagel, Aldo M. Roccaro, Jamil Azzi, Irene M. Ghobrial
Adult vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) possess the peculiar ability to de-differentiate in response to extracellular cues, such as vascular damage and inflammation. De-differentiated VSMCs are proliferative, migratory, and have decreased contractile capacity. VSMC dedifferentiation contributes not only to vascular repair, but also to cardiovascular pathologies, such as intimal hyperplasia/restenosis in coronary artery or peripheral vascular diseases and arterial aneurysm. We here demonstrate the role of ubiquitin-like, containing PHD and RING finger domains, 1 (UHRF1) as an epigenetic master regulator of VSMC plasticity. The expression of UHRF1 correlates with the development of a wide array of vascular pathologies associated also with modulation of non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs. Importantly, miR-145, a pivotal gene regulating VSMC plasticity, which is reduced in vascular diseases, was found to control Uhrf1 mRNA translation. In turn, UHRF1 triggers VSMC proliferation by directly repressing the promoters of cell cycle inhibitor genes, such as p21 and p27, and of key pro-differentiation genes via the methylation of DNA and histones. Local vascular viral delivery of Uhrf1 shRNAs or Uhrf1 VSMC-specific deletion prevented intimal hyperplasia in mouse carotid artery and decreased vessel damage in a mouse model of aortic aneurysm.Our study demonstrates the fundamental role of Uhrf1 in regulating VSMC phenotype by promoting proliferation and de-differentiation. UHRF1 targeting may hold therapeutic potential in vascular pathologies, modulating also the VSMC component.
Leonardo Elia, Paolo Kunderfranco, Pierluigi Carullo, Marco Vacchiano, Floriana Maria Farina, Ignacio Fernando Hall, Stefano Mantero, Cristina Panico, Roberto Papait, Gianluigi Condorelli, Manuela Quintavalle
Cell death is a key driver of disease progression and carcinogenesis in chronic liver disease (CLD), highlighted by the well-established clinical correlation between hepatocellular death and risk for the development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Moreover, hepatocellular death is sufficient to trigger fibrosis and HCC in mice. However, the pathways through which cell death drives CLD progression remain elusive. Here, we tested the hypothesis that high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) with key roles in acute liver injury, may link cell death to injury responses and hepatocarcinogenesis in CLD. While liver-specific HMGB1 deficiency did not significantly affect chronic injury responses such as fibrosis, regeneration and inflammation, it inhibited ductular/progenitor cell expansion and hepatocyte metaplasia. HMGB1 promoted ductular expansion independently of active secretion in a non-autonomous fashion, consistent with its role as DAMP. Liver-specific HMGB1 deficiency reduced HCC development in three models with chronic injury but not in a model lacking chronic liver injury. Similar to CLD, HMGB1 ablation reduced the expression of progenitor and oncofetal markers, a key determinant of HCC aggressiveness, in tumors. In summary, HMGB1 links hepatocyte death to ductular reaction, progenitor signature and hepatocarcinogenesis in CLD.
Céline Hernandez, Peter Huebener, Jean-Philippe Pradere, Daniel J. Antoine, Richard A. Friedman, Robert F. Schwabe
Autophagy is important for liver homeostasis and the deficiency leads to injury, inflammation, ductular reaction (DR), fibrosis, and tumorigenesis. It is not clear how these events are mechanistically linked to autophagy deficiency. Here we reveal the role of highmobility group box 1 (HMGB1) in two of these processes. First, HMGB1 was required for DR, which represents the expansion of hepatic progenitor cells (HPC) implicated in liver repair and regeneration. DR caused by hepatic toxic diets (DDC or CDE) also depended on HMGB1, indicating that HMGB1 may be generally required for DR in various injury scenarios. Second, HMGB1 promoted tumor development in autophagy deficient livers. Receptor for advanced glycation end product (RAGE), a receptor for HMGB1, was required in the same two processes, and could mediate HMGB1’s proliferative effects in isolated HPC. HMGB1 was released from autophagy-deficient hepatocytes independently of cellular injury, but depending on NRF2 and inflammasome, which was activated by NRF2. Pharmacological or genetic activation of NRF2 alone without disabling autophagy or causing injury was sufficient to cause inflammasomedependent HMGB1 release. In conclusion, HMGB1 release is a critical mechanism in hepatic pathogenesis under the autophagy deficient condition, which leads to HPC expansion but also tumor development.
Bilon Khambu, Nazmul Huda, Xiaoyun Chen, Daniel J. Antoine, Yong Li, Guoli Dai, Ulrike A. Köhler, Wei-Xing Zong, Satoshi Waguri, Sabine Werner, Tim D. Oury, Zheng Dong, Xiao-Ming Yin
Single cancer cell sequencing studies currently use randomly-selected cells, limiting correlations between genomic aberrations, morphology and spatial localization. We laser-captured microdissected single cells from morphologically-distinct areas of primary breast cancer and corresponding lymph node metastasis and performed whole-exome or deep-target sequencing of greater than 100 such cells. Two major subclones co-existed in different areas of the primary tumor, and the lymph node metastasis originated from a minor subclone in the invasive front of the primary tumor with additional copy number changes including 8q gain, but no additional point mutations in driver genes. Lack of metastasis-specific driver events lead us to assess whether other clonal and subclonal genomic aberrations pre-existing in primary tumors contribute to lymph node metastasis. Gene mutations and copy number variations analyzed in five breast cancer tissue sample sets revealed that copy number variations in several genomic regions, including areas within chromosome 1p, 8q, 9p, 12q and 20q, harboring several metastasis-associated genes, were consistently associated with lymph node metastasis. Moreover, clonal expansion was observed in an area of morphologically-normal breast epithelia, likely driven by a driver mutation and a subsequent amplification in chromosome 1q. Our study illuminates the molecular evolution of breast cancer and genomic aberrations contributing to metastases.
Li Bao, Zhaoyang Qian, Maria B. Lyng, Ling Wang, Yuan Yu, Ting Wang, Xiuqing Zhang, Huanming Yang, Nils Brünner, Jun Wang, Henrik J. Ditzel
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the protein ATXN1, which is involved in transcriptional regulation. Although symptoms appear relatively late in life, primarily from cerebellar dysfunction, pathogenesis begins early, with brain-wide transcriptional changes detectable as early as a week after birth in SCA1 knock-in mice. Given the importance of this postnatal period for cerebellar development, we asked whether this region might be developmentally altered by mutant ATXN1. We found that expanded ATXN1 stimulates the proliferation of postnatal cerebellar stem cells in SCA1 mice. These hyper-proliferating stem cells tended to differentiate into GABAergic inhibitory interneurons rather than astrocytes; this significantly increased the GABAergic inhibitory interneuron synaptic connections, disrupting cerebellar Purkinje cell function in a non-cell autonomous manner. We confirmed the increased basket cell-Purkinje cell connectivity in human SCA1 patients. Mutant ATXN1 thus alters the neural circuitry of the developing cerebellum, setting the stage for the later vulnerability of Purkinje cells to SCA1. We propose that other late-onset degenerative diseases may also be rooted in subtle developmental derailments.
Chandrakanth Reddy Edamakanti, Jeehaeh Do, Alessandro Didonna, Marco Martina, Puneet Opal