BACKGROUND. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is under consideration as a promising recombinant viral vector to deliver foreign antigens including HIV. However, new vectors have come under increased scrutiny, since trials with adenovirus serotype 5–vectored (Ad5-vectored) HIV vaccine demonstrated increased HIV risk in individuals with pre-immunity to the vector that was thought to be associated with mucosal immune activation (IA). Therefore, given the prospect of developing an HIV/VZV chimeric vaccine, it is particularly important to define the impact of VZV vaccination on IA. METHODS. Healthy VZV-seropositive Kenyan women (n = 44) were immunized with high-dose live attenuated VZV vaccine, and we assessed the expression on CD4+ T cells isolated from blood, cervix, and rectum of IA markers including CD38 and HLA-DR and of markers of cell migration and tissue retention, as well as the concentration of genital and intestinal cytokines. A delayed-start group (n = 22) was used to control for natural variations in these parameters. RESULTS. Although immunogenic, VZV vaccination did not result in significant difference in the frequency of cervical activated (HLA-DR+CD38+) CD4+ T cells (median 1.61%, IQR 0.93%–2.76%) at 12 weeks after vaccination when compared with baseline (median 1.58%, IQR 0.75%–3.04%), the primary outcome for this study. VZV vaccination also had no measurable effect on any of the IA parameters at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after vaccination. CONCLUSION. This study provides the first evidence to our knowledge about the effects of VZV vaccination on human mucosal IA status and supports further evaluation of VZV as a potential vector for an HIV vaccine. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02514018. FUNDING. Primary support from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). For other sources, see Acknowledgments.
Catia T. Perciani, Bashir Farah, Rupert Kaul, Mario A. Ostrowski, Salaheddin M. Mahmud, Omu Anzala, Walter Jaoko, KAVI-ICR Team, Kelly S. MacDonald
Both natural influenza infection and current seasonal influenza vaccines primarily induce neutralizing antibody responses against highly diverse epitopes within the “head” of the viral hemagglutinin (HA) protein. There is increasing interest in redirecting immunity toward the more conserved HA stem or stalk as a means of broadening protective antibody responses. Here we examined HA stem–specific B cell and T follicular helper (Tfh) cell responses in the context of influenza infection and immunization in mouse and monkey models. We found that during infection, the stem domain was immunologically subdominant to the head in terms of serum antibody production and antigen-specific B and Tfh cell responses. Similarly, we found that HA stem immunogens were poorly immunogenic compared with the full-length HA with abolished sialic acid binding activity, with limiting Tfh cell elicitation a potential constraint to the induction or boosting of anti-stem immunity by vaccination. Finally, we confirm that currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines can boost preexisting memory responses against the HA stem in humans. An increased understanding of the immune dynamics surrounding the HA stem is essential to inform the design of next-generation influenza vaccines for broad and durable protection.
Hyon-Xhi Tan, Sinthujan Jegaskanda, Jennifer A. Juno, Robyn Esterbauer, Julius Wong, Hannah G. Kelly, Yi Liu, Danielle Tilmanis, Aeron C. Hurt, Jonathan W. Yewdell, Stephen J. Kent, Adam K. Wheatley
Energy stress, such as ischemia, induces mitochondrial damage and death in the heart. Degradation of damaged mitochondria by mitophagy is essential for the maintenance of healthy mitochondria and survival. Here, we show that mitophagy during myocardial ischemia was mediated predominantly through autophagy characterized by Rab9-associated autophagosomes, rather than the well-characterized form of autophagy that is dependent on the autophagy-related 7 (Atg) conjugation system and LC3. This form of mitophagy played an essential role in protecting the heart against ischemia and was mediated by a protein complex consisting of unc-51 like kinase 1 (Ulk1), Rab9, receptor-interacting serine/thronine protein kinase 1 (Rip1), and dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). This complex allowed the recruitment of trans-Golgi membranes associated with Rab9 to damaged mitochondria through S179 phosphorylation of Rab9 by Ulk1 and S616 phosphorylation of Drp1 by Rip1. Knockin of Rab9 (S179A) abolished mitophagy and exacerbated the injury in response to myocardial ischemia, without affecting conventional autophagy. Mitophagy mediated through the Ulk1/Rab9/Rip1/Drp1 pathway protected the heart against ischemia by maintaining healthy mitochondria.
Toshiro Saito, Jihoon Nah, Shin-ichi Oka, Risa Mukai, Yoshiya Monden, Yasuhiro Maejima, Yoshiyuki Ikeda, Sebastiano Sciarretta, Tong Liu, Hong Li, Erdene Baljinnyam, Diego Fraidenraich, Luke Fritzky, Peiyong Zhai, Shizuko Ichinose, Mitsuaki Isobe, Chiao-Po Hsu, Mondira Kundu, Junichi Sadoshima
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a complication of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) that affects multiple organs. GVHD-associated intestinal damage can be separated into two distinct phases, initiation and propagation, which correspond to conditioning-induced damage and effector T cell activation and infiltration, respectively. Substantial evidence indicates that intestinal damage induced by pretransplant conditioning is a key driver of GVHD initiation. Here, we aimed to determine the impact of dysregulated intestinal permeability on the subsequent GVHD propagation phase. The initiation phase of GVHD was unchanged in mice lacking long MLCK (MLCK210), an established regulator of epithelial tight junction permeability. However, MLCK210-deficient mice were protected from sustained barrier loss and exhibited limited GVHD propagation, as indicated by reduced histopathology, fewer CD8+ effector T cells in the gut, and improved overall survival. Consistent with these findings, intestinal epithelial MLCK210 expression and enzymatic activity were similarly increased in human and mouse GVHD biopsies. Intestinal epithelial barrier loss mediated by MLCK210 is therefore a key driver of the GVHD propagation. These data suggest that inhibition of MLCK210-dependent barrier regulation may be an effective approach to limiting GVHD progression.
Sam C. Nalle, Li Zuo, Ma. Lora Drizella M. Ong, Gurminder Singh, Alicia M. Worthylake, Wangsun Choi, Mario Cabrero Manresa, Anna P. Southworth, Karen L. Edelblum, Gregory J. Baker, Nora E. Joseph, Peter A. Savage, Jerrold R. Turner
Molecular signaling mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease (AD) remain unclear. Maintenance of memory and synaptic plasticity depend on de novo protein synthesis, dysregulation of which is implicated in AD. Recent studies showed AD-associated hyperphosphorylation of mRNA translation factor eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2), which results in inhibition of protein synthesis. We tested to determine whether suppression of eEF2 phosphorylation could improve protein synthesis capacity and AD-associated cognitive and synaptic impairments. Genetic reduction of the eEF2 kinase (eEF2K) in 2 AD mouse models suppressed AD-associated eEF2 hyperphosphorylation and improved memory deficits and hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) impairments without altering brain amyloid β (Aβ) pathology. Furthermore, eEF2K reduction alleviated AD-associated defects in dendritic spine morphology, postsynaptic density formation, de novo protein synthesis, and dendritic polyribosome assembly. Our results link eEF2K/eEF2 signaling dysregulation to AD pathophysiology and therefore offer a feasible therapeutic target.
Brenna C. Beckelman, Wenzhong Yang, Nicole P. Kasica, Helena R. Zimmermann, Xueyan Zhou, C. Dirk Keene, Alexey G. Ryazanov, Tao Ma
Persistent, unresolved inflammation in adipose tissue is a major contributor to obesity-associated metabolic complications. However, the molecular links between lipid-overloaded adipocytes and inflammatory immune cells in obese adipose tissues remain elusive. Here we identified adipocyte-secreted microRNA-34a (miR-34a) as a key mediator through its paracrine actions on adipose-resident macrophages. The expression of miR-34a in adipose tissues was progressively increased with the development of dietary obesity. Adipose-selective or adipocyte-specific miR-34a–KO mice were resistant to obesity-induced glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation, and this was accompanied by a significant shift in polarization of adipose-resident macrophages from proinflammatory M1 to antiinflammatory M2 phenotype. Mechanistically, mature adipocyte-secreted exosomes transported miR-34a into macrophages, thereby suppressing M2 polarization by repressing the expression of Krüppel-like factor 4 (Klf4). The suppressive effects of miR-34a on M2 polarization and its stimulation of inflammatory responses were reversed by ectopic expression of Klf4 in both bone marrow–derived macrophages and adipose depots of obese mice. Furthermore, increased miR-34a expression in visceral fat of overweight/obese subjects correlated negatively with reduced Klf4 expression, but positively with the parameters of insulin resistance and metabolic inflammation. In summary, miR-34a was a key component of adipocyte-secreted exosomal vesicles that transmitted the signal of nutrient overload to the adipose-resident macrophages for exacerbation of obesity-induced systemic inflammation and metabolic dysregulation.
Yong Pan, Xiaoyan Hui, Ruby Lai Chong Hoo, Dewei Ye, Cyrus Yuk Cheung Chan, Tianshi Feng, Yu Wang, Karen Siu Ling Lam, Aimin Xu
The heart relies on mitochondria-derived energy production for continuous contraction and relaxation; therefore, the maintenance of a pool of healthy mitochondria is essential for sustaining normal cardiac performance. Mitophagy serves as a critical process for maintaining mitochondrial quality control and involves the PTEN-induced kinase 1/Parkin (Pink1/Parkin) pathway and autophagosomes labeled with the autophagy proteins autophagy-related 7 (ATG) and light chain 3 (LC3). In this issue of the JCI, Saito and colleagues identify an alternative pathway for mitophagy that utilizes the serine/threonine protein kinase Unc-51–like kinase 1 (Ulk1) and the small GTPase Rab9 to clear damaged mitochondria independently of conventional autophagy proteins. Together, the results of this study reveal that Ulk1 phosphorylation of Rab9 at serine 179 is critical for alternative mitophagy and cardioprotection under energy stress conditions.
Rimpy Dhingra, Inna Rabinovich-Nikitin, Lorrie A. Kirshenbaum
Inherited retinal degenerations are a common cause of untreatable blindness worldwide, with retinitis pigmentosa and cone dystrophy affecting approximately 1 in 3500 and 1 in 10,000 individuals, respectively. A major limitation to the development of effective therapies is the lack of availability of animal models that fully replicate the human condition. Particularly for cone disorders, rodent, canine, and feline models with no true macula have substantive limitations. By contrast, the cone-rich macula of a nonhuman primate (NHP) closely mirrors that of the human retina. Consequently, well-defined NHP models of heritable retinal diseases, particularly cone disorders that are predictive of human conditions, are necessary to more efficiently advance new therapies for patients. We have identified 4 related NHPs at the California National Primate Research Center with visual impairment and findings from clinical ophthalmic examination, advanced retinal imaging, and electrophysiology consistent with achromatopsia. Genetic sequencing confirmed a homozygous R565Q missense mutation in the catalytic domain of PDE6C, a cone-specific phototransduction enzyme associated with achromatopsia in humans. Biochemical studies demonstrate that the mutant mRNA is translated into a stable protein that displays normal cellular localization but is unable to hydrolyze cyclic GMP (cGMP). This NHP model of a cone disorder will not only serve as a therapeutic testing ground for achromatopsia gene replacement, but also for optimization of gene editing in the macula and of cone cell replacement in general.
Ala Moshiri, Rui Chen, Soohyun Kim, R. Alan Harris, Yumei Li, Muthuswamy Raveendran, Sarah Davis, Qingnan Liang, Ori Pomerantz, Jun Wang, Laura Garzel, Ashley Cameron, Glenn Yiu, J. Timothy Stout, Yijun Huang, Christopher J. Murphy, Jeffrey Roberts, Kota N. Gopalakrishna, Kimberly Boyd, Nikolai O. Artemyev, Jeffrey Rogers, Sara M. Thomasy
Necrotizing fasciitis and myositis are devastating infections characterized by high mortality. Group A streptococcus (GAS) is a common cause of these infections, but the molecular pathogenesis is poorly understood. We report a genome-wide analysis using serotype M1 and M28 strains that identified GAS genes contributing to necrotizing myositis in nonhuman primates (NHP), a clinically relevant model. Using transposon-directed insertion-site sequencing (TraDIS), we identified 126 and 116 GAS genes required for infection by serotype M1 and M28 organisms, respectively. For both M1 and M28 strains, more than 25% of the GAS genes required for necrotizing myositis encode known or putative transporters. Thirteen GAS transporters contributed to both M1 and M28 strain fitness in NHP myositis, including putative importers for amino acids, carbohydrates, and vitamins and exporters for toxins, quorum-sensing peptides, and uncharacterized molecules. Targeted deletion of genes encoding 5 transporters confirmed that each isogenic mutant strain was significantly (P < 0.05) impaired in causing necrotizing myositis in NHPs. Quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis showed that these 5 genes are expressed in infected NHP and human skeletal muscle. Certain substrate-binding lipoproteins of these transporters, such as Spy0271 and Spy1728, were previously documented to be surface exposed, suggesting that our findings have translational research implications.
Luchang Zhu, Randall J. Olsen, Stephen B. Beres, Jesus M. Eraso, Matthew Ojeda Saavedra, Samantha L. Kubiak, Concepcion C. Cantu, Leslie Jenkins, Amelia R. L. Charbonneau, Andrew S. Waller, James M. Musser
Achromatopsia is an inherited retinal degeneration characterized by the loss of cone photoreceptor function. In this issue of the JCI, Moshiri et al. characterize a naturally occurring model of the disease in the rhesus macaque caused by homozygous mutations in the phototransduction enzyme PDE6C. Using retinal imaging, and electrophysiologic and biochemical methods, the authors report a clinical phenotype nearly identical to the human condition. These findings represent the first genetic nonhuman primate model of an inherited retinal disease, and provide an ideal testing ground for the development of novel gene replacement, gene editing, and cell replacement therapies for cone dystrophies.
Katherine E. Uyhazi, Jean Bennett
Necrotizing fasciitis and myositis caused by group A streptococci (GAS) are among the most fulminating infections, with a mortality rate of 20% to 30%. Although numerous regimens have been utilized in attempts to control these devastating infections, such as combinations of various antimicrobial agents and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) as well as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, none have been the complete answer. Zhu and colleagues have utilized a transposon-directed insertion-site sequencing (TraDIS) protocol to identify 126 genes of M1 and 116 genes of M28 strains of GAS required for myositis, of which 25% encode transporters, which could be used as possible targets for future therapeutic protocols.
Harry R. Hill
Peroxisomes perform essential functions in lipid metabolism, including fatty acid oxidation and plasmalogen synthesis. Here, we describe a role for peroxisomal lipid metabolism in mitochondrial dynamics in brown and beige adipocytes. Adipose tissue peroxisomal biogenesis was induced in response to cold exposure through activation of the thermogenic coregulator PRDM16. Adipose-specific knockout of the peroxisomal biogenesis factor Pex16 (Pex16-AKO) in mice impaired cold tolerance, decreased energy expenditure, and increased diet-induced obesity. Pex16 deficiency blocked cold-induced mitochondrial fission, decreased mitochondrial copy number, and caused mitochondrial dysfunction. Adipose-specific knockout of the peroxisomal β-oxidation enzyme acyl-CoA oxidase 1 (Acox1-AKO) was not sufficient to affect adiposity, thermogenesis, or mitochondrial copy number, but knockdown of the plasmalogen synthetic enzyme glyceronephosphate O-acyltransferase (GNPAT) recapitulated the effects of Pex16 inactivation on mitochondrial morphology and function. Plasmalogens are present in mitochondria and decreased with Pex16 inactivation. Dietary supplementation with plasmalogens increased mitochondrial copy number, improved mitochondrial function, and rescued thermogenesis in Pex16-AKO mice. These findings support a surprising interaction between peroxisomes and mitochondria regulating mitochondrial dynamics and thermogenesis.
Hongsuk Park, Anyuan He, Min Tan, Jordan M. Johnson, John M. Dean, Terri A. Pietka, Yali Chen, Xiangyu Zhang, Fong-Fu Hsu, Babak Razani, Katsuhiko Funai, Irfan J. Lodhi
Tumor cure with conventional fractionated radiotherapy is 65%, dependent on tumor cell–autonomous gradual buildup of DNA double-strand break (DSB) misrepair. Here we report that single-dose radiotherapy (SDRT), a disruptive technique that ablates more than 90% of human cancers, operates a distinct dual-target mechanism, linking acid sphingomyelinase–mediated (ASMase-mediated) microvascular perfusion defects to DNA unrepair in tumor cells to confer tumor cell lethality. ASMase-mediated microcirculatory vasoconstriction after SDRT conferred an ischemic stress response within parenchymal tumor cells, with ROS triggering the evolutionarily conserved SUMO stress response, specifically depleting chromatin-associated free SUMO3. Whereas SUMO3, but not SUMO2, was indispensable for homology-directed repair (HDR) of DSBs, HDR loss of function after SDRT yielded DSB unrepair, chromosomal aberrations, and tumor clonogen demise. Vasoconstriction blockade with the endothelin-1 inhibitor BQ-123, or ROS scavenging after SDRT using peroxiredoxin-6 overexpression or the SOD mimetic tempol, prevented chromatin SUMO3 depletion, HDR loss of function, and SDRT tumor ablation. We also provide evidence of mouse-to-human translation of this biology in a randomized clinical trial, showing that 24 Gy SDRT, but not 3×9 Gy fractionation, coupled early tumor ischemia/reperfusion to human cancer ablation. The SDRT biology provides opportunities for mechanism-based selective tumor radiosensitization via accessing of SDRT/ASMase signaling, as current studies indicate that this pathway is tractable to pharmacologic intervention.
Sahra Bodo, Cécile Campagne, Tin Htwe Thin, Daniel S. Higginson, H. Alberto Vargas, Guoqiang Hua, John D. Fuller, Ellen Ackerstaff, James Russell, Zhigang Zhang, Stefan Klingler, HyungJoon Cho, Matthew G. Kaag, Yousef Mazaheri, Andreas Rimner, Katia Manova-Todorova, Boris Epel, Joan Zatcky, Cristian R. Cleary, Shyam S. Rao, Yoshiya Yamada, Michael J. Zelefsky, Howard J. Halpern, Jason A. Koutcher, Carlos Cordon-Cardo, Carlo Greco, Adriana Haimovitz-Friedman, Evis Sala, Simon N. Powell, Richard Kolesnick, Zvi Fuks
Abnormal alternative splicing (AS) caused by alterations to splicing factors contributes to tumor progression. Serine/arginine splicing factor 1 (SRSF1) has emerged as a key oncodriver in numerous solid tumors, leaving its roles and mechanisms largely obscure in glioma. Here, we demonstrate that SRSF1 is increased in glioma tissues and cell lines. Moreover, its expression was correlated positively with tumor grade and Ki-67 index, but inversely with patient survival. Using RNA-Seq, we comprehensively screened and identified multiple SRSF1-affected AS events. Motif analysis revealed a position-dependent modulation of AS by SRSF1 in glioma. Functionally, we verified that SRSF1 promoted cell proliferation, survival, and invasion by specifically switching the AS of the myosin IB (MYO1B) gene and facilitating the expression of the oncogenic and membrane-localized isoform, MYO1B-fl. Strikingly, MYO1B splicing was dysregulated in parallel with SRSF1 expression in gliomas and predicted the poor prognosis of the patients. Further investigation revealed that SRSF1-guided AS of the MYO1B gene increased the tumorigenic potential of glioma cells through the PDK1/AKT and PAK/LIMK pathways. Taken together, we identify SRSF1 as an important oncodriver that integrates AS control of MYO1B into promotion of gliomagenesis and represents a potential prognostic biomarker and target for glioma therapy.
Xuexia Zhou, Run Wang, Xuebing Li, Lin Yu, Dan Hua, Cuiyun Sun, Cuijuan Shi, Wenjun Luo, Chun Rao, Zhendong Jiang, Ying Feng, Qian Wang, Shizhu Yu
Loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) represents one hallmark of prostate cancer (PCa). However, restoration of PTEN or inhibition of the activated PI3K/AKT pathway has shown limited success, prompting us to identify obligate targets for disease intervention. We hypothesized that PTEN loss might expose cells to unique epigenetic vulnerabilities. Here, we identified a synthetic lethal relationship between PTEN and Brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1), an ATPase subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. Higher BRG1 expression in tumors with low PTEN expression was associated with a worse clinical outcome. Genetically engineered mice (GEMs) and organoid assays confirmed that ablation of PTEN sensitized the cells to BRG1 depletion. Mechanistically, PTEN loss stabilized BRG1 protein through the inhibition of the AKT/GSK3β/FBXW7 axis. Increased BRG1 expression in PTEN-deficient PCa cells led to chromatin remodeling into configurations that drove a protumorigenic transcriptome, causing cells to become further addicted to BRG1. Furthermore, we showed in preclinical models that BRG1 antagonist selectively inhibited the progression of PTEN-deficient prostate tumors. Together, our results highlight the synthetic lethal relationship between PTEN and BRG1 and support targeting BRG1 as an effective approach to the treatment of PTEN-deficient PCa.
Yufeng Ding, Ni Li, Baijun Dong, Wangxin Guo, Hui Wei, Qilong Chen, Huairui Yuan, Ying Han, Hanwen Chang, Shan Kan, Xuege Wang, Qiang Pan, Ping Wu, Chao Peng, Tong Qiu, Qintong Li, Dong Gao, Wei Xue, Jun Qin
The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of colorectal carcinoma (CRC) but remains a challenge for drug development. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are invaluable in identifying cancer pathologies and providing therapeutic options for patients with cancer. Here, we identified a lncRNA (lncRNA-APC1) activated by APC through lncRNA microarray screening and examined its expression in a large cohort of CRC tissues. A decrease in lncRNA-APC1 expression was positively associated with lymph node and/or distant metastasis, a more advanced clinical stage, as well as a poor prognosis for patients with CRC. Additionally, APC could enhance lncRNA-APC1 expression by suppressing the enrichment of PPARα on the lncRNA-APC1 promoter. Furthermore, enforced lncRNA-APC1 expression was sufficient to inhibit CRC cell growth, metastasis, and tumor angiogenesis by suppressing exosome production through the direct binding of Rab5b mRNA and a reduction of its stability. Importantly, exosomes derived from lncRNA-APC1–silenced CRC cells promoted angiogenesis by activating the MAPK pathway in endothelial cells, and, moreover, exosomal Wnt1 largely enhanced CRC cell proliferation and migration through noncanonicial Wnt signaling. Collectively, lncRNA-APC1 is a critical lncRNA regulated by APC in the pathogenesis of CRC. Our findings suggest that an APC-regulated lncRNA-APC1 program is an exploitable therapeutic approach for the treatment of patients with CRC.
Feng-Wei Wang, Chen-Hui Cao, Kai Han, Yong-Xiang Zhao, Mu-Yan Cai, Zhi-Cheng Xiang, Jia-Xing Zhang, Jie-Wei Chen, Li-Ping Zhong, Yong Huang, Su-Fang Zhou, Xiao-Han Jin, Xin-Yuan Guan, Rui-Hua Xu, Dan Xie
Goblet cell metaplasia, a disabling hallmark of chronic lung disease, lacks curative treatments at present. To identify novel therapeutic targets for goblet cell metaplasia, we studied the transcriptional response profile of IL-13–exposed primary human airway epithelia in vitro and asthmatic airway epithelia in vivo. A perturbation-response profile connectivity approach identified geldanamycin, an inhibitor of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) as a candidate therapeutic target. Our experiments confirmed that geldanamycin and other HSP90 inhibitors prevented IL-13–induced goblet cell metaplasia in vitro and in vivo. Geldanamycin also reverted established goblet cell metaplasia. Geldanamycin did not induce goblet cell death, nor did it solely block mucin synthesis or IL-13 receptor–proximal signaling. Geldanamycin affected the transcriptome of airway cells when exposed to IL-13, but not when exposed to vehicle. We hypothesized that the mechanism of action probably involves TGF-β, ERBB, or EHF, which would predict that geldanamycin would also revert IL-17–induced goblet cell metaplasia, a prediction confirmed by our experiments. Our findings suggest that persistent airway goblet cell metaplasia requires HSP90 activity and that HSP90 inhibitors will revert goblet cell metaplasia, despite active upstream inflammatory signaling. Moreover, HSP90 inhibitors may be a therapeutic option for airway diseases with goblet cell metaplasia of an unknown mechanism of action.
Alejandro A. Pezzulo, Rosarie A. Tudas, Carley G. Stewart, Luis G. Vargas Buonfiglio, Brian D. Lindsay, Peter J. Taft, Nicholas D. Gansemer, Joseph Zabner
The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene plays, among other things, a crucial role in the regulation of cell proliferation and survival through its ability to regulate canonical Wnt signaling. In this issue of the JCI, Wang et al. provide an intriguing new mechanism for APC function involving the regulation of a novel long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), leading to changes in exosome production. APC signaling via this novel pathway can regulate cell proliferation and invasion as well as angiogenesis. In addition to enhancing our understanding of APC function, this new mechanism is of particular clinical significance, as it may provide additional targets for the treatment of APC-mutated cancers.
Pat J. Morin
The most frequent subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is defined by mutations in the nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1) gene. Mutated NPM1 (ΔNPM1) is an attractive target for immunotherapy, since it is an essential driver gene and 4 bp frameshift insertions occur in the same hotspot in 30%–35% of AMLs, resulting in a C-terminal alternative reading frame of 11 aa. By searching the HLA class I ligandome of primary AMLs, we identified multiple ΔNPM1-derived peptides. For one of these peptides, HLA-A*02:01–binding CLAVEEVSL, we searched for specific T cells in healthy individuals using peptide-HLA tetramers. Tetramer-positive CD8+ T cells were isolated and analyzed for reactivity against primary AMLs. From one clone with superior antitumor reactivity, we isolated the T cell receptor (TCR) and demonstrated specific recognition and lysis of HLA-A*02:01–positive ΔNPM1 AML after retroviral transfer to CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Antitumor efficacy of TCR-transduced T cells was confirmed in immunodeficient mice engrafted with a human AML cell line expressing ΔNPM1. In conclusion, the data show that ΔNPM1-derived peptides are presented on AML and that CLAVEEVSL is a neoantigen that can be efficiently targeted on AML by ΔNPM1 TCR gene transfer. Immunotherapy targeting ΔNPM1 may therefore contribute to treatment of AML.
Dyantha I. van der Lee, Rogier M. Reijmers, Maria W. Honders, Renate S. Hagedoorn, Rob C.M. de Jong, Michel G.D. Kester, Dirk M. van der Steen, Arnoud H. de Ru, Christiaan Kweekel, Helena M. Bijen, Inge Jedema, Hendrik Veelken, Peter A. van Veelen, Mirjam H.M. Heemskerk, J.H. Frederik Falkenburg, Marieke Griffioen
Neoantigen-targeted therapies have typically been based upon personalized neoantigen-specific vaccines; however, in this issue of JCI, van der Lee et al. describe the development of a potential cellular immunotherapy targeting a “public” neoantigen derived from nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1), which is mutated in approximately 30% of acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs). The authors use reverse immunology to predict, and biochemically confirm, NPM1-derived neoepitopes (ΔNPM1) and then generate high-avidity T cell clones and retrovirally transduced T cell populations that kill NPM1-mutated AML. This study provides a general approach to adoptive cellular therapy that can be applied to targeting other tumors with public neoantigens.
Paul M. Armistead
The cytoplasmic aggregation of TDP-43 is a hallmark of degenerating neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and subsets of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). In order to reduce TDP-43 pathology, we have generated single chain (scFv) antibodies against the RNA recognition motif 1 (RRM1) of TDP-43 which is involved in abnormal protein self-aggregation and interaction with p65 nuclear factor kappa B (NFKB). Viral-mediated delivery into the nervous system of a scFv antibody, named VH7Vk9, reduced microgliosis in a mouse model of acute neuroinflammation and it mitigated cognitive impairment, motor defects, TDP-43 proteinopathy and neuroinflammation in transgenic mice expressing ALS-linked TDP-43 mutations. These results suggest that antibodies targeting the RRM1 domain of TDP-43 might provide new therapeutic avenues for treatment of ALS and FTD.
Silvia Pozzi, Sai Sampath Thammisetty, Philippe Codron, Reza Rahimian, Karine V. Plourde, Geneviève Soucy, Christine Bareil, Daniel Phaneuf, Jasna Kriz, Claude Gravel, Jean-Pierre Julien
In the stomach, chronic inflammation causes metaplasia and creates a favorable environment for the evolution of gastric cancer. Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones that repress proinflammatory stimuli but their role in the stomach is unknown. In this study, we show that endogenous glucocorticoids are required to maintain gastric homeostasis. Removal of circulating glucocorticoids in mice by adrenalectomy resulted in the rapid onset of spontaneous gastric inflammation, oxyntic atrophy, and spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia (SPEM), a precursor of gastric cancer. SPEM and oxyntic atrophy occurred independently of lymphocytes. However, depletion of monocytes and macrophages by clodronate treatment or inhibition of gastric monocyte infiltration using the Cx3cr1 knockout mouse model prevented SPEM development. Our results highlight the requirement for endogenous glucocorticoid signaling within the stomach to prevent spontaneous gastric inflammation and metaplasia and suggest that glucocorticoid deficiency may lead to gastric cancer development.
Jonathan T. Busada, Sivapriya Ramamoorthy, Derek W. Cain, Xiaojiang Xu, Donald N. Cook, John A. Cidlowski
We used the cancer intrinsic property of oncogene-induced DNA damage as the base for a conditional synthetic lethality approach. To target mechanisms important for cancer cell adaptation to genotoxic stress and thereby to achieve cancer cell-specific killing, we combined inhibition of the kinases ATR and Wee1. Wee1 regulates cell cycle progression, whereas ATR is an apical kinase in the DNA damage response. In an orthotopic breast cancer model, tumor-selective synthetic lethality between bioavailable ATR and Wee1 inhibitors led to tumor remission and inhibited metastasis with minimal side effects. ATR and Wee1 inhibition had a higher synergistic effect in cancer stem cells than in bulk cancer cells, compensating for the lower sensitivity of cancer stem cells to the individual drugs. Mechanistically, the combination treatment caused cells with unrepaired or under-replicated DNA to enter mitosis leading to mitotic catastrophe. As these inhibitors of ATR and Wee1 are already in phase I/II clinical trials, this knowledge could soon be translated into the clinic, especially as we showed that the combination treatment targets a wide range of tumor cells. Particularly the anti-metastatic effect of combined Wee1/ATR inhibition and the low toxicity of ATR inhibitors compared to Chk1 inhibitors has great clinical potential.
Amirali B. Bukhari, Cody W. Lewis, Joanna J. Pearce, Deandra Luong, Gordon K. Chan, Armin M. Gamper
Background/Purpose: Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) produce large amounts of type I IFN (IFN-I), cytokines convincingly linked to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) pathogenesis. BIIB059 is a humanized mAb that binds BDCA2, a pDC-specific receptor that inhibits the production of IFN-I and other inflammatory mediators when ligated. A first-in-human study was conducted to assess safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) effects of single BIIB059 doses in healthy volunteers (HV) and patients with SLE with active cutaneous disease as well as proof of biological activity and preliminary clinical response in the SLE cohort. Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial was conducted in HV (n=54) and patients with SLE (n=12). All subjects were monitored for adverse events. Serum BIIB059 concentrations, BDCA2 levels on pDCs, and IFN-responsive biomarkers in whole blood and skin biopsies were measured. Skin disease activity was determined using the Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index Activity (CLASI-A).Results: Single doses of BIIB059 were associated with a favorable safety and PK profile. BIIB059 administration led to BDCA2 internalization on pDCs, which correlated with circulating BIIB059 levels. BIIB059 administration in patients with SLE decreased expression of IFN response genes in blood, normalized MxA expression and reduced immune infiltrates in skin lesions, and decreased CLASI-A score. Conclusion: Single doses of BIIB059 were associated with favorable safety and PK/PD profiles, and robust target engagement and biological activity, supporting further development of BIIB059 in SLE. The data suggest that targeting pDCs may be beneficial for patients with SLE, especially those with cutaneous manifestations.
Richard Furie, Victoria P. Werth, Joseph F. Merola, Lauren Stevenson, Taylor L. Reynolds, Himanshu Naik, Wenting Wang, Romy Christmann, Agnes Gardet, Alex Pellerin, Stefan Hamann, Pavan Auluck, Catherine Barbey, Parul Gulati, Dania Rabah, Nathalie Franchimont
Upon arterial injury, endothelial denudation leads to platelet activation, and delivery of multiple agents (e.g. TXA2, PDGF) promoting VSMC dedifferentiation, and proliferation, in injury repair (intimal hyperplasia). Resolution of vessel injury repair, and prevention of excessive repair (switching VSMC back to a differentiated quiescent state) is a poorly understood process. We now report that internalization of activated platelets by VSMCs promotes resolution of arterial injury by switching on VSMC quiescence. Ex vivo and in vivo studies using lineage tracing reporter mice (PF4-Cre x mTmG) demonstrated uptake of green platelets by red vascular smooth muscle cells upon arterial wire injury. Genome-wide miRNA sequencing of VSMCs co-cultured with activated platelets identified significant increases in platelet-derived miR-223. miR-223 appears to directly target PDGFRβ (in VSMCs) reversing the injury-induced dedifferentiation. Upon arterial injury platelet miR-223 knockout mice exhibit increased intimal hyperplasia, whereas miR-223 mimics reduced intimal hyperplasia. Diabetic mice with reduced expression of miR-223, exhibited enhanced VSMC dedifferentiation, proliferation, and increased intimal hyperplasia. Horizontal transfer of platelet-derived miRNAs into VSMCs provide a novel mechanism for regulating VSMC phenotypic switching. Platelets thus play a dual role in vascular injury repair, initiating an immediate repair process, and concurrently, a delayed process to prevent excessive repair.
Zhi Zeng, Luoxing Xia, Xuejiao Fan, Allison C. Ostriker, Timur Yarovinsky, Meiling Su, Yuan Zhang, Xiangwen Peng, Xie Yi, Lei Pi, Xiaoqiong Gu, Sookja Kim Chung, Kathleen A. Martin, Renjing Liu, John Hwa, Wai Ho Tang
In this issue of the JCI, Vuckovic et al. reveal that myeloma-experienced T cells facilitate myeloma control following bone marrow transfer. Graft-derived cytokines also influenced posttransplant myeloma progression and control. These insights into the cellular and molecular immune mediators of autologous SCT’s effects provide avenues to improve therapeutic outcomes in multiple myeloma. The cover image illustrates the interaction of T cells with myeloma in the bone marrow environment. Image credit: Madeleine Kersting Flynn, QIMR Berghofer.
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
Mitochondria transform nutrients and oxygen into chemical energy that powers a multitude of cellular functions. While mitochondrial aerobic glycolysis generates the majority of a cell’s ATP, its byproducts also have wide-ranging influences on cellular health and longevity. This review series, edited by Dr. Michael Sack, focuses on the many contributions of mitochondria to disease and aging. The reviews highlight evidence linking altered mitochondrial metabolism and oxidative stress to a range of pathophysiological phenomena: inflammation and immune dysfunction, heart failure, cancer development, metabolic disease, and more. In many diseases and conditions, mitochondrial dysfunction is considered the tipping point toward pathological progression. However, as these reviews discuss, therapeutic targeting of mitochondria may be a powerful strategy to subvert disease and aging processes.