Mice selectively expressing PPARγ dominant negative mutation in vascular smooth muscle exhibit RhoBTB1-deficiency and hypertension. Our rationale was to employ genetic complementation to uncover the mechanism of action of RhoBTB1 in vascular smooth muscle. Inducible smooth muscle-specific restoration of RhoBTB1 fully corrected the hypertension and arterial stiffness by improving vasodilator function. Notably, the cardiovascular protection occurred despite preservation of increased agonist-mediated contraction and RhoA/Rho kinase activity, suggesting RhoBTB1 selectively controls vasodilation. RhoBTB1 augmented the cGMP response to nitric oxide by restraining the activity of phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) by acting as a substrate adaptor delivering PDE5 to the Cullin-3 E3 Ring ubiquitin ligase complex for ubiquitination inhibiting PDE5. Angiotensin-II infusion also caused RhoBTB1-deficiency and hypertension which was prevented by smooth muscle specific RhoBTB1 restoration. We conclude that RhoBTB1 protected from hypertension, vascular smooth muscle dysfunction, and arterial stiffness in at least two models of hypertension.
Masashi Mukohda, Shi Fang, Jing Wu, Larry N. Agbor, Anand R. Nair, Stella-Rita C. Ibeawuchi, Chunyan Hu, Xuebo Liu, Ko-Ting Lu, Deng-Fu Guo, Deborah R. Davis, Henry L. Keen, Frederick W. Quelle, Curt D. Sigmund
Chronic alcohol consumption causes liver injury, inflammation and fibrosis, thereby increasing morbidity and mortality. Paradoxically, modest drinking is believed to confer metabolic improvement, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we have identified a novel hepatoprotective brain/brown adipose tissue (BAT)/liver axis. Alcohol consumption or direct alcohol administration into the brain stimulated hypothalamic neural circuits and sympathetic nerves innervating BAT, and dramatically increased BAT uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) expression and activity in a BAT sympathetic nerve-dependent manner. BAT and beige fat oxidized fatty acids to fuel Ucp1-mediated thermogenesis, thereby inhibiting lipid trafficking into the liver. BAT also secreted several adipokines, including adiponectin that suppressed hepatocyte injury and death. Genetic deletion of Ucp1 profoundly augmented alcohol-induced liver steatosis, injury, inflammation and fibrosis in male and female mice. Conversely, activation of BAT and beige fat through cold exposure suppressed alcoholic liver disease development. Our results unravel an unrecognized brain alcohol-sensing/sympathetic nerve/BAT/liver axis that counteracts liver steatosis and injury.
Hong Shen, Lin Jiang, Jiandie D. Lin, M. Bishr Omary, Liangyou Rui
Neurofascin-155 (Nfasc155) is an essential glial cell adhesion molecule expressed in paranodal septate-like junctions of peripheral and central myelinated axons. The genetic deletion of Nfasc155 results in the loss of septate-like junctions and in conduction slowing. In humans, IgG4 antibodies against Nfasc155 are implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). These antibodies are associated with an aggressive onset, a refractoriness to intravenous immunoglobulin, and tremor of possible cerebellar origin. Here, we examined the pathogenic effects of patient-derived anti-Nfasc155 IgG4. These antibodies did not inhibit the ability of Nfasc155 to complex with its axonal partners contactin-1/CASPR1 or induce target internalization. Passive transfer experiments revealed that IgG4 antibodies target Nfasc155 on Schwann cell surface, and diminished Nfasc155 protein levels and prevented paranodal complex formation in neonatal animals. In adult animals, chronic intrathecal infusions of antibodies also induced the loss of Nfasc155 and of paranodal specialization and resulted in conduction alterations in motor nerves. These results indicate that anti-Nfasc155 IgG4 perturb conduction in absence of demyelination, validating the existence of paranodopathy. These results also shed light on the mechanisms regulating protein insertion at paranodes.
Constance Manso, Luis Querol, Cinta Lleixà, Mallory Poncelet, Mourad Mekaouche, Jean-Michel Vallat, Isabel Illa, Jerome J. Devaux
The Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is one of the predominant tumor viruses in humans, but so far no therapeutic or prophylactic vaccination against this transforming pathogen is available. We demonstrated that heterologous prime-boost vaccination with the nuclear antigen 1 of EBV (EBNA1) either targeted to the DEC205 receptor on dendritic cells or expressed from a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector improved priming of antigen-specific CD4+ T-cell help. This help supported the expansion and maintenance of EBNA1 specific CD8+ T cells that are most efficiently primed by recombinant adenoviruses that encode EBNA1. These combined CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses protected from EBNA1 expressing T and B cell lymphomas, including lymphoproliferations that emerge spontaneously after EBNA1 expression. In particular the heterologous EBNA1-expressing adenovirus, boosted by EBNA1-encoding MVA vaccination, demonstrated protection as prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of the respective lymphoma challenges. Therefore, we suggest that such heterologous prime-boost vaccinations should be further explored for clinical development against EBV-associated malignancies as well as symptomatic primary EBV infection.
Julia Rühl, Carmen Citterio, Christine Engelmann, Tracey A. Haigh, Andrzej Dzionek, Johannes H. Dreyer, Rajiv Khanna, Graham S. Taylor, Joanna B. Wilson, Carol S. Leung, Christian Münz
A key mechanism of tumor resistance to immune cells is mediated by expression of peptide-loaded HLA-E in tumor cells, which suppresses natural killer (NK) cell activity via ligation of the NK inhibitory receptor CD94/NKG2A. Gene expression data from approximately 10,000 tumor samples showed widespread HLAE expression, with levels correlating with those of KLRC1 (NKG2A) and KLRD1 (CD94). To bypass HLA-E inhibition, we developed a way to generate highly functional NK cells lacking NKG2A. Constructs containing a single-chain variable fragment derived from an anti-NKG2A antibody were linked to endoplasmic reticulum-retention domains. After retroviral transduction in human peripheral blood NK cells, these NKG2A Protein Expression Blockers (PEBLs) abrogated NKG2A expression. The resulting NKG2Anull NK cells had higher cytotoxicity against HLA-E-expressing tumor cells. Transduction of anti-NKG2A PEBL produced more potent cytotoxicity than interference with an anti-NKG2A antibody and prevented de novo NKG2A expression, without affecting NK cell proliferation. In immunodeficient mice, NKG2Anull NK cells were significantly more powerful than NKG2A+ NK cells against HLA-E-expressing tumors. Thus, NKG2A downregulation evades the HLA-E cancer immune-checkpoint, and increases the anti-tumor activity of NK cell infusions. Because this strategy is easily adaptable to current protocols for clinical-grade immune cell processing, its clinical testing is feasible and warranted.
Takahiro Kamiya, See Voon Seow, Desmond Wong, Murray Robinson, Dario Campana
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic and deadly disease with a poor prognosis and few treatment options. Pathological remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by myofibroblasts is a key factor that drives disease pathogenesis, although the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Alternative polyadenylation (APA) has recently been shown to play a major role in cellular responses to stress by driving the expression of fibrotic factors and ECMs through altering microRNA sensitivity, but a connection to IPF has not been established. Here, we demonstrate that CFIm25, a global regulator of APA, is down-regulated in the lungs of patients with IPF and mice with pulmonary fibrosis, with its expression selectively reduced in alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) positive fibroblasts. Following the knockdown of CFIm25 in normal human lung fibroblasts, we identified 808 genes with shortened 3′UTRs, including those involved in the transforming growth factor-β signaling pathway, the Wnt signaling pathway, and cancer pathways. The expression of key pro-fibrotic factors can be suppressed by CFIm25 overexpression in IPF fibroblasts. Finally, we demonstrate that deletion of CFIm25 in fibroblasts or myofibroblast precursors using either the Col1a1 or the Foxd1 promoter enhances pulmonary fibrosis after bleomycin exposure in mice. Taken together, our results identified CFIm25 down-regulation as a novel mechanism to elevate pro-fibrotic gene expression in pulmonary fibrosis.
Tingting Weng, Junsuk Ko, Chioniso P. Masamha, Zheng Xia, Yu Xiang, Ning-yuan Chen, Jose G. Molina, Scott Collum, Tinne C. Mertens, Fayong Luo, Kemly Philip, Jonathan Davies, Jingjing Huang, Cory Wilson, Rajarajan A. Thandavarayan, Brian A. Bruckner, Soma S.K. Jyothula, Kelly A. Volcik, Lei Li, Leng Han, Wei Li, Shervin Assassi, Harry Karmouty-Quintana, Eric J. Wagner, Michael R. Blackburn
Bone osteogenic sarcoma has a poor prognosis as the exact cell of origin and the signaling pathways underling tumor formation remain undefined. Here, we report an osteogenic tumor mouse model based on the conditional knockout of liver kinase b1 (Lkb1; also known as Stk11) in Cathepsin K (Ctsk)-Cre expressing cells. Lineage tracing studies demonstrated that Ctsk-Cre could label a population of periosteal cells. The cells functioned as mesenchymal progenitors with regard to markers and functional properties. LKB1 deficiency increased proliferation and osteoblast differentiation of Ctsk+ periosteal cells, while downregulation of mTORC1 activity, using Raptor genetic mouse model or mTORC1 inhibitor treatment, ameliorated tumor progression of Ctsk-Cre Lkb1fllfl mice. Xenograft mouse models, using human osteosarcoma cell lines, also demonstrated that LKB1 deficiency promoted tumor formation, while mTOR inhibition suppressed xenograft tumor growth. In summary, we identified periosteum-derived Ctsk-Cre expressing cells as a cell of origin for osteogenic tumor and suggested the LKB1-mTORC1 pathway as a promising target for treatment of osteogenic tumor.
Yujiao Han, Heng Feng, Jun Sun, Xiaoting Liang, Zhuo Wang, Wenhui Xing, Qinggang Dai, Yang Yang, Anjia Han, Zhanying Wei, Qing Bi, Hongbin Ji, Tiebang Kang, Weiguo Zou
Non-apoptotic forms of cell death can trigger sterile inflammation through the release of danger-associated molecular patterns, which are recognized by innate immune receptors. However, despite years of investigation the mechanisms which initiate inflammatory responses after heart transplantation remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that ferrostatin-1 (Fer-1), a specific inhibitor of ferroptosis, decreases the level of pro-ferroptotic hydroperoxy-arachidonoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine, reduces cardiomyocyte cell death and blocks neutrophil recruitment following heart transplantation. Inhibition of necroptosis had no effect on neutrophil trafficking in cardiac grafts. We extend these observations to a model of coronary artery ligation-induced myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury where inhibition of ferroptosis resulted in reduced infarct size, improved left ventricular systolic function, and reduced left ventricular remodeling. Using intravital imaging of cardiac transplants, we uncover that ferroptosis orchestrates neutrophil recruitment to injured myocardium by promoting adhesion of neutrophils to coronary vascular endothelial cells through a TLR4/TRIF/type I IFN signaling pathway. Thus, we have discovered that inflammatory responses after cardiac transplantation are initiated through ferroptotic cell death and TLR4/Trif-dependent signaling in graft endothelial cells. These findings provide a platform for the development of therapeutic strategies for heart transplant recipients and patients, who are vulnerable to ischemia reperfusion injury following restoration of coronary blood flow.
Wenjun Li, Guoshuai Feng, Jason M. Gauthier, Inessa Lokshina, Ryuji Higashikubo, Sarah Evans, Xinping Liu, Adil Hassan, Satona Tanaka, Markus Cicka, Hsi-Min Hsiao, Daniel Ruiz-Perez, Andrea Bredemeyer, Richard W. Gross, Douglas L. Mann, Yulia Y. Tyurina, Andrew E. Gelman, Valerian E. Kagan, Andreas Linkermann, Kory J. Lavine, Daniel Kreisel
Anti-leukemic effect of BET/BRD4 (BETP) protein inhibition has been largely attributed to transcriptional downregulation of cellular anabolic/anti-apoptotic processes but its effect on bone marrow microenvironment, a sanctuary favoring persistence of leukemia stem/progenitor cells, is unexplored. Sustained degradation of BETP with small-molecule BET proteolysis-targeting chimera (PROTAC), ARV-825, resulted in marked downregulation of surface CXCR4 and CD44, key proteins in leukemia-microenvironment interaction, in AML cells. Abrogation of surface CXCR4 expression impaired SDF-1α directed migration and was mediated through transcriptional down-regulation of PIM1 kinase that in turn phosphorylates CXCR4 and facilitates its surface localization. Down-regulation of CD44/CD44v8-10 impaired cystine uptake, lowered intracellular reduced glutathione and increased oxidative stress. More importantly, BETP degradation markedly decreased CD34+CD38-CD90-CD45RA+ leukemic stem cell population and alone or in combination with Cytarabine, prolonged survival in mouse model of human leukemia including AML-PDX. Gene expression profiling and single cell proteomics confirmed down regulation of the gene signatures associated with ‘stemness’ in AML and Wnt/β-catenin, Myc pathways. Hence, BETP degradation by ARV-825 simultaneously targets cell intrinsic signaling, stromal interactions and metabolism in AML.
Sujan Piya, Hong Mu, Seemana Bhattacharya, Philip L. Lorenzi, R. Eric Davis, Teresa McQueen, Vivian Ruvolo, Natalia Baran, Zhiqiang Wang, Yimin Qian, Craig M. Crews, Marina Konopleava, Jo Ishizawa, M. James You, Hagop Kantarjian, Michael Andreeff, Gautam Borthakur
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common human sarcoma, frequently characterized by an oncogenic mutation in the KIT or platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) genes. We performed RNA sequencing of 75 human GIST tumors from 75 patients, comprising the largest cohort of GISTs sequenced to date, in order to discover differences in the immune infiltrates of KIT and PDGFRA-mutant GIST. Through bioinformatics, immunohistochemistry, and flow cytometry, we found that PDGFRA-mutant GISTs harbored more immune cells with increased cytolytic activity when compared to KIT-mutant GISTs. PDGFRA-mutant GISTs expressed many chemokines, such as CXCL14, at a significantly higher level when compared to KIT-mutant GISTs and exhibited more diverse driver-derived neoepitope:HLA binding, both of which may contribute to PDGFRA-mutant GIST immunogenicity. Through machine learning, we generated gene expression-based immune profiles capable of differentiating KIT and PDGFRA-mutant GISTs, and also identified additional immune features of high PD-1 and PD-L1 expressing tumors across all GIST mutational subtypes, which may provide insight into immunotherapeutic opportunities and limitations in GIST.
Gerardo A. Vitiello, Timothy G. Bowler, Mengyuan Liu, Benjamin D. Medina, Jennifer Q. Zhang, Nesteene J. Param, Jennifer K. Loo, Rachel L. Goldfeder, Frederic Chibon, Ferdinand Rossi, Shan Zeng, Ronald P. DeMatteo
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