Lesions and neurologic disability in inflammatory CNS diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) result from the translocation of leukocytes and humoral factors from the vasculature, first across the endothelial blood-brain barrier (BBB) and then across the astrocytic glia limitans (GL). Factors secreted by reactive astrocytes open the BBB by disrupting endothelial tight junctions (TJs), but the mechanisms that control access across the GL are unknown. Here, we report that in inflammatory lesions, a second barrier composed of reactive astrocyte TJs of claudin 1 (CLDN1), CLDN4, and junctional adhesion molecule A (JAM-A) subunits is induced at the GL. In a human coculture model, CLDN4-deficient astrocytes were unable to control lymphocyte segregation. In models of CNS inflammation and MS, mice with astrocyte-specific Cldn4 deletion displayed exacerbated leukocyte and humoral infiltration, neuropathology, motor disability, and mortality. These findings identify a second inducible barrier to CNS entry at the GL. This barrier may be therapeutically targetable in inflammatory CNS disease.
Sam Horng, Anthony Therattil, Sarah Moyon, Alexandra Gordon, Karla Kim, Azeb Tadesse Argaw, Yuko Hara, John N. Mariani, Setsu Sawai, Per Flodby, Edward D. Crandall, Zea Borok, Michael V. Sofroniew, Candice Chapouly, Gareth R. John
Adoptive transfer of T cells engineered to express a hepatitis B virus–specific (HBV-specific) T cell receptor (TCR) may supplement HBV-specific immune responses in chronic HBV patients and facilitate HBV control. However, the risk of triggering unrestrained proliferation of permanently engineered T cells raises safety concerns that have hampered testing of this approach in patients. The aim of the present study was to generate T cells that transiently express HBV-specific TCRs using mRNA electroporation and to assess their antiviral and pathogenetic activity in vitro and in HBV-infected human liver chimeric mice. We assessed virological and gene-expression changes using quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR), immunofluorescence, and Luminex technology. HBV-specific T cells lysed HBV-producing hepatoma cells in vitro. In vivo, 3 injections of HBV-specific T cells caused progressive viremia reduction within 12 days of treatment in animals reconstituted with haplotype-matched hepatocytes, whereas viremia remained stable in mice receiving irrelevant T cells redirected toward hepatitis C virus–specific TCRs. Notably, increases in alanine aminotransferase levels, apoptotic markers, and human inflammatory cytokines returned to pretreatment levels within 9 days after the last injection. T cell transfer did not trigger inflammation in uninfected mice. These data support the feasibility of using mRNA electroporation to engineer HBV TCR–redirected T cells in patients with chronic HBV infection.
Janine Kah, Sarene Koh, Tassilo Volz, Erica Ceccarello, Lena Allweiss, Marc Lütgehetmann, Antonio Bertoletti, Maura Dandri
Obesity promotes a chronic inflammatory and hypercoagulable state that drives cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and several cancers. Elevated thrombin activity underlies obesity-linked thromboembolic events, but the mechanistic links between the thrombin/fibrin(ogen) axis and obesity-associated pathologies are incompletely understood. In this work, immunohistochemical studies identified extravascular fibrin deposits within white adipose tissue and liver as distinct features of mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) as well as obese patients. Fibγ390–396A mice carrying a mutant form of fibrinogen incapable of binding leukocyte αMβ2-integrin were protected from HFD-induced weight gain and elevated adiposity. Fibγ390–396A mice had markedly diminished systemic, adipose, and hepatic inflammation with reduced macrophage counts within white adipose tissue, as well as near-complete protection from development of fatty liver disease and glucose dysmetabolism. Homozygous thrombomodulin-mutant ThbdPro mice, which have elevated thrombin procoagulant function, gained more weight and developed exacerbated fatty liver disease when fed a HFD compared with WT mice. In contrast, treatment with dabigatran, a direct thrombin inhibitor, limited HFD-induced obesity development and suppressed progression of sequelae in mice with established obesity. Collectively, these data provide proof of concept that targeting thrombin or fibrin(ogen) may limit pathologies in obese patients.
Anna K. Kopec, Sara R. Abrahams, Sherry Thornton, Joseph S. Palumbo, Eric S. Mullins, Senad Divanovic, Hartmut Weiler, A. Phillip Owens III, Nigel Mackman, Ashley Goss, Joanne van Ryn, James P. Luyendyk, Matthew J. Flick
Defective protein quality control (PQC) systems are implicated in multiple diseases. Molecular chaperones and co-chaperones play a central role in functioning PQC. Constant mechanical and metabolic stress in cardiomyocytes places great demand on the PQC system. Mutation and downregulation of the co-chaperone protein BCL-2–associated athanogene 3 (BAG3) are associated with cardiac myopathy and heart failure, and a BAG3 E455K mutation leads to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). However, the role of BAG3 in the heart and the mechanisms by which the E455K mutation leads to DCM remain obscure. Here, we found that cardiac-specific Bag3-KO and E455K-knockin mice developed DCM. Comparable phenotypes in the 2 mutants demonstrated that the E455K mutation resulted in loss of function. Further experiments revealed that the E455K mutation disrupted the interaction between BAG3 and HSP70. In both mutants, decreased levels of small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) were observed, and a subset of proteins required for cardiomyocyte function was enriched in the insoluble fraction. Together, these observations suggest that interaction between BAG3 and HSP70 is essential for BAG3 to stabilize sHSPs and maintain cardiomyocyte protein homeostasis. Our results provide insight into heart failure caused by defects in BAG3 pathways and suggest that increasing BAG3 protein levels may be of therapeutic benefit in heart failure.
Xi Fang, Julius Bogomolovas, Tongbin Wu, Wei Zhang, Canzhao Liu, Jennifer Veevers, Matthew J. Stroud, Zhiyuan Zhang, Xiaolong Ma, Yongxin Mu, Dieu-Hung Lao, Nancy D. Dalton, Yusu Gu, Celine Wang, Michael Wang, Yan Liang, Stephan Lange, Kunfu Ouyang, Kirk L. Peterson, Sylvia M. Evans, Ju Chen
Adipocytes secrete the hormone leptin to signal the sufficiency of energy stores. Reductions in circulating leptin concentrations reflect a negative energy balance, which augments sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation in response to metabolically demanding emergencies. This process ensures adequate glucose mobilization despite low energy stores. We report that leptin receptor–expressing neurons (LepRb neurons) in the periaqueductal gray (PAG), the largest population of LepRb neurons in the brain stem, mediate this process. Application of noxious stimuli, which often signal the need to mobilize glucose to support an appropriate response, activated PAG LepRb neurons, which project to and activate parabrachial nucleus (PBN) neurons that control SNS activation and glucose mobilization. Furthermore, activating PAG LepRb neurons increased SNS activity and blood glucose concentrations, while ablating LepRb in PAG neurons augmented glucose mobilization in response to noxious stimuli. Thus, decreased leptin action on PAG LepRb neurons augments the autonomic response to noxious stimuli, ensuring sufficient glucose mobilization during periods of acute demand in the face of diminished energy stores.
Jonathan N. Flak, Deanna Arble, Warren Pan, Christa Patterson, Thomas Lanigan, Paulette B. Goforth, Jamie Sacksner, Maja Joosten, Donald A. Morgan, Margaret B. Allison, John Hayes, Eva Feldman, Randy J. Seeley, David P. Olson, Kamal Rahmouni, Martin G. Myers Jr.
The lack of mechanistic explanations for many genotype-phenotype associations identified by GWAS precludes thorough assessment of their impact on human health. Here, we conducted an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping analysis in erythroblasts and found erythroid-specific eQTLs for ATP2B4, the main calcium ATPase of red blood cells (rbc). The same SNPs were previously associated with mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) and susceptibility to severe malaria infection. We showed that Atp2b4–/– mice demonstrate increased MCHC, confirming ATP2B4 as the causal gene at this GWAS locus. Using CRISPR-Cas9, we fine mapped the genetic signal to an erythroid-specific enhancer of ATP2B4. Erythroid cells with a deletion of the ATP2B4 enhancer had abnormally high intracellular calcium levels. These results illustrate the power of combined transcriptomic, epigenomic, and genome-editing approaches in characterizing noncoding regulatory elements in phenotype-relevant cells. Our study supports ATP2B4 as a potential target for modulating rbc hydration in erythroid disorders and malaria infection.
Samuel Lessard, Emily Stern Gatof, Mélissa Beaudoin, Patrick G. Schupp, Falak Sher, Adnan Ali, Sukhpal Prehar, Ryo Kurita, Yukio Nakamura, Esther Baena, Jonathan Ledoux, Delvac Oceandy, Daniel E. Bauer, Guillaume Lettre
After traumatic brain injury (TBI), glial cells have both beneficial and deleterious roles in injury progression and recovery. However, few studies have examined the influence of reactive astrocytes in the tripartite synapse following TBI. Here, we have demonstrated that hippocampal synaptic damage caused by controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury in mice results in a switch from neuronal to astrocytic d-serine release. Under nonpathological conditions, d-serine functions as a neurotransmitter and coagonist for NMDA receptors and is involved in mediating synaptic plasticity. The phasic release of neuronal d-serine is important in maintaining synaptic function, and deficiencies lead to reductions in synaptic function and plasticity. Following CCI injury, hippocampal neurons downregulated d-serine levels, while astrocytes enhanced production and release of d-serine. We further determined that this switch in the cellular source of d-serine, together with the release of basal levels of glutamate, contributes to synaptic damage and dysfunction. Astrocyte-specific elimination of the astrocytic d-serine–synthesizing enzyme serine racemase after CCI injury improved synaptic plasticity, brain oscillations, and learning behavior. We conclude that the enhanced tonic release of d-serine from astrocytes after TBI underlies much of the synaptic damage associated with brain injury.
Enmanuel J. Perez, Stephen A. Tapanes, Zachary B. Loris, Darrick T. Balu, Thomas J. Sick, Joseph T. Coyle, Daniel J. Liebl
The tumor microenvironment plays an important role in tumor growth and metastasis. However, the mechanism by which tumor cells regulate the cell and non-cell constituents of surrounding stroma remains incompletely understood. Promyelocytic leukemia (PML) is a pleiotropic tumor suppressor, but its role in tumor microenvironment regulation is poorly characterized. PML is frequently downregulated in many cancer types, including lung cancer. Here, we identify a PML ubiquitination pathway that is mediated by WD repeat 4–containing cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase 4 (CRL4WDR4). Clinically, this PML degradation pathway is hyperactivated in lung cancer and correlates with poor prognosis. The WDR4/PML axis induces a set of cell-surface or secreted factors, including CD73, urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), and serum amyloid A2 (SAA2), which elicit paracrine effects to stimulate migration, invasion, and metastasis in multiple lung cancer models. In xenograft and genetically engineered mouse models, the WDR4/PML axis elevates intratumoral Tregs and M2-like macrophages and reduces CD8+ T cells to promote lung tumor growth. These immunosuppressive effects were all reversed by CD73 blockade. Our study identifies WDR4 as an oncoprotein that negatively regulates PML via ubiquitination to promote lung cancer progression by fostering an immunosuppressive and prometastatic tumor microenvironment, suggesting the potential of immune-modulatory approaches for treating lung cancer with aberrant PML degradation.
Ya-Ting Wang, Jocelyn Chen, Chou-Wei Chang, Jayu Jen, Tzu-Yu Huang, Chun-Ming Chen, Roger Shen, Suh-Yuen Liang, I-Cheng Cheng, Shuenn-Chen Yang, Wu-Wei Lai, Kuang-Hung Cheng, Tao-Shih Hsieh, Ming-Zong Lai, Hung-Chi Cheng, Yi-Ching Wang, Ruey-Hwa Chen
Angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma (AITL) represents a distinct, aggressive form of peripheral T cell lymphoma with a dismal prognosis. Recent exome sequencing in patients with AITL has revealed the frequent coexistence of somatic mutations in the Rho GTPase RhoA (RhoAG17V) and loss-of-function mutations in the 5-methylcytosine oxidase TET2. Here, we have demonstrated that TET2 loss and RhoAG17V expression in mature murine T cells cooperatively cause abnormal CD4+ T cell proliferation and differentiation by perturbing FoxO1 gene expression, phosphorylation, and subcellular localization, an abnormality that is also detected in human primary AITL tumor samples. Reexpression of FoxO1 attenuated aberrant immune responses induced in mouse models adoptively transferred with T cells and bearing genetic lesions in both TET2 and RhoA. Our findings suggest a mutational cooperativity between epigenetic factors and GTPases in adult CD4+ T cells that may account for immunoinflammatory responses associated with AITL patients.
Shengbing Zang, Jia Li, Haiyan Yang, Hongxiang Zeng, Wei Han, Jixiang Zhang, Minjung Lee, Margie Moczygemba, Sevinj Isgandarova, Yaling Yang, Yubin Zhou, Anjana Rao, M. James You, Deqiang Sun, Yun Huang
The WD40-containing E3 ubiquitin ligase RFWD3 has been recently linked to the repair of DNA damage by homologous recombination (HR). Here we have shown that an RFWD3 mutation within the WD40 domain is connected to the genetic disease Fanconi anemia (FA). An individual presented with congenital abnormalities characteristic of FA. Cells from the patient carrying the compound heterozygous mutations c.205_206dupCC and c.1916T>A in RFWD3 showed increased sensitivity to DNA interstrand cross-linking agents in terms of increased chromosomal breakage, reduced survival, and cell cycle arrest in G2 phase. The cellular phenotype was mirrored in genetically engineered human and avian cells by inactivation of RFWD3 or introduction of the patient-derived missense mutation, and the phenotype was rescued by expression of wild-type RFWD3 protein. HR was disrupted in RFWD3-mutant cells as a result of impaired relocation of mutant RFWD3 to chromatin and defective physical interaction with replication protein A. Rfwd3 knockout mice appear to have increased embryonic lethality, are subfertile, show ovarian and testicular atrophy, and have a reduced lifespan resembling that of other FA mouse models. Although RFWD3 mutations have thus far been detected in a single child with FA, we propose RFWD3 as an FA gene, FANCW, supported by cellular paradigm systems and an animal model.
Kerstin Knies, Shojiro Inano, María J. Ramírez, Masamichi Ishiai, Jordi Surrallés, Minoru Takata, Detlev Schindler