Hearing loss is a significant public health concern, affecting over 250 million people worldwide. Both genetic and environmental etiologies are linked to hearing loss, but in many cases the underlying cellular pathophysiology is not well understood, highlighting the importance of further discovery. We found that inactivation of the gene Tmtc4 (transmembrane and tetratricopeptide repeat 4), which was broadly expressed in the mouse cochlea, caused acquired hearing loss in mice. Our data showed Tmtc4 enriched in the endoplasmic reticulum, and that it functioned by regulating Ca2+ dynamics and the unfolded protein response (UPR). Given this genetic linkage of the UPR to hearing loss, we demonstrated a direct link between the more common noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and the UPR. These experiments suggested a novel approach to treatment. We demonstrated that the small-molecule UPR and stress response modulator ISRIB (integrated stress response inhibitor), which activates eIF2B, prevented NIHL in a mouse model. Moreover, in an inverse genetic complementation approach, we demonstrated that mice with homozygous inactivation of both Tmtc4 and Chop had less hearing loss than knockout of Tmtc4 alone. This study implicated a novel mechanism for hearing impairment, highlighting a potential treatment approach for a broad range of human hearing loss disorders.
Jiang Li, Omar Akil, Stephanie L. Rouse, Conor W. McLaughlin, Ian R. Matthews, Lawrence R. Lustig, Dylan K. Chan, Elliott H. Sherr
It is suggested that subtyping of complex inflammatory diseases can be based on genetic susceptibility and relevant environmental exposure (G+E). We propose that using matched cellular phenotypes in human subjects and corresponding preclinical models with the same G+E combinations is useful to this end. As an example, defective Paneth cells can subtype Crohn’s disease (CD) subjects; Paneth cell defects have been linked to multiple CD susceptibility genes and are associated with poor outcome. We hypothesized that CD susceptibility genes interact with cigarette smoking, a major CD environmental risk factor, to trigger Paneth cell defects. We found that both CD subjects and mice with ATG16L1T300A (T300A; a prevalent CD susceptibility allele) developed Paneth cell defects triggered by tobacco smoke. Transcriptional analysis of full-thickness ileum and Paneth cell–enriched crypt base cells showed the T300A-smoking combination altered distinct pathways, including proapoptosis, metabolic dysregulation, and selective downregulation of the PPARγ pathway. Pharmacologic intervention by either apoptosis inhibitor or PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone prevented smoking-induced crypt apoptosis and Paneth cell defects in T300A mice and mice with conditional Paneth cell–specific knockout of Atg16l1. This study demonstrates how explicit G+E can drive disease-relevant phenotype and provides rational strategies for identifying actionable targets.
Ta-Chiang Liu, Justin T. Kern, Kelli L. VanDussen, Shanshan Xiong, Gerard E. Kaiko, Craig B. Wilen, Michael W. Rajala, Roberta Caruso, Michael J. Holtzman, Feng Gao, Dermot P.B. McGovern, Gabriel Nunez, Richard D. Head, Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck
SMAD4 is the only common SMAD in TGF-β signaling that usually impedes immune cell activation in the tumor microenvironment. However, we demonstrated here that selective deletion of Smad4 in NK cells actually led to dramatically reduced tumor cell rejection and augmented tumor cell metastases, reduced murine CMV clearance, as well as impeded NK cell homeostasis and maturation. This was associated with a downregulation of granzyme B (Gzmb), Kit, and Prdm1 in Smad4-deficient NK cells. We further unveiled the mechanism by which SMAD4 promotes Gzmb expression. Gzmb was identified as a direct target of a transcriptional complex formed by SMAD4 and JUNB. A JUNB binding site distinct from that for SMAD4 in the proximal Gzmb promoter was required for transcriptional activation by the SMAD4-JUNB complex. In a Tgfbr2 and Smad4 NK cell–specific double–conditional KO model, SMAD4-mediated events were found to be independent of canonical TGF-β signaling. Our study identifies and mechanistically characterizes unusual functions and pathways for SMAD4 in governing innate immune responses to cancer and viral infection, as well as NK cell development.
Youwei Wang, Jianhong Chu, Ping Yi, Wejuan Dong, Jennifer Saultz, Yufeng Wang, Hongwei Wang, Steven Scoville, Jianying Zhang, Lai-Chu Wu, Youcai Deng, Xiaoming He, Bethany Mundy-Bosse, Aharon G. Freud, Li-Shu Wang, Michael A. Caligiuri, Jianhua Yu
Despite the success of immune checkpoint blockade against melanoma, many “cold” tumors like prostate cancer remain unresponsive. We found that hypoxic zones were prevalent across preclinical prostate cancer and resisted T cell infiltration even in the context of CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade. We demonstrated that the hypoxia-activated prodrug TH-302 reduces or eliminates hypoxia in these tumors. Combination therapy with this hypoxia-prodrug and checkpoint blockade cooperated to cure more than 80% of tumors in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate–derived (TRAMP-derived) TRAMP-C2 model. Immunofluorescence imaging showed that TH-302 drives an influx of T cells into hypoxic zones, which were expanded by checkpoint blockade. Further, combination therapy reduced myeloid-derived suppressor cell density by more than 50%, and durably reduced the capacity of the tumor to replenish the granulocytic subset. Spontaneous prostate tumors in TRAMP transgenic mice, which completely resist checkpoint blockade, showed minimal adenocarcinoma tumor burden at 36 weeks of age and no evidence of neuroendocrine tumors with combination therapy. Survival of Pb-Cre4, Ptenpc–/–Smad4pc–/– mice with aggressive prostate adenocarcinoma was also significantly extended by this combination of hypoxia-prodrug and checkpoint blockade. Hypoxia disruption and T cell checkpoint blockade may sensitize some of the most therapeutically resistant cancers to immunotherapy.
Priyamvada Jayaprakash, Midan Ai, Arthur Liu, Pratha Budhani, Todd Bartkowiak, Jie Sheng, Casey Ager, Courtney Nicholas, Ashvin R. Jaiswal, Yanqiu Sun, Krishna Shah, Sadhana Balasubramanyam, Nan Li, Guocan Wang, Jing Ning, Anna Zal, Tomasz Zal, Michael A. Curran
Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) receptors that have been identified to date cannot fully explain the pathogenesis of EV-A71, which is an important global cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease and life-threatening encephalitis. We identified an IFN-γ–inducible EV-A71 cellular entry factor, human tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (hWARS), using genome-wide RNAi library screening. The importance of hWARS in mediating virus entry and infectivity was confirmed by virus attachment, in vitro pulldown, antibody/antigen blocking, and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated deletion. Hyperexpression and plasma membrane translocation of hWARS were observed in IFN-γ–treated semipermissive (human neuronal NT2) and cDNA-transfected nonpermissive (mouse fibroblast L929) cells, resulting in their sensitization to EV-A71 infection. Our hWARS-transduced mouse infection model showed pathological changes similar to those seen in patients with severe EV-A71 infection. Expression of hWARS is also required for productive infection by other human enteroviruses, including the clinically important coxsackievirus A16 (CV-A16) and EV-D68. This is the first report to our knowledge on the discovery of an entry factor, hWARS, that can be induced by IFN-γ for EV-A71 infection. Given that we detected high levels of IFN-γ in patients with severe EV-A71 infection, our findings extend the knowledge of the pathogenicity of EV-A71 in relation to entry factor expression upon IFN-γ stimulation and the therapeutic options for treating severe EV-A71–associated complications.
Man Lung Yeung, Lilong Jia, Cyril C. Y. Yip, Jasper F. W. Chan, Jade L. L. Teng, Kwok-Hung Chan, Jian-Piao Cai, Chaoyu Zhang, Anna J. Zhang, Wan-Man Wong, Kin-Hang Kok, Susanna K. P. Lau, Patrick C. Y. Woo, Janice Y. C. Lo, Dong-Yan Jin, Shin-Ru Shih, Kwok-Yung Yuen
Dysregulated intestinal epithelial apoptosis initiates gut injury, alters the intestinal barrier, and can facilitate bacterial translocation leading to a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and/or multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). A variety of gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, have been linked to intestinal apoptosis. Similarly, intestinal hyperpermeability and gut failure occur in critically ill patients, putting the gut at the center of SIRS pathology. Regulation of apoptosis and immune-modulatory functions have been ascribed to Thirty-eight-negative kinase 1 (TNK1), whose activity is regulated merely by expression. We investigated the effect of TNK1 on intestinal integrity and its role in MODS. TNK1 expression induced crypt-specific apoptosis, leading to bacterial translocation, subsequent septic shock, and early death. Mechanistically, TNK1 expression in vivo resulted in STAT3 phosphorylation, nuclear translocation of p65, and release of IL-6 and TNF-α. A TNF-α neutralizing antibody partially blocked development of intestinal damage. Conversely, gut-specific deletion of TNK1 protected the intestinal mucosa from experimental colitis and prevented cytokine release in the gut. Finally, TNK1 was found to be deregulated in the gut in murine and porcine trauma models and human inflammatory bowel disease. Thus, TNK1 might be a target during MODS to prevent damage in several organs, notably the gut.
Milena Armacki, Anna Katharina Trugenberger, Ann K. Ellwanger, Tim Eiseler, Christiane Schwerdt, Lucas Bettac, Dominik Langgartner, Ninel Azoitei, Rebecca Halbgebauer, Rüdiger Groß, Tabea Barth, André Lechel, Benjamin M. Walter, Johann M. Kraus, Christoph Wiegreffe, Johannes Grimm, Annika Scheffold, Marlon R. Schneider, Kenneth Peuker, Sebastian Zeißig, Stefan Britsch, Stefan Rose-John, Sabine Vettorazzi, Eckhart Wolf, Andrea Tannapfel, Konrad Steinestel, Stefan O. Reber, Paul Walther, Hans A. Kestler, Peter Radermacher, Thomas F.E. Barth, Markus Huber-Lang, Alexander Kleger, Thomas Seufferlein
Immune nonresponder (INR) HIV-1–infected subjects are characterized by their inability to reconstitute the CD4+ T cell pool after antiretroviral therapy. This is linked to poor clinical outcome. Mechanisms underlying immune reconstitution failure are poorly understood, although, counterintuitively, INRs often have increased frequencies of circulating CD4+ T cells in the cell cycle. While cycling CD4+ T cells from healthy controls and HIV+ patients with restored CD4+ T cell numbers complete cell division in vitro, cycling CD4+ T cells from INRs do not. Here, we show that cells with the phenotype and transcriptional profile of Tregs were enriched among cycling cells in health and in HIV infection. Yet there were diminished frequencies and numbers of Tregs among cycling CD4+ T cells in INRs, and cycling CD4+ T cells from INR subjects displayed transcriptional profiles associated with the impaired development and maintenance of functional Tregs. Flow cytometric assessment of TGF-β activity confirmed the dysfunction of Tregs in INR subjects. Transcriptional profiling and flow cytometry revealed diminished mitochondrial fitness in Tregs among INRs, and cycling Tregs from INRs had low expression of the mitochondrial biogenesis regulators peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ coactivator 1-α (PGC1α) and transcription factor A for mitochondria (TFAM). In vitro exposure to IL-15 allowed cells to complete division, restored the expression of PGC1α and TFAM, and regenerated mitochondrial fitness in the cycling Tregs of INRs. Our data suggest that rescuing mitochondrial function could correct the immune dysfunction characteristic of Tregs in HIV-1–infected subjects who fail to restore CD4+ T cells during antiretroviral therapy.
Souheil-Antoine Younes, Aarthi Talla, Susan Pereira Ribeiro, Evgeniya V. Saidakova, Larisa B. Korolevskaya, Konstantin V. Shmagel, Carey L. Shive, Michael L. Freeman, Soumya Panigrahi, Sophia Zweig, Robert Balderas, Leonid Margolis, Daniel C. Douek, Donald. D. Anthony, Pushpa Pandiyan, Mark Cameron, Scott F. Sieg, Leonard H. Calabrese, Benigno Rodriguez, Michael M. Lederman
Lysyl-tRNA synthetase (KRS) functions canonically in cytosolic translational processes. However, KRS is highly expressed in colon cancer, and localizes to distinct cellular compartments upon phosphorylations (i.e., the plasma membranes after T52 phosphorylation and the nucleus after S207 phosphorylation), leading to probably alternative noncanonical functions. It is unknown how other subcellular KRSs crosstalk with environmental cues during cancer progression. Here, we demonstrate that the KRS-dependent metastatic behavior of colon cancer spheroids within 3D gels requires communication between cellular molecules and extracellular soluble factors and neighboring cells. Membranous KRS and nuclear KRS were found to participate in invasive cell dissemination of colon cancer spheroids in 3D gels. Cancer spheroids secreted GAS6 via a KRS-dependent mechanism and caused the M2 polarization of macrophages, which activated the neighboring cells via secretion of FGF2/GROα/M-CSF to promote cancer dissemination under environmental remodeling via fibroblast-mediated laminin production. Analyses of tissues from clinical colon cancer patients and Krs–/+ animal models for cancer metastasis supported the roles of KRS, GAS6, and M2 macrophages in KRS-dependent positive feedback between tumors and environmental factors. Altogether, KRS in colon cancer cells remodels the microenvironment to promote metastasis, which can thus be therapeutically targeted at these bidirectional KRS-dependent communications of cancer spheroids with environmental cues.
Seo Hee Nam, Doyeun Kim, Doohyung Lee, Hye-Mi Lee, Dae-Geun Song, Jae Woo Jung, Ji Eon Kim, Hye-Jin Kim, Nam Hoon Kwon, Eun-Kyeong Jo, Sunghoon Kim, Jung Weon Lee
Preeclampsia remains a clinical challenge due to its poorly understood pathogenesis. A prevailing notion is that increased placental production of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) causes the maternal syndrome by inhibiting proangiogenic placental growth factor (PlGF) and VEGF. However, the significance of PlGF suppression in preeclampsia is uncertain. To test whether preeclampsia results from the imbalance of angiogenic factors reflected by an abnormal sFlt-1/PlGF ratio, we studied PlGF KO (Pgf–/–) mice and noted that the mice did not develop signs or sequelae of preeclampsia despite a marked elevation in circulating sFLT-1. Notably, PlGF KO mice had morphologically distinct placentas, showing an accumulation of junctional zone glycogen. We next considered the role of placental PlGF in an established model of preeclampsia (pregnant catechol-O-methyltransferase–deficient [COMT-deficient] mice) by generating mice with deletions in both the Pgf and Comt genes. Deletion of placental PlGF in the context of COMT loss resulted in a reduction in maternal blood pressure and increased placental glycogen, indicating that loss of PlGF might be protective against the development of preeclampsia. These results identify a role for PlGF in placental development and support a complex model for the pathogenesis of preeclampsia beyond an angiogenic factor imbalance.
Jacqueline G. Parchem, Keizo Kanasaki, Megumi Kanasaki, Hikaru Sugimoto, Liang Xie, Yuki Hamano, Soo Bong Lee, Vincent H. Gattone, Samuel Parry, Jerome F. Strauss, Vesna D. Garovic, Thomas F. McElrath, Karen H. Lu, Baha M. Sibai, Valerie S. LeBleu, Peter Carmeliet, Raghu Kalluri
Emerging evidence indicates that angiopoietin-2 (Angpt2), a well-recognized vascular destabilizing factor, is a biomarker of poor outcome in ischemic heart disease. However, its precise role in postischemic cardiovascular remodeling is poorly understood. Here, we show that Angpt2 plays multifaceted roles in the exacerbation of cardiac hypoxia and inflammation after myocardial ischemia. Angpt2 was highly expressed in endothelial cells at the infarct border zone after myocardial infarction (MI) or ischemia/reperfusion injury in mice. In the acute phase of MI, endothelial-derived Angpt2 antagonized Angpt1/Tie2 signaling, which was greatly involved in pericyte detachment, vascular leakage, increased adhesion molecular expression, degradation of the glycocalyx and extracellular matrix, and enhanced neutrophil infiltration and hypoxia in the infarct border area. In the chronic remodeling phase after MI, endothelial- and macrophage-derived Angpt2 continuously promoted abnormal vascular remodeling and proinflammatory macrophage polarization through integrin α5β1 signaling, worsening cardiac hypoxia and inflammation. Accordingly, inhibition of Angpt2 either by gene deletion or using an anti-Angpt2 blocking antibody substantially alleviated these pathological findings and ameliorated postischemic cardiovascular remodeling. Blockade of Angpt2 thus has potential as a therapeutic option for ischemic heart failure.
Seung-Jun Lee, Choong-kun Lee, Seok Kang, Intae Park, Yoo Hyung Kim, Seo Ki Kim, Seon Pyo Hong, Hosung Bae, Yulong He, Yoshiaki Kubota, Gou Young Koh