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Abstract

Accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) protein may cause synapse degeneration and cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by reactivating expression of the developmental synapse repressor protein Ephexin5 (also known as ARHGEF15). Here, we have reported that Aβ is sufficient to acutely promote the production of Ephexin5 in mature hippocampal neurons and in mice expressing human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP mice), a model for familial AD that produces high brain levels of Aβ. Ephexin5 expression was highly elevated in the hippocampi of human AD patients, indicating its potential relevance to AD. We also observed elevated Ephexin5 expression in the hippocampi of hAPP mice. Removal of Ephexin5 expression eliminated hippocampal dendritic spine loss and rescued AD-associated behavioral deficits in the hAPP mice. Furthermore, selective reduction of Ephexin5 expression using shRNA in the dentate gyrus of presymptomatic adolescent hAPP mice was sufficient to protect these mice from developing cognitive impairment. Thus, pathological elevation of Ephexin5 expression critically drives Aβ-induced memory impairment, and strategies aimed at reducing Ephexin5 levels may represent an effective approach to treating AD.

Authors

Gabrielle L. Sell, Thomas B. Schaffer, Seth S. Margolis

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Abstract

Many cancer-associated mutations that deregulate cellular metabolic responses to hypoxia also reprogram carbon metabolism to promote utilization of glutamine. In renal cell carcinoma (RCC), cells deficient in the von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene use glutamine to generate citrate and lipids through reductive carboxylation (RC) of α-ketoglutarate (αKG). Glutamine can also generate aspartate, the carbon source for pyrimidine biosynthesis, and glutathione for redox balance. Here we have shown that VHL–/– RCC cells rely on RC-derived aspartate to maintain de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis. Glutaminase 1 (GLS1) inhibitors depleted pyrimidines and increased ROS in VHL–/– cells but not in VHL+/+ cells, which utilized glucose oxidation for glutamate and aspartate production. GLS1 inhibitor–induced nucleoside depletion and ROS enhancement led to DNA replication stress and activation of an intra–S phase checkpoint, and suppressed the growth of VHL–/– RCC cells. These effects were rescued by administration of glutamate, αKG, or nucleobases with N-acetylcysteine. Further, we observed that the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor olaparib synergizes with GLS1 inhibitors to suppress the growth of VHL–/– cells in vitro and in vivo. This work describes a mechanism that explains the sensitivity of RCC tumor growth to GLS1 inhibitors and supports the development of therapeutic strategies for targeting VHL-deficient RCC.

Authors

Arimichi Okazaki, Paulo A. Gameiro, Danos Christodoulou, Laura Laviollette, Meike Schneider, Frances Chaves, Anat Stemmer-Rachamimov, Stephanie A. Yazinski, Richard Lee, Gregory Stephanopoulos, Lee Zou, Othon Iliopoulos

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Abstract

Duane retraction syndrome (DRS) is the most common form of congenital paralytic strabismus in humans and can result from α2-chimaerin (CHN1) missense mutations. We report a knockin α2-chimaerin mouse (Chn1KI/KI) that models DRS. Whole embryo imaging of Chn1KI/KI mice revealed stalled abducens nerve growth and selective trochlear and first cervical spinal nerve guidance abnormalities. Stalled abducens nerve bundles did not reach the orbit, resulting in secondary aberrant misinnervation of the lateral rectus muscle by the oculomotor nerve. By contrast, Chn1KO/KO mice did not have DRS, and embryos displayed abducens nerve wandering distinct from the Chn1KI/KI phenotype. Murine embryos lacking EPH receptor A4 (Epha4KO/KO), which is upstream of α2-chimaerin in corticospinal neurons, exhibited similar abducens wandering that paralleled previously reported gait alterations in Chn1KO/KO and Epha4KO/KO adult mice. Findings from Chn1KI/KI Epha4KO/KO mice demonstrated that mutant α2-chimaerin and EphA4 have different genetic interactions in distinct motor neuron pools: abducens neurons use bidirectional ephrin signaling via mutant α2-chimaerin to direct growth, while cervical spinal neurons use only ephrin forward signaling, and trochlear neurons do not use ephrin signaling. These findings reveal a role for ephrin bidirectional signaling upstream of mutant α2-chimaerin in DRS, which may contribute to the selective vulnerability of abducens motor neurons in this disorder.

Authors

Alicia A. Nugent, Jong G. Park, Yan Wei, Alan P. Tenney, Nicole M. Gilette, Michelle M. DeLisle, Wai-Man Chan, Long Cheng, Elizabeth C. Engle

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Abstract

Mature B cell pools retain a substantial proportion of polyreactive and self-reactive clonotypes, suggesting that activation checkpoints exist to reduce the initiation of autoreactive B cell responses. Here, we have described a relationship among the B cell receptor (BCR), TLR9, and cytokine signals that regulate B cell responses to DNA-containing antigens. In both mouse and human B cells, BCR ligands that deliver a TLR9 agonist induce an initial proliferative burst that is followed by apoptotic death. The latter mechanism involves p38-dependent G1 cell-cycle arrest and subsequent intrinsic mitochondrial apoptosis and is shared by all preimmune murine B cell subsets and CD27 human B cells. Survival or costimulatory signals rescue B cells from this fate, but the outcome varies depending on the signals involved. B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) engenders survival and antibody secretion, whereas CD40 costimulation with IL-21 or IFN-γ promotes a T-bet+ B cell phenotype. Finally, in vivo immunization studies revealed that when protein antigens are conjugated with DNA, the humoral immune response is blunted and acquires features associated with T-bet+ B cell differentiation. We propose that this mechanism integrating BCR, TLR9, and cytokine signals provides a peripheral checkpoint for DNA-containing antigens that, if circumvented by survival and differentiative cues, yields B cells with the autoimmune-associated T-bet+ phenotype.

Authors

Vishal J. Sindhava, Michael A. Oropallo, Krishna Moody, Martin Naradikian, Lauren E. Higdon, Lin Zhou, Arpita Myles, Nathaniel Green, Kerstin Nündel, William Stohl, Amanda M. Schmidt, Wei Cao, Stephanie Dorta-Estremera, Taku Kambayashi, Ann Marshak-Rothstein, Michael P. Cancro

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Abstract

Diseases caused by gene haploinsufficiency in humans commonly lack a phenotype in mice that are heterozygous for the orthologous factor, impeding the study of complex phenotypes and critically limiting the discovery of therapeutics. Laboratory mice have longer telomeres relative to humans, potentially protecting against age-related disease caused by haploinsufficiency. Here, we demonstrate that telomere shortening in NOTCH1-haploinsufficient mice is sufficient to elicit age-dependent cardiovascular disease involving premature calcification of the aortic valve, a phenotype that closely mimics human disease caused by NOTCH1 haploinsufficiency. Furthermore, progressive telomere shortening correlated with severity of disease, causing cardiac valve and septal disease in the neonate that was similar to the range of valve disease observed within human families. Genes that were dysregulated due to NOTCH1 haploinsufficiency in mice with shortened telomeres were concordant with proosteoblast and proinflammatory gene network alterations in human NOTCH1 heterozygous endothelial cells. These dysregulated genes were enriched for telomere-contacting promoters, suggesting a potential mechanism for telomere-dependent regulation of homeostatic gene expression. These findings reveal a critical role for telomere length in a mouse model of age-dependent human disease and provide an in vivo model in which to test therapeutic candidates targeting the progression of aortic valve disease.

Authors

Christina V. Theodoris, Foteini Mourkioti, Yu Huang, Sanjeev S. Ranade, Lei Liu, Helen M. Blau, Deepak Srivastava

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) of gene-modified cells is an alternative to enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) and allogeneic HSCT that has shown clinical benefit for adenosine deaminase–deficient (ADA-deficient) SCID when combined with reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) and ERT cessation. Clinical safety and therapeutic efficacy were evaluated in a phase II study.

METHODS. Ten subjects with confirmed ADA-deficient SCID and no available matched sibling or family donor were enrolled between 2009 and 2012 and received transplantation with autologous hematopoietic CD34+ cells that were modified with the human ADA cDNA (MND-ADA) γ-retroviral vector after conditioning with busulfan (90 mg/m2) and ERT cessation. Subjects were followed from 33 to 84 months at the time of data analysis. Safety of the procedure was assessed by recording the number of adverse events. Efficacy was assessed by measuring engraftment of gene-modified hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, ADA gene expression, and immune reconstitution.

RESULTS. With the exception of the oldest subject (15 years old at enrollment), all subjects remained off ERT with normalized peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) ADA activity, improved lymphocyte numbers, and normal proliferative responses to mitogens. Three of nine subjects were able to discontinue intravenous immunoglobulin replacement therapy. The MND-ADA vector was persistently detected in PBMCs (vector copy number [VCN] = 0.1–2.6) and granulocytes (VCN = 0.01–0.3) through the most recent visits at the time of this writing. No patient has developed a leukoproliferative disorder or other vector-related clinical complication since transplant.

CONCLUSION. These results demonstrate clinical therapeutic efficacy from gene therapy for ADA-deficient SCID, with an excellent clinical safety profile.

TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00794508.

FUNDING. Food and Drug Administration Office of Orphan Product Development award, RO1 FD003005; NHLBI awards, PO1 HL73104 and Z01 HG000122; UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute awards, UL1RR033176 and UL1TR000124.

Authors

Kit L. Shaw, Elizabeth Garabedian, Suparna Mishra, Provaboti Barman, Alejandra Davila, Denise Carbonaro, Sally Shupien, Christopher Silvin, Sabine Geiger, Barbara Nowicki, E. Monika Smogorzewska, Berkley Brown, Xiaoyan Wang, Satiro de Oliveira, Yeong Choi, Alan Ikeda, Dayna Terrazas, Pei-Yu Fu, Allen Yu, Beatriz Campo Fernandez, Aaron R. Cooper, Barbara Engel, Greg Podsakoff, Arumugam Balamurugan, Stacie Anderson, Linda Muul, G. Jayashree Jagadeesh, Neena Kapoor, John Tse, Theodore B. Moore, Ken Purdy, Radha Rishi, Kathey Mohan, Suzanne Skoda-Smith, David Buchbinder, Roshini S. Abraham, Andrew Scharenberg, Otto O. Yang, Kenneth Cornetta, David Gjertson, Michael Hershfield, Rob Sokolic, Fabio Candotti, Donald B. Kohn

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Abstract

It is well established that somatic genomic changes can influence phenotypes in cancer, but the role of adaptive changes in developmental disorders is less well understood. Here we have used next-generation sequencing approaches to identify de novo heterozygous mutations in sterile α motif domain–containing protein 9 (SAMD9, located on chromosome 7q21.2) in 8 children with a multisystem disorder termed MIRAGE syndrome that is characterized by intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) with gonadal, adrenal, and bone marrow failure, predisposition to infections, and high mortality. These mutations result in gain of function of the growth repressor product SAMD9. Progressive loss of mutated SAMD9 through the development of monosomy 7 (–7), deletions of 7q (7q–), and secondary somatic loss-of-function (nonsense and frameshift) mutations in SAMD9 rescued the growth-restricting effects of mutant SAMD9 proteins in bone marrow and was associated with increased length of survival. However, 2 patients with –7 and 7q– developed myelodysplastic syndrome, most likely due to haploinsufficiency of related 7q21.2 genes. Taken together, these findings provide strong evidence that progressive somatic changes can occur in specific tissues and can subsequently modify disease phenotype and influence survival. Such tissue-specific adaptability may be a more common mechanism modifying the expression of human genetic conditions than is currently recognized.

Authors

Federica Buonocore, Peter Kühnen, Jenifer P. Suntharalingham, Ignacio Del Valle, Martin Digweed, Harald Stachelscheid, Noushafarin Khajavi, Mohammed Didi, Angela F. Brady, Oliver Blankenstein, Annie M. Procter, Paul Dimitri, Jerry K.H. Wales, Paolo Ghirri, Dieter Knöbl, Brigitte Strahm, Miriam Erlacher, Marcin W. Wlodarski, Wei Chen, George K. Kokai, Glenn Anderson, Deborah Morrogh, Dale A. Moulding, Shane A. McKee, Charlotte M. Niemeyer, Annette Grüters, John C. Achermann

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March 2017

127 3 cover

March 2017 Issue

On the cover:
CHD7 regulates cerebellar development

The chromatin remodeling factor CHD7 is frequently mutated in CHARGE syndrome. Whittaker et al. identify a role for the chromatin remodeling factor CHD7 in the expansion of cerebellar granule progenitor cells. The cover image shows immuno­staining of Purkinje cells (red) and DAPI staining of nuclei (blue) in the cerebellar vermis of a 21-day-old wild-type mouse.

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Jci tm 2017 03

March 2017 JCI This Month

JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.

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Review Series - More

Metabolism and Inflammation

Series edited by Alan R. Saltiel and Jerrold M. Olefsky

Metabolic syndrome constitutes a constellation of conditions, including central obesity, glucose intolerance, and dyslipidemia. These conditions enhance the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver/cirrhosis, hypertension, and cancer. The finding over 20 years ago that the inflammatory mediator TNF is overexpressed in adipose fundamentally changed our understanding of obesity and metabolic syndrome. We now know that metabolic syndrome in humans is characterized by chronic low-grade inflammation in multiple organs and we are now beginning to delineate the mechanisms by which inflammation and metabolism influence each other. Reviews in this series examine the activation of the innate and adaptive immune system in obesity; inflammation within diabetic islets, brain, liver, gut, and muscle; the role of inflammation in fibrosis and angiogenesis; the factors that contribute to the initiation of inflammation; and therapeutic approaches to modulate inflammation in the context of obesity and metabolic syndrome. We now know that an inflammatory program is activated early in adipose expansion and during chronic obesity, permanently skewing the immune system to a pro-inflammatory phenotype.

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