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Abstract

Anabolic biosynthesis requires precursors supplied by the Krebs cycle, which in turn requires anaplerosis to replenish precursor intermediates. The major anaplerotic sources are pyruvate and glutamine, which require the activity of pyruvate carboxylase (PC) and glutaminase 1 (GLS1), respectively. Due to their rapid proliferation, cancer cells have increased anabolic and energy demands; however, different cancer cell types exhibit differential requirements for PC- and GLS-mediated pathways for anaplerosis and cell proliferation. Here, we infused patients with early-stage non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with uniformly 13C-labeled glucose before tissue resection and determined that the cancerous tissues in these patients had enhanced PC activity. Freshly resected paired lung tissue slices cultured in 13C6-glucose or 13C5,15N2-glutamine tracers confirmed selective activation of PC over GLS in NSCLC. Compared with noncancerous tissues, PC expression was greatly enhanced in cancerous tissues, whereas GLS1 expression showed no trend. Moreover, immunohistochemical analysis of paired lung tissues showed PC overexpression in cancer cells rather than in stromal cells of tumor tissues. PC knockdown induced multinucleation, decreased cell proliferation and colony formation in human NSCLC cells, and reduced tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model. Growth inhibition was accompanied by perturbed Krebs cycle activity, inhibition of lipid and nucleotide biosynthesis, and altered glutathione homeostasis. These findings indicate that PC-mediated anaplerosis in early-stage NSCLC is required for tumor survival and proliferation.

Authors

Katherine Sellers ... Andrew N. Lane, Teresa W.-M. Fan

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Abstract

Expansion of the polyglutamine (polyQ) tract within the androgen receptor (AR) causes neuromuscular degeneration in individuals with spinobulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA). PolyQ AR has diminished transcriptional function and exhibits ligand-dependent proteotoxicity, features that have both been implicated in SBMA; however, the extent to which altered AR transcriptional function contributes to pathogenesis remains controversial. Here, we sought to dissociate effects of diminished AR function from polyQ-mediated proteotoxicity by enhancing the transcriptional activity of polyQ AR. To accomplish this, we bypassed the inhibitory effect of AR SUMOylation (where SUMO indicates small ubiquitin-like modifier) by mutating conserved lysines in the polyQ AR that are sites of SUMOylation. We determined that replacement of these residues by arginine enhances polyQ AR activity as a hormone-dependent transcriptional regulator. In a murine model, disruption of polyQ AR SUMOylation rescued exercise endurance and type I muscle fiber atrophy; it also prolonged survival. These changes occurred without overt alterations in polyQ AR expression or aggregation, revealing the favorable trophic support exerted by the ligand-activated receptor. Our findings demonstrate beneficial effects of enhancing the transcriptional function of the ligand-activated polyQ AR and indicate that the SUMOylation pathway may be a potential target for therapeutic intervention in SBMA.

Authors

Jason P. Chua ... Jorge A. Iñiguez-Lluhí, Andrew P. Lieberman

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Abstract

A complex neural network regulates body weight and energy balance, and dysfunction in the communication between the gut and this neural network is associated with metabolic diseases, such as obesity. The stomach-derived hormone ghrelin stimulates appetite through interactions with neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARH). Here, we evaluated the physiological and neurobiological contribution of ghrelin during development by specifically blocking ghrelin action during early postnatal development in mice. Ghrelin blockade in neonatal mice resulted in enhanced ARH neural projections and long-term metabolic effects, including increased body weight, visceral fat, and blood glucose levels and decreased leptin sensitivity. In addition, chronic administration of ghrelin during postnatal life impaired the normal development of ARH projections and caused metabolic dysfunction. Consistent with these observations, direct exposure of postnatal ARH neuronal explants to ghrelin blunted axonal growth and blocked the neurotrophic effect of the adipocyte-derived hormone leptin. Moreover, chronic ghrelin exposure in neonatal mice also attenuated leptin-induced STAT3 signaling in ARH neurons. Collectively, these data reveal that ghrelin plays an inhibitory role in the development of hypothalamic neural circuits and suggest that proper expression of ghrelin during neonatal life is pivotal for lifelong metabolic regulation.

Authors

Sophie M. Steculorum ... Sven Klussmann, Sebastien G. Bouret

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Abstract

A body of experimental evidence suggests that T cells mediate neuroprotection following CNS injury; however, the antigen specificity of these T cells and how they mediate neuroprotection are unknown. Here, we have provided evidence that T cell–mediated neuroprotection after CNS injury can occur independently of major histocompatibility class II (MHCII) signaling to T cell receptors (TCRs). Using two murine models of CNS injury, we determined that damage-associated molecular mediators that originate from injured CNS tissue induce a population of neuroprotective, IL-4–producing T cells in an antigen-independent fashion. Compared with wild-type mice, IL-4–deficient animals had decreased functional recovery following CNS injury; however, transfer of CD4+ T cells from wild-type mice, but not from IL-4–deficient mice, enhanced neuronal survival. Using a culture-based system, we determined that T cell–derived IL-4 protects and induces recovery of injured neurons by activation of neuronal IL-4 receptors, which potentiated neurotrophin signaling via the AKT and MAPK pathways. Together, these findings demonstrate that damage-associated molecules from the injured CNS induce a neuroprotective T cell response that is independent of MHCII/TCR interactions and is MyD88 dependent. Moreover, our results indicate that IL-4 mediates neuroprotection and recovery of the injured CNS and suggest that strategies to enhance IL-4–producing CD4+ T cells have potential to attenuate axonal damage in the course of CNS injury in trauma, inflammation, or neurodegeneration.

Authors

James T. Walsh ... Frauke Zipp, Jonathan Kipnis

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Abstract

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a public health concern with an annual mortality rate that exceeds those of breast and prostate cancer, heart failure, and diabetes combined. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage are drivers of AKI-associated pathology; however, the pathways that mediate these events are poorly defined. Here, using a murine cisplatin-induced AKI model, we determined that both oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage are associated with reduced levels of renal sirtuin 3 (SIRT3). Treatment with the AMPK agonist AICAR or the antioxidant agent acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR) restored SIRT3 expression and activity, improved renal function, and decreased tubular injury in WT animals, but had no effect in Sirt3–/– mice. Moreover, Sirt3-deficient mice given cisplatin experienced more severe AKI than WT animals and died, and neither AICAR nor ALCAR treatment prevented death in Sirt3–/– AKI mice. In cultured human tubular cells, cisplatin reduced SIRT3, resulting in mitochondrial fragmentation, while restoration of SIRT3 with AICAR and ALCAR improved cisplatin-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Together, our results indicate that SIRT3 is protective against AKI and suggest that enhancing SIRT3 to improve mitochondrial dynamics has potential as a strategy for improving outcomes of renal injury.

Authors

Marina Morigi ... Giuseppe Remuzzi, Ariela Benigni

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Abstract

Molecular chaperones control a multitude of cellular functions via folding chaperone-specific client proteins. CD4+FOXP3+ Tregs play key roles in maintaining peripheral tolerance, which is subject to regulation by multiple molecular switches, including mTOR and hypoxia-inducible factor. It is not clear whether GP96 (also known as GRP94), which is a master TLR and integrin chaperone, controls Treg function. Using murine genetic models, we demonstrated that GP96 is required for Treg maintenance and function, as loss of GP96 resulted in instability of the Treg lineage and impairment of suppressive functions in vivo. In the absence of GP96, Tregs were unable to maintain FOXP3 expression levels, resulting in systemic accumulation of pathogenic IFN-γ–producing and IL-17–producing T cells. We determined that GP96 serves as an essential chaperone for the cell-surface protein glycoprotein A repetitions predominant (GARP), which is a docking receptor for latent membrane–associated TGF-β (mLTGF-β). The loss of both GARP and integrins on GP96-deficient Tregs prevented expression of mLTGF-β and resulted in inefficient production of active TGF-β. Our work demonstrates that GP96 regulates multiple facets of Treg biology, thereby placing Treg stability and immunosuppressive functions strategically under the control of a major stress chaperone.

Authors

Yongliang Zhang ... Bei Liu, Zihai Li

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Abstract

Neural centers in the hypothalamus regulate food intake and body weight in response to hormones and other neural stimuli, and dysfunctional communication between the brain and gut underlies metabolic disorders, including obesity. In this issue of the JCI, Steculorum and colleagues present evidence that the gastric peptide ghrelin mediates neural fiber growth in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus during the neonatal period. Neonatal mice subjected to either increased or decreased ghrelin action during this developmental period had an increased risk of obesity in adulthood. Together, the results of this study support a model whereby neural organization at key stages of development sets the foundation for metabolic health later in life.

Authors

Jenny Tong, David D’Alessio

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Abstract

Cancer cells exhibit altered metabolism compared with that of the surrounding tissue. There is hope that these reprogrammed metabolic pathways in tumors hold the key to advances for both cancer imaging and therapy. Translation of observations in cultured cancer cells to live tumors, however, has proven to be highly complex, and robust methods to analyze metabolic activity in primary human tumors are sorely needed. In this issue of the JCI, Sellers et al. use perioperative administration of isotope-labeled glucose to lung cancer patients to differentiate metabolic pathways between tumors and benign lung. They identify pyruvate carboxylation, a reaction that enables glucose-derived carbon to replenish TCA cycle intermediates, as a key component of anabolic metabolism in tumor cells.

Authors

Christopher T. Hensley, Ralph J. DeBerardinis

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Abstract

The use of adeno-associated virus (AAV) as a gene therapy vector has been approved recently for clinical use and has demonstrated efficacy in a growing number of clinical trials. However, the safety of AAV as a vector has been challenged by a single study that documented hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after AAV gene delivery in mice. Most studies have not noted genotoxicity following AAV-mediated gene delivery; therefore, the possibility that there is an association between AAV and HCC is controversial. Here, we performed a comprehensive study of HCC in a large number of mice following therapeutic AAV gene delivery. Using a sensitive high-throughput integration site-capture technique and global expressional analysis, we found that AAV integration into the RNA imprinted and accumulated in nucleus (Rian) locus, and the resulting overexpression of proximal microRNAs and retrotransposon-like 1 (Rtl1) were associated with HCC. In addition, we demonstrated that the AAV vector dose, enhancer/promoter selection, and the timing of gene delivery are all critical factors for determining HCC incidence after AAV gene delivery. Together, our results define aspects of AAV-mediated gene therapy that influence genotoxicity and suggest that these features should be considered for design of both safer AAV vectors and gene therapy studies.

Authors

Randy J. Chandler ... Shawn M. Burgess, Charles P. Venditti

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Abstract

Mutations in the cellular retinaldehyde–binding protein (CRALBP, encoded by RLBP1) can lead to severe cone photoreceptor–mediated vision loss in patients. It is not known how CRALBP supports cone function or how altered CRALBP leads to cone dysfunction. Here, we determined that deletion of Rlbp1 in mice impairs the retinal visual cycle. Mice lacking CRALBP exhibited M-opsin mislocalization, M-cone loss, and impaired cone-driven visual behavior and light responses. Additionally, M-cone dark adaptation was largely suppressed in CRALBP-deficient animals. While rearing CRALBP-deficient mice in the dark prevented the deterioration of cone function, it did not rescue cone dark adaptation. Adeno-associated virus–mediated restoration of CRALBP expression specifically in Müller cells, but not retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, rescued the retinal visual cycle and M-cone sensitivity in knockout mice. Our results identify Müller cell CRALBP as a key component of the retinal visual cycle and demonstrate that this pathway is important for maintaining normal cone–driven vision and accelerating cone dark adaptation.

Authors

Yunlu Xue ... Joseph C. Corbo, Vladimir J. Kefalov

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Abstract

Spinobulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is an X-linked disease characterized by degeneration of motor neurons, muscle atrophy, and progressive weakness. It is caused by a polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion in the androgen receptor (AR), a transcription factor that is activated upon hormone binding. The polyQ expansion in AR causes it to form intracellular aggregates and impairs transcriptional activity. Intriguingly, SUMOylation (where SUMO indicates small ubiquitin-like modifier) of AR inhibits its transcriptional activity and reduces aggregation of the polyQ form of this protein, but it is unclear whether SUMOylation plays a pathogenic or protective role in SBMA. In this issue of the JCI, Chua et al. address this question by generating knockin mice in which the native AR is replaced by either a polyQ AR or a polyQ AR lacking the two lysine residues that are SUMOylated. The results from this study demonstrate that inhibiting SUMOylation of polyQ AR restores much of its transcriptional activity and prevents many (but not all) SBMA-associated symptoms in this mouse model.

Authors

Tim J. Craig, Jeremy M. Henley

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Abstract

Inflammatory conditions intensify and then resolve, often sparing and recovering some of the injured tissue. While the ebb and flow of inflammation can be followed in many tissues, there is not a great deal of information on how inflammation regresses in the brain. In this issue of the JCI, Walsh, Hendrix, and colleagues illuminate a cellular mechanism whereby T cells that infiltrate the brain after nerve crush or contusion actually protect neurons from injury. These infiltrating T cells produce IL-4 and do so independently of a classic adaptive T cell immune response. The T cells respond to mediators produced by damaged neurons, without the classic three-way interaction among antigen, the major histocompatibility complex, and the T cell receptor. After brain injury, these protective T cells produce IL-4, which attenuates damage via IL-4 receptors on neurons.

Authors

Lawrence Steinman

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January 2015


125-1-cover

January 2015 Issue

On the cover:
TALENs for cervical cancer

The cover image shows immunohistochemical staining of CD45 (brown) with hematoxylin (blue) counterstain in mouse cervical tissue to examine the inflammatory response in TALEN-treated mice. On page 425, Hu et al. report the development of a new strategy to target HPV-infected cells using a topical application of TALENs. They demonstrated that TALENs applied directly to the cervix reduce viral DNA load, trigger reexpression of tumor suppressor genes, and reverse the malignant phenotype of infected cells.

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Jci_impact_2015_01

January 2015 Impact

JCI Impact is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published in each month's issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Review Series - More

Autophagy

Series edited by Guido Kroemer

The term autophagy, or “self-eating”, refers to the processes by which cells deliver cytoplasmic constituents to lysosomes for degradation. Autophagy provides biosynthetic precursors and energy sources to sustain metabolism and cell growth and prevent the accumulation of toxic components. These processes are invoked in response to stressors, including changing nutrient conditions, damage to organelles, intracellular pathogens, and accumulation of reactive oxygen species, among others, in order to maintain cellular homeostasis. Autophagy becomes insufficient with age and is perturbed in multiple disease states; consequently, pathogenic aberrations in autophagy have emerged as a major focus in the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Reviews in this series detail specific autophagic mechanisms; the role of autophagy in cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegeneration, lifespan, and the immune system; and methods to develop autophagy-centered therapeutic modalities.

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