BACKGROUND. Sphingolipids are important components of cellular membranes and functionally associated with fundamental processes such as cell differentiation, neuronal signaling, and myelin sheath formation. Defects in the synthesis or degradation of sphingolipids leads to various neurological pathologies; however, the entire spectrum of sphingolipid metabolism disorders remains elusive. METHODS. A combined approach of genomics and lipidomics was applied to identify and characterize a human sphingolipid metabolism disorder. RESULTS. By whole-exome sequencing in a patient with a multisystem neurological disorder of both the central and peripheral nervous systems, we identified a homozygous p.Ala280Val variant in DEGS1, which catalyzes the last step in the ceramide synthesis pathway. The blood sphingolipid profile in the patient showed a significant increase in dihydro sphingolipid species that was further recapitulated in patient-derived fibroblasts, in CRISPR/Cas9–derived DEGS1-knockout cells, and by pharmacological inhibition of DEGS1. The enzymatic activity in patient fibroblasts was reduced by 80% compared with wild-type cells, which was in line with a reduced expression of mutant DEGS1 protein. Moreover, an atypical and potentially neurotoxic sphingosine isomer was identified in patient plasma and in cells expressing mutant DEGS1. CONCLUSION. We report DEGS1 dysfunction as the cause of a sphingolipid disorder with hypomyelination and degeneration of both the central and peripheral nervous systems. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Not applicable. FUNDING. Seventh Framework Program of the European Commission, Swiss National Foundation, Rare Disease Initiative Zurich.
Gergely Karsai, Florian Kraft, Natja Haag, G. Christoph Korenke, Benjamin Hänisch, Alaa Othman, Saranya Suriyanarayanan, Regula Steiner, Cordula Knopp, Michael Mull, Markus Bergmann, J. Michael Schröder, Joachim Weis, Miriam Elbracht, Matthias Begemann, Thorsten Hornemann, Ingo Kurth
The cyclic GMP-AMP synthase/stimulator of IFN genes (cGAS/STING) pathway detects cytosolic DNA to activate innate immune responses. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) selectively target cancer cells with DNA repair deficiencies such as those caused by BRCA1 mutations or ERCC1 defects. Using isogenic cell lines and patient-derived samples, we showed that ERCC1-defective non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells exhibit an enhanced type I IFN transcriptomic signature and that low ERCC1 expression correlates with increased lymphocytic infiltration. We demonstrated that clinical PARPi, including olaparib and rucaparib, have cell-autonomous immunomodulatory properties in ERCC1-defective NSCLC and BRCA1-defective triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. Mechanistically, PARPi generated cytoplasmic chromatin fragments with characteristics of micronuclei; these were found to activate cGAS/STING, downstream type I IFN signaling, and CCL5 secretion. Importantly, these effects were suppressed in PARP1-null TNBC cells, suggesting that this phenotype resulted from an on-target effect of PARPi on PARP1. PARPi also potentiated IFN-γ–induced PD-L1 expression in NSCLC cell lines and in fresh patient tumor cells; this effect was enhanced in ERCC1-deficient contexts. Our data provide a preclinical rationale for using PARPi as immunomodulatory agents in appropriately molecularly selected populations.
Roman M. Chabanon, Gareth Muirhead, Dragomir B. Krastev, Julien Adam, Daphné Morel, Marlène Garrido, Andrew Lamb, Clémence Hénon, Nicolas Dorvault, Mathieu Rouanne, Rebecca Marlow, Ilirjana Bajrami, Marta Llorca Cardeñosa, Asha Konde, Benjamin Besse, Alan Ashworth, Stephen J. Pettitt, Syed Haider, Aurélien Marabelle, Andrew N.J. Tutt, Jean-Charles Soria, Christopher J. Lord, Sophie Postel-Vinay
Immune checkpoint inhibitors and adoptive transfer of gene-engineered T cells have emerged as novel therapeutic modalities for hard-to-treat solid tumors; however, many patients are refractory to these immunotherapies, and the mechanisms underlying tumor immune resistance have not been fully elucidated. By comparing the tumor microenvironment of checkpoint inhibition–sensitive and –resistant murine solid tumors, we observed that the resistant tumors had low immunogenicity. We identified antigen presentation by CD11b+F4/80+ tumor–associated macrophages (TAMs) as a key factor correlated with immune resistance. In the resistant tumors, TAMs remained inactive and did not exert antigen-presenting activity. Targeted delivery of a long peptide antigen to TAMs by using a nano-sized hydrogel (nanogel) in the presence of a TLR agonist activated TAMs, induced their antigen-presenting activity, and thereby transformed the resistant tumors into tumors sensitive to adaptive immune responses such as adoptive transfer of tumor-specific T cell receptor–engineered T cells. These results indicate that the status and function of TAMs have a significant impact on tumor immune sensitivity and that manipulation of TAM functions would be an effective approach for improving the efficacy of immunotherapies.
Daisuke Muraoka, Naohiro Seo, Tae Hayashi, Yoshiro Tahara, Keisuke Fujii, Isao Tawara, Yoshihiro Miyahara, Kana Okamori, Hideo Yagita, Seiya Imoto, Rui Yamaguchi, Mitsuhiro Komura, Satoru Miyano, Masahiro Goto, Shin-ichi Sawada, Akira Asai, Hiroaki Ikeda, Kazunari Akiyoshi, Naozumi Harada, Hiroshi Shiku
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia, and its pathogenesis is initiated by the accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) into extracellular plaques. Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) is the largest genetic risk factor for sporadic AD and contributes to AD pathogenesis by influencing clearance and seeding of the initial aggregation of Aβ. In this issue of the JCI, Tachibana et al. investigated the relationship between neuronal LRP1 expression and ApoE4-mediated seeding of Aβ and showed that knockout of neuronal LRP1 prevents the increase in Aβ pathology caused by ApoE4 expression. These findings give insight into potential therapeutic targets for the preclinical phase of AD and the pathogenesis of Aβ pathology.
Michael R. Strickland, David M. Holtzman
Genetic variants at the PTPN2 locus, which encodes the tyrosine phosphatase PTPN2, cause reduced gene expression and are linked to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases. PTPN2 inhibits signaling through the T cell and cytokine receptors, and loss of PTPN2 promotes T cell expansion and CD4- and CD8-driven autoimmunity. However, it remains unknown whether loss of PTPN2 in FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) plays a role in autoimmunity. Here we aimed to model human autoimmune-predisposing PTPN2 variants, the presence of which results in a partial loss of PTPN2 expression, in mouse models of RA. We identified that reduced expression of Ptpn2 enhanced the severity of autoimmune arthritis in the T cell–dependent SKG mouse model and demonstrated that this phenotype was mediated through a Treg-intrinsic mechanism. Mechanistically, we found that through dephosphorylation of STAT3, PTPN2 inhibits IL-6–driven pathogenic loss of FoxP3 after Tregs have acquired RORγt expression, at a stage when chromatin accessibility for STAT3-targeted IL-17–associated transcription factors is maximized. We conclude that PTPN2 promotes FoxP3 stability in mouse RORγt+ Tregs and that loss of function of PTPN2 in Tregs contributes to the association between PTPN2 and autoimmunity.
Mattias N.D. Svensson, Karen M. Doody, Benjamin J. Schmiedel, Sourya Bhattacharyya, Bharat Panwar, Florian Wiede, Shen Yang, Eugenio Santelli, Dennis J. Wu, Cristiano Sacchetti, Ravindra Gujar, Gregory Seumois, William B. Kiosses, Isabelle Aubry, Gisen Kim, Piotr Mydel, Shimon Sakaguchi, Mitchell Kronenberg, Tony Tiganis, Michel L. Tremblay, Ferhat Ay, Pandurangan Vijayanand, Nunzio Bottini
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) contributes significantly to interstitial matrix deposition in diabetic kidney disease (DKD). However, detection of EMT in kidney tissue is impracticable, and anti-EMT therapies have long been hindered. We reported that phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) promoted transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β), sonic hedgehog (SHH), connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and hyperglycemia-induced EMT when PTEN was modified by a MEX3C-catalyzed K27-linked polyubiquitination at lysine 80 (referred to as PTENK27-polyUb). Genetic inhibition of PTENK27-polyUb alleviated Col4a3 knockout–, folic acid–, and streptozotocin-induced (STZ-induced) kidney injury. Serum and urine PTENK27-polyUb concentrations were negatively correlated with glomerular filtration rate (GFR) for diabetic patients. Mechanistically, PTENK27-polyUb facilitated dephosphorylation and protein stabilization of TWIST, SNAI1, and YAP in renal epithelial cells, leading to enhanced EMT. We identified that a small molecule, triptolide, inhibited MEX3C-catalyzed PTENK27-polyUb and EMT of renal epithelial cells. Treatment with triptolide reduced TWIST, SNAI1, and YAP concurrently and improved kidney health in Col4a3 knockout–, folic acid–injured disease models and STZ-induced, BTBR ob/ob diabetic nephropathy models. Hence, we demonstrated the important role of PTENK27-polyUb in DKD and a promising therapeutic strategy that inhibited the progression of DKD.
Yajuan Li, Qingsong Hu, Chunlai Li, Ke Liang, Yu Xiang, Heidi Hsiao, Tina K. Nguyen, Peter K. Park, Sergey D. Egranov, Chandrashekar R. Ambati, Nagireddy Putluri, David H. Hawke, Leng Han, Mien-Chie Hung, Farhad R. Danesh, Liuqing Yang, Chunru Lin
Tregs play a fundamental role in immune tolerance via control of self-reactive effector T cells (Teffs). This function is dependent on maintenance of a high intracellular cAMP concentration. A number of microRNAs are implicated in the maintenance of Tregs. In this study, we demonstrate that peripheral immune tolerance is critically dependent on posttranscriptional repression of the cAMP-hydrolyzing enzyme phosphodiesterase-3b (Pde3b) by microRNA-142-5p (miR-142-5p). In this manner, miR-142-5p acts as an immunometabolic regulator of intracellular cAMP, controlling Treg suppressive function. Mir142 was associated with a super enhancer bound by the Treg lineage–determining transcription factor forkhead box P3 (FOXP3), and Treg-specific deletion of miR-142 in mice (TregΔ142) resulted in spontaneous, lethal, multisystem autoimmunity, despite preserved numbers of phenotypically normal Tregs. Pharmacological inhibition and genetic ablation of PDE3B prevented autoimmune disease and reversed the impaired suppressive function of Tregs in TregΔ142 animals. These findings reveal a critical molecular switch, specifying Treg function through the modulation of a highly conserved, cell-intrinsic metabolic pathway. Modulation of this pathway has direct relevance to the pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmunity and cancer.
Nelomi Anandagoda, Joanna C.D. Willis, Arnulf Hertweck, Luke B. Roberts, Ian Jackson, M. Refik Gökmen, Richard G. Jenner, Jane K. Howard, Graham M. Lord
Environmental exposures interplay with human host factors to promote the development and progression of allergic diseases. The worldwide prevalence of allergic disease is rising as a result of complex gene-environment interactions that shape the immune system and host response. Research shows an association between the rise of allergic diseases and increasingly modern Westernized lifestyles, which are characterized by increased urbanization, time spent indoors, and antibiotic usage. These environmental changes result in increased exposure to air and traffic pollution, fungi, infectious agents, tobacco smoke, and other early-life and lifelong risk factors for the development and exacerbation of asthma and allergic diseases. It is increasingly recognized that the timing, load, and route of allergen exposure affect allergic disease phenotypes and development. Still, our ability to prevent allergic diseases is hindered by gaps in understanding of the underlying mechanisms and interaction of environmental, viral, and allergen exposures with immune pathways that impact disease development. This Review highlights epidemiologic and mechanistic evidence linking environmental exposures to the development and exacerbation of allergic airway responses.
Liza Bronner Murrison, Eric B. Brandt, Jocelyn Biagini Myers, Gurjit K. Khurana Hershey
Carrying the ε4 allele of the APOE gene encoding apolipoprotein E (APOE4) markedly increases the risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD), in which APOE4 exacerbates the brain accumulation and subsequent deposition of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides. While the LDL receptor–related protein 1 (LRP1) is a major apoE receptor in the brain, we found that its levels are associated with those of insoluble Aβ depending on APOE genotype status in postmortem AD brains. Thus, to determine the functional interaction of apoE4 and LRP1 in brain Aβ metabolism, we crossed neuronal LRP1-knockout mice with amyloid model APP/PS1 mice and APOE3–targeted replacement (APO3-TR) or APOE4-TR mice. Consistent with previous findings, mice expressing apoE4 had increased Aβ deposition and insoluble amounts of Aβ40 and Aβ42 in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 mice compared with those expressing apoE3. Intriguingly, such effects were reversed in the absence of neuronal LRP1. Neuronal LRP1 deficiency also increased detergent-soluble apoE4 levels, which may contribute to the inhibition of Aβ deposition. Together, our results suggest that apoE4 exacerbates Aβ pathology through a mechanism that depends on neuronal LRP1. A better understanding of apoE isoform–specific interaction with their metabolic receptor LRP1 on Aβ metabolism is crucial for defining APOE4-related risk for AD.
Masaya Tachibana, Marie-Louise Holm, Chia-Chen Liu, Mitsuru Shinohara, Tomonori Aikawa, Hiroshi Oue, Yu Yamazaki, Yuka A. Martens, Melissa E. Murray, Patrick M. Sullivan, Kathrin Weyer, Simon Glerup, Dennis W. Dickson, Guojun Bu, Takahisa Kanekiyo
The development and function of stem and progenitor cells that produce blood cells are vital in physiology. GATA-binding protein 2 (GATA2) mutations cause GATA-2 deficiency syndrome involving immunodeficiency, myelodysplastic syndrome, and acute myeloid leukemia. GATA-2 physiological activities necessitate that it be strictly regulated, and cell type–specific enhancers fulfill this role. The +9.5 intronic enhancer harbors multiple conserved cis-elements, and germline mutations of these cis-elements are pathogenic in humans. Since mechanisms underlying how GATA2 enhancer disease mutations impact hematopoiesis and pathology are unclear, we generated mouse models of the enhancer mutations. While a multi-motif mutant was embryonically lethal, a single-nucleotide Ets motif mutant was viable, and steady-state hematopoiesis was normal. However, the Ets motif mutation abrogated stem/progenitor cell regeneration following stress. These results reveal a new mechanism in human genetics, in which a disease predisposition mutation inactivates enhancer regenerative activity, while sparing developmental activity. Mutational sensitization to stress that instigates hematopoietic failure constitutes a paradigm for GATA-2 deficiency syndrome and other contexts of GATA-2–dependent pathogenesis.
Alexandra A. Soukup, Ye Zheng, Charu Mehta, Jun Wu, Peng Liu, Miao Cao, Inga Hofmann, Yun Zhou, Jing Zhang, Kirby D. Johnson, Kyunghee Choi, Sunduz Keles, Emery H. Bresnick
A variety of neurological procedures, including deep brain stimulation and craniotomies that require tissue removal near elegant cortices, require patients to remain awake and responsive in order to monitor function. Such procedures can produce anxiety and are poorly tolerated in some subjects. In this issue of the JCI, Bijanki and colleagues demonstrate that electrical stimulation of the left dorsal anterior cingulum bundle promoted a positive (mirthful) effect and reduced anxiety, without sedation, in three patients with epilepsy undergoing intracranial electrode monitoring. The results of this study highlight the need for further evaluation of anterior cingulum stimulation to reduce anxiety during awake surgery and as a possible approach for treating anxiety disorders.
Kelly A. Mills
BACKGROUND. Awake neurosurgery requires patients to converse and respond to visual or verbal prompts to identify and protect brain tissue supporting essential functions such as language, primary sensory modalities, and motor function. These procedures can be poorly tolerated because of patient anxiety, yet acute anxiolytic medications typically cause sedation and impair cortical function. METHODS. In this study, direct electrical stimulation of the left dorsal anterior cingulum bundle was discovered to reliably evoke positive affect and anxiolysis without sedation in a patient with epilepsy undergoing research testing during standard inpatient intracranial electrode monitoring. These effects were quantified using subjective and objective behavioral measures, and stimulation was found to evoke robust changes in local and distant neural activity. RESULTS. The index patient ultimately required an awake craniotomy procedure to confirm safe resection margins in the treatment of her epilepsy. During the procedure, cingulum bundle stimulation enhanced positive affect and reduced the patient’s anxiety to the point that intravenous anesthetic/anxiolytic medications were discontinued and cognitive testing was completed. Behavioral responses were subsequently replicated in 2 patients with anatomically similar electrode placements localized to an approximately 1-cm span along the anterior dorsal cingulum bundle above genu of the corpus callosum. CONCLUSIONS. The current study demonstrates a robust anxiolytic response to cingulum bundle stimulation in 3 patients with epilepsy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. The current study was not affiliated with any formal clinical trial. FUNDING. This project was supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the NIH.
Kelly R. Bijanki, Joseph R. Manns, Cory S. Inman, Ki Sueng Choi, Sahar Harati, Nigel P. Pedersen, Daniel L. Drane, Allison C. Waters, Rebecca E. Fasano, Helen S. Mayberg, Jon T. Willie
Sphingolipid imbalance is the culprit in a variety of neurological diseases, some affecting the myelin sheath. We have used whole-exome sequencing in patients with undetermined leukoencephalopathies to uncover the endoplasmic reticulum lipid desaturase DEGS1 as the causative gene in 19 patients from 13 unrelated families. Shared features among the cases include severe motor arrest, early nystagmus, dystonia, spasticity, and profound failure to thrive. MRI showed hypomyelination, thinning of the corpus callosum, and progressive thalamic and cerebellar atrophy, suggesting a critical role of DEGS1 in myelin development and maintenance. This enzyme converts dihydroceramide (DhCer) into ceramide (Cer) in the final step of the de novo biosynthesis pathway. We detected a marked increase of the substrate DhCer and DhCer/Cer ratios in patients’ fibroblasts and muscle. Further, we used a knockdown approach for disease modeling in Danio rerio, followed by a preclinical test with the first-line treatment for multiple sclerosis, fingolimod (FTY720, Gilenya). The enzymatic inhibition of Cer synthase by fingolimod, 1 step prior to DEGS1 in the pathway, reduced the critical DhCer/Cer imbalance and the severe locomotor disability, increasing the number of myelinating oligodendrocytes in a zebrafish model. These proof-of-concept results pave the way to clinical translation.
Devesh C. Pant, Imen Dorboz, Agatha Schluter, Stéphane Fourcade, Nathalie Launay, Javier Joya, Sergio Aguilera-Albesa, Maria Eugenia Yoldi, Carlos Casasnovas, Mary J. Willis, Montserrat Ruiz, Dorothée Ville, Gaetan Lesca, Karine Siquier-Pernet, Isabelle Desguerre, Huifang Yan, Jingmin Wang, Margit Burmeister, Lauren Brady, Mark Tarnopolsky, Carles Cornet, Davide Rubbini, Javier Terriente, Kiely N. James, Damir Musaev, Maha S. Zaki, Marc C. Patterson, Brendan C. Lanpher, Eric W. Klee, Filippo Pinto e Vairo, Elizabeth Wohler, Nara Lygia de M. Sobreira, Julie S. Cohen, Reza Maroofian, Hamid Galehdari, Neda Mazaheri, Gholamreza Shariati, Laurence Colleaux, Diana Rodriguez, Joseph G. Gleeson, Cristina Pujades, Ali Fatemi, Odile Boespflug-Tanguy, Aurora Pujol
Local flow patterns determine the uneven distribution of atherosclerotic lesions. This research aims to elucidate the mechanism of regulation of nuclear translocation of Yes-associated protein (YAP) under oscillatory shear stress (OSS) in the atheroprone phenotype of endothelial cells (ECs). We report here that OSS led to tyrosine phosphorylation and strong, continuous nuclear translocation of YAP in ECs that is dependent on integrin α5β1 activation. YAP overexpression in ECs blunted the anti-atheroprone effect of an integrin α5β1–blocking peptide (ATN161) in Apoe–/– mice. Activation of integrin α5β1 induced tyrosine, but not serine, phosphorylation of YAP in ECs. Blockage of integrin α5β1 with ATN161 abolished the phosphorylation of YAP at Y357 induced by OSS. Mechanistic studies showed that c-Abl inhibitor attenuated the integrin α5β1–induced YAP tyrosine phosphorylation. Furthermore, the phosphorylation of c-Abl and YAPY357 was significantly increased in ECs in atherosclerotic vessels of mice and in human plaques versus normal vessels. Finally, bosutinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, markedly reduced the level of YAPY357 and the development of atherosclerosis in Apoe–/– mice. The c-Abl/YAPY357 pathway serves as a mechanism for the activation of integrin α5β1 and the atherogenic phenotype of ECs in response to OSS, and provides a potential therapeutic strategy for atherogenesis.
Bochuan Li, Jinlong He, Huizhen Lv, Yajin Liu, Xue Lv, Chenghu Zhang, Yi Zhu, Ding Ai
The rapid expansion in the number of encephalitis disorders associated with autoantibodies against neuronal proteins has led to an incremental increase in use of the term “autoimmune epilepsy,” yet has occurred with limited attention to the physiopathology of each disease and genuine propensity to develop epilepsy. Indeed, most autoimmune encephalitides present with seizures, but the probability of evolving to epilepsy is relatively small. The risk of epilepsy is higher for disorders in which the antigens are intracellular (often T cell–mediated) compared with disorders in which the antigens are on the cell surface (antibody-mediated). Most autoantibodies against neuronal surface antigens show robust effects on the target proteins, resulting in hyperexcitability and impairment of synaptic function and plasticity. Here, we trace the evolution of the concept of autoimmune epilepsy and examine common inflammatory pathways that might lead to epilepsy. Then, we focus on several antibody-mediated encephalitis disorders that associate with seizures and review the synaptic alterations caused by patients’ antibodies, with emphasis on those that have been modeled in animals (e.g., antibodies against NMDA, AMPA receptors, LGI1 protein) or in cultured neurons (e.g., antibodies against the GABAb receptor).
Christian Geis, Jesus Planagumà, Mar Carreño, Francesc Graus, Josep Dalmau
Mast cells (MCs) are immune sentinels, but whether they also function as antigen-presenting cells (APCs) remains elusive. Using mouse models of MC deficiency, we report on MC-dependent recruitment and activation of multiple T cell subsets to the skin and draining lymph nodes (DLNs) during dengue virus (DENV) infection. Newly recruited and locally proliferating γδ T cells were the first T cell subset to respond to MC-driven inflammation, and their production of IFN-γ was MC dependent. MC–γδ T cell conjugates were observed consistently in infected peripheral tissues, suggesting a new role for MCs as nonconventional APCs for γδ T cells. MC-dependent γδ T cell activation and proliferation during DENV infection required T cell receptor (TCR) signaling and the nonconventional antigen presentation molecule endothelial cell protein C receptor (EPCR) on MCs. γδ T cells, not previously implicated in DENV host defense, killed infected targeted DCs and contributed to the clearance of DENV in vivo. We believe immune synapse formation between MCs and γδ T cells is a novel mechanism to induce specific and protective immunity at sites of viral infection.
Chinmay Kumar Mantri, Ashley L. St. John
ARHGEF1 is a RhoA-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor expressed in hematopoietic cells. We used whole-exome sequencing to identify compound heterozygous mutations in ARHGEF1, resulting in the loss of ARHGEF1 protein expression in 2 primary antibody–deficient siblings presenting with recurrent severe respiratory tract infections and bronchiectasis. Both ARHGEF1-deficient patients showed an abnormal B cell immunophenotype, with a deficiency in marginal zone and memory B cells and an increased frequency of transitional B cells. Furthermore, the patients’ blood contained immature myeloid cells. Analysis of a mediastinal lymph node from one patient highlighted the small size of the germinal centers and an abnormally high plasma cell content. On the molecular level, T and B lymphocytes from both patients displayed low RhoA activity and low steady-state actin polymerization (even after stimulation of lysophospholipid receptors). As a consequence of disturbed regulation of the RhoA downstream target Rho-associated kinase I/II (ROCK), the patients’ lymphocytes failed to efficiently restrain AKT phosphorylation. Enforced ARHGEF1 expression or drug-induced activation of RhoA in the patients’ cells corrected the impaired actin polymerization and AKT regulation. Our results indicate that ARHGEF1 activity in human lymphocytes is involved in controlling actin cytoskeleton dynamics, restraining PI3K/AKT signaling, and confining B lymphocytes and myelocytes within their dedicated functional environment.
Amine Bouafia, Sébastien Lofek, Julie Bruneau, Loïc Chentout, Hicham Lamrini, Amélie Trinquand, Marie-Céline Deau, Lucie Heurtier, Véronique Meignin, Capucine Picard, Elizabeth Macintyre, Olivier Alibeu, Marc Bras, Thierry Jo Molina, Marina Cavazzana, Isabelle André-Schmutz, Anne Durandy, Alain Fischer, Eric Oksenhendler, Sven Kracker
Primary antibody deficiencies are the most common immunodeficiencies in humans; however, identification of the underlying genetic and biochemical basis for these diseases is often difficult, given that these deficiencies typically involve complex genetic etiologies. In this issue of the JCI, Bouafia et al. performed whole-exome sequencing on a pair of siblings with primary antibody deficiencies and identified genetic mutations that result in a deficiency of ARHGEF1, a hematopoietic intracellular signaling molecule that transmits signals from GPCRs. ARHGEF1-deficient lymphocytes from the affected siblings exhibited important functional deficits that indicate that loss of ARHGEF1 accounts for the observed primary antibody deficiency, which manifests in an inability to mount antibody responses to vaccines and pathogens. Thus, this report demonstrates an important role for ARHGEF1 in GPCR signal transduction required for appropriate adaptive immune responses in humans.
Divij Mathew, Kimberly N. Kremer, Raul M. Torres
Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) is frequently associated in humans with loss-of-function mutations in complement-regulating proteins or gain-of-function mutations in complement-activating proteins. Thus, aHUS provides an archetypal complement-mediated disease with which to model new therapeutic strategies and treatments. Herein, we show that, when transferred to mice, an aHUS-associated gain-of-function change (D1115N) to the complement-activation protein C3 results in aHUS. Homozygous C3 p.D1115N (C3KI) mice developed spontaneous chronic thrombotic microangiopathy together with hematuria, thrombocytopenia, elevated creatinine, and evidence of hemolysis. Mice with active disease had reduced plasma C3 with C3 fragment and C9 deposition within the kidney. Therapeutic blockade or genetic deletion of C5, a protein downstream of C3 in the complement cascade, protected homozygous C3KI mice from thrombotic microangiopathy and aHUS. Thus, our data provide in vivo modeling evidence that gain-of-function changes in complement C3 drive aHUS. They also show that long-term C5 deficiency is not accompanied by development of other renal complications (such as C3 glomerulopathy) despite sustained dysregulation of C3. Our results suggest that this preclinical model will allow testing of novel complement inhibitors with the aim of developing precisely targeted therapeutics that could have application in many complement-mediated diseases.
Kate Smith-Jackson, Yi Yang, Harriet Denton, Isabel Y. Pappworth, Katie Cooke, Paul N. Barlow, John P. Atkinson, M. Kathryn Liszewski, Matthew C. Pickering, David Kavanagh, H. Terence Cook, Kevin J. Marchbank
Effector T cell responses directed toward cancer neoantigens mediate tumor regression following checkpoint blockade or adoptive T cell immunotherapy, but are generally “private”, thus requiring considerable effort for their identification. In this issue of the JCI, Malekzadeh et al. show that a fraction of patients with epithelial cancers mount antigen-specific T cell responses to “hot spot” p53 mutations that in some cases are shared among patients. This work suggests that other genes frequently mutated in human cancer can be immunogenic, thus offering a rapid way to screen for cancer neoantigens that can be targeted by subsequent T cell–based therapies.
Enrico Lugli, Pia Kvistborg, Giovanni Galletti