Chronic HBV (CHB) infection suppresses virus-specific T cells, but its impact on humoral immunity has been poorly analyzed. Here, we developed a dual staining method, which utilizes HBsAg labelled with fluorochromes as “baits”, for specific ex vivo detection of HBsAg-specific B cells and analysis of their quantity, function and phenotype. We studied healthy vaccinated subjects (n=18) and patients with resolved (n=21), acute (n=11) or chronic (n=96) HBV infection and observed that frequencies of circulating HBsAg-specific B cells are independent of the HBV infection status. In contrast, serum HBsAg presence affects function and phenotype of HBsAg-specific B cells that were unable to mature in vitro into antibody-secreting cells and displayed an increased expression of markers linked to hyperactivation (CD21low) and exhaustion (PD-1). Importantly, B cell alterations were not limited to HBsAg-specific B cells but affected the global B cell population. HBsAg-specific B cell maturation could be partially restored by a method involving the combination of IL-2, IL-21 and CD40L-expressing feeder cells, and further boosted by addition of anti-PD-1 antibodies.In conclusion, HBV infection has a marked impact on global and HBV-specific humoral immunity, yet HBsAg-specific B cells are amenable to a partial rescue by B cell maturing cytokines and PD-1 blockade.
Loghman Salimzadeh, Nina Le Bert, Charles-A. Dutertre, Upkar S. Gill, Evan W. Newell, Christian Frey, Magdeleine Hung, Nikolai Novikov, Simon Fletcher, Patrick T.F. Kennedy, Antonio Bertoletti
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a teratogenic mosquito-borne flavivirus which can be sexually transmitted from man to woman. High viral loads and prolonged viral shedding in semen suggest that ZIKV replicates within the human male genital tract, but its target organs are unknown. Using ex vivo infection of organotypic cultures, we demonstrated here that ZIKV replicates in human testicular tissue and infects a broad range of cell types, including germ cells, which we also identified as infected in the semen from ZIKV-infected donors. ZIKV had no major deleterious effect on the morphology and hormonal production of the human testis explants. Infection induced a broad antiviral response but no interferon up-regulation and minimal pro-inflammatory response in testis explants, with no cytopathic effect. Finally, we studied ZIKV infection in mouse testis, and compared it to human infection. This study provides key insights into how ZIKV may persist in semen and alter semen parameters, as well as a valuable tool for testing antiviral agents.
Giulia Matusali, Laurent Houzet, Anne-Pascale Satie, Dominique Mahé, Florence Aubry, Thérèse Couderc, Julie Frouard, Salomé Bourgeau, Karim Bensalah, Sylvain Lavoué, Guillaume Joguet, Louis Bujan, André Cabié, Gleide F. Avelar, Marc Lecuit, Anna Le Tortorec, Nathalie Dejucq-Rainsford
Prostate cancer is an androgen-dependent disease subject to interactions between the tumor epithelia and its microenvironment. Here, we found epigenetic changes in cancer-associated prostatic fibroblasts (CAF) initiated a cascade of stromal-epithelial interactions. This facilitated lethal prostate cancer growth and development of resistance to androgen signaling deprivation therapy (ADT). We identified that a Ras inhibitor, RASAL3, is epigenetically silenced in human prostatic CAF, leading to oncogenic Ras activity driving macropinocytosis-mediated glutamine synthesis. Interestingly, ADT further promoted RASAL3 epigenetic silencing and glutamine secretion by prostatic fibroblasts. In a orthotopic xenograft model, subsequent inhibition of macropinocytosis and glutamine transport resulted in antitumor effects. Stromal glutamine served as a source of energy through anaplerosis and as a mediator of neuroendocrine differentiation for prostate adenocarcinoma. Antagonizing the uptake of glutamine restored sensitivity to ADT in a castrate resistant xenograft model. In validating these findings, we found that prostate cancer patients on ADT with therapeutic resistance had elevated blood glutamine levels compared to those with therapeutically responsive disease (odds ratio = 7.451, P = 0.02). Identification of epigenetic regulation of RAS activity in prostatic CAF revealed RASAL3 as a sensor for metabolic and neuroendocrine reprogramming in prostate cancer patients failing ADT.
Rajeev Mishra, Subhash Haldar, Veronica Placencio, Anisha Madhav, Krizia Rohena-Rivera, Priyanka Agarwal, Frank Duong, Bryan Angara, Manisha Tripathi, Zhenqiu Liu, Roberta A. Gottlieb, Shawn Wagner, Edwin M. Posadas, Neil A. Bhowmick
Movement of circulating fatty acids (FAs) to parenchymal cells requires their transfer across the endothelial cell (EC) barrier. The multi-ligand receptor cluster of differentiation 36 (CD36) facilitates tissue FA uptake and is expressed in ECs and parenchymal cells such as myocytes and adipocytes. Whether tissue uptake of FAs is dependent on EC or parenchymal cell CD36, or both, is unknown. Using a cell-specific deletion approach, we show that EC, but not parenchymal cell CD36 deletion increased fasting plasma FAs and postprandial triglycerides. EC-Cd36 knockout mice had reduced uptake of radiolabeled long chain FAs into heart, skeletal muscle, and brown adipose tissue; these uptake studies were replicated using [11C]palmitate PET scans. High fat diet-fed EC-CD36 deficient mice had improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Both EC and cardiomyocyte (CM) deletion of CD36 reduced heart lipid droplet accumulation after fasting, but CM deletion did not affect heart glucose or FA uptake. Heart expression of several genes modulating glucose metabolism and insulin action increased with EC-CD36 deletion, but decreased with CM deletion. In conclusion, EC CD36 acts as a gatekeeper for parenchymal cell FA uptake, with important downstream effects on glucose utilization and insulin action.
Ni-Huiping Son, Debapriya Basu, Dmitri Samovski, Terri A. Pietka, Vivek S. Peche, Florian Willecke, Xiang Fang, Shui-Qing Yu, Diego Scerbo, Hye Rim Chang, Fei Sun, Svetlana Bagdasarov, Konstantinos Drosatos, Steve T. Yeh, Adam E. Mullick, Kooresh I. Shoghi, Namrata Gumaste, KyeongJin Kim, Lesley-Ann M. Huggins, Tenzin Lhakhang, Nada A. Abumrad, Ira J. Goldberg
BACKGROUND. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), plasma exchange and immunoadsorption are frequently used in the management of severe autoimmune diseases mediated by pathogenic IgG autoantibodies. These approaches to modulate IgG levels can however be associated with some severe adverse reactions and significant burden to patients. Targeting the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) presents an innovative and potentially more effective, safer, and convenient alternative for clearing pathogenic IgGs. METHODS. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled first-in-human study was conducted in 62 healthy volunteers to explore single and multiple ascending intravenous doses of the FcRn antagonist efgartigimod. The study objectives were to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and immunogenicity. The findings of this study were compared with the pharmacodynamics profile elicited by efgartigimod in cynomolgus monkeys. RESULTS. Efgartigimod treatment resulted in a rapid and specific clearance of serum IgG levels in both cynomolgus monkeys and healthy volunteers. In humans, single administration of efgartigimod reduced IgG levels up to 50% whilst multiple dosing further lowered IgGs on average by 75% of baseline levels. Approximately 8 weeks following the last administration, IgG levels returned to baseline. Efgartigimod did not alter the homeostasis of albumin or immunoglobulins other than IgG and no serious adverse events related to efgartigimod infusion were observed. CONCLUSION. Antagonizing FcRn using efgartigimod is safe and results in a specific, profound, and sustained reduction of serum IgG levels. These results warrant further evaluation of this therapeutic approach in IgG-driven autoimmune diseases. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03457649. FUNDING. argenx bvba.
Peter Ulrichts, Antonio Guglietta, Torsten Dreier, Tonke van Bragt, Valérie Hanssens, Erik Hofman, Bernhardt Vankerckhoven, Peter Verheesen, Nicolas Ongenae, Valentina Lykhopiy, F. Javier Enriquez, JunHaeng Cho, Raimund J. Ober, E. Sally Ward, Hans de Haard, Nicolas Leupin
JAK2-V617F-positive chronic myeloproliferative neoplasia (CMN) is marked by dysfunction of integrins and adhesion molecules expressed on platelets, erythrocytes and leukocytes. However, the mechanism by which the two major leukocyte integrin chains, β1 and β2, mediate CMN pathophysiology remained unclear. β1 (α4β1; VLA-4) and β2 (αLβ2; LFA-1) integrins are essential regulators for attachment of leukocytes to endothelial cells. We here show enhanced adhesion of granulocytes from JAK2+/VF knock-in mice to vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM1) and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM1) coated surfaces. Soluble VCAM1 and ICAM1 ligand binding assays revealed increased affinity of β1 and β2 integrins for their respective ligands. For β1 integrins, this correlated with a structural change from the low to the high affinity conformation induced by JAK2-V617F. JAK2-V617F triggers constitutive activation of the integrin inside-out signaling molecule Rap1 resulting in translocation towards the cell membrane. Employing a venous thrombosis model, we demonstrate that neutralizing anti-VLA4 and anti-β2 integrin antibodies suppress pathologic thrombosis as observed in JAK2+/VF mice. In addition, aberrant homing of JAK2+/VF leukocytes to the spleen is inhibited by neutralizing anti-β2 antibodies and by pharmacologic inhibition of Rap1. Thus, our findings identify a cross talk between JAK2-V617F and integrin activation promoting pathologic thrombosis and abnormal trafficking of leukocytes to the spleen. .
Bärbel Edelmann, Nibedita Gupta, Tina M. Schnöder, Anja M. Oelschlegel, Khurrum Shahzad, Jürgen Goldschmidt, Lars Philipsen, Sönke Weinert, Aniket Ghosh, Felix C. Saalfeld, Subbaiah Chary Nimmagadda, Peter Müller, Rüdiger C. Braun-Dullaeus, Juliane Mohr, Denise Wolleschak, Stefanie Kliche, Holger Amthauer, Florian H. Heidel, Burkhart Schraven, Berend Isermann, Andreas Müller, Thomas Fischer
Oxidative stress is an underlying component of acute and chronic kidney disease. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is a widely expressed redox-sensitive serine threonine kinase that activates p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases, and induces apoptotic, inflammatory, and fibrotic signaling in settings of oxidative stress. Herein, we describe the discovery and characterization of a potent and selective small molecule inhibitor of ASK1, GS-444217, and demonstrate the therapeutic potential of ASK1 inhibition to reduce kidney injury and fibrosis. Activation of the ASK1 pathway in glomerular and tubular compartments was confirmed in renal biopsies from patients with diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and was decreased by GS-444217 in several rodent models of kidney injury and fibrosis that collectively represented the hallmarks of DKD pathology. Treatment with GS-444217 reduced progressive inflammation and fibrosis in the kidney and halted decline of glomerular filtration rate. Combination of GS-444217 with enalapril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, led to a greater reduction in proteinuria and regression of glomerulosclerosis. These results identify ASK1 as an important target for renal disease and support the clinical development of an ASK1 inhibitor for the treatment of diabetic kidney disease.
John T. Liles, Britton K. Corkey, Gregory T. Notte, Grant Budas, Eric B. Lansdon, Ford Hinojosa-Kirschenbaum, Shawn S. Badal, Michael Lee, Brian E. Schultz, Sarah Wise, Swetha Pendem, Michael Graupe, Laurie Castonguay, Keith A. Koch, Melanie H. Wong, Giuseppe A. Papalia, Dorothy M. French, Theodore Sullivan, Erik G. Huntzicker, Frank Y. Ma, David J. Nikolic-Paterson, Tareq Altuhaifi, Haichun Yang, Agnes B. Fogo, David G. Breckenridge
The adjuvanted varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein E (VZV gE) subunit herpes zoster vaccine (HZ/su) confers higher protection against HZ than the live attenuated zoster vaccine (ZV). To understand the immunologic basis for the different efficacies of the vaccines, we compared immune responses to the vaccines in adults 50- to 85-year-old. gE-specific T cells were very low/undetectable before vaccination when analyzed by FluoroSpot and flow cytometry. Both ZV and HZ/su increased gE-specific responses, but at peak memory response (PMR) after vaccination (30 days after ZV or after the second dose of HZ/su) gE-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses were ≥ 10-fold higher in HZ/su compared with ZV recipients. Comparing the vaccines, T cell memory responses, including gE- and VZV-IL2+ spot-forming cells (SFC), were higher in HZ/su recipients and cytotoxic and effector responses were lower. At 1 year after vaccination, all gE-Th1 and VZV-IL2+ SFC remained higher in HZ/su compared to ZV recipients. Mediation analyses showed that IL2+ PMR were necessary for the persistence of Th1 responses to either vaccine and VZV-IL2+ PMR explained 73% of the total effect of HZ/su on persistence. This emphasizes the biological importance of the memory responses, which were clearly superior in HZ/su compared with ZV participants.
Myron J. Levin, Miranda E. Kroehl, Michael J. Johnson, Andrew Hammes, Dominik Reinhold, Nancy Lang, Adriana Weinberg
The MALT1 paracaspase plays an essential role in Activated B-cell like Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma (ABC DLBCL) downstream of B cell and Toll-like receptor pathway genes mutated in these tumors. Although MALT1 is considered to be a compelling therapeutic target, development of tractable and specific MALT1 protease inhibitors has thus far been elusive. Herein, we developed a target engagement assay that provides a quantitative readout for specific MALT1 inhibitory effects in living cells. This enabled a structure-guided medicinal chemistry effort culminating in the discovery of pharmacologically tractable irreversible substrate-mimetic compounds that bind the MALT1 active site. We confirmed MALT1 targeting with compound #3 is effective at suppressing ABC DLBCL cells in vitro and in vivo. We show that reduction in serum IL10 levels exquisitely correlates with drug PK and degree of MALT1 inhibition in vitro and in vivo and could constitute a useful pharmacodynamic biomarker to evaluate these compounds in clinical trials. Compound #3 revealed insights into the biology of MALT1 in ABC DLBCL, such as driving JAK-STAT signaling and suppressing type I interferon (IFN) response and MHC class II expression, suggesting that MALT1 inhibition could prime lymphomas for immune recognition by cytotoxic immune cells.
Lorena Fontán, Qi Qiao, John M. Hatcher, Gabriella Casalena, Ilkay Us, Matt Teater, Matthew Durant, Guangyan Du, Min Xia, Natalia Bilchuk, Spandan Chennamadhavuni, Giuseppe Palladino, Giorgio Inghirami, Ulrike Philippar, Hao Wu, David A. Scott, Nathanael S. Gray, Ari Melnick
HIV post-treatment controllers (PTCs) represent a natural model of sustained HIV remission, but they are rare and little is known about their viral reservoir. We obtained 1450 proviral sequences after near-full-length amplification for 10 PTCs and 16 post-treatment non-controllers (NCs). Before treatment interruption, the median intact and total reservoir size in PTCs was 7-fold lower than in NCs, but the proportion of intact, defective and total clonally-expanded viral genomes was not significantly different between the two groups. Quantification of total, but not intact, proviral genome copies predicted sustained HIV remission as 81% of NCs, but none of the PTCs, had a total proviral genome >4 copies per million PBMCs. The results highlight the restricted intact and defective HIV reservoir in PTCs and suggest that total proviral genome burden could act as the first biomarker for identifying PTCs. Defective, but not intact, proviral copy numbers correlated with levels of cell-associated HIV RNA, activated NK cell percentages and both HIV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ responses. These results support the concept that defective HIV genomes lead to viral antigen production and interact with both the innate and adaptive immune systems.
Radwa Sharaf, Guinevere Q. Lee, Xiaoming Sun, Behzad Etemad, Layla M. Aboukhater, Zixin Hu, Zabrina L. Brumme, Evgenia Aga, Ronald J. Bosch, Ying Wen, Golnaz Namazi, Ce Gao, Edward P. Acosta, Rajesh T. Gandhi, Jeffrey M. Jacobson, Daniel Skiest, David M. Margolis, Ronald Mitsuyasu, Paul Volberding, Elizabeth Connick, Daniel R. Kuritzkes, Michael M. Lederman, Xu G. Yu, Mathias Lichterfeld, Jonathan Z. Li
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