Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arbovirus capable of causing a severe and often debilitating rheumatic syndrome in humans. CHIKV replicates in a wide variety of cell types in mammals, which has made attributing pathologic outcomes to replication at specific sites difficult. To assess the contribution of CHIKV replication in skeletal muscle cells to pathogenesis, we engineered a CHIKV strain exhibiting restricted replication in these cells via incorporation of target sequences for skeletal muscle cell–specific miR-206. This virus, which we term SKE, displayed diminished replication in skeletal muscle cells in a mouse model of CHIKV disease. Mice infected with SKE developed less severe disease signs, including diminished swelling in the inoculated foot and less necrosis and inflammation in the interosseous muscles. SKE infection was associated with diminished infiltration of T cells into the interosseous muscle as well as decreased production of Il1b, Il6, Ip10, and Tnfa transcripts. Importantly, blockade of the IL-6 receptor led to diminished swelling of a control CHIKV strain capable of replication in skeletal muscle, reducing swelling to levels observed in mice infected with SKE. These data implicate replication in skeletal muscle cells and release of IL-6 as important mediators of CHIKV disease.
Anthony J. Lentscher, Mary K. McCarthy, Nicholas A. May, Bennett J. Davenport, Stephanie A. Montgomery, Krishnan Raghunathan, Nicole McAllister, Laurie A. Silva, Thomas E. Morrison, Terence S. Dermody
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex disease with no known cause or mechanism. There is an increasing appreciation for the role of immune and metabolic dysfunction in the disease. ME/CFS has historically presented in outbreaks, often has a flu-like onset, and results in inflammatory symptoms. Patients suffer from severe fatigue and postexertional malaise. There is little known about the metabolism of specific immune cells in patients with ME/CFS. To investigate immune metabolism in ME/CFS, we isolated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from 53 patients with ME/CFS and 45 healthy controls. We analyzed glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration in resting and activated T cells, along with markers related to cellular metabolism and plasma cytokines. We found that ME/CFS CD8+ T cells had reduced mitochondrial membrane potential compared with those from healthy controls. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from patients with ME/CFS had reduced glycolysis at rest, whereas CD8+ T cells also had reduced glycolysis following activation. Patients with ME/CFS had significant correlations between measures of T cell metabolism and plasma cytokine abundance that differed from correlations seen in healthy control subjects. Our data indicate that patients have impaired T cell metabolism consistent with ongoing immune alterations in ME/CFS that may illuminate the mechanism behind this disease.
Alexandra H. Mandarano, Jessica Maya, Ludovic Giloteaux, Daniel L. Peterson, Marco Maynard, C. Gunnar Gottschalk, Maureen R. Hanson
Smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation has been thought to limit the progression of thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection (TAAD) because loss of medial cells associates with advanced disease. We investigated effects of SMC proliferation in the aortic media by conditional disruption of Tsc1, which hyperactivates mTOR complex 1. Consequent SMC hyperplasia led to progressive medial degeneration and TAAD. In addition to diminished contractile and synthetic functions, fate-mapped SMCs displayed increased proteolysis, endocytosis, phagocytosis, and lysosomal clearance of extracellular matrix and apoptotic cells. SMCs acquired a limited repertoire of macrophage markers and functions via biogenesis of degradative organelles through an mTOR/β-catenin/MITF–dependent pathway, but were distinguishable from conventional macrophages by an absence of hematopoietic lineage markers and certain immune effectors even in the context of hyperlipidemia. Similar mTOR activation and induction of a degradative SMC phenotype in a model of mild TAAD due to Fbn1 mutation greatly worsened disease with near-uniform lethality. The finding of increased lysosomal markers in medial SMCs from clinical TAAD specimens with hyperplasia and matrix degradation further supports the concept that proliferation of degradative SMCs within the media causes aortic disease, thus identifying mTOR-dependent phenotypic modulation as a therapeutic target for combating TAAD.
Guangxin Li, Mo Wang, Alexander W. Caulk, Nicholas A. Cilfone, Sharvari Gujja, Lingfeng Qin, Pei-Yu Chen, Zehua Chen, Sameh Yousef, Yang Jiao, Changshun He, Bo Jiang, Arina Korneva, Matthew R. Bersi, Guilin Wang, Xinran Liu, Sameet Mehta, Arnar Geirsson, Jeffrey R. Gulcher, Thomas W. Chittenden, Michael Simons, Jay D. Humphrey, George Tellides
Paucity of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein triggers the oft-fatal infantile-onset motor neuron disorder, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Augmenting the protein is one means of treating SMA and recently led to FDA approval of an intrathecally delivered SMN-enhancing oligonucleotide currently in use. Notwithstanding the advent of this and other therapies for SMA, it is unclear whether the paralysis associated with the disease derives solely from dysfunctional motor neurons that may be efficiently targeted by restricted delivery of SMN-enhancing agents to the nervous system, or stems from broader defects of the motor unit, arguing for systemic SMN repletion. We investigated the disease-contributing effects of low SMN in one relevant peripheral organ — skeletal muscle — by selectively depleting the protein in only this tissue. We found that muscle deprived of SMN was profoundly damaged. Although a disease phenotype was not immediately obvious, persistent low levels of the protein eventually resulted in muscle fiber defects, neuromuscular junction abnormalities, compromised motor performance, and premature death. Importantly, restoring SMN after the onset of muscle pathology reversed disease. Our results provide the most compelling evidence yet for a direct contributing role of muscle in SMA and argue that an optimal therapy for the disease must be designed to treat this aspect of the dysfunctional motor unit.
Jeong-Ki Kim, Narendra N. Jha, Zhihua Feng, Michelle R. Faleiro, Claudia A. Chiriboga, Lan Wei-Lapierre, Robert T. Dirksen, Chien-Ping Ko, Umrao R. Monani
Current antiangiogenic therapy is limited by its cytostatic property, scarce drug delivery to the tumor, and side toxicity. To address these limitations, we unveiled the role of ZEB1, a tumor endothelium–enriched zinc-finger transcription factor, during tumor progression. We discovered that the patients who had lung adenocarcinomas with high ZEB1 expression in tumor endothelium had increased prevalence of metastases and markedly reduced overall survival after the diagnosis of lung cancer. Endothelial ZEB1 deletion in tumor-bearing mice diminished tumor angiogenesis while eliciting persistent tumor vascular normalization by epigenetically repressing TGF-β signaling. This consequently led to improved blood and oxygen perfusion, enhanced chemotherapy delivery and immune effector cell infiltration, and reduced tumor growth and metastasis. Moreover, targeting vascular ZEB1 remarkably potentiated the anticancer activity of nontoxic low-dose cisplatin. Treatment with low-dose anti–programmed cell death protein 1 (anti–PD-1) antibody elicited tumor regression and markedly extended survival in ZEB1-deleted mice, conferring long-term protective anticancer immunity. Collectively, we demonstrated that inactivation of endothelial ZEB1 may offer alternative opportunities for cancer therapy with minimal side effects. Targeting endothelium-derived ZEB1 in combination with conventional chemotherapy or immune checkpoint blockade therapy may yield a potent and superior anticancer effect.
Rong Fu, Yi Li, Nan Jiang, Bo-Xue Ren, Chen-Zi Zang, Li-Juan Liu, Wen-Cong Lv, Hong-Mei Li, Stephen Weiss, Zheng-Yu Li, Tao Lu, Zhao-Qiu Wu
Dopamine receptor D1 modulates glutamatergic transmission in cortico-basal ganglia circuits and represents a major target of L-DOPA therapy in Parkinson’s disease. Here we show that D1 and metabotropic glutamate type 5 (mGlu5) receptors can form previously unknown heteromeric entities with distinctive functional properties. Interacting with Gq proteins, cell-surface D1-mGlu5 heteromers exacerbated PLC signaling and intracellular calcium release in response to either glutamate or dopamine. In rodent models of Parkinson’s disease, D1-mGlu5 nanocomplexes were strongly upregulated in the dopamine-denervated striatum, resulting in a synergistic activation of PLC signaling by D1 and mGlu5 receptor agonists. In turn, D1-mGlu5–dependent PLC signaling was causally linked with excessive activation of extracellular signal–regulated kinases in striatal neurons, leading to dyskinesia in animals treated with L-DOPA or D1 receptor agonists. The discovery of D1-mGlu5 functional heteromers mediating maladaptive molecular and motor responses in the dopamine-denervated striatum may prompt the development of new therapeutic principles for Parkinson’s disease.
Irene Sebastianutto, Elise Goyet, Laura Andreoli, Joan Font-Ingles, David Moreno-Delgado, Nathalie Bouquier, Céline Jahannault-Talignani, Enora Moutin, Luisa Di Menna, Natallia Maslava, Jean-Philippe Pin, Laurent Fagni, Ferdinando Nicoletti, Fabrice Ango, M. Angela Cenci, Julie Perroy
Epigenetic integrity is critical for many eukaryotic cellular processes. An important question is how different epigenetic regulators control development and influence disease. Lysine acetyltransferase 8 (KAT8) is critical for acetylation of histone H4 at lysine 16 (H4K16), an evolutionarily conserved epigenetic mark. It is unclear what roles KAT8 plays in cerebral development and human disease. Here, we report that cerebrum-specific knockout mice displayed cerebral hypoplasia in the neocortex and hippocampus, along with improper neural stem and progenitor cell (NSPC) development. Mutant cerebrocortical neuroepithelia exhibited faulty proliferation, aberrant neurogenesis, massive apoptosis, and scant H4K16 propionylation. Mutant NSPCs formed poor neurospheres, and pharmacological KAT8 inhibition abolished neurosphere formation. Moreover, we describe KAT8 variants in 9 patients with intellectual disability, seizures, autism, dysmorphisms, and other anomalies. The variants altered chromobarrel and catalytic domains of KAT8, thereby impairing nucleosomal H4K16 acetylation. Valproate was effective for treating epilepsy in at least 2 of the individuals. This study uncovers a critical role of KAT8 in cerebral and NSPC development, identifies 9 individuals with KAT8 variants, and links deficient H4K16 acylation directly to intellectual disability, epilepsy, and other developmental anomalies.
Lin Li, Mohammad Ghorbani, Monika Weisz-Hubshman, Justine Rousseau, Isabelle Thiffault, Rhonda E. Schnur, Catherine Breen, Renske Oegema, Marjan M.M. Weiss, Quinten Waisfisz, Sara Welner, Helen Kingston, Jordan A. Hills, Elles M.J. Boon, Lina Basel-Salmon, Osnat Konen, Hadassa Goldberg-Stern, Lily Bazak, Shay Tzur, Jianliang Jin, Xiuli Bi, Michael Bruccoleri, Kirsty McWalter, Megan T. Cho, Maria Scarano, G. Bradley Schaefer, Susan S. Brooks, Susan Starling Hughes, K.L.I. van Gassen, Johanna M. van Hagen, Tej K. Pandita, Pankaj B. Agrawal, Philippe M. Campeau, Xiang-Jiao Yang
The drug efflux pump ABCB1 is a key driver of chemoresistance, and high expression predicts treatment failure in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this study, we identified and functionally validated the network of enhancers that controls expression of ABCB1. We show that exposure of leukemia cells to daunorubicin activated an integrated stress response–like transcriptional program to induce ABCB1 through remodeling and activation of an ATF4-bound, stress-responsive enhancer. Protracted stress primed enhancers for rapid increases in activity following re-exposure of cells to daunorubicin, providing an epigenetic memory of prior drug treatment. In primary human AML, exposure of fresh blast cells to daunorubicin activated the stress-responsive enhancer and led to dose-dependent induction of ABCB1. Dynamic induction of ABCB1 by diverse stressors, including chemotherapy, facilitated escape of leukemia cells from targeted third-generation ABCB1 inhibition, providing an explanation for the failure of ABCB1 inhibitors in clinical trials. Stress-induced upregulation of ABCB1 was mitigated by combined use of the pharmacologic inhibitors U0126 and ISRIB, which inhibit stress signaling and have potential for use as adjuvants to enhance the activity of ABCB1 inhibitors.
Mark S. Williams, Fabio M.R. Amaral, Fabrizio Simeoni, Tim C.P. Somervaille
High levels of ecto-5′-nucleotidase (CD73) have been implicated in immune suppression and tumor progression, and have also been observed in cancer patients who progress on anti–PD-1 immunotherapy. Although regulatory T cells can express CD73 and inhibit T cell responses via the production of adenosine, less is known about CD73 expression in other immune cell populations. We found that tumor-infiltrating NK cells upregulate CD73 expression and the frequency of these CD73-positive NK cells correlated with larger tumor size in breast cancer patients. In addition, the expression of multiple alternative immune checkpoint receptors including LAG-3, VISTA, PD-1, and PD-L1 was significantly higher in CD73-positive NK cells than in CD73-negative NK cells. Mechanistically, NK cells transport CD73 in intracellular vesicles to the cell surface and the extracellular space via actin polymerization–dependent exocytosis upon engagement of 4-1BBL on tumor cells. These CD73-positive NK cells undergo transcriptional reprogramming and upregulate IL-10 production via STAT3 transcriptional activity, suppressing CD4-positive T cell proliferation and IFN-γ production. Taken together, our results support the notion that tumors can hijack NK cells as a means to escape immunity and that CD73 expression defines an inducible population of NK cells with immunoregulatory properties within the tumor microenvironment.
Shi Yong Neo, Ying Yang, Julien Record, Ran Ma, Xinsong Chen, Ziqing Chen, Nicholas P. Tobin, Emily Blake, Christina Seitz, Ron Thomas, Arnika Kathleen Wagner, John Andersson, Jana de Boniface, Jonas Bergh, Shannon Murray, Evren Alici, Richard Childs, Martin Johansson, Lisa S. Westerberg, Felix Haglund, Johan Hartman, Andreas Lundqvist
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MEK inhibitors (EGFRi/MEKi) are beneficial for the treatment of solid cancers but are frequently associated with severe therapy-limiting acneiform skin toxicities. The underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Using gene expression profiling we identified IL-36γ and IL-8 as candidate drivers of EGFRi/MEKi skin toxicity. We provide molecular and translational evidence that EGFRi/MEKi in concert with the skin commensal bacterium Cutibacterium acnes act synergistically to induce IL-36γ in keratinocytes and subsequently IL-8, leading to cutaneous neutrophilia. IL-36γ expression was the combined result of C. acnes–induced NF-κB activation and EGFRi/MEKi–mediated expression of the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4), due to the presence of both NF-κB and KLF4 binding sites in the human IL-36γ gene promoter. EGFRi/MEKi increased KLF4 expression by blockade of the EGFR/MEK/ERK pathway. These results provide an insight into understanding the pathological mechanism of the acneiform skin toxicities induced by EGFRi/MEKi and identify IL-36γ and the transcription factor KLF4 as potential therapeutic targets.
Takashi K. Satoh, Mark Mellett, Barbara Meier-Schiesser, Gabriele Fenini, Atsushi Otsuka, Hans-Dietmar Beer, Tamara Rordorf, Julia-Tatjana Maul, Jürg Hafner, Alexander A. Navarini, Emmanuel Contassot, Lars E. French
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