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Abstract

The lymphatic vasculature is essential for maintaining interstitial fluid homeostasis, and dysfunctional lymphangiogenesis contributes to various pathological processes, including inflammatory disease and tumor metastasis. Mutations in FOXC2 are dominantly associated with late-onset lymphedema; however, the precise role of FOXC2 and a closely related factor, FOXC1, in the lymphatic system remains largely unknown. Here we identified a molecular cascade by which FOXC1 and FOXC2 regulate ERK signaling in lymphatic vessel growth. In mice, lymphatic endothelial cell–specific (LEC-specific) deletion of Foxc1, Foxc2, or both resulted in increased LEC proliferation, enlarged lymphatic vessels, and abnormal lymphatic vessel morphogenesis. Compared with LECs from control animals, LECs from mice lacking both Foxc1 and Foxc2 exhibited aberrant expression of Ras regulators, and embryos with LEC-specific deletion of Foxc1 and Foxc2, alone or in combination, exhibited ERK hyperactivation. Pharmacological ERK inhibition in utero abolished the abnormally enlarged lymphatic vessels in FOXC-deficient embryos. Together, these results identify FOXC1 and FOXC2 as essential regulators of lymphangiogenesis and indicate a new potential mechanistic basis for lymphatic-associated diseases.

Authors

Anees Fatima, Ying Wang, Yutaka Uchida, Pieter Norden, Ting Liu, Austin Culver, William H. Dietz, Ford Culver, Meredith Millay, Yoh-suke Mukouyama, Tsutomu Kume

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Abstract

Successful bacterial pathogens produce an array of virulence factors that allow subversion of the immune system and persistence within the host. For example, uropathogenic Escherichia coli strains, such as CFT073, express Toll/IL-1 receptor–containing (TIR-containing) protein C (TcpC), which impairs TLR signaling, thereby suppressing innate immunity in the urinary tract and enhancing persistence in the kidneys. Here, we have reported that TcpC also reduces secretion of IL-1β by directly interacting with the NACHT leucin-rich repeat PYD protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome, which is crucial for recognition of pathogens within the cytosol. At a low MOI, IL-1β secretion was minimal in CFT073-infected macrophages; however, IL-1β release was markedly increased in macrophages infected with CFT073 lacking tcpC. Induction of IL-1β secretion by CFT073 and tcpC–deficient CFT073 required the NLRP3 inflammasome. TcpC attenuated activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by binding both NLRP3 and caspase-1 and thereby preventing processing and activation of caspase-1. Moreover, in a murine urinary tract infection model, CFT073 infection rapidly induced expression of the NLRP3 inflammasome in the bladder mucosa; however, the presence of TcpC in WT CFT073 reduced IL-1β levels in the urine of infected mice. Together, these findings illustrate how uropathogenic E. coli use the multifunctional virulence factor TcpC to attenuate innate immune responses in the urinary tract.

Authors

Anna Waldhuber, Manoj Puthia, Andreas Wieser, Christine Cirl, Susanne Dürr, Silke Neumann-Pfeifer, Simone Albrecht, Franziska Römmler, Tina Müller, Yunji Zheng, Sören Schubert, Olaf Groß, Catharina Svanborg, Thomas Miethke

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Abstract

High levels of arginine metabolizing enzymes, including inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and arginase (ARG), are typical in asthmatic airway epithelium; however, little is known about the metabolic effects of enhanced arginine flux in asthma. Here, we demonstrated that increased metabolism sustains arginine availability in asthmatic airway epithelium with consequences for bioenergetics and inflammation. Expression of iNOS, ARG2, arginine synthetic enzymes, and mitochondrial respiratory complexes III and IV was elevated in asthmatic lung samples compared with healthy controls. ARG2 overexpression in a human bronchial epithelial cell line accelerated oxidative bioenergetic pathways and suppressed hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) and phosphorylation of the signal transducer for atopic Th2 inflammation STAT6 (pSTAT6), both of which are implicated in asthma etiology. Arg2-deficient mice had lower mitochondrial membrane potential and greater HIF-2α than WT animals. In an allergen-induced asthma model, mice lacking Arg2 had greater Th2 inflammation than WT mice, as indicated by higher levels of pSTAT6, IL-13, IL-17, eotaxin, and eosinophils and more mucus metaplasia. Bone marrow transplants from Arg2-deficient mice did not affect airway inflammation in recipient mice, supporting resident lung cells as the drivers of elevated Th2 inflammation. These data demonstrate that arginine flux preserves cellular respiration and suppresses pathological signaling events that promote inflammation in asthma.

Authors

Weiling Xu, Sudakshina Ghosh, Suzy A.A. Comhair, Kewal Asosingh, Allison J. Janocha, Deloris A. Mavrakis, Carole D. Bennett, Lourdes L. Gruca, Brian B. Graham, Kimberly A. Queisser, Christina C. Kao, Samuel H. Wedes, John M. Petrich, Rubin M. Tuder, Satish C. Kalhan, Serpil C. Erzurum

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Abstract

The molecular mechanisms that underlie spleen development and congenital asplenia, a condition linked to increased risk of overwhelming infections, remain largely unknown. The transcription factor TLX1 controls cell fate specification and organ expansion during spleen development, and Tlx1 deletion causes asplenia in mice. Deregulation of TLX1 expression has recently been proposed in the pathogenesis of congenital asplenia in patients carrying mutations of the gene-encoding transcription factor SF-1. Herein, we have shown that TLX1-dependent regulation of retinoic acid (RA) metabolism is critical for spleen organogenesis. In a murine model, loss of Tlx1 during formation of the splenic anlage increased RA signaling by regulating several genes involved in RA metabolism. Uncontrolled RA activity resulted in premature differentiation of mesenchymal cells and reduced vasculogenesis of the splenic primordium. Pharmacological inhibition of RA signaling in Tlx1-deficient animals partially rescued the spleen defect. Finally, spleen growth was impaired in mice lacking either cytochrome P450 26B1 (Cyp26b1), which results in excess RA, or retinol dehydrogenase 10 (Rdh10), which results in RA deficiency. Together, these findings establish TLX1 as a critical regulator of RA metabolism and provide mechanistic insights into the molecular determinants of human congenital asplenia.

Authors

Elisa Lenti, Diego Farinello, Kazunari K. Yokoyama, Dmitry Penkov, Laura Castagnaro, Giovanni Lavorgna, Kenly Wuputra, Lisa L. Sandell, Naomi E. Butler Tjaden, Francesca Bernassola, Nicoletta Caridi, Anna De Antoni, Michael Wagner, Katja Kozinc, Karen Niederreither, Francesco Blasi, Diego Pasini, Gregor Majdic, Giovanni Tonon, Paul A. Trainor, Andrea Brendolan

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Abstract

Loss of the growth-suppressive effects of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling has been demonstrated to promote pulmonary arterial endothelial cell dysfunction and induce pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell (PASMC) proliferation, leading to the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). MicroRNAs (miRs) mediate higher order regulation of cellular function through coordinated modulation of mRNA targets; however, miR expression is altered by disease development and drug therapy. Here, we examined treatment-naive patients and experimental models of PAH and identified a reduction in the levels of miR-140-5p. Inhibition of miR-140-5p promoted PASMC proliferation and migration in vitro. In rat models of PAH, nebulized delivery of miR-140-5p mimic prevented the development of PAH and attenuated the progression of established PAH. Network and pathway analysis identified SMAD-specific E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1 (SMURF1) as a key miR-140-5p target and regulator of BMP signaling. Evaluation of human tissue revealed that SMURF1 is increased in patients with PAH. miR-140-5p mimic or SMURF1 knockdown in PASMCs altered BMP signaling, further supporting these factors as regulators of BMP signaling. Finally, Smurf1 deletion protected mice from PAH, demonstrating a critical role in disease development. Together, these studies identify both miR-140-5p and SMURF1 as key regulators of disease pathology and as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of PAH.

Authors

Alexander M.K. Rothman, Nadine D. Arnold, Josephine A. Pickworth, James Iremonger, Loredana Ciuclan, Robert Allen, Sabine Guth-Gundel, Mark Southwood, Nicholas W. Morrell, Matthew Thomas, Sheila E. Francis, David J. Rowlands, Allan Lawrie

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Abstract

Efficient oxygen utilization in the kidney may be supported by paracellular epithelial transport, a form of passive diffusion that is driven by preexisting transepithelial electrochemical gradients. Claudins are tight-junction transmembrane proteins that act as paracellular ion channels in epithelial cells. In the proximal tubule (PT) of the kidney, claudin-2 mediates paracellular sodium reabsorption. Here, we used murine models to investigate the role of claudin-2 in maintaining energy efficiency in the kidney. We found that claudin-2–null mice conserve sodium to the same extent as WT mice, even during profound dietary sodium depletion, as a result of the upregulation of transcellular Na-K-2Cl transport activity in the thick ascending limb of Henle. We hypothesized that shifting sodium transport to transcellular pathways would lead to increased whole-kidney oxygen consumption. Indeed, compared with control animals, oxygen consumption in the kidneys of claudin-2–null mice was markedly increased, resulting in medullary hypoxia. Furthermore, tubular injury in kidneys subjected to bilateral renal ischemia-reperfusion injury was more severe in the absence of claudin-2. Our results indicate that paracellular transport in the PT is required for efficient utilization of oxygen in the service of sodium transport. We speculate that paracellular permeability may have evolved as a general strategy in epithelial tissues to maximize energy efficiency.

Authors

Lei Pei, Glenn Solis, Mien T.X. Nguyen, Nikhil Kamat, Lynn Magenheimer, Min Zhuo, Jiahua Li, Joshua Curry, Alicia A. McDonough, Timothy A. Fields, William J. Welch, Alan S.L. Yu

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Abstract

Membranous nephropathy (MN) is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in adults, and one-third of patients develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Circulating autoantibodies against the podocyte surface antigens phospholipase A2 receptor 1 (PLA2R1) and the recently identified thrombospondin type 1 domain–containing 7A (THSD7A) are assumed to cause the disease in the majority of patients. The pathogenicity of these antibodies, however, has not been directly proven. Here, we have reported the analysis and characterization of a male patient with THSD7A-associated MN who progressed to ESRD and subsequently underwent renal transplantation. MN rapidly recurred after transplantation. Enhanced staining for THSD7A was observed in the kidney allograft, and detectable anti-THSD7A antibodies were present in the serum before and after transplantation, suggesting that these antibodies induced a recurrence of MN in the renal transplant. In contrast to PLA2R1, THSD7A was expressed on both human and murine podocytes, enabling the evaluation of whether anti-THSD7A antibodies cause MN in mice. We demonstrated that human anti-THSD7A antibodies specifically bind to murine THSD7A on podocyte foot processes, induce proteinuria, and initiate a histopathological pattern that is typical of MN. Furthermore, anti-THSD7A antibodies induced marked cytoskeletal rearrangement in primary murine glomerular epithelial cells as well as in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. Our findings support a causative role of anti-THSD7A antibodies in the development of MN.

Authors

Nicola M. Tomas, Elion Hoxha, Anna T. Reinicke, Lars Fester, Udo Helmchen, Jens Gerth, Friederike Bachmann, Klemens Budde, Friedrich Koch-Nolte, Gunther Zahner, Gabriele Rune, Gerard Lambeau, Catherine Meyer-Schwesinger, Rolf A.K. Stahl

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Abstract

The 5th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster and the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the two most catastrophic nuclear accidents in history, both occurred recently. Images of Chernobyl are replete with the international sign of radioactive contamination (a circle with three broad spokes radiating outward in a yellow sign). In contrast, ongoing decontamination efforts at Fukushima lack international warnings about radioactivity. Decontamination workers at Fukushima appear to be poorly protected against radiation. It is almost as if the effort is to make the Fukushima problem disappear. A more useful response would be to openly acknowledge the monumental problems inherent in managing a nuclear plant disaster. Lessons from Chernobyl are the best predictors of what the Fukushima region of Japan is coping with in terms of health and environmental problems following a nuclear catastrophe.

Authors

Andrew R. Marks

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May 2016

126 5 cover

May 2016 Issue

On the cover:
A pharmacological approach for treating dwarfism

The cover image shows safranin-O staining of a lumbar intervertebral disc from an Fgfr3Y367C/+ mouse treated with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor NVP-BGJ398. On page 1871, Komla-Ebri et al. demonstrate in a mouse model of dwarfism that pharmacological targeting of hyperactive FGFR3 signaling improves bone growth.

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Jci tm 2016 05

May 2016 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

Extracellular Vesicles

Series edited by Laurence Zitvogel

Cell-to-cell communication is an essential component in multicellular organisms, allowing for rapid, coordinated responses to changes within the environment. Classical signaling mediators include direct cell-cell contact as well as secreted factors, such as cytokines, metabolites, and hormones. In the past decade, extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic bodies, have emerged as important mediators of intercellular communication. EVs are double-membrane vesicles containing cargoes of multiple proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, which are derived from their cells of origin, and EV cargoes can change depending on the status of their originating cells. Importantly, EVs are found in all body fluids and can carry their cargoes to distant sites within the body as well as neighboring cells. Reviews in this series discuss the role of EV-mediated signaling in physiological and pathophysiological conditions, including infection, host immune responses, and cancer. Additionally, these reviews cover the potential clinical use of EVs as therapeutics and diagnostic biomarkers.

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