Insulin-secreting β cells and glucagon-secreting α cells maintain physiological blood glucose levels, and their malfunction drives diabetes development. Using ChIP sequencing and RNA sequencing analysis, we determined the epigenetic and transcriptional landscape of human pancreatic α, β, and exocrine cells. We found that, compared with exocrine and β cells, differentiated α cells exhibited many more genes bivalently marked by the activating H3K4me3 and repressing H3K27me3 histone modifications. This was particularly true for β cell signature genes involved in transcriptional regulation. Remarkably, thousands of these genes were in a monovalent state in β cells, carrying only the activating or repressing mark. Our epigenomic findings suggested that α to β cell reprogramming could be promoted by manipulating the histone methylation signature of human pancreatic islets. Indeed, we show that treatment of cultured pancreatic islets with a histone methyltransferase inhibitor leads to colocalization of both glucagon and insulin and glucagon and insulin promoter factor 1 (PDX1) in human islets and colocalization of both glucagon and insulin in mouse islets. Thus, mammalian pancreatic islet cells display cell-type–specific epigenomic plasticity, suggesting that epigenomic manipulation could provide a path to cell reprogramming and novel cell replacement-based therapies for diabetes.
Nuria C. Bramswig, Logan J. Everett, Jonathan Schug, Craig Dorrell, Chengyang Liu, Yanping Luo, Philip R. Streeter, Ali Naji, Markus Grompe, Klaus H. Kaestner
Klotho is a potent regulator of 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] formation and calcium-phosphate metabolism. Klotho-hypomorphic mice (
Jakob Voelkl, Ioana Alesutan, Christina B. Leibrock, Leticia Quintanilla-Martinez, Volker Kuhn, Martina Feger, Sobuj Mia, Mohamed S.E. Ahmed, Kevin P. Rosenblatt, Makoto Kuro-o, Florian Lang
Thyroid hormone is well known for its profound direct effects on cardiovascular function and metabolism. Recent evidence, however, suggests that the hormone also regulates these systems indirectly through the central nervous system. While some of the molecular mechanisms underlying the hormone’s central control of metabolism have been identified, its actions in the central cardiovascular control have remained enigmatic. Here, we describe a previously unknown population of parvalbuminergic neurons in the anterior hypothalamus that requires thyroid hormone receptor signaling for proper development. Specific stereotaxic ablation of these cells in the mouse resulted in hypertension and temperature-dependent tachycardia, indicating a role in the central autonomic control of blood pressure and heart rate. Moreover, the neurons exhibited intrinsic temperature sensitivity in patch-clamping experiments, providing a new connection between cardiovascular function and core temperature. Thus, the data identify what we believe to be a novel hypothalamic cell population potentially important for understanding hypertension and indicate developmental hypothyroidism as an epigenetic risk factor for cardiovascular disorders. Furthermore, the findings may be beneficial for treatment of the recently identified patients that have a mutation in thyroid hormone receptor α1.
Jens Mittag, David J. Lyons, Johan Sällström, Milica Vujovic, Susi Dudazy-Gralla, Amy Warner, Karin Wallis, Anneke Alkemade, Kristina Nordström, Hannah Monyer, Christian Broberger, Anders Arner, Björn Vennström
The FGF23 coreceptor αKlotho (αKL) is expressed as a membrane-bound protein (mKL) that forms heteromeric complexes with FGF receptors (FGFRs) to initiate intracellular signaling. It also circulates as an endoproteolytic cleavage product of mKL (cKL). Previously, a patient with increased plasma cKL as the result of a translocation [t(9;13)] in the αKLOTHO (KL) gene presented with rickets and a complex endocrine profile, including paradoxically elevated plasma FGF23, despite hypophosphatemia. The goal of this study was to test whether cKL regulates phosphate handling through control of FGF23 expression. To increase cKL levels, mice were treated with an adeno-associated virus producing cKL. The treated groups exhibited dose-dependent hypophosphatemia and hypocalcemia, with markedly elevated FGF23 (38 to 456 fold). The animals also manifested fractures, reduced bone mineral content, expanded growth plates, and severe osteomalacia, with highly increased bone Fgf23 mRNA (>150 fold). cKL activity in vitro was specific for interactions with FGF23 and was FGFR dependent. These results demonstrate that cKL potently stimulates FGF23 production in vivo, which phenocopies the KL translocation patient and metabolic bone syndromes associated with elevated FGF23. These findings have important implications for the regulation of αKL and FGF23 in disorders of phosphate handling and biomineralization.
Rosamund C. Smith, Linda M. O’Bryan, Emily G. Farrow, Lelia J. Summers, Erica L. Clinkenbeard, Jessica L. Roberts, Taryn A. Cass, Joy Saha, Carol Broderick, Y. Linda Ma, Qing Qiang Zeng, Alexei Kharitonenkov, Jonathan M. Wilson, Qianxu Guo, Haijun Sun, Matthew R. Allen, David B. Burr, Matthew D. Breyer, Kenneth E. White
Hyperprolactinemia is the most common cause of hypogonadotropic anovulation and is one of the leading causes of infertility in women aged 25–34. Hyperprolactinemia has been proposed to block ovulation through inhibition of GnRH release. Kisspeptin neurons, which express prolactin receptors, were recently identified as major regulators of GnRH neurons. To mimic the human pathology of anovulation, we continuously infused female mice with prolactin. Our studies demonstrated that hyperprolactinemia in mice induced anovulation, reduced GnRH and gonadotropin secretion, and diminished kisspeptin expression. Kisspeptin administration restored gonadotropin secretion and ovarian cyclicity, suggesting that kisspeptin neurons play a major role in hyperprolactinemic anovulation. Our studies indicate that administration of kisspeptin may serve as an alternative therapeutic approach to restore the fertility of hyperprolactinemic women who are resistant or intolerant to dopamine agonists.
Charlotte Sonigo, Justine Bouilly, Nadège Carré, Virginie Tolle, Alain Caraty, Javier Tello, Fabian-Jesus Simony-Conesa, Robert Millar, Jacques Young, Nadine Binart
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are zinc endopeptidases that block release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in neuromuscular synapses through cleavage of soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion (NSF) attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins, which promote fusion of synaptic vesicles to the plasma membrane. We designed and tested a BoNT-derived targeted secretion inhibitor (TSI) targeting pituitary somatotroph cells to suppress growth hormone (GH) secretion and treat acromegaly. This recombinant protein, called SXN101742, contains a modified GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) domain and the endopeptidase domain of botulinum toxin serotype D (GHRH-LHN/D, where HN/D indicates endopeptidase and translocation domain type D). In vitro, SXN101742 targeted the GHRH receptor and depleted a SNARE protein involved in GH exocytosis, vesicle-associated membrane protein 2 (VAMP2). In vivo, administering SXN101742 to growing rats produced a dose-dependent inhibition of GH synthesis, storage, and secretion. Consequently, hepatic IGF1 production and resultant circulating IGF1 levels were reduced. Accordingly, body weight, body length, organ weight, and bone mass acquisition were all decreased, reflecting the biological impact of SXN101742 on the GH/IGF1 axis. An inactivating 2–amino acid substitution within the zinc coordination site of the endopeptidase domain completely abolished SXN101742 inhibitory actions on GH and IGF1. Thus, genetically reengineered BoNTs can be targeted to nonneural cells to selectively inhibit hormone secretion, representing a new approach to treating hormonal excess.
Emmanuel Somm, Nicolas Bonnet, Alberto Martinez, Philip M.H. Marks, Verity A. Cadd, Mark Elliott, Audrey Toulotte, Serge L. Ferrari, René Rizzoli, Petra S. Hüppi, Elaine Harper, Shlomo Melmed, Richard Jones, Michel L. Aubert
Chronic kidney disease–mineral and bone disorder (CKD-MBD) is associated with secondary hyperparathyroidism (HPT) and serum elevations in the phosphaturic hormone FGF23, which may be maladaptive and lead to increased morbidity and mortality. To determine the role of FGF23 in the pathogenesis of CKD-MBD and development of secondary HPT, we developed a monoclonal FGF23 antibody to evaluate the impact of chronic FGF23 neutralization on CKD-MBD, secondary HPT, and associated comorbidities in a rat model of CKD-MBD. CKD-MBD rats fed a high-phosphate diet were treated with low or high doses of FGF23-Ab or an isotype control antibody. Neutralization of FGF23 led to sustained reductions in secondary HPT, including decreased parathyroid hormone, increased vitamin D, increased serum calcium, and normalization of bone markers such as cancellous bone volume, trabecular number, osteoblast surface, osteoid surface, and bone-formation rate. In addition, we observed dose-dependent increases in serum phosphate and aortic calcification associated with increased risk of mortality in CKD-MBD rats treated with FGF23-Ab. Thus, mineral disturbances caused by neutralization of FGF23 limited the efficacy of FGF23-Ab and likely contributed to the increased mortality observed in this CKD-MBD rat model.
Victoria Shalhoub, Edward M. Shatzen, Sabrina C. Ward, James Davis, Jennitte Stevens, Vivian Bi, Lisa Renshaw, Nessa Hawkins, Wei Wang, Ching Chen, Mei-Mei Tsai, Russell C. Cattley, Thomas J. Wronski, Xuechen Xia, Xiaodong Li, Charles Henley, Michael Eschenberg, William G. Richards
An interesting variant of familial glucocorticoid deficiency (FGD), an autosomal recessive form of adrenal failure, exists in a genetically isolated Irish population. In addition to hypocortisolemia, affected children show signs of growth failure, increased chromosomal breakage, and NK cell deficiency. Targeted exome sequencing in 8 patients identified a variant (c.71-1insG) in minichromosome maintenance–deficient 4 (MCM4) that was predicted to result in a severely truncated protein (p.Pro24ArgfsX4). Western blotting of patient samples revealed that the major 96-kDa isoform present in unaffected human controls was absent, while the presence of the minor 85-kDa isoform was preserved. Interestingly, histological studies with Mcm4-depleted mice showed grossly abnormal adrenal morphology that was characterized by non-steroidogenic GATA4- and Gli1-positive cells within the steroidogenic cortex, which reduced the number of steroidogenic cells in the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex. Since MCM4 is one part of a MCM2-7 complex recently confirmed as the replicative helicase essential for normal DNA replication and genome stability in all eukaryotes, it is possible that our patients may have an increased risk of neoplastic change. In summary, we have identified what we believe to be the first human mutation in MCM4 and have shown that it is associated with adrenal insufficiency, short stature, and NK cell deficiency.
Claire R. Hughes, Leonardo Guasti, Eirini Meimaridou, Chen-Hua Chuang, John C. Schimenti, Peter J. King, Colm Costigan, Adrian J.L. Clark, Louise A. Metherell
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) circulates at low levels and acts as an incretin hormone, potentiating glucose-dependent insulin secretion from islet β cells. GLP-1 also modulates gastric emptying and engages neural circuits in the portal region and CNS that contribute to GLP-1 receptor–dependent (GLP-1R–dependent) regulation of glucose homeostasis. To elucidate the importance of pancreatic GLP-1R signaling for glucose homeostasis, we generated transgenic mice that expressed the human GLP-1R in islets and pancreatic ductal cells (Pdx1-hGLP1R:Glp1r–/– mice). Transgene expression restored GLP-1R–dependent stimulation of cAMP and Akt phosphorylation in isolated islets, conferred GLP-1R–dependent stimulation of β cell proliferation, and was sufficient for restoration of GLP-1–stimulated insulin secretion in perifused islets. Systemic GLP-1R activation with the GLP-1R agonist exendin-4 had no effect on food intake, hindbrain c-fos expression, or gastric emptying but improved glucose tolerance and stimulated insulin secretion in Pdx1-hGLP1R:Glp1r–/– mice. i.c.v. GLP-1R blockade with the antagonist exendin(9–39) impaired glucose tolerance in WT mice but had no effect in Pdx1-hGLP1R:Glp1r–/– mice. Nevertheless, transgenic expression of the pancreatic GLP-1R was sufficient to normalize both oral and i.p. glucose tolerance in Glp1r–/– mice. These findings illustrate that low levels of endogenous GLP-1 secreted from gut endocrine cells are capable of augmenting glucoregulatory activity via pancreatic GLP-1Rs independent of communication with neural pathways.
Benjamin J. Lamont, Yazhou Li, Edwin Kwan, Theodore J. Brown, Herbert Gaisano, Daniel J. Drucker
Cushing disease is a condition in which the pituitary gland releases excessive adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) as a result of an adenoma arising from the ACTH-secreting cells in the anterior pituitary. ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas lead to hypercortisolemia and cause significant morbidity and mortality. Pituitary-directed medications are mostly ineffective, and new treatment options are needed. As these tumors express EGFR, we tested whether EGFR might provide a therapeutic target for Cushing disease. Here, we show that in surgically resected human and canine corticotroph cultured tumors, blocking EGFR suppressed expression of proopiomelanocortin (POMC), the ACTH precursor. In mouse corticotroph EGFR transfectants, ACTH secretion was enhanced, and EGF increased Pomc promoter activity, an effect that was dependent on MAPK. Blocking EGFR activity with gefitinib, an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, attenuated Pomc expression, inhibited corticotroph tumor cell proliferation, and induced apoptosis. As predominantly nuclear EGFR expression was observed in canine and human corticotroph tumors, we preferentially targeted EGFR to mouse corticotroph cell nuclei, which resulted in higher Pomc expression and ACTH secretion, both of which were inhibited by gefitinib. In athymic nude mice, EGFR overexpression enhanced the growth of explanted ACTH-secreting tumors and further elevated serum corticosterone levels. Gefitinib treatment decreased both tumor size and corticosterone levels; it also reversed signs of hypercortisolemia, including elevated glucose levels and excess omental fat. These results indicate that inhibiting EGFR signaling may be a novel strategy for treating Cushing disease.
Hidenori Fukuoka, Odelia Cooper, Anat Ben-Shlomo, Adam Mamelak, Song-Guang Ren, Dave Bruyette, Shlomo Melmed