Hyperactivation of the mTOR pathway impairs hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) functions and promotes leukemogenesis. mTORC1 and mTORC2 differentially control normal and leukemic stem cell functions. mTORC1 regulates p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1) and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E–binding (eIF4E-binding) protein 1 (4E-BP1), and mTORC2 modulates AKT activation. Given the extensive crosstalk that occurs between mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling pathways, we assessed the role of the mTORC1 substrate S6K1 in the regulation of both normal HSC functions and in leukemogenesis driven by the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) fusion oncogene MLL-AF9. We demonstrated that S6K1 deficiency impairs self-renewal of murine HSCs by reducing p21 expression. Loss of S6K1 also improved survival in mice transplanted with MLL-AF9–positive leukemic stem cells by modulating AKT and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation. Taken together, these results suggest that S6K1 acts through multiple targets of the mTOR pathway to promote self-renewal and leukemia progression. Given the recent interest in S6K1 as a potential therapeutic target in cancer, our results further support targeting this molecule as a potential strategy for treatment of myeloid malignancies.
Joydeep Ghosh, Michihiro Kobayashi, Baskar Ramdas, Anindya Chatterjee, Peilin Ma, Raghuveer Singh Mali, Nadia Carlesso, Yan Liu, David R. Plas, Rebecca J. Chan, Reuben Kapur
The development of pathologic mucus, which is not readily cleared from the airways, is an important contributor to the morbidity and mortality associated with asthma. It is not clear how the major airway mucins MUC5AC and MUC5B are organized within the mucus gel or how this gel contributes to airway obstruction in asthma. Here, we demonstrated that mucus plugs from individuals with fatal asthma are heterogeneous gels with distinct MUC5AC- and MUC5B-containing domains. Stimulation of cultured human bronchial epithelial cells with IL-13, a key mediator in asthma, induced the formation of heterogeneous mucus gels and dramatically impaired mucociliary transport. Impaired transport was not associated with defects in ciliary function but instead was related to tethering of MUC5AC-containing mucus gel domains to mucus-producing cells in the epithelium. Replacement of tethered mucus with untethered mucus restored mucociliary transport. Together, our results indicate that tethering of MUC5AC-containing domains to the epithelium causes mucostasis and likely represents a major cause of mucus plugging in asthma.
Luke R. Bonser, Lorna Zlock, Walter Finkbeiner, David J. Erle
Antibodies that target the immune checkpoint receptor programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) have resulted in prolonged and beneficial responses toward a variety of human cancers. However, anti–PD-1 therapy in some patients provides no benefit and/or results in adverse side effects. The factors that determine whether patients will be drug sensitive or resistant are not fully understood; therefore, genomic assessment of exceptional responders can provide important insight into patient response. Here, we identified a patient with endometrial cancer who had an exceptional response to the anti–PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab. Clinical grade targeted genomic profiling of a pretreatment tumor sample from this individual identified a mutation in DNA polymerase epsilon (
Janice M. Mehnert, Anshuman Panda, Hua Zhong, Kim Hirshfield, Sherri Damare, Katherine Lane, Levi Sokol, Mark N. Stein, Lorna Rodriguez-Rodriquez, Howard L. Kaufman, Siraj Ali, Jeffrey S. Ross, Dean C. Pavlick, Gyan Bhanot, Eileen P. White, Robert S. DiPaola, Ann Lovell, Jonathan Cheng, Shridar Ganesan
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an adult-onset degeneration of motor neurons that is commonly caused by mutations in the gene encoding superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). Both patients and Tg mice expressing mutant human SOD1 (hSOD1) develop aggregates of unknown importance. In Tg mice, 2 different strains of hSOD1 aggregates (denoted A and B) can arise; however, the role of these aggregates in disease pathogenesis has not been fully characterized. Here, minute amounts of strain A and B hSOD1 aggregate seeds that were prepared by centrifugation through a density cushion were inoculated into lumbar spinal cords of 100-day-old mice carrying a human
Elaheh Ekhtiari Bidhendi, Johan Bergh, Per Zetterström, Peter M. Andersen, Stefan L. Marklund, Thomas Brännström
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases globally and can be divided into presenting with or without an immune response. Current therapies have little effect on nonimmune disease, and the mechanisms that drive this type of asthma are poorly understood. Here, we have shown that loss of the transcription factors forkhead box P1 (
Shanru Li, Cynthia Koziol-White, Joseph Jude, Meiqi Jiang, Hengjiang Zhao, Gaoyuan Cao, Edwin Yoo, William Jester, Michael P. Morley, Su Zhou, Yi Wang, Min Min Lu, Reynold A. Panettieri Jr., Edward E. Morrisey
It has been reported that endogenous retroviruses can contaminate human cell lines that have been passaged as xenotransplants in immunocompromised mice. We previously developed and described 2 human pancreatic β cell lines (EndoC-βH1 and EndoC-βH2) that were generated in this way. Here, we have shown that B10 xenotropic virus 1 (
Jeannette S. Kirkegaard, Philippe Ravassard, Signe Ingvarsen, Marc Diedisheim, Emilie Bricout-Neveu, Mads Grønborg, Thomas Frogne, Raphael Scharfmann, Ole D. Madsen, Claude Rescan, Olivier Albagli
Selenium is a trace element that is essential for human health and is incorporated into more than 25 human selenocysteine-containing (Sec-containing) proteins via unique Sec-insertion machinery that includes a specific, nuclear genome–encoded, transfer RNA (tRNA[Ser]Sec). Here, we have identified a human tRNA[Ser]Sec mutation in a proband who presented with a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, fatigue, muscle weakness, and low plasma levels of selenium. This mutation resulted in a marked reduction in expression of stress-related, but not housekeeping, selenoproteins. Evaluation of primary cells from the homozygous proband and a heterozygous parent indicated that the observed deficit in stress-related selenoprotein production is likely mediated by reduced expression and diminished 2′-O-methylribosylation at uridine 34 in mutant tRNA[Ser]Sec. Moreover, this methylribosylation defect was restored by cellular complementation with normal tRNA[Ser]Sec. This study identifies a tRNA mutation that selectively impairs synthesis of stress-related selenoproteins and demonstrates the importance of tRNA modification for normal selenoprotein synthesis.
Erik Schoenmakers, Bradley Carlson, Maura Agostini, Carla Moran, Odelia Rajanayagam, Elena Bochukova, Ryuta Tobe, Rachel Peat, Evelien Gevers, Francesco Muntoni, Pascale Guicheney, Nadia Schoenmakers, Sadaf Farooqi, Greta Lyons, Dolph Hatfield, Krishna Chatterjee
In successful cancer immunotherapy, T cell responses appear to be directed toward neoantigens created by somatic mutations; however, direct evidence that neoantigen-specific T cells cause regression of established cancer is lacking. Here, we generated T cells expressing a mutation-specific transgenic T cell receptor (TCR) to target different immunogenic mutations in cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) that naturally occur in human melanoma. Two mutant CDK4 isoforms (R24C, R24L) similarly stimulated T cell responses in vitro and were analyzed as therapeutic targets for TCR gene therapy. In a syngeneic HLA-A2–transgenic mouse model of large established tumors, we found that both mutations differed dramatically as targets for TCR-modified T cells in vivo. While T cells expanded efficiently and produced IFN-γ in response to R24L, R24C failed to induce an effective antitumor response. Such differences in neoantigen quality might explain why cancer immunotherapy induces tumor regression in some individuals, while others do not respond, despite similar mutational load. We confirmed the validity of the in vivo model by showing that the melan-A–specific (MART-1–specific) TCR DMF5 induces rejection of tumors expressing analog, but not native, MART-1 epitopes. The described model allows identification of those neoantigens in human cancer that serve as suitable T cell targets and may help to predict clinical efficacy.
Matthias Leisegang, Thomas Kammertoens, Wolfgang Uckert, Thomas Blankenstein
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the most common liver disease in industrialized countries. NASH is a progressive disease that can lead to cirrhosis, cancer, and death, and there are currently no approved therapies. The development of NASH in animal models requires intact TLR9, but how the TLR9 pathway is activated in NASH is not clear. Our objectives in this study were to identify NASH-associated ligands for TLR9, establish the cellular requirement for TLR9, and evaluate the role of obesity-induced changes in TLR9 pathway activation. We demonstrated that plasma from mice and patients with NASH contains high levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and intact mitochondria and has the ability to activate TLR9. Most of the plasma mtDNA was contained in microparticles (MPs) of hepatocyte origin, and removal of these MPs from plasma resulted in a substantial decrease in TLR9 activation capacity. In mice, NASH development in response to a high-fat diet required TLR9 on lysozyme-expressing cells, and a clinically applicable TLR9 antagonist blocked the development of NASH when given prophylactically and therapeutically. These data demonstrate that activation of the TLR9 pathway provides a link between the key metabolic and inflammatory phenotypes in NASH.
Irma Garcia-Martinez, Nicola Santoro, Yonglin Chen, Rafaz Hoque, Xinshou Ouyang, Sonia Caprio, Mark J. Shlomchik, Robert Lee Coffman, Albert Candia, Wajahat Zafar Mehal
Analogous behavioral assays are needed across animal models and human patients to improve translational research. Here, we examined the extent to which performance in the Morris water maze — the most frequently used behavioral assay of spatial learning and memory in rodents — translates to humans. We designed a virtual version of the assay for human subjects that includes the visible-target training, hidden-target learning, and probe trials that are typically administered in the mouse version. We compared transgenic mice that express human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) and patients with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease (MCI-AD) to evaluate the sensitivity of performance measures in detecting deficits. Patients performed normally during visible-target training, while hAPP mice showed procedural learning deficits. In hidden-target learning and probe trials, hAPP mice and MCI-AD patients showed similar deficits in learning and remembering the target location. In addition, we have provided recommendations for selecting performance measures and sample sizes to make these assays sensitive to learning and memory deficits in humans with MCI-AD and in mouse models. Together, our results demonstrate that with careful study design and analysis, the Morris maze is a sensitive assay for detecting AD-relevant impairments across species.
Katherine L. Possin, Pascal E. Sanchez, Clifford Anderson-Bergman, Roland Fernandez, Geoffrey A. Kerchner, Erica T. Johnson, Allyson Davis, Iris Lo, Nicholas T. Bott, Thomas Kiely, Michelle C. Fenesy, Bruce L. Miller, Joel H. Kramer, Steven Finkbeiner
The immune system has a powerful ability to recognize and kill cancer cells, but its function is often suppressed within tumors, preventing clearance of disease. Functionally diverse innate and adaptive cellular lineages either drive or constrain immune reactions within tumors. The transcription factor (TF) BACH2 regulates the differentiation of multiple innate and adaptive cellular lineages, but its role in controlling tumor immunity has not been elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that BACH2 is required to establish immunosuppression within tumors. Tumor growth was markedly impaired in
Rahul Roychoudhuri, Robert L. Eil, David Clever, Christopher A. Klebanoff, Madhusudhanan Sukumar, Francis M. Grant, Zhiya Yu, Gautam Mehta, Hui Liu, Ping Jin, Yun Ji, Douglas C. Palmer, Jenny H. Pan, Anna Chichura, Joseph G. Crompton, Shashank J. Patel, David Stroncek, Ena Wang, Francesco M. Marincola, Klaus Okkenhaug, Luca Gattinoni, Nicholas P. Restifo
In vivo protection by antimicrobial neutralizing Abs can require the contribution of effector functions mediated by Fc-Fcγ receptor (Fc-FcγR) interactions for optimal efficacy. In influenza, broadly neutralizing anti-hemagglutinin (anti-HA) stalk mAbs require Fc-FcγR interactions to mediate in vivo protection, but strain-specific anti-HA head mAbs do not. Whether this rule applies only to anti-stalk Abs or is applicable to any broadly neutralizing Ab (bNAb) against influenza is unknown. Here, we characterized the contribution of Fc-FcγR interactions during in vivo protection for a panel of 13 anti-HA mAbs, including bNAbs and non-neutralizing Abs, against both the stalk and head domains. All classes of broadly binding anti-HA mAbs required Fc-FcγR interactions to provide protection in vivo, including those mAbs that bind the HA head and those that do not neutralize virus in vitro. Further, a broadly neutralizing anti-neuraminidase (anti-NA) mAb also required FcγRs to provide protection in vivo, but a strain-specific anti-NA mAb did not. Thus, these findings suggest that the breadth of reactivity of anti-influenza Abs, regardless of their epitope, necessitates interactions with FcγRs on effector cell populations to mediate in vivo protection. These findings will guide the design of antiviral Ab therapeutics and inform vaccine design to elicit Abs with optimal binding properties and effector functions.
David J. DiLillo, Peter Palese, Patrick C. Wilson, Jeffrey V. Ravetch
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients show abnormalities in early B cell tolerance checkpoints, resulting in the accumulation of large numbers of autoreactive B cells in their blood. Treatment with rituximab, an anti-CD20 mAb that depletes B cells, has been shown to preserve β cell function in T1D patients and improve other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. However, it remains largely unknown how anti–B cell therapy thwarts autoimmunity in these pathologies. Here, we analyzed the reactivity of Abs expressed by single, mature naive B cells from 4 patients with T1D before and 52 weeks after treatment to determine whether rituximab resets early B cell tolerance checkpoints. We found that anti–B cell therapy did not alter the frequencies of autoreactive and polyreactive B cells, which remained elevated in the blood of all patients after rituximab treatment. Moreover, the limited proliferative history of autoreactive B cells after treatment revealed that these clones were newly generated B cells and not self-reactive B cells that had escaped depletion and repopulated the periphery through homeostatic expansion. We conclude that anti–B cell therapy may provide a temporary dampening of autoimmune processes through B cell depletion. However, repletion with autoreactive B cells may explain the relapse that occurs in many autoimmune patients after anti–B cell therapy.
Nicolas Chamberlain, Christopher Massad, Tyler Oe, Tineke Cantaert, Kevan C. Herold, Eric Meffre, the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study Group
Leptin administration restores euglycemia in rodents with severe insulin-deficient diabetes, and recent studies to explain this phenomenon have focused on the ability of leptin to normalize excessive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. Here, we employed a streptozotocin-induced rat model (STZ-DM) of uncontrolled insulin-deficient diabetes mellitus (uDM) to investigate the contribution of HPA axis suppression to leptin-mediated glucose lowering. Specifically, we asked if HPA axis activation is required for diabetic hyperglycemia, whether HPA axis normalization can be achieved using a dose of leptin below that needed to normalize glycemia, and if the ability of leptin to lower plasma glucocorticoid levels is required for its antidiabetic action. In STZ-DM rats, neither adrenalectomy-induced (ADX-induced) glucocorticoid deficiency nor pharmacological glucocorticoid receptor blockade lowered elevated blood glucose levels. Although elevated plasma levels of corticosterone were normalized by i.v. leptin infusion at a dose that raises low plasma levels into the physiological range, diabetic hyperglycemia was not altered. Lastly, the potent glucose-lowering effect of continuous intracerebroventricular leptin infusion was not impacted by systemic administration of corticosterone at a dose that maintained elevated plasma levels characteristic of STZ-DM. We conclude that, although restoring low plasma leptin levels into the physiological range effectively normalizes increased HPA axis activity in rats with uDM, this effect is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain leptin’s antidiabetic action.
Gregory J. Morton, Thomas H. Meek, Miles E. Matsen, Michael W. Schwartz
Maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy remains one of the most common and preventable causes of fetal growth restriction (FGR), a condition in which a fetus is unable to achieve its genetically determined potential size. Even though epidemiologic evidence clearly links maternal cigarette smoking with FGR, insight into the molecular mechanisms of cigarette smoke–induced FGR is lacking. Here, we performed transcriptional profiling of placentas obtained from smoking mothers who delivered growth-restricted infants and identified secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (sFRP1), an extracellular antagonist of endogenous WNT signaling, as a candidate molecule. sFRP1 mRNA and protein levels were markedly upregulated (~10 fold) in placentas from smoking mothers compared with those from nonsmokers. In pregnant mice, adenovirus-mediated overexpression of sFRP1 led to FGR, increased karyorrhexis in the junctional zone, and decreased proliferation of labyrinthine trophoblasts. Consistent with our hypothesis that placental WNT signaling is suppressed in maternal smokers, we found that exposure to carbon monoxide analogs led to reduced WNT signaling, increased
Alice Wang, Zsuzsanna K. Zsengellér, Jonathan L. Hecht, Roberto Buccafusca, Suzanne D. Burke, Augustine Rajakumar, Emily Weingart, Paul B. Yu, Saira Salahuddin, S. Ananth Karumanchi
Inherited thrombocytopenias are a group of disorders that are characterized by a low platelet count and are sometimes associated with excessive bleeding that ranges from mild to severe. We evaluated 36 unrelated patients and 17 family members displaying thrombocytopenia that were recruited to the UK Genotyping and Phenotyping of Platelets (GAPP) study. All patients had a history of excessive bleeding of unknown etiology. We performed platelet phenotyping and whole-exome sequencing (WES) on all patients and identified mutations in schlafen 14 (
Sarah J. Fletcher, Ben Johnson, Gillian C. Lowe, Danai Bem, Sian Drake, Marie Lordkipanidzé, Isabel Sánchez Guiú, Ban Dawood, José Rivera, Michael A. Simpson, Martina E. Daly, Jayashree Motwani, Peter W. Collins, Steve P. Watson, Neil V. Morgan, on behalf of the UK Genotyping and Phenotyping of Platelets study group
Inflammasome activation and caspase-1–dependent (CASP1-dependent) processing and secretion of IL-1β and IL-18 are critical events at the interface of the bacterial pathogen
Katrin N. Koch, Mara L. Hartung, Sabine Urban, Andreas Kyburz, Anna S. Bahlmann, Judith Lind, Steffen Backert, Christian Taube, Anne Müller
Uterine leiomyomas are benign tumors that can cause pain, bleeding, and infertility in some women. Mediator complex subunit 12 (
Priya Mittal, Yong-hyun Shin, Svetlana A. Yatsenko, Carlos A. Castro, Urvashi Surti, Aleksandar Rajkovic
Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a major public health concern that is a considerable risk factor for morbidity and disability; therefore, effective treatments are urgently needed. Here, we demonstrated that the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonist mifepristone reduces alcohol intake in alcohol-dependent rats but not in nondependent animals. Both systemic delivery and direct administration into the central nucleus of the amygdala, a critical stress-related brain region, were sufficient to reduce alcohol consumption in dependent animals. We also tested the use of mifepristone in 56 alcohol-dependent human subjects as part of a double-blind clinical and laboratory-based study. Relative to placebo, individuals who received mifepristone (600 mg daily taken orally for 1 week) exhibited a substantial reduction in alcohol-cued craving in the laboratory, and naturalistic measures revealed reduced alcohol consumption during the 1-week treatment phase and 1-week post-treatment phase in mifepristone-treated individuals. Mifepristone was well tolerated and improved liver-function markers. Together, these results support further exploration of GR antagonism via mifepristone as a therapeutic strategy for alcoholism.
Leandro F. Vendruscolo, David Estey, Vivian Goodell, Lauren G. Macshane, Marian L. Logrip, Joel E. Schlosburg, M. Adrienne McGinn, Eva R. Zamora-Martinez, Joseph K. Belanoff, Hazel J. Hunt, Pietro P. Sanna, Olivier George, George F. Koob, Scott Edwards, Barbara J. Mason
Despite the wide availability of antiretroviral drugs, more than 250,000 infants are vertically infected with HIV-1 annually, emphasizing the need for additional interventions to eliminate pediatric HIV-1 infections. Here, we aimed to define humoral immune correlates of risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1, including responses associated with protection in the RV144 vaccine trial. Eighty-three untreated, HIV-1–transmitting mothers and 165 propensity score–matched nontransmitting mothers were selected from the Women and Infants Transmission Study (WITS) of US nonbreastfeeding, HIV-1–infected mothers. In a multivariable logistic regression model, the magnitude of the maternal IgG responses specific for the third variable loop (V3) of the HIV-1 envelope was predictive of a reduced risk of MTCT. Neutralizing Ab responses against easy-to-neutralize (tier 1) HIV-1 strains also predicted a reduced risk of peripartum transmission in secondary analyses. Moreover, recombinant maternal V3–specific IgG mAbs mediated neutralization of autologous HIV-1 isolates. Thus, common V3-specific Ab responses in maternal plasma predicted a reduced risk of MTCT and mediated autologous virus neutralization, suggesting that boosting these maternal Ab responses may further reduce HIV-1 MTCT.
Sallie R. Permar, Youyi Fong, Nathan Vandergrift, Genevieve G. Fouda, Peter Gilbert, Robert Parks, Frederick H. Jaeger, Justin Pollara, Amanda Martelli, Brooke E. Liebl, Krissey Lloyd, Nicole L. Yates, R. Glenn Overman, Xiaoying Shen, Kaylan Whitaker, Haiyan Chen, Jamie Pritchett, Erika Solomon, Emma Friberg, Dawn J. Marshall, John F. Whitesides, Thaddeus C. Gurley, Tarra Von Holle, David R. Martinez, Fangping Cai, Amit Kumar, Shi-Mao Xia, Xiaozhi Lu, Raul Louzao, Samantha Wilkes, Saheli Datta, Marcella Sarzotti-Kelsoe, Hua-Xin Liao, Guido Ferrari, S. Munir Alam, David C. Montefiori, Thomas N. Denny, M. Anthony Moody, Georgia D. Tomaras, Feng Gao, Barton F. Haynes
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