Sustained, indolent immune injury of the vasculature of a heart transplant limits long-term graft and recipient survival. This injury is mitigated by a poorly characterized, maladaptive repair response. Vascular endothelial cells respond to proangiogenic cues in the embryo by differentiation to specialized phenotypes, associated with expression of apelin. In the adult, the role of developmental proangiogenic cues in repair of the established vasculature is largely unknown. We found that human and minor histocompatibility–mismatched donor mouse heart allografts with alloimmune-mediated vasculopathy upregulated expression of apelin in arteries and myocardial microvessels. In vivo, loss of donor heart expression of apelin facilitated graft immune cell infiltration, blunted vascular repair, and worsened occlusive vasculopathy in mice. In vitro, an apelin receptor agonist analog elicited endothelial nitric oxide synthase activation to promote endothelial monolayer wound repair, and reduce immune cell adhesion. Thus, apelin acted as an autocrine growth cue to sustain vascular repair and mitigate the effects of immune injury. Treatment with an apelin receptor agonist after vasculopathy was established markedly reduced progression of arterial occlusion in mice. Together, these initial data identify proangiogenic apelin as a key mediator of coronary vascular repair and a pharmacotherapeutic target for immune-mediated injury of the coronary vasculature.
Andrew G. Masoud, Jiaxin Lin, Abul K. Azad, Maikel A. Farhan, Conrad Fischer, Lin F. Zhu, Hao Zhang, Banu Sis, Zamaneh Kassiri, Ronald B. Moore, Daniel Kim, Colin C. Anderson, John C. Vederas, Benjamin A. Adam, Gavin Y. Oudit, Allan G. Murray
Mitochondrial dysfunction or loss is evident in neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations associated with NADH dehydrogenase subunits and nuclear gene mutations that affect mitochondrial function result in optic neuropathies. In this issue of the JCI, Del Dotto et al. and Piro-Mégy et al. identify heterozygous mutations in nuclear-encoded mitochondrial single-strand binding protein 1 (SSBP1) in patients with apparently dominant optic neuropathy with or without extraocular phenotypes. Both research groups reported similar mitochondrial findings in response to SSBP1 mutations. However, the specific SSBP1 mitochondria–associated function in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and the resulting optic nerve remains unclear. We suggest that high expression of SSBP1 during RGC differentiation is critical for mtDNA maintenance to produce appropriate optic nerve connectivity and that SSBP1 mutations in dominant optic atrophy patients do not permit stable binding to N6-methyldeoxyadenosine on the heavy strand involved with replication, leading to disruptions of mtDNA and, eventually, optic nerve dysfunction.
Lina Zelinger, Anand Swaroop
Inherited optic neuropathies include complex phenotypes, mostly driven by mitochondrial dysfunction. We report an optic atrophy spectrum disorder, including retinal macular dystrophy and kidney insufficiency leading to transplantation, associated with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion without accumulation of multiple deletions. By whole-exome sequencing, we identified mutations affecting the mitochondrial single-strand binding protein (SSBP1) in 4 families with dominant and 1 with recessive inheritance. We show that SSBP1 mutations in patient-derived fibroblasts variably affect the amount of SSBP1 protein and alter multimer formation, but not the binding to ssDNA. SSBP1 mutations impaired mtDNA, nucleoids, and 7S-DNA amounts as well as mtDNA replication, affecting replisome machinery. The variable mtDNA depletion in cells was reflected in severity of mitochondrial dysfunction, including respiratory efficiency, OXPHOS subunits, and complex amount and assembly. mtDNA depletion and cytochrome c oxidase–negative cells were found ex vivo in biopsies of affected tissues, such as kidney and skeletal muscle. Reduced efficiency of mtDNA replication was also reproduced in vitro, confirming the pathogenic mechanism. Furthermore, ssbp1 suppression in zebrafish induced signs of nephropathy and reduced optic nerve size, the latter phenotype complemented by WT mRNA but not by SSBP1 mutant transcripts. This previously unrecognized disease of mtDNA maintenance implicates SSBP1 mutations as a cause of human pathology.
Valentina Del Dotto, Farid Ullah, Ivano Di Meo, Pamela Magini, Mirjana Gusic, Alessandra Maresca, Leonardo Caporali, Flavia Palombo, Francesca Tagliavini, Evan Harris Baugh, Bertil Macao, Zsolt Szilagyi, Camille Peron, Margaret A. Gustafson, Kamal Khan, Chiara La Morgia, Piero Barboni, Michele Carbonelli, Maria Lucia Valentino, Rocco Liguori, Vandana Shashi, Jennifer Sullivan, Shashi Nagaraj, Mays El-Dairi, Alessandro Iannaccone, Ioana Cutcutache, Enrico Bertini, Rosalba Carrozzo, Francesco Emma, Francesca Diomedi-Camassei, Claudia Zanna, Martin Armstrong, Matthew Page, Nicholas Stong, Sylvia Boesch, Robert Kopajtich, Saskia Wortmann, Wolfgang Sperl, Erica E. Davis, William C. Copeland, Marco Seri, Maria Falkenberg, Holger Prokisch, Nicholas Katsanis, Valeria Tiranti, Tommaso Pippucci, Valerio Carelli
Mosaic-variegated aneuploidy (MVA) syndrome is a rare childhood disorder characterized by biallelic BUBR1, CEP57, or TRIP13 aberrations; increased chromosome missegregation; and a broad spectrum of clinical features, including various cancers, congenital defects, and progeroid pathologies. To investigate the mechanisms underlying this disorder and its phenotypic heterogeneity, we mimicked the BUBR1L1012P mutation in mice (BubR1L1002P) and combined it with 2 other MVA variants, BUBR1X753 and BUBR1H, generating a truncated protein and low amounts of wild-type protein, respectively. Whereas BubR1X753/L1002P and BubR1H/X753 mice died prematurely, BubR1H/L1002P mice were viable and exhibited many MVA features, including cancer predisposition and various progeroid phenotypes, such as short lifespan, dwarfism, lipodystrophy, sarcopenia, and low cardiac stress tolerance. Strikingly, although these mice had a reduction in total BUBR1 and spectrum of MVA phenotypes similar to that of BubR1H/H mice, several progeroid pathologies were attenuated in severity, which in skeletal muscle coincided with reduced senescence-associated secretory phenotype complexity. Additionally, mice carrying monoallelic BubR1 mutations were prone to select MVA-related pathologies later in life, with predisposition to sarcopenia correlating with mTORC1 hyperactivity. Together, these data demonstrate that BUBR1 allelic effects beyond protein level and aneuploidy contribute to disease heterogeneity in both MVA patients and heterozygous carriers of MVA mutations.
Cynthia J. Sieben, Karthik B. Jeganathan, Grace G. Nelson, Ines Sturmlechner, Cheng Zhang, Willemijn H. van Deursen, Bjorn Bakker, Floris Foijer, Hu Li, Darren J. Baker, Jan M. van Deursen
Arcuate nucleus agouti–related peptide (AgRP) neurons play a central role in feeding and are under complex regulation by both homeostatic hormonal and nutrient signals and hypothalamic neuronal pathways. Feeding may also be influenced by environmental cues, sensory inputs, and other behaviors, implying the involvement of higher brain regions. However, whether such pathways modulate feeding through direct synaptic control of AgRP neuron activity is unknown. Here, we show that nociceptin-expressing neurons in the anterior bed nuclei of the stria terminalis (aBNST) make direct GABAergic inputs onto AgRP neurons. We found that activation of these neurons inhibited AgRP neurons and feeding. The activity of these neurons increased upon food availability, and their ablation resulted in obesity. Furthermore, these neurons received afferent inputs from a range of upstream brain regions as well as hypothalamic nuclei. Therefore, aBNST GABAergic nociceptin neurons may act as a gateway to feeding behavior by connecting AgRP neurons to both homeostatic and nonhomeostatic neuronal inputs.
Mark A. Smith, Agharul I. Choudhury, Justyna A. Glegola, Paulius Viskaitis, Elaine E. Irvine, Pedro Caldas Custodio de Campos Silva, Sanjay Khadayate, Hanns Ulrich Zeilhofer, Dominic J. Withers