Joubert syndrome (JBTS) is characterized by a specific brain malformation with various additional pathologies. It results from mutations in any one of at least 10 different genes, including NPHP1, which encodes nephrocystin-1. JBTS has been linked to dysfunction of primary cilia, since the gene products known to be associated with the disorder localize to this evolutionarily ancient organelle. Here we report the identification of a disease locus, JBTS12, with mutations in the KIF7 gene, an ortholog of the Drosophila kinesin Costal2, in a consanguineous JBTS family and subsequently in other JBTS patients. Interestingly, KIF7 is a known regulator of Hedgehog signaling and a putative ciliary motor protein. We found that KIF7 co-precipitated with nephrocystin-1. Further, knockdown of KIF7 expression in cell lines caused defects in cilia formation and induced abnormal centrosomal duplication and fragmentation of the Golgi network. These cellular phenotypes likely resulted from abnormal tubulin acetylation and microtubular dynamics. Thus, we suggest that modified microtubule stability and growth direction caused by loss of KIF7 function may be an underlying disease mechanism contributing to JBTS.
Claudia Dafinger, Max Christoph Liebau, Solaf Mohamed Elsayed, Yorck Hellenbroich, Eugen Boltshauser, Georg Christoph Korenke, Francesca Fabretti, Andreas Robert Janecke, Inga Ebermann, Gudrun Nürnberg, Peter Nürnberg, Hanswalter Zentgraf, Friederike Koerber, Klaus Addicks, Ezzat Elsobky, Thomas Benzing, Bernhard Schermer, Hanno Jörn Bolz
Vectors based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype 9 are candidates for in vivo gene delivery to many organs, but the receptor(s) mediating these tropisms have yet to be defined. We evaluated AAV9 uptake by glycans with terminal sialic acids (SAs), a common mode of cellular entry for viruses. We found, however, that AAV9 binding increased when terminal SA was enzymatically removed, suggesting that galactose, which is the most commonly observed penultimate monosaccharide to SA, may mediate AAV9 transduction. This was confirmed in mutant CHO Pro-5 cells deficient in the enzymes involved in glycoprotein biogenesis, as well as lectin interference studies. Binding of AAV9 to glycans with terminal galactose was demonstrated via glycan binding assays. Co-instillation of AAV9 vector with neuraminidase into mouse lung resulted in exposure of terminal galactose on the apical surface of conducting airway epithelial cells, as shown by lectin binding and increased transduction of these cells, demonstrating the possible utility of this vector in lung-directed gene transfer. Increasing the abundance of the receptor on target cells and improving vector efficacy may improve delivery of AAV vectors to their therapeutic targets.
Christie L. Bell, Luk H. Vandenberghe, Peter Bell, Maria P. Limberis, Guang-Ping Gao, Kim Van Vliet, Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, James M. Wilson
The p53 tumor suppressor, a central mediator of chemosensitivity in normal cells, is functionally inactivated in many human cancers. Therefore, a central challenge in human cancer therapy is the identification of pathways that control tumor cell survival and chemosensitivity in the absence of functional p53. The p53-related transcription factors p63 and p73 exhibit distinct functions — p73 mediates chemosensitivity while p63 promotes proliferation and cell survival — and are both overexpressed in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). However, how p63 and p73 interact functionally and govern the balance between prosurvival and proapoptotic programs in SCC remains elusive. Here, we identify a microRNA-dependent mechanism of p63/p73 crosstalk that regulates p53-independent survival of both human and murine SCC. We first discovered that a subset of p63-regulated microRNAs target p73 for inhibition. One of these, miR-193a-5p, expression of which was repressed by p63, was activated by proapoptotic p73 isoforms in both normal cells and tumor cells in vivo. Chemotherapy caused p63/p73-dependent induction of this microRNA, thereby limiting chemosensitivity due to microRNA-mediated feedback inhibition of p73. Importantly, inhibiting miR-193a interrupted this feedback and thereby suppressed tumor cell viability and induced dramatic chemosensitivity both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, we have identified a direct, microRNA-dependent regulatory circuit mediating inducible chemoresistance, whose inhibition may provide a new therapeutic opportunity in p53-deficient tumors.
Benjamin Ory, Matthew R. Ramsey, Catherine Wilson, Douangsone D. Vadysirisack, Nicole Forster, James W. Rocco, S. Michael Rothenberg, Leif W. Ellisen
The development of effective cancer immunotherapies has been consistently hampered by several factors, including an inability to instigate long-term effective functional antitumor immunity. This is particularly true for immunotherapies that focus on the adoptive transfer of activated or genetically modified mature CD8+ T cells. In this study, we sought to alter and enhance long-term host immunity by genetically modifying, then transplanting, mouse HSCs. We first cloned a previously identified tumor-reactive HLA-DR4–restricted CD4+ TCR specific for the melanocyte differentiation antigen tyrosinase-related protein 1 (Tyrp1), then constructed both a high-expression lentivirus vector and a TCR-transgenic mouse expressing the genes encoding this TCR. Using these tools, we demonstrated that both mouse and human HSCs established durable, high-efficiency TCR gene transfer following long-term transplantation into lethally irradiated mice transgenic for HLA-DR4. Recipients of genetically modified mouse HSCs developed spontaneous autoimmune vitiligo that was associated with the presence of a Th1-polarized memory effector CD4+ T cell population that expressed the Tyrp1-specific TCR. Most importantly, large numbers of CD4+ T cells expressing the Tyrp1-specific TCR were detected in secondary HLA-DR4–transgenic transplant recipients, and these mice were able to destroy subcutaneously administered melanoma cells without the aid of vaccination, immune modulation, or cytokine administration. These results demonstrate the creation of what we believe to be a novel translational model of durable lentiviral gene transfer that results in long-term effective immunity.
Sung P. Ha, Nicholas D. Klemen, Garrett H. Kinnebrew, Andrew G. Brandmaier, Jon Marsh, Giao Hangoc, Douglas C. Palmer, Nicholas P. Restifo, Kenneth Cornetta, Hal E. Broxmeyer, Christopher E. Touloukian
Selenium, a trace element that is fundamental to human health, is incorporated into some proteins as selenocysteine (Sec), generating a family of selenoproteins. Sec incorporation is mediated by a multiprotein complex that includes Sec insertion sequence–binding protein 2 (SECISBP2; also known as SBP2). Here, we describe subjects with compound heterozygous defects in the SECISBP2 gene. These individuals have reduced synthesis of most of the 25 known human selenoproteins, resulting in a complex phenotype. Azoospermia, with failure of the latter stages of spermatogenesis, was associated with a lack of testis-enriched selenoproteins. An axial muscular dystrophy was also present, with features similar to myopathies caused by mutations in selenoprotein N (SEPN1). Cutaneous deficiencies of antioxidant selenoenzymes, increased cellular ROS, and susceptibility to ultraviolet radiation–induced oxidative damage may mediate the observed photosensitivity. Reduced levels of selenoproteins in peripheral blood cells were associated with impaired T lymphocyte proliferation, abnormal mononuclear cell cytokine secretion, and telomere shortening. Paradoxically, raised ROS in affected subjects was associated with enhanced systemic and cellular insulin sensitivity, similar to findings in mice lacking the antioxidant selenoenzyme glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx1). Thus, mutation of SECISBP2 is associated with a multisystem disorder with defective biosynthesis of many selenoproteins, highlighting their role in diverse biological processes.
Erik Schoenmakers, Maura Agostini, Catherine Mitchell, Nadia Schoenmakers, Laura Papp, Odelia Rajanayagam, Raja Padidela, Lourdes Ceron-Gutierrez, Rainer Doffinger, Claudia Prevosto, Jian’an Luan, Sergio Montano, Jun Lu, Mireille Castanet, Nick Clemons, Matthijs Groeneveld, Perrine Castets, Mahsa Karbaschi, Sri Aitken, Adrian Dixon, Jane Williams, Irene Campi, Margaret Blount, Hannah Burton, Francesco Muntoni, Dominic O’Donovan, Andrew Dean, Anne Warren, Charlotte Brierley, David Baguley, Pascale Guicheney, Rebecca Fitzgerald, Alasdair Coles, Hill Gaston, Pamela Todd, Arne Holmgren, Kum Kum Khanna, Marcus Cooke, Robert Semple, David Halsall, Nicholas Wareham, John Schwabe, Lucia Grasso, Paolo Beck-Peccoz, Arthur Ogunko, Mehul Dattani, Mark Gurnell, Krishna Chatterjee
Recent genome-wide association studies have identified a genetic locus at human chromosome 8q24 as having minor alleles associated with lower levels of plasma triglyceride (TG) and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), higher levels of HDL-C, as well as decreased risk for myocardial infarction. This locus contains only one annotated gene, tribbles homolog 1 (TRIB1), which has not previously been implicated in lipoprotein metabolism. Here we demonstrate a role for Trib1 as a regulator of lipoprotein metabolism in mice. Hepatic-specific overexpression of Trib1 reduced levels of plasma TG and cholesterol by reducing VLDL production; conversely, Trib1-knockout mice showed elevated levels of plasma TG and cholesterol due to increased VLDL production. Hepatic Trib1 expression was inversely associated with the expression of key lipogenic genes and measures of lipogenesis. Thus, we provide functional evidence for what we believe to be a novel gene regulating hepatic lipogenesis and VLDL production in mice that influences plasma lipids and risk for myocardial infarction in humans.
Ralph Burkhardt, Sue-Anne Toh, William R. Lagor, Andrew Birkeland, Michael Levin, Xiaoyu Li, Megan Robblee, Victor D. Fedorov, Masahiro Yamamoto, Takashi Satoh, Shizuo Akira, Sekar Kathiresan, Jan L. Breslow, Daniel J. Rader
Noonan syndrome (NS) is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder characterized by short stature, unique facial features, and congenital heart disease. About 10%–15% of individuals with NS have mutations in son of sevenless 1 (SOS1), which encodes a RAS and RAC guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF). To understand the role of SOS1 in the pathogenesis of NS, we generated mice with the NS-associated Sos1E846K gain-of-function mutation. Both heterozygous and homozygous mutant mice showed many NS-associated phenotypes, including growth delay, distinctive facial dysmorphia, hematologic abnormalities, and cardiac defects. We found that the Ras/MAPK pathway as well as Rac and Stat3 were activated in the mutant hearts. These data provide in vivo molecular and cellular evidence that Sos1 is a GEF for Rac under physiological conditions and suggest that Rac and Stat3 activation might contribute to NS phenotypes. Furthermore, prenatal administration of a MEK inhibitor ameliorated the embryonic lethality, cardiac defects, and NS features of the homozygous mutant mice, demonstrating that this signaling pathway might represent a promising therapeutic target for NS.
Peng-Chieh Chen, Hiroko Wakimoto, David Conner, Toshiyuki Araki, Tao Yuan, Amy Roberts, Christine E. Seidman, Roderick Bronson, Benjamin G. Neel, Jonathan G. Seidman, Raju Kucherlapati
Immunotherapies based on adoptive cell transfer are highly effective in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, but the use of this approach in other cancer histologies has been hampered by the identification of appropriate target molecules. Immunologic approaches targeting tumor vasculature provide a means for the therapy of multiple solid tumor types. We developed a method to target tumor vasculature, using genetically redirected syngeneic or autologous T cells. Mouse and human T cells were engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeted against VEGFR-2, which is overexpressed in tumor vasculature and is responsible for VEGF-mediated tumor progression and metastasis. Mouse and human T cells expressing the relevant VEGFR-2 CARs mediated specific immune responses against VEGFR-2 protein as well as VEGFR-2–expressing cells in vitro. A single dose of VEGFR-2 CAR-engineered mouse T cells plus exogenous IL-2 significantly inhibited the growth of 5 different types of established, vascularized syngeneic tumors in 2 different strains of mice and prolonged the survival of mice. T cells transduced with VEGFR-2 CAR showed durable and increased tumor infiltration, correlating with their antitumor effect. This approach provides a potential method for the gene therapy of a variety of human cancers.
Dhanalakshmi Chinnasamy, Zhiya Yu, Marc R. Theoret, Yangbing Zhao, Rajeev K. Shrimali, Richard A. Morgan, Steven A. Feldman, Nicholas P. Restifo, Steven A. Rosenberg
shRNA overexpression from viral gene therapy vectors can trigger cytotoxicity leading to organ failure and lethality in mice and rats. This process likely involves saturation of endogenous cellular RNAi factors including exportin-5 (Xpo-5). Here, we have shown that Xpo-5 overexpression enhanced shRNA efficiency in the liver of adult mice but increased hepatotoxicity. We identified the 4 members of the human Argonaute (Ago) protein family as downstream factors involved in saturation of endogenous cellular RNAi, all of which were able to interact with shRNAs in cells and mice. In Ago/shRNA coexpression studies, Ago-2 (Slicer) was the primary rate-limiting determinant of both in vitro and in vivo RNAi efficacy, toxicity, and persistence. In adult mice, vector-based Ago-2/Xpo-5 coexpression enhanced U6-driven shRNA silencing of exogenous and endogenous hepatic targets, reduced hepatotoxicity, and extended RNAi stability by more than 3 months. Use of weaker RNA polymerase III promoters to minimize shRNA expression likewise alleviated in vivo toxicity and permitted greater than 95% persistent knockdown of hepatitis B virus and other transgenes in mouse liver for more than 1 year. Our studies substantiate that abundant small RNAs can overload the endogenous RNAi pathway and reveal possible strategies for reducing hepatotoxicity of short- and long-term clinical gene silencing in humans.
Dirk Grimm, Lora Wang, Joyce S. Lee, Nina Schürmann, Shuo Gu, Kathleen Börner, Theresa A. Storm, Mark A. Kay
HSC transplantation using genetically modified autologous cells is a promising therapeutic strategy for various genetic diseases, cancer, and HIV. However, for many of these conditions, the current efficiency of gene transfer to HSCs is not sufficient for clinical use. The ability to increase the percentage of gene-modified cells following transplantation is critical to overcoming this obstacle. In vivo selection with mutant methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMTP140K) has been proposed to overcome low gene transfer efficiency to HSCs. Previous studies have shown efficient in vivo selection in mice and dogs but only transient selection in primates. Here, we report efficient and stable MGMTP140K-mediated multilineage selection in both macaque and baboon nonhuman primate models. Treatment consisting of both O6-benzylguanine (O6BG) and N,N′-bis(2-chloroethyl)-N-nitroso-urea (BCNU) stably increased the percentage of transgene-expressing cells from a range of initial levels of engrafted genetically modified cells, with the longest follow-up after drug treatment occurring over 2.2 years. Drug treatment was well tolerated, and selection occurred in myeloid, lymphoid, and erythroid cells as well as platelets. Retrovirus integration site analysis before and after drug treatments confirmed the presence of multiple clones. These nonhuman primate studies closely model a clinical setting and should have broad applications for HSC gene therapy targeting human diseases of malignant, genetic, and infectious nature, including HIV.
Brian C. Beard, Grant D. Trobridge, Christina Ironside, Jeannine S. McCune, Jennifer E. Adair, Hans-Peter Kiem