For gene therapy of gain-of-function autosomal dominant diseases, either correcting or deleting the disease allele is potentially curative. To test whether there may be an advantage of one approach over the other for WHIM (warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections and myelokathexis) syndrome — a primary immunodeficiency disorder caused by gain-of-function autosomal dominant mutations in chemokine receptor CXCR4 — we performed competitive transplantation experiments using both lethally irradiated wild-type (Cxcr4+/+) and unconditioned WHIM (Cxcr4+/w) recipient mice. In both models, hematopoietic reconstitution was markedly superior using bone marrow (BM) cells from donors hemizygous for Cxcr4 (Cxcr4+/o) compared with BM cells from Cxcr4+/+ donors. Remarkably, only ~6% Cxcr4+/o hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) chimerism post-transplantation in unconditioned Cxcr4+/w recipient BM supported >70% long-term donor myeloid chimerism in blood and corrected myeloid cell deficiency in blood. Donor Cxcr4+/o HSCs differentiated normally and did not undergo exhaustion as late as 465 days post-transplantation. Thus, disease allele deletion resulting in Cxcr4 haploinsufficiency was superior to disease allele repair in a mouse model of gene therapy for WHIM syndrome, allowing correction of leukopenia without recipient conditioning.
Ji-Liang Gao, Erin Yim, Marie Siwicki, Alexander Yang, Qian Liu, Ari Azani, Albert Owusu-Ansah, David H. McDermott, Philip M. Murphy
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a degenerative motor neuron (MN) disease caused by loss of functional SMN protein due to SMN1 gene mutations, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Increasing SMN levels ameliorates the disease phenotype and is unanimously accepted as a therapeutic approach for SMA patients. The ubiquitin/proteasome system is known to regulate SMN protein levels; however whether autophagy controls SMN levels remains poorly explored. Here we show that SMN protein is degraded by autophagy. Pharmacological and genetic inhibition of autophagy increase SMN levels, while induction of autophagy decreases SMN. SMN degradation occurs via its interaction with the autophagy adapter p62/SQSTM1. We also show that SMA neurons display reduced autophagosome clearance, increased p62/ubiquitinated protein levels, and hyperactivated mTORC1 signaling. Importantly, reducing p62 levels markedly increases SMN and its binding partner gemin2, promotes MN survival and extends lifespan in fly and mouse SMA models revealing p62 as a new potential therapeutic target to treat SMA.
Natalia Rodriguez-Muela, Andrey Parkhitko, Tobias Grass, Rebecca M. Gibbs, Erika M. Norabuena, Norbert Perrimon, Rajat Singh, Lee L. Rubin
Leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) are responsible for the initiation, development, and relapse of leukemia. The identification of novel therapeutic LIC targets is critical to curing leukemia. In this report, we reveal that junctional adhesion molecule 3 (JAM3) is highly enriched in both mouse and human LICs. Leukemogenesis is almost completely abrogated upon Jam3 deletion during serial transplantations in an MLL-AF9–induced murine acute myeloid leukemia model. In contrast, Jam3 deletion does not affect the functions of mouse hematopoietic stem cells. Moreover, knockdown of JAM3 leads to a dramatic decrease in the proliferation of both human leukemia cell lines and primary LICs. JAM3 directly associates with LRP5 to activate the downstream PDK1/AKT pathway, followed by the downregulation of GSK3β and activation of β-catenin/CCND1 signaling, to maintain the self-renewal ability and cell cycle entry of LICs. Thus, JAM3 may serve as a functional LIC marker and play an important role in the maintenance of LIC stemness through unexpected LRP5/PDK1/AKT/GSK3β/β-catenin/CCND1 signaling pathways but not via its canonical role in cell junctions and migration. JAM3 may be an ideal therapeutic target for the eradication of LICs without influencing normal hematopoiesis.
Yaping Zhang, Fangzhen Xia, Xiaoye Liu, Zhuo Yu, Li Xie, Ligen Liu, Chiqi Chen, Haishan Jiang, Xiaoxin Hao, Xiaoxiao He, Feifei Zhang, Hao Gu, Jun Zhu, Haitao Bai, Cheng Cheng Zhang, Guo-Qiang Chen, Junke Zheng
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the protein ATXN1, which is involved in transcriptional regulation. Although symptoms appear relatively late in life, primarily from cerebellar dysfunction, pathogenesis begins early, with brain-wide transcriptional changes detectable as early as a week after birth in SCA1 knock-in mice. Given the importance of this postnatal period for cerebellar development, we asked whether this region might be developmentally altered by mutant ATXN1. We found that expanded ATXN1 stimulates the proliferation of postnatal cerebellar stem cells in SCA1 mice. These hyper-proliferating stem cells tended to differentiate into GABAergic inhibitory interneurons rather than astrocytes; this significantly increased the GABAergic inhibitory interneuron synaptic connections, disrupting cerebellar Purkinje cell function in a non-cell autonomous manner. We confirmed the increased basket cell-Purkinje cell connectivity in human SCA1 patients. Mutant ATXN1 thus alters the neural circuitry of the developing cerebellum, setting the stage for the later vulnerability of Purkinje cells to SCA1. We propose that other late-onset degenerative diseases may also be rooted in subtle developmental derailments.
Chandrakanth Reddy Edamakanti, Jeehaeh Do, Alessandro Didonna, Marco Martina, Puneet Opal
The remarkable regeneration capability of skeletal muscle depends on coordinated proliferation and differentiation of satellite cells. The self-renewal of satellite cells is critical for long-term maintenance of muscle regeneration potential. Hypoxia profoundly affects the proliferation, differentiation, and self-renewal of cultured myoblasts. However, the physiological relevance of hypoxia and hypoxia signaling in satellite cells in vivo remains largely unknown. Here, we report that satellite cells are in an intrinsic hypoxic state in vivo and express hypoxia-inducible factor 2A (HIF2A). HIF2A promotes the stemness and long-term homeostatic maintenance of satellite cells by maintaining the quiescence, increasing the self-renewal and blocking the myogenic differentiation of satellite cells. HIF2A stabilization in satellite cells cultured under normoxia augmented their engraftment potential in regenerative muscle. Reversely, HIF2A ablation led to the depletion of satellite cells and the consequent regenerative failure in the long-term. In contrast, transient pharmacological inhibition of HIF2A accelerated muscle regeneration by increasing satellite cell proliferation and differentiation. Mechanistically, HIF2A induces the quiescence/self-renewal of satellite cells by binding the promoter of Spry1 gene and activating Spry1 expression. These findings suggest that HIF2A is a pivotal mediator of hypoxia signaling in satellite cells and may be therapeutically targeted to improve muscle regeneration.
Liwei Xie, Amelia Yin, Anna S. Nichenko, Aaron M. Beedle, Jarrod A. Call, Hang Yin
Dynamic interaction with the immune system profoundly regulates tumor cell dormancy. However, it is unclear how immunological cues trigger cancer cell–intrinsic signaling pathways for entering into dormancy. Here, we show that IFN-β treatment induced tumor-repopulating cells (TRC) to enter dormancy through an indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase/kynurenine/aryl hydrocarbon receptor/p27–dependent (IDO/Kyn/AhR/p27-dependent) pathway. Strategies to block this metabolic circuitry did not relieve dormancy, but led to apoptosis of dormant TRCs in murine and human melanoma models. Specifically, blocking AhR redirected IFN-β signaling to STAT3 phosphorylation through both tyrosine and serine sites, which subsequently facilitated STAT3 nuclear translocation and subsequent binding to the p53 promoter in the nucleus. Upregulation of p53 in turn disrupted the pentose phosphate pathway, leading to excessive ROS production and dormant TRC death. Additionally, in melanoma patients, high expression of IFN-β correlated with tumor cell dormancy. Identification of this mechanism for controlling TRC dormancy by IFN-β provides deeper insights into cancer-immune interaction and potential new cancer immunotherapeutic modalities.
Yuying Liu, Jiadi Lv, Jinyan Liu, Xiaoyu Liang, Xun Jin, Jing Xie, Le Zhang, Degao Chen, Roland Fiskesund, Ke Tang, Jingwei Ma, Huafeng Zhang, Wenqian Dong, Siqi Mo, Tianzhen Zhang, Feiran Cheng, Yabo Zhou, Qingzhu Jia, Bo Zhu, Yan Kong, Jun Guo, Haizeng Zhang, Zhuo-Wei Hu, Xuetao Cao, F. Xiao-Feng Qin, Bo Huang
Claudins, the integral tight junction (TJ) proteins that regulate paracellular permeability and cell polarity, are frequently dysregulated in cancer; however, their role in neoplastic progression is unclear. Here, we demonstrated that knockout of Cldn18, a claudin family member highly expressed in lung alveolar epithelium, leads to lung enlargement, parenchymal expansion, increased abundance and proliferation of known distal lung progenitors, the alveolar epithelial type II (AT2) cells, activation of Yes-associated protein (YAP), increased organ size, and tumorigenesis in mice. Inhibition of YAP decreased proliferation and colony-forming efficiency (CFE) of Cldn18–/– AT2 cells and prevented increased lung size, while CLDN18 overexpression decreased YAP nuclear localization, cell proliferation, CFE, and YAP transcriptional activity. CLDN18 and YAP interacted and colocalized at cell-cell contacts, while loss of CLDN18 decreased YAP interaction with Hippo kinases p-LATS1/2. Additionally, Cldn18–/– mice had increased propensity to develop lung adenocarcinomas (LuAd) with age, and human LuAd showed stage-dependent reduction of CLDN18.1. These results establish CLDN18 as a regulator of YAP activity that serves to restrict organ size, progenitor cell proliferation, and tumorigenesis, and suggest a mechanism whereby TJ disruption may promote progenitor proliferation to enhance repair following injury.
Beiyun Zhou, Per Flodby, Jiao Luo, Dan R. Castillo, Yixin Liu, Fa-Xing Yu, Alicia McConnell, Bino Varghese, Guanglei Li, Nyam-Osor Chimge, Mitsuhiro Sunohara, Michael N. Koss, Wafaa Elatre, Peter Conti, Janice M. Liebler, Chenchen Yang, Crystal N. Marconett, Ite A. Laird-Offringa, Parviz Minoo, Kunliang Guan, Barry R. Stripp, Edward D. Crandall, Zea Borok
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a dominantly inherited disease, caused by hyperactivation of the mTORC1 pathway and characterized by the development of hamartomas and benign tumors, also in the brain. Among the neurological manifestations associated with TSC, the tumor progression of static subependymal nodules (SENs) into subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) is one of the major causes of morbidity and shortened life expectancy. To date, mouse modeling has failed in reproducing these two lesions. Here we report that simultaneous hyperactivation of mTORC1 and Akt pathways by codeletion of Tsc1 and Pten, selectively in postnatal neural stem cells (pNSCs), is required for the formation of bona fide SENs and SEGAs. Notably, both lesions closely recapitulate the pathognomonic morphological and molecular features of the corresponding human abnormalities. The establishment of long-term expanding pNSC lines from mouse SENs and SEGAs made possible the identification of mTORC2 as one of the mediators conferring tumorigenic potential to SEGA pNSCs. Of note, in spite of concurrent Akt hyperactivation in mouse brain lesions, single mTOR inhibition by rapamycin was sufficient to strongly impair mouse SEGA growth. This study provides the first evidence that, concomitant with mTORC1 hyperactivation, sustained activation of Akt and mTORC2 in pNSCs is a mandatory step for the induction of SENs and SEGAs and, at the same time, makes available an unprecedented NSC-based in vivo/in vitro model to be exploited for identifying actionable targets in TSC.
Paola Zordan, Manuela Cominelli, Federica Cascino, Elisa Tratta, Pietro L. Poliani, Rossella Galli
Breast cancer cells with stem cell properties are key contributors to metastatic disease, and there remains a need to better understand and target these cells in human cancers. Here, we identified rare stem-like cells in patients’ tumors characterized by low levels of the proapoptotic molecule p53-upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) and showed that these cells play a critical role in tumor progression that is independent of clinical subtype. A signaling axis consisting of the integrin αvβ3, Src kinase, and the transcription factor Slug suppresses PUMA in these cells, promoting tumor stemness. We showed that genetic or pharmacological disruption of αvβ3/Src signaling drives PUMA expression, specifically depleting these stem-like tumor cells; increases their sensitivity to apoptosis; and reduces pulmonary metastasis, with no effect on primary tumor growth. Taken together, these findings point to PUMA as a key vulnerability of stem-like cells and suggest that pharmacological upregulation of PUMA via Src inhibition may represent a strategy to selectively target these cells in a wide spectrum of aggressive breast cancers.
Qi Sun, Jacqueline Lesperance, Hiromi Wettersten, Elaine Luterstein, Yoko S. DeRose, Alana Welm, David A. Cheresh, Jay S. Desgrosellier
Endothelial cells (ECs) are components of the hematopoietic microenvironment and regulate hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) homeostasis. Cytokine treatments that cause HSPC trafficking to peripheral blood are associated with an increase in dipeptidylpeptidase 4/CD26 (DPP4/CD26), an enzyme that truncates the neurotransmitter neuropeptide Y (NPY). Here, we show that enzymatically altered NPY signaling in ECs caused reduced VE-cadherin and CD31 expression along EC junctions, resulting in increased vascular permeability and HSPC egress. Moreover, selective NPY2 and NPY5 receptor antagonists restored vascular integrity and limited HSPC mobilization, demonstrating that the enzymatically controlled vascular gateway specifically opens by cleavage of NPY by CD26 signaling via NPY2 and NPY5 receptors. Mice lacking CD26 or NPY exhibited impaired HSPC trafficking that was restored by treatment with truncated NPY. Thus, our results point to ECs as gatekeepers of HSPC trafficking and identify a CD26-mediated NPY axis that has potential as a pharmacologic target to regulate hematopoietic trafficking in homeostatic and stress conditions.
Pratibha Singh, Jonathan Hoggatt, Malgorzata M. Kamocka, Khalid S. Mohammad, Mary R. Saunders, Hongge Li, Jennifer Speth, Nadia Carlesso, Theresa A. Guise, Louis M. Pelus