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Issue published April 15, 2022 Previous issue

On the cover: Mitochondrial dysfunction in Costello syndrome

Dard et al. describe alterations in mitochondrial proteostasis in Costello syndrome and report that pharmacological stimulation of mitochondrial function ameliorates heart and developmental defects in animal models of the disease. The cover image shows the mitochondrial network in skin fibroblasts obtained from a patient with Costello syndrome.

Viewpoint
Review Series
Abstract

Targeted therapies have come to play an increasingly important role in cancer therapy over the past two decades. This success has been made possible in large part by technological advances in sequencing, which have greatly advanced our understanding of the mutational landscape of human cancer and the genetic drivers present in individual tumors. We are rapidly discovering a growing number of mutations that occur in targetable pathways, and thus tumor genetic testing has become an important component in the choice of appropriate therapies. Targeted therapy has dramatically transformed treatment outcomes and disease prognosis in some settings, whereas in other oncologic contexts, targeted approaches have yet to demonstrate considerable clinical efficacy. In this Review, we summarize the current knowledge of targetable mutations that occur in a range of cancers, including hematologic malignancies and solid tumors such as non–small cell lung cancer and breast cancer. We outline seminal examples of druggable mutations and targeting modalities and address the clinical and research challenges that must be overcome to maximize therapeutic benefit.

Authors

Michael R. Waarts, Aaron J. Stonestrom, Young C. Park, Ross L. Levine

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Commentaries
Abstract

Increased age is blamed for a wide range of bone physiological changes, and although the underlying mechanisms affecting the decreased capacity for fracture healing are not fully understood, they are clearly linked to changes at the cellular level. Recent evidence suggests potential roles of senescent cells in response to most tissue injuries, including bone fractures. In this issue of the JCI, Liu, Zhang, and co-authors showed that a senolytic drug cocktail cleared senescent cells from the callus and improved bone fracture repair in aged mice. Understanding how senescent cells emerge at fracture sites and how their timely removal improves fracture healing should provide insights for effective therapeutic approaches in old age.

Authors

Isabel Beerman, Nathan Basisty, Rafael de Cabo

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Abstract

A fundamental and highly contested issue in microbiome research is whether internal organs such as the liver, brain, placenta, pancreas, and others are sterile and privileged or harbor a detectable and functional microbial biomass. In this issue of the JCI, Leinwand, Paul, et al. addressed this question using an array of diverse techniques and reported that normal healthy liver possesses a microbiome that is selectively recruited from the gut. They further showed that liver-enriched microbes contributed to shaping the immune network of this organ. Here, we attempt to put their findings into the context of other organs, discuss the technical challenges of defining such microbial communities, and provide some perspective about the road ahead for the field.

Authors

Nichole A. Broderick, Laszlo Nagy

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Abstract

Given its aggressive natural history and immunosuppressive nature, glioblastoma (GBM) remains difficult to treat. Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) are a promising treatment for GBM patients, yet the entirety of their antitumor action has not been fully elucidated. In a recent issue of the JCI, Chen et al. explored the effect of TTFields in reinvigorating immune responses. By elegant step-by-step approaches, the authors demonstrated that TTFields promote the production of immune-stimulating proinflammatory and interferon type 1 cytokines in tumor cells in a cGAS/STING- and AIM2 inflammasome–dependent mechanism, thereby activating the immune system. The findings show that TTFields not only directly inhibit tumor cell growth, as previously reported, but enhance antitumor immunity, suggesting TTFields can be used as an immune-modulating approach in GBM.

Authors

Juyeun Lee, Matthew M. Grabowski, Justin D. Lathia

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Abstract

RASopathies are a family of rare autosomal dominant disorders that affect the canonical Ras/MAPK signaling pathway and manifest as neurodevelopmental systemic syndromes, including Costello syndrome (CS). In this issue of the JCI, Dard et al. describe the molecular determinants of CS using a myriad of genetically modified models, including mice expressing HRAS p.G12S, patient-derived skin fibroblasts, hiPSC-derived human cardiomyocytes, an HRAS p.G12V zebrafish model, and human lentivirally induced fibroblasts overexpressing HRAS p.G12S or HRAS p.G12A. Mitochondrial proteostasis and oxidative phosphorylation were altered in CS, and inhibition of the AMPK signaling pathway mediated bioenergetic changes. Importantly, the pharmacological induction of this pathway restored cardiac function and reduced the developmental defects associated with CS. These findings identify a role for altered bioenergetics and provide insights into more effective treatment strategies for patients with RASopathies.

Authors

Maria I. Kontaridis, Saravanakkumar Chennappan

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Research Articles
Abstract

The respiratory tract surface is protected from inhaled pathogens by a secreted layer of mucus rich in mucin glycoproteins. Abnormal mucus accumulation is a cardinal feature of chronic respiratory diseases, but the relationship between mucus and pathogens during exacerbations is poorly understood. We identified elevations in airway mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) and MUC5B concentrations during spontaneous and experimentally induced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations. MUC5AC was more sensitive to changes in expression during exacerbation and was therefore more predictably associated with viral load, inflammation, symptom severity, decrements in lung function, and secondary bacterial infections. MUC5AC was functionally related to inflammation, as Muc5ac-deficient (Muc5ac–/–) mice had attenuated RV-induced (RV-induced) airway inflammation, and exogenous MUC5AC glycoprotein administration augmented inflammatory responses and increased the release of extracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in mice and human airway epithelial cell cultures. Hydrolysis of ATP suppressed MUC5AC augmentation of RV-induced inflammation in mice. Therapeutic suppression of mucin production using an EGFR antagonist ameliorated immunopathology in a mouse COPD exacerbation model. The coordinated virus induction of MUC5AC and MUC5B expression suggests that non-Th2 mechanisms trigger mucin hypersecretion during exacerbations. Our data identified a proinflammatory role for MUC5AC during viral infection and suggest that MUC5AC inhibition may ameliorate COPD exacerbations.

Authors

Aran Singanayagam, Joseph Footitt, Matthias Marczynski, Giorgia Radicioni, Michael T. Cross, Lydia J. Finney, Maria-Belen Trujillo-Torralbo, Maria Calderazzo, Jie Zhu, Julia Aniscenko, Thomas B. Clarke, Philip L. Molyneaux, Nathan W. Bartlett, Miriam F. Moffatt, William O. Cookson, Jadwiga Wedzicha, Christopher M. Evans, Richard C. Boucher, Mehmet Kesimer, Oliver Lieleg, Patrick Mallia, Sebastian L. Johnston

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Abstract

Germline mutations that activate genes in the canonical RAS/MAPK signaling pathway are responsible for rare human developmental disorders known as RASopathies. Here, we analyzed the molecular determinants of Costello syndrome (CS) using a mouse model expressing HRAS p.G12S, patient skin fibroblasts, hiPSC-derived human cardiomyocytes, a HRAS p.G12V zebrafish model, and human fibroblasts expressing lentiviral constructs carrying HRAS p.G12S or HRAS p.G12A mutations. The findings revealed alteration of mitochondrial proteostasis and defective oxidative phosphorylation in the heart and skeletal muscle of CS mice that were also found in the cell models of the disease. The underpinning mechanisms involved the inhibition of the AMPK signaling pathway by mutant forms of HRAS, leading to alteration of mitochondrial proteostasis and bioenergetics. Pharmacological activation of mitochondrial bioenergetics and quality control restored organelle function in HRAS p.G12A and p.G12S cell models, reduced left ventricle hypertrophy in CS mice, and diminished the occurrence of developmental defects in the CS zebrafish model. Collectively, these findings highlight the importance of mitochondrial proteostasis and bioenergetics in the pathophysiology of RASopathies and suggest that patients with CS may benefit from treatment with mitochondrial modulators.

Authors

Laetitia Dard, Christophe Hubert, Pauline Esteves, Wendy Blanchard, Ghina Bou About, Lyla Baldasseroni, Elodie Dumon, Chloe Angelini, Mégane Delourme, Véronique Guyonnet-Dupérat, Stéphane Claverol, Laura Fontenille, Karima Kissa, Pierre-Emmanuel Séguéla, Jean-Benoît Thambo, Lévy Nicolas, Yann Herault, Nadège Bellance, Nivea Dias Amoedo, Frédérique Magdinier, Tania Sorg, Didier Lacombe, Rodrigue Rossignol

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Upregulated YB-1 protein promotes glioblastoma growth through a YB-1/CCT4/mLST8/mTOR pathway

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Abstract

Y-box–binding protein 1 (YB-1) is a multifunctional RNA binding protein involved in virtually every step of RNA metabolism. However, the functions and mechanisms of YB-1 in one of the most aggressive cancers, glioblastoma, are not well understood. In this study, we found that YB-1 protein was markedly overexpressed in glioblastoma and acted as a critical activator of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling. Mechanistically, YB-1 bound the 5′UTR of CCT4 mRNA to promote the translation of CCT4, a component of the CCT chaperone complex, that in turn activated the mTOR signaling pathway by promoting mLST8 folding. In addition, YB-1 autoregulated its own translation by binding to its 5′UTR, leading to sustained activation of mTOR signaling. In patients with glioblastoma, high protein expression of YB-1 correlated with increased expression of CCT4 and mLST8 and activated mTOR signaling. Importantly, the administration of RNA decoys specifically targeting YB-1 in a mouse xenograft model resulted in slower tumor growth and better survival. Taken together, these findings uncover a disrupted proteostasis pathway involving a YB-1/CCT4/mLST8/mTOR axis in promoting glioblastoma growth, suggesting that YB-1 is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of glioblastoma.

Authors

Jin-Zhu Wang, Hong Zhu, Pu You, Hui Liu, Wei-Kang Wang, Xiaojuan Fan, Yun Yang, Keren Xu, Yingfeng Zhu, Qunyi Li, Ping Wu, Chao Peng, Catherine C.L. Wong, Kaicheng Li, Yufeng Shi, Nu Zhang, Xiuxing Wang, Rong Zeng, Ying Huang, Liusong Yang, Zefeng Wang, Jingyi Hui

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Abstract

Cellular senescence plays an important role in human diseases, including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Senescent cells (SCs) produce the senescence-associated secretory phenotype to affect the function of neighboring cells and SCs themselves. Delayed fracture healing is common in the elderly and is accompanied by reduced mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs). However, the contribution of cellular senescence to fracture healing in the aged has not to our knowledge been studied. Here, we used C57BL/6J 4-month-old young and 20-month-old aged mice and demonstrated a rapid increase in SCs in the fracture callus of aged mice. The senolytic drugs dasatinib plus quercetin enhanced fracture healing in aged mice. Aged callus SCs inhibited the growth and proliferation of callus-derived MPCs (CaMPCs) and expressed high levels of TGF-β1. TGF-β–neutralizing Ab prevented the inhibitory effects of aged callus SCs on CaMPCs and promoted fracture healing in aged mice, which was associated with increased CaMPCs and proliferating cells. Thus, fracture triggered a significant cellular senescence in the callus cells of aged mice, which inhibited MPCs by expressing TGF-β1. Short-term administration of dasatinib plus quercetin depleted callus SCs and accelerated fracture healing in aged mice. Senolytic drugs represent a promising therapy, while TGF-β1 signaling is a molecular mechanism for fractures in the elderly via SCs.

Authors

Jiatong Liu, Jun Zhang, Xi Lin, Brendan F. Boyce, Hengwei Zhang, Lianping Xing

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Abstract

Mushroom spine loss and calcium dyshomeostasis are early hallmark events of age-related neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), that are connected with neuronal hyperactivity in early pathology of cognitive brain areas. However, it remains elusive how these key events are triggered at the molecular level for the neuronal abnormality that occurs at the initial stage of disease. Here, we identify downregulated miR-339-5p and its upregulated target protein, neuronatin (Nnat), in cortex neurons from the presenilin-1 M146V knockin (PSEN1-M146V KI) mouse model of familial AD (FAD). Inhibition of miR-339-5p or overexpression of Nnat recapitulates spine loss and endoplasmic reticulum calcium overload in cortical neurons with the PSEN1 mutation. Conversely, either overexpression of miR-339-5p or knockdown of Nnat restores spine morphogenesis and calcium homeostasis. We used fiber photometry recording during the object-cognitive process to further demonstrate that the PSEN1 mutant causes defective habituation in neuronal reaction in the retrosplenial cortex and that this can be rescued by restoring the miR-339-5p/Nnat pathway. Our findings thus reveal crucial roles of the miR-339-5p/Nnat pathway in FAD that may serve as potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets for early pathogenesis.

Authors

Hao-Yu Zou, Lin Guo, Bei Zhang, Si Chen, Xin-Rong Wu, Xian-Dong Liu, Xin-Yu Xu, Bin-Yin Li, Shengdi Chen, Nan-Jie Xu, Suya Sun

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Abstract

Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields), an approved therapy for glioblastoma (GBM) and malignant mesothelioma, employ noninvasive application of low-intensity, intermediate-frequency, alternating electric fields to disrupt the mitotic spindle, leading to chromosome missegregation and apoptosis. Emerging evidence suggests that TTFields may also induce inflammation. However, the mechanism underlying this property and whether it can be harnessed therapeutically are unclear. Here, we report that TTFields induced focal disruption of the nuclear envelope, leading to cytosolic release of large micronuclei clusters that intensely recruited and activated 2 major DNA sensors — cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) and absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) — and their cognate cGAS/stimulator of interferon genes (STING) and AIM2/caspase 1 inflammasomes to produce proinflammatory cytokines, type 1 interferons (T1IFNs), and T1IFN-responsive genes. In syngeneic murine GBM models, TTFields-treated GBM cells induced antitumor memory immunity and a cure rate of 42% to 66% in a STING- and AIM2-dependent manner. Using single-cell and bulk RNA sequencing of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, we detected robust post-TTFields activation of adaptive immunity in patients with GBM via a T1IFN-based trajectory and identified a gene panel signature of TTFields effects on T cell activation and clonal expansion. Collectively, these studies defined a therapeutic strategy using TTFields as cancer immunotherapy in GBM and potentially other solid tumors.

Authors

Dongjiang Chen, Son B. Le, Tarun E. Hutchinson, Anda-Alexandra Calinescu, Mathew Sebastian, Dan Jin, Tianyi Liu, Ashley Ghiaseddin, Maryam Rahman, David D. Tran

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Abstract

Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy, subcortical infarcts, and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is the most common monogenic form of small vessel disease characterized by migraine with aura, leukoaraiosis, strokes, and dementia. CADASIL mutations cause cerebrovascular dysfunction in both animal models and humans. Here, we showed that 2 different human CADASIL mutations (Notch3 R90C or R169C) worsen ischemic stroke outcomes in transgenic mice; this was explained by the higher blood flow threshold to maintain tissue viability compared with that in wild type (WT) mice. Both mutants developed larger infarcts and worse neurological deficits compared with WT mice, regardless of age or sex after filament middle cerebral artery occlusion. However, full-field laser speckle flowmetry during distal middle cerebral artery occlusion showed comparable perfusion deficits in mutants and their respective WT controls. Circle of Willis anatomy and pial collateralization also did not differ among the genotypes. In contrast, mutants had a higher cerebral blood flow threshold, below which infarction ensued, suggesting increased sensitivity of brain tissue to ischemia. Electrophysiological recordings revealed a 1.5- to 2-fold higher frequency of peri-infarct spreading depolarizations in CADASIL mutants. Higher extracellular K+ elevations during spreading depolarizations in the mutants implicated a defect in extracellular K+ clearance. Altogether, these data reveal a mechanism of enhanced vulnerability to ischemic injury linked to abnormal extracellular ion homeostasis and susceptibility to ischemic depolarizations in CADASIL.

Authors

Fumiaki Oka, Jeong Hyun Lee, Izumi Yuzawa, Mei Li, Daniel von Bornstaedt, Katharina Eikermann-Haerter, Tao Qin, David Y. Chung, Homa Sadeghian, Jessica L. Seidel, Takahiko Imai, Doga Vuralli, Rosangela M. Platt, Mark T. Nelson, Anne Joutel, Sava Sakadzic, Cenk Ayata

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Abstract

SMAD4, a mediator of TGF-β signaling, plays an important role in T cells to prevent inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the precise mechanisms underlying this control remain elusive. Using both genetic and epigenetic approaches, we revealed an unexpected mechanism by which SMAD4 prevents naive CD8+ T cells from becoming pathogenic for the gut. Prior to the engagement of the TGF-β receptor, SMAD4 restrains the epigenetic, transcriptional, and functional landscape of the TGF-β signature in naive CD8+ T cells. Mechanistically, prior to TGF-β signaling, SMAD4 binds to promoters and enhancers of several TGF-β target genes, and by regulating histone deacetylation, suppresses their expression. Consequently, regardless of a TGF-β signal, SMAD4 limits the expression of TGF-β negative feedback loop genes, such as Smad7 and Ski, and likely conditions CD8+ T cells for the immunoregulatory effects of TGF-β. In addition, SMAD4 ablation conferred naive CD8+ T cells with both a superior survival capacity, by enhancing their response to IL-7, as well as an enhanced capacity to be retained within the intestinal epithelium, by promoting the expression of Itgae, which encodes the integrin CD103. Accumulation, epithelial retention, and escape from TGF-β control elicited chronic microbiota-driven CD8+ T cell activation in the gut. Hence, in a TGF-β–independent manner, SMAD4 imprints a program that preconditions naive CD8+ T cell fate, preventing IBD.

Authors

Ramdane Igalouzene, Hector Hernandez-Vargas, Nicolas Benech, Alexandre Guyennon, David Bauché, Célia Barrachina, Emeric Dubois, Julien C. Marie, Saïdi M’Homa Soudja

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Abstract

The gut microbiome shapes local and systemic immunity. The liver is presumed to be a protected sterile site. As such, a hepatic microbiome has not been examined. Here, we showed a liver microbiome in mice and humans that is distinct from that of the gut and is enriched in Proteobacteria. It undergoes dynamic alterations with age and is influenced by the environment and host physiology. Fecal microbial transfer experiments revealed that the liver microbiome is populated from the gut in a highly selective manner. Hepatic immunity is dependent on the microbiome, specifically the bacteroidetes species. Targeting bacteroidetes with oral antibiotics reduced hepatic immune cells by approximately 90%, prevented antigen-presenting cell (APC) maturation, and mitigated adaptive immunity. Mechanistically, our findings are consistent with presentation of bacteroidetes-derived glycosphingolipids to NKT cells promoting CCL5 signaling, which drives hepatic leukocyte expansion and activation, among other possible host-microbe interactions. Collectively, we reveal a microbial/glycosphingolipid/NKT/CCL5 axis that underlies hepatic immunity.

Authors

Joshua C. Leinwand, Bidisha Paul, Ruonan Chen, Fangxi Xu, Maria A. Sierra, Madan M. Paluru, Sumant Nanduri, Carolina G. Alcantara, Sorin A.A. Shadaloey, Fan Yang, Salma A. Adam, Qianhao Li, Michelle Bandel, Inderdeep Gakhal, Lara Appiah, Yuqi Guo, Mridula Vardhan, Zia Flaminio, Emilie R. Grodman, Ari Mermelstein, Wei Wang, Brian Diskin, Berk Aykut, Mohammad Khan, Gregor Werba, Smruti Pushalkar, Mia McKinstry, Zachary Kluger, Jaimie J. Park, Brandon Hsieh, Kristen Dancel-Manning, Feng-Xia Liang, James S. Park, Anjana Saxena, Xin Li, Neil D. Theise, Deepak Saxena, George Miller

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Abstract

Mice with experimental nerve damage can display long‑lasting neuropathic pain behavior. We show here that 4 months and later after nerve injury, male but not female mice displayed telomere length (TL) reduction and p53‑mediated cellular senescence in the spinal cord, resulting in maintenance of pain and associated with decreased lifespan. Nerve injury increased the number of p53‑positive spinal cord neurons, astrocytes, and microglia, but only in microglia was the increase male‑specific, matching a robust sex specificity of TL reduction in this cell type, which has been previously implicated in male‑specific pain processing. Pain hypersensitivity was reversed by repeated intrathecal administration of a p53‑specific senolytic peptide, only in male mice and only many months after injury. Analysis of UK Biobank data revealed sex-specific relevance of this pathway in humans, featuring male‑specific genetic association of the human p53 locus (TP53) with chronic pain and a male-specific effect of chronic pain on mortality. Our findings demonstrate the existence of a biological mechanism maintaining pain behavior, at least in males, occurring much later than the time span of virtually all extant preclinical studies.

Authors

Arjun Muralidharan, Susana G. Sotocinal, Noosha Yousefpour, Nur Akkurt, Lucas V. Lima, Shannon Tansley, Marc Parisien, Chengyang Wang, Jean-Sebastien Austin, Boram Ham, Gabrielle M.G.S. Dutra, Philippe Rousseau, Sioui Maldonado-Bouchard, Teleri Clark, Sarah F. Rosen, Mariam R. Majeed, Olivia Silva, Rachel Nejade, Xinyu Li, Stephania Donayre Pimentel, Christopher S. Nielsen, G. Gregory Neely, Chantal Autexier, Luda Diatchenko, Alfredo Ribeiro-da-Silva, Jeffrey S. Mogil

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Abstract

Proper myelination of axons is crucial for normal sensory, motor, and cognitive function. Abnormal myelination is seen in brain disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD), but the molecular mechanisms connecting demyelination with the pathobiology remain largely unknown. We observed demyelination and synaptic deficits in mice exposed to either chronic, unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) or LPS, 2 paradigms for inducing depression-like states. Pharmacological restoration of myelination normalized both synaptic deficits and depression-related behaviors. Furthermore, we found increased ephrin A4 receptor (EphA4) expression in the excitatory neurons of mice subjected to CUMS, and shRNA knockdown of EphA4 prevented demyelination and depression-like behaviors. These animal data are consistent with the decrease in myelin basic protein and the increase in EphA4 levels we observed in postmortem brain samples from patients with MDD. Our results provide insights into the etiology of depressive symptoms in some patients and suggest that inhibition of EphA4 or the promotion of myelination could be a promising strategy for treating depression.

Authors

Yuan Li, Ping Su, Yuxiang Chen, Jing Nie, Ti-Fei Yuan, Albert H.C. Wong, Fang Liu

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Abstract

IFN-γ–stimulated MHC class I (MHC-I) antigen presentation underlies the core of antitumor immunity. However, sustained IFN-γ signaling also enhances the programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) checkpoint pathway to dampen antitumor immunity. It remains unclear how these opposing effects of IFN-γ are regulated. Here, we report that loss of the histone dimethyltransferase WHSC1 impaired the antitumor effect of IFN-γ signaling by transcriptional downregulation of the MHC-I machinery without affecting PD-L1 expression in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Whsc1 loss promoted tumorigenesis via a non-cell-autonomous mechanism in an Apcmin/+ mouse model, CRC organoids, and xenografts. Mechanistically, we found that the IFN-γ/STAT1 signaling axis stimulated WHSC1 expression and, in turn, that WHSC1 directly interacted with NLRC5 to promote MHC-I gene expression, but not that of PD-L1. Concordantly, silencing Whsc1 diminished MHC-I levels, impaired antitumor immunity, and blunted the effect of immune checkpoint blockade. Patient cohort analysis revealed that WHSC1 expression positively correlated with enhanced MHC-I expression, tumor-infiltrating T cells, and favorable disease outcomes. Together, our findings establish a tumor-suppressive function of WHSC1 that relays IFN-γ signaling to promote antigen presentation on CRC cells and provide a rationale for boosting WHSC1 activity in immunotherapy.

Authors

Jiale Ren, Ni Li, Siyu Pei, Yannan Lian, Li Li, Yuchong Peng, Qiuli Liu, Jiacheng Guo, Xuege Wang, Ying Han, Guoying Zhang, Hanling Wang, Yaqi Li, Jun Jiang, Qintong Li, Minjia Tan, Junjie Peng, Guohong Hu, Yichuan Xiao, Xiong Li, Moubin Lin, Jun Qin

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Abstract

Collagens in the extracellular matrix (ECM) provide a physical barrier to tumor immune infiltration, while also acting as a ligand for immune inhibitory receptors. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a key contributor to shaping the ECM by stimulating the production and remodeling of collagens. TGF-β activation signatures and collagen-rich environments have both been associated with T cell exclusion and lack of responses to immunotherapy. Here, we describe the effect of targeting collagens that signal through the inhibitory leukocyte-associated immunoglobulin-like receptor-1 (LAIR-1) in combination with blockade of TGF-β and programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). This approach remodeled the tumor collagenous matrix, enhanced tumor infiltration and activation of CD8+ T cells, and repolarized suppressive macrophage populations, resulting in high cure rates and long-term tumor-specific protection across murine models of colon and mammary carcinoma. The results highlight the advantage of direct targeting of ECM components in combination with immune checkpoint blockade therapy.

Authors

Lucas A. Horn, Paul L. Chariou, Sofia R. Gameiro, Haiyan Qin, Masafumi Iida, Kristen Fousek, Thomas J. Meyer, Margaret Cam, Dallas Flies, Solomon Langermann, Jeffrey Schlom, Claudia Palena

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Abstract

Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is an immunosuppressive cytokine that signals through STAT3 to regulate T follicular helper (Tfh) cell differentiation and germinal center formation. In SIV-infected macaques, levels of IL-10 in plasma and lymph nodes (LNs) were induced by infection and not normalized with antiretroviral therapy (ART). During chronic infection, plasma IL-10 and transcriptomic signatures of IL-10 signaling were correlated with the cell-associated SIV-DNA content within LN CD4+ memory subsets, including Tfh cells, and predicted the frequency of CD4+ Tfh cells and their cell-associated SIV-DNA content during ART, respectively. In ART-treated rhesus macaques, cells harboring SIV-DNA by DNAscope were preferentially found in the LN B cell follicle in proximity to IL-10. Finally, we demonstrated that the in vivo neutralization of soluble IL-10 in ART-treated, SIV-infected macaques reduced B cell follicle maintenance and, by extension, LN memory CD4+ T cells, including Tfh cells and those expressing PD-1 and CTLA-4. Thus, these data support a role for IL-10 in maintaining a pool of target cells in lymphoid tissue that serve as a niche for viral persistence. Targeting IL-10 signaling to impair CD4+ T cell survival and improve antiviral immune responses may represent a novel approach to limit viral persistence in ART-suppressed people living with HIV.

Authors

Justin Harper, Susan P. Ribeiro, Chi Ngai Chan, Malika Aid, Claire Deleage, Luca Micci, Maria Pino, Barbara Cervasi, Gopalan Raghunathan, Eric Rimmer, Gulesi Ayanoglu, Guoxin Wu, Neeta Shenvi, Richard J.O. Barnard, Gregory Q. Del Prete, Kathleen Busman-Sahay, Guido Silvestri, Deanna A. Kulpa, Steven E. Bosinger, Kirk A. Easley, Bonnie J. Howell, Dan Gorman, Daria J. Hazuda, Jacob D. Estes, Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, Mirko Paiardini

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Abstract

Latency reversal strategies for HIV cure using inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) antagonists (IAPi) induce unprecedented levels of latent reservoir expression without immunotoxicity during suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, full targeting of the reservoir may require combinatorial approaches. A Jurkat latency model screen for IAPi combination partners demonstrated synergistic latency reversal with bromodomain (BD) and extraterminal domain protein inhibitors (BETi). Mechanistic investigations using CRISPR-CAS9 and single-cell RNA-Seq informed comprehensive ex vivo evaluations of IAPi plus pan-BET, bD-selective BET, or selective BET isoform targeting in CD4+ T cells from ART-suppressed donors. IAPi+BETi treatment resulted in striking induction of cell-associated HIV gag RNA, but lesser induction of fully elongated and tat-rev RNA compared with T cell activation–positive controls. IAPi+BETi resulted in HIV protein induction in bulk cultures of CD4+ T cells using an ultrasensitive p24 assay, but did not result in enhanced viral outgrowth frequency using a standard quantitative viral outgrowth assay. This study defines HIV transcriptional elongation and splicing as important barriers to latent HIV protein expression following latency reversal, delineates the roles of BET proteins and their BDs in HIV latency, and provides a rationale for exploration of IAPi+BETi in animal models of HIV latency.

Authors

Shane D. Falcinelli, Jackson J. Peterson, Anne-Marie W. Turner, David Irlbeck, Jenna Read, Samuel L.M. Raines, Katherine S. James, Cameron Sutton, Anthony Sanchez, Ann Emery, Gavin Sampey, Robert Ferris, Brigitte Allard, Simon Ghofrani, Jennifer L. Kirchherr, Caroline Baker, JoAnn D. Kuruc, Cynthia L. Gay, Lindsey I. James, Guoxin Wu, Paul Zuck, Inmaculada Rioja, Rebecca C. Furze, Rab K. Prinjha, Bonnie J. Howell, Ronald Swanstrom, Edward P. Browne, Brian D. Strahl, Richard M. Dunham, Nancie M. Archin, David M. Margolis

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Abstract

AbstractType 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AEC2s) function as progenitor cells in the lung. We have shown previously that failure of AEC2 regeneration results in progressive lung fibrosis in mice and is a cardinal feature of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). In this study, we identified a deficiency of a specific zinc transporter SLC39A8 (ZIP8) in AEC2s from both IPF lungs and lungs of old mice. Loss of ZIP8 expression was associated with impaired renewal capacity of AEC2s and enhanced lung fibrosis. ZIP8 regulation of AEC2 progenitor function was dependent on SIRT1. Replenishment with exogenous zinc and SIRT1 activation promoted self-renewal and differentiation of AEC2s from lung tissues of IPF patients and old mice. Deletion of Zip8 in AEC2s in mice impaired AEC2 renewal, increased susceptibility of the mice to bleomycin injury, and the mice developed spontaneous lung fibrosis. Therapeutic strategies to restore zinc metabolism and appropriate SIRT1 signaling could improve AEC2 progenitor function and mitigate ongoing fibrogenesis.

Authors

Jiurong Liang, Guanling Huang, Xue Liu, Forough Taghavifar, Ningshan Liu, Yizhou Wang, Nan Deng, Changfu Yao, Ting Xie, Vrishika Kulur, Kristy Dai, Ankita Burman, Simon C. Rowan, S. Samuel Weigt, John Belperio, Barry Stripp, William C. Parks, Dianhua Jiang, Paul W. Noble

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Abstract

Subendothelial macrophage internalization of modified lipids and foam cell formation are hallmarks of atherosclerosis. Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) are involved in various cellular activities; however, their role in foam cell formation is not fully understood. Here, using a loss-of-function lipid accumulation screening, we identified ubiquitin-specific peptidase 9 X-linked (USP9X) as a factor that suppressed lipid uptake in macrophages. We found that USP9X expression in lesional macrophages was reduced during atherosclerosis development in both humans and rodents. Atherosclerotic lesions from macrophage USP9X-deficient mice showed increased macrophage infiltration, lipid deposition, and necrotic core content than control apolipoprotein E-knockout (Apoe-/-) mice. Additionally, loss-of-function USP9X exacerbated lipid uptake, foam cell formation and inflammatory responses in macrophages. Mechanistically, the class A1 scavenger receptor (SR-A1) was identified as a USP9X substrate that removed the K63 polyubiquitin chain at the K27 site. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of USP9X increased SR-A1 cell surface internalization following binding of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL). The K27R mutation of SR-A1 dramatically attenuated basal and USP9X knockdown-induced ox-LDL uptake. Moreover, blocking binding of USP9X to SR-A1 with a cell-penetrating peptide exacerbated foam cell formation and atherosclerosis. In this study, we identified macrophage USP9X as a beneficial regulator of atherosclerosis and revealed the specific mechanisms for the development of potential therapeutic strategies for atherosclerosis.

Authors

Biqing Wang, Xuening Tang, Liu Yao, Yuxin Wang, Zhipeng Chen, Mengqi Li, Naishi Wu, Dawei Wu, Xiangchen Dai, Hongfeng Jiang, Ding Ai

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Abstract

PRAME is a prominent member of the cancer germline antigen family of proteins, which triggers autologous T-cell mediated immune responses. Integrative genomic analysis in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) uncovered recurrent, and highly focal deletions of 22q11.22 including the PRAME gene, which were associated with poor outcome. PRAME-deleted tumors showed cytotoxic T-cell immune escape and were associated with cold tumor microenvironments. In addition, PRAME down-modulation was strongly associated with somatic EZH2 Y641 mutations in DLBCL. In turn, PRC2-regulated genes were repressed in isogenic PRAME KO lymphoma cell lines and PRAME was found to directly interact with EZH2 as a negative regulator. EZH2 inhibition with EPZ-6438 abrogated these extrinsic and intrinsic effects leading to PRAME expression and microenvironment restoration in vivo. Our data highlight multiple functions of PRAME during lymphomagenesis, and provide a preclinical rationale for synergistic therapies combining epigenetic re-programming with PRAME-targeted therapies.

Authors

Katsuyoshi Takata, Lauren C. Chong, Daisuke Ennishi, Tomohiro Aoki, Michael Yu Li, Avinash Thakur, Shannon Healy, Elena Viganò, Tao Dao, Daniel Kwon, Gerben Duns, Julie S. Nielsen, Susana Ben-Neriah, Ethan Tse, Stacy S. Hung, Merrill Boyle, Sung Soo Mun, Christopher M. Bourne, Bruce Woolcock, Adèle H. Telenius, Makoto Kishida, Shinya Rai, Allen W. Zhang, Ali Bashashati, Saeed Saberi, Gianluca D' Antonio, Brad H. Nelson, Sohrab P. Shah, Pamela A. Hoodless, Ari M. Melnick, Randy D. Gascoyne, Joseph M. Connors, David A. Scheinberg, Wendy Béguelin, David W. Scott, Christian Steidl

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Abstract

Enhanced de novo lipogenesis mediated by sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) is thought to be involved in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) pathogenesis. In this study, we assessed the impact of SREBP inhibition on NASH and liver cancer development in murine models. Unexpectedly, SREBP inhibition via deletion of the SREBP cleavage-activating protein (SCAP) in the liver exacerbated liver injury, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis, despite markedly reduced hepatic steatosis. These phenotypes were ameliorated by restoring SREBP function. Transcriptome and lipidome analyses revealed that SCAP–SREBP pathway inhibition altered the fatty acid (FA) composition of phosphatidylcholines due to both impaired FA synthesis and disorganized FA incorporation into phosphatidylcholine via lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 3 (LPCAT3) downregulation, which led to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and hepatocyte injury. Supplementation of phosphatidylcholines significantly improved liver injury and ER stress induced by SCAP deletion. The activity of SCAP-SREBP-LPCAT3 axis was found inversely associated with liver fibrosis severity in human NASH. SREBP inhibition also cooperated with impaired autophagy to trigger liver injury. Thus, excessively strong and broad lipogenesis inhibition was counterproductive for NASH therapy, which will have important clinical implications in NASH treatment.

Authors

Satoshi Kawamura, Yuki Matsushita, Shigeyuki Kurosaki, Mizuki Tange, Naoto Fujiwara, Yuki Hayata, Yoku Hayakawa, Nobumi Suzuki, Masahiro Hata, Mayo Tsuboi, Takahiro Kishikawa, Hiroto Kinoshita, Takuma Nakatsuka, Masaya Sato, Yotaro Kudo, Yujin Hoshida, Atsushi Umemura, Akiko Eguchi, Tsuneo Ikenoue, Yoshihiro Hirata, Motonari Uesugi, Ryosuke Tateishi, Keisuke Tateishi, Mitsuhiro Fujishiro, Kazuhiko Koike, Hayato Nakagawa

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Abstract

Virus-specific CD8+ T cells play a central role in HIV-1 natural controllers to maintain suppressed viremia in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. These cells display a memory program that confers them stemness properties, high survival, polyfunctionality, proliferative capacity, metabolic plasticity, and antiviral potential. The development and maintenance of such qualities by memory CD8+ T cells appear crucial to achieving natural HIV-1 control. Here we show that targeting the signaling pathways Wnt/TCF-1 and mTORC through GSK3 inhibition to reprogram HIV-specific CD8+ T cells from non-controllers promoted functional capacities associated with natural control of infection. Features of such reprogrammed cells included the enrichment in TCF-1+ less-differentiated subsets, superior response to antigen, enhanced survival, polyfunctionality, metabolic plasticity, less mTORC1-dependency, improved response to γ-chain cytokines and stronger HIV suppressive capacity. Thus, such CD8+ T cell reprogramming, combined with other available immunomodulators, might represent a promising strategy for adoptive cell therapy in the search for an HIV-1 cure.

Authors

Federico Perdomo-Celis, Caroline Passaes, Valérie Monceaux, Stevenn Volant, Faroudy Boufassa, Pierre de Truchis, Morgane Marcou, Katia Bourdic, Laurence Weiss, Corinne Jung, Christine Bourgeois, Cécile Goujard, Laurence Meyer, Michaela Müller-Trutwin, Olivier Lambotte, Asier Sáez-Cirión

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April 2022 JCI This Month

JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.

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Review Series - More

New Therapeutic Targets in Cardiovascular Diseases

Series edited by Daniel P. Kelly

Cardiovascular diseases remain a leading cause of death worldwide, and treatment is complicated by the inadequacies of available therapies. This collection of reviews, developed by Daniel P. Kelly, explores emerging strategies for treating a range of cardiac pathologies, including: recent discoveries of epigenetic regulators that can be targeted to combat cardiac fibrosis, state of the art in genome-editing therapies, interactions of the vascular endothelium with metabolic tissues, current understanding of myosin modulators, and novel targets for treating dyslipidemia. Together, the reviews provide a broad update on numerous advances in cardiovascular medicine.

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