Neurofibromatosis type 1 associates with multiple neoplasms and the Schwann cell tumor neurofibroma is the most prevalent. A hallmark feature of neurofibroma is mast cell infiltration which is recruited by chemoattractant stem cell factor (SCF) that has been suggested to sustain neurofibroma tumorigenesis. In this study, using new genetically engineered Scf mice, we decipher the contributions of tumor-derived SCF and mast cells to neurofibroma development. We demonstrate that mast cell infiltration is dependent on SCF from tumor Schwann cells. However, removal of mast cells by depleting this main SCF source only slightly affects neurofibroma progression. Other inflammation signatures show that all neurofibromas are associated with high levels of macrophages regardless of Scf status. These findings suggest an active inflammation in neurofibromas and partly explain why mast cell removal alone is not sufficient to relieve tumor burden in this experimental neurofibroma model. Furthermore, we show that plexiform neurofibromas are highly associated with injury-prone spinal nerves that are close to flexible vertebras. In summary, our study details the role of inflammation in neurofibromagenesis. These data paired with the observed tumor locations indicate that prevention of inflammation, and possibly nerve injury, are therapeutic approaches for neurofibroma prophylaxis and treatment that should be explored.
Chung-Ping Liao, Reid C. Booker, Jean-Philippe Brosseau, Zhiguo Chen, Juan Mo, Edem Tchegnon, Yong Wang, D. Wade Clapp, Lu Q. Le
Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are PPARγ agonists with potent insulin-sensitizing effects. However, their use has been curtailed by significant adverse effects on weight, bone, heart, and hemodynamic balance. TZDs induce the deacetylation of PPARγ on K268 and K293 to cause the browning of white adipocytes. Here we showed that targeted PPARγ mutations resulting in constitutive deacetylation (K268R/K293R, 2KR) increased energy expenditure, and protected from visceral adiposity and diet-induced obesity by augmenting brown remodeling of white adipose tissues. Strikingly, when 2KR mice were treated with rosiglitazone, they maintained the insulin-sensitizing, glucose-lowering response to TZDs, while displaying little, if any, adverse effects on fat deposition, bone density, fluid retention, and cardiac hypertrophy. Thus, deacetylation appears to fulfill the goal of dissociating the metabolic benefits of PPARγ activation from its adverse effects. Strategies to leverage PPARγ deacetylation may lead to the design of safer, more effective agonists of this nuclear receptor in the treatment of metabolic diseases.
Michael J. Kraakman, Qiongming Liu, Jorge Postigo-Fernandez, Ruiping Ji, Ning Kon, Delfina Larrea, Maria Namwanje, Lihong Fan, Michelle Chan, Estela Area-Gomez, Wenxian Fu, Remi J. Creusot, Li Qiang
Emerging data suggest that hypercholesterolemia has stimulatory effects on adaptive immunity and that these effects can promote atherosclerosis and perhaps other inflammatory diseases. However, research in this area has relied primarily on inbred strains of mice, whose adaptive immune system can differ substantially from that of humans. Moreover, the genetically induced hypercholesterolemia in these models typically results in plasma cholesterol levels that are much higher than those in most humans. To overcome these obstacles, we studied human immune system-reconstituted mice (hu-mice) rendered hypercholesterolemic by treatment with AAV8- PCSK9 and a high-fat/high-cholesterol Western-type diet (WD). These mice had a high percentage of human T cells and moderate hypercholesterolemia. Compared with hu-mice having lower plasma cholesterol, the PCSK9-WD mice developed a T cell-mediated inflammatory response in the lung and liver. Human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells bearing an effector memory phenotype were significantly elevated in the blood, spleen, and lungs of PCSK9-WD hu-mice, while splenic and circulating regulatory T cells were reduced. These data show that moderately high plasma cholesterol can disrupt human T cell homeostasis in vivo. This process may not only exacerbate atherosclerosis but also contribute to T cell-mediated inflammatory diseases in the setting of hypercholesterolemia.
Jonathan D. Proto, Amanda C. Doran, Manikandan Subramanian, Hui Wang, Mingyou Zhang, Erdi Sozen, Christina Rymond, George Kuriakose, Vivette D'Agati, Robert Winchester, Megan Sykes, Yong-Guang Yang, Ira Tabas
Despite significant advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), most patients succumb to disease progression. One of the major immunosuppressive mechanisms that is believed to play a role in myeloma progression, is the expansion of regulatory T-cells (Tregs). In this study, we demonstrate that myeloma cells drive Treg expansion and activation by secreting type-1 interferon (IFN). Blocking IFNAR1 (interferon alpha and beta receptor 1) on Tregs significantly decreases both, myeloma-associated Treg immunosuppressive function and myeloma progression. Using syngeneic transplantable murine myeloma models and bone marrow (BM) aspirates of multiple myeloma patients, we found that Tregs were expanded and activated in the BM microenvironment at early stages of myeloma development. Selective depletion of Tregs led to a complete remission and prolonged survival in mice injected with myeloma cells. Further analysis of the interaction between myeloma cells and Tregs using gene sequencing and enrichment analysis uncovered a feedback loop, wherein myeloma-cell-secreted type-1 IFN induced proliferation and expansion of Tregs. By using IFNAR1-blocking antibody treatment and IFNAR1 knockout Tregs, we demonstrated a significant decrease in myeloma-associated Treg proliferation, which was associated with longer survival of myeloma-injected mice. Our results thus suggest that blocking type-1 IFN signaling represents a potential strategy to target immunosuppressive Treg function in MM.
Yawara Kawano, Oksana Zavidij, Jihye Park, Michele Moschetta, Katsutoshi Kokubun, Tarek H. Mouhieddine, Salomon Manier, Yuji Mishima, Naoka Murakami, Mark Bustoros, Romanos Sklavenitis Pistofidis, Mairead Reidy, Yu J. Shen, Mahshid Rahmat, Pavlo Lukyanchykov, Esilida Sula Karreci, Shokichi Tsukamoto, Jiantao Shi, Satoshi Takagi, Daisy Huynh, Antonio Sacco, Yu-Tzu Tai, Marta Chesi, P. Leif Bergsagel, Aldo M. Roccaro, Jamil Azzi, Irene M. Ghobrial
Cell death is a key driver of disease progression and carcinogenesis in chronic liver disease (CLD), highlighted by the well-established clinical correlation between hepatocellular death and risk for the development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Moreover, hepatocellular death is sufficient to trigger fibrosis and HCC in mice. However, the pathways through which cell death drives CLD progression remain elusive. Here, we tested the hypothesis that high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) with key roles in acute liver injury, may link cell death to injury responses and hepatocarcinogenesis in CLD. While liver-specific HMGB1 deficiency did not significantly affect chronic injury responses such as fibrosis, regeneration and inflammation, it inhibited ductular/progenitor cell expansion and hepatocyte metaplasia. HMGB1 promoted ductular expansion independently of active secretion in a non-autonomous fashion, consistent with its role as DAMP. Liver-specific HMGB1 deficiency reduced HCC development in three models with chronic injury but not in a model lacking chronic liver injury. Similar to CLD, HMGB1 ablation reduced the expression of progenitor and oncofetal markers, a key determinant of HCC aggressiveness, in tumors. In summary, HMGB1 links hepatocyte death to ductular reaction, progenitor signature and hepatocarcinogenesis in CLD.
Céline Hernandez, Peter Huebener, Jean-Philippe Pradere, Daniel J. Antoine, Richard A. Friedman, Robert F. Schwabe
Autophagy is important for liver homeostasis and the deficiency leads to injury, inflammation, ductular reaction (DR), fibrosis, and tumorigenesis. It is not clear how these events are mechanistically linked to autophagy deficiency. Here we reveal the role of highmobility group box 1 (HMGB1) in two of these processes. First, HMGB1 was required for DR, which represents the expansion of hepatic progenitor cells (HPC) implicated in liver repair and regeneration. DR caused by hepatic toxic diets (DDC or CDE) also depended on HMGB1, indicating that HMGB1 may be generally required for DR in various injury scenarios. Second, HMGB1 promoted tumor development in autophagy deficient livers. Receptor for advanced glycation end product (RAGE), a receptor for HMGB1, was required in the same two processes, and could mediate HMGB1’s proliferative effects in isolated HPC. HMGB1 was released from autophagy-deficient hepatocytes independently of cellular injury, but depending on NRF2 and inflammasome, which was activated by NRF2. Pharmacological or genetic activation of NRF2 alone without disabling autophagy or causing injury was sufficient to cause inflammasomedependent HMGB1 release. In conclusion, HMGB1 release is a critical mechanism in hepatic pathogenesis under the autophagy deficient condition, which leads to HPC expansion but also tumor development.
Bilon Khambu, Nazmul Huda, Xiaoyun Chen, Daniel J. Antoine, Yong Li, Guoli Dai, Ulrike A. Köhler, Wei-Xing Zong, Satoshi Waguri, Sabine Werner, Tim D. Oury, Zheng Dong, Xiao-Ming Yin
Adult vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) possess the peculiar ability to de-differentiate in response to extracellular cues, such as vascular damage and inflammation. De-differentiated VSMCs are proliferative, migratory, and have decreased contractile capacity. VSMC dedifferentiation contributes not only to vascular repair, but also to cardiovascular pathologies, such as intimal hyperplasia/restenosis in coronary artery or peripheral vascular diseases and arterial aneurysm. We here demonstrate the role of ubiquitin-like, containing PHD and RING finger domains, 1 (UHRF1) as an epigenetic master regulator of VSMC plasticity. The expression of UHRF1 correlates with the development of a wide array of vascular pathologies associated also with modulation of non-coding RNAs, such as microRNAs. Importantly, miR-145, a pivotal gene regulating VSMC plasticity, which is reduced in vascular diseases, was found to control Uhrf1 mRNA translation. In turn, UHRF1 triggers VSMC proliferation by directly repressing the promoters of cell cycle inhibitor genes, such as p21 and p27, and of key pro-differentiation genes via the methylation of DNA and histones. Local vascular viral delivery of Uhrf1 shRNAs or Uhrf1 VSMC-specific deletion prevented intimal hyperplasia in mouse carotid artery and decreased vessel damage in a mouse model of aortic aneurysm.Our study demonstrates the fundamental role of Uhrf1 in regulating VSMC phenotype by promoting proliferation and de-differentiation. UHRF1 targeting may hold therapeutic potential in vascular pathologies, modulating also the VSMC component.
Leonardo Elia, Paolo Kunderfranco, Pierluigi Carullo, Marco Vacchiano, Floriana Maria Farina, Ignacio Fernando Hall, Stefano Mantero, Cristina Panico, Roberto Papait, Gianluigi Condorelli, Manuela Quintavalle
Single cancer cell sequencing studies currently use randomly-selected cells, limiting correlations between genomic aberrations, morphology and spatial localization. We laser-captured microdissected single cells from morphologically-distinct areas of primary breast cancer and corresponding lymph node metastasis and performed whole-exome or deep-target sequencing of greater than 100 such cells. Two major subclones co-existed in different areas of the primary tumor, and the lymph node metastasis originated from a minor subclone in the invasive front of the primary tumor with additional copy number changes including 8q gain, but no additional point mutations in driver genes. Lack of metastasis-specific driver events lead us to assess whether other clonal and subclonal genomic aberrations pre-existing in primary tumors contribute to lymph node metastasis. Gene mutations and copy number variations analyzed in five breast cancer tissue sample sets revealed that copy number variations in several genomic regions, including areas within chromosome 1p, 8q, 9p, 12q and 20q, harboring several metastasis-associated genes, were consistently associated with lymph node metastasis. Moreover, clonal expansion was observed in an area of morphologically-normal breast epithelia, likely driven by a driver mutation and a subsequent amplification in chromosome 1q. Our study illuminates the molecular evolution of breast cancer and genomic aberrations contributing to metastases.
Li Bao, Zhaoyang Qian, Maria B. Lyng, Ling Wang, Yuan Yu, Ting Wang, Xiuqing Zhang, Huanming Yang, Nils Brünner, Jun Wang, Henrik J. Ditzel
Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is an intractable complication of diabetes that affects 25% of patients. PDN is characterized by neuropathic pain and small-fiber degeneration, accompanied by dorsal root ganglion (DRG) nociceptor hyperexcitability and loss of their axons within the skin. The molecular mechanisms underlying DRG nociceptor hyperexcitability and small-fiber degeneration in PDN are unknown. We hypothesize that chemokine CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling is central to this mechanism, as we have shown that CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling is necessary for the development of mechanical allodynia, a pain hypersensitivity behavior common in PDN. Focusing on DRG neurons expressing the sodium channel Nav1.8, we applied transgenic, electrophysiological, imaging, and chemogenetic techniques to test this hypothesis. In the high-fat diet mouse model of PDN, we were able to prevent and reverse mechanical allodynia and small-fiber degeneration by limiting CXCR4 signaling or neuronal excitability. This study reveals that excitatory CXCR4/CXCL12 signaling in Nav1.8-positive DRG neurons plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of mechanical allodynia and small-fiber degeneration in a mouse model of PDN. Hence, we propose that targeting CXCR4-mediated DRG nociceptor hyperexcitability is a promising therapeutic approach for disease-modifying treatments for this currently intractable and widespread affliction.
Nirupa D. Jayaraj, Bula J. Bhattacharyya, Abdelhak A. Belmadani, Dongjun Ren, Craig A. Rathwell, Sandra Hackelberg, Brittany E. Hopkins, Herschel R. Gupta, Richard J. Miller, Daniela M. Menichella
Recent studies reveal that airway epithelial cells are critical pulmonary circadian pacemaker cells, mediating rhythmic inflammatory responses. Using mouse models, we now identify the rhythmic circadian repressor REV-ERB as essential to the mechanism coupling the pulmonary clock to innate immunity, involving both myeloid, and bronchial epithelial cells in temporal gating and determining amplitude of response to inhaled endotoxin. Dual mutation of REV-ERBα and its paralog REV-ERBβ in bronchial epithelia further augmented inflammatory responses and chemokine activation, but also initiated a basal inflammatory state, revealing a critical homeostatic role for REV-ERB proteins in the suppression of the endogenous pro-inflammatory mechanism in un-challenged cells. However, REV-ERBα plays the dominant role as deletion of REV-ERBβ alone had no impact on inflammatory responses. In turn, inflammatory challenges cause striking changes in stability and degradation of REV-ERBα protein, driven by SUMOylation and ubiquitination. We developed a novel selective oxazole-based inverse agonist of REV-ERB, which protects REV-ERBα protein from degradation and used this to reveal how pro-inflammatory cytokines trigger rapid degradation of REV-ERα in the elaboration of an inflammatory response. Thus, dynamic changes in stability of REV-ERα protein couple the core clock to innate immunity.
Marie Pariollaud, Julie Gibbs, Thomas Hopwood, Sheila Brown, Nicola Begley, Ryan Vonslow, Toryn Poolman, Baoqiang Guo, Ben Saer, D. Heulyn Jones, James P. Tellam, Stefano Bresciani, Nicholas C.O. Tomkinson, Justyna Wojno-Picon, Anthony W.J. Cooper, Dion A. Daniels, Ryan P. Trump, Daniel Grant, William Zuercher, Timothy M. Willson, Andrew S. MacDonald, Brian Bolognese, Patricia L. Podolin, Yolanda Sanchez, Andrew S.I. Loudon, David W. Ray
Increasing evidence suggests a role for excessive intake of fructose in the Western diet as a contributor to the current epidemics of metabolic syndrome and obesity. Hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI) is a difficult and potentially lethal orphan disease associated with impaired fructose metabolism. In HFI, the deficiency of a particular aldolase, aldolase B, results in the accumulation of intracellular phosphorylated fructose thus leading to phosphate sequestration and depletion, increased ATP turnover and a plethora of conditions leading to clinical manifestations including fatty liver, hyperuricemia, Fanconi syndrome and severe hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, to date, there is no treatment for HFI and avoiding sugar and fructose in our society has become quite challenging. In this report, through use of genetically modified mice and pharmacological inhibitors, we demonstrate that the absence or inhibition of ketohexokinase (Khk), an enzyme upstream of aldolase B, is sufficient to prevent hypoglycemia and liver and intestinal injury associated with HFI using aldolase B knockout mice. We thus provide evidence for the first time of a potential therapeutic approach for this condition. Mechanistically, our studies suggest that it is the inhibition of the Khk C isoform, not the A isoform, that protects animals from HFI.
Miguel A. Lanaspa, Ana Andres-Hernando, David J. Orlicky, Christina Cicerchi, Cholsoon Jang, Nanxing Li, Tamara Milagres, Masanari Kuwabara, Michael F. Wempe, Joshua D. Rabinowitz, Richard J. Johnson, Dean R. Tolan
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
ONC201 is a first-in-class, orally active anti-tumor agent that upregulates cytotoxic TRAIL pathway signaling in cancer cells. ONC201 has demonstrated safety and preliminary efficacy in the first-in-human trial where patients were dosed every 3 weeks. We hypothesized that dose-intensification of ONC201 may impact anti-tumor efficacy. We discovered that ONC201 exerts dose- and schedule-dependent effects on tumor progression and cell-death signaling in vivo. With dose intensification, we note a potent anti-metastasis effect and inhibition of cancer cell migration and invasion. Our preclinical results prompted a change in ONC201 dosing in all open clinical trials. We observe accumulation of activated NK+ and CD3+ cells within ONC201-treated tumors, and NK-cell depletion inhibits ONC201 efficacy in vivo, including against TRAIL/ONC201-resistant Bax–/– tumors. Immunocompetent NCR1-GFP mice with GFP-expressing NK-cells demonstrate GFP(+)-NK cell infiltration of syngeneic MC38 colorectal tumors. Activation of primary human NK cells and increased de-granulation occur in response to ONC201. Co-culture experiments identified a role for TRAIL in human NK-mediated anti-tumor cytotoxicity. Preclinical results indicate potential utility for ONC201 plus anti-PD-1 therapy. We observed an increase in activated TRAIL-secreting NK cells in the peripheral blood of patients after receiving ONC201 treatment. The results offer a unique pathway of immune stimulation for cancer therapy.
Jessica Wagner, C. Leah Kline, Lanlan Zhou, Kerry S. Campbell, Alexander W. MacFarlane, Anthony J. Olszanski, Kathy Q. Cai, Harvey H. Hensley, Eric A. Ross, Marie D. Ralff, Andrew Zloza, Charles B. Chesson, Jenna H. Newman, Howard Kaufman, Joseph R. Bertino, Mark N. Stein, Wafik El-Deiry
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
Understanding the molecular basis of the regenerative response following hepatic injury holds promise for improved treatments of liver diseases. Here, we report an innovative method to profile gene expression specifically in the hepatocytes that regenerate the liver following toxic injury. We utilize the Fah–/– mouse, a model of hereditary tyrosinemia, which conditionally undergoes severe liver injury unless fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (FAH) expression is reconstituted ectopically. We employ translating ribosome affinity purification followed by high-throughput RNA sequencing (TRAP-seq) to isolate mRNAs specific to repopulating hepatocytes. We uncover novel upstream regulators and important signaling pathways to be highly enriched in genes changed in regenerating hepatocytes. Specifically, we identify glutathione metabolism — particularly the gene Slc7a11 encoding the cystine/glutamate antiporter (xCT) — to be massively upregulated during liver regeneration. Furthermore, we show that Slc7a11 overexpression in hepatocytes enhances, and its suppression inhibits, repopulation following toxic injury. TRAP-seq allows cell type-specific expression profiling in repopulating hepatocytes and suggests xCT as a potential therapeutic target for supporting antioxidant responses during liver regeneration.
Amber W. Wang, Kirk J. Wangensteen, Yue J. Wang, Adam M. Zahm, Nicholas G. Moss, Noam Erez, Klaus H. Kaestner
BACKGROUND. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors are effective in a broad population of ovarian cancer patients, however resistance caused by low enzyme expression of the drug target, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1), remains to be clinically evaluated in this context. We hypothesize that PARP-1 expression is variable in ovarian cancer and can be quantified in primary and metastatic disease using a novel positron emitting tomography (PET) imaging agent. METHODS. We used a translational approach to describe the significance of PET imaging of PARP-1 in ovarian cancer. First, we produced PARP1 KO ovarian cancer cell lines using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to test loss of PARP-1 as a resistance mechanism to all clinically used PARP inhibitors. Next, we performed pre-clinical microPET imaging studies using ovarian cancer patient derived xenografts in mouse models. Finally, in a phase 1 PET imaging clinical trial we explored PET imaging as a regional marker of PARP-1 expression in primary and metastatic disease through correlative tissue histology. RESULTS. We found deletion of PARP1 causes resistance to all PARP inhibitors in vitro and microPET imaging provides proof of concept as an approach to quantify PARP-1 in vivo. Clinically, we observed a spectrum of standard uptake values (SUVs) for PARP-1 in tumors ranging from 2-12. In addition, we found a positive correlation between PET SUVs and fluorescent immunohistochemistry for PARP-1 (r2: 0.60). CONCLUSIONS. This work confirms the translational potential of a PARP-1 PET imaging agent and supports future clinical trials to test PARP-1 expression as a method to stratify patients for PARP inhibitor therapy. Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02637934.
Mehran Makvandi, Austin Pantel, Lauren Schwartz, Erin Schubert, Kuiying Xu, Chia-Ju Hsieh, Catherine Hou, Hyoung Kim, Chi-Chang Weng, Harrison Winters, Robert Doot, Michael D. Farwell, Daniel A. Pryma, Roger A. Greenberg, David A. Mankoff, Fiona Simpkins, Robert H. Mach, Lilie L. Lin
Increasing evidence suggests that synapse dysfunctions are a major determinant of several neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Here we identify protein kinase N1 (PKN1) as a novel key player in fine-tuning the balance between axonal outgrowth and presynaptic differentiation in the parallel fiber (PF)-forming cerebellar granule cells (Cgc). Postnatal Pkn1–/– animals showed a defective PF-Purkinje cell (PC) synapse formation. In vitro, Pkn1–/– Cgc exhibited deregulated axonal outgrowth, elevated AKT phosphorylation and higher levels of neuronal differentiation-2 (NeuroD2), a transcription factor preventing presynaptic maturation. Concomitantly Pkn1–/– Cgc had a reduced density of presynaptic sites. By inhibiting AKT with MK-2206 and siRNA-mediated knockdown, we found that AKT hyperactivation is responsible for the elongated axons, higher NeuroD2 levels and the reduced density of presynaptic specifications in Pkn1–/– Cgc. In line with our in vitro data, Pkn1–/– mice showed AKT hyperactivation, elevated NeuroD2 levels and reduced expression of PF-PC synaptic markers during stages of PF maturation in vivo. The long-term effect of Pkn1 knockout was further seen in cerebellar atrophy and mild ataxia. In summary, our results demonstrate that PKN1 functions as a developmentally active gatekeeper of AKT activity, thereby fine-tuning axonal outgrowth and presynaptic differentiation of Cgc and subsequently the correct PF-PC synapse formation.
Stephanie zur Nedden, Rafaela Eith, Christoph Schwarzer, Lucia Zanetti, Hartwig Seitter, Friedrich Fresser, Alexandra Koschak, Angus J.M. Cameron, Peter J. Parker, Gottfried Baier, Gabriele Baier-Bitterlich
Non-antigen-specific stimulatory cancer immunotherapies are commonly complicated by off-target effects. Antigen-specific immunotherapy, combining viral tumor antigen or personalised neo-epitopes with immune targeting, offers a solution. However, the lack of flexible systems targeting tumor antigens to cross-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) limits clinical development. Although antigen-anti-CLEC-9A mAb conjugates target cross-presenting DCs, adjuvant must be co-delivered for cytotoxic T-cell (CTL) induction. We functionalized tailored nanoemulsions encapsulating tumor antigens to target Clec9A (Clec9A-TNE). Clec9A-TNE encapsulating ovalbumin (OVA) antigen targeted and activated cross-presenting DCs without additional adjuvant, promoting antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation, CTL and antibody responses. OVA-Clec9A-TNE-induced DC activation required CD4 and CD8 epitopes, CD40 and IFN-α. Clec9A-TNE encapsulating human papillomavirus (HPV) E6-E7 significantly suppressed HPV-associated tumor growth while E6-E7-CpG did not. Clec9A-TNE loaded with pooled B16F10 melanoma neo-epitopes induced epitope-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses, permitting selection of immunogenic neo-epitopes. Clec9A-TNE encapsulating six neo-epitopes significantly suppressed B16-F10 melanoma growth in a CD4 T cell-dependent manner. Thus, cross-presenting DCs targeted with antigen-Clec9A-TNE stimulate therapeutically-effective tumor-specific immunity, dependent on T cell help.
Bijun Zeng, Anton P.J. Middelberg, Adrian Gemiarto, Kelli MacDonald, Alan G. Baxter, Meghna Talekar, Davide Moi, Kirsteen M. Tullett, Irina Caminschi, Mireille H. Lahoud, Roberta Mazzieri, Riccardo Dolcetti, Ranjeny Thomas
A key predictor for the success of gene-modified T cell therapies for cancer is the persistence of transferred cells in the patient. The propensity of less differentiated memory T cells to expand and survive efficiently has therefore made them attractive candidates for clinical application. We hypothesized that re-directing T cells to specialized niches in the bone marrow (BM) that support memory differentiation would confer increased therapeutic efficacy. We show that overexpression of chemokine receptor CXCR4 in CD8+ T cells (TCXCR4) enhanced their migration towards vascular-associated CXCL12+ cells in the BM and increased their local engraftment. Increased access of TCXCR4 to the BM microenvironment induced IL-15-dependent homeostatic expansion and promoted the differentiation of memory precursor-like cells with low expression of programmed death-1, resistance to apoptosis and a heightened capacity to generate poly-functional cytokine-producing effector cells. Following transfer to lymphoma-bearing mice, TCXCR4 showed a greater capacity for effector expansion and better tumor protection, the latter being independent of changes in trafficking to the tumor bed or local out-competition of regulatory T cells. Thus, re-directed homing of T cells to the BM confers increased memory differentiation and anti-tumor immunity, suggesting an innovative solution to increase the persistence and functions of therapeutic T cells.
Anjum B. Khan, Ben Carpenter, Pedro Santos e Sousa, Constandina Pospori, Reema Khorshed, James Griffin, Pedro Veliça, Mathias Zech, Sara Ghorashian, Calum Forrest, Sharyn Thomas, Sara Gonzalez Anton, Maryam Ahmadi, Angelika Holler, Barry Flutter, Zaida Ramirez-Ortiz, Terry K. Means, Clare L. Bennett, Hans Stauss, Emma Morris, Cristina Lo Celso, Ronjon Chakraverty
The discovery of an HIV-1 cure remains a medical challenge because the virus rebounds quickly after the cessation of combination antiretroviral drug therapy (cART). Here, we investigate the potential of an engineered tandem bi-specific broadly neutralizing antibody (bs-bnAb) as an innovative product for HIV-1 prophylactic and therapeutic interventions. We discovered that by preserving two scFv binding domains of each parental bnAb, a single-gene-encoded tandem bs-bnAb, namely BiIA-SG, displayed significantly improved breadth and potency. BiIA-SG neutralized all 124 HIV-1 pseudotyped viruses tested, including global subtypes/recombinant forms, transmitted/founder viruses, and variants less or not susceptible to parental and many bnAbs, with an average IC50 value of 0.073 µ/ml (range < 0.001 to 1.03 µg/ml). In humanized mice, an injection of BiIA-SG conferred sterile protection when administered prior to challenges with diverse live HIV-1 stains. Moreover, while BiIA-SG delayed viral rebound in a short-term therapeutic setting when combined with cART, a single injection of AAV-transferred BiIA-SG gene resulted dose-dependently in prolonged in vivo expression of BiIA-SG, which was associated with complete viremia control and subsequent elimination of infected cells in humanized mice. These results warrant the clinical development of BiIA-SG as a promising bs-bnAb-based biomedical intervention for prevention and treatment of HIV-1 infections.
Xilin Wu, Jia Guo, Mengyue Niu, Minghui An, Li Liu, Hui Wang, Xia Jin, Qi Zhang, Ka Shing Lam, Tongjin Wu, Hua Wang, Qian Wang, Yanhua Du, Jingjing Li, Lin Cheng, Hang Ying Tang, Hong Shang, Linqi Zhang, Paul Zhou, Zhiwei Chen