Kaposi’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a gammaherpesvirus that is the etiological agent of the endothelial cell cancer Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and 2 B cell lymphoproliferative disorders, primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and multicentric Castleman’s disease (MCD). KSHV ORF36, also known as viral protein kinase (vPK), is a viral serine/threonine kinase. We previously reported that KSHV vPK enhances cell proliferation and mimics cellular S6 kinase to phosphorylate ribosomal protein S6, a protein involved in protein synthesis. We created a mouse model to analyze the function of vPK in vivo. We believe this is the first mouse tumor model of a viral kinase encoded by a pathogenic human virus. We observed increased B cell activation in the vPK transgenic mice compared with normal mice. We also found that, over time, vPK transgenic mice developed a B cell hyperproliferative disorder and/or a high-grade B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma at a greatly increased incidence compared with littermate controls. This mouse model shows that a viral protein kinase is capable of promoting B cell activation and proliferation as well as augmenting lymphomagenesis in vivo and may therefore contribute to the development of viral cancers.
Penny M. Anders, Nathan D. Montgomery, Stephanie A. Montgomery, Aadra P. Bhatt, Dirk P. Dittmer, Blossom Damania
While the transcription factor forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) is well known as a proto-oncogene, its potential role in lung fibroblast activation has never been explored. Here, we show that FOXM1 is more highly expressed in fibrotic than in normal lung fibroblasts in humans and mice. FOXM1 was required not only for cell proliferation in response to mitogens, but also for myofibroblast differentiation and apoptosis resistance elicited by TGF-β. The lipid mediator PGE2, acting via cAMP signaling, was identified as an endogenous negative regulator of FOXM1. Finally, genetic deletion of FOXM1 in fibroblasts or administration of the FOXM1 inhibitor Siomycin A in a therapeutic protocol attenuated bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Our results identify FOXM1 as a driver of lung fibroblast activation and underscore the therapeutic potential of targeting FOXM1 for pulmonary fibrosis.
Loka R. Penke, Jennifer M. Speth, Vijaya L. Dommeti, Eric S. White, Ingrid L. Bergin, Marc Peters-Golden
Many Toll-like receptors (TLRs) signal through TNF receptor–associated factor 6 (TRAF6) to activate innate immune responses. Here, we show that somatic nuclear autoantigenic sperm protein (sNASP) binds to TRAF6 to prevent TRAF6 autoubiquitination in unstimulated macrophages. Following LPS stimulation, a complex consisting of sNASP, TRAF6, IRAK4, and casein kinase 2 (CK2) is formed. CK2 phosphorylates sNASP at serine 158, allowing sNASP to dissociate from TRAF6. Free TRAF6 is then autoubiquitinated, followed by activation of downstream signaling pathways. In sNasp S158A knockin (S158A-KI) mice, LPS-treated macrophages could not phosphorylate sNASP, which remained bound to TRAF6. S158A-KI mice were more susceptible to sepsis due to a marked reduction in IL-1β, TNF-α, and IFN-γ production accompanied by an inability to clear bacteria and recruit leukocytes. Furthermore, phosphorylation-regulated release of sNASP from TRAF6 is observed following activation of TLR-1, -2, -4, -5, and -6. Thus, sNASP is a negative regulator of TLR signaling to modulate the innate immune response.
Feng-Ming Yang, Yong Zuo, Wei Zhou, Chuan Xia, Bumsuk Hahm, Mark Sullivan, Jinke Cheng, Hui-Ming Chang, Edward T.H. Yeh
Haemostasis requires conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin fibres that generate a characteristic network, interact with blood cells, and initiate tissue repair. The fibrin network is porous and highly permeable, but the spatial arrangement of the external clot face is unknown. Here we show that fibrin transitioned to the blood-air interface through Langmuir film formation, producing a protective film confining the clot. We demonstrated that only fibrin is required to form the film, and that it occurred in vitro and in vivo. The fibrin film connected to the underlying clot network through tethering fibres. It was digested by plasmin and formation of the film was prevented with surfactants. Functionally, the film retained blood cells and protected against penetration by bacterial pathogens in a murine model of dermal infection. Our data show a remarkable aspect of blood clotting, in which fibrin forms a protective film covering the external surface of the clot, defending the organism against microbial invasion.
Fraser L. Macrae, Cédric Duval, Praveen Papareddy, Stephen R. Baker, Nadira Yuldasheva, Katherine J. Kearney, Helen R. McPherson, Nathan Asquith, Joke Konings, Alessandro Casini, Jay L. Degen, Simon D. Connell, Helen Philippou, Alisa S. Wolberg, Heiko Herwald, Robert A.S. Ariëns
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are important drivers of cancers. In addition to genomic alterations, aberrant activation of wild type RTKs plays an important role in driving cancer progression. However, the underlying mechanisms of how RTKs drive prostate cancer remain incompletely characterized. Here we show that non-proteolytic ubiquitination of RTK regulates its kinase activity and contributes to RTK-mediated prostate cancer metastasis. TRAF4, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, is highly expressed in metastatic prostate cancer. We demonstrated here that it is a key player in regulating RTK mediated prostate cancer metastasis. We further identified TrkA, a neurotrophin RTK, as TRAF4-targeted ubiquitination substrate that promotes cancer cell invasion and inhibition of TrkA activity abolished TRAF4-dependent cell invasion. TRAF4 promoted K27 and K29-linked ubiquitination at the TrkA kinase domain and increased its kinase activity. Mutation of TRAF4-targeted ubiquitination sites abolished TrkA tyrosine auto-phosphorylation and its interaction with downstream proteins. TRAF4 knockdown also suppressed NGF-stimulated TrkA downstream p38 MAPK activation and invasion-associated gene expression. Furthermore, elevated TRAF4 levels significantly correlated with increased NGF-stimulated invasion-associated gene expression in prostate cancer patients, indicating that this signaling axis is significantly activated during oncogenesis. Our results revealed a post-translational modification mechanism contributing to aberrant non-mutated RTK activation in cancer cells.
Ramesh Singh, Dileep Karri, Hong Shen, Jiangyong Shao, Subhamoy Dasgupta, Shixia Huang, Dean P. Edwards, Michael M. Ittmann, Bert W. O’Malley, Ping Yi
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an incurable inflammatory lung disease that afflicts millions of people worldwide, and it is the fourth leading cause of death. Systemic comorbidities affecting the heart, skeletal muscle, bone, and metabolism are major contributors to morbidity and mortality. Given the surprising finding in large prospective clinical biomarker studies that peripheral white blood cell count is more closely associated with disease than inflammatory biomarkers, we probed the role of blood growth factors. Using the SHIP-1–deficient COPD mouse model, which manifests a syndrome of destructive lung disease and a complex of comorbid pathologies, we have identified a critical and unexpected role for granulocyte-CSF (G-CSF) in linking these conditions. Deletion of G-CSF greatly reduced airway inflammation and lung tissue destruction, and attenuated systemic inflammation, right heart hypertrophy, loss of fat reserves, and bone osteoporosis. In human clinical translational studies, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of patients with COPD demonstrated elevated G-CSF levels. These studies suggest that G-CSF may play a central and unforeseen pathogenic role in COPD and its complex comorbidities, and identify G-CSF and its regulators as potential therapeutic targets.
Evelyn Tsantikos, Maverick Lau, Cassandra M.N. Castelino, Mhairi J. Maxwell, Samantha L. Passey, Michelle J. Hansen, Narelle E. McGregor, Natalie A. Sims, Daniel P. Steinfort, Louis B. Irving, Gary P. Anderson, Margaret L. Hibbs
Tyro3, Axl, Mer (TAM) receptor tyrosine kinases reduce inflammatory, innate immune responses. We demonstrate that tumor-secreted protein S (Pros1), a Mer/Tyro3 ligand, decreased macrophage M1 cytokine expression in vitro and in vivo. In contrast, tumor cells with CRISPR-based deletion of Pros1 failed to inhibit M1 polarization. Tumor cell–associated Pros1 action was abrogated in macrophages from Mer- and Tyro3- but not Axl-KO mice. In addition, several other murine and human tumor cell lines suppressed macrophage M1 cytokine expression induced by IFN-γ and LPS. Investigation of the suppressive pathway demonstrated a role for PTP1b complexing with Mer. Substantiating the role of PTP1b, M1 cytokine suppression was also lost in macrophages from PTP1b-KO mice. Mice bearing Pros1-deficient tumors showed increased innate and adaptive immune infiltration, as well as increased median survival. TAM activation can also inhibit TLR-mediated M1 polarization. Treatment with resiquimod, a TLR7/8 agonist, did not improve survival in mice bearing Pros1-secreting tumors but doubled survival for Pros1-deleted tumors. The tumor-derived Pros1 immune suppressive system, like PD-L1, was cytokine responsive, with IFN-γ inducing Pros1 transcription and secretion. Inhibition of Pros1/TAM interaction represents a potential novel strategy to block tumor-derived immune suppression.
Eric Ubil, Laura Caskey, Alisha Holtzhausen, Debra Hunter, Charlotte Story, H. Shelton Earp
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous disease with poor prognosis that lacks targeted therapies, especially in patients with chemotherapy-resistant disease. Since DNA methylation-induced silencing of tumor suppressors is common in cancer, reversal of promoter DNA hypermethylation by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (decitabine), an FDA-approved DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitor, has proven effective in treating hematological neoplasms. However, its antitumor effect varies in solid tumors, stressing the importance of identifying biomarkers predictive of therapeutic response. Here, we focused on the identification of biomarkers to select decitabine-sensitive TNBC through increasing our understanding of the mechanism of decitabine action. We showed that protein levels of DNMTs correlated with response to decitabine in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) organoids originating from chemotherapy-sensitive and -resistant TNBCs, suggesting DNMT levels as potential biomarkers of response. Furthermore, all 3 methytransferases, DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B, were degraded following low-concentration, long-term decitabine treatment both in vitro and in vivo. The DNMT proteins could be ubiquitinated by the E3 ligase, TNF receptor–associated factor 6 (TRAF6), leading to lysosome-dependent protein degradation. Depletion of TRAF6 blocked decitabine-induced DNMT degradation, conferring resistance to decitabine. Our study suggests a potential mechanism of regulating DNMT protein degradation and DNMT levels as response biomarkers for DNMT inhibitors in TNBCs.
Jia Yu, Bo Qin, Ann M. Moyer, Somaira Nowsheen, Tongzheng Liu, Sisi Qin, Yongxian Zhuang, Duan Liu, Shijia W. Lu, Krishna R. Kalari, Daniel W. Visscher, John A. Copland, Sarah A. McLaughlin, Alvaro Moreno-Aspitia, Donald W. Northfelt, Richard J. Gray, Zhenkun Lou, Vera J. Suman, Richard Weinshilboum, Judy C. Boughey, Matthew P. Goetz, Liewei Wang
The ability of the Cav1 channel inhibitor isradipine to slow the loss of substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) dopaminergic (DA) neurons and the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is being tested in a phase 3 human clinical trial. But it is unclear whether and how chronic isradipine treatment will benefit SNc DA neurons in vivo. To pursue this question, isradipine was given systemically to mice at doses that achieved low nanomolar concentrations in plasma, near those achieved in patients. This treatment diminished cytosolic Ca2+ oscillations in SNc DA neurons without altering autonomous spiking or expression of Ca2+ channels, an effect mimicked by selectively knocking down expression of Cav1.3 channel subunits. Treatment also lowered mitochondrial oxidant stress, reduced a high basal rate of mitophagy, and normalized mitochondrial mass — demonstrating that Cav1 channels drive mitochondrial oxidant stress and turnover in vivo. Thus, chronic isradipine treatment remodeled SNc DA neurons in a way that should not only diminish their vulnerability to mitochondrial challenges, but to autophagic stress as well.
Jaime N. Guzman, Ema Ilijic, Ben Yang, Javier Sanchez-Padilla, David Wokosin, Dan Galtieri, Jyothisri Kondapalli, Paul T. Schumacker, D. James Surmeier
The superoxide-generating enzyme Nox2 contributes to hypertension and cardiovascular remodeling triggered by activation of the renin-angiotensin system. Multiple Nox2-expressing cells are implicated in angiotensin II (AngII)-induced pathophysiology, but the importance of Nox2 in leukocyte subsets is poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role of Nox2 in T cells, particularly Tregs. Mice globally deficient in Nox2 displayed increased numbers of Tregs in the heart at baseline whereas AngII-induced T-effector cell (Teffs) infiltration was inhibited. To investigate the role of Treg Nox2, we generated a mouse line with CD4-targeted Nox2 deficiency (Nox2fl/flCD4Cre+). These animals showed inhibition of AngII-induced hypertension and cardiac remodeling related to increased tissue-resident Tregs and reduction in infiltrating Teffs, including Th17 cells. The protection in Nox2fl/flCD4Cre+ mice was reversed by anti-CD25 Ab-depletion of Tregs. Mechanistically, Nox2–/y Tregs showed higher in vitro suppression of Teffs proliferation than WT Tregs, increased nuclear levels of FoxP3 and NF-κB, and enhanced transcription of CD25, CD39, and CD73. Adoptive transfer of Tregs confirmed that Nox2-deficient cells had greater inhibitory effects on AngII-induced heart remodeling than WT cells. These results identify a previously unrecognized role of Nox2 in modulating suppression of Tregs, which acts to enhance hypertension and cardiac remodeling.
Amber Emmerson, Silvia Cellone Trevelin, Heloise Mongue-Din, Pablo D. Becker, Carla Ortiz, Lesley A. Smyth, Qi Peng, Raul Elgueta, Greta Sawyer, Aleksandar Ivetic, Robert I. Lechler, Giovanna Lombardi, Ajay M. Shah