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
Progression of chronic kidney disease associated with progressive fibrosis and impaired tubular epithelial regeneration is still an unmet biomedical challenge, because once chronic lesions have manifested, no effective therapies are available as of yet for clinical use. Prompted by various studies across multiple organs demonstrating that preconditioning regimens to induce endogenous regenerative mechanisms protect various organs from later incurring acute injuries, we here aimed to gain insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying successful protection and to explore whether such pathways could be utilized to inhibit progression of chronic organ injury. We identified a protective mechanism that is controlled by the transcription factor ARNT, which effectively inhibits progression of chronic kidney injury by transcriptional induction of ALK3, the principal mediator of anti-fibrotic and pro-regenerative BMP signaling responses. We further report that ARNT expression itself is controlled by the FKBP12/YY1 transcriptional repressor complex, and that disruption of such FKBP12/YY1 complexes by picomolar FK506 at sub-immunosuppressive doses increases ARNT expression, subsequently leading to homodimeric ARNT-induced ALK3 transcription. Direct targeting of FKBP12/YY1 with in vivo-morpholino approaches or small molecule inhibitors including GPI-1046 were equally effective to induce ARNT expression with subsequent activation of ALK3-dependent canonical BMP signaling responses and attenuated chronic organ failure in models of chronic kidney, but also cardiac and liver injuries. In summary, we report an organ protective mechanism, which can be pharmacologically modulated by immunophilin ligands FK506, GPI-1046 or therapeutically targeted by in vivo-morpholino approaches.
Björn Tampe, Désirée Tampe, Gunsmaa Nyamsuren, Friederike Klöpper, Gregor Rapp, Anne Kauffels, Thomas Lorf, Elisabeth M. Zeisberg, Gerhard A. Müller, Raghu Kalluri, Samy Hakroush, Michael Zeisberg
Complications of diabetes affect tissues throughout body, including central nervous system. Epidemiological studies show that diabetic patients have increased risk of depression, anxiety, age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Mice lacking insulin receptor in brain or on hypothalamic neurons display an array of metabolic abnormalities, however, the role of insulin action on astrocytes and neurobehaviors remains less well-studied. Here, we demonstrate that astrocytes are a direct insulin target in the brain and that knockout of IR on astrocytes causes increased anxiety and depressive-like behaviors in mice. This can be reproduced in part by deletion of IR on astrocytes in the nucleus accumbens. At a molecular level, loss of insulin signaling in astrocytes impaired tyrosine phosphorylation of Munc18c. This led to decreased exocytosis of ATP from astrocytes, resulting in decreased purinergic signaling on dopaminergic neurons. These reductions contributed to decreased dopamine release from brain slices. Central administration of ATP analogues could reverse depressive-like behaviors in mice with astrocyte IR knockout. Thus, astrocytic insulin signaling plays an important role in dopaminergic signaling, providing a potential mechanism by which astrocytic insulin action may contribute to increased rates of depression in people with diabetes, obesity and other insulin resistant states.
Weikang Cai, Chang Xue, Masaji Sakaguchi, Masahiro Konishi, Alireza Shirazian, Heather A. Ferris, Mengyao Li, Ruichao Yu, Andre Kleinridders, Emmanuel N. Pothos, C. Ronald Kahn
Immunotherapy prolongs survival in only a subset of melanoma patients, highlighting the need to better understand the driver tumor microenvironment. We conducted bioinformatic analyses of 703 transcriptomes to probe the immune landscape of primary cutaneous melanomas in a population-ascertained cohort. We identified and validated 6 immunologically distinct subgroups, with the largest having the lowest immune scores and the poorest survival. This poor-prognosis subgroup exhibited expression profiles consistent with β-catenin–mediated failure to recruit CD141+ DCs. A second subgroup displayed an equally bad prognosis when histopathological factors were adjusted for, while 4 others maintained comparable survival profiles. The 6 subgroups were replicated in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) melanomas, where β-catenin signaling was also associated with low immune scores predominantly related to hypomethylation. The survival benefit of high immune scores was strongest in patients with double-WT tumors for BRAF and NRAS, less strong in BRAF-V600 mutants, and absent in NRAS (codons 12, 13, 61) mutants. In summary, we report evidence for a β-catenin–mediated immune evasion in 42% of melanoma primaries overall and in 73% of those with the worst outcome. We further report evidence for an interaction between oncogenic mutations and host response to melanoma, suggesting that patient stratification will improve immunotherapeutic outcomes.
Jérémie Nsengimana, Jon Laye, Anastasia Filia, Sally O’Shea, Sathya Muralidhar, Joanna Poźniak, Alastair Droop, May Chan, Christy Walker, Louise Parkinson, Joanne Gascoyne, Tracey Mell, Minttu Polso, Rosalyn Jewell, Juliette Randerson-Moor, Graham P. Cook, D. Timothy Bishop, Julia Newton-Bishop
Receptor interacting protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) has important kinase-dependent and kinase-independent scaffolding functions that activate or prevent apoptosis or necroptosis in a cell context–dependent manner. The kinase activity of RIPK1 mediates hypothermia and lethality in a mouse model of TNF-induced shock, reflecting the hyperinflammatory state of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), where the proinflammatory “cytokine storm” has long been viewed as detrimental. Here, we demonstrate that cytokine and chemokine levels did not predict survival and, importantly, that kinase-inactive Ripk1D138N/D138N hematopoietic cells afforded little protection from TNF- or TNF/zVAD-induced shock in reconstituted mice. Unexpectedly, RIPK1 kinase–inactive mice transplanted with WT hematopoietic cells remained resistant to TNF-induced shock, revealing that a nonhematopoietic lineage mediated protection. TNF-treated Ripk1D138N/D138N mice exhibited no significant increases in intestinal or vascular permeability, nor did they activate the clotting cascade. We show that TNF administration damaged the liver vascular endothelium and induced phosphorylated mixed lineage kinase domain-like (phospho-MLKL) reactivity in endothelial cells isolated from TNF/zVAD-treated WT, but not Ripk1D138N/D138N, mice. These data reveal that the tissue damage present in this SIRS model is reflected, in part, by breaks in the vasculature due to endothelial cell necroptosis and thereby predict that RIPK1 kinase inhibitors may provide clinical benefit to shock and/or sepsis patients.
Matija Zelic, Justine E. Roderick, Joanne A. O’Donnell, Jesse Lehman, Sung Eun Lim, Harish P. Janardhan, Chinmay M. Trivedi, Manolis Pasparakis, Michelle A. Kelliher
Fibroblasts are a dynamic cell type that achieve selective differentiated states to mediate acute wound healing and long-term tissue remodeling with scarring. With myocardial infarction injury, cardiomyocytes are replaced by secreted extracellular matrix proteins produced by proliferating and differentiating fibroblasts. Here, we employed 3 different mouse lineage-tracing models and stage-specific gene profiling to phenotypically analyze and classify resident cardiac fibroblast dynamics during myocardial infarction injury and stable scar formation. Fibroblasts were activated and highly proliferative, reaching a maximum rate within 2 to 4 days after infarction injury, at which point they expanded 3.5-fold and were maintained long term. By 3 to 7 days, these cells differentiated into myofibroblasts that secreted abundant extracellular matrix proteins and expressed smooth muscle α-actin to structurally support the necrotic area. By 7 to 10 days, myofibroblasts lost proliferative ability and smooth muscle α-actin expression as the collagen-containing extracellular matrix and scar fully matured. However, these same lineage-traced initial fibroblasts persisted within the scar, achieving a new molecular and stable differentiated state referred to as a matrifibrocyte, which was also observed in the scars of human hearts. These cells express common and unique extracellular matrix and tendon genes that are more specialized to support the mature scar.
Xing Fu, Hadi Khalil, Onur Kanisicak, Justin G. Boyer, Ronald J. Vagnozzi, Bryan D. Maliken, Michelle A. Sargent, Vikram Prasad, Iñigo Valiente-Alandi, Burns C. Blaxall, Jeffery D. Molkentin
Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) has demonstrated curative potential in several types of cancer, but only for a small number of patients. Thus, the identification of reliable and noninvasive biomarkers for predicting ICB responsiveness is an urgent unmet need. Here, we show that ICB increased tumor vessel perfusion in treatment-sensitive EO771 and MMTV-PyVT breast tumor as well as CT26 and MCA38 colon tumor models, but not in treatment-resistant MCaP0008 and 4T1 breast tumor models. In the sensitive tumor models, the ability of anti–cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated protein 4 or anti–programmed cell death 1 therapy to increase vessel perfusion strongly correlated with its antitumor efficacy. Moreover, globally enhanced tumor vessel perfusion could be detected by Doppler ultrasonography before changes in tumor size, which predicted final therapeutic efficacy with more than 90% sensitivity and specificity. Mechanistically, CD8+ T cell depletion, IFN-γ neutralization, or implantation of tumors in IFN-γ receptor knockout mice abrogated the vessel perfusion enhancement and antitumor effects of ICB. These results demonstrated that ICB increased vessel perfusion by promoting CD8+ T cell accumulation and IFN-γ production, indicating that increased vessel perfusion reflects the successful activation of antitumor T cell immunity by ICB. Our findings suggest that vessel perfusion can be used as a novel noninvasive indicator for predicting ICB responsiveness.
Xichen Zheng, Zhaoxu Fang, Xiaomei Liu, Shengming Deng, Pei Zhou, Xuexiang Wang, Chenglin Zhang, Rongping Yin, Haitian Hu, Xiaolan Chen, Yijie Han, Yun Zhao, Steven H. Lin, Songbing Qin, Xiaohua Wang, Betty Y.S. Kim, Penghui Zhou, Wen Jiang, Qingyu Wu, Yuhui Huang
LN follicles constitute major reservoir sites for HIV/SIV persistence. Cure strategies could benefit from the characterization of CD8+ T cells able to access and eliminate HIV-infected cells from these areas. In this study, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the phenotype, frequency, localization, and functionality of follicular CD8+ T cells (fCD8+) in SIV-infected nonhuman primates. Although disorganization of follicles was a major factor, significant accumulation of fCD8+ cells during chronic SIV infection was also observed in intact follicles, but only in pathogenic SIV infection. In line with this, tissue inflammatory mediators were strongly associated with the accumulation of fCD8+ cells, pointing to tissue inflammation as a major factor in this process. These fCD8+ cells have cytolytic potential and can be redirected to target and kill HIV-infected cells using bispecific antibodies. Altogether, our data support the use of SIV infection to better understand the dynamics of fCD8+ cells and to develop bispecific antibodies as a strategy for virus eradication.
Sara Ferrando-Martinez, Eirini Moysi, Amarendra Pegu, Sarah Andrews, Krystelle Nganou Makamdop, David Ambrozak, Adrian B. McDermott, David Palesch, Mirko Paiardini, George N. Pavlakis, Jason M. Brenchley, Daniel Douek, John R. Mascola, Constantinos Petrovas, Richard A. Koup
Cerebral white matter injury (WMI) persistently disrupts myelin regeneration by oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). We identified a specific bioactive hyaluronan fragment (bHAf) that downregulates myelin gene expression and chronically blocks OPC maturation and myelination via a tolerance-like mechanism that dysregulates pro-myelination signaling via AKT. Desensitization of AKT occurs via TLR4 but not TLR2 or CD44. OPC differentiation was selectively blocked by bHAf in a maturation-dependent fashion at the late OPC (preOL) stage by a noncanonical TLR4/TRIF pathway that induced persistent activation of the FoxO3 transcription factor downstream of AKT. Activated FoxO3 selectively localized to oligodendrocyte lineage cells in white matter lesions from human preterm neonates and adults with multiple sclerosis. FoxO3 constraint of OPC maturation was bHAf dependent, and involved interactions at the FoxO3 and MBP promoters with the chromatin remodeling factor Brg1 and the transcription factor Olig2, which regulate OPC differentiation. WMI has adapted an immune tolerance–like mechanism whereby persistent engagement of TLR4 by bHAf promotes an OPC niche at the expense of myelination by engaging a FoxO3 signaling pathway that chronically constrains OPC differentiation.
Taasin Srivastava, Parham Diba, Justin M. Dean, Fatima Banine, Daniel Shaver, Matthew Hagen, Xi Gong, Weiping Su, Ben Emery, Daniel L. Marks, Edward N. Harris, Bruce Baggenstoss, Paul H. Weigel, Larry S. Sherman, Stephen A. Back
Synthetic lethality-based strategy has been developed to identify therapeutic targets in cancer harboring tumor suppressor gene mutations, as exemplified by the effectiveness of PARP inhibitors in BRCA1/2-mutated tumors. However, many synthetic lethal interactors are less reliable due to the fact that such genes usually do not perform fundamental or indispensable functions in the cell. Here we developed an approach to identify the “essential lethality” arose from these mutated/deleted essential genes, which are largely tolerated in cancer cells due to genetic redundancy. We uncovered the cohesion subunit SA1 as a putative synthetic-essential target in cancers carrying inactivating mutations of its paralog, SA2. In SA2-deficient Ewing sarcoma and bladder cancer, further depletion of SA1 profoundly and specifically suppressed cancer cell proliferation, survival and tumorigenic potential. Mechanistically, inhibition of SA1 in the SA2-mutated cells led to premature chromatid separation, dramatic extension of mitotic duration, and consequently lethal failure of cell division. More importantly, depletion of SA1 rendered those SA2-mutated cells more susceptible to DNA damage, especially double-strand breaks (DSBs), due to reduced functionality of DNA repair. Furthermore, inhibition of SA1 sensitized the SA2-deficient cancer cells to PARP inhibitors in vitro and in vivo, providing a potential therapeutic strategy for patients with SA2-deficient tumors.
Yunhua Liu, Hanchen Xu, Kevin Van der Jeught, Yujing Li, Sheng Liu, Lu Zhang, Yuanzhang Fang, Xinna Zhang, Milan Rodovich, Bryan P. Schneider, Xiaoming He, Cheng Huang, Chi Zhang, Jun Wan, Guang Ji, Xiongbin Lu