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The Journal of Clinical Investigation RSS feed -- Current issue

Bacterial exploitation of phosphorylcholine mimicry suppresses inflammation to promote airway infection
  By: Christopher B. Hergott, Aoife M. Roche, Nikhil A. Naidu, Clementina Mesaros, Ian A. Blair, Jeffrey N. Weiser

Regulation of neutrophil activity is critical for immune evasion among extracellular pathogens, yet the mechanisms by which many bacteria disrupt phagocyte function remain unclear. Here, we have shown that the respiratory pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae disables neutrophils by exploiting molecular mimicry to degrade platelet-activating factor (PAF), a host-derived inflammatory phospholipid. Using mass spectrometry and murine upper airway infection models, we demonstrated that phosphorylcholine (ChoP) moieties that are shared by PAF and the bacterial cell wall allow S. pneumoniae to leverage a ChoP-remodeling enzyme (Pce) to remove PAF from the airway. S. pneumoniae–mediated PAF deprivation impaired viability, activation, and bactericidal capacity among responding neutrophils. In the absence of Pce, neutrophils rapidly cleared S. pneumoniae from the airway and impeded invasive disease and transmission between mice. Abrogation of PAF signaling rendered Pce dispensable for S. pneumoniae persistence, reinforcing that this enzyme deprives neutrophils of essential PAF-mediated stimulation. Accordingly, exogenous activation of neutrophils overwhelmed Pce-mediated phagocyte disruption. Haemophilus influenzae also uses an enzyme, GlpQ, to hydrolyze ChoP and subvert PAF function, suggesting that mimicry-driven immune evasion is a common paradigm among respiratory pathogens. These results identify a mechanism by which shared molecular structures enable microbial enzymes to subvert host lipid signaling, suppress inflammation, and ensure bacterial persistence at the mucosa.

ZIC2-dependent OCT4 activation drives self-renewal of human liver cancer stem cells
  By: Pingping Zhu, Yanying Wang, Lei He, Guanling Huang, Ying Du, Geng Zhang, Xinlong Yan, Pengyan Xia, Buqing Ye, Shuo Wang, Lu Hao, Jiayi Wu, Zusen Fan

Liver cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been identified and shown to have self-renewal and differentiation properties; however, the biology of these hepatic CSCs remains largely unknown. Here, we analyzed transcriptome gene expression profiles of liver CSCs and non-CSCs from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells lines and found that the transcription factor (TF) ZIC2 is highly expressed in liver CSCs. ZIC2 was required for the self-renewal maintenance of liver CSCs, as ZIC2 depletion reduced sphere formation and xenograft tumor growth in mice. We determined that ZIC2 acts upstream of the TF OCT4 and that ZIC2 recruits the nuclear remodeling factor (NURF) complex to the OCT4 promoter, thereby initiating OCT4 activation. In HCC patients, expression levels of the NURF complex were consistent with clinical severity and prognosis. Moreover, ZIC2 and OCT4 levels positively correlated to the clinicopathological stages of HCC patients. Altogether, our results indicate that levels of ZIC2, OCT4, and the NURF complex can be detected and used for diagnosis and prognosis prediction of HCC patients. Moreover, these factors may be potential therapeutic targets for eradicating liver CSCs.

Proof-of-principle rapid noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of autosomal recessive founder mutations
  By: David A. Zeevi, Gheona Altarescu, Ariella Weinberg-Shukron, Fouad Zahdeh, Tama Dinur, Gaya Chicco, Yair Herskovitz, Paul Renbaum, Deborah Elstein, Ephrat Levy-Lahad, Arndt Rolfs, Ari Zimran

BACKGROUND. Noninvasive prenatal testing can be used to accurately detect chromosomal aneuploidies in circulating fetal DNA; however, the necessity of parental haplotype construction is a primary drawback to noninvasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) of monogenic disease. Family-specific haplotype assembly is essential for accurate diagnosis of minuscule amounts of circulating cell-free fetal DNA; however, current haplotyping techniques are too time-consuming and laborious to be carried out within the limited time constraints of prenatal testing, hampering practical application of NIPD in the clinic. Here, we have addressed this pitfall and devised a universal strategy for rapid NIPD of a prevalent mutation in the Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population.

METHODS. Pregnant AJ couples, carrying mutation(s) in GBA, which encodes acid β-glucosidase, were recruited at the SZMC Gaucher Clinic. Targeted next-generation sequencing of GBA-flanking SNPs was performed on peripheral blood samples from each couple, relevant mutation carrier family members, and unrelated individuals who are homozygotes for an AJ founder mutation. Allele-specific haplotypes were constructed based on linkage, and a consensus Gaucher disease–associated founder mutation–flanking haplotype was fine mapped. Together, these haplotypes were used for NIPD. All test results were validated by conventional prenatal or postnatal diagnostic methods.

RESULTS. Ten parental alleles in eight unrelated fetuses were diagnosed successfully based on the noninvasive method developed in this study. The consensus mutation–flanking haplotype aided diagnosis for 6 of 9 founder mutation alleles.

CONCLUSIONS. The founder NIPD method developed and described here is rapid, economical, and readily adaptable for prenatal testing of prevalent autosomal recessive disease-causing mutations in an assortment of worldwide populations.

FUNDING. SZMC, Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc., and Centogene AG.

Identifying local and descending inputs for primary sensory neurons
  By: Yi Zhang, Shengli Zhao, Erica Rodriguez, Jun Takatoh, Bao-Xia Han, Xiang Zhou, Fan Wang

Primary pain and touch sensory neurons not only detect internal and external sensory stimuli, but also receive inputs from other neurons. However, the neuronal derived inputs for primary neurons have not been systematically identified. Using a monosynaptic rabies viruses–based transneuronal tracing method combined with sensory-specific Cre-drivers, we found that sensory neurons receive intraganglion, intraspinal, and supraspinal inputs, the latter of which are mainly derived from the rostroventral medulla (RVM). The viral-traced central neurons were largely inhibitory but also consisted of some glutamatergic neurons in the spinal cord and serotonergic neurons in the RVM. The majority of RVM-derived descending inputs were dual GABAergic and enkephalinergic (opioidergic). These inputs projected through the dorsolateral funiculus and primarily innervated layers I, II, and V of the dorsal horn, where pain-sensory afferents terminate. Silencing or activation of the dual GABA/enkephalinergic RVM neurons in adult animals substantially increased or decreased behavioral sensitivity, respectively, to heat and mechanical stimuli. These results are consistent with the fact that both GABA and enkephalin can exert presynaptic inhibition of the sensory afferents. Taken together, this work provides a systematic view of and a set of tools for examining peri- and extrasynaptic regulations of pain-afferent transmission.

IDO1 suppresses inhibitor development in hemophilia A treated with factor VIII
  By: Davide Matino, Marco Gargaro, Elena Santagostino, Matteo N.D. Di Minno, Giancarlo Castaman, Massimo Morfini, Angiola Rocino, Maria E. Mancuso, Giovanni Di Minno, Antonio Coppola, Vincenzo N. Talesa, Claudia Volpi, Carmine Vacca, Ciriana Orabona, Rossana Iannitti, Maria G. Mazzucconi, Cristina Santoro, Antonella Tosti, Sara Chiappalupi, Guglielmo Sorci, Giuseppe Tagariello, Donata Belvini, Paolo Radossi, Raffaele Landolfi, Dietmar Fuchs, Louis Boon, Matteo Pirro, Emanuela Marchesini, Ursula Grohmann, Paolo Puccetti, Alfonso Iorio, Francesca Fallarino

The development of inhibitory antibodies to factor VIII (FVIII) is a major obstacle in using this clotting factor to treat individuals with hemophilia A. Patients with a congenital absence of FVIII do not develop central tolerance to FVIII, and therefore, any control of their FVIII-reactive lymphocytes relies upon peripheral tolerance mechanisms. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) is a key regulatory enzyme that supports Treg function and peripheral tolerance in adult life. Here, we investigated the association between IDO1 competence and inhibitor status by evaluating hemophilia A patients harboring F8-null mutations that were either inhibitor negative (n = 50) or positive (n = 50). We analyzed IDO1 induction, expression, and function for any relationship with inhibitor occurrence by multivariable logistic regression and determined that defective TLR9-mediated activation of IDO1 induction is associated with an inhibitor-positive status. Evaluation of experimental hemophilic mouse models with or without functional IDO1 revealed that tryptophan metabolites, which result from IDO1 activity, prevent generation of anti-FVIII antibodies. Moreover, treatment of hemophilic animals with a TLR9 agonist suppressed FVIII-specific B cells by a mechanism that involves IDO1-dependent induction of Tregs. Together, these findings indicate that strategies aimed at improving IDO1 function should be further explored for preventing or eradicating inhibitors to therapeutically administered FVIII protein.

Cancer immunotherapy innovator James Allison receives the 2015 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award
  By: Jillian H. Hurst

Evelyn Witkin and Stephen Elledge share the 2015 Lasker Basic Medical Award
  By: Sarah Jackson

Leading the charge: Médecins Sans Frontières receives the 2015 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award
  By: Corinne L. Williams

Tribbles-1 regulates hepatic lipogenesis through posttranscriptional regulation of C/EBPα
  By: Robert C. Bauer, Makoto Sasaki, Daniel M. Cohen, Jian Cui, Mikhaila A. Smith, Batuhan O. Yenilmez, David J. Steger, Daniel J. Rader

Variants near the gene TRIB1 are significantly associated with several plasma lipid traits, circulating liver enzymes, and the development of coronary artery disease in humans; however, it is not clear how its protein product tribbles-1 regulates lipid metabolism. Here, we evaluated mice harboring a liver-specific deletion of Trib1 (Trib1_LSKO) to elucidate the role of tribbles-1 in mammalian hepatic lipid metabolism. These mice exhibited increased hepatic triglyceride (TG) content, lipogenic gene transcription, and de novo lipogenesis. Microarray analysis revealed altered transcription of genes that are downstream of the transcription factor C/EBPα, and Trib1_LSKO mice had increased hepatic C/EBPα protein. Hepatic overexpression of C/EBPα in WT mice phenocopied Trib1_LSKO livers, and hepatic knockout of Cebpa in Trib1_LSKO mice revealed that C/EBPα is required for the increased lipogenesis. Using ChIP-Seq, we found that Trib1_LSKO mice had increased DNA-bound C/EBPα near lipogenic genes and the Trib1 gene, which itself was transcriptionally upregulated by C/EBPα overexpression. Together, our results reveal that tribbles-1 regulates hepatic lipogenesis through posttranscriptional regulation of C/EBPα, which in turn transcriptionally upregulates Trib1. These data suggest an important role for C/EBPα in mediating the lipogenic effects of hepatic Trib1 deletion and provide insight into the association between TRIB1 and plasma lipids, and liver traits in humans.

Fluoromodule-based reporter/probes designed for in vivo fluorescence imaging
  By: Ming Zhang, Subhasish K. Chakraborty, Padma Sampath, Juan J. Rojas, Weizhou Hou, Saumya Saurabh, Steve H. Thorne, Marcel P. Bruchez, Alan S. Waggoner

Optical imaging of whole, living animals has proven to be a powerful tool in multiple areas of preclinical research and has allowed noninvasive monitoring of immune responses, tumor and pathogen growth, and treatment responses in longitudinal studies. However, fluorescence-based studies in animals are challenging because tissue absorbs and autofluoresces strongly in the visible light spectrum. These optical properties drive development and use of fluorescent labels that absorb and emit at longer wavelengths. Here, we present a far-red absorbing fluoromodule–based reporter/probe system and show that this system can be used for imaging in living mice. The probe we developed is a fluorogenic dye called SC1 that is dark in solution but highly fluorescent when bound to its cognate reporter, Mars1. The reporter/probe complex, or fluoromodule, produced peak emission near 730 nm. Mars1 was able to bind a variety of structurally similar probes that differ in color and membrane permeability. We demonstrated that a tool kit of multiple probes can be used to label extracellular and intracellular reporter–tagged receptor pools with 2 colors. Imaging studies may benefit from this far-red excited reporter/probe system, which features tight coupling between probe fluorescence and reporter binding and offers the option of using an expandable family of fluorogenic probes with a single reporter gene.

M-current preservation contributes to anticonvulsant effects of valproic acid
  By: Hee Yeon Kay, Derek L. Greene, Seungwoo Kang, Anastasia Kosenko, Naoto Hoshi

Valproic acid (VPA) has been widely used for decades to treat epilepsy; however, its mechanism of action remains poorly understood. Here, we report that the anticonvulsant effects of nonacute VPA treatment involve preservation of the M-current, a low-threshold noninactivating potassium current, during seizures. In a wide variety of neurons, activation of Gq-coupled receptors, such as the m1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, suppresses the M-current and induces hyperexcitability. We demonstrated that VPA treatment disrupts muscarinic suppression of the M-current and prevents resultant agonist-induced neuronal hyperexcitability. We also determined that VPA treatment interferes with M-channel signaling by inhibiting palmitoylation of a signaling scaffold protein, AKAP79/150, in cultured neurons. In a kainate-induced murine seizure model, administration of a dose of an M-channel inhibitor that did not affect kainate-induced seizure transiently eliminated the anticonvulsant effects of VPA. Retigabine, an M-channel opener that does not open receptor-suppressed M-channels, provided anticonvulsant effects only when administered prior to seizure induction in control animals. In contrast, treatment of VPA-treated mice with retigabine induced anticonvulsant effects even when administered after seizure induction. Together, these results suggest that receptor-induced M-current suppression plays a role in the pathophysiology of seizures and that preservation of the M-current during seizures has potential as an effective therapeutic strategy.

Hepatocellular carcinoma originates from hepatocytes and not from the progenitor/biliary compartment
  By: Xueru Mu, Regina Español-Suñer, Ingmar Mederacke, Silvia Affò, Rita Manco, Christine Sempoux, Frédéric P. Lemaigre, Arlind Adili, Detian Yuan, Achim Weber, Kristian Unger, Mathias Heikenwälder, Isabelle A. Leclercq, Robert F. Schwabe

In many organs, including the intestine and skin, cancers originate from cells of the stem or progenitor compartment. Despite its nomenclature, the cellular origin of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains elusive. In contrast to most organs, the liver lacks a defined stem cell population for organ maintenance. Previous studies suggest that both hepatocytes and facultative progenitor cells within the biliary compartment are capable of generating HCC. As HCCs with a progenitor signature carry a worse prognosis, understanding the origin of HCC is of clinical relevance. Here, we used complementary fate-tracing approaches to label the progenitor/biliary compartment and hepatocytes in murine hepatocarcinogenesis. In genotoxic and genetic models, HCCs arose exclusively from hepatocytes but never from the progenitor/biliary compartment. Cytokeratin 19–, A6- and α-fetoprotein–positive cells within tumors were hepatocyte derived. In summary, hepatocytes represent the cell of origin for HCC in mice, and a progenitor signature does not reflect progenitor origin, but dedifferentiation of hepatocyte-derived tumor cells.

Perhexiline activates KLF14 and reduces atherosclerosis by modulating ApoA-I production
  By: Yanhong Guo, Yanbo Fan, Jifeng Zhang, Gwen A. Lomberk, Zhou Zhou, Lijie Sun, Angela J. Mathison, Minerva T. Garcia-Barrio, Ji Zhang, Lixia Zeng, Lei Li, Subramaniam Pennathur, Cristen J. Willer, Daniel J. Rader, Raul Urrutia, Y. Eugene Chen

Recent genome-wide association studies have revealed that variations near the gene locus encoding the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 14 (KLF14) are strongly associated with HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, metabolic syndrome, and coronary heart disease. However, the precise mechanisms by which KLF14 regulates lipid metabolism and affects atherosclerosis remain largely unexplored. Here, we report that KLF14 is dysregulated in the liver of 2 dyslipidemia mouse models. We evaluated the effects of both KLF14 overexpression and genetic inactivation and determined that KLF14 regulates plasma HDL-C levels and cholesterol efflux capacity by modulating hepatic ApoA-I production. Hepatic-specific Klf14 deletion in mice resulted in decreased circulating HDL-C levels. In an attempt to pharmacologically target KLF14 as an experimental therapeutic approach, we identified perhexiline, an approved therapeutic small molecule presently in clinical use to treat angina and heart failure, as a KLF14 activator. Indeed, in WT mice, treatment with perhexiline increased HDL-C levels and cholesterol efflux capacity via KLF14-mediated upregulation of ApoA-I expression. Moreover, perhexiline administration reduced atherosclerotic lesion development in apolipoprotein E–deficient mice. Together, these results provide comprehensive insight into the KLF14-dependent regulation of HDL-C and subsequent atherosclerosis and indicate that interventions that target the KLF14 pathway should be further explored for the treatment of atherosclerosis.

Inhibition of hyaluronan synthesis restores immune tolerance during autoimmune insulitis
  By: Nadine Nagy, Gernot Kaber, Pamela Y. Johnson, John A. Gebe, Anton Preisinger, Ben A. Falk, Vivekananda G. Sunkari, Michel D. Gooden, Robert B. Vernon, Marika Bogdani, Hedwich F. Kuipers, Anthony J. Day, Daniel J. Campbell, Thomas N. Wight, Paul L. Bollyky

We recently reported that abundant deposits of the extracellular matrix polysaccharide hyaluronan (HA) are characteristic of autoimmune insulitis in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but the relevance of these deposits to disease was unclear. Here, we have demonstrated that HA is critical for the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes. Using the DO11.10xRIPmOVA mouse model of T1D, we determined that HA deposits are temporally and anatomically associated with the development of insulitis. Moreover, treatment with an inhibitor of HA synthesis, 4-methylumbelliferone (4-MU), halted progression to diabetes even after the onset of insulitis. Similar effects were seen in the NOD mouse model, and in these mice, 1 week of treatment was sufficient to prevent subsequent diabetes. 4-MU reduced HA accumulation, constrained effector T cells to nondestructive insulitis, and increased numbers of intraislet FOXP3+ Tregs. Consistent with the observed effects of 4-MU treatment, Treg differentiation was inhibited by HA and anti-CD44 antibodies and rescued by 4-MU in an ERK1/2-dependent manner. These data may explain how peripheral immune tolerance is impaired in tissues under autoimmune attack, including islets in T1D. We propose that 4-MU, already an approved drug used to treat biliary spasm, could be repurposed to prevent, and possibly treat, T1D in at-risk individuals.

Lentiviral-mediated gene therapy restores B cell tolerance in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome patients
  By: Francesca Pala, Henner Morbach, Maria Carmina Castiello, Jean-Nicolas Schickel, Samantha Scaramuzza, Nicolas Chamberlain, Barbara Cassani, Salome Glauzy, Neil Romberg, Fabio Candotti, Alessandro Aiuti, Marita Bosticardo, Anna Villa, Eric Meffre

Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is an X-linked immunodeficiency characterized by microthrombocytopenia, eczema, and high susceptibility to developing tumors and autoimmunity. Recent evidence suggests that B cells may be key players in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity in WAS. Here, we assessed whether WAS protein deficiency (WASp deficiency) affects the establishment of B cell tolerance by testing the reactivity of recombinant antibodies isolated from single B cells from 4 WAS patients before and after gene therapy (GT). We found that pre-GT WASp-deficient B cells were hyperreactive to B cell receptor stimulation (BCR stimulation). This hyperreactivity correlated with decreased frequency of autoreactive new emigrant/transitional B cells exiting the BM, indicating that the BCR signaling threshold plays a major role in the regulation of central B cell tolerance. In contrast, mature naive B cells from WAS patients were enriched in self-reactive clones, revealing that peripheral B cell tolerance checkpoint dysfunction is associated with impaired suppressive function of WAS regulatory T cells. The introduction of functional WASp by GT corrected the alterations of both central and peripheral B cell tolerance checkpoints. We conclude that WASp plays an important role in the establishment and maintenance of B cell tolerance in humans and that restoration of WASp by GT is able to restore B cell tolerance in WAS patients.

Isolation of neoantigen-specific T cells from tumor and peripheral lymphocytes
  By: Cyrille J. Cohen, Jared J. Gartner, Miryam Horovitz-Fried, Katerina Shamalov, Kasia Trebska-McGowan, Valery V. Bliskovsky, Maria R. Parkhurst, Chen Ankri, Todd. D. Prickett, Jessica S. Crystal, Yong F. Li, Mona El-Gamil, Steven A. Rosenberg, Paul F. Robbins

Adoptively transferred tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes (TILs) that mediate complete regression of metastatic melanoma have been shown to recognize mutated epitopes expressed by autologous tumors. Here, in an attempt to develop a strategy for facilitating the isolation, expansion, and study of mutated antigen–specific T cells, we performed whole-exome sequencing on matched tumor and normal DNA isolated from 8 patients with metastatic melanoma. Candidate mutated epitopes were identified using a peptide-MHC–binding algorithm, and these epitopes were synthesized and used to generate panels of MHC tetramers that were evaluated for binding to tumor digests and cultured TILs used for the treatment of patients. This strategy resulted in the identification of 9 mutated epitopes from 5 of the 8 patients tested. Cells reactive with 8 of the 9 epitopes could be isolated from autologous peripheral blood, where they were detected at frequencies that were estimated to range between 0.4% and 0.002%. To the best of our knowledge, this represents the first demonstration of the successful isolation of mutation-reactive T cells from patients’ peripheral blood prior to immune therapy, potentially providing the basis for designing personalized immunotherapies to treat patients with advanced cancer.

IL-34 is a Treg-specific cytokine and mediates transplant tolerance
  By: Séverine Bézie, Elodie Picarda, Jason Ossart, Laurent Tesson, Claire Usal, Karine Renaudin, Ignacio Anegon, Carole Guillonneau

Cytokines and metabolic pathway–controlling enzymes regulate immune responses and have potential as powerful tools to mediate immune tolerance. Blockade of the interaction between CD40 and CD40L induces long-term cardiac allograft survival in rats through a CD8+CD45RClo Treg potentiation. Here, we have shown that the cytokine IL-34, the immunoregulatory properties of which have not been previously studied in transplantation or T cell biology, is expressed by rodent CD8+CD45RClo Tregs and human FOXP3+CD45RCloCD8+ and CD4+ Tregs. IL-34 was involved in the suppressive function of both CD8+ and CD4+ Tregs and markedly inhibited alloreactive immune responses. Additionally, in a rat cardiac allograft model, IL-34 potently induced transplant tolerance that was associated with a total inhibition of alloantibody production. Treatment of rats with IL-34 promoted allograft tolerance that was mediated by induction of CD8+ and CD4+ Tregs. Moreover, these Tregs were capable of serial tolerance induction through modulation of macrophages that migrate early to the graft. Finally, we demonstrated that human macrophages cultured in the presence of IL-34 greatly expanded CD8+ and CD4+ FOXP3+ Tregs, with a superior suppressive potential of antidonor immune responses compared with non–IL-34–expanded Tregs. In conclusion, we reveal that IL-34 serves as a suppressive Treg–specific cytokine and as a tolerogenic cytokine that efficiently inhibits alloreactive immune responses and mediates transplant tolerance.

Insulin demand regulates β cell number via the unfolded protein response
  By: Rohit B. Sharma, Amy C. O’Donnell, Rachel E. Stamateris, Binh Ha, Karen M. McCloskey, Paul R. Reynolds, Peter Arvan, Laura C. Alonso

Although stem cell populations mediate regeneration of rapid turnover tissues, such as skin, blood, and gut, a stem cell reservoir has not been identified for some slower turnover tissues, such as the pancreatic islet. Despite lacking identifiable stem cells, murine pancreatic β cell number expands in response to an increase in insulin demand. Lineage tracing shows that new β cells are generated from proliferation of mature, differentiated β cells; however, the mechanism by which these mature cells sense systemic insulin demand and initiate a proliferative response remains unknown. Here, we identified the β cell unfolded protein response (UPR), which senses insulin production, as a regulator of β cell proliferation. Using genetic and physiologic models, we determined that among the population of β cells, those with an active UPR are more likely to proliferate. Moreover, subthreshold endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress) drove insulin demand–induced β cell proliferation, through activation of ATF6. We also confirmed that the UPR regulates proliferation of human β cells, suggesting that therapeutic UPR modulation has potential to expand β cell mass in people at risk for diabetes. Together, this work defines a stem cell–independent model of tissue homeostasis, in which differentiated secretory cells use the UPR sensor to adapt organ size to meet demand.

Isocitrate-to-SENP1 signaling amplifies insulin secretion and rescues dysfunctional β cells
  By: Mourad Ferdaoussi, Xiaoqing Dai, Mette V. Jensen, Runsheng Wang, Brett S. Peterson, Chao Huang, Olga Ilkayeva, Nancy Smith, Nathanael Miller, Catherine Hajmrle, Aliya F. Spigelman, Robert C. Wright, Gregory Plummer, Kunimasa Suzuki, James P. Mackay, Martijn van de Bunt, Anna L. Gloyn, Terence E. Ryan, Lisa D. Norquay, M. Julia Brosnan, Jeff K. Trimmer, Timothy P. Rolph, Richard G. Kibbey, Jocelyn E. Manning Fox, William F. Colmers, Orian S. Shirihai, P. Darrell Neufer, Edward T.H. Yeh, Christopher B. Newgard, Patrick E. MacDonald

Insulin secretion from β cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans controls metabolic homeostasis and is impaired in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Increases in blood glucose trigger insulin release by closing ATP-sensitive K+ channels, depolarizing β cells, and opening voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels to elicit insulin exocytosis. However, one or more additional pathway(s) amplify the secretory response, likely at the distal exocytotic site. The mitochondrial export of isocitrate and engagement with cytosolic isocitrate dehydrogenase (ICDc) may be one key pathway, but the mechanism linking this to insulin secretion and its role in T2D have not been defined. Here, we show that the ICDc-dependent generation of NADPH and subsequent glutathione (GSH) reduction contribute to the amplification of insulin exocytosis via sentrin/SUMO-specific protease-1 (SENP1). In human T2D and an in vitro model of human islet dysfunction, the glucose-dependent amplification of exocytosis was impaired and could be rescued by introduction of signaling intermediates from this pathway. Moreover, islet-specific Senp1 deletion in mice caused impaired glucose tolerance by reducing the amplification of insulin exocytosis. Together, our results identify a pathway that links glucose metabolism to the amplification of insulin secretion and demonstrate that restoration of this axis rescues β cell function in T2D.

FOXC2 and fluid shear stress stabilize postnatal lymphatic vasculature
  By: Amélie Sabine, Esther Bovay, Cansaran Saygili Demir, Wataru Kimura, Muriel Jaquet, Yan Agalarov, Nadine Zangger, Joshua P. Scallan, Werner Graber, Elgin Gulpinar, Brenda R. Kwak, Taija Mäkinen, Inés Martinez-Corral, Sagrario Ortega, Mauro Delorenzi, Friedemann Kiefer, Michael J. Davis, Valentin Djonov, Naoyuki Miura, Tatiana V. Petrova

Biomechanical forces, such as fluid shear stress, govern multiple aspects of endothelial cell biology. In blood vessels, disturbed flow is associated with vascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, and promotes endothelial cell proliferation and apoptosis. Here, we identified an important role for disturbed flow in lymphatic vessels, in which it cooperates with the transcription factor FOXC2 to ensure lifelong stability of the lymphatic vasculature. In cultured lymphatic endothelial cells, FOXC2 inactivation conferred abnormal shear stress sensing, promoting junction disassembly and entry into the cell cycle. Loss of FOXC2-dependent quiescence was mediated by the Hippo pathway transcriptional coactivator TAZ and, ultimately, led to cell death. In murine models, inducible deletion of Foxc2 within the lymphatic vasculature led to cell-cell junction defects, regression of valves, and focal vascular lumen collapse, which triggered generalized lymphatic vascular dysfunction and lethality. Together, our work describes a fundamental mechanism by which FOXC2 and oscillatory shear stress maintain lymphatic endothelial cell quiescence through intercellular junction and cytoskeleton stabilization and provides an essential link between biomechanical forces and endothelial cell identity that is necessary for postnatal vessel homeostasis. As FOXC2 is mutated in lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome, our data also underscore the role of impaired mechanotransduction in the pathology of this hereditary human disease.

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