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Journal of Clinical Investigation RSS feed -- Current issue

Vascular adhesion protein-1 promotes liver inflammation and drives hepatic fibrosis
  By: Chris J. Weston, Emma L. Shepherd, Lee C. Claridge, Pia Rantakari, Stuart M. Curbishley, Jeremy W. Tomlinson, Stefan G. Hubscher, Gary M. Reynolds, Kristiina Aalto, Quentin M. Anstee, Sirpa Jalkanen, Marko Salmi, David J. Smith, Christopher P. Day, David H. Adams

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses a range of manifestations, including steatosis and cirrhosis. Progressive disease is characterized by hepatic leukocyte accumulation in the form of steatohepatitis. The adhesion molecule vascular adhesion protein-1 (VAP-1) is a membrane-bound amine oxidase that promotes leukocyte recruitment to the liver, and the soluble form (sVAP-1) accounts for most circulating monoamine oxidase activity, has insulin-like effects, and can initiate oxidative stress. Here, we determined that hepatic VAP-1 expression is increased in patients with chronic liver disease and that serum sVAP-1 levels are elevated in patients with NAFLD compared with those in control individuals. In 4 murine hepatic injury models, an absence or blockade of functional VAP-1 reduced inflammatory cell recruitment to the liver and attenuated fibrosis. Moreover, disease was reduced in animals expressing a catalytically inactive form of VAP-1, implicating enzyme activity in the disease pathogenesis. Within the liver, hepatic stromal cells expressed functional VAP-1, and evaluation of cultured cells revealed that sVAP-1 promotes leukocyte migration through catalytic generation of ROS, which depended on VAP-1 enzyme activity. VAP-1 enhanced stromal cell spreading and wound closure and modulated expression of profibrotic genes. Together, these results link the amine oxidase activity of VAP-1 with hepatic inflammation and fibrosis and suggest that targeting VAP-1 has therapeutic potential for NAFLD and other chronic fibrotic liver diseases.

Annexin1 regulates DC efferocytosis and cross-presentation during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection
  By: Fanny Tzelepis, Mark Verway, Jamal Daoud, Joshua Gillard, Kimya Hassani-Ardakani, Jonathan Dunn, Jeffrey Downey, Marilena Elena Gentile, Joanna Jaworska, Anthony Michel Jean Sanchez, Yohann Nédélec, Hojatollah Vali, Maryam Tabrizian, Arnold Scott Kristof, Irah Luther King, Luis Bruno Barreiro, Maziar Divangahi

The phagocytosis of apoptotic cells and associated vesicles (efferocytosis) by DCs is an important mechanism for both self tolerance and host defense. Although some of the engulfment ligands involved in efferocytosis have been identified and studied in vitro, the contributions of these ligands in vivo remain ill defined. Here, we determined that during Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection, the engulfment ligand annexin1 is an important mediator in DC cross-presentation that increases efferocytosis in DCs and intrinsically enhances the capacity of the DC antigen–presenting machinery. Annexin1-deficient mice were highly susceptible to Mtb infection and showed an impaired Mtb antigen–specific CD8+ T cell response. Importantly, annexin1 expression was greatly downregulated in Mtb-infected human blood monocyte–derived DCs, indicating that reduction of annexin1 is a critical mechanism for immune evasion by Mtb. Collectively, these data indicate that annexin1 is essential in immunity to Mtb infection and mediates the power of DC efferocytosis and cross-presentation.

Telomerase mutations in smokers with severe emphysema
  By: Susan E. Stanley, Julian J.L. Chen, Joshua D. Podlevsky, Jonathan K. Alder, Nadia N. Hansel, Rasika A. Mathias, Xiaodong Qi, Nicholas M. Rafaels, Robert A. Wise, Edwin K. Silverman, Kathleen C. Barnes, Mary Armanios

Mutations in the essential telomerase genes TERT and TR cause familial pulmonary fibrosis; however, in telomerase-null mice, short telomeres predispose to emphysema after chronic cigarette smoke exposure. Here, we tested whether telomerase mutations are a risk factor for human emphysema by examining their frequency in smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Across two independent cohorts, we found 3 of 292 severe COPD cases carried deleterious mutations in TERT (1%). This prevalence is comparable to the frequency of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency documented in this population. The TERT mutations compromised telomerase catalytic activity, and mutation carriers had short telomeres. Telomerase mutation carriers with emphysema were predominantly female and had an increased incidence of pneumothorax. In families, emphysema showed an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern, along with pulmonary fibrosis and other telomere syndrome features, but manifested only in smokers. Our findings identify germline mutations in telomerase as a Mendelian risk factor for COPD susceptibility that clusters in autosomal dominant families with telomere-mediated disease including pulmonary fibrosis.

Tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity determines colorectal cancer patient prognosis
  By: Christoph Reissfelder, Slava Stamova, Christina Gossmann, Marion Braun, Andreas Bonertz, Ute Walliczek, Mario Grimm, Nuh N. Rahbari, Moritz Koch, Maral Saadati, Axel Benner, Markus W. Büchler, Dirk Jäger, Niels Halama, Khashayarsha Khazaie, Jürgen Weitz, Philipp Beckhove

The composition of tumor-targeted T cell infiltrates is a major prognostic factor in colorectal cancer (CRC) outcome; however, the functional role of these populations in prolonging patient survival remains unclear. Here, we evaluated 190 patients with CRC for the presence of functionally active tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), the tumor specificity of these TILs, and the correlation between patient TILs and long-term survival. Using intracytoplasmic cytokine staining in conjunction with HLA multimers loaded with tumor peptide and antigen-specific cytokine secretion assays, we determined that TNF-α expression delineates a population of tumor antigen–specific (TA-specific) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) present within tumors from patients with CRC. Upregulation of TNF-α expression in TILs strongly correlated with an increase in the total amount of intratumoral TNF-α, which is indicative of tumor-specific CTL activity. Moreover, a retrospective multivariate analysis of 102 patients with CRC, which had multiple immune parameters evaluated, revealed that increased TNF-α concentration was an independent prognostic factor. Together, these results indicate that the prognostic impact of T cell infiltrates for CRC maybe largely based on subpopulations of active TA-specific T cells within the tumor, suggesting causal implication for these cells in patient survival. Additionally, these results support the use of intratumoral TNF-α, which is indicative of T cell function, as a prognostic parameter for CRC.

Increased glutamine catabolism mediates bone anabolism in response to WNT signaling
  By: Courtney M. Karner, Emel Esen, Adewole L. Okunade, Bruce W. Patterson, Fanxin Long

WNT signaling stimulates bone formation by increasing both the number of osteoblasts and their protein-synthesis activity. It is not clear how WNT augments the capacity of osteoblast progenitors to meet the increased energetic and synthetic needs associated with mature osteoblasts. Here, in cultured osteoblast progenitors, we determined that WNT stimulates glutamine catabolism through the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and consequently lowers intracellular glutamine levels. The WNT-induced reduction of glutamine concentration triggered a general control nonderepressible 2–mediated (GCN2-mediated) integrated stress response (ISR) that stimulated expression of genes responsible for amino acid supply, transfer RNA (tRNA) aminoacylation, and protein folding. WNT-induced glutamine catabolism and ISR were β-catenin independent, but required mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activation. In a hyperactive WNT signaling mouse model of human osteosclerosis, inhibition of glutamine catabolism or Gcn2 deletion suppressed excessive bone formation. Together, our data indicate that glutamine is both an energy source and a protein-translation rheostat that is responsive to WNT and suggest that manipulation of the glutamine/GCN2 signaling axis may provide a valuable approach for normalizing deranged protein anabolism associated with human diseases.

The HMGB1/RAGE axis triggers neutrophil-mediated injury amplification following necrosis
  By: Peter Huebener, Jean-Philippe Pradere, Celine Hernandez, Geum-Youn Gwak, Jorge Matias Caviglia, Xueru Mu, John D. Loike, Rosalind E. Jenkins, Daniel J. Antoine, Robert F. Schwabe

In contrast to microbially triggered inflammation, mechanisms promoting sterile inflammation remain poorly understood. Damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) are considered key inducers of sterile inflammation following cell death, but the relative contribution of specific DAMPs, including high–mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), is ill defined. Due to the postnatal lethality of Hmgb1-knockout mice, the role of HMGB1 in sterile inflammation and disease processes in vivo remains controversial. Here, using conditional ablation strategies, we have demonstrated that epithelial, but not bone marrow–derived, HMGB1 is required for sterile inflammation following injury. Epithelial HMGB1, through its receptor RAGE, triggered recruitment of neutrophils, but not macrophages, toward necrosis. In clinically relevant models of necrosis, HMGB1/RAGE-induced neutrophil recruitment mediated subsequent amplification of injury, depending on the presence of neutrophil elastase. Notably, hepatocyte-specific HMGB1 ablation resulted in 100% survival following lethal acetaminophen intoxication. In contrast to necrosis, HMGB1 ablation did not alter inflammation or mortality in response to TNF- or FAS-mediated apoptosis. In LPS-induced shock, in which HMGB1 was considered a key mediator, HMGB1 ablation did not ameliorate inflammation or lethality, despite efficient reduction of HMGB1 serum levels. Our study establishes HMGB1 as a bona fide and targetable DAMP that selectively triggers a neutrophil-mediated injury amplification loop in the setting of necrosis.

PINK1 deficiency impairs mitochondrial homeostasis and promotes lung fibrosis
  By: Marta Bueno, Yen-Chun Lai, Yair Romero, Judith Brands, Claudette M. St. Croix, Christelle Kamga, Catherine Corey, Jose D. Herazo-Maya, John Sembrat, Janet S. Lee, Steve R. Duncan, Mauricio Rojas, Sruti Shiva, Charleen T. Chu, Ana L. Mora

Although aging is a known risk factor for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), the pathogenic mechanisms that underlie the effects of advancing age remain largely unexplained. Some age-related neurodegenerative diseases have an etiology that is related to mitochondrial dysfunction. Here, we found that alveolar type II cells (AECIIs) in the lungs of IPF patients exhibit marked accumulation of dysmorphic and dysfunctional mitochondria. These mitochondrial abnormalities in AECIIs of IPF lungs were associated with upregulation of ER stress markers and were recapitulated in normal mice with advancing age in response to stimulation of ER stress. We found that impaired mitochondria in IPF and aging lungs were associated with low expression of PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1). Knockdown of PINK1 expression in lung epithelial cells resulted in mitochondria depolarization and expression of profibrotic factors. Moreover, young PINK1-deficient mice developed similarly dysmorphic, dysfunctional mitochondria in the AECIIs and were vulnerable to apoptosis and development of lung fibrosis. Our data indicate that PINK1 deficiency results in swollen, dysfunctional mitochondria and defective mitophagy, and promotes fibrosis in the aging lung.

TLR4 genotype and environmental LPS mediate RSV bronchiolitis through Th2 polarization
  By: Mauricio T. Caballero, M. Elina Serra, Patricio L. Acosta, Jacqui Marzec, Luz Gibbons, Maximiliano Salim, Andrea Rodriguez, Andrea Reynaldi, Alejandro Garcia, Daniela Bado, Ursula J. Buchholz, Diego R. Hijano, Silvina Coviello, Dawn Newcomb, Miguel Bellabarba, Fausto M. Ferolla, Romina Libster, Ada Berenstein, Susana Siniawaski, Valeria Blumetti, Marcela Echavarria, Leonardo Pinto, Andrea Lawrence, M. Fabiana Ossorio, Arnoldo Grosman, Cecilia G. Mateu, Carola Bayle, Alejandra Dericco, Mariana Pellegrini, Ignacio Igarza, Horacio A. Repetto, Luciano Alva Grimaldi, Prathyusha Gudapati, Norberto R. Polack, Fernando Althabe, Min Shi, Fernando Ferrero, Eduardo Bergel, Renato T. Stein, R. Stokes Peebles, Mark Boothby, Steven R. Kleeberger, Fernando P. Polack

While 30%–70% of RSV-infected infants develop bronchiolitis, 2% require hospitalization. It is not clear why disease severity differs among healthy, full-term infants; however, virus titers, inflammation, and Th2 bias are proposed explanations. While TLR4 is associated with these disease phenotypes, the role of this receptor in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) pathogenesis is controversial. Here, we evaluated the interaction between TLR4 and environmental factors in RSV disease and defined the immune mediators associated with severe illness. Two independent populations of infants with RSV bronchiolitis revealed that the severity of RSV infection is determined by the TLR4 genotype of the individual and by environmental exposure to LPS. RSV-infected infants with severe disease exhibited a high GATA3/T-bet ratio, which manifested as a high IL-4/IFN-γ ratio in respiratory secretions. The IL-4/IFN-γ ratio present in infants with severe RSV is indicative of Th2 polarization. Murine models of RSV infection confirmed that LPS exposure, Tlr4 genotype, and Th2 polarization influence disease phenotypes. Together, the results of this study identify environmental and genetic factors that influence RSV pathogenesis and reveal that a high IL-4/IFN-γ ratio is associated with severe disease. Moreover, these molecules should be explored as potential targets for therapeutic intervention.

Metabolically normal obese people are protected from adverse effects following weight gain
  By: Elisa Fabbrini, Jun Yoshino, Mihoko Yoshino, Faidon Magkos, Courtney Tiemann Luecking, Dmitri Samovski, Gemma Fraterrigo, Adewole L. Okunade, Bruce W. Patterson, Samuel Klein

BACKGROUND. Obesity is associated with insulin resistance and increased intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) content, both of which are key risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, a subset of obese people does not develop these metabolic complications. Here, we tested the hypothesis that people defined by IHTG content and insulin sensitivity as “metabolically normal obese” (MNO), but not those defined as “metabolically abnormal obese” (MAO), are protected from the adverse metabolic effects of weight gain.

METHODS. Body composition, multiorgan insulin sensitivity, VLDL apolipoprotein B100 (apoB100) kinetics, and global transcriptional profile in adipose tissue were evaluated before and after moderate (~6%) weight gain in MNO (n = 12) and MAO (n = 8) subjects with a mean BMI of 36 ± 4 kg/m2 who were matched for BMI and fat mass.

RESULTS. Although the increase in body weight and fat mass was the same in both groups, hepatic, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue insulin sensitivity deteriorated, and VLDL apoB100 concentrations and secretion rates increased in MAO, but not MNO, subjects. Moreover, biological pathways and genes associated with adipose tissue lipogenesis increased in MNO, but not MAO, subjects.

CONCLUSIONS. These data demonstrate that MNO people are resistant, whereas MAO people are predisposed, to the adverse metabolic effects of moderate weight gain and that increased adipose tissue capacity for lipogenesis might help protect MNO people from weight gain–induced metabolic dysfunction.


FUNDING. This work was supported by NIH grants UL1 RR024992 (Clinical Translational Science Award), DK 56341 (Nutrition and Obesity Research Center), DK 37948 and DK 20579 (Diabetes Center Grant), and UL1 TR000450 (KL2 Award); a Central Society for Clinical and Translational Research Early Career Development Award; and by grants from the Longer Life Foundation and the Kilo Foundation.

Differentiation of hypothalamic-like neurons from human pluripotent stem cells
  By: Liheng Wang, Kana Meece, Damian J. Williams, Kinyui Alice Lo, Matthew Zimmer, Garrett Heinrich, Jayne Martin Carli, Charles A. Leduc, Lei Sun, Lori M. Zeltser, Matthew Freeby, Robin Goland, Stephen H. Tsang, Sharon L. Wardlaw, Dieter Egli, Rudolph L. Leibel

The hypothalamus is the central regulator of systemic energy homeostasis, and its dysfunction can result in extreme body weight alterations. Insights into the complex cellular physiology of this region are critical to the understanding of obesity pathogenesis; however, human hypothalamic cells are largely inaccessible for direct study. Here, we developed a protocol for efficient generation of hypothalamic neurons from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) obtained from patients with monogenetic forms of obesity. Combined early activation of sonic hedgehog signaling followed by timed NOTCH inhibition in human ESCs/iPSCs resulted in efficient conversion into hypothalamic NKX2.1+ precursors. Application of a NOTCH inhibitor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) further directed the cells into arcuate nucleus hypothalamic-like neurons that express hypothalamic neuron markers proopiomelanocortin (POMC), neuropeptide Y (NPY), agouti-related peptide (AGRP), somatostatin, and dopamine. These hypothalamic-like neurons accounted for over 90% of differentiated cells and exhibited transcriptional profiles defined by a hypothalamic-specific gene expression signature that lacked pituitary markers. Importantly, these cells displayed hypothalamic neuron characteristics, including production and secretion of neuropeptides and increased p-AKT and p-STAT3 in response to insulin and leptin. Our results suggest that these hypothalamic-like neurons have potential for further investigation of the neurophysiology of body weight regulation and evaluation of therapeutic targets for obesity.

Neuroepithelial circuit formed by innervation of sensory enteroendocrine cells
  By: Diego V. Bohórquez, Rafiq A. Shahid, Alan Erdmann, Alex M. Kreger, Yu Wang, Nicole Calakos, Fan Wang, Rodger A. Liddle

Satiety and other core physiological functions are modulated by sensory signals arising from the surface of the gut. Luminal nutrients and bacteria stimulate epithelial biosensors called enteroendocrine cells. Despite being electrically excitable, enteroendocrine cells are generally thought to communicate indirectly with nerves through hormone secretion and not through direct cell-nerve contact. However, we recently uncovered in intestinal enteroendocrine cells a cytoplasmic process that we named neuropod. Here, we determined that neuropods provide a direct connection between enteroendocrine cells and neurons innervating the small intestine and colon. Using cell-specific transgenic mice to study neural circuits, we found that enteroendocrine cells have the necessary elements for neurotransmission, including expression of genes that encode pre-, post-, and transsynaptic proteins. This neuroepithelial circuit was reconstituted in vitro by coculturing single enteroendocrine cells with sensory neurons. We used a monosynaptic rabies virus to define the circuit’s functional connectivity in vivo and determined that delivery of this neurotropic virus into the colon lumen resulted in the infection of mucosal nerves through enteroendocrine cells. This neuroepithelial circuit can serve as both a sensory conduit for food and gut microbes to interact with the nervous system and a portal for viruses to enter the enteric and central nervous systems.

F-box protein FBXW7 inhibits cancer metastasis in a non-cell-autonomous manner
  By: Kanae Yumimoto, Sayuri Akiyoshi, Hiroki Ueo, Yasuaki Sagara, Ichiro Onoyama, Hiroaki Ueo, Shinji Ohno, Masaki Mori, Koshi Mimori, Keiichi I. Nakayama

The gene encoding F-box protein FBXW7 is frequently mutated in many human cancers. Although most previous studies have focused on the tumor-suppressive capacity of FBXW7 in tumor cells themselves, we determined that FBXW7 in the host microenvironment also suppresses cancer metastasis. Deletion of Fbxw7 in murine BM-derived stromal cells induced accumulation of NOTCH and consequent transcriptional activation of Ccl2. FBXW7-deficient mice exhibited increased serum levels of the chemokine CCL2, which resulted in the recruitment of both monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells and macrophages, thereby promoting metastatic tumor growth. Administration of a CCL2 receptor antagonist blocked the enhancement of metastasis in FBXW7-deficient mice. Furthermore, in human breast cancer patients, FBXW7 expression in peripheral blood was associated with serum CCL2 concentration and disease prognosis. Together, these results suggest that FBXW7 antagonizes cancer development in not only a cell-autonomous manner, but also a non-cell-autonomous manner, and that modulation of the FBXW7/NOTCH/CCL2 axis may provide a potential approach to suppression of cancer metastasis.

Designer aminoglycosides prevent cochlear hair cell loss and hearing loss
  By: Markus E. Huth, Kyu-Hee Han, Kayvon Sotoudeh, Yi-Ju Hsieh, Thomas Effertz, Andrew A. Vu, Sarah Verhoeven, Michael H. Hsieh, Robert Greenhouse, Alan G. Cheng, Anthony J. Ricci

Bacterial infections represent a rapidly growing challenge to human health. Aminoglycosides are widely used broad-spectrum antibiotics, but they inflict permanent hearing loss in up to ~50% of patients by causing selective sensory hair cell loss. Here, we hypothesized that reducing aminoglycoside entry into hair cells via mechanotransducer channels would reduce ototoxicity, and therefore we synthesized 9 aminoglycosides with modifications based on biophysical properties of the hair cell mechanotransducer channel and interactions between aminoglycosides and the bacterial ribosome. Compared with the parent aminoglycoside sisomicin, all 9 derivatives displayed no or reduced ototoxicity, with the lead compound N1MS 17 times less ototoxic and with reduced penetration of hair cell mechanotransducer channels in rat cochlear cultures. Both N1MS and sisomicin suppressed growth of E. coli and K. pneumoniae, with N1MS exhibiting superior activity against extended spectrum β lactamase producers, despite diminished activity against P. aeruginosa and S. aureus. Moreover, systemic sisomicin treatment of mice resulted in 75% to 85% hair cell loss and profound hearing loss, whereas N1MS treatment preserved both hair cells and hearing. Finally, in mice with E. coli–infected bladders, systemic N1MS treatment eliminated bacteria from urinary tract tissues and serially collected urine samples, without compromising auditory and kidney functions. Together, our findings establish N1MS as a nonototoxic aminoglycoside and support targeted modification as a promising approach to generating nonototoxic antibiotics.

Differences in hypothalamic type 2 deiodinase ubiquitination explain localized sensitivity to thyroxine
  By: Joao Pedro Werneck de Castro, Tatiana L. Fonseca, Cintia B. Ueta, Elizabeth A. McAninch, Sherine Abdalla, Gabor Wittmann, Ronald M. Lechan, Balazs Gereben, Antonio C. Bianco

The current treatment for patients with hypothyroidism is levothyroxine (L-T4) along with normalization of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). However, normalization of serum TSH with L-T4 monotherapy results in relatively low serum 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3) and high serum thyroxine/T3 (T4/T3) ratio. In the hypothalamus-pituitary dyad as well as the rest of the brain, the majority of T3 present is generated locally by T4 deiodination via the type 2 deiodinase (D2); this pathway is self-limited by ubiquitination of D2 by the ubiquitin ligase WSB-1. Here, we determined that tissue-specific differences in D2 ubiquitination account for the high T4/T3 serum ratio in adult thyroidectomized (Tx) rats chronically implanted with subcutaneous L-T4 pellets. While L-T4 administration decreased whole-body D2-dependent T4 conversion to T3, D2 activity in the hypothalamus was only minimally affected by L-T4. In vivo studies in mice harboring an astrocyte-specific Wsb1 deletion as well as in vitro analysis of D2 ubiquitination driven by different tissue extracts indicated that D2 ubiquitination in the hypothalamus is relatively less. As a result, in contrast to other D2-expressing tissues, the hypothalamus is wired to have increased sensitivity to T4. These studies reveal that tissue-specific differences in D2 ubiquitination are an inherent property of the TRH/TSH feedback mechanism and indicate that only constant delivery of L-T4 and L-T3 fully normalizes T3-dependent metabolic markers and gene expression profiles in Tx rats.

Proximity ligation assay evaluates IDH1R132H presentation in gliomas
  By: Lukas Bunse, Theresa Schumacher, Felix Sahm, Stefan Pusch, Iris Oezen, Katharina Rauschenbach, Marina Gonzalez, Gergely Solecki, Matthias Osswald, David Capper, Benedikt Wiestler, Frank Winkler, Christel Herold-Mende, Andreas von Deimling, Wolfgang Wick, Michael Platten

For a targeted cancer vaccine to be effective, the antigen of interest needs to be naturally processed and presented on MHC by the target cell or an antigen-presenting cell (APC) in the tumor stroma. The presence of these characteristics is often assumed based on animal models, evaluation of antigen-overexpressing APCs in vitro, or assays of material-consuming immune precipitation from fresh solid tissue. Here, we evaluated the use of an alternative approach that uses the proximity ligation assay (PLA) to identify the presentation of an MHC class II–restricted antigen in paraffin-embedded tissue sections from patients with brain tumors. This approach required a specific antibody directed against the epitope that was presented. We used an antibody that specifically binds an epitope of mutated isocitrate dehydrogenase type 1 (IDH1R132H), which is frequently expressed in gliomas and other types of tumors. In situ PLA showed that the IDH1R132H epitope colocalizes with MHC class II in IDH1R132H-mutated glioma tissue. Moreover, PLA demonstrated colocalization between the class II epitope-containing melanoma antigen New York esophageal 1 and MHC class II. Collectively, our data suggest that PLA may be a useful tool to acquire information on whether an antigen is presented in situ, and this technique has potential to guide clinical studies that use antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy.

HIF2α signaling inhibits adherens junctional disruption in acute lung injury
  By: Haixia Gong, Jalees Rehman, Haiyang Tang, Kishore Wary, Manish Mittal, Pallavi Chatturvedi, Youyang Zhao, Yulia A. Komorova, Stephen M. Vogel, Asrar B. Malik

Vascular endothelial barrier dysfunction underlies diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), characterized by edema and inflammatory cell infiltration. The transcription factor HIF2α is highly expressed in vascular endothelial cells (ECs) and may regulate endothelial barrier function. Here, we analyzed promoter sequences of genes encoding proteins that regulate adherens junction (AJ) integrity and determined that vascular endothelial protein tyrosine phosphatase (VE-PTP) is a HIF2α target. HIF2α-induced VE-PTP expression enhanced dephosphorylation of VE-cadherin, which reduced VE-cadherin endocytosis and thereby augmented AJ integrity and endothelial barrier function. Mice harboring an EC-specific deletion of Hif2a exhibited decreased VE-PTP expression and increased VE-cadherin phosphorylation, resulting in defective AJs. Mice lacking HIF2α in ECs had increased lung vascular permeability and water content, both of which were further exacerbated by endotoxin-mediated injury. Treatment of these mice with Fg4497, a prolyl hydroxylase domain 2 (PHD2) inhibitor, activated HIF2α-mediated transcription in a hypoxia-independent manner. HIF2α activation increased VE-PTP expression, decreased VE-cadherin phosphorylation, promoted AJ integrity, and prevented the loss of endothelial barrier function. These findings demonstrate that HIF2α enhances endothelial barrier integrity, in part through VE-PTP expression and the resultant VE-cadherin dephosphorylation-mediated assembly of AJs. Moreover, activation of HIF2α/VE-PTP signaling via PHD2 inhibition has the potential to prevent the formation of leaky vessels and edema in inflammatory diseases such as ARDS.

Polycystin-1 maturation requires polycystin-2 in a dose-dependent manner
  By: Vladimir G. Gainullin, Katharina Hopp, Christopher J. Ward, Cynthia J. Hommerding, Peter C. Harris

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is a common inherited nephropathy responsible for 4%–10% of end-stage renal disease cases. Mutations in the genes encoding polycystin-1 (PC1, PKD1) or polycystin-2 (PC2, PKD2) cause ADPKD, and PKD1 mutations are associated with more severe renal disease. PC1 has been shown to form a complex with PC2, and the severity of PKD1-mediated disease is associated with the level of the mature PC1 glycoform. Here, we demonstrated that PC1 and PC2 first interact in the ER before PC1 cleavage at the GPS/GAIN site and determined that PC2 acts as an essential chaperone for PC1 maturation and surface localization. The chaperone function of PC2 was dependent on the presence of the distal coiled-coil domain and was disrupted by pathogenic missense mutations. In Pkd2–/– mice, complete loss of PC2 prevented PC1 maturation. In Pkd2 heterozygotes, the 50% PC2 reduction resulted in a nonequimolar reduction (20%–25%) of the mature PC1 glycoform. Interbreeding between various Pkd1 and Pkd2 models revealed that animals with reduced levels of functional PC1 and PC2 in the kidney exhibited severe, rapidly progressive disease, illustrating the importance of complexing of these proteins for function. Our results indicate that PC2 regulates PC1 maturation; therefore, mature PC1 levels are a determinant of disease severity in PKD2 as well as PKD1.

Retinoid X receptors orchestrate osteoclast differentiation and postnatal bone remodeling
  By: María P. Menéndez-Gutiérrez, Tamás Rőszer, Lucía Fuentes, Vanessa Núñez, Amelia Escolano, Juan Miguel Redondo, Nora De Clerck, Daniel Metzger, Annabel F. Valledor, Mercedes Ricote

Osteoclasts are bone-resorbing cells that are important for maintenance of bone remodeling and mineral homeostasis. Regulation of osteoclast differentiation and activity is important for the pathogenesis and treatment of diseases associated with bone loss. Here, we demonstrate that retinoid X receptors (RXRs) are key elements of the transcriptional program of differentiating osteoclasts. Loss of RXR function in hematopoietic cells resulted in formation of giant, nonresorbing osteoclasts and increased bone mass in male mice and protected female mice from bone loss following ovariectomy, which induces osteoporosis in WT females. The increase in bone mass associated with RXR deficiency was due to lack of expression of the RXR-dependent transcription factor v-maf musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene family, protein B (MAFB) in osteoclast progenitors. Evaluation of osteoclast progenitor cells revealed that RXR homodimers directly target and bind to the Mafb promoter, and this interaction is required for proper osteoclast proliferation, differentiation, and activity. Pharmacological activation of RXRs inhibited osteoclast differentiation due to the formation of RXR/liver X receptor (LXR) heterodimers, which induced expression of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c), resulting in indirect MAFB upregulation. Our study reveals that RXR signaling mediates bone homeostasis and suggests that RXRs have potential as targets for the treatment of bone pathologies such as osteoporosis.

UCP2-induced fatty acid synthase promotes NLRP3 inflammasome activation during sepsis
  By: Jong-Seok Moon, Seonmin Lee, Mi-Ae Park, Ilias I. Siempos, Maria Haslip, Patty J. Lee, Mijin Yun, Chun K. Kim, Judie Howrylak, Stefan W. Ryter, Kiichi Nakahira, Augustine M.K. Choi

Cellular lipid metabolism has been linked to immune responses; however, the precise mechanisms by which de novo fatty acid synthesis can regulate inflammatory responses remain unclear. The NLRP3 inflammasome serves as a platform for caspase-1–dependent maturation and secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. Here, we demonstrated that the mitochondrial uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2) regulates NLRP3-mediated caspase-1 activation through the stimulation of lipid synthesis in macrophages. UCP2-deficient mice displayed improved survival in a mouse model of polymicrobial sepsis. Moreover, UCP2 expression was increased in human sepsis. Consistently, UCP2-deficient mice displayed impaired lipid synthesis and decreased production of IL-1β and IL-18 in response to LPS challenge. In macrophages, UCP2 deficiency suppressed NLRP3-mediated caspase-1 activation and NLRP3 expression associated with inhibition of lipid synthesis. In UCP2-deficient macrophages, inhibition of lipid synthesis resulted from the downregulation of fatty acid synthase (FASN), a key regulator of fatty acid synthesis. FASN inhibition by shRNA and treatment with the chemical inhibitors C75 and cerulenin suppressed NLRP3-mediated caspase-1 activation and inhibited NLRP3 and pro–IL-1β gene expression in macrophages. In conclusion, our results suggest that UCP2 regulates the NLRP3 inflammasome by inducing the lipid synthesis pathway in macrophages. These results identify UCP2 as a potential therapeutic target in inflammatory diseases such as sepsis.

Global transcriptional disturbances underlie Cornelia de Lange syndrome and related phenotypes
  By: Bo Yuan, Davut Pehlivan, Ender Karaca, Nisha Patel, Wu-Lin Charng, Tomasz Gambin, Claudia Gonzaga-Jauregui, V. Reid Sutton, Gozde Yesil, Sevcan Tug Bozdogan, Tulay Tos, Asuman Koparir, Erkan Koparir, Christine R. Beck, Shen Gu, Huseyin Aslan, Ozge Ozalp Yuregir, Khalid Al Rubeaan, Dhekra Alnaqeb, Muneera J. Alshammari, Yavuz Bayram, Mehmed M. Atik, Hatip Aydin, B. Bilge Geckinli, Mehmet Seven, Hakan Ulucan, Elif Fenercioglu, Mustafa Ozen, Shalini Jhangiani, Donna M. Muzny, Eric Boerwinkle, Beyhan Tuysuz, Fowzan S. Alkuraya, Richard A. Gibbs, James R. Lupski

Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a genetically heterogeneous disorder that presents with extensive phenotypic variability, including facial dysmorphism, developmental delay/intellectual disability (DD/ID), abnormal extremities, and hirsutism. About 65% of patients harbor mutations in genes that encode subunits or regulators of the cohesin complex, including NIPBL, SMC1A, SMC3, RAD21, and HDAC8. Wiedemann-Steiner syndrome (WDSTS), which shares CdLS phenotypic features, is caused by mutations in lysine-specific methyltransferase 2A (KMT2A). Here, we performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) of 2 male siblings clinically diagnosed with WDSTS; this revealed a hemizygous, missense mutation in SMC1A that was predicted to be deleterious. Extensive clinical evaluation and WES of 32 Turkish patients clinically diagnosed with CdLS revealed the presence of a de novo heterozygous nonsense KMT2A mutation in 1 patient without characteristic WDSTS features. We also identified de novo heterozygous mutations in SMC3 or SMC1A that affected RNA splicing in 2 independent patients with combined CdLS and WDSTS features. Furthermore, in families from 2 separate world populations segregating an autosomal-recessive disorder with CdLS-like features, we identified homozygous mutations in TAF6, which encodes a core transcriptional regulatory pathway component. Together, our data, along with recent transcriptome studies, suggest that CdLS and related phenotypes may be “transcriptomopathies” rather than cohesinopathies.

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