Cancer immune evasion is achieved through multiple layers of immune tolerance mechanisms including immune editing, recruitment of tolerogenic immune cells, and secretion of immune suppressive cytokines. Recent success with immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer immunotherapy suggests a dysfunctional immune synapse as a pivotal tolerogenic mechanism. Tumor cells express immune synapse proteins to suppress the immune system, which is often modulated by epigenetic mechanisms. When the methylation status of key immune synapse genes was interrogated, we observed disproportionately hyper-methylated co-stimulatory genes and hypo-methylation of immune checkpoint genes, which were negatively associated with functional T-cell recruitment to the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, the methylation status of immune synapse genes reflects tumor immunogenicity and correlates with survival.
Anders Berglund, Matthew Mills, Ryan M. Putney, Imène Hamaidi, James Mulé, Sungjune Kim
In patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), 10% to 30% with the normal karyotype express mutations in regulators of DNA methylation, such as TET2 or DNMT3A, in conjunction with activating mutation in the receptor tyrosine kinase FLT3. These patients have a poor prognosis because they do not respond well to established therapies. Here, utilizing mouse models of AML that recapitulate cardinal features of the human disease and bear a combination of loss-of-function mutations in either Tet2 or Dnmt3a along with expression of Flt3ITD, we show that inhibition of the protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2, which is essential for cytokine receptor signaling (including FLT3), by the small molecule allosteric inhibitor SHP099 impairs growth and induces differentiation of leukemic cells without impacting normal hematopoietic cells. We also show that SHP099 normalizes the gene expression program associated with increased cell proliferation and self-renewal in leukemic cells by downregulating the Myc signature. Our results provide a new and more effective target for treating a subset of patients with AML who bear a combination of genetic and epigenetic mutations.
Ruchi Pandey, Baskar Ramdas, Changlin Wan, George Sandusky, Morvarid Mohseni, Chi Zhang, Reuben Kapur
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major infectious disease worldwide. TB treatment displays a bi-phasic bacterial clearance, in which the majority of bacteria clear within the first month of treatment, but residual bacteria remains non-responsive to treatment and eventually may become resistant. Here, we have shown that Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) is taken up by mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), where it established dormancy and became highly non-responsive to isoniazid, a major constituent of Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS). Dormant M.tb induced quiescence in MSCs and promoted their long-term survival. Unlike macrophages, where M.tb resides in early-phagosomal compartments, in MSCs the majority of bacilli were found in the cytosol, where they promoted rapid lipid-synthesis, hiding within lipid-droplets. Inhibition of lipid-synthesis prevented dormancy and sensitized the organisms to isoniazid. Thus, we have established that M.tb gains dormancy in MSCs, which thus serve as a long-term natural-reservoir of dormant M.tb. Interestingly, in the murine-model of TB, induction of autophagy eliminated M.tb from MSCs and consequently, the addition of rapamycin to an isoniazid treatment regimen successfully attained sterile clearance and prevented disease reactivation.
Samreen Fatima, Shashank Shivaji Kamble, Ved Prakash Dwivedi, Debapriya Bhattacharya, Santosh Kumar, Anand Ranganathan, Luc Van Kaer, Sujata Mohanty, Gobardhan Das
Gout is caused by deposition of monosodium urate crystals in joints when plasma uric acid levels are chronically elevated beyond the saturation threshold, mostly due to renal underexcretion of uric acid. Although molecular pathways of this underexcretion have been elucidated, its etiology remains mostly unknown. We demonstrate that gout can be caused by a mutation in LDHD within the putative catalytic site of the encoded d-lactate dehydrogenase, resulting in augmented blood levels of d-lactate, a stereoisomer of l-lactate, which is normally present in human blood in miniscule amounts. Consequent excessive renal secretion of d-lactate in exchange for uric acid reabsorption culminated in hyperuricemia and gout. We showed that LDHD expression is enriched in tissues with a high metabolic rate and abundant mitochondria and that d-lactate dehydrogenase resides in the mitochondria of cells overexpressing the human LDHD gene. Notably, the p.R370W mutation had no effect on protein localization. In line with the human phenotype, injection of d-lactate into naive mice resulted in hyperuricemia. Thus, hyperuricemia and gout can result from the accumulation of metabolites whose renal excretion is coupled to uric acid reabsorption.
Max Drabkin, Yuval Yogev, Lior Zeller, Raz Zarivach, Ran Zalk, Daniel Halperin, Ohad Wormser, Evgenia Gurevich, Daniel Landau, Rotem Kadir, Yonatan Perez, Ohad S. Birk
Novel approaches for adjunctive therapy are urgently needed for infections complicated by antibiotic-resistant pathogens and for patients with compromised immunity. Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a destructive skin and soft tissue infection. Despite treatment with systemic antibiotics and radical debridement of necrotic tissue, lethality remains high. The key iron regulatory hormone hepcidin was originally identified as a cationic antimicrobial peptide (AMP), but its putative expression and role in the skin, a major site of AMP production, has never been investigated. We report here that hepcidin production is induced in the skin of patients with Group A Streptococcal (GAS) NF. In a GAS-induced NF model, mice lacking hepcidin in keratinocytes failed to restrict systemic spread of infection from an initial tissue focus. Unexpectedly, this effect was due its ability to promote production of the CXCL1 chemokine by keratinocytes resulting in neutrophil recruitment. Unlike CXCL1, hepcidin is resistant to degradation by major GAS proteases and could therefore serve as a reservoir to maintain steady state levels of CXCL1 in infected tissue. Finally, injection of synthetic hepcidin at the site of infection can limit or completely prevent systemic spread of GAS infection suggesting that hepcidin agonists could have a therapeutic role in NF.
Mariangela Malerba, Sabine Louis, Sylvain Cuvellier, Srikanth Mairpady Shambat, Camille Hua, Camille Gomart, Agnès Fouet, Nicolas Ortonne, Jean-Winoc Decousser, Annelies S. Zinkernagel, Jacques R.R. Mathieu, Carole Peyssonnaux
A number of highly potent and broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have recently been shown to prevent transmission of the virus, suppress viral replication, and delay plasma viral rebound following discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy in animal models and infected humans. However, the degree and extent to which such bNAbs interact with primary lymphocytes have not been fully delineated. Here, we show that certain glycan-dependent bNAbs, such as PGT121 and PGT151, bind to B, activated T, and natural killer (NK) cells of HIV-infected and -uninfected individuals. Binding of these bNAbs, particularly PGT121 and PGT151, to activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was mediated by complex-type glycans and was abrogated by enzymatic inhibition of N-linked glycosylation. In addition, a short-term incubation of PGT151 and primary NK cells led to degranulation and cellular death. Our data suggest that the propensity of certain bNAbs to bind uninfected/bystander cells has the potential for unexpected outcomes in passive-transfer studies and underscore the importance of antibody screening against primary lymphocytes.
Jana Blazkova, Eric W. Refsland, Katherine E. Clarridge, Victoria Shi, J. Shawn Justement, Erin D. Huiting, Kathleen R. Gittens, Xuejun Chen, Stephen D. Schmidt, Cuiping Liu, Nicole Doria-Rose, John R. Mascola, Alonso Heredia, Susan Moir, Tae-Wook Chun
In order to determine whether the glucose-alanine cycle regulates rates of hepatic mitochondrial oxidation in humans, we applied positional isotopomer NMR tracer analysis (PINTA) to assess rates of hepatic mitochondrial oxidation and pyruvate carboxylase flux in healthy volunteers following both an overnight (12 hours) and a 60-hour fast. Following the 60-hour fast, rates of endogenous glucose production and mitochondrial oxidation decreased, whereas rates of hepatic pyruvate carboxylase flux remained unchanged. These reductions were associated with reduced rates of alanine turnover, assessed by [3-13C]alanine, in a subgroup of participants under similar fasting conditions. In order to determine whether this reduction in alanine turnover was responsible for the reduced rates of hepatic mitochondrial oxidation, we infused unlabeled alanine into another subgroup of 60-hour fasted subjects to increase rates of alanine turnover, similar to what was measured after a 12-hour fast, and found that this perturbation increased rates of hepatic mitochondrial oxidation. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that 60 hours of starvation induce marked reductions in rates of hepatic mitochondrial oxidation, which in turn can be attributed to reduced rates of glucose-alanine cycling, and reveal a heretofore undescribed role for glucose-alanine in the regulation of hepatic mitochondrial oxidation in humans.
Kitt Falk Petersen, Sylvie Dufour, Gary W. Cline, Gerald I. Shulman
Myocardin (MYOCD) is the founding member of a class of transcriptional co-activators that bind serum response factor to activate gene expression programs critical in smooth muscle (SM) and cardiac muscle development. Insights into the molecular functions of MYOCD have been obtained from cell culture studies and, to date, knowledge about in vivo roles of MYOCD comes exclusively from experimental animals. Here, we defined an often lethal congenital human disease associated with inheritance of pathogenic MYOCD variants. This disease manifested as a massively dilated urinary bladder, or megabladder, with disrupted SM in its wall. We provided evidence that monoallelic loss-of-function variants in MYOCD caused congenital megabladder in males only, whereas biallelic variants were associated with disease in both sexes, with a phenotype additionally involving the cardiovascular system. These results were supported by co-segregation of MYOCD variants with the phenotype in four unrelated families, by in vitro transactivation studies where pathogenic variants resulted in abrogated SM gene expression, and finding megabladder in two distinct mouse models with reduced Myocd activity. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that variants in MYOCD result in human disease, and the collective findings highlight a vital role for MYOCD in mammalian organogenesis.
Arjan C. Houweling, Glenda M. Beaman, Alex V. Postma, T. Blair Gainous, Klaske D. Lichtenbelt, Francesco Brancati, Filipa M. Lopes, Ingeborg van der Made, Abeltje M. Polstra, Michael L. Robinson, Kevin D. Wright, Jamie M. Ellingford, Ashley R. Jackson, Eline Overwater, Rita Genesio, Silvio Romano, Letizia Camerota, Emanuela D'Angelo, Elizabeth J. Meijers-Heijboer, Vincent M. Christoffels, Kirk M. McHugh, Brian L. Black, William G. Newman, Adrian S. Woolf, Esther E. Creemers
Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by intellectual disability, lack of speech, ataxia, EEG abnormalities, and epilepsy. Seizures in AS individuals are common, debilitating, and often drug-resistant. Therefore, there is an unmet need for better treatment options. Cannabidiol (CBD), a major phytocannabinoid constituent of cannabis, has antiseizure activity and behavioral benefits in preclinical and clinical studies for some disorders associated with epilepsy, suggesting that the same could be true for AS. Here we show that acute CBD (100 mg/kg) attenuated hyperthermia- and acoustically-induced seizures in a mouse model of AS. However, neither acute CBD nor a two-weeklong course of CBD administered immediately after a kindling protocol could halt the pro-epileptogenic plasticity observed in AS model mice. CBD had a dose-dependent sedative effect, but did not have an impact on motor performance. CBD abrogated the enhanced intracortical local field potential power, including delta and theta rhythms observed in AS model mice, indicating that CBD administration could also help normalize the EEG deficits observed in individuals with AS. Our results provide critical preclinical evidence supporting CBD treatment of seizures and alleviation of EEG abnormalities in AS, and will thus help guide the rational development of CBD as an AS treatment.
Bin Gu, Manhua Zhu, Madison R. Glass, Marie Rougié, Viktoriya D. Nikolova, Sheryl S. Moy, Paul R. Carney, Benjamin D. Philpot
Macrophage activation in response to LPS is coupled to profound metabolic changes, typified by accumulation of the TCA cycle intermediates citrate, itaconate, and succinate. We have identified that endogenous type I IFN controls the cellular citrate/α-ketoglutarate ratio and inhibits expression and activity of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH); and, via 13C-labeling studies, demonstrated that autocrine type I IFN controls carbon flow through IDH in LPS-activated macrophages. We also found that type I IFN–driven IL-10 contributes to inhibition of IDH activity and itaconate synthesis in LPS-stimulated macrophages. Our findings have identified the autocrine type I IFN pathway as being responsible for the inhibition of IDH in LPS-stimulated macrophages.
David P. De Souza, Adrian Achuthan, Man K.S. Lee, Katrina J. Binger, Ming-Chin Lee, Sophia Davidson, Dedreia L. Tull, Malcolm J. McConville, Andrew D. Cook, Andrew J. Murphy, John A. Hamilton, Andrew J. Fleetwood
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