Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) targeting pathologic RNAs have shown promising therapeutic corrections for many genetic diseases including myotonic dystrophy (DM1). Thus, ASO strategies for DM1 can abolish the toxic RNA gain-of-function mechanism caused by nuclear-retained mutant transcripts containing CUG expansions (CUGexp). However, systemic use of ASOs for this muscular disease remains challenging due to poor drug distribution to skeletal muscle. To overcome this limitation, we test an arginine-rich Pip6a cell–penetrating peptide and show that Pip6a-conjugated morpholino phosphorodiamidate oligomer (PMO) dramatically enhanced ASO delivery into striated muscles of DM1 mice following systemic administration in comparison with unconjugated PMO and other ASO strategies. Thus, low-dose treatment of Pip6a-PMO-CAG targeting pathologic expansions is sufficient to reverse both splicing defects and myotonia in DM1 mice and normalizes the overall disease transcriptome. Moreover, treated DM1 patient–derived muscle cells showed that Pip6a-PMO-CAG specifically targets mutant CUGexp-DMPK transcripts to abrogate the detrimental sequestration of MBNL1 splicing factor by nuclear RNA foci and consequently MBNL1 functional loss, responsible for splicing defects and muscle dysfunction. Our results demonstrate that Pip6a-PMO-CAG induces high efficacy and long-lasting correction of DM1-associated phenotypes at both molecular and functional levels, and strongly support the use of advanced peptide-conjugates for systemic corrective therapy in DM1.
Arnaud F. Klein, Miguel A. Varela, Ludovic Arandel, Ashling Holland, Naira Naouar, Andrey Arzumanov, David Seoane, Lucile Revillod, Guillaume Bassez, Arnaud Ferry, Dominic Jauvin, Geneviève Gourdon, Jack Puymirat, Michael J. Gait, Denis Furling, Matthew J. A. Wood
HIV is a major driver of Tuberculosis (TB) reactivation. Depletion of CD4+ T cells is assumed to be the basis behind TB reactivation in individuals with latent tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Non-human primates (NHPs) coinfected with a mutant simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVΔGY), that does not cause depletion of tissue CD4+ T cells during infection, failed to reactivate TB. To investigate the contribution of CD4+ T cell depletion relative to other mechanisms of SIV-induced reactivation of LTBI, we used CD4R1 antibody to deplete CD4+ T cells in animals with LTBI without lentiviral infection. We showed that the mere depletion of CD4+ T cells during LTBI was insufficient in generating reactivation of LTBI. Instead, direct cytopathic effects of SIV resulting in chronic immune activation, along with the altered effector T cell phenotypes and dysregulated T cell homeostasis, were likely mediators of reactivation of LTBI. These results revealed important implications for controlling TB in the HIV co-infected individuals.
Allison N. Bucşan, Ayan Chatterjee, Dhiraj K. Singh, Taylor W. Foreman, Tae-Hyung Lee, Breanna Threeton, Melanie G. Kirkpatrick, Mushtaq Ahmed, Nadia Golden, Xavier Alvarez, James A. Hoxie, Smriti Mehra, Jyothi Rengarajan, Shabaana A. Khader, Deepak Kaushal
Nutrient excess, a major driver of obesity, diminishes hypothalamic responses to exogenously administered leptin, a critical hormone of energy balance. Here, we aimed to identify a physiological signal that arises from excess caloric intake and negatively controls hypothalamic leptin action. We found that deficiency of the gastric inhibitory polypeptide receptor (Gipr) for the gut-derived incretin hormone GIP protected against diet-induced neural leptin resistance. Furthermore, a centrally administered antibody that neutralizes GIPR had remarkable antiobesity effects in diet-induced obese mice, including reduced body weight and adiposity, and a decreased hypothalamic level of SOCS3, an inhibitor of leptin actions. In contrast, centrally administered GIP diminished hypothalamic sensitivity to leptin and increased hypothalamic levels of Socs3. Finally, we show that GIP increased the active form of the small GTPase Rap1 in the brain and that its activation was required for the central actions of GIP. Altogether, our results identify GIPR/Rap1 signaling in the brain as a molecular pathway linking overnutrition to the control of neural leptin actions.
Kentaro Kaneko, Yukiko Fu, Hsiao-Yun Lin, Elizabeth L. Cordonier, Qianxing Mo, Yong Gao, Ting Yao, Jacqueline Naylor, Victor Howard, Kenji Saito, Pingwen Xu, Siyu S. Chen, Miao-Hsueh Chen, Yong Xu, Kevin W. Williams, Peter Ravn, Makoto Fukuda
While improvements in genetic analysis have greatly enhanced our understanding of the mechanisms behind pancreatitis, it continues to afflict many families for whom the hereditary factors remain unknown. Recent evaluation of a patient with a strong family history of pancreatitis sparked us to reexamine a large kindred originally reported over 50 years ago with an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern of chronic pancreatitis, diabetes and pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Whole exome sequencing analysis identified a rare missense mutation in the gene encoding pancreas-specific protease Elastase 3B (CELA3B) that cosegregates with disease. Studies of the mutant protein in vitro, in cell lines and in CRISPR-Cas9 engineered mice indicate that this mutation causes translational upregulation of CELA3B, which upon secretion and activation by trypsin leads to uncontrolled proteolysis and recurrent pancreatitis. Although lesions in several other pancreatitic proteases have been previously linked to hereditary pancreatitis, this is the first known instance of a mutation in CELA3B and a defect in translational control contributing to this disease.
Paul C. Moore, Jessica T. Cortez, Chester E. Chamberlain, Diana Alba, Amy C. Berger, Zoe Quandt, Alice Chan, Mickie H. Cheng, Jhoanne L. Bautista, Justin Peng, Michael S. German, Mark Anderson, Scott A. Oakes
Transcription factor fusion genes create oncoproteins that drive oncogenesis and represent challenging therapeutic targets. Understanding the molecular targets by which such fusion oncoproteins promote malignancy offers an approach to develop rational treatment strategies to improve clinical outcomes. Capicua–double homeobox 4 (CIC-DUX4) is a transcription factor fusion oncoprotein that defines certain undifferentiated round cell sarcomas with high metastatic propensity and poor clinical outcomes. The molecular targets regulated by the CIC-DUX4 oncoprotein that promote this aggressive malignancy remain largely unknown. We demonstrated that increased expression of ETS variant 4 (ETV4) and cyclin E1 (CCNE1) occurs via neomorphic, direct effects of CIC-DUX4 and drives tumor metastasis and survival, respectively. We uncovered a molecular dependence on the CCNE-CDK2 cell cycle complex that renders CIC-DUX4–expressing tumors sensitive to inhibition of the CCNE-CDK2 complex, suggesting a therapeutic strategy for CIC-DUX4–expressing tumors. Our findings highlight a paradigm of functional diversification of transcriptional repertoires controlled by a genetically aberrant transcriptional regulator, with therapeutic implications.
Ross A. Okimoto, Wei Wu, Shigeki Nanjo, Victor Olivas, Yone K. Lin, Rovingaile Kriska Ponce, Rieko Oyama, Tadashi Kondo, Trever G. Bivona
Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS) is a rare and clinically-heterogeneous bone marrow (BM) failure syndrome caused by mutations in the Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond Syndrome (SBDS) gene. Although SDS was described over 50 years ago, the molecular pathogenesis is poorly understood due, in part, to the rarity and heterogeneity of the affected hematopoietic progenitors. To address this, we used single cell RNA sequencing to profile scant hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells from SDS patients. We generated a single cell map of early lineage commitment and found that SDS hematopoiesis was left-shifted with selective loss of granulocyte-monocyte progenitors. Transcriptional targets of transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ) were dysregulated in SDS hematopoietic stem cells and multipotent progenitors, but not in lineage-committed progenitors. TGFβ inhibitors (AVID200 and SD208) increased hematopoietic colony formation of SDS patient BM. Finally, TGFβ3 and other TGFβ pathway members were elevated in SDS patient blood plasma. These data establish the TGFβ pathway as a novel candidate biomarker and therapeutic target in SDS and translate insights from single cell biology into a potential therapy.
Cailin E. Joyce, Assieh Saadatpour, Melisa Ruiz-Gutierrez, Ozge Vargel Bolukbasi, Lan Jiang, Dolly D. Thomas, Sarah Young, Inga Hofmann, Colin Sieff, Kasiani C. Myers, Jennifer Whangbo, Towia A. Libermann, Chad Nusbaum, Guo-Cheng Yuan, Akiko Shimamura, Carl D. Novina
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used to treat multiple neuropsychiatric disorders, including Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Despite widespread clinical use, its therapeutic mechanisms are unknown. Here, we developed a mouse model of subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS for PD, to permit investigation using cell type-specific tools available in mice. We found that electrical STN DBS relieved bradykinesia, as measured by movement velocity. In addition, our model recapitulated several hallmarks of human STN DBS, including rapid onset and offset, frequency dependence, dyskinesia at higher stimulation intensity, and associations between electrode location, therapeutic benefit, and side effects. We used this model to assess whether high frequency stimulation is necessary for effective STN DBS, or if low frequency stimulation can be effective when paired with compensatory adjustments in other parameters. We found that low frequency stimulation, paired with greater pulse width and amplitude, relieved bradykinesia. Moreover, a composite metric incorporating pulse width, amplitude, and frequency predicted therapeutic efficacy better than frequency alone. We found a similar relationship between this composite metric and movement speed in a retrospective analysis of human data, suggesting correlations observed in the mouse model may extend to human patients. Together, these data establish a mouse model for elucidating mechanisms of DBS.
Jonathan S. Schor, Alexandra B. Nelson
Beta-arrestin-1 and -2 (Barr1 and Barr2, respectively) are intracellular signaling molecules that regulate many important metabolic functions. We previously demonstrated that mice lacking Barr2 selectively in pancreatic beta-cells showed pronounced metabolic impairments. Here we investigated whether Barr1 plays a similar role in regulating beta-cell function and whole body glucose homeostasis. Initially, we inactivated the Barr1 gene in beta-cells of adult mice (beta-barr1-KO mice). Beta-barr1-KO mice did not display any obvious phenotypes in a series of in vivo and in vitro metabolic tests. However, glibenclamide and tolbutamide, two widely used antidiabetic drugs of the sulfonylurea (SU) family, showed greatly reduced efficacy in stimulating insulin secretion in the KO mice in vivo and in perifused KO islets in vitro. Additional in vivo and in vitro studies demonstrated that Barr1 enhanced SU-stimulated insulin secretion by promoting SU-mediated activation of Epac2. Pull-down and co-immunoprecipitation experiments showed that Barr1 can directly interact with Epac2 and that SUs such as glibenclamide promote Barr1/Epac2 complex formation, triggering enhanced Rap1 signaling and insulin secretion. These findings suggest that strategies aimed at promoting Barr1 signaling in beta-cells may prove useful for the development of efficacious antidiabetic drugs.
Luiz F. Barella, Mario Rossi, Lu Zhu, Yinghong Cui, Fang C. Mei, Xiaodong Cheng, Wei Chen, Vsevolod V. Gurevich, Jürgen Wess
Poroma is a benign skin tumor exhibiting terminal sweat gland duct differentiation. The present study aimed to explore the potential role of gene fusions in the tumorigenesis of poromas. RNA sequencing and reverse transcription PCR identified highly recurrent YAP1-MAML2 and YAP1-NUTM1 fusions in poromas (92/104 lesions, 88.5%) and their rare malignant counterpart, porocarcinomas (7/11 lesions, 63.6%). A WWTR1-NUTM1 fusion was identified in a single lesion of poroma. Fluorescent in-situ hybridization confirmed genomic rearrangements involving these genetic loci. Immunohistochemical staining could readily identify the YAP1 fusion products as nuclear expression of the N-terminal portion of YAP1 with a lack of the C-terminal portion. YAP1 and WWTR1, also known as YAP and TAZ, respectively, encode paralogous transcriptional activators of TEAD, which are negatively regulated by the Hippo signaling pathway. The YAP1 and WWTR1 fusions strongly transactivated a TEAD reporter and promoted anchorage-independent growth, confirming their tumorigenic roles. Our results demonstrate the frequent presence of transforming YAP1 fusions in poromas and porocarcinomas and suggest YAP1/TEAD-dependent transcription as a candidate therapeutic target against porocarcinoma.
Shigeki Sekine, Tohru Kiyono, Eijitsu Ryo, Reiko Ogawa, Susumu Wakai, Hitoshi Ichikawa, Koyu Suzuki, Satoru Arai, Koji Tsuta, Mitsuaki Ishida, Yuko Sasajima, Naoki Goshima, Naoya Yamazaki, Taisuke Mori
Highly effective direct-acting antivirals against Hepatitis C virus (HCV) have created an opportunity to transplant organs from HCV-positive individuals into HCV-negative recipients, since de novo infection can be routinely cured. As this procedure is performed more widely, it becomes increasingly important to understand the biological underpinnings of virus transmission, especially the multiplicity of infection. Here, we used single genome sequencing of plasma virus in four genotype 1a HCV-positive organ donors and their seven organ recipients to assess the genetic bottleneck associated with HCV transmission following renal and cardiac transplantation. In all recipients, de novo infection was established by multiple genetically distinct viruses that reflect the full phylogenetic spectrum of replication-competent virus circulating in donor plasma. This was true in renal and cardiac transplantation and in recipients with peak viral loads ranging between 2.9 and 6.6 log10 IU/mL. The permissive transmission process characterized here contrasts sharply with sexual or injection-related transmission, which occurs less frequently per exposure and is generally associated with a stringent genetic bottleneck. These findings highlight the effectiveness of current anti-HCV regimens, while raising caution regarding the substantially higher multiplicity of infection seen in organ transplantation-associated HCV acquisition.
Muhammad N. Zahid, Shuyi Wang, Gerald H. Learn, Peter L. Abt, Emily A. Blumberg, Peter P. Reese, David S. Goldberg, George M. Shaw, Katharine J. Bar
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