In this issue of the JCI, Wen et al. characterized heterogeneity within 1088 tissue-resident T cells isolated from human esophageal biopsies. They identified 2 distinct subtypes that were enriched in patients with active eosinophilic esophagitis, a T cell–mediated food allergic disease. Coupled with transcriptomic analyses, their observations reveal crucial insights into clinically relevant T cell subtypes, their transcriptomic markers, and pathways that lay the groundwork for tools and models that better account for allergic disease heterogeneity. The cover image spotlights the identification of distinct T cell subtypes in disease, superimposing an isolated T cell over an inflamed eosinophilic esophageal biopsy. Image credit: Chris Woods, Ting Wen, and Marc Rothenberg.
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Recent reports suggest that there has been an increase in the number of retractions and corrections of published articles due to post-publication detection of problematic data. Moreover, fraudulent data and sloppy science have long-term effects on the scientific literature and subsequent projects based on false and unreproducible claims. At the JCI, we have introduced several data screening checks for manuscripts prior to acceptance in an attempt to reduce the number of post-publication corrections and retractions, with the ultimate goal of increasing confidence in the papers we publish.
Corinne L. Williams, Arturo Casadevall, Sarah Jackson
Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a common complication of hematopoietic cell transplantation that negatively impacts quality of life in recipients and can be fatal. Animal experiments and human studies provide compelling evidence that the gut microbiota is associated with risk of GvHD, but the nature of this relationship remains unclear. If the gut microbiota is a driver of GvHD pathogenesis, then manipulation of the gut microbiota offers one promising avenue for preventing or treating this common condition, and antibiotic stewardship efforts in transplantation may help preserve the indigenous microbiota and modulate immune responses to benefit the host.
David N. Fredricks
Androgens and estrogens are known to be critical regulators of mammalian physiology and development. While these two classes of steroids share similar structures (in general, estrogens are derived from androgens via the enzyme aromatase), they subserve markedly different functions via their specific receptors. In the past, estrogens such as estradiol were thought to be most important in the regulation of female biology, while androgens such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone were believed to primarily modulate development and physiology in males. However, the emergence of patients with deficiencies in androgen or estrogen hormone synthesis or actions, as well as the development of animal models that specifically target androgen- or estrogen-mediated signaling pathways, have revealed that estrogens and androgens regulate critical biological and pathological processes in both males and females. In fact, the concept of “male” and “female” hormones is an oversimplification of a complex developmental and biological network of steroid actions that directly impacts many organs. In this Review, we will discuss important roles of estrogens in males and androgens in females.
Stephen R. Hammes, Ellis R. Levin
The role of urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) in kidney physiology and pathology has attracted considerable attention. The protein uPAR has dual functions: as a key regulator of plasmin generation and a component of the innate immune system. In the current issue, Wei and colleagues describe a transgenic mouse expressing Plaur RNA in glomerular podocytes. The mice manifested podocyte injury, including c-Src phosphorylation, proteinuria, and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Plaur-transgenic mice on a β3 integrin–deficient background were protected from podocyte injury. Renal biopsies from subjects with FSGS, but not those with other glomerular diseases, manifested increased c-Src phosphorylation in podocytes. These findings suggest a novel injury mechanism in FSGS, with possible implications for new treatment strategies.
Jeffrey B. Kopp, Jurgen Heymann
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a recently described disease in which exposure to specific foods and allergens leads to type 2 inflammation, epithelial barrier dysfunction, and difficulty in swallowing. In the current issue of the JCI, Wen and colleagues investigate tissue T cell heterogeneity in patients with EoE using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq). Esophageal epithelium from individuals with EoE convtained a prominent population of Th2 cells not seen in controls. The short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) receptor FFAR3 was found to be highly expressed in EoE Th2 cells. Experiments presented here provide evidence that SCFAs may promote type 2 inflammation in allergic diseases such as EoE and asthma. This study provides an early example of scRNA-seq for identifying relevant cell populations and mechanisms underlying allergic diseases.
Walter L. Eckalbar, David J. Erle
Cancer stem cells sustain propagation of the deadly primary brain cancer glioblastoma. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) characterized by a mesenchymal phenotype are aggressive and resistant to therapies and represent a crucial therapeutic target. In this issue of the JCI, Chen et al. show that the intracellular levels of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A3 (ALDH1A3), known as a functional marker of mesenchymal GSCs, are regulated posttranslationally by ubiquitin-specific protease 9X–mediated (USP9X-mediated) deubiquitination. Increased expression of USP9X stabilizes ALDH1A3, enabling GSCs to exhibit mesenchymal traits and the malignant phenotype. Thus, the USP9X-ALDH1A3 axis may offer a novel therapeutic target in glioblastoma.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is estimated to infect a large part of the population and is associated with a variety of human tumors; therefore, EBV is an important target for vaccine development. In this issue of the JCI, Rühl et al. developed a promising heterologous prime-boost vaccination strategy for EBV-associated malignancies and symptomatic primary infection. The authors show that two prime-boost regimens, using either dendritic cells or an adenovirus approach targeting nuclear antigen EBNA1 followed by a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) booster, induced significant T cell–mediated, EBV-specific immune control and Ab production. These findings suggest that administration of heterologous prime-boost vaccinations targeting EBNA1 may result in potent CD4+ and CD8+ T cell–mediated EBV immune control and may be a promising clinical approach.
Sandhya Sharma, Rayne H. Rouce
The equilibrium of signaling through activating and inhibitory receptors dictates whether a given NK cell will execute cellular cytotoxicity. In this issue of the JCI, Kamiya et al. describe a novel approach to efficiently inhibiting surface expression of the inhibitory receptor CD94/NK group 2 member A (NKG2A) through retention of the protein in the endoplasmic reticulum. In adoptive transfer experiments into tumor-bearing immunodeficient mice, NKG2Anull NK cells were significantly more effective at eliminating HLA-E–expressing tumor cells than NKG2A+ NK cells. This study provides proof of concept for a new immunotherapeutic approach using NKG2Anull NK cells.
Frank Cichocki, Jeffrey S. Miller
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells are an effective therapy for relapsed or refractory pediatric B cell leukemia. Analysis of the starting material, the T cells collected from the patient prior to CAR manufacture, reveals possible biomarkers of cells destined to perform poorly in patients. Long-term follow-up shows that long periods of B cell aplasia, a marker of in vivo CAR activity, are associated with longer remission but also a higher chance of antigen-negative relapse. The role of transplantation as consolidative therapy is unclear in this nonrandomized data, but clearly warrants further study.
David M. Barrett
Because metastasis is associated with the majority of cancer-related deaths, its prevention is a clinical aspiration. Prostanoids are a large family of bioactive lipids derived from the activity of cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and COX-2. Aspirin impairs the biosynthesis of all prostanoids through the irreversible inhibition of both COX isoforms. Long-term administration of aspirin leads to reduced distant metastases in murine models and clinical trials, but the COX isoform, downstream prostanoid, and cell compartment responsible for this effect are yet to be determined. Here, we have shown that aspirin dramatically reduced lung metastasis through inhibition of COX-1 while the cancer cells remained intravascular and that inhibition of platelet COX-1 alone was sufficient to impair metastasis. Thromboxane A2 (TXA2) was the prostanoid product of COX-1 responsible for this antimetastatic effect. Inhibition of the COX-1/TXA2 pathway in platelets decreased aggregation of platelets on tumor cells, endothelial activation, tumor cell adhesion to the endothelium, and recruitment of metastasis-promoting monocytes/macrophages, and diminished the formation of a premetastatic niche. Thus, platelet-derived TXA2 orchestrates the generation of a favorable intravascular metastatic niche that promotes tumor cell seeding and identifies COX-1/TXA2 signaling as a target for the prevention of metastasis.
Serena Lucotti, Camilla Cerutti, Magali Soyer, Ana M. Gil-Bernabé, Ana L. Gomes, Philip D. Allen, Sean Smart, Bostjan Markelc, Karla Watson, Paul C. Armstrong, Jane A. Mitchell, Timothy D. Warner, Anne J. Ridley, Ruth J. Muschel
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common human sarcoma, frequently characterized by an oncogenic mutation in the KIT or PDGFRA gene. We performed RNA sequencing of 75 human GIST tumors from 75 patients, comprising what we believe to be the largest cohort of GISTs sequenced to date, in order to discover differences in the immune infiltrates of KIT- and PDGFRA-mutant GIST. Through bioinformatics, immunohistochemistry, and flow cytometry, we found that in PDGFRA-mutant GISTs, immune cells were more numerous and had higher cytolytic activity than in KIT-mutant GISTs. PDGFRA-mutant GISTs expressed many chemokines, such as CXCL14, at a significantly higher level when compared with KIT-mutant GISTs and exhibited more diverse driver-derived neoepitope:HLA binding, both of which may contribute to PDGFRA-mutant GIST immunogenicity. Through machine learning, we generated gene expression–based immune profiles capable of differentiating KIT- and PDGFRA-mutant GISTs, and identified additional immune features of high–PD-1– and –PD-L1–expressing tumors across all GIST mutational subtypes, which may provide insight into immunotherapeutic opportunities and limitations in GIST.
Gerardo A. Vitiello, Timothy G. Bowler, Mengyuan Liu, Benjamin D. Medina, Jennifer Q. Zhang, Nesteene J. Param, Jennifer K. Loo, Rachel L. Goldfeder, Frederic Chibon, Ferdinand Rossi, Shan Zeng, Ronald P. DeMatteo
The antileukemic effect of inhibiting bromodomain and extra-terminal domain-containing (BET-containing) proteins (BETPs) such as BRD4 has largely been largely attributed to transcriptional downregulation of cellular anabolic and antiapoptotic processes, but its effect on the bone marrow microenvironment, a sanctuary favoring the persistence of leukemic stem/progenitor cells, is unexplored. Sustained degradation of BETP with the small-molecule BET proteolysis-targeting chimera (PROTAC) ARV-825 resulted in a marked downregulation of surface CXCR4 and CD44, key proteins in leukemia-microenvironment interactions, in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. Abrogation of surface CXCR4 expression impaired SDF-1α–directed migration and was mediated through transcriptional downregulation of PIM1 kinase, which in turn phosphorylates CXCR4 and facilitates its surface localization. Downregulation of CD44, including isoforms CD44v8–10 impaired cystine uptake, lowered intracellular reduced glutathione, and increased oxidative stress. More important, BETP degradation markedly decreased the CD34+CD38–CD90–CD45RA+ leukemic stem cell population and, alone or in combination with cytarabine, prolonged survival in a mouse model of human leukemia that included AML patient-derived xenografts (AML-PDX). Gene expression profiling and single-cell proteomics confirmed a downregulation of the gene signatures associated with “stemness” in AML and Wnt/β-catenin and Myc pathways. Hence, BETP degradation by ARV-825 simultaneously targets cell-intrinsic signaling, stromal interactions, and metabolism in AML.
Sujan Piya, Hong Mu, Seemana Bhattacharya, Philip L. Lorenzi, R. Eric Davis, Teresa McQueen, Vivian Ruvolo, Natalia Baran, Zhiqiang Wang, Yimin Qian, Craig M. Crews, Marina Konopleva, Jo Ishizawa, M. James You, Hagop Kantarjian, Michael Andreeff, Gautam Borthakur
Bone osteogenic sarcoma has a poor prognosis, as the exact cell of origin and the signaling pathways underlying tumor formation remain undefined. Here, we report an osteogenic tumor mouse model based on the conditional knockout of liver kinase b1 (Lkb1, also known as Stk11) in Cathepsin K–Cre–expressing (Ctsk-Cre–expressing) cells. Lineage-tracing studies demonstrated that Ctsk-Cre could label a population of periosteal cells. The cells functioned as mesenchymal progenitors with regard to markers and functional properties. LKB1 deficiency increased proliferation and osteoblast differentiation of Ctsk+ periosteal cells, while downregulation of mTORC1 activity, using a Raptor genetic mouse model or mTORC1 inhibitor treatment, ameliorated tumor progression of Ctsk-Cre Lkb1fllfl mice. Xenograft mouse models using human osteosarcoma cell lines also demonstrated that LKB1 deficiency promoted tumor formation, while mTOR inhibition suppressed xenograft tumor growth. In summary, we identified periosteum-derived Ctsk-Cre–expressing cells as a cell of origin for osteogenic tumor and suggested the LKB1/mTORC1 pathway as a promising target for treatment of osteogenic tumor.
Yujiao Han, Heng Feng, Jun Sun, Xiaoting Liang, Zhuo Wang, Wenhui Xing, Qinggang Dai, Yang Yang, Anjia Han, Zhanying Wei, Qing Bi, Hongbin Ji, Tiebang Kang, Weiguo Zou
It remains unknown what causes inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including signaling networks perpetuating chronic gastrointestinal inflammation in Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), in humans. According to an analysis of up to 500 patients with IBD and 100 controls, we report that key transcripts of the IL-7 receptor (IL-7R) pathway are accumulated in inflamed colon tissues of severe CD and UC patients not responding to either immunosuppressive/corticosteroid, anti-TNF, or anti-α4β7 therapies. High expression of both IL7R and IL-7R signaling signature in the colon before treatment is strongly associated with nonresponsiveness to anti-TNF therapy. While in mice IL-7 is known to play a role in systemic inflammation, we found that in humans IL-7 also controlled α4β7 integrin expression and imprinted gut-homing specificity on T cells. IL-7R blockade reduced human T cell homing to the gut and colonic inflammation in vivo in humanized mouse models, and altered effector T cells in colon explants from UC patients grown ex vivo. Our findings show that failure of current treatments for CD and UC is strongly associated with an overexpressed IL-7R signaling pathway and point to IL-7R as a relevant therapeutic target and potential biomarker to fill an unmet need in clinical IBD detection and treatment.
Lyssia Belarif, Richard Danger, Laetitia Kermarrec, Véronique Nerrière-Daguin, Sabrina Pengam, Tony Durand, Caroline Mary, Elise Kerdreux, Vanessa Gauttier, Aneta Kucik, Virginie Thepenier, Jerome C. Martin, Christie Chang, Adeeb Rahman, Nina Salabert-Le Guen, Cécile Braudeau, Ahmed Abidi, Grégoire David, Florent Malard, Celine Takoudju, Bernard Martinet, Nathalie Gérard, Isabelle Neveu, Michel Neunlist, Emmanuel Coron, Thomas T. MacDonald, Pierre Desreumaux, Hoa-Le Mai, Stephanie Le Bas-Bernardet, Jean-François Mosnier, Miriam Merad, Régis Josien, Sophie Brouard, Jean-Paul Soulillou, Gilles Blancho, Arnaud Bourreille, Philippe Naveilhan, Bernard Vanhove, Nicolas Poirier
IL-26 is an antimicrobial protein secreted by Th17 cells that has the ability to directly kill extracellular bacteria. To ascertain whether IL-26 contributes to host defense against intracellular bacteria, we studied leprosy, caused by the obligate intracellular pathogen Mycobacterium leprae, as a model. Analysis of leprosy skin lesions by gene expression profiling and immunohistology revealed that IL-26 was more strongly expressed in lesions from the self-limited tuberculoid compared with expression in progressive lepromatous patients. IL-26 directly bound to M. leprae in axenic culture and reduced bacteria viability. Furthermore, IL-26, when added to human monocyte–derived macrophages infected with M. leprae, entered the infected cell, colocalized with the bacterium, and reduced bacteria viability. In addition, IL-26 induced autophagy via the cytoplasmic DNA receptor stimulator of IFN genes (STING), as well as fusion of phagosomes containing bacilli with lysosomal compartments. Altogether, our data suggest that the Th17 cytokine IL-26 contributes to host defense against intracellular bacteria.
Angeline Tilly Dang, Rosane M.B. Teles, David I. Weiss, Kislay Parvatiyar, Euzenir N. Sarno, Maria T. Ochoa, Genhong Cheng, Michel Gilliet, Barry R. Bloom, Robert L. Modlin
The serine/threonine kinases BRAF and CRAF are critical components of the MAPK signaling pathway that is activated in many cancer types. In approximately 1% of melanomas, BRAF or CRAF is activated through structural arrangements. We describe a metastatic melanoma with a GOLGA4-RAF1 fusion and pathogenic variants in catenin β 1 (CTNNB1) and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A). Anti–cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4/anti–programmed cell death 1 (anti-CTLA4/anti–PD-1) combination immunotherapy failed to control tumor progression. In the absence of other actionable variants, the patient was administered MEK inhibitor therapy on the basis of its potential action against RAF1 fusions. This resulted in a profound and clinically significant response. We demonstrated that GOLGA4-RAF1 expression was associated with ERK activation, elevated expression of the RAS/RAF downstream coeffector ETV5, and a high Ki67 index. These findings provide a rationale for the dramatic response to targeted therapy. This study shows that molecular characterization of treatment-resistant cancers can identify therapeutic targets and personalize therapy management, leading to improved patient outcomes.
Christopher R. McEvoy, Huiling Xu, Kortnye Smith, Dariush Etemadmoghadam, Huei San Leong, David Y. Choong, David J. Byrne, Amir Iravani, Sophie Beck, Linda Mileshkin, Richard W. Tothill, David D. Bowtell, Bindi M. Bates, Violeta Nastevski, Judy Browning, Anthony H. Bell, Chloe Khoo, Jayesh Desai, Andrew P. Fellowes, Stephen B. Fox, Owen W.J. Prall
Soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) is an immune-derived circulating signaling molecule that has been implicated in chronic kidney disease, such as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Typically, native uPAR (isoform 1) translates to a 3-domain protein capable of binding and activating integrins, yet the function of additional isoforms generated by alternative splicing is unknown. Here, we characterized mouse uPAR isoform 2 (msuPAR2), encoding domain I and nearly one-half of domain II, as a dimer in solution, as revealed by 3D electron microscopy structural analysis. In vivo, msuPAR2 transgenic mice exhibited signs of severe renal disease characteristic of FSGS with proteinuria, loss of kidney function, and glomerulosclerosis. Sequencing of the glomerular RNAs from msuPAR2-Tg mice revealed a differentially expressed gene signature that includes upregulation of the suPAR receptor Itgb3, encoding β3 integrin. Crossing msuPAR2-transgenic mice with 3 different integrin β3 deficiency models rescued msuPAR2-mediated kidney function. Further analyses indicated a central role for β3 integrin and c-Src in msuPAR2 signaling and in human FSGS kidney biopsies. Administration of Src inhibitors reduced proteinuria in msuPAR2-transgenic mice. In conclusion, msuPAR2 may play an important role in certain forms of scarring kidney disease.
Changli Wei, Jing Li, Brian D. Adair, Ke Zhu, Jian Cai, Michael Merchant, Beata Samelko, Zhongji Liao, Kwi Hye Koh, Nicholas J. Tardi, Ranadheer R. Dande, Shuangxin Liu, Jianchao Ma, Salvatore Dibartolo, Stefan Hägele, Vasil Peev, Salim S. Hayek, David J. Cimbaluk, Melissa Tracy, Jon Klein, Sanja Sever, Sanford J. Shattil, M. Amin Arnaout, Jochen Reiser
BACKGROUND. Systems vaccinology allows cutting-edge analysis of innate biomarkers of vaccine efficacy. We explored a strategy to shape the adaptive immune response by targeting innate immune cells through novel immunization routes. METHODS. This randomized phase I/II clinical study (n = 60 healthy subjects aged 18–45 years old) used transcriptomic analysis to discover early biomarkers of immune response quality after transcutaneous (t.c.), intradermal (i.d.), and intramuscular (i.m.) administration of a trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV, season 2012–2013, 1:1:1 ratio). Safety and immunogenicity (hemagglutinin inhibition [HI], microneutralization [MN] antibodies, and CD4+ and CD8+ effector T cells) were measured at baseline day 0 (d0) and at d21. Blood transcriptome was analyzed at d0 and d1. RESULTS. TIV-specific CD8+ granzyme B+ (GRZ) T cells appeared in more individuals immunized by the t.c. and i.d. routes, whereas immunization by the i.d. and i.m. routes prompted high levels of HI antibody titers and MN against A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 influenza viral strains. The early innate gene signature anticipated immunological outcome by discriminating 2 clusters of individuals with either distinct humoral or CD8 cytotoxic responses. Several pathways explained this dichotomy and confirmed that 9 genes and the serum level of CXCL10 were correlated with either TIV-specific cytotoxic CD8+GRZ+ T cell or antibody responses. A logistic regression analysis demonstrated that these 9 genes and the serum levels of CXCL10 at d1/d0 best predicted TIV-specific CD8+GRZ+ T cell and antibody responses at d21. CONCLUSION. This study provides new insight into the impact of immunization routes and innate signature in the quality of adaptive immune responses. TRIAL REGISTRATION. This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01707602). FUNDING. This work was supported by grants from the French Ministry of Health PHRCN 2012 – RCT 12061, INSERM-DGOS, the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale, and the Société Française de Dermatologie (to AS). These funding sources had no direct role in any aspect of the research or article.
Eléna Gonçalves, Olivia Bonduelle, Angèle Soria, Pierre Loulergue, Alexandra Rousseau, Marine Cachanado, Henri Bonnabau, Rodolphe Thiebaut, Nicolas Tchitchek, Sylvie Behillil, Sylvie van der Werf, Annika Vogt, Tabassome Simon, Odile Launay, Behazine Combadière
The impact of food antigens on intestinal homeostasis and immune function is poorly understood. Here, we explored the impact of dietary antigens on the phenotype and fate of intestinal T cells. Physiological uptake of dietary proteins generated a highly activated CD44+Helios+CD4+ T cell population predominantly in Peyer patches. These cells are distinct from regulatory T cells and develop independently of the microbiota. Alimentation with a protein-free, elemental diet led to an atrophic small intestine with low numbers of activated T cells, including Tfh cells and decreased amounts of intestinal IgA and IL-10. Food-activated CD44+Helios+CD4+ T cells in the Peyer patches are controlled by the immune checkpoint molecule PD-1. Blocking the PD-1 pathway rescued these T cells from apoptosis and triggered proinflammatory cytokine production, which in IL-10–deficient mice was associated with intestinal inflammation. In support of these findings, our study of patients with Crohn’s disease revealed significantly reduced frequencies of apoptotic CD4+ T cells in Peyer patches as compared with healthy controls. These results suggest that apoptosis of diet-activated T cells is a hallmark of the healthy intestine.
Alexander Visekruna, Sabrina Hartmann, Yasmina Rodriguez Sillke, Rainer Glauben, Florence Fischer, Hartmann Raifer, Hans Mollenkopf, Wilhelm Bertrams, Bernd Schmeck, Matthias Klein, Axel Pagenstecher, Michael Lohoff, Ralf Jacob, Oliver Pabst, Paul William Bland, Maik Luu, Rossana Romero, Britta Siegmund, Krishnaraj Rajalingam, Ulrich Steinhoff
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a deadly disease with a poor prognosis and few treatment options. Pathological remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) is a key factor that drives the disease pathogenesis, although the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Alternative polyadenylation (APA) has recently been shown to play a major role in cellular responses to stress by driving the expression of fibrotic factors through the alteration of miRNA sensitivity, but a connection to IPF has not been established. Here, we demonstrated that CFIm25, a global regulator of APA, was downregulated in the lungs of patients with IPF and mice with pulmonary fibrosis, with its expression selectively reduced in α–smooth muscle actin–positive (α-SMA–positive) fibroblasts. Following CFIm25 knockdown in healthy human lung fibroblasts, we identified 808 genes with shortened 3′-UTRs, including those involved in the TGF-β signaling pathway, the Wnt signaling pathway, and cancer pathways. The expression of key profibrotic factors was suppressed by CFIm25 overexpression in IPF fibroblasts. Finally, we demonstrated that deletion of CFIm25 in fibroblasts or myofibroblast precursors using either the Col1a1 or the Foxd1 promoter enhanced pulmonary fibrosis after bleomycin exposure. Collectively, our results identified CFIm25 downregulation as an important mechanism for elevating profibrotic gene expression in pulmonary fibrosis.
Tingting Weng, Junsuk Ko, Chioniso P. Masamha, Zheng Xia, Yu Xiang, Ning-yuan Chen, Jose G. Molina, Scott Collum, Tinne C. Mertens, Fayong Luo, Kemly Philip, Jonathan Davies, Jingjing Huang, Cory Wilson, Rajarajan A. Thandavarayan, Brian A. Bruckner, Soma S.K. Jyothula, Kelly A. Volcik, Lei Li, Leng Han, Wei Li, Shervin Assassi, Harry Karmouty-Quintana, Eric J. Wagner, Michael R. Blackburn
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an autoimmune CNS disorder mediated by pathogenic aquaporin-4 (AQP4) water channel autoantibodies (AQP4-IgG). Although AQP4-IgG–driven complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) is critical for the formation of NMO lesions, the molecular mechanisms governing optimal classical pathway activation are unknown. We investigated the molecular determinants driving CDC in NMO using recombinant AQP4–specific autoantibodies (AQP4 rAbs) derived from affected patients. We identified a group of AQP4 rAbs targeting a distinct extracellular loop C epitope that demonstrated enhanced CDC on target cells. Targeted mutations of AQP4 rAb Fc domains that enhance or diminish C1q binding or antibody Fc-Fc interactions showed that optimal CDC was driven by the assembly of multimeric rAb platforms that increase multivalent C1q binding and facilitate C1q activation. A peptide that blocks antibody Fc-Fc interaction inhibited CDC induced by AQP4 rAbs and polyclonal NMO patient sera. Super-resolution microscopy revealed that AQP4 rAbs with enhanced CDC preferentially formed organized clusters on supramolecular AQP4 orthogonal arrays, linking epitope-dependent multimeric assembly with enhanced C1q binding and activation. The resulting model of AQP4-IgG CDC provides a framework for understanding classical complement activation in human autoantibody–mediated disorders and identifies a potential new therapeutic avenue for treating NMO.
John Soltys, Yiting Liu, Alanna Ritchie, Scott Wemlinger, Kristin Schaller, Hannah Schumann, Gregory P. Owens, Jeffrey L. Bennett
T cell heterogeneity is highly relevant to allergic disorders. We resolved the heterogeneity of human tissue CD3+ T cells during allergic inflammation, focusing on a tissue-specific allergic disease, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). We investigated 1088 single T cells derived from patients with a spectrum of disease activity. Eight disparate tissue T cell subtypes (designated T1–T8) were identified, with T7 and T8 enriched in the diseased tissue. The phenotypes of T7 and T8 resemble putative Treg (FOXP3+) and effector Th2-like (GATA3+) cells, respectively. Prodigious levels of IL-5 and IL-13 were confined to HPGDS+ CRTH2+IL-17RB+FFAR3+CD4+ T8 effector Th2 cells. EoE severity closely paralleled a lipid/fatty acid–induced activation node highlighted by the expression of the short-chain fatty acid receptor FFAR3. Ligands for FFAR3 induced Th2 cytokine production from human and murine T cells, including in an in vivo allergy model. Therefore, we elucidated the defining characteristics of tissue-residing CD3+ T cells in EoE, a specific enrichment of CD4+ Treg and effector Th2 cells, confinement of type 2 cytokine production to the CD4+ effector population, a highly likely role for FFAR3 in amplifying local Th2 responses in EoE, and a resource to further dissect tissue lymphocytes and allergic responses.
Ting Wen, Bruce J. Aronow, Yrina Rochman, Mark Rochman, Kiran KC, Phil J. Dexheimer, Philip Putnam, Vincent Mukkada, Heather Foote, Kira Rehn, Sam Darko, Daniel Douek, Marc E. Rothenberg
DCs undergo metabolic reprogramming from a predominantly oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to glycolysis to mount an immunogenic response. The mechanism underpinning the metabolic reprogramming remains elusive. We demonstrate that miRNA-142 (miR-142) is pivotal for this shift in metabolism, which regulates the tolerogenic and immunogenic responses of DCs. In the absence of miR-142, DCs fail to switch from OXPHOS and show reduced production of proinflammatory cytokines and the ability to activate T cells in vitro and in in vivo models of sepsis and alloimmunity. Mechanistic studies demonstrate that miR-142 regulates fatty acid (FA) oxidation, which causes the failure to switch to glycolysis. Loss- and gain-of-function experiments identified carnitine palmitoyltransferase -1a (CPT1a), a key regulator of the FA pathway, as a direct target of miR-142 that is pivotal for the metabolic switch. Thus, our findings show that miR-142 is central to the metabolic reprogramming that specifically favors glycolysis and immunogenic response by DCs.
Yaping Sun, Katherine Oravecz-Wilson, Sydney Bridges, Richard McEachin, Julia Wu, Stephanie H. Kim, Austin Taylor, Cynthia Zajac, Hideaki Fujiwara, Daniel Christopher Peltier, Thomas Saunders, Pavan Reddy
The mesenchymal (MES) subtype of glioblastoma (GBM) stem cells (GSCs) represents a subpopulation of cancer cells that are notorious for their highly aggressive nature and resistance to conventional therapy. Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A3 (ALDH1A3) has been recently suggested as a key determinant for the maintenance of MES features of GSCs. However, the mechanisms underpinning aberrant ALDH1A3 expression remain elusive. Here, we identified ubiquitin-specific protease 9X (USP9X) as a bona fide deubiquitinase of ALDH1A3 in MES GSCs. USP9X interacted with, depolyubiquitylated, and stabilized ALDH1A3. Moreover, we showed that FACS-sorted USP9Xhi cells were enriched for MES GSCs with high ALDH1A3 activity and potent tumorigenic capacity. Depletion of USP9X markedly downregulated ALDH1A3, resulting in a loss of self-renewal and tumorigenic capacity of MES GSCs, which could be largely rescued by ectopic expression of ALDH1A3. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the USP9X inhibitor WP1130 induced ALDH1A3 degradation and showed marked therapeutic efficacy in MES GSC–derived orthotopic xenograft models. Additionally, USP9X strongly correlated with ALDH1A3 expression in primary human GBM samples and had a prognostic value for patients with the MES subgroup. Collectively, our findings unveil USP9X as a key deubiquitinase for ALDH1A3 protein stabilization and a potential target for GSC-directed therapy.
Zhengxin Chen, Hong-Wei Wang, Shuai Wang, Ligang Fan, Shuang Feng, Xiaomin Cai, Chenghao Peng, Xiaoting Wu, Jiacheng Lu, Dan Chen, Yuanyuan Chen, Wenting Wu, Daru Lu, Ning Liu, Yongping You, Huibo Wang
BACKGROUND. Recent genomic and bioinformatic technological advances have made it possible to dissect the immune response to personalized neoantigens encoded by tumor-specific mutations. However, timely and efficient identification of neoantigens is still a major obstacle to personalized neoantigen-based cancer immunotherapy. METHODS. Two different pipelines of neoantigen identification were established in this study: (a) Clinical-grade targeted sequencing was performed in patients with refractory solid tumor, and mutant peptides with high variant allele frequency and predicted high HLA-binding affinity were synthesized de novo. (b) An inventory-shared neoantigen peptide library of common solid tumors was constructed, and patients’ hotspot mutations were matched to the neoantigen peptide library. The candidate neoepitopes were identified by recalling memory T cell responses in vitro. Subsequently, neoantigen-loaded dendritic cell vaccines and neoantigen-reactive T cells were generated for personalized immunotherapy in 6 patients. RESULTS. Immunogenic neoepitopes were recognized by autologous T cells in 3 of 4 patients who used the de novo synthesis mode and in 6 of 13 patients who used the shared neoantigen peptide library. A metastatic thymoma patient achieved a complete and durable response beyond 29 months after treatment. Immune-related partial response was observed in another patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The remaining 4 patients achieved prolonged stabilization of disease with a median progression-free survival of 8.6 months. CONCLUSION. The current study provides feasible pipelines for neoantigen identification. Implementing these strategies to individually tailor neoantigens could facilitate neoantigen-based translational immunotherapy research. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ChiCTR.org ChiCTR-OIC-16010092, ChiCTR-OIC-17011275, ChiCTR-OIC-17011913; ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03171220. FUNDING. This work was funded by grants from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC1308900), the National Major Projects for “Major New Drugs Innovation and Development” (2018ZX09301048-003), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81672367, 81572329, 81572601), and the Key Research and Development Program of Jiangsu Province (BE2017607).
Fangjun Chen, Zhengyun Zou, Juan Du, Shu Su, Jie Shao, Fanyan Meng, Ju Yang, Qiuping Xu, Naiqing Ding, Yang Yang, Qin Liu, Qin Wang, Zhichen Sun, Shujuan Zhou, Shiyao Du, Jia Wei, Baorui Liu
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of the predominant tumor viruses in humans, but so far no therapeutic or prophylactic vaccination against this transforming pathogen is available. We demonstrated that heterologous prime-boost vaccination with the nuclear antigen 1 of EBV (EBNA1), either targeted to the DEC205 receptor on DCs or expressed from a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector, improved priming of antigen-specific CD4+ T cell help. This help supported the expansion and maintenance of EBNA1-specific CD8+ T cells that are most efficiently primed by recombinant adenoviruses that encode EBNA1. These combined CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses protected against EBNA1-expressing T and B cell lymphomas, including lymphoproliferations that emerged spontaneously after EBNA1 expression. In particular, the heterologous EBNA1-expressing adenovirus, boosted by EBNA1-encoding MVA vaccination, demonstrated protection as a prophylactic and therapeutic treatment for the respective lymphoma challenges. Our study shows that such heterologous prime-boost vaccinations against EBV-associated malignancies as well as symptomatic primary EBV infection should be further explored for clinical development.
Julia Rühl, Carmen Citterio, Christine Engelmann, Tracey Haigh, Andrzej Dzionek, Johannes Dreyer, Rajiv Khanna, Graham S. Taylor, Joanna B. Wilson, Carol S. Leung, Christian Münz
Aside from its catalytic function in protein synthesis, leucyl-tRNA synthetase (LRS) has a nontranslational function in regulating cell growth via the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway by sensing amino acid availability. mTOR also regulates skeletal myogenesis, but the signaling mechanism is distinct from that in cell growth regulation. A role of LRS in myogenesis has not been reported. Here we report that LRS negatively regulated myoblast differentiation in vitro. This function of LRS was independent of its regulation of protein synthesis, and it required leucine-binding but not tRNA charging activity of LRS. Local knock down of LRS accelerated muscle regeneration in a mouse injury model, and so did the knock down of Rag or Raptor. Further in vitro studies established a Rag-mTORC1 pathway, which inhibits the IRS1-PI3K-Akt pathway, to be the mediator of the nontranslational function of LRS in myogenesis. BC-LI-0186, an inhibitor reported to disrupt LRS-Rag interaction, promoted robust muscle regeneration with enhanced functional recovery, and this effect was abolished by cotreatment with an Akt inhibitor. Taken together, our findings revealed what we believe is a novel function for LRS in controlling the homeostasis of myogenesis, and suggested a potential therapeutic strategy to target a noncanonical function of a housekeeping protein.
Kook Son, Jae-Sung You, Mee-Sup Yoon, Chong Dai, Jong Hyun Kim, Nidhi Khanna, Aditi Banerjee, Susan A. Martinis, Gyoonhee Han, Jung Min Han, Sunghoon Kim, Jie Chen
A key mechanism of tumor resistance to immune cells is mediated by expression of peptide-loaded HLA class I molecule (HLA-E) in tumor cells, which suppresses NK cell activity via ligation of the NK inhibitory receptor CD94/NK group 2 member A (NKG2A). Gene expression data from approximately 10,000 tumor samples showed widespread HLAE expression, with levels correlating with those of KLRC1 (NKG2A) and KLRD1 (CD94). To bypass HLA-E inhibition, we developed a way to generate highly functional NK cells lacking NKG2A. Constructs containing a single-chain variable fragment derived from an anti-NKG2A antibody were linked to endoplasmic reticulum–retention domains. After retroviral transduction in human peripheral blood NK cells, these NKG2A protein expression blockers (PEBLs) abrogated NKG2A expression. The resulting NKG2Anull NK cells had higher cytotoxicity against HLA-E–expressing tumor cells. Transduction of anti-NKG2A PEBL produced more potent cytotoxicity than interference with an anti-NKG2A antibody and prevented de novo NKG2A expression without affecting NK cell proliferation. In immunodeficient mice, NKG2Anull NK cells were substantially more powerful than NKG2A+ NK cells against HLA-E–expressing tumors. Thus, NKG2A downregulation evades the HLA-E cancer immune checkpoint and increases the antitumor activity of NK cell infusions. Because this strategy is easily adaptable to current protocols for clinical-grade immune cell processing, its clinical testing is feasible and warranted.
Takahiro Kamiya, See Voon Seow, Desmond Wong, Murray Robinson, Dario Campana
Alveolar epithelium plays a pivotal role in protecting the lungs from inhaled infectious agents. Therefore, the regenerative capacity of the alveolar epithelium is critical for recovery from these insults in order to rebuild the epithelial barrier and restore pulmonary functions. Here, we show that sublethal infection of mice with Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common pathogen of community-acquired pneumonia, led to exclusive damage in lung alveoli, followed by alveolar epithelial regeneration and resolution of lung inflammation. We show that surfactant protein C–expressing (SPC-expressing) alveolar epithelial type II cells (AECIIs) underwent proliferation and differentiation after infection, which contributed to the newly formed alveolar epithelium. This increase in AECII activities was correlated with increased nuclear expression of Yap and Taz, the mediators of the Hippo pathway. Mice that lacked Yap/Taz in AECIIs exhibited prolonged inflammatory responses in the lung and were delayed in alveolar epithelial regeneration during bacterial pneumonia. This impaired alveolar epithelial regeneration was paralleled by a failure to upregulate IκBa, the molecule that terminates NF-κB–mediated inflammatory responses. These results demonstrate that signals governing resolution of lung inflammation were altered in Yap/Taz mutant mice, which prevented the development of a proper regenerative niche, delaying repair and regeneration of alveolar epithelium during bacterial pneumonia.
Ryan LaCanna, Daniela Liccardo, Peggy Zhang, Lauren Tragesser, Yan Wang, Tongtong Cao, Harold A. Chapman, Edward E. Morrisey, Hao Shen, Walter J. Koch, Beata Kosmider, Marla R. Wolfson, Ying Tian
BACKGROUND. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells can induce remission in highly refractory leukemia and lymphoma subjects, yet the parameters for achieving sustained relapse-free survival are not fully delineated. METHODS. We analyzed 43 pediatric and young adult subjects participating in a phase I trial of defined composition CD19 CAR T cells (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02028455). CAR T cell phenotype, function, and expansion, as well as starting material T cell repertoire, were analyzed in relationship to therapeutic outcome (defined as achieving complete remission within 63 days) and duration of leukemia-free survival and B cell aplasia. RESULTS. These analyses reveal that initial therapeutic failures (n = 5) were associated with attenuated CAR T cell expansion and/or rapid attrition of functional CAR effector cells following adoptive transfer. The CAR T products were similar in phenotype and function when compared with products resulting in sustained remissions. However, the initial apheresed peripheral blood T cells could be distinguished by an increased frequency of LAG-3+/TNF-αlo CD8 T cells and, following adoptive transfer, the rapid expression of exhaustion markers. For the 38 subjects who achieved an initial sustained minimal residual disease–negative remission, 15 are still in remission, 10 of whom underwent allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT) following CAR T treatment. Subsequent remission durability correlated with therapeutic products having increased frequencies of TNF-α–secreting CAR CD8+ T cells, but was dependent on a sufficiently high CD19+ antigen load at time of infusion to trigger CAR T cell proliferation. CONCLUSION. These parameters have the potential to prospectively identify patients at risk for therapeutic failure and support the development of approaches to boost CAR T cell activation and proliferation in patients with low levels of CD19 antigen. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02028455. FUNDING. Partial funding for this study was provided by a Stand Up to Cancer and St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Dream Team Translational Research Grant (SU2C-AACR-DT1113), R01 CA136551-05, an Alex Lemonade Stand Phase I/II Infrastructure Grant, a Conquer Cancer Foundation Career Development Award, the Washington State Life Sciences Discovery Fund, the Ben Towne Foundation, the William Lawrence & Blanche Hughes Foundation, and Juno Therapeutics Inc., a Celgene Company.
Olivia C. Finney, Hannah Brakke, Stephanie Rawlings-Rhea, Roxana Hicks, Danielle Doolittle, Marisa Lopez, Ben Futrell, Rimas J. Orentas, Daniel Li, Rebecca Gardner, Michael C. Jensen
Diabetic individuals are at considerable risk for invasive infection by Staphylococcus aureus, however, the mechanisms underlying this enhanced susceptibility to infection are unclear. We observed increased mortality following i.v. S. aureus infection in diabetic mice compared with nondiabetic controls, correlating with increased numbers of low-density neutrophils (LDNs) and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). LDNs have been implicated in the inflammatory pathology of diseases such as lupus, given their release of large amounts of NETs. Our goal was to describe what drives LDN increases during S. aureus infection in the diabetic host and mechanisms that promote increased NET production by LDNs. LDN development is dependent on TGF-β, which we found to be more activated in the diabetic host. Neutralization of TGF-β, or the TGF-β–activating integrin αvβ8, reduced LDN numbers and improved survival during S. aureus infection. Targeting S. aureus directly with MEDI4893*, an α toxin–neutralizing monoclonal antibody, blocked TGF-β activation, reduced LDNs and NETs, and significantly improved survival. A comparison of gene and protein expression in high-density neutrophils and LDNs identified increased GPCRs and elevated phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) in the LDN subset. Inhibition of PTEN improved the survival of infected diabetic mice. Our data identify a population of neutrophils in infected diabetic mice that correlated with decreased survival and increased NET production and describe 3 therapeutic targets, a bacterial target and 2 host proteins, that prevented NET production and improved survival.
Taylor S. Cohen, Virginia Takahashi, Jessica Bonnell, Andrey Tovchigrechko, Raghothama Chaerkady, Wen Yu, Omari Jones-Nelson, Young Lee, Rajiv Raja, Sonja Hess, C. Kendall Stover, John J. Worthington, Mark A. Travis, Bret R. Sellman
Vacuolar H+-ATPase–dependent (V-ATPase–dependent) functions are critical for neural proteostasis and are involved in neurodegeneration and brain tumorigenesis. We identified a patient with fulminant neurodegeneration of the developing brain carrying a de novo splice site variant in ATP6AP2 encoding an accessory protein of the V-ATPase. Functional studies of induced pluripotent stem cell–derived (iPSC-derived) neurons from this patient revealed reduced spontaneous activity and severe deficiency in lysosomal acidification and protein degradation leading to neuronal cell death. These deficiencies could be rescued by expression of full-length ATP6AP2. Conditional deletion of Atp6ap2 in developing mouse brain impaired V-ATPase–dependent functions, causing impaired neural stem cell self-renewal, premature neuronal differentiation, and apoptosis resulting in degeneration of nearly the entire cortex. In vitro studies revealed that ATP6AP2 deficiency decreases V-ATPase membrane assembly and increases endosomal-lysosomal fusion. We conclude that ATP6AP2 is a key mediator of V-ATPase–dependent signaling and protein degradation in the developing human central nervous system.
Takuo Hirose, Alfredo Cabrera-Socorro, David Chitayat, Thomas Lemonnier, Olivier Féraud, Carmen Cifuentes-Diaz, Nicolas Gervasi, Cedric Mombereau, Tanay Ghosh, Loredana Stoica, Jeanne d’Arc Al Bacha, Hiroshi Yamada, Marcel A. Lauterbach, Marc Guillon, Kiriko Kaneko, Joy W. Norris, Komudi Siriwardena, Susan Blasér, Jérémie Teillon, Roberto Mendoza-Londono, Marion Russeau, Julien Hadoux, Sadayoshi Ito, Pierre Corvol, Maria G. Matheus, Kenton R. Holden, Kohji Takei, Valentina Emiliani, Annelise Bennaceur-Griscelli, Charles E. Schwartz, Genevieve Nguyen, Matthias Groszer
Bilon Khambu, Nazmul Huda, Xiaoyun Chen, Daniel J. Antoine, Yong Li, Guoli Dai, Ulrike A. Köhler, Wei-Xing Zong, Satoshi Waguri, Sabine Werner, Tim D. Oury, Zheng Dong, Xiao-Ming Yin
Bilon Khambu, Nazmul Huda, Xiaoyun Chen, Daniel J. Antoine, Yong Li, Guoli Dai, Ulrike A. Köhler, Wei-Xing Zong, Satoshi Waguri, Sabine Werner, Tim D. Oury, Zheng Dong, Xiao-Ming Yin
Yoko Kojima, Kelly Downing, Ramendra Kundu, Clint Miller, Frederick Dewey, Hope Lancero, Uwe Raaz, Ljubica Perisic, Ulf Hedin, Eric Schadt, Lars Maegdefessel, Tom Quertermous, Nicholas J. Leeper
Martin Schlegel, Andreas Körner, Torsten Kaussen, Urs Knausberg, Carmen Gerber, Georg Hansmann, Hulda Soffia Jónasdóttir, Martin Giera, Valbona Mirakaj
Lauren Elizabeth Walker, Federica Frigerio, Teresa Ravizza, Emanuele Ricci, Karen Tse, Rosalind E. Jenkins, Graeme John Sills, Andrea Jorgensen, Luca Porcu, Thimmasettappa Thippeswamy, Tiina Alapirtti, Jukka Peltola, Martin J. Brodie, Brian Kevin Park, Anthony Guy Marson, Daniel James Antoine, Annamaria Vezzani, Munir Pirmohamed