Oncogene-targeted and immune checkpoint therapies have revolutionized the clinical management of malignant melanoma and now offer hope to patients with advanced disease. Intimately connected to patients’ overall clinical risk is whether the initial primary melanoma lesion will metastasize and cause advanced disease, but underlying mechanisms are not entirely understood. A subset of melanomas display heightened peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ coactivator 1-α (PGC1α) expression that maintains cell survival cues by promoting mitochondrial function, but also suppresses metastatic spread. Here, we show that PGC1α expression in melanoma cells was silenced by chromatin modifications that involve promoter H3K27 trimethylation. Pharmacological EZH2 inhibition diminished H3K27me3 histone markers, increased PGC1α expression, and functionally suppressed invasion within PGC1α-silenced melanoma cells. Mechanistically, PGC1α silencing activated transcription factor 12 (TCF12), to increase expression of WNT5A, which in turn stabilized YAP protein levels to promote melanoma migration and metastasis. Accordingly, inhibition of components of this transcription-signaling axis, including TCF12, WNT5A, or YAP, blocked melanoma migration in vitro and metastasis in vivo. These results indicate that epigenetic control of melanoma metastasis involved altered expression of PGC1α and an association with the inherent metabolic state of the tumor.
Chi Luo, Eduardo Balsa, Elizabeth A. Perry, Jiaxin Liang, Clint D. Tavares, Francisca Vazquez, Hans R. Widlund, Pere Puigserver
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after exposure to severe psychological trauma, leaving patients with disabling anxiety, nightmares, and flashbacks. Current treatments are only partially effective, and development of better treatments is hampered by limited knowledge of molecular mechanisms underlying PTSD. We have discovered that the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and FK506 binding protein 51 (FKBP51) form a protein complex that is elevated in PTSD patients compared with unaffected control subjects, subjects exposed to trauma without PTSD, and patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The GR-FKBP51 complex is also elevated in fear-conditioned mice, an aversive learning paradigm that models some aspects of PTSD. Both PTSD patients and fear-conditioned mice had decreased GR phosphorylation, decreased nuclear GR, and lower expression of 14-3-3ε, a gene regulated by GR. We created a peptide that disrupts GR-FKBP51 binding and reverses behavioral and molecular changes induced by fear conditioning. This peptide reduces freezing time and increases GR phosphorylation, GR-FKBP52 binding, GR nuclear translocation, and 14-3-3ε expression in fear-conditioned mice. These experiments demonstrate a molecular mechanism contributing to PTSD and suggest that the GR-FKBP51 complex may be a diagnostic biomarker and a potential therapeutic target for preventing or treating PTSD.
Haiyin Li, Ping Su, Terence K.Y. Lai, Anlong Jiang, Jing Liu, Dongxu Zhai, Charlie T.G. Campbell, Frankie H.F. Lee, WeiDong Yong, Suvercha Pasricha, Shupeng Li, Albert H.C. Wong, Kerry J. Ressler, Fang Liu
Although the impact of Th17 cells on autoimmunity is undisputable, their pathogenic effector mechanism is still enigmatic. We discovered soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor attachment receptor (SNARE) complex proteins in Th17 cells that enable a vesicular glutamate release pathway that induces local intracytoplasmic calcium release and subsequent damage in neurons. This pathway is glutamine dependent and triggered by binding of β1-integrin to vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) on neurons in the inflammatory context. Glutamate secretion could be blocked by inhibiting either glutaminase or KV1.3 channels, which are known to be linked to integrin expression and highly expressed on stimulated T cells. Although KV1.3 is not expressed in CNS tissue, intrathecal administration of a KV1.3 channel blocker or a glutaminase inhibitor ameliorated disability in experimental neuroinflammation. In humans, T cells from patients with multiple sclerosis secreted higher levels of glutamate, and cerebrospinal fluid glutamine levels were increased. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that β1-integrin– and KV1.3 channel–dependent signaling stimulates glutamate release from Th17 cells upon direct cell-cell contact between Th17 cells and neurons.
Katharina Birkner, Beatrice Wasser, Tobias Ruck, Carine Thalman, Dirk Luchtman, Katrin Pape, Samantha Schmaul, Lynn Bitar, Eva-Maria Krämer-Albers, Albrecht Stroh, Sven G. Meuth, Frauke Zipp, Stefan Bittner
Efficacy of dendritic cell (DC) cancer vaccines is classically thought to depend on their antigen-presenting cell (APC) activity. Studies show, however, that DC vaccine priming of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) requires the activity of endogenous DCs, suggesting that exogenous DCs stimulate antitumor immunity by transferring antigens (Ags) to endogenous DCs. Such Ag transfer functions are most commonly ascribed to monocytes, implying that undifferentiated monocytes would function equally well as a vaccine modality and need not be differentiated to DCs to be effective. Here, we used several murine cancer models to test the antitumor efficacy of undifferentiated monocytes loaded with protein or peptide Ag. Intravenously injected monocytes displayed antitumor activity superior to DC vaccines in several cancer models, including aggressive intracranial glioblastoma. Ag-loaded monocytes induced robust CTL responses via Ag transfer to splenic CD8+ DCs in a manner independent of monocyte APC activity. Ag transfer required cell-cell contact and the formation of connexin 43–containing gap junctions between monocytes and DCs. These findings demonstrate the existence of an efficient gap junction–mediated Ag transfer pathway between monocytes and CD8+ DCs and suggest that administration of tumor Ag–loaded undifferentiated monocytes may serve as a simple and efficacious immunotherapy for the treatment of human cancers.
Min-Nung Huang, Lowell T. Nicholson, Kristen A. Batich, Adam M. Swartz, David Kopin, Sebastian Wellford, Vijay K. Prabhakar, Karolina Woroniecka, Smita K. Nair, Peter E. Fecci, John H. Sampson, Michael D. Gunn
The mechanisms that modulate the kinetics of muscle relaxation are critically important for muscle function. A prime example of the impact of impaired relaxation kinetics is nemaline myopathy caused by mutations in KBTBD13 (NEM6). In addition to weakness, NEM6 patients have slow muscle relaxation, compromising contractility and daily life activities. The role of KBTBD13 in muscle is unknown, and the pathomechanism underlying NEM6 is undetermined. A combination of transcranial magnetic stimulation–induced muscle relaxation, muscle fiber- and sarcomere-contractility assays, low-angle x-ray diffraction, and superresolution microscopy revealed that the impaired muscle-relaxation kinetics in NEM6 patients are caused by structural changes in the thin filament, a sarcomeric microstructure. Using homology modeling and binding and contractility assays with recombinant KBTBD13, Kbtbd13-knockout and Kbtbd13R408C-knockin mouse models, and a GFP-labeled Kbtbd13-transgenic zebrafish model, we discovered that KBTBD13 binds to actin — a major constituent of the thin filament — and that mutations in KBTBD13 cause structural changes impairing muscle-relaxation kinetics. We propose that this actin-based impaired relaxation is central to NEM6 pathology.
Josine M. de Winter, Joery P. Molenaar, Michaela Yuen, Robbert van der Pijl, Shengyi Shen, Stefan Conijn, Martijn van de Locht, Menne Willigenburg, Sylvia J.P. Bogaards, Esmee S.B. van Kleef, Saskia Lassche, Malin Persson, Dilson E. Rassier, Tamar E. Sztal, Avnika A. Ruparelia, Viola Oorschot, Georg Ramm, Thomas E. Hall, Zherui Xiong, Christopher N. Johnson, Frank Li, Balazs Kiss, Noelia Lozano-Vidal, Reinier A. Boon, Manuela Marabita, Leonardo Nogara, Bert Blaauw, Richard J. Rodenburg, Benno Kϋsters, Jonne Doorduin, Alan H. Beggs, Henk Granzier, Ken Campbell, Weikang Ma, Thomas Irving, Edoardo Malfatti, Norma B. Romero, Robert J. Bryson-Richardson, Baziel G.M. van Engelen, Nicol C. Voermans, Coen A.C. Ottenheijm
Interventions to prevent HIV-1 infection and alternative tools in HIV cure therapy remain pressing goals. Recently, numerous broadly neutralizing HIV-1 monoclonal antibodies (bNAbs) have been developed that possess the characteristics necessary for potential prophylactic or therapeutic approaches. However, formulation complexities, especially for multiantibody deliveries, long infusion times, and production issues could limit the use of these bNAbs when deployed, globally affecting their potential application. Here, we describe an approach utilizing synthetic DNA-encoded monoclonal antibodies (dmAbs) for direct in vivo production of prespecified neutralizing activity. We designed 16 different bNAbs as dmAb cassettes and studied their activity in small and large animals. Sera from animals administered dmAbs neutralized multiple HIV-1 isolates with activity similar to that of their parental recombinant mAbs. Delivery of multiple dmAbs to a single animal led to increased neutralization breadth. Two dmAbs, PGDM1400 and PGT121, were advanced into nonhuman primates for study. High peak-circulating levels (between 6 and 34 μg/ml) of these dmAbs were measured, and the sera of all animals displayed broad neutralizing activity. The dmAb approach provides an important local delivery platform for the in vivo generation of HIV-1 bNAbs and for other infectious disease antibodies.
Megan C. Wise, Ziyang Xu, Edgar Tello-Ruiz, Charles Beck, Aspen Trautz, Ami Patel, Sarah T.C. Elliott, Neethu Chokkalingam, Sophie Kim, Melissa G. Kerkau, Kar Muthumani, Jingjing Jiang, Paul D. Fisher, Stephany J. Ramos, Trevor R.F. Smith, Janess Mendoza, Kate E. Broderick, David C. Montefiori, Guido Ferrari, Daniel W. Kulp, Laurent M. Humeau, David B. Weiner
CD8+ T cell responses are necessary for immune control of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). However, the key parameters that dictate antiviral potency remain elusive, conceivably because most studies to date have been restricted to analyses of circulating CD8+ T cells. We conducted a detailed clonotypic, functional, and phenotypic survey of SIV-specific CD8+ T cells across multiple anatomical sites in chronically infected rhesus macaques with high (>10,000 copies/mL plasma) or low burdens of viral RNA (<10,000 copies/mL plasma). No significant differences in response magnitude were identified across anatomical compartments. Rhesus macaques with low viral loads (VLs) harbored higher frequencies of polyfunctional CXCR5+ SIV-specific CD8+ T cells in various lymphoid tissues and higher proportions of unique Gag-specific CD8+ T cell clonotypes in the mesenteric lymph nodes relative to rhesus macaques with high VLs. In addition, public Gag-specific CD8+ T cell clonotypes were more commonly shared across distinct anatomical sites than the corresponding private clonotypes, which tended to form tissue-specific repertoires, especially in the peripheral blood and the gastrointestinal tract. Collectively, these data suggest that functionality and tissue localization are important determinants of CD8+ T cell–mediated efficacy against SIV.
Carly E. Starke, Carol L. Vinton, Kristin Ladell, James E. McLaren, Alexandra M. Ortiz, Joseph C. Mudd, Jacob K. Flynn, Stephen H. Lai, Fan Wu, Vanessa M. Hirsch, Samuel Darko, Daniel C. Douek, David A. Price, Jason M. Brenchley
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging hemorrhagic fever caused by a tick-borne banyangvirus and is associated with high fatality. Despite increasing incidence of SFTS and serious public health concerns in East Asia, the pathogenesis of lethal SFTS virus (SFTSV) infection in humans is not fully understood. Numbers of postmortem examinations to determine target cells of the viral infection have so far been limited. Here we showed that B cells differentiating into plasmablasts and macrophages in secondary lymphoid organs were targets for SFTSV at the end stage of lethal infection, and the majority of SFTSV-infected cells were B cell–lineage lymphocytes. In affected individuals, B cell–lineage lymphocytes with SFTSV infection were widely distributed in both lymphoid and nonlymphoid organs, and infiltration of these cells into the capillaries of the organs could be observed occasionally. Moreover, a human plasmablastic lymphoma cell line, PBL-1, was susceptible to SFTSV propagation, and had a similar immunophenotype to that of target cells of SFTSV in fatal SFTS. PBL-1 can therefore provide a potential in vitro model for human SFTSV infection. These results extend our understanding of the pathogenesis of human lethal SFTSV infection, and can facilitate the development of SFTSV countermeasures.
Tadaki Suzuki, Yuko Sato, Kaori Sano, Takeshi Arashiro, Harutaka Katano, Noriko Nakajima, Masayuki Shimojima, Michiyo Kataoka, Kenta Takahashi, Yuji Wada, Shigeru Morikawa, Shuetsu Fukushi, Tomoki Yoshikawa, Masayuki Saijo, Hideki Hasegawa
Multipass membrane proteins have a myriad of functions, including transduction of cell-cell signals, ion transport, and photoreception. Insertion of these proteins into the membrane depends on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein complex (EMC). Recently, birth defects have been observed in patients with variants in the gene encoding a member of this complex, EMC1. Patient phenotypes include congenital heart disease, craniofacial malformations, and neurodevelopmental disease. However, a molecular connection between EMC1 and these birth defects is lacking. Using Xenopus, we identified defects in neural crest cells (NCCs) upon emc1 depletion. We then used unbiased proteomics and discovered a critical role for emc1 in WNT signaling. Consistent with this, readouts of WNT signaling and Frizzled (Fzd) levels were reduced in emc1-depleted embryos, while NCC defects could be rescued with β-catenin. Interestingly, other transmembrane proteins were mislocalized upon emc1 depletion, providing insight into additional patient phenotypes. To translate our findings back to humans, we found that EMC1 was necessary for human NCC development in vitro. Finally, we tested patient variants in our Xenopus model and found the majority to be loss-of-function alleles. Our findings define molecular mechanisms whereby EMC1 dysfunction causes disease phenotypes through dysfunctional multipass membrane protein topogenesis.
Jonathan Marquez, June Criscione, Rebekah M. Charney, Maneeshi S. Prasad, Woong Y. Hwang, Emily K. Mis, Martín I. García-Castro, Mustafa K. Khokha
EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinoma patients treated with gefitinib and osimertinib show a therapeutic benefit limited by the appearance of secondary mutations, such as EGFRT790M and EGFRC797S. It is generally assumed that these secondary mutations render EGFR completely unresponsive to the inhibitors, but contrary to this, we uncovered here that gefitinib and osimertinib increased STAT3 phosphorylation (p-STAT3) in EGFRT790M and EGFRC797S tumoral cells. Interestingly, we also found that concomitant Notch inhibition with gefitinib or osimertinib treatment induced a p-STAT3–dependent strong reduction in the levels of the transcriptional repressor HES1. Importantly, we showed that tyrosine kinase inhibitor–resistant tumors, with EGFRT790M and EGFRC797S mutations, were highly responsive to the combined treatment of Notch inhibitors with gefitinib or osimertinib, respectively. Finally, in patients with EGFR mutations treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, HES1 protein levels increased during relapse and correlated with shorter progression-free survival. Therefore, our results offer a proof of concept for an alternative treatment to chemotherapy in lung adenocarcinoma osimertinib-treated patients after disease progression.
Emilie Bousquet Mur, Sara Bernardo, Laura Papon, Maicol Mancini, Eric Fabbrizio, Marion Goussard, Irene Ferrer, Anais Giry, Xavier Quantin, Jean-Louis Pujol, Olivier Calvayrac, Herwig P. Moll, Yaël Glasson, Nelly Pirot, Andrei Turtoi, Marta Cañamero, Kwok-Kin Wong, Yosef Yarden, Emilio Casanova, Jean-Charles Soria, Jacques Colinge, Christian W. Siebel, Julien Mazieres, Gilles Favre, Luis Paz-Ares, Antonio Maraver
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