In mice, graft-versus-host reactions (GVHR), associated with powerful graft-versus-tumor effects, can be achieved without graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) by delayed administration of donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI) to established mixed chimeras (MCs). However, GVHD sometimes occurrs after DLI in established mixed chimeric patients. In contrast to mice, in which T cell recovery from the thymus occurs prior to DLI administration, human T cell reconstitution following T cell-depleted hematopoietic cell transplantation is slow, resulting in lymphopenia at the time of DLI. We demonstrate here that T cell lymphopenia is an independent risk factor for GVHD following DLI in the absence of known inflammatory stimuli. DLI-induced GVHD was prevented in lymphopenic recipients by prior administration of a small number of non-alloreactive polyclonal T cells, insufficient to prevent lymphopenia-associated expansion of subsequently administered T cells, through a Treg-independent mechanism, but not by T cells with irrelevant specificity. Moreover, administration of antibiotics reduced the severity of GVHD in lymphopenic hosts. Accumulation of DLI-derived effector T cells and host hematopoietic cell elimination were markedly diminished by Treg-depleted, non-alloreactive T cells. Finally, thymectomized mixed chimeras showed increased GVHD following delayed DLI. Collectively, our data demonstrate that in the absence of known conditioning-induced inflammatory stimuli, T cell lymphopenia is a risk factor for GVHD in MCs receiving delayed DLI and suggest that the predisposition to GVHD can at least in part be explained by the presence of occult inflammatory stimuli due to the absence of T cells to control microbial infections.
Safe and effective immunologic adjuvants are often essential for vaccines. However, the choice of adjuvant for licensed vaccines is limited, especially for those that are administered intradermally. We show that non-tissue damaging, near-infrared (NIR) laser light given in short exposures to small areas of skin, without the use of additional chemical or biological agents, significantly increases immune responses to intradermal influenza vaccination without augmenting IgE. The NIR laser-adjuvanted vaccine confers increased protection in a murine influenza lethal challenge model as compared to unadjuvanted vaccine. We show that NIR laser treatment induces the expression of specific chemokines in the skin resulting in recruitment and activation of dendritic cells and is safe to use in both mice and humans. The NIR laser adjuvant technology provides a novel, safe, low-cost, simple-to-use, potentially broadly applicable and clinically feasible approach to enhancing vaccine efficacy as an alternative to chemical and biological adjuvants.
Somatic mutations in the EGFR proto-oncogene occur in ~15% of human lung adenocarcinomas and the importance of EGFR mutations for the initiation and maintenance of lung cancer is well established from mouse models and cancer therapy trials in human lung cancer patients. Recently, we identified DOK2 as a lung adenocarcinoma tumor suppressor gene. Here we show that genomic loss of DOK2 is associated with EGFR mutations in human lung adenocarcinoma, and we hypothesized that loss of DOK2 might therefore cooperate with EGFR mutations to promote lung tumorigenesis. We tested this hypothesis using genetically engineered mouse models and find that loss of Dok2 in the mouse accelerates lung tumorigenesis initiated by oncogenic EGFR, but not that initiated by mutated Kras. Moreover, we find that DOK2 participates in a negative feedback loop that opposes mutated EGFR; EGFR mutation leads to recruitment of DOK2 to EGFR and DOK2-mediated inhibition of downstream activation of RAS. These data identify DOK2 as a tumor suppressor in EGFR-mutant lung adenocarcinoma.
We report a novel mouse model for the generation of sporadic tumors and show the efficiency of this approach by surveying Hedgehog (Hh)–related tumors. Up-regulation of the Hh pathway is achieved by conditionally regulated expression of an activated allele of Smoothened (R26-SmoM2) using either sporadic leakage or global postnatal induction of a ubiquitously expressed inducible Cre transgene (CAGGS-CreER). Following postnatal tamoxifen induction, CAGGS-CreER; R26-SmoM2 mice developed tumors with short latency and high penetrance. All mice exhibited rhabdomyosarcoma and basal cell carcinoma; 40% also developed medulloblastoma. In addition, mice showed a novel pancreatic lesion resembling low-grade mucinous cystic neoplasms in humans. In contrast, widespread activation of SmoM2 in the postnatal prostate epithelium results in no detectable morphologic outcome in 12-month-old mice. Comparison of gene expression profiles among diverse tumors identified several signature genes, including components of platelet-derived growth factor and insulin-like growth factor pathways, which may provide a common mechanistic link to the Hh-related malignancies. This experimental model provides a robust tool for exploring the process of Hh-dependent tumorigenesis and the treatment of such tumors. More generally, this approach provides a genetic platform for identifying tumorigenic potential in putative oncogenes and tumor suppressors and for more effective modeling of sporadic cancers in mice.
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive brain tumor for which there is no cure. Overexpression of wild-type EGFR and loss of the tumor suppressor genes Ink4a/Arf and PTEN are salient features of this deadly cancer. Surprisingly, targeted inhibition of EGFR has been clinically disappointing, demonstrating an innate ability for GBM to develop resistance. Efforts at modeling GBM in mice using wild-type EGFR have proven unsuccessful to date, hampering endeavors at understanding molecular mechanisms of therapeutic resistance. Here, we describe a unique genetically engineered mouse model of EGFR-driven gliomagenesis that uses a somatic conditional overexpression and chronic activation of wild-type EGFR in cooperation with deletions in the Ink4a/Arf and PTEN genes in adult brains. Using this model, we establish that chronic activation of wild-type EGFR with a ligand is necessary for generating tumors with histopathological and molecular characteristics of GBMs. We show that these GBMs are resistant to EGFR kinase inhibition and we define this resistance molecularly. Inhibition of EGFR kinase activity using tyrosine kinase inhibitors in GBM tumor cells generates a cytostatic response characterized by a cell cycle arrest, which is accompanied by a substantial change in global gene expression levels. We demonstrate that a key component of this pattern is the transcriptional activation of the MET receptor tyrosine kinase and that pharmacological inhibition of MET overcomes the resistance to EGFR inhibition in these cells. These findings provide important new insights into mechanisms of resistance to EGFR inhibition and suggest that inhibition of multiple targets will be necessary to provide therapeutic benefit for GBM patients.
Glioblastoma; genetically engineered mouse model; EGFR; PTEN; c-MET
Transcriptional regulation of miRNAs that control the pathogenesis of breast cancer remains largely unknown. Here, we showed that ionizing radiation, a known breast carcinogen, triggered the differential expression of miR-20b in mammary tissues. We identified several GC-rich consensus binding motifs for the zinc finger transcription factor early growth response-1 (EGR1) in miR-20b promoter. miR-20b was upregulated by IR and its upregulation correlated with EGR1 expression in the breast cancer cell line HCC1806. Therefore, we used HCC1806 cells as a model system to explore the role of EGR1 in miR-20b transcription. siRNA knockdown of EGR1 attenuated miR-20b expression. Luciferase assays showed that whereas EGR1 stimulated luciferase activity driven by the wild-type miR-20b promoter, this induction was abolished in the mutant miR-20 promoter construct. We noted significant enrichment of EGR1 at miR-20b promoter in HCC1806 cells compared with normal human mammary epithelial cells. Suppression of miR-20b significantly inhibited HCC1806 cell proliferation and migration, and led to G 0/G 1 and S phase arrest. In vitro RNA-pull down assays indicated that miR-20b targets numerous tumor suppressors, including PTEN and BRCA1, which were downregulated in HCC1806. Conversely, suppression of miR-20b increased PTEN and BRCA1 levels. Moreover, immunohistochemical and FISH analyses showed that the miR-20b expression correlated significantly with EGR1 levels in breast cancer tissues. Our findings thus demonstrate for the first time that EGR1 is a key player in the transcriptional control of miR-20b, and miR-20b may in turn function as an oncogene by contributing to breast tumorigenesis via tumor suppressor targeting.
EGR1; miR-20b; transcription; PTEN; BRCA1; breast cancer; proliferation; migration; cell cycle arrest
Patients with lung cancer often present with metastatic disease and therefore have a very poor prognosis. The recent discovery of several novel ROS receptor tyrosine kinase molecular alterations in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) presents a therapeutic opportunity for the development of new targeted treatment strategies. Here, we report that the NSCLC-derived fusion CD74-ROS, which accounts for 30% of all ROS fusion kinases in NSCLC, is an active and oncogenic tyrosine kinase. We found that CD74-ROS expressing cells were highly invasive in vitro and metastatic in vivo. Pharmacological inhibition of CD74-ROS kinase activity reversed its transforming capacity by attenuating downstrream signaling networks. Using quantitative phosphoproteomics, we uncovered a mechanism by which CD74-ROS activates a novel pathway driving cell invasion. Expression of CD74-ROS resulted in the phosphorylation of the extended synaptotagmin-like protein E-Syt1. Elimination of E-Syt1 expression drastically reduced invasiveness both in vitro and in vivo without modifying the oncogenic activity of CD74-ROS. Furthermore, expression of CD74-ROS in non-invasive NSCLC cell lines readily confered invasive properties that paralleled the acquisition of E-Syt1 phosphorylation. Taken together, our findings indicate that E-Syt1 is a mediator of cancer cell invasion and molecularly define ROS fusion kinases as therapeutic targets in the treatment of NSCLC.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) is a nutrient sensitive protein kinase that is aberrantly activated in many human cancers. However, whether dysregulation of mTORC1 signaling in normal tissues contributes to cancer risk is unknown. Here, we focused on hepatocellular carcinoma because it is a cancer with clear links to environmental factors that affect mTORC1, including dietary influences. Genetic ablation of the mTORC1 inhibitory component Tsc1 results in constitutively elevated mTORC1 signaling, an effect similar to that of obesity on this pathway. We found that mice with liver-specific knockout of Tsc1 developed sporadic hepatocellular carcinoma with heterogeneous histological and biochemical features. The spontaneous development of hepatocellular carcinoma in this mouse model was preceded by a series of pathological changes known to accompany the primary etiologies of this cancer, including liver damage, inflammation, necrosis, and regeneration. Chronic mTORC1 signaling caused unresolved endoplasmic reticulum stress and defects in autophagy, which contributed to hepatocyte damage and hepatocellular carcinoma development. Therefore, we demonstrate a previously unrecognized role for mTORC1 in carcinogenesis, perhaps representing a key molecular link between cancer risk and environmental factors, such as diet.
Telomere dysfunction activates p53-mediated cellular growth arrest, senescence and apoptosis to drive progressive atrophy and functional decline in high-turnover tissues. The broader adverse impact of telomere dysfunction across many tissues including more quiescent systems prompted transcriptomic network analyses to identify common mechanisms operative in haematopoietic stem cells, heart and liver. These unbiased studies revealed profound repression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, coactivator 1 alpha and beta (PGC-1α and PGC-1β, also known as Ppargc1a and Ppargc1b, respectively) and the downstream network in mice null for either telomerase reverse transcriptase (Tert) or telomerase RNA component (Terc) genes. Consistent with PGCs as master regulators of mitochondrial physiology and metabolism, telomere dysfunction is associated with impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and function, decreased gluconeogenesis, cardiomyopathy, and increased reactive oxygen species. In the setting of telomere dysfunction, enforced Tert or PGC-1α expression or germline deletion of p53 (also known as Trp53) substantially restores PGC network expression, mitochondrial respiration, cardiac function and gluconeogenesis. We demonstrate that telomere dysfunction activates p53 which in turn binds and represses PGC-1α and PGC-1β promoters, thereby forging a direct link between telomere and mitochondrial biology. We propose that this telomere–p53–PGC axis contributes to organ and metabolic failure and to diminishing organismal fitness in the setting of telomere dysfunction.
The PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway has frequently been found activated in human tumors. We show that in addition to Wnt signaling dysfunction, the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway is often upregulated in mouse Msh2−/− initiated intestinal tumors. NVP-BEZ235 is a dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor toxic to many cancer cell lines and currently involved in clinical trials. We have treated two mouse models involving Msh2 that develop small intestinal and/or colonic tumors with NVP-BEZ235, and a subset of animals with NVP-BEZ235 and MEK inhibitor ADZ4266. The disease phenotype has been followed with pathology, 18F FDG PET imaging, and endoscopy. Intestinal adenocarcinomas are significantly decreased in multiplicity by both drug regimens. The majority of tumors treated with combined therapy regress significantly, while a small number of highly progressed tumors persist. We have examined PTEN, AKT, MEK 1&2, MAPK, S6K, mTOR, PDPK1, and Cyclin D1 and find variable alterations that include downregulation of PTEN, upregulation of AKT and changes in its phosphorylated forms, upregulation of pMEK 1&2, p42p44MAPK, pS6K, and Cyclin D1. Apoptosis has been found intact in some tumors and not in others. Our data indicate that NVP-BEZ235 alone and in combination with ADZ4266 are effective in treating a proportion of colorectal cancers, but that highly progressed resistant tumors grow in the presence of the drugs. Pathways upregulated in some resistant tumors also include PDPK1, suggesting that metabolic inhibitors may also be useful in treating these tumors.
p600 is a multifunctional protein implicated in cytoskeletal organization, integrin-mediated survival signaling, calcium-calmodulin signaling and the N-end rule pathway of ubiquitin-proteasome-mediated proteolysis. While push, the Drosophila counterpart of p600, is dispensable for development up to adult stage, the role of p600 has not been studied during mouse development. Here we generated p600 knockout mice to investigate the in vivo functions of p600. Interestingly, we found that homozygous deletion of p600 results in lethality between embryonic days 11.5 and 13.5 with severe defects in both embryo and placenta. Since p600 is required for placental development, we performed conditional disruption of p600, which deletes selectively p600 in the embryo but not in the placenta. The conditional mutant embryos survive longer than knockout embryos but ultimately die before embryonic day 14.5. The mutant embryos display severe cardiac problems characterized by ventricular septal defects and thin ventricular walls. These anomalies are associated with reduced activation of FAK and decreased expression of MEF2, which is regulated by FAK and plays a crucial role in cardiac development. Moreover, we observed pleiotropic defects in the liver and brain. In sum, our study sheds light on the essential roles of p600 in fetal development.
The B7 family member programmed death-1 ligand (PD-L1) has been shown to play an inhibitory role in the regulation of T cell responses in several organs. However, the role of PD-L1 in regulating tolerance to self-Ags of the small intestine has not been previously addressed. In this study, we investigated the role of PD-L1 in CD8+ T cell tolerance to an intestinal epithelium-specific Ag using the iFABP-tOVA transgenic mouse model, in which OVA is expressed as a self-Ag throughout the small intestine. Using adoptive transfer of naive OVA-specific CD8+ T cells, we show that loss of PD-1:PD-L1 signaling, by either Ab-mediated PD-L1 blockade or transfer of PD-1−/− T cells, leads to considerable expansion of OVA-specific CD8+ T cells and their differentiation into effector cells capable of producing proinflammatory cytokines. A fatal CD8+ T cell-mediated inflammatory response develops rapidly against the small bowel causing destruction of the epithelial barrier, severe blunting of intestinal villi, and recruitment and activation of myeloid cells. This response is highly specific because immune destruction selectively targets the small intestine but not other organs. Collectively, these results indicate that loss of the PD-1:PD-L1 inhibitory pathway breaks CD8+ T cell tolerance to intestinal self-Ag, thus leading to severe enteric autoimmunity.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant disorder due to mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2 that affects many organs with hamartomas and tumors. TSC-associated brain lesions include subependymal nodules, subependymal giant cell astrocytomas and tubers. Neurologic manifestations in TSC comprise a high frequency of mental retardation and developmental disorders including autism, as well as epilepsy. Here, we describe a new mouse model of TSC brain lesions in which complete loss of Tsc1 is achieved in multiple brain cell types in a stochastic pattern. Injection of an adeno-associated virus vector encoding Cre recombinase into the cerebral ventricles of mice homozygous for a Tsc1 conditional allele on the day of birth led to reduced survival, and pathologic findings of enlarged neurons, cortical heterotopias, subependymal nodules, and hydrocephalus. The severity of clinical and pathologic findings as well as survival was shown to be dependent upon the dose and serotype of Cre virus injected. Although several other models of TSC brain disease exist, this model is unique in that the pathology reflects a variety of TSC-associated lesions involving different numbers and types of cells. This model provides a valuable and unique addition for therapeutic assessment.
Alkylating agents comprise a major class of front-line cancer chemotherapeutic compounds, and while these agents effectively kill tumor cells, they also damage healthy tissues. Although base excision repair (BER) is essential in repairing DNA alkylation damage, under certain conditions, initiation of BER can be detrimental. Here we illustrate that the alkyladenine DNA glycosylase (AAG) mediates alkylation-induced tissue damage and whole-animal lethality following exposure to alkylating agents. Aag-dependent tissue damage, as observed in cerebellar granule cells, splenocytes, thymocytes, bone marrow cells, pancreatic β-cells, and retinal photoreceptor cells, was detected in wild-type mice, exacerbated in Aag transgenic mice, and completely suppressed in Aag−/− mice. Additional genetic experiments dissected the effects of modulating both BER and Parp1 on alkylation sensitivity in mice and determined that Aag acts upstream of Parp1 in alkylation-induced tissue damage; in fact, cytotoxicity in WT and Aag transgenic mice was abrogated in the absence of Parp1. These results provide in vivo evidence that Aag-initiated BER may play a critical role in determining the side-effects of alkylating agent chemotherapies and that Parp1 plays a crucial role in Aag-mediated tissue damage.
Alkylating agents are genotoxic chemicals that induce both toxic and mutagenic DNA damage through addition of an alkyl group to DNA. Alkylating agents are routinely and successfully used as chemotherapeutic therapies for cancer patients, with one major disadvantage being the significant toxicity induced in non-tumor tissues. Accordingly, identifying factors that modify susceptibility to alkylation-induced toxicity will provide valuable information in designing cancer therapeutic regimens. This study used mouse genetic experiments to investigate whether proteins important in the base excision repair pathway modulate susceptibility to alkylating agents. In addition to whole-animal toxicity at high doses, treatment of mice with alkylating agents resulted in severe damage to numerous tissues including the cerebellum, retina, bone marrow, spleen, thymus, and the pancreas. We illustrate that the DNA glycosylase Aag can actually confer, rather than prevent, alkylation sensitivity at both the whole-animal and tissue level; i.e., Aag transgenic animals are more susceptible than wild type, whereas Aag-deficient animals are less susceptible than wild type to alkylation-induced toxicity. Further genetic experiments show that the Aag-mediated alkylation sensitivity is dependent on Parp1. Given that we observe a wide range of human AAG expression among healthy individuals, this and other base excision repair proteins may be important factors modulating alkylation susceptibility.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is characterized by overexpression of EGFR and loss of the tumor suppressors Ink4a/Arf. Efforts at modeling GBM using wild-type EGFR in mice have proven unsuccessful. Here, we present a unique mouse model of wild-type EGFR-driven gliomagenesis. We used a combination of somatic conditional overexpression and ligand-mediated chronic activation of EGFR in cooperation with Ink4a/Arf loss in the CNS of adult mice to generate tumors with the histopathological and molecular characteristics of human GBMs. Sustained, ligand-mediated activation of EGFR was necessary for gliomagenesis, functionally substantiating the clinical observation that EGFR-positive GBMs from patients express EGFR ligands. To gain a better understanding of the clinically disappointing EGFR targeted therapies for GBM, we investigated the molecular responses to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment in this model. Gefitinib treatment of primary GBM cells resulted in a robust apoptotic response, partially conveyed by MAPK signaling attenuation and accompanied by BIMEL expression. In human GBMs, loss-of-function mutations in the tumor suppressor PTEN are a common occurrence. Elimination of PTEN expression in GBM cells post-tumor formation did not confer resistance to TKI treatment, demonstrating that PTEN status in our model is not predictive. Together, these findings offer important mechanistic insights into the genetic determinants of EGFR gliomagenesis and sensitivity to TKIs and provide a robust discovery platform to better understand the molecular events that are associated with predictive markers of TKI therapy.
Ras-driven tumors are often refractory to conventional therapies. Here we identify a promising targeted therapeutic strategy for two Ras-driven cancers: Nf1-deficient malignancies and KRas/p53-mutant lung cancer. We show that agents that enhance proteotoxic stress, including the HSP90 inhibitor IPI-504, induce tumor regression in aggressive mouse models, but only when combined with rapamycin. These agents synergize by promoting irresolvable ER stress, resulting in catastrophic ER and mitochondrial damage. This process is fueled by oxidative stress, which is caused by IPI-504-dependent production of reactive oxygen species, and the rapamycin-dependent suppression of glutathione, an important endogenous antioxidant. Notably, the mechanism by which these agents cooperate reveals a therapeutic paradigm that can be expanded to develop additional combinations.
Intrinsic stress response pathways are frequently mobilized within tumor cells. The mediators of these adaptive mechanisms and how they contribute to carcinogenesis remain poorly understood. A striking example is heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), master transcriptional regulator of the heat shock response. Surprisingly, we found that loss of the tumor suppressor gene neurofibromatosis type 1 (Nf1) increased HSF1 levels and triggered its activation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. As a consequence, Nf1–/– cells acquired tolerance to proteotoxic stress. This activation of HSF1 depended on dysregulated MAPK signaling. HSF1, in turn, supported MAPK signaling. In mice, Hsf1 deficiency impeded NF1-associated carcinogenesis by attenuating oncogenic RAS/MAPK signaling. In cell lines from human malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) driven by NF1 loss, HSF1 was overexpressed and activated, which was required for tumor cell viability. In surgical resections of human MPNSTs, HSF1 was overexpressed, translocated to the nucleus, and phosphorylated. These findings reveal a surprising biological consequence of NF1 deficiency: activation of HSF1 and ensuing addiction to this master regulator of the heat shock response. The loss of NF1 function engages an evolutionarily conserved cellular survival mechanism that ultimately impairs survival of the whole organism by facilitating carcinogenesis.
Myeloid sarcomas are extramedullary accumulations of immature myeloid cells that may present with or without evidence of pathologic involvement of the bone marrow or peripheral blood, and often coincide with or precede a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). A dearth of experimental models has hampered the study of myeloid sarcomas and led us to establish a new system in which tumor induction can be evaluated in an easily accessible non-hematopoietic tissue compartment. Using ex-vivo transduction of oncogenic Kras(G12V) into p16/p19−/− bone marrow cells, we generated transplantable leukemia-initiating cells that rapidly induced tumor formation in the skeletal muscle of immunocompromised NOD.SCID mice. In this model, murine histiocytic sarcomas, equivalent to human myeloid sarcomas, emerged at the injection site 30–50 days after cell implantation and consisted of tightly packed monotypic cells that were CD48+, CD47+ and Mac1+, with low or absent expression of other hematopoietic lineage markers. Tumor cells also infiltrated the bone marrow, spleen and other non-hematopoietic organs of tumor-bearing animals, leading to systemic illness (leukemia) within two weeks of tumor detection. P16/p19−/−; Kras(G12V) myeloid sarcomas were multi-clonal, with dominant clones selected during secondary transplantation. The systemic leukemic phenotypes exhibited by histiocytic sarcoma-bearing mice were nearly identical to those of animals in which leukemia was introduced by intravenous transplantation of the same donor cells. Moreover, murine histiocytic sarcoma could be similarly induced by intramuscular injection of MLL-AF9 leukemia cells. This study establishes a novel, transplantable model of murine histiocytic/myeloid sarcoma that recapitulates the natural progression of these malignancies to systemic disease and indicates a cell autonomous leukemogenic mechanism.
Neuronal loss and axonal degeneration are important pathological features of many neurodegenerative diseases. The molecular mechanisms underlying the majority of axonal degeneration conditions remain unknown. To better understand axonal degeneration, we studied a mouse mutant wabbler-lethal (wl). Wabbler-lethal (wl) mutant mice develop progressive ataxia with pronounced neurodegeneration in the central and peripheral nervous system. Previous studies have led to a debate as to whether myelinopathy or axonopathy is the primary cause of neurodegeneration observed in wl mice. Here we provide clear evidence that wabbler-lethal mutants develop an axonopathy, and that this axonopathy is modulated by Wlds and Bax mutations. In addition, we have identified the gene harboring the disease-causing mutations as Atp8a2. We studied three wl alleles and found that all result from mutations in the Atp8a2 gene. Our analysis shows that ATP8A2 possesses phosphatidylserine translocase activity and is involved in localization of phosphatidylserine to the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane. Atp8a2 is widely expressed in the brain, spinal cord, and retina. We assessed two of the mutant alleles of Atp8a2 and found they are both nonfunctional for the phosphatidylserine translocase activity. Thus, our data demonstrate for the first time that mutation of a mammalian phosphatidylserine translocase causes axon degeneration and neurodegenerative disease.
Axonal degeneration is an important pathological feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In most of these disease conditions, molecular mechanisms of axonal degeneration remain largely unknown. Spontaneous mouse mutants are important in human disease studies. Identification of a disease-causing gene in mice can lead to the identification of the human ortholog as the disease gene in humans. This approach has the power to identify unexpected genes and pathways involved in disease. Our study centered on wabbler lethal (wl) mutant mice, which display axonal degeneration in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. We identified the disease-causing gene in mice with different wl mutations. The mutations are in Atp8a2, a gene encoding a phosphatidylserine translocase. This protein functions to keep phosphatidylserine enriched to the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane. Our study demonstrates a new role for phospholipid asymmetry in maintaining axon health, and it also reveals a novel function for phosphatidyleserine translocase in neurodegenerative diseases.
In epidemiologic studies, high intake of β-cryptoxanthin has been associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer, particularly among current smokers. However, data are not available from well-controlled animal studies to examine the effects of β-cryptoxanthin on cigarette smoke-induced lung lesions, and the biological mechanisms by which β-cryptoxanthin might affect lung carcinogenesis. We evaluated the effects of β-cryptoxanthin supplementation on cigarette smoke-induced squamous metaplasia, inflammation, and changes in protein levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine [tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα)] and transcription factors [nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and activator protein-1 (AP-1)], as well as on smoke-induced oxidative DNA damage [8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG)] in the lung tissue of ferrets. Thirty six male ferrets were assigned to cigarette smoke exposure or no exposure and to low-dose, or high-dose β-cryptoxanthin, or no dose (2 × 3 factorial design) for 3 months. β-Cryptoxanthin supplementation dose-dependently increased plasma and lung β-cryptoxanthin levels in ferrets, whereas cigarette smoke exposure lowered plasma and lung β-cryptoxanthin levels. β-Cryptoxanthin at both doses significantly decreased smoke-induced lung squamous metaplasia and inflammation. β-Cryptoxanthin also substantially reduced smoke-elevated TNFα levels in alveolar, bronchial, bronchiolar and bronchial serous/mucous gland epithelial cells and in lung macrophages. Moreover, β-cryptoxanthin decreased smoke-induced activation of NF-κB, expression of AP-1 and levels of 8-OHdG. The beneficial effects of β-cryptoxanthin were stronger for high-dose β-cryptoxanthin than for low-dose β-cryptoxanthin. Data from this study indicate that β-cryptoxanthin provides a beneficial effect against cigarette smoke-induced inflammation, oxidative DNA damage and squamous metaplasia in the lungs.
cigarette smoke; β-cryptoxanthin; lung inflammation; squamous metaplasia
Cancer cell-of-origin is difficult to identify by analyzing cells within terminal-stage tumors, whose identity could be concealed by the acquired plasticity. Thus an ideal approach to identify the cell-of-origin is to analyze proliferative abnormalities in distinct lineages prior to malignancy. Here we use Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers (MADM) in mice to model gliomagenesis by initiating concurrent p53/Nf1 mutations sporadically in neural stem cells (NSCs). Surprisingly, MADM-based lineage tracing revealed significant aberrant growth prior to malignancy only in oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), but not in any other NSC-derived lineages or NSCs themselves. Upon tumor formation, phenotypic and transcriptome analyses of tumor cells revealed salient OPC features. Finally, introducing the same p53/Nf1 mutations directly into OPCs consistently led to gliomagenesis. Our findings suggest OPCs as the cell-of-origin in this model even when initial mutations occur in NSCs, and highlight the importance of analyzing pre-malignant stages to identify the cancer cell-of-origin.
AvR2-V10.3 is an engineered R-type pyocin that specifically kills Escherichia coli O157, an enteric pathogen that is a major cause of food-borne diarrheal disease. New therapeutics to counteract E. coli O157 are needed, as currently available antibiotics can exacerbate the consequences of infection. We show here that orogastric administration of AvR2-V10.3 can prevent or ameliorate E. coli O157:H7-induced diarrhea and intestinal inflammation in an infant rabbit model of infection when the compound is administered either in a postexposure prophylactic regimen or after the onset of symptoms. Notably, administration of AvR2-V10.3 also reduces bacterial carriage and fecal shedding of this pathogen. Our findings support the further development of pathogen-specific R-type pyocins as a way to treat enteric infections.
The naked mole rat (NMR, Heterocephalus glaber) is a strictly subterranean, extraordinarily long-lived eusocial mammal1. Although the size of a mouse, its maximum lifespan exceeds 30 years and makes this animal the longest living rodent. NMRs show negligible senescence, no age-related increase in mortality, and high fecundity until death2. In addition to delayed aging, NMRs are resistant to both spontaneous cancer and experimentally induced tumorigenesis3,4. NMRs pose a challenge to the theories that link aging, cancer and redox homeostasis. Although characterized by significant oxidative stress5, the NMR proteome does not show age-related susceptibility to oxidative damage nor increased ubiquitination6. NMRs naturally reside in large colonies with a single breeding female, the “queen,” who suppresses the sexual maturity of her subordinates11. NMRs also live in full darkness, at low oxygen and high carbon dioxide concentrations7, and are unable to sustain thermogenesis8 nor feel certain types of pain9,10. Here we report sequencing and analysis of the NMR genome, which revealed unique genome features and molecular adaptations consistent with cancer resistance, poikilothermy, hairlessness, altered visual function, circadian rhythms and taste sensing, and insensitivity to low oxygen. This information provides insights into NMR’s exceptional longevity and capabilities to live in hostile conditions, in the dark and at low oxygen. The extreme traits of NMR, together with the reported genome and transcriptome information, offer unprecedented opportunities for understanding aging and advancing many other areas of biological and biomedical research.
The subventricular zone (SVZ) of the brain constitutes a niche for neural stem and progenitor cells that can initiate repair after central nervous system (CNS) injury. In a relapsingremitting model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the neural stem cells (NSCs) become activated and initiate regeneration during acute disease, but lose this ability during the chronic phases of disease. We hypothesized that chronic microglia activation contributes to the failure of the NSC repair potential in the SVZ.
Using BrdU injections at different time points during EAE, we quantified the number of proliferating and differentiating progenitors, and evaluated the structure of the SVZ by electron microscopy. In vivo minocycline treatment during EAE was used to address the effect of microglia inactivation on SVZ dysfunction
In vivo treatment with minocycline, an inhibitor of microglia activation, increases stem cell proliferation in both naïve and EAE animals. Minocycline treatment decreases cortical and periventricular pathology in the chronic phase of EAE, improving the proliferation of Sox2 stem cells and NG2 oligodendrocyte precursors cells originating in the SVZ and their differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes.
These data suggest that failure of repair observed during chronic EAE correlates with microglia activation and that treatments targeting chronic microglial activation have the potential for enhancing repair in the CNS.