Fibrosis is responsible for chronic progressive kidney failure, which is present in a large number of adults in the developed world. It is increasingly appreciated that acute kidney injury (AKI), resulting in aberrant incomplete repair, is a major contributor to chronic fibrotic kidney disease. The mechanism that triggers the fibrogenic response after injury is not well understood. In ischemic, toxic and obstructive models of AKI, we demonstrate a causal association between epithelial cell cycle G2/M arrest and a fibrotic outcome. G2/M-arrested proximal tubular cells activate c-jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling, which acts to upregulate profibrotic cytokine production. Treatment with a JNK inhibitor, or bypassing the G2/M arrest by administration of a p53 inhibitor or the removal of the contralateral kidney, rescues fibrosis in the unilateral ischemic injured kidney. Hence, epithelial cell cycle arrest at G2/M and its subsequent downstream signaling are hitherto unrecognized therapeutic targets for the prevention of fibrosis and interruption of the accelerated progression of kidney disease.
We show here that a cDNA library of normal tissue, expressed from a highly immunogenic viral platform, cures established tumors of the same histological type from which the cDNA library was derived. With suboptimal vaccination, immune escape was possible, but only when tumor cells were forced to acquire a radically new phenotype, readily treated by second line therapy. This approach has several major advantages. Use of the cDNA library leads to presentation of a broad repertoire of (undefined) tumor associated antigens, which reduces emergence of treatment resistant variants and also permits implementation of rational, combined modality approaches in the clinic. Finally, the viral vectors can be delivered systemically, without the need for tumor targeting, and are amenable to clinical grade production. Therefore, virus-expressed cDNA libraries represent a novel paradigm for cancer treatment by addressing many of the key issues which have undermined the efficacy of immuno/virotherapy to date.
Vesicular Stomatitis Virus; cancer vaccines; tumor antigens; oncolytic virus; immune escape
The proapoptotic BCL-2 family member BAD resides in a glucokinase-containing complex that regulates glucose-driven mitochondrial respiration. Here, we present genetic evidence of a physiologic role for BAD in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by beta cells. This novel function of BAD is specifically dependent upon the phosphorylation of its BH3 sequence, previously defined as an essential death domain. We highlight the pharmacologic relevance of phosphorylated BAD BH3 by using cell-permeable, hydrocarbon-stapled BAD BH3 helices that target glucokinase, restore glucose-driven mitochondrial respiration and correct the insulin secretory response in Bad-deficient islets. Our studies uncover an alternative target and function for the BAD BH3 domain and emphasize the therapeutic potential of phosphorylated BAD BH3 mimetics in selectively restoring beta cell function. Furthermore, we show that BAD regulates the physiologic adaptation of beta cell mass during high-fat feeding. Our findings provide genetic proof of the bifunctional activities of BAD in both beta cell survival and insulin secretion.
Applying a next-generation sequencing assay targeting 145 cancer-relevant genes in 40 colorectal cancer and 24 non–small cell lung cancer formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue specimens identified at least one clinically relevant genomic alteration in 59% of the samples and revealed two gene fusions, C2orf44-ALK in a colorectal cancer sample and KIF5B-RET in a lung adenocarcinoma. Further screening of 561 lung adenocarcinomas identified 11 additional tumors with KIF5B-RET gene fusions (2.0%; 95% CI 0.8–3.1%). Cells expressing oncogenic KIF5B-RET are sensitive to multi-kinase inhibitors that inhibit RET.
Innate sensing mechanisms trigger a variety of humoral and cellular
events that are essential to adaptive immune responses. Here we describe an
innate sensing pathway triggered by Plasmodium infection that
regulates dendritic cell (DC) homeostasis and adaptive immunity via Flt3L
release. Plasmodium-induced Flt3L release requires toll-like
receptor activation and type I interferon production. We find that type I
interferon supports the up-regulation of xanthine dehydrogenase, which
metabolizes the xanthine accumulating in infected erythrocytes to uric acid.
Uric acid crystals trigger mast cells to release soluble Flt3L from a
pre-synthesized membrane-associated precursor. During infection Flt3L
preferentially stimulates expansion of the
CD8α+/CD103+ DC subset or its
BDCA3+ human DC equivalent and has a significant impact on the
magnitude of T cell activation, mostly in the CD8+ compartment. Our
findings highlight a new mechanism that regulates DC homeostasis and T cell
responses to infection.
Sorting nexin 27 (SNX27), a brain-enriched PDZ domain protein, regulates endocytic sorting and trafficking. Here, we show that Snx27−/− mice exhibit severe neuronal deficits in the hippocampus and cortex. While Snx27+/− mice exhibit grossly normal neuroanatomy, we find defects in synaptic function, learning and memory, and a reduction in ionotropic glutamate receptors (NMDARs and AMPARs). SNX27 interacts with these receptors through its PDZ domain, regulating their recycling to the plasma membrane. We demonstrate a concomitant reduction of SNX27 and C/EBPβ in Down syndrome brains and identify C/EBPβ as a transcription factor for SNX27. Down syndrome causes over-expression of miR-155, a chromosome 21-encoded microRNA that negatively regulates C/EBPβ, thereby reducing SNX27 and resulting in synaptic dysfunction. Up-regulating SNX27 in the hippocampus of Down syndrome mice rescues synaptic and cognitive deficits. Our identification of the role of SNX27 in synaptic function establishes a novel molecular mechanism of Down syndrome pathogenesis.
Increased hepatic lipid content is an early correlate of insulin resistance, and can be caused by nutrient-induced mTor activation. The latter increases basal Akt activity, leading to a self-perpetuating lipogenic cycle. We have previously shown that the developmental Notch pathway has metabolic functions in adult liver. Acute or chronic inhibition of Notch dampens hepatic glucose production and increases Akt tone, and might therefore be predicted to increase hepatic lipid content. Surprisingly, we show that constitutive liver-specific ablation of Notch signaling, or its acute inhibition with a decoy Notch1 receptor, prevents hepatosteatosis by blocking mTorc1. Conversely, Notch gain-of-function causes fatty liver through constitutive activation of mTorc1, an effect reversible by rapamycin treatment. We demonstrate that Notch signaling increases mTorc1 complex stability, augmenting mTorc1 function and Srebp1c-mediated lipogenesis. The data identify Notch as a therapeutically actionable branch point of metabolic signaling, where hepatic Akt activation can be uncoupled from steatosis.
Studies of ETS-mediated prostate oncogenesis have been hampered by the lack of suitable experimental systems. Here we describe a new conditional mouse model which gives robust, homogenous ERG expression throughout the prostate. When combined with homozygous Pten loss, mice developed accelerated, highly penetrant invasive prostate cancer. In mouse prostate tissue, ERG significantly increased androgen receptor (AR) binding. Robust ERG-mediated transcriptional changes, observed only in the setting of Pten loss, included restoration of AR transcriptional outut and genes involved in cell death, migration, inflammation and angiogenesis. Similarly, ETV1 positively regulated AR cistrome and transcriptional output in ETV1-translocated, PTEN-deficient human prostate cancer cells. In two large clinical cohorts, ERG and ETV1 expression correlated with higher AR transcriptional output in PTEN-negative prostate cancer specimens. We propose that ETS factors cause prostate-specific transformation by altering the AR cistrome, priming the prostate epithelium to respond to aberrant upstream signals such as PTEN loss.
The nuclear receptor Rev-erb-α modulates hepatic lipid and glucose metabolism, adipogenesis and the inflammatory response in macrophages. We show here that Rev-erb-α is highly expressed in oxidative skeletal muscle and plays a role in mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative function, in gain- and loss-of function studies. Rev-erb-α-deficiency in skeletal muscle leads to reduced mitochondrial content and oxidative function, resulting in compromised exercise capacity. This phenotype was recapitulated in isolated fibers and in muscle cells upon Rev-erbα knock-down, while Rev-erb-α over-expression increased the number of mitochondria with improved respiratory capacity. Rev-erb-α-deficiency resulted in deactivation of the Stk11–Ampk–Sirt1–Ppargc1-α signaling pathway, whereas autophagy was up-regulated, resulting in both impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and increased clearance. Muscle over-expression or pharmacological activation of Rev-erb-α increased respiration and exercise capacity. This study identifies Rev-erb-α as a pharmacological target which improves muscle oxidative function by modulating gene networks controlling mitochondrial number and function.
Rev-erb-α; skeletal muscle; oxidative capacity; mitochondrial biogenesis; autophagy
Using a systems biology approach, we discovered and dissected a three-way interaction between the immune system, the intestinal epithelium and the microbiota. We found that, in the absence of B cells, or of IgA, and in the presence of the microbiota, the intestinal epithelium launches its own protective mechanisms, upregulating interferon-inducible immune response pathways and simultaneously repressing Gata4-related metabolic functions. This shift in intestinal function leads to lipid malabsorption and decreased deposition of body fat. Network analysis revealed the presence of two interconnected epithelial-cell gene networks, one governing lipid metabolism and another regulating immunity, that were inversely expressed. Gene expression patterns in gut biopsies from individuals with common variable immunodeficiency or with HIV that also have intestinal malabsorption were very similar to those of the B cell–deficient mice, providing a possible explanation for a longstanding enigmatic association between immunodeficiency and defective lipid absorption in humans.
Microglia are crucial for the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Here, we show that the E3 ubiquitin ligase Peli1 is abundantly expressed in microglia and serves as a pivotal mediator of microglial activation during the course of EAE induction. Peli1 mediates the induction of chemokines and proinflammatory cytokines in microglia and, thereby, promotes recruitment of T cells into the central nervous system. Peli1-deficient mice are refractory to EAE induction despite their competent production of inflammatory T cells in the peripheral lymphoid organs. Notably, Peli1 regulates a novel signaling axis of the toll-like receptor pathway that mediates degradation of Traf3, a potent inhibitor of MAP kinase activation and gene induction. Ablation of Traf3 restores the microglial activation and EAE sensitivity of Peli1-deficient mice. These findings establish Peli1 as a microglia-specific mediator of autoimmune neuroinflammation and suggest a novel signaling mechanism of Peli1 function.
Peli1; Ubiquitination; CNS inflammation; EAE; Traf3; c-IAP
To date, our understanding of the role of X-Box Binding Protein 1 (XBP1) in metabolic processes was limited to its ability to up-regulate ER folding capacity and thereby, to increase insulin sensitivity. Here, we demonstrate that XBP1s interacts with Forkhead box O1 (FoxO1) transcription factor and directs it to proteasome-mediated degradation. Our results provide the first evidence that, in addition to its regulatory effects on the ER system and insulin sensitivity, XBP1s can independently regulate glucose homeostasis through its interaction with FoxO1. Indeed, a DNA binding defective mutant of XBP1s, which does not have the ability to increase ER folding capacity, is still capable of reducing blood glucose levels and increasing glucose tolerance in the severely obese and diabetic ob/ob mice. XBP1-mediated degradation of FoxO1 might lead to development of new therapeutic approaches for treatment of type 2 diabetes.
A connection between diet, obesity and diabetes exists in multiple species and is the basis of an escalating human health problem. The factors responsible provoke both insulin resistance and pancreatic beta cell dysfunction but remain to be fully identified. We report a combination of molecular events in human and mouse pancreatic beta cells, induced by elevated levels of free fatty acids or by administration of a high-fat diet with associated obesity, that comprise a pathogenic pathway to diabetes. Elevated concentrations of free fatty acids caused nuclear exclusion and reduced expression of the transcription factors FOXA2 and HNF1A in beta cells. This resulted in a deficit of GnT-4a glycosyltransferase expression in beta cells that produced signs of metabolic disease, including hyperglycemia, impaired glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia, hepatic steatosis and diminished insulin action in muscle and adipose tissues. Protection from disease was conferred by enforced beta cell–specific GnT-4a protein glycosylation and involved the maintenance of glucose transporter expression and the preservation of glucose transport. We observed that this pathogenic process was active in human islet cells obtained from donors with type 2 diabetes; thus, illuminating a pathway to disease implicated in the diet- and obesity-associated component of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Prognosis of young women’s breast cancer is influenced by reproductive history. Women diagnosed within five years postpartum have worse prognosis than nulliparous women or women diagnosed during pregnancy. Here we describe a mouse model of postpartum breast cancer that identifies mammary gland involution as a driving force of tumor progression. In this model, human breast cancer cells exposed to the involuting mammary microenvironment form large tumors characterized by abundant fibrillar collagen, high COX-2 expression, and an invasive phenotype. In culture, tumor cells are invasive in a fibrillar collagen and COX-2-dependent manner. In the involuting mammary gland, inhibition of COX-2 reduces the collagen fibrillogenesis associated with involution, as well as tumor growth and tumor cell infiltration to the lung. These data support further research to determine whether women at high-risk for postpartum breast cancer would benefit from treatment with NSAIDs during postpartum involution.
Ischemia and reperfusion–elicited tissue injury contributes to morbidity and mortality in a wide range of pathologies, including myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, acute kidney injury, trauma, circulatory arrest, sickle cell disease and sleep apnea. Ischemia-reperfusion injury is also a major challenge during organ transplantation and cardiothoracic, vascular and general surgery. An imbalance in metabolic supply and demand within the ischemic organ results in profound tissue hypoxia and microvascular dysfunction. Subsequent reperfusion further enhances the activation of innate and adaptive immune responses and cell death programs. Recent advances in understanding the molecular and immunological consequences of ischemia and reperfusion may lead to innovative therapeutic strategies for treating patients with ischemia and reperfusion–associated tissue inflammation and organ dysfunction.
Presently, clinicians routinely apply ultrasound endoscopy in a variety of interventional procedures which provide treatment solutions for diseased organs. Ultrasound endoscopy not only produces high resolution images, it is also safe for clinical use and broadly applicable. However, for soft tissue imaging, its mechanical wave-based image contrast fundamentally limits its ability to provide physiologically-specific functional information. By contrast, photoacoustic endoscopy possesses a unique combination of functional optical contrast and high spatial resolution at clinically-relevant depths, ideal for soft tissue imaging. With these attributes, photoacoustic endoscopy can overcome the current limitations of ultrasound endoscopy. Moreover, the benefits of photoacoustic imaging do not come at the expense of existing ultrasound functions; photoacoustic endoscopy systems are inherently compatible with ultrasound imaging, enabling multi-modality imaging with complementary contrast. Here, we present simultaneous photoacoustic and ultrasonic dual-mode endoscopy and demonstrate its ability to image internal organs in vivo, illustrating its potential clinical application.
Trastuzumab is a successful rationally designed ERBB2-targeted therapy. However, about half of individuals with ERBB2-overexpressing breast cancer do not respond to trastuzumab-based therapies, owing to various resistance mechanisms. Clinically applicable regimens for overcoming trastuzumab resistance of different mechanisms are not yet available. We show that the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase c-SRC (SRC) is a key modulator of trastuzumab response and a common node downstream of multiple trastuzumab resistance pathways. We find that SRC is activated in both acquired and de novo trastuzumab-resistant cells and uncover a novel mechanism of SRC regulation involving dephosphorylation by PTEN. Increased SRC activation conferred considerable trastuzumab resistance in breast cancer cells and correlated with trastuzumab resistance in patients. Targeting SRC in combination with trastuzumab sensitized multiple lines of trastuzumab-resistant cells to trastuzumab and eliminated trastuzumab-resistant tumors in vivo, suggesting the potential clinical application of this strategy to overcome trastuzumab resistance.
Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are potent insulin sensitizers that act through the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) and are highly effective oral medications for type 2 diabetes. However, their unique benefits are shadowed by the risk for fluid retention, weight gain, bone loss and congestive heart failure. This raises the question as to whether it is possible to build a safer generation of PPARγ-specific drugs that evoke fewer side effects while preserving insulin-sensitizing potential. Recent studies that have supported the continuing physiologic and therapeutic relevance of the PPARγ pathway also provide opportunities to develop newer classes of molecules that reduce or eliminate adverse effects. This review highlights key advances in understanding PPARγ signaling in energy homeostasis and metabolic disease and also provides new explanations for adverse events linked to TZD-based therapy.
Allergic inflammation develops in tissues that have large epithelial surface areas that are exposed to the environment, such as the lung, skin and gut. In the steady state, antigen-experienced memory T cells patrol these peripheral tissues to facilitate swift immune responses against invading pathogens. In at least two allergy-prone organs, the skin and the gut, memory T cells are programmed during the initial antigen priming to express trafficking receptors that enable them to preferentially home to these organs. In this review we propose that tissue-specific memory and inflammation-specific T cell trafficking facilitates the development of allergic disease in these organs. We thus review recent advances in our understanding of tissue-specific T cell trafficking and how regulation of T cell trafficking by the chemokine system contributes to allergic inflammation in mouse models and in human allergic diseases of the skin, lung and gut. Inflammation- and tissue-specific T lymphocyte trafficking pathways are currently being targeted as new treatments for non-allergic inflammatory diseases and may yield effective new therapeutics for allergic diseases.
Finding mechanisms of viral resistance and new ways to tackle chronic hepatitis will help find a cure for this disease. In ‘Bench to Bedside’, Christopher Walker and Benoît Callendret highlight studies showing that overcoming immune exhaustion during chronic infection by blocking several inhibitory pathways of T cells may restore an adequate immune response. In ‘Bedside to Bench’, Lawrence Corey, Joshua Schiffer and John Scott discuss recent advances in antiviral therapy with protease inhibitors and the findings of a mathematical model that predicts possible single and double mutations prior to antiviral therapy.
Regeneration of cardiac tissue has the potential to transform cardiovascular medicine. Recent advances in stem cell biology and direct reprogramming, or transdifferentiation, have produced powerful new tools to advance this goal. In this Review we examine key developments in the generation of new cardiomyocytes in vitro as well as the exciting progress that has been made toward in vivo reprogramming of cardiac tissue. We also address controversies and hurdles that challenge the field.
Aberrant activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway can drive tumorigenesis1. To investigate the mechanism by which glioma-associated oncogene family zinc finger-1 (GLI1), a crucial effector of Hh signaling2, regulates Hh pathway activation, we searched for GLI1-interacting proteins. We report that the chromatin remodeling protein SNF5 (encoded by SMARCB1, hereafter called SNF5), which is inactivated in human malignant rhabdoid tumors (MRTs), interacts with GLI1. We show that Snf5 localizes to Gli1-regulated promoters and that loss of Snf5 leads to activation of the Hh-Gli pathway. Conversely, re-expression of SNF5 in MRT cells represses GLI1. Consistent with this, we show the presence of a Hh-Gli–activated gene expression profile in primary MRTs and show that GLI1 drives the growth of SNF5-deficient MRT cells in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, our studies reveal that SNF5 is a key mediator of Hh signaling and that aberrant activation of GLI1 is a previously undescribed targetable mechanism contributing to the growth of MRT cells.
Vascular tone control is essential in blood pressure regulation, shock, ischemia-reperfusion, inflammation, vessel injury/repair, wound healing, temperature regulation, digestion, exercise physiology, and metabolism. Here we show that a well-known growth factor, FGF2, long thought to be involved in many developmental and homeostatic processes, including growth of the tissue layers of vessel walls, functions in vascular tone control. Fgf2 knockout mice are morphologically normal and display decreased vascular smooth muscle contractility, low blood pressure and thrombocytosis. Following intra-arterial mechanical injury, FGF2-deficient vessels undergo a normal hyperplastic response. These results force us to reconsider the function of FGF2 in vascular development and homeostasis in terms of vascular tone control.
Osteoarthritis is a highly prevalent and debilitating joint disorder. There is no effective medical therapy for osteoarthritis due to limited understanding of osteoarthritis pathogenesis. We show that TGF–β1 is activated in the subchondral bone in response to altered mechanical loading in an anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) osteoarthritis mouse model. TGF–β1 concentrations also increased in human osteoarthritis subchondral bone. High concentrations of TGF–β1 induced formation of nestin+ mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) clusters leading to aberrant bone formation accompanied by increased angiogenesis. Transgenic expression of active TGF–β1 in osteoblastic cells induced osteoarthritis. Inhibition of TGF–β activity in subchondral bone attenuated degeneration of osteoarthritis articular cartilage. Notably, knockout of the TGF–β type II receptor (TβRII) in nestin+ MSCs reduced development of osteoarthritis in ACLT mice. Thus, high concentrations of active TGF–β1 in the subchondral bone initiated the pathological changes of osteoarthritis, inhibition of which could be a potential therapeutic approach.