Transected axons fail to regrow in the mature central nervous system (CNS). Astrocyte scars are widely regarded as causal in this failure. Here, using three genetically targeted loss-of-function manipulations in adult mice, we show that preventing astrocyte scar formation, attenuating scar-forming astrocytes, or deleting chronic astrocyte scars all failed to result in spontaneous regrowth of transected corticospinal, sensory or serotonergic axons through severe spinal cord injury (SCI) lesions. In striking contrast, sustained local delivery via hydrogel depots of required axon-specific growth factors not present in SCI lesions, plus growth-activating priming injuries, stimulated robust, laminin-dependent sensory axon regrowth past scar-forming astrocytes and inhibitory molecules in SCI lesions. Preventing astrocyte scar formation significantly reduced this stimulated axon regrowth. RNA sequencing revealed that astrocytes and non-astrocyte cells in SCI lesions express multiple axon-growth supporting molecules. Our findings show that contrary to prevailing dogma, astrocyte scar formation aids rather than prevents CNS axon regeneration.
Oxidation of calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (ox-CaMKII) by ROS has been associated with asthma. However, the contribution of ox-CaMKII to the development of asthma remains to be fully characterized. Here, we tested the effect of ox-CaMKII on IgE-mediated mast cell activation in an allergen-induced mouse model of asthma using oxidant-resistant CaMKII MMVVδ knockin (MMVVδ) mice. Compared with WT mice, the allergen-challenged MMVVδ mice displayed less airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation. These MMVVδ mice exhibited reduced levels of ROS and diminished recruitment of mast cells to the lungs. OVA-activated bone marrow–derived mast cells (BMMCs) from MMVVδ mice showed a significant inhibition of ROS and ox-CaMKII expression. ROS generation was dependent on intracellular Ca2+ concentration in BMMCs. Importantly, OVA-activated MMVVδ BMMCs had suppressed degranulation, histamine release, leukotriene C4, and IL-13 expression. Adoptive transfer of WT, but not MMVVδ, BMMCs, reversed the alleviated AHR and inflammation in allergen-challenged MMVVδ mice. The CaMKII inhibitor KN-93 significantly suppressed IgE-mediated mast cell activation and asthma. These studies support a critical but previously unrecognized role of ox-CaMKII in mast cells that promotes asthma and suggest that therapies to reduce ox-CaMKII may be a novel approach for asthma.
Oxidation of calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II contributes to the pathogenesis of asthma by modulating mast cell activation.
Studies of the genetic factors associated with human autoimmune disease suggest a multigenic origin of susceptibility; however, how these factors interact and through which tolerance pathways they operate generally remain to be defined. One key checkpoint occurs through the activity of the autoimmune regulator AIRE, which promotes central T cell tolerance. Recent reports have described a variety of dominant-negative AIRE mutations that likely contribute to human autoimmunity to a greater extent than previously thought. In families with these mutations, the penetrance of autoimmunity is incomplete, suggesting that other checkpoints play a role in preventing autoimmunity. Here, we tested whether a defect in LYN, an inhibitory protein tyrosine kinase that is implicated in systemic autoimmunity, could combine with an Aire mutation to provoke organ-specific autoimmunity. Indeed, mice with a dominant-negative allele of Aire and deficiency in LYN spontaneously developed organ-specific autoimmunity in the eye. We further determined that a small pool of retinal protein–specific T cells escaped thymic deletion as a result of the hypomorphic Aire function and that these cells also escaped peripheral tolerance in the presence of LYN-deficient dendritic cells, leading to highly destructive autoimmune attack. These findings demonstrate how 2 distinct tolerance pathways can synergize to unleash autoimmunity and have implications for the genetic susceptibility of autoimmune disease.
Heart failure and arrhythmias occur more frequently in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) than in the general population. T2DM is preceded by a prediabetic condition marked by elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and subclinical cardiovascular defects. Although multifunctional Ca2+ calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is ROS-activated and CaMKII hyperactivity promotes cardiac diseases, a link between prediabetes and CaMKII in the heart is unprecedented.
to prove the hypothesis that increased ROS and CaMKII activity contribute to heart failure and arrhythmogenic mechanisms in early stage diabetes.
Echocardiography, electrocardiography, biochemical and intracellular Ca2+ (Ca2+i) determinations were performed in fructose-rich diet -induced impaired glucose tolerance, a prediabetes model, in rodents. Fructose-rich diet rats showed decreased contractility and hypertrophy associated with increased CaMKII activity, ROS production, oxidized CaMKII and enhanced CaMKII-dependent ryanodine receptor (RyR2) phosphorylation compared to rats fed with control diet. Isolated cardiomyocytes from fructose-rich diet showed increased spontaneous Ca2+i release events associated with spontaneous contractions, which were prevented by KN-93, a CaMKII inhibitor, or addition of Tempol, a ROS scavenger, to the diet. Moreover, fructose-rich diet myocytes showed increased diastolic Ca2+ during the burst of spontaneous Ca2+i release events. Micetreated with Tempol or with sarcoplasmic reticulum-targeted CaMKII-inhibition by transgenic expression of the CaMKII inhibitory peptide AIP, were protected from fructose-rich diet-induced spontaneous Ca2+i release events, spontaneous contractions and arrhythmogenes is in vivo, despite ROS increases.
RyR2 phosphorylation by ROS-activated CaMKII, contributes to impaired glucose tolerance-induced arrhythmogenic mechanisms, suggesting that CaMKII inhibition could prevent prediabetic cardiovascular complications and/or evolution.
arrhythmias; prediabetes; impaired glucose tolerance; CaMKII; ryanodine receptor
CaMKII is activated by oxidation of methionine residues residing in the regulatory domain. Oxidized CaMKII (ox-CaMKII) is now thought to participate in cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and cancer. This invited review summarizes current evidence for the role of ox-CaMKII in disease, considers critical knowledge gaps and suggests new areas for inquiry.
The autoimmune regulator (Aire) was initially identified as the gene causing multiorgan system autoimmunity in humans, and deletion of this gene in mice also resulted in organ-specific autoimmunity. Aire regulates the expression of tissue-specific antigens (TSAs) in medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs), which play a critical role in the negative selection of autoreactive T cells and the generation of regulatory T cells. More recently, the role of Aire in the development of mTECs have helped elucidate its ability to present the spectrum of TSAs needed to prevent autoimmunity. Molecular characterization of the functional domains of Aire have revealed multiple binding partners that assist Aire’s function in altering gene transcription and chromatin remodeling. These recent advances have further highlighted the importance of Aire in central tolerance.
Aire; mTEC; APS-1; autoimmunity
Bileaflet mitral valve prolapse (biMVP) is associated with frequent ventricular ectopy (VE) and malignant ventricular arrhythmia. We examined the effect of mitral valve (MV) surgery on VE burden in biMVP patients.
We included 32 consecutive patients undergoing MV surgery for mitral regurgitation secondary to biMVP between 1993 and 2012 at Mayo Clinic who had available pre- and post-operative Holter monitoring data. Characteristics of patients with a significant reduction in postoperative VE (group A, defined as >10% reduction in VE burden compared to baseline) were compared with the rest of study patients (group B).
In the overall cohort, VE burden was unchanged after the surgery (41 interquartile range [16, 196] pre-surgery vs. 40 interquartile range  beats/hour [bph] post-surgery; P = 0.34). However, in 17 patients (53.1%), VE burden decreased by at least 10% after the surgery. These patients (group A) were younger than the group B (59 ± 15 vs. 68 ± 7 years; P = 0.04). Other characteristics including pre- and postoperative left ventricular function and size were similar in both groups. Age <60 years was associated with a reduction in postoperative VE (odds ratio 5.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.1–44.7; P = 0.03). Furthermore, there was a graded relationship between age and odds of VE reduction with surgery (odds ratio 1.9; 95% confidence interval 1.04–4.3 per 10-year; P = 0.04).
MV surgery does not uniformly reduce VE burden in patients with biMVP. However, those patients who do have a reduction in VE burden are younger, perhaps suggesting that early surgical intervention could modify the underlying electrophysiologic substrate.
Bileaflet mitral valve prolapse; Mitral valve surgery; Papillary ventricular arrhythmias; Sudden cardiac death; Ventricular arrhythmias; Ventricular ectopy
Biomaterial vehicles have the potential to facilitate cell transplantation in the central nervous system (CNS). We have previously shown that highly tunable ionic diblock copolypeptide hydrogels (DCH) can provide sustained release of hydrophilic and hydrophobic molecules in the CNS. Here, we show that recently developed non-ionic and thermoresponsive DCH called DCHT exhibit excellent cytocompatibility. Neural stem cell (NSC) suspensions in DCHT were easily injected as liquids at room temperature. DCHT with a viscosity tuned to prevent cell sedimentation and clumping significantly increased the survival of NSC passed through injection cannulae. At body temperature, DCHT self-assembled into hydrogels with a stiffness tuned to that of CNS tissue. After injection in vivo, DCHT significantly increased by three-fold the survival of NSC grafted into healthy CNS. In injured CNS, NSC injected as suspensions in DCHT distributed well in non-neural lesion cores, integrated with healthy neural cells at lesion perimeters and supported regrowing host nerve fibers. Our findings show that non-ionic DCHT have numerous advantageous properties that make them useful tools for in vivo delivery of cells and molecules in the CNS for experimental investigations and potential therapeutic strategies.
Biomaterials; hydrogel; brain; spinal cord; drug delivery; neural stem cells; transplantation
Eukaryotic cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) is limited by the dependence on costly high-energy phosphate compounds and exogenous enzymes to power protein synthesis (e.g., creatine phosphate and creatine kinase, CrP/CrK). Here, we report the ability to use glucose as a secondary energy substrate to regenerate ATP in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae crude extract CFPS platform. We observed synthesis of 3.64±0.35 μg mL−1 active luciferase in batch reactions with 16mM glucose and 25mM phosphate, resulting in a 16% increase in relative protein yield (μg protein/$ reagents) compared to the CrP/CrK system. Our demonstration provides the foundation for development of cost-effective eukaryotic CFPS platforms.
Cell-free biology; cell-free protein synthesis; in vitro transcription and translation; protein expression; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; natural energy metabolism
Studies of mouse monoclonal CD4+ T cell repertoires have revealed several mechanisms of self-tolerance, however, which mechanisms operate in normal repertoires is unclear. Here, polyclonal CD4+ T cells specific for green fluorescent protein expressed in different organs were studied, allowing determination of the effects of specific expression patterns on the same epitope-specific T cells. Peptides presented uniformly by thymic antigen-presenting cells were tolerated by clonal deletion, whereas thymus-excluded peptides were ignored. Peptides with limited thymic expression induced partial clonal deletion and impaired effector but enhanced regulatory T cell potential. These mechanisms were also active for T cell populations specific for endogenously expressed self-antigens. Thus, immune tolerance of polyclonal CD4+ T cells is maintained by distinct mechanisms, according to self-peptide expression patterns.
CD4+ T lymphocyte; immunological tolerance; clonal deletion; immunological ignorance
Immune tolerance is critical to the avoidance of unwarranted immune responses against self antigens. Multiple, non-redundant checkpoints are in place to prevent such potentially deleterious autoimmune responses while preserving immunity integral to the fight against foreign pathogens. Nevertheless, a large and growing segment of the population is developing autoimmune diseases. Deciphering cellular and molecular pathways of immune tolerance is an important goal, with the expectation that understanding these pathways will lead to new clinical advances in the treatment of these devastating diseases. The vast majority of autoimmune diseases develop as a consequence of complex mechanisms that depend on genetic, epigenetic, molecular, cellular, and environmental elements and result in alterations in many different checkpoints of tolerance and ultimately in the breakdown of immune tolerance. The manifestations of this breakdown are harmful inflammatory responses in peripheral tissues driven by innate immunity and self antigen–specific pathogenic T and B cells. T cells play a central role in the regulation and initiation of these responses. In this Review we summarize our current understanding of the mechanisms involved in these fundamental checkpoints, the pathways that are defective in autoimmune diseases, and the therapeutic strategies being developed with the goal of restoring immune tolerance.
LaFlam et al. identify a novel and highly conserved noncoding DNA element, ACNS1, essential for Aire expression and immune tolerance regulation in thymic epithelial cells. They show that ACNS1 is an NF-κB–responsive element and that its loss results in development of spontaneous autoimmunity in mice.
Thymic central tolerance is essential to preventing autoimmunity. In medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs), the Autoimmune regulator (Aire) gene plays an essential role in this process by driving the expression of a diverse set of tissue-specific antigens (TSAs), which are presented and help tolerize self-reactive thymocytes. Interestingly, Aire has a highly tissue-restricted pattern of expression, with only mTECs and peripheral extrathymic Aire-expressing cells (eTACs) known to express detectable levels in adults. Despite this high level of tissue specificity, the cis-regulatory elements that control Aire expression have remained obscure. Here, we identify a highly conserved noncoding DNA element that is essential for Aire expression. This element shows enrichment of enhancer-associated histone marks in mTECs and also has characteristics of being an NF-κB-responsive element. Finally, we find that this element is essential for Aire expression in vivo and necessary to prevent spontaneous autoimmunity, reflecting the importance of this regulatory DNA element in promoting immune tolerance.
The autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has a complex environmental and multi-factorial genetic basis. Genome wide association studies have recently identified numerous disease-associated polymorphisms, but it remains unclear in which cells and during which step of pathogenesis specific polymorphisms interact to cause disease. Using a mouse model in which the same activating mutation (CD45E613R) causes distinct genetic background-dependent disease phenotypes, we perform a screen for genetic modifiers of autoreactivity between anti-nuclear antibody (ANA)-resistant CD45E613R.B6 and ANA-permissive CD45E613R.BALB/c mice. Within a novel autoreactivity-associated locus on chromosome 9, we identify a putative modifier, TLR9. Validating a role for TLR9 in modifying autoreactivity in the context of the CD45E613R mutation, manipulation of TLR9 gene dosage eliminates ANA in CD45E613R.BALB/c, but confoundingly permits ANA in CD45E613R.B6. We demonstrate that sensitivity to ANA is modulated by strength of TLR9 signal, since stronger TLR9B6 signals, but not weaker TLR9BALB/c signals, negatively regulate CD45E613R B cell development during competitive reconstitution at the central tolerance checkpoint. Our results identify a novel autoreactivity-associated locus and validate Tlr9 as a candidate gene within the locus. We further demonstrate a novel role for TLR9 signal strength in central tolerance, providing insight into the interplay of disease-associated polymorphisms at a discrete step of SLE pathogenesis.
Two‐pore K+ channels have emerged as potential targets to selectively regulate cardiac cell membrane excitability; however, lack of specific inhibitors and relevant animal models has impeded the effort to understand the role of 2‐pore K+ channels in the heart and their potential as a therapeutic target. The objective of this study was to determine the role of mechanosensitive 2‐pore K+ channel family member TREK‐1 in control of cardiac excitability.
Methods and Results
Cardiac‐specific TREK‐1–deficient mice (αMHC‐Kcnk
f/f) were generated and found to have a prevalent sinoatrial phenotype characterized by bradycardia with frequent episodes of sinus pause following stress. Action potential measurements from isolated αMHC‐Kcnk2
f/f sinoatrial node cells demonstrated decreased background K+ current and abnormal sinoatrial cell membrane excitability. To identify novel pathways for regulating TREK‐1 activity and sinoatrial node excitability, mice expressing a truncated allele of the TREK‐1–associated cytoskeletal protein βIV‐spectrin (qv
4J mice) were analyzed and found to display defects in cell electrophysiology as well as loss of normal TREK‐1 membrane localization. Finally, the βIV‐spectrin/TREK‐1 complex was found to be downregulated in the right atrium from a canine model of sinoatrial node dysfunction and in human cardiac disease.
These findings identify a TREK‐1–dependent pathway essential for normal sinoatrial node cell excitability that serves as a potential target for selectively regulating sinoatrial node cell function.
automaticity; K channel; sinoatrial node; spectrin; TREK‐1; Arrhythmias; Pacemaker
The search for new approaches to treatment and prevention of heart failure is a major challenge in medicine. The adenosine triphosphate-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel has been long associated with the ability to preserve myocardial function and viability under stress. High surface expression of membrane KATP channels ensures a rapid energy-sparing reduction in action potential duration (APD) in response to metabolic challenges, while cellular signaling that reduces surface KATP channel expression blunts APD shortening, thus sacrificing energetic efficiency in exchange for greater cellular calcium entry and increased contractile force. In healthy hearts, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) phosphorylates the Kir6.2 KATP channel subunit initiating a cascade responsible for KATP channel endocytosis. Here, activation of CaMKII in a transaortic banding (TAB) model of heart failure is coupled with a 35–40% reduction in surface expression of KATP channels compared to hearts from sham-operated mice. Linkage between KATP channel expression and CaMKII is verified in isolated cardiomyocytes in which activation of CaMKII results in downregulation of KATP channel current. Accordingly, shortening of monophasic APD is slowed in response to hypoxia or heart rate acceleration in failing compared to non-failing hearts, a phenomenon previously shown to result in significant increases in oxygen consumption. Even in the absence of coronary artery disease, failing myocardium can be further injured by ischemia due to a mismatch between metabolic supply and demand. Ischemia-reperfusion injury, following ischemic preconditioning, is diminished in hearts with CaMKII inhibition compared to wild-type hearts and this advantage is largely eliminated when myocardial KATP channel expression is absent, supporting that the myocardial protective benefit of CaMKII inhibition in heart failure may be substantially mediated by KATP channels. Recognition of CaMKII-dependent downregulation of KATP channel expression as a mechanism for vulnerability to injury in failing hearts points to strategies targeting this interaction for potential preventives or treatments.
c-Met is the receptor tyrosine kinase for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) encoded by the MET proto-oncogene. Aberrant activation of c-Met resulting from MET amplification and c-Met overexpression is associated with poor clinical outcome in multiple malignancies underscoring the importance of c-Met signaling in cancer progression. Several c-Met inhibitors have advanced to the clinic; however, the development of inhibitory c-Met-directed therapeutic antibodies has been hampered by inherent agonistic activity.
We generated and tested a bivalent anti-c-Met monoclonal antibody ABT-700 in vitro for binding potency and antagonistic activity and in vivo for antitumor efficacy in human tumor xenografts. Human cancer cell lines and gastric cancer tissue microarrays were examined for MET amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH).
ABT-700 exhibits a distinctive ability to block both HGF-independent constitutive c-Met signaling and HGF-dependent activation of c-Met. Cancer cells addicted to the constitutively activated c-Met signaling driven by MET amplification undergo apoptosis upon exposure to ABT-700. ABT-700 induces tumor regression and tumor growth delay in preclinical tumor models of gastric and lung cancers harboring amplified MET. ABT-700 in combination with chemotherapeutics also shows additive antitumor effect. Amplification of MET in human cancer tissues can be identified by FISH.
The preclinical attributes of ABT-700 in blocking c-Met signaling, inducing apoptosis and suppressing tumor growth in cancers with amplified MET provide rationale for examining its potential clinical utility for the treatment of cancers harboring MET amplification.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-016-2138-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
MET; c-Met; MET amplification; oncogene addiction; ABT-700
Autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APS1) is a monogenic disorder that features multiple autoimmune disease manifestations. It is caused by mutations in the Autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene, which promote thymic display of thousands of peripheral tissue antigens in a process critical for establishing central immune tolerance. We here used proteome arrays to perform a comprehensive study of autoimmune targets in APS1. Interrogation of established autoantigens revealed highly reliable detection of autoantibodies, and by exploring the full panel of more than 9000 proteins we further identified MAGEB2 and PDILT as novel major autoantigens in APS1. Our proteome-wide assessment revealed a marked enrichment for tissue-specific immune targets, mirroring AIRE’s selectiveness for this category of genes. Our findings also suggest that only a very limited portion of the proteome becomes targeted by the immune system in APS1, which contrasts the broad defect of thymic presentation associated with AIRE-deficiency and raises novel questions what other factors are needed for break of tolerance.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants. Effective treatment for RSV infection is a significant unmet medical need. While new RSV therapeutics are now in development, there are very few animal models that mimic the pathogenesis of human RSV, making it difficult to evaluate new disease interventions. Experimental infection of Holstein calves with bovine RSV (bRSV) causes a severe respiratory infection that is similar to human RSV infection, providing a relevant model for testing novel therapeutic agents. In this model, viral load is readily detected in nasal secretions by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), and cumulative symptom scoring together with histopathology evaluations of infected tissue allow for the assessment of disease severity. The bovine RSV model was used to evaluate the antiviral activity of an RSV fusion inhibitor, GS1, which blocks virus entry by inhibiting the fusion of the viral envelope with the host cell membrane. The efficacy of GS1, a close structural analog of GS-5806 that is being developed to treat RSV infection in humans was evaluated in two randomized, blind, placebo-controlled studies in bRSV-infected calves. Intravenous administration of GS1 at 4 mg/kg of body weight/day for 7 days starting 24 h or 72 h postinoculation provided clear therapeutic benefit by reducing the viral load, disease symptom score, respiration rate, and lung pathology associated with bRSV infection. These data support the use of the bovine RSV model for evaluation of experimental therapeutics for treatment of RSV.
Shigella is a pathovar of Escherichia coli comprising four groups, Shigella flexneri, Shigella sonnei, Shigella dysenteriae, and Shigella boydii, each of them, with the exception of S.sonnei, comprising several serotypes. Shigella accounts for the majority of dysentery causing infections occurring world-wide each year. Recent advancements in the Shigella field have led to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying host epithelial cell invasion and immune cell function manipulation, mainly using S. flexneri as a model. Host-cell invasion is the final step of the infection process, as Shigella's virulence strategy relies also on its ability to survive hostile conditions during its journey through the gastro-intestinal tract, to compete with the host microbiota and to cross the intestinal mucus layer. Hence, the diversity of the virulence strategies among the different Shigella species has not yet been deeply investigated, which might be an important step to understand the epidemiological spreading of Shigella species worldwide and a key aspect for the validation of novel vaccine candidates. The recent development of high-throughput screening and sequencing methods will facilitate these complex comparison studies. In this review we discuss several of the major avenues that the Shigella research field has taken over the past few years and hopefully gain some insights into the questions that remain surrounding this important human pathogen.
Shigella; diversity; virulence; microbiota; mucus
Asthma is a disease of acute and chronic inflammation in which cytokines play a critical role in orchestrating the allergic inflammatory response. IL-13 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β promote fibrotic airway remodeling, a major contributor to disease severity. Improved understanding is needed, because current therapies are inadequate for suppressing development of airway fibrosis. IL-13 is known to stimulate respiratory epithelial cells to produce TGF-β, but the mechanism through which this occurs is unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are a critical signaling intermediary between IL-13 or allergen stimulation and TGF-β–dependent airway remodeling. We used cultured human bronchial epithelial cells and an in vivo mouse model of allergic asthma to map a pathway where allergens enhanced mitochondrial ROS, which is an essential upstream signal for TGF-β activation and enhanced collagen production and deposition in airway fibroblasts. We show that mitochondria in airway epithelium are an essential source of ROS that activate TGF-β expression and activity. TGF-β from airway epithelium stimulates collagen expression in fibroblasts, contributing to an early fibrotic response to allergen exposure in cultured human airway cells and in ovalbumin-challenged mice. Treatment with the mitochondrial-targeted antioxidant, (2-(2,2,6,6-Tetramethylpiperidin-1-oxyl-4-ylamino)-2-oxoethyl)triphenylphosphonium chloride (mitoTEMPO), significantly attenuated mitochondrial ROS, TGF-β, and collagen deposition in OVA-challenged mice and in cultured human epithelial cells. Our findings suggest that mitochondria are a critical source of ROS for promoting TGF-β activity that contributes to airway remodeling in allergic asthma. Mitochondrial-targeted antioxidants may be a novel approach for future asthma therapies.
airway remodeling; asthma; reactive oxygen species; mitochondria
Advances in genomics have allowed unbiased genetic studies of human disease with unexpected insights into the molecular mechanisms of cellular immunity and autoimmunity1. We performed whole exome sequencing (WES) and targeted sequencing in patients with an apparent Mendelian syndrome of autoimmune disease characterized by high-titer autoantibodies, inflammatory arthritis and interstitial lung disease (ILD). In five families, we identified four unique deleterious variants in the Coatomer subunit alpha (COPA) gene all located within the same functional domain. We hypothesized that mutant COPA leads to a defect in intracellular transport mediated by coat protein complex I (COPI)2–4. We show that COPA variants impair binding of proteins targeted for retrograde Golgi to ER transport and demonstrate that expression of mutant COPA leads to ER stress and the upregulation of Th17 priming cytokines. Consistent with this pattern of cytokine expression, patients demonstrated a significant skewing of CD4+ T cells toward a T helper 17 (Th17) phenotype, an effector T cell population implicated in autoimmunity5,6. Our findings uncover an unexpected molecular link between a vesicular transport protein and a syndrome of autoimmunity manifested by lung and joint disease. These findings provide a unique opportunity to understand how alterations in cellular homeostasis caused by a defect in the intracellular trafficking pathway leads to the generation of human autoimmune disease.
Bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in cattle; costing the dairy and beef industries millions of dollars annually, despite the use of vaccines and antibiotics. BRDC is caused by one or more of several viruses (bovine respiratory syncytial virus, bovine herpes type 1 also known as infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, and bovine viral diarrhea virus), which predispose animals to infection with one or more bacteria. These include: Pasteurella multocida, Mannheimia haemolytica, Mycoplasma bovis, and Histophilus somni. Some cattle appear to be more resistant to BRDC than others. We hypothesize that appropriate immune responses to these pathogens are subject to genetic control. To determine which genes are involved in the immune response to each of these pathogens it was first necessary to experimentally induce infection separately with each pathogen to document clinical and pathological responses in animals from which tissues were harvested for subsequent RNA sequencing. Herein these infections and animal responses are described.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy is an uncommon and fatal demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that is due to reactivation of the JC virus. It is most often seen in immunocompromised patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS or those on chronic immunosuppressive therapy. We present a case of biopsy-proven idiopathic PML in a presumed immunocompetent patient, with imaging characteristics suggestive of glioma. A 66-year-old white male with a history of cirrhosis presented with subacute onset of progressive deterioration of mental status, aphasia, and right hemiparesis. Laboratory and cerebrospinal fluid studies were unremarkable for any infection, autoimmune disease, and malignancy. MRI brain revealed a non-contrast enhancing lesion involving the left frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes with marked sparing of overlying cortex, characterized by increased T2/FLAIR hyperintensity, T1 hypointensity, and facilitated diffusion. MR spectroscopy of the lesion demonstrated elevated choline, with lactate peaks and decreased NAA. A high grade glioma was suspected and patient underwent a brain biopsy. Histological analysis revealed enlarged oligodendrocytes with myelin loss consistent with active demyelination. The enlarged oligodendrocytes had smudged nuclear chromatin, were positive for JC virus by in situ hydridization, and also showed strong staining for p53. A diagnosis of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) was made. Although rare in immunocompetent individuals, this unusual presentation suggests that PML be considered in the approach to the diagnosis and management of such lesions.