Photopharmacological control of neuronal activity using synthetic photochromic ligands, or photoswitches, is a promising approach for restoring visual function in patients suffering from degenerative retinal diseases. Azobenzene photoswitches, such as AAQ and DENAQ, have been shown to restore the responses of retinal ganglion cells to light in mouse models of retinal degeneration but do not recapitulate native retinal signal processing. Here, we describe diethylamino-azo-diethylamino (DAD), a third-generation photoswitch that is capable of restoring retinal ganglion cell light responses to blue or white light. In acute brain slices of murine layer 2/3 cortical neurons, we determined that the photoswitch quickly relaxes to its inactive form in the dark. DAD is not permanently charged, and the uncharged form enables the photoswitch to rapidly and effectively cross biological barriers and thereby access and photosensitize retinal neurons. Intravitreal injection of DAD restored retinal light responses and light-driven behavior to blind mice. Unlike DENAQ, DAD acts upstream of retinal ganglion cells, primarily conferring light sensitivity to bipolar cells. Moreover, DAD was capable of generating ON and OFF visual responses in the blind retina by utilizing intrinsic retinal circuitry, which may be advantageous for restoring visual function.
Laura Laprell, Ivan Tochitsky, Kuldeep Kaur, Michael B. Manookin, Marco Stein, David M. Barber, Christian Schön, Stylianos Michalakis, Martin Biel, Richard H. Kramer, Martin P. Sumser, Dirk Trauner, Russell N. Van Gelder
The quantity and activation state of adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) impact the development of obesity-induced metabolic diseases. Appetite-controlling hormones play key roles in obesity; however, our understanding of their effects on ATMs is limited. Here, we have shown that human and mouse ATMs express NPFFR2, a receptor for the appetite-reducing neuropeptide FF (NPFF), and that NPFFR2 expression is upregulated by IL-4, an M2-polarizing cytokine. Plasma levels of NPFF decreased in obese patients and high-fat diet–fed mice and increased following caloric restriction. NPFF promoted M2 activation and increased the proliferation of murine and human ATMs. Both M2 activation and increased ATM proliferation were abolished in NPFFR2-deficient ATMs. Mechanistically, the effects of NPFF involved the suppression of E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF128 expression, resulting in enhanced stability of phosphorylated STAT6 and increased transcription of the M2 macrophage–associated genes IL-4 receptor α (Il4ra), arginase 1 (Arg1), IL-10 (Il10), and alkylglycerol monooxygenase (Agmo). NPFF induced ATM proliferation concomitantly with the increase in N-Myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (Ndrg2) expression and suppressed the transcription of Ifi200 cell-cycle inhibitor family members and MAF bZIP transcription factor B (Mafb), a negative regulator of macrophage proliferation. NPFF thus plays an important role in supporting healthy adipose tissue via the maintenance of metabolically beneficial ATMs.
Syed F. Hassnain Waqas, Anh Cuong Hoang, Ya-Tin Lin, Grace Ampem, Hind Azegrouz, Lajos Balogh, Julianna Thuróczy, Jin-Chung Chen, Ivan C. Gerling, Sorim Nam, Jong-Seok Lim, Juncal Martinez-Ibañez, José T. Real, Stephan Paschke, Raphaëlle Quillet, Safia Ayachi, Frédéric Simonin, E. Marion Schneider, Jacqueline A. Brinkman, Dudley W. Lamming, Christine M. Seroogy, Tamás Röszer
Design of efficacious Treg-based therapies and establishment of clinical tolerance in autoimmune diseases have proven to be challenging. The clinical implementation of Treg immunotherapy has been hampered by various impediments related to the stability and isolation procedures of Tregs as well as the specific in vivo targets of Treg modalities. Herein, we have demonstrated that Foxp3+ Tregs potently suppress autoimmune responses in vivo through inhibition of the autophagic machinery in DCs in a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4–dependent (CTLA4-dependent) manner. Autophagy-deficient DCs exhibited reduced immunogenic potential and failed to prime autoantigen-specific CD4+ T cells to mediate autoimmunity. Mechanistically, CTLA4 binding promoted activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis and FoxO1 nuclear exclusion in DCs, leading to decreased transcription of the autophagy component microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3β (Lc3b). Human DCs treated with CTLA4-Ig, a fusion protein composed of the Fc region of IgG1 and the extracellular domain of CTLA4 (also known as abatacept, marketed as Orencia), demonstrated reduced levels of autophagosome formation, while DCs from CTLA4-Ig–treated rheumatoid arthritis patients displayed diminished LC3B transcripts. Collectively, our data identify the canonical autophagy pathway in DCs as a molecular target of Foxp3+ Treg–mediated suppression that leads to amelioration of autoimmune responses. These findings may pave the way for the development of therapeutic protocols that exploit Tregs for the treatment of autoimmunity as well as diseases in which disturbed tolerance is a common denominator.
Themis Alissafi, Aggelos Banos, Louis Boon, Tim Sparwasser, Alessandra Ghigo, Kajsa Wing, Dimitrios Vassilopoulos, Dimitrios Boumpas, Triantafyllos Chavakis, Ken Cadwell, Panayotis Verginis
TGF-β is considered a master switch in the pathogenesis of organ fibrosis. The primary mediators of this activity are the SMAD proteins, particularly SMAD3. In the current study, we have developed a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) conjugate of the HIV TAT protein that is fused to an aminoterminal sequence of sorting nexin 9 (SNX9), which was previously shown to bind phosphorylated SMAD3 (pSMAD3). We determined that specifically preventing the nuclear import of pSMAD3 using the TAT-SNX9 peptide inhibited profibrotic TGF-β activity in murine cells and human lung fibroblasts as well as in vivo with no demonstrable toxicity. TGF-β signaling mediated by pSMAD2, bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), EGF, or PDGF was unaffected by the TAT-SNX9 peptide. Furthermore, while the TAT-SNX9 peptide prevented TGF-β’s profibrotic activity in vitro as well as in 2 murine treatment models of pulmonary fibrosis, a 3–amino acid point mutant that was unable to bind pSMAD3 proved ineffective. These findings indicate that specifically targeting pSMAD3 can ameliorate both the direct and indirect fibroproliferative actions of TGF-β.
Jeong-Han Kang, Mi-Yeon Jung, Xueqian Yin, Mahefatiana Andrianifahanana, Danielle M. Hernandez, Edward B. Leof
Voltage-gated sodium channel (NaV) mutations cause genetic pain disorders that range from severe paroxysmal pain to a congenital inability to sense pain. Previous studies on NaV1.7 and NaV1.8 established clear relationships between perturbations in channel function and divergent clinical phenotypes. By contrast, studies of NaV1.9 mutations have not revealed a clear relationship of channel dysfunction with the associated and contrasting clinical phenotypes. Here, we have elucidated the functional consequences of a NaV1.9 mutation (L1302F) that is associated with insensitivity to pain. We investigated the effects of L1302F and a previously reported mutation (L811P) on neuronal excitability. In transfected heterologous cells, the L1302F mutation caused a large hyperpolarizing shift in the voltage-dependence of activation, leading to substantially enhanced overlap between activation and steady-state inactivation relationships. In transfected small rat dorsal root ganglion neurons, expression of L1302F and L811P evoked large depolarizations of the resting membrane potential and impaired action potential generation. Therefore, our findings implicate a cellular loss of function as the basis for impaired pain sensation. We further demonstrated that a U-shaped relationship between the resting potential and the neuronal action potential threshold explains why NaV1.9 mutations that evoke small degrees of membrane depolarization cause hyperexcitability and familial episodic pain disorder or painful neuropathy, while mutations evoking larger membrane depolarizations cause hypoexcitability and insensitivity to pain.
Jianying Huang, Carlos G. Vanoye, Alison Cutts, Y. Paul Goldberg, Sulayman D. Dib-Hajj, Charles J. Cohen, Stephen G. Waxman, Alfred L. George Jr.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive disease with a prevalence of 1 million persons worldwide. The fibrosis spreads from affected alveoli into contiguous alveoli and leads to death by asphyxiation. We previously discovered that the IPF lung harbors fibrogenic mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) that serve as a cell of origin for disease-mediating myofibroblasts. In a prior genomewide transcriptional analysis, we found that IPF MPCs displayed increased expression of S100 calcium-binding A4 (S100A4), a protein linked to cancer cell proliferation and invasiveness. Here, we have examined whether S100A4 mediates MPC fibrogenicity. Ex vivo analysis revealed that IPF MPCs had increased levels of nuclear S100A4, which interacts with L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase to promote p53 degradation and MPC self-renewal. In vivo, injection of human IPF MPCs converted a self-limited bleomycin-induced mouse model of lung fibrosis to a model of persistent fibrosis in an S100A4-dependent manner. S100A4 gain of function was sufficient to confer fibrotic properties to non-IPF MPCs. In IPF tissue, fibroblastic foci contained cells expressing Ki67 and the MPC markers SSEA4 and S100A4. The expression colocalized in an interface region between myofibroblasts in the focus core and normal alveolar structures, defining this region as an active fibrotic front. Our findings indicate that IPF MPCs are intrinsically fibrogenic and that S100A4 confers MPCs with fibrogenicity.
Hong Xia, Adam Gilbertsen, Jeremy Herrera, Emilian Racila, Karen Smith, Mark Peterson, Timothy Griffin, Alexey Benyumov, Libang Yang, Peter B. Bitterman, Craig A. Henke
Runt-related transcription factor 1 (RUNX1) is generally considered to function as a tumor suppressor in the development of leukemia, but a growing body of evidence suggests that it has pro-oncogenic properties in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here we have demonstrated that the antileukemic effect mediated by RUNX1 depletion is highly dependent on a functional p53-mediated cell death pathway. Increased expression of other RUNX family members, including RUNX2 and RUNX3, compensated for the antitumor effect elicited by RUNX1 silencing, and simultaneous attenuation of all RUNX family members as a cluster led to a much stronger antitumor effect relative to suppression of individual RUNX members. Switching off the RUNX cluster using alkylating agent–conjugated pyrrole-imidazole (PI) polyamides, which were designed to specifically bind to consensus RUNX-binding sequences, was highly effective against AML cells and against several poor-prognosis solid tumors in a xenograft mouse model of AML without notable adverse events. Taken together, these results identify a crucial role for the RUNX cluster in the maintenance and progression of cancer cells and suggest that modulation of the RUNX cluster using the PI polyamide gene-switch technology is a potential strategy to control malignancies.
Ken Morita, Kensho Suzuki, Shintaro Maeda, Akihiko Matsuo, Yoshihide Mitsuda, Chieko Tokushige, Gengo Kashiwazaki, Junichi Taniguchi, Rina Maeda, Mina Noura, Masahiro Hirata, Tatsuki Kataoka, Ayaka Yano, Yoshimi Yamada, Hiroki Kiyose, Mayu Tokumasu, Hidemasa Matsuo, Sunao Tanaka, Yasushi Okuno, Manabu Muto, Kazuhito Naka, Kosei Ito, Toshio Kitamura, Yasufumi Kaneda, Paul P. Liu, Toshikazu Bando, Souichi Adachi, Hiroshi Sugiyama, Yasuhiko Kamikubo
Capillary malformation–arteriovenous malformation (CM-AVM) is a blood and lymphatic vessel (LV) disorder that is caused by inherited inactivating mutations of the
Philip E. Lapinski, Beth A. Lubeck, Di Chen, Abbas Doosti, Scott D. Zawieja, Michael J. Davis, Philip D. King
Chronic liver disease with cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, and alcoholic liver disease accounts for approximately half of all cirrhosis deaths. Chronic alcohol consumption is associated with intestinal bacterial dysbiosis, yet we understand little about the contribution of intestinal fungi, or mycobiota, to alcoholic liver disease. Here we have demonstrated that chronic alcohol administration increases mycobiota populations and translocation of fungal β-glucan into systemic circulation in mice. Treating mice with antifungal agents reduced intestinal fungal overgrowth, decreased β-glucan translocation, and ameliorated ethanol-induced liver disease. Using bone marrow chimeric mice, we found that β-glucan induces liver inflammation via the C-type lectin–like receptor CLEC7A on Kupffer cells and possibly other bone marrow–derived cells. Subsequent increases in IL-1β expression and secretion contributed to hepatocyte damage and promoted development of ethanol-induced liver disease. We observed that alcohol-dependent patients displayed reduced intestinal fungal diversity and
An-Ming Yang, Tatsuo Inamine, Katrin Hochrath, Peng Chen, Lirui Wang, Cristina Llorente, Sena Bluemel, Phillipp Hartmann, Jun Xu, Yukinori Koyama, Tatiana Kisseleva, Manolito G. Torralba, Kelvin Moncera, Karen Beeri, Chien-Sheng Chen, Kim Freese, Claus Hellerbrand, Serene M.L. Lee, Hal M. Hoffman, Wajahat Z. Mehal, Guadalupe Garcia-Tsao, Ece A. Mutlu, Ali Keshavarzian, Gordon D. Brown, Samuel B. Ho, Ramon Bataller, Peter Stärkel, Derrick E. Fouts, Bernd Schnabl
Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disorder associated with compromised bone strength and an increased risk of fracture. Inhibition of the differentiation of bone-resorbing osteoclasts is an effective strategy for the treatment of osteoporosis. Prior work by our laboratory and others has shown that MYC promotes osteoclastogenesis in vitro, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. In addition, the in vivo importance of osteoclast-expressed MYC in physiological and pathological bone loss is not known. Here, we have demonstrated that deletion of
Seyeon Bae, Min Joon Lee, Se Hwan Mun, Eugenia G. Giannopoulou, Vladimir Yong-Gonzalez, Justin R. Cross, Koichi Murata, Vincent Giguère, Marjolein van der Meulen, Kyung-Hyun Park-Min