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Abstract

We used the cancer-intrinsic property of oncogene-induced DNA damage as the base for a conditional synthetic lethality approach. To target mechanisms important for cancer cell adaptation to genotoxic stress and thereby to achieve cancer cell–specific killing, we combined inhibition of the kinases ATR and Wee1. Wee1 regulates cell cycle progression, whereas ATR is an apical kinase in the DNA-damage response. In an orthotopic breast cancer model, tumor-selective synthetic lethality of the combination of bioavailable ATR and Wee1 inhibitors led to tumor remission and inhibited metastasis with minimal side effects. ATR and Wee1 inhibition had a higher synergistic effect in cancer stem cells than in bulk cancer cells, compensating for the lower sensitivity of cancer stem cells to the individual drugs. Mechanistically, the combination treatment caused cells with unrepaired or under-replicated DNA to enter mitosis leading to mitotic catastrophe. As these inhibitors of ATR and Wee1 are already in phase I/II clinical trials, this knowledge could soon be translated into the clinic, especially as we showed that the combination treatment targets a wide range of tumor cells. Particularly, the antimetastatic effect of combined Wee1/ATR inhibition and the low toxicity of ATR inhibitors compared with Chk1 inhibitors have great clinical potential.

Authors

Amirali B. Bukhari, Cody W. Lewis, Joanna J. Pearce, Deandra Luong, Gordon K. Chan, Armin M. Gamper

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Abstract

In the stomach, chronic inflammation causes metaplasia and creates a favorable environment for the evolution of gastric cancer. Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones that repress proinflammatory stimuli, but their role in the stomach is unknown. In this study, we show that endogenous glucocorticoids are required to maintain gastric homeostasis. Removal of circulating glucocorticoids in mice by adrenalectomy resulted in the rapid onset of spontaneous gastric inflammation, oxyntic atrophy, and spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia (SPEM), a putative precursor of gastric cancer. SPEM and oxyntic atrophy occurred independently of lymphocytes. However, depletion of monocytes and macrophages by clodronate treatment or inhibition of gastric monocyte infiltration using the Cx3cr1 knockout mouse model prevented SPEM development. Our results highlight the requirement for endogenous glucocorticoid signaling within the stomach to prevent spontaneous gastric inflammation and metaplasia, and suggest that glucocorticoid deficiency may lead to gastric cancer development.

Authors

Jonathan T. Busada, Sivapriya Ramamoorthy, Derek W. Cain, Xiaojiang Xu, Donald N. Cook, John A. Cidlowski

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Plasmacytoid DCs (pDC) produce large amounts of type I IFN (IFN-I), cytokines convincingly linked to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) pathogenesis. BIIB059 is a humanized mAb that binds blood DC antigen 2 (BDCA2), a pDC-specific receptor that inhibits the production of IFN-I and other inflammatory mediators when ligated. A first-in-human study was conducted to assess safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) effects of single BIIB059 doses in healthy volunteers (HV) and patients with SLE with active cutaneous disease as well as proof of biological activity and preliminary clinical response in the SLE cohort. METHODS. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted in HV (n = 54) and patients with SLE (n = 12). All subjects were monitored for adverse events. Serum BIIB059 concentrations, BDCA2 levels on pDCs, and IFN-responsive biomarkers in whole blood and skin biopsies were measured. Skin disease activity was determined using the Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index Activity (CLASI-A). RESULTS. Single doses of BIIB059 were associated with favorable safety and PK profiles. BIIB059 administration led to BDCA2 internalization on pDCs, which correlated with circulating BIIB059 levels. BIIB059 administration in patients with SLE decreased expression of IFN response genes in blood, normalized MxA expression, reduced immune infiltrates in skin lesions, and decreased CLASI-A score. CONCLUSIONS. Single doses of BIIB059 were associated with favorable safety and PK/PD profiles and robust target engagement and biological activity, supporting further development of BIIB059 in SLE. The data suggest that targeting pDCs may be beneficial for patients with SLE, especially those with cutaneous manifestations. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02106897. FUNDING. Biogen Inc.

Authors

Richard Furie, Victoria P. Werth, Joseph F. Merola, Lauren Stevenson, Taylor L. Reynolds, Himanshu Naik, Wenting Wang, Romy Christmann, Agnes Gardet, Alex Pellerin, Stefan Hamann, Pavan Auluck, Catherine Barbey, Parul Gulati, Dania Rabah, Nathalie Franchimont

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Abstract

Allergen immunotherapy for patients with allergies begins with weekly escalating doses of allergen under medical supervision to monitor and treat IgE mast cell–mediated anaphylaxis. There is currently no treatment to safely desensitize mast cells to enable robust allergen immunotherapy with therapeutic levels of allergen. Here, we demonstrated that liposomal nanoparticles bearing an allergen and a high-affinity glycan ligand of the inhibitory receptor CD33 profoundly suppressed IgE-mediated activation of mast cells, prevented anaphylaxis in Tg mice with mast cells expressing human CD33, and desensitized mice to subsequent allergen challenge for several days. We showed that high levels of CD33 were consistently expressed on human skin mast cells and that the antigenic liposomes with CD33 ligand prevented IgE-mediated bronchoconstriction in slices of human lung. The results demonstrated the potential of exploiting CD33 to desensitize mast cells to provide a therapeutic window for administering allergen immunotherapy without triggering anaphylaxis.

Authors

Shiteng Duan, Cynthia J. Koziol-White, William F. Jester Jr., Corwin M. Nycholat, Matthew S. Macauley, Reynold A. Panettieri Jr., James C. Paulson

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Abstract

Upon arterial injury, endothelial denudation leads to platelet activation and delivery of multiple agents (e.g., TXA2, PDGF), promoting VSMC dedifferentiation and proliferation (intimal hyperplasia) during injury repair. The process of resolution of vessel injury repair, and prevention of excessive repair (switching VSMCs back to a differentiated quiescent state), is poorly understood. We now report that internalization of APs by VSMCs promotes resolution of arterial injury by switching on VSMC quiescence. Ex vivo and in vivo studies using lineage tracing reporter mice (PF4-cre × mT/mG) demonstrated uptake of GFP-labeled platelets (mG) by mTomato red–labeled VSMCs (mT) upon arterial wire injury. Genome-wide miRNA sequencing of VSMCs cocultured with APs identified significant increases in platelet-derived miR-223. miR-223 appears to directly target PDGFRβ (in VSMCs), reversing the injury-induced dedifferentiation. Upon arterial injury, platelet miR-223–KO mice exhibited increased intimal hyperplasia, whereas miR-223 mimics reduced intimal hyperplasia. Diabetic mice with reduced expression of miR-223 exhibited enhanced VSMC dedifferentiation and proliferation and increased intimal hyperplasia. Our results suggest that horizontal transfer of platelet-derived miRNAs into VSMCs provides a novel mechanism for regulating VSMC phenotypic switching. Platelets thus play a dual role in vascular injury repair, initiating an immediate repair process and, concurrently, a delayed process to prevent excessive repair.

Authors

Zhi Zeng, Luoxing Xia, Xuejiao Fan, Allison C. Ostriker, Timur Yarovinsky, Meiling Su, Yuan Zhang, Xiangwen Peng, Yi Xie, Lei Pi, Xiaoqiong Gu, Sookja Kim Chung, Kathleen A. Martin, Renjing Liu, John Hwa, Wai Ho Tang

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Abstract

IgE-mediated activation of mast cells is a hallmark of an anaphylactic reaction to allergen. In this issue of the JCI, Duan et al. describe an approach for suppressing IgE-dependent mast cell activation, thereby suppressing anaphylaxis. Specifically, the authors show that delivery of liposomes containing both the specific antigen recognized by the mast cell–bound IgE and a high-affinity glycan ligand of the inhibitory receptor CD33 (CD33L) to targeted mast cells inhibits antigen-induced, FcεRI-dependent spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) phosphorylation and downstream protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) phosphorylation, Ca++ flux, and β-hexosaminidase release (i.e., degranulation). However, this strategy only worked if both the antigen (reactive with the mast cell–bound IgE) and CD33L were on the same liposome. This approach promises to rapidly reduce IgE-dependent mast cell activation in response to challenge with offending allergens.

Authors

Stephen J. Galli

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Abstract

Despite advances in understanding systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) pathogenesis, most clinical trials of new targeted therapies have been met with disappointment. The type I IFN pathway is believed to play an important role in SLE, and the proposed involvement of this pathway helps explain the frustration behind the failure at targeting either IFN-α or the type 1 IFN receptor itself. In this issue of the JCI, Furie et al. report on an intriguing phase 1b study that demonstrates an approach for inhibiting this pathway in the skin using an mAB (BIIB059) that targets the blood DC antigen 2 (BDCA-2) receptor on plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). BIIB059 decreased IFN expression and improved cutaneous lupus disease activity, with a favorable safety profile. Whether or not this strategy will be effective in managing SLE in other organs remains unanswered. However, these results suggest that closing the door on targeting the type 1 IFN pathway in SLE may be premature and highlight the emerging question of whether an organ-specific approach toward lupus trials and treatment should be the wave of the future.

Authors

Yashaar Chaichian, Daniel J. Wallace, Michael H. Weisman

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Abstract

We identified 2 genes, histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) and HDAC2, contributing to the pathogenesis of proteinuric kidney diseases, the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease. mRNA expression profiling from proteinuric mouse glomeruli was linked to Connectivity Map databases, identifying HDAC1 and HDAC2 with the differentially expressed gene set reversible by HDAC inhibitors. In numerous progressive glomerular disease models, treatment with valproic acid (a class I HDAC inhibitor) or SAHA (a pan-HDAC inhibitor) mitigated the degree of proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis, leading to a striking increase in survival. Podocyte HDAC1 and HDAC2 activities were increased in mice podocytopathy models, and podocyte-associated Hdac1 and Hdac2 genetic ablation improved proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis. Podocyte early growth response 1 (EGR1) was increased in proteinuric patients and mice in an HDAC1- and HDAC2-dependent manner. Loss of EGR1 in mice reduced proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis. Longitudinal analysis of the multicenter Veterans Aging Cohort Study demonstrated a 30% reduction in mean annual loss of estimated glomerular filtration rate, and this effect was more pronounced in proteinuric patients receiving valproic acid. These results strongly suggest that inhibition of HDAC1 and HDAC2 activities may suppress the progression of human proteinuric kidney diseases through the regulation of EGR1.

Authors

Kazunori Inoue, Geliang Gan, Maria Ciarleglio, Yan Zhang, Xuefei Tian, Christopher E. Pedigo, Corey Cavanaugh, Janet Tate, Ying Wang, Elizabeth Cross, Marwin Groener, Nathan Chai, Zhen Wang, Amy Justice, Zhenhai Zhang, Chirag R. Parikh, Francis P. Wilson, Shuta Ishibe

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Abstract

Allergic diseases have in common a dysfunctional epithelial barrier, which allows the penetration of allergens and microbes, leading to the release of type 2 cytokines that drive allergic inflammation. The accessibility of skin, compared with lung or gastrointestinal tissue, has facilitated detailed investigations into mechanisms underlying epithelial barrier dysfunction in atopic dermatitis (AD). This Review describes the formation of the skin barrier and analyzes the link between altered skin barrier formation and the pathogenesis of AD. The keratinocyte differentiation process is under tight regulation. During epidermal differentiation, keratinocytes sequentially switch gene expression programs, resulting in terminal differentiation and the formation of a mature stratum corneum, which is essential for the skin to prevent allergen or microbial invasion. Abnormalities in keratinocyte differentiation in AD skin result in hyperproliferation of the basal layer of epidermis, inhibition of markers of terminal differentiation, and barrier lipid abnormalities, compromising skin barrier and antimicrobial function. There is also compelling evidence for epithelial dysregulation in asthma, food allergy, eosinophilic esophagitis, and allergic rhinosinusitis. This Review examines current epithelial barrier repair strategies as an approach for allergy prevention or intervention.

Authors

Elena Goleva, Evgeny Berdyshev, Donald Y.M. Leung

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Abstract

It is widely believed that protection against acquisition of HIV or SIV infection requires anti-envelope (anti-Env) antibodies, and that cellular immunity may affect viral loads but not acquisition, except in special cases. Here we provide evidence to the contrary. Mucosal immunization may enhance HIV vaccine efficacy by eliciting protective responses at portals of exposure. Accordingly, we vaccinated macaques mucosally with HIV/SIV peptides, modified vaccinia Ankara–SIV (MVA-SIV), and HIV-gp120–CD4 fusion protein plus adjuvants, which consistently reduced infection risk against heterologous intrarectal SHIVSF162P4 challenge, both high dose and repeated low dose. Surprisingly, vaccinated animals exhibited no anti-gp120 humoral responses above background and Gag- and Env-specific T cells were induced but failed to correlate with viral acquisition. Instead, vaccine-induced gut microbiome alteration and myeloid cell accumulation in colorectal mucosa correlated with protection. Ex vivo stimulation of the myeloid cell–enriched population with SHIV led to enhanced production of trained immunity markers TNF-α and IL-6, as well as viral coreceptor agonist MIP1α, which correlated with reduced viral Gag expression and in vivo viral acquisition. Overall, our results suggest mechanisms involving trained innate mucosal immunity together with antigen-specific T cells, and also indicate that vaccines can have critical effects on the gut microbiome, which in turn can affect resistance to infection. Strategies to elicit similar responses may be considered for vaccine designs to achieve optimal protective efficacy.

Authors

Yongjun Sui, George K. Lewis, Yichuan Wang, Kurt Berckmueller, Blake Frey, Amiran Dzutsev, Diego Vargas-Inchaustegui, Venkatramanan Mohanram, Thomas Musich, Xiaoying Shen, Anthony DeVico, Timothy Fouts, David Venzon, James Kirk, Robert C. Waters, James Talton, Dennis Klinman, John Clements, Georgia D. Tomaras, Genoveffa Franchini, Marjorie Robert-Guroff, Giorgio Trinchieri, Robert C. Gallo, Jay A. Berzofsky

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Abstract

Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotype switching from a contractile state to a synthetic phenotype has been implicated in intimal remodeling during vascular injury. While multiple studies have focused on dedifferentiation of VSMCs, prevention of VSMC-mediated excessive repair remains poorly understood. In this issue of the JCI, Zeng et al. identified a mechanism by which platelet-derived microRNA-223 (miRNA-223) reverses VSMC dedifferentiation. The authors show that suppression of proliferation occurs after platelet internalization by VSMCs. Moreover, they demonstrate that miRNA-223 inhibits dedifferentiation and intimal hyperplasia in diabetic mice by decreasing PDGFRβ expression in VSMCs. Together, these results identify platelet-derived miRNA-223 as a potential therapeutic target in vascular injury.

Authors

Elena V. Dolmatova, Kathy K. Griendling

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Abstract

Local flow patterns determine the uneven distribution of atherosclerotic lesions. This research aims to elucidate the mechanism of regulation of nuclear translocation of Yes-associated protein (YAP) under oscillatory shear stress (OSS) in the atheroprone phenotype of endothelial cells (ECs). We report here that OSS led to tyrosine phosphorylation and strong, continuous nuclear translocation of YAP in ECs that is dependent on integrin α5β1 activation. YAP overexpression in ECs blunted the anti-atheroprone effect of an integrin α5β1–blocking peptide (ATN161) in Apoe–/– mice. Activation of integrin α5β1 induced tyrosine, but not serine, phosphorylation of YAP in ECs. Blockage of integrin α5β1 with ATN161 abolished the phosphorylation of YAP at Y357 induced by OSS. Mechanistic studies showed that c-Abl inhibitor attenuated the integrin α5β1–induced YAP tyrosine phosphorylation. Furthermore, the phosphorylation of c-Abl and YAPY357 was significantly increased in ECs in atherosclerotic vessels of mice and in human plaques versus normal vessels. Finally, bosutinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, markedly reduced the level of YAPY357 and the development of atherosclerosis in Apoe–/– mice. The c-Abl/YAPY357 pathway serves as a mechanism for the activation of integrin α5β1 and the atherogenic phenotype of ECs in response to OSS, and provides a potential therapeutic strategy for atherogenesis.

Authors

Bochuan Li, Jinlong He, Huizhen Lv, Yajin Liu, Xue Lv, Chenghu Zhang, Yi Zhu, Ding Ai

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Abstract

Sphingolipid imbalance is the culprit in a variety of neurological diseases, some affecting the myelin sheath. We have used whole-exome sequencing in patients with undetermined leukoencephalopathies to uncover the endoplasmic reticulum lipid desaturase DEGS1 as the causative gene in 19 patients from 13 unrelated families. Shared features among the cases include severe motor arrest, early nystagmus, dystonia, spasticity, and profound failure to thrive. MRI showed hypomyelination, thinning of the corpus callosum, and progressive thalamic and cerebellar atrophy, suggesting a critical role of DEGS1 in myelin development and maintenance. This enzyme converts dihydroceramide (DhCer) into ceramide (Cer) in the final step of the de novo biosynthesis pathway. We detected a marked increase of the substrate DhCer and DhCer/Cer ratios in patients’ fibroblasts and muscle. Further, we used a knockdown approach for disease modeling in Danio rerio, followed by a preclinical test with the first-line treatment for multiple sclerosis, fingolimod (FTY720, Gilenya). The enzymatic inhibition of Cer synthase by fingolimod, 1 step prior to DEGS1 in the pathway, reduced the critical DhCer/Cer imbalance and the severe locomotor disability, increasing the number of myelinating oligodendrocytes in a zebrafish model. These proof-of-concept results pave the way to clinical translation.

Authors

Devesh C. Pant, Imen Dorboz, Agatha Schluter, Stéphane Fourcade, Nathalie Launay, Javier Joya, Sergio Aguilera-Albesa, Maria Eugenia Yoldi, Carlos Casasnovas, Mary J. Willis, Montserrat Ruiz, Dorothée Ville, Gaetan Lesca, Karine Siquier-Pernet, Isabelle Desguerre, Huifang Yan, Jingmin Wang, Margit Burmeister, Lauren Brady, Mark Tarnopolsky, Carles Cornet, Davide Rubbini, Javier Terriente, Kiely N. James, Damir Musaev, Maha S. Zaki, Marc C. Patterson, Brendan C. Lanpher, Eric W. Klee, Filippo Pinto e Vairo, Elizabeth Wohler, Nara Lygia de M. Sobreira, Julie S. Cohen, Reza Maroofian, Hamid Galehdari, Neda Mazaheri, Gholamreza Shariati, Laurence Colleaux, Diana Rodriguez, Joseph G. Gleeson, Cristina Pujades, Ali Fatemi, Odile Boespflug-Tanguy, Aurora Pujol

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Awake neurosurgery requires patients to converse and respond to visual or verbal prompts to identify and protect brain tissue supporting essential functions such as language, primary sensory modalities, and motor function. These procedures can be poorly tolerated because of patient anxiety, yet acute anxiolytic medications typically cause sedation and impair cortical function. METHODS. In this study, direct electrical stimulation of the left dorsal anterior cingulum bundle was discovered to reliably evoke positive affect and anxiolysis without sedation in a patient with epilepsy undergoing research testing during standard inpatient intracranial electrode monitoring. These effects were quantified using subjective and objective behavioral measures, and stimulation was found to evoke robust changes in local and distant neural activity. RESULTS. The index patient ultimately required an awake craniotomy procedure to confirm safe resection margins in the treatment of her epilepsy. During the procedure, cingulum bundle stimulation enhanced positive affect and reduced the patient’s anxiety to the point that intravenous anesthetic/anxiolytic medications were discontinued and cognitive testing was completed. Behavioral responses were subsequently replicated in 2 patients with anatomically similar electrode placements localized to an approximately 1-cm span along the anterior dorsal cingulum bundle above genu of the corpus callosum. CONCLUSIONS. The current study demonstrates a robust anxiolytic response to cingulum bundle stimulation in 3 patients with epilepsy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. The current study was not affiliated with any formal clinical trial. FUNDING. This project was supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the NIH.

Authors

Kelly R. Bijanki, Joseph R. Manns, Cory S. Inman, Ki Sueng Choi, Sahar Harati, Nigel P. Pedersen, Daniel L. Drane, Allison C. Waters, Rebecca E. Fasano, Helen S. Mayberg, Jon T. Willie

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Sphingolipids are important components of cellular membranes and functionally associated with fundamental processes such as cell differentiation, neuronal signaling, and myelin sheath formation. Defects in the synthesis or degradation of sphingolipids leads to various neurological pathologies; however, the entire spectrum of sphingolipid metabolism disorders remains elusive. METHODS. A combined approach of genomics and lipidomics was applied to identify and characterize a human sphingolipid metabolism disorder. RESULTS. By whole-exome sequencing in a patient with a multisystem neurological disorder of both the central and peripheral nervous systems, we identified a homozygous p.Ala280Val variant in DEGS1, which catalyzes the last step in the ceramide synthesis pathway. The blood sphingolipid profile in the patient showed a significant increase in dihydro sphingolipid species that was further recapitulated in patient-derived fibroblasts, in CRISPR/Cas9–derived DEGS1-knockout cells, and by pharmacological inhibition of DEGS1. The enzymatic activity in patient fibroblasts was reduced by 80% compared with wild-type cells, which was in line with a reduced expression of mutant DEGS1 protein. Moreover, an atypical and potentially neurotoxic sphingosine isomer was identified in patient plasma and in cells expressing mutant DEGS1. CONCLUSION. We report DEGS1 dysfunction as the cause of a sphingolipid disorder with hypomyelination and degeneration of both the central and peripheral nervous systems. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Not applicable. FUNDING. Seventh Framework Program of the European Commission, Swiss National Foundation, Rare Disease Initiative Zurich.

Authors

Gergely Karsai, Florian Kraft, Natja Haag, G. Christoph Korenke, Benjamin Hänisch, Alaa Othman, Saranya Suriyanarayanan, Regula Steiner, Cordula Knopp, Michael Mull, Markus Bergmann, J. Michael Schröder, Joachim Weis, Miriam Elbracht, Matthias Begemann, Thorsten Hornemann, Ingo Kurth

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Abstract

The development and function of stem and progenitor cells that produce blood cells are vital in physiology. GATA-binding protein 2 (GATA2) mutations cause GATA-2 deficiency syndrome involving immunodeficiency, myelodysplastic syndrome, and acute myeloid leukemia. GATA-2 physiological activities necessitate that it be strictly regulated, and cell type–specific enhancers fulfill this role. The +9.5 intronic enhancer harbors multiple conserved cis-elements, and germline mutations of these cis-elements are pathogenic in humans. Since mechanisms underlying how GATA2 enhancer disease mutations impact hematopoiesis and pathology are unclear, we generated mouse models of the enhancer mutations. While a multi-motif mutant was embryonically lethal, a single-nucleotide Ets motif mutant was viable, and steady-state hematopoiesis was normal. However, the Ets motif mutation abrogated stem/progenitor cell regeneration following stress. These results reveal a new mechanism in human genetics, in which a disease predisposition mutation inactivates enhancer regenerative activity, while sparing developmental activity. Mutational sensitization to stress that instigates hematopoietic failure constitutes a paradigm for GATA-2 deficiency syndrome and other contexts of GATA-2–dependent pathogenesis.

Authors

Alexandra A. Soukup, Ye Zheng, Charu Mehta, Jun Wu, Peng Liu, Miao Cao, Inga Hofmann, Yun Zhou, Jing Zhang, Kirby D. Johnson, Kyunghee Choi, Sunduz Keles, Emery H. Bresnick

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Abstract

Genetic variants at the PTPN2 locus, which encodes the tyrosine phosphatase PTPN2, cause reduced gene expression and are linked to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases. PTPN2 inhibits signaling through the T cell and cytokine receptors, and loss of PTPN2 promotes T cell expansion and CD4- and CD8-driven autoimmunity. However, it remains unknown whether loss of PTPN2 in FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) plays a role in autoimmunity. Here we aimed to model human autoimmune-predisposing PTPN2 variants, the presence of which results in a partial loss of PTPN2 expression, in mouse models of RA. We identified that reduced expression of Ptpn2 enhanced the severity of autoimmune arthritis in the T cell–dependent SKG mouse model and demonstrated that this phenotype was mediated through a Treg-intrinsic mechanism. Mechanistically, we found that through dephosphorylation of STAT3, PTPN2 inhibits IL-6–driven pathogenic loss of FoxP3 after Tregs have acquired RORγt expression, at a stage when chromatin accessibility for STAT3-targeted IL-17–associated transcription factors is maximized. We conclude that PTPN2 promotes FoxP3 stability in mouse RORγt+ Tregs and that loss of function of PTPN2 in Tregs contributes to the association between PTPN2 and autoimmunity.

Authors

Mattias N.D. Svensson, Karen M. Doody, Benjamin J. Schmiedel, Sourya Bhattacharyya, Bharat Panwar, Florian Wiede, Shen Yang, Eugenio Santelli, Dennis J. Wu, Cristiano Sacchetti, Ravindra Gujar, Gregory Seumois, William B. Kiosses, Isabelle Aubry, Gisen Kim, Piotr Mydel, Shimon Sakaguchi, Mitchell Kronenberg, Tony Tiganis, Michel L. Tremblay, Ferhat Ay, Pandurangan Vijayanand, Nunzio Bottini

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Abstract

Immune checkpoint inhibitors and adoptive transfer of gene-engineered T cells have emerged as novel therapeutic modalities for hard-to-treat solid tumors; however, many patients are refractory to these immunotherapies, and the mechanisms underlying tumor immune resistance have not been fully elucidated. By comparing the tumor microenvironment of checkpoint inhibition–sensitive and –resistant murine solid tumors, we observed that the resistant tumors had low immunogenicity. We identified antigen presentation by CD11b+F4/80+ tumor–associated macrophages (TAMs) as a key factor correlated with immune resistance. In the resistant tumors, TAMs remained inactive and did not exert antigen-presenting activity. Targeted delivery of a long peptide antigen to TAMs by using a nano-sized hydrogel (nanogel) in the presence of a TLR agonist activated TAMs, induced their antigen-presenting activity, and thereby transformed the resistant tumors into tumors sensitive to adaptive immune responses such as adoptive transfer of tumor-specific T cell receptor–engineered T cells. These results indicate that the status and function of TAMs have a significant impact on tumor immune sensitivity and that manipulation of TAM functions would be an effective approach for improving the efficacy of immunotherapies.

Authors

Daisuke Muraoka, Naohiro Seo, Tae Hayashi, Yoshiro Tahara, Keisuke Fujii, Isao Tawara, Yoshihiro Miyahara, Kana Okamori, Hideo Yagita, Seiya Imoto, Rui Yamaguchi, Mitsuhiro Komura, Satoru Miyano, Masahiro Goto, Shin-ichi Sawada, Akira Asai, Hiroaki Ikeda, Kazunari Akiyoshi, Naozumi Harada, Hiroshi Shiku

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Abstract

The cyclic GMP-AMP synthase/stimulator of IFN genes (cGAS/STING) pathway detects cytosolic DNA to activate innate immune responses. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) selectively target cancer cells with DNA repair deficiencies such as those caused by BRCA1 mutations or ERCC1 defects. Using isogenic cell lines and patient-derived samples, we showed that ERCC1-defective non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells exhibit an enhanced type I IFN transcriptomic signature and that low ERCC1 expression correlates with increased lymphocytic infiltration. We demonstrated that clinical PARPi, including olaparib and rucaparib, have cell-autonomous immunomodulatory properties in ERCC1-defective NSCLC and BRCA1-defective triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. Mechanistically, PARPi generated cytoplasmic chromatin fragments with characteristics of micronuclei; these were found to activate cGAS/STING, downstream type I IFN signaling, and CCL5 secretion. Importantly, these effects were suppressed in PARP1-null TNBC cells, suggesting that this phenotype resulted from an on-target effect of PARPi on PARP1. PARPi also potentiated IFN-γ–induced PD-L1 expression in NSCLC cell lines and in fresh patient tumor cells; this effect was enhanced in ERCC1-deficient contexts. Our data provide a preclinical rationale for using PARPi as immunomodulatory agents in appropriately molecularly selected populations.

Authors

Roman M. Chabanon, Gareth Muirhead, Dragomir B. Krastev, Julien Adam, Daphné Morel, Marlène Garrido, Andrew Lamb, Clémence Hénon, Nicolas Dorvault, Mathieu Rouanne, Rebecca Marlow, Ilirjana Bajrami, Marta Llorca Cardeñosa, Asha Konde, Benjamin Besse, Alan Ashworth, Stephen J. Pettitt, Syed Haider, Aurélien Marabelle, Andrew N.J. Tutt, Jean-Charles Soria, Christopher J. Lord, Sophie Postel-Vinay

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Abstract

A variety of neurological procedures, including deep brain stimulation and craniotomies that require tissue removal near elegant cortices, require patients to remain awake and responsive in order to monitor function. Such procedures can produce anxiety and are poorly tolerated in some subjects. In this issue of the JCI, Bijanki and colleagues demonstrate that electrical stimulation of the left dorsal anterior cingulum bundle promoted a positive (mirthful) effect and reduced anxiety, without sedation, in three patients with epilepsy undergoing intracranial electrode monitoring. The results of this study highlight the need for further evaluation of anterior cingulum stimulation to reduce anxiety during awake surgery and as a possible approach for treating anxiety disorders.

Authors

Kelly A. Mills

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Abstract

Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common human sarcoma, frequently characterized by an oncogenic mutation in the KIT or platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) genes. We performed RNA sequencing of 75 human GIST tumors from 75 patients, comprising the largest cohort of GISTs sequenced to date, in order to discover differences in the immune infiltrates of KIT and PDGFRA-mutant GIST. Through bioinformatics, immunohistochemistry, and flow cytometry, we found that PDGFRA-mutant GISTs harbored more immune cells with increased cytolytic activity when compared to KIT-mutant GISTs. PDGFRA-mutant GISTs expressed many chemokines, such as CXCL14, at a significantly higher level when compared to KIT-mutant GISTs and exhibited more diverse driver-derived neoepitope:HLA binding, both of which may contribute to PDGFRA-mutant GIST immunogenicity. Through machine learning, we generated gene expression-based immune profiles capable of differentiating KIT and PDGFRA-mutant GISTs, and also identified additional immune features of high PD-1 and PD-L1 expressing tumors across all GIST mutational subtypes, which may provide insight into immunotherapeutic opportunities and limitations in GIST.

Authors

Gerardo A. Vitiello, Timothy G. Bowler, Mengyuan Liu, Benjamin D. Medina, Jennifer Q. Zhang, Nesteene J. Param, Jennifer K. Loo, Rachel L. Goldfeder, Frederic Chibon, Ferdinand Rossi, Shan Zeng, Ronald P. DeMatteo

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Abstract

Soluble urokinase receptor (suPAR) is a circulatory molecule that activates αvβ3 integrin on podocytes, causes foot process effacement, and contributes to proteinuric kidney disease. While active integrin can be targeted by antibodies and small molecules, endogenous inhibitors haven’t been discovered yet. Here we report a novel, renoprotective role for inducible costimulator (ICOS) ligand (ICOSL) in early kidney disease through its selective binding to podocyte αvβ3 integrin. Contrary to ICOSL’s immune-regulatory role, ICOSL in non-hematopoietic cells limited the activation of αvβ3 integrin. Specifically, ICOSL contains arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD) motif, which allowed for a high affinity and selective binding to αvβ3 and modulation of podocyte adhesion. This binding was largely inhibited either by a synthetic RGD peptide or by a disrupted RGD sequence in ICOSL. ICOSL binding favored the active αvβ3 rather than the inactive form and showed little affinity for other integrins. Consistent with the rapid induction of podocyte ICOSL by inflammatory stimuli, glomerular ICOSL expression was increased in biopsies of early stage human proteinuric kidney diseases. Icosl deficiency in mice resulted in an increased susceptibility to proteinuria that was rescued by recombinant ICOSL. Our work identified a novel role for ICOSL, which serves as an endogenous αvβ3-selective antagonist to maintain glomerular filtration.

Authors

Kwi Hye Koh, Yanxia Cao, Steve Mangos, Nicholas J. Tardi, Ranadheer R. Dande, Ha Won Lee, Beata Samelko, Mehmet M. Altintas, Vincent P. Schmitz, Hyun Lee, Kamalika Mukherjee, Vasil Peev, David J. Cimbaluk, Jochen Reiser, Eunsil Hahm

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Abstract

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) represents an immune quiescent tumor that is resistant to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Previously, our group has shown that a GM-CSF secreting allogenic pancreatic tumor cell vaccine (GVAX), may prime the tumor microenvironment by inducing intratumoral T-cell infiltration. Here, we show that untreated PDACs express minimal indoleamine-2, 3-dioxygenase (IDO1); however, GVAX therapy induced IDO1 expression on tumor epithelia as well as vaccine-induced tertiary lymphoid aggregates. IDO1 expression plays a role in regulating the polarization of Th1, Th17, and possibly T-regulatory cells in PDAC tumors. IDO1 inhibitor enhanced anti-tumor efficacy of GVAX in a murine model of PDACs. The combination of vaccine and IDO1 inhibitor enhanced intratumoral T-cell infiltration and function, but adding anti-PD-L1 antibody to the combination did not offer further synergy and in fact may have a negative interaction decreasing the number of intratumoral effector T-cells. Additionally, IDO1 inhibitor in the presence of vaccine therapy, did not significantly modulate intratumoral myeloid derived suppressor cells quantitatively, but diminished their suppressive effect on CD8+ proliferation. Our study thus supports the combination of IDO1 inhibitor and vaccine therapy, however, does not support the combination of IDO1 inhibitor and anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibody for T cell-inflamed tumors such as PDACs treated with vaccine therapy.

Authors

Alex B. Blair, Jennifer Kleponis, Dwayne L. Thomas II, Stephen T. Muth, Adrian G. Murphy, Victoria Kim, Lei Zheng

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Abstract

Understanding the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) promises to be key for optimal cancer therapy, especially in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Integrating spatial resolution of immune cells with laser capture microdissection gene expression profiles, we defined distinct TIME stratification in TNBC with implications for current therapies, including immune checkpoint blockade. TNBCs with an immunoreactive microenvironment exhibited tumoral infiltration of granzyme B+ CD8+ T cells, a type I interferon signature, elevated expression of multiple immune inhibitory molecules, including IDO, PD-L1, and good outcome. An “immune-cold” microenvironment with absence of tumoral CD8+ T cells was defined by elevated expression of the immunosuppressive marker B7-H4, signatures of fibrotic stroma and poor outcome. A distinct poor outcome immunomodulatory microenvironment, hitherto poorly characterized, exhibited stromal restriction of CD8+ T cells, stromal expression of PD-L1 and enrichment for signatures of cholesterol biosynthesis. Metasignatures defining these TIME subtypes stratified TNBC, predicting outcome and identifying potential therapeutic targets for TNBC.

Authors

Tina Gruosso, Mathieu Gigoux, Venkata Satya Kumar Manem, Nicholas Bertos, Dongmei Zuo, Irina Perlitch, Sadiq Mehdi Ismail Saleh, Hong Zhao, Margarita Souleimanova, Radia Marie Johnson, Anne Monette, Valentina Munoz Ramos, Michael Trevor Hallett, John Stagg, Réjean Lapointe, Atilla Omeroglu, Sarkis Meterissian, Laurence Buisseret, Gert Van den Eynden, Roberto Salgado, Marie-Christine Guiot, Benjamin Haibe-Kains, Morag Park

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Abstract

Constitutive JAK2 signaling is central to myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) pathogenesis and results in activation of STAT, PI3K/AKT and MEK/ERK signaling. However, the therapeutic efficacy of current JAK2 inhibitors is limited. We investigated the role of MEK/ERK signaling in MPN cell survival in the setting of JAK kinase inhibition. Type I and II JAK2 inhibition suppressed MEK/ERK activation in MPN cell lines in vitro, but not in Jak2V617F and MPLW515L mouse models in vivo. JAK2 inhibition ex vivo inhibited MEK/ERK signaling suggesting cell extrinsic factors maintain ERK activation in vivo. We identified PDGFRα as an activated kinase that remains activated upon JAK2 inhibition in vivo, and PDGF-AA/PDGF-BB production persisted in the setting of JAK kinase inhibition. PDGF-BB maintained ERK activation in presence of ruxolitinib consistent with its function as a ligand-induced bypass for ERK activation. Combined JAK/MEK inhibition suppressed MEK/ERK activation in Jak2V617F and MPLW515L mice with increased efficacy and reversal of fibrosis to an extent not seen with JAK inhibitors. This demonstrates that compensatory ERK activation limits the efficacy of JAK2 inhibition and dual JAK/MEK inhibition provides an opportunity for improved therapeutic efficacy in MPNs and in other malignancies driven by aberrant JAK-STAT signaling.

Authors

Simona Stivala, Tamara Codilupi, Sime Brkic, Anne Baerenwaldt, Nilabh Ghosh, Hui Hao-Shen, Stephan Dirnhofer, Matthias S. Dettmer, Cedric Simillion, Beat A. Kaufmann, Sophia Chiu, Matthew D. Keller, Maria Kleppe, Morgane Hilpert, Andreas S. Buser, Jakob R. Passweg, Thomas Radimerski, Radek C. Skoda, Ross L. Levine, Sara C. Meyer

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February 2019

129 2 cover

February 2019 Issue

On the cover:
Real-time visualization of immune checkpoint inhibitor engagement

In this issue of the JCI, Kumar et al. describe a peptide-based PET ligand that enables dynamic analysis of anti–PD-L1 therapeutic engagement with targets on tumor cells. The non­invasive tool has the potential to optimize the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors and provide insights into safer dosing and therapeutic regimens. Image credit: Jennifer E. Fairman, CMI, FAMI.

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Jci tm 02

February 2019 JCI This Month

JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.

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Review Series - More

Biology of familial cancer predisposition syndromes

Series edited by Mary Armanios and Agata Smogorzewska

Heritable germline mutations are estimated to drive 10% of all cancers, which can manifest as pediatric as well adult diseases. This series, curated by Agata Smogorzewska and JCI Associate Editor Mary Armanios, unravels how the biology and genetics underlying familial cancer predisposition syndromes informs understanding cancer etiology and biology. Reviews focus on cancer-driving mutations in transcription factors, in developmental and metabolic signals, and in pathways that control genetic stability and provide insights linking mechanistic studies with ongoing clinical research. Enhanced understanding of the biological basis for these familial cancers may inform the treatment of cancers driven by both germline and somatic mutations.

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