Potentiating radiotherapy and chemotherapy by inhibiting DNA damage repair is proposed as a therapeutic strategy to improve outcomes for patients with solid tumors. However, this approach risks enhancing normal tissue toxicity as much as tumor toxicity, thereby limiting its translational impact. Using NU5455, a newly identified highly selective oral inhibitor of DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) activity, we found that it was indeed possible to preferentially augment the effect of targeted radiotherapy on human orthotopic lung tumors without influencing acute DNA damage or a late radiation-induced toxicity (fibrosis) to normal mouse lung. Furthermore, while NU5455 administration increased both the efficacy and the toxicity of a parenterally administered topoisomerase inhibitor, it enhanced the activity of doxorubicin released locally in liver tumor xenografts without inducing any adverse effect. This strategy is particularly relevant to hepatocellular cancer, which is treated clinically with localized drug-eluting beads and for which DNA-PKcs activity is reported to confer resistance to treatment. We conclude that transient pharmacological inhibition of DNA-PKcs activity is effective and tolerable when combined with localized DNA-damaging therapies and thus has promising clinical potential.
Catherine E. Willoughby, Yanyan Jiang, Huw D. Thomas, Elaine Willmore, Suzanne Kyle, Anita Wittner, Nicole Phillips, Yan Zhao, Susan J. Tudhope, Lisa Prendergast, Gesa Junge, Luiza Madia Lourenco, M. Raymond V. Finlay, Paul Turner, Joanne M. Munck, Roger J. Griffin, Tommy Rennison, James Pickles, Celine Cano, David R. Newell, Helen L. Reeves, Anderson J. Ryan, Stephen R. Wedge
Javid Moslehi, W. Kimryn Rathmell
The c-MYC (MYC) oncoprotein is often overexpressed in human breast cancer; however, its role in driving disease phenotypes is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of MYC in HER2+ disease, examining the relationship between HER2 expression and MYC phosphorylation in HER2+ patient tumors and characterizing the functional effects of deregulating MYC expression in the murine NeuNT model of amplified-HER2 breast cancer. Deregulated MYC alone was not tumorigenic, but coexpression with NeuNT resulted in increased MYC Ser62 phosphorylation and accelerated tumorigenesis. The resulting tumors were metastatic and associated with decreased survival compared with NeuNT alone. MYC;NeuNT tumors had increased intertumoral heterogeneity including a subtype of tumors not observed in NeuNT tumors, which showed distinct metaplastic histology and worse survival. The distinct subtypes of MYC;NeuNT tumors match existing subtypes of amplified-HER2, estrogen receptor–negative human tumors by molecular expression, identifying the preclinical utility of this murine model to interrogate subtype-specific differences in amplified-HER2 breast cancer. We show that these subtypes have differential sensitivity to clinical HER2/EGFR–targeted therapeutics, but small-molecule activators of PP2A, the phosphatase that regulates MYC Ser62 phosphorylation, circumvents these subtype-specific differences and ubiquitously suppresses tumor growth, demonstrating the therapeutic utility of this approach in targeting deregulated MYC breast cancers.
Tyler Risom, Xiaoyan Wang, Juan Liang, Xiaoli Zhang, Carl Pelz, Lydia G. Campbell, Jenny Eng, Koei Chin, Caroline Farrington, Goutham Narla, Ellen M. Langer, Xiao-Xin Sun, Yulong Su, Colin J. Daniel, Mu-Shui Dai, Christiane V. Löhr, Rosalie C. Sears
Nora D. Volkow, Carlos Blanco
The mineralocorticoid aldosterone is produced in the adrenal zona glomerulosa (ZG) under the control of the renin–angiotensin II (AngII) system. Primary aldosteronism (PA) results from renin-independent production of aldosterone and is a common cause of hypertension. PA is caused by dysregulated localization of the enzyme aldosterone synthase (Cyp11b2), which is normally restricted to the ZG. Cyp11b2 transcription and aldosterone production are predominantly regulated by AngII activation of the Gq signaling pathway. Here, we report the generation of transgenic mice with Gq-coupled designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) specifically in the adrenal cortex. We show that adrenal-wide ligand activation of Gq DREADD receptors triggered disorganization of adrenal functional zonation, with induction of Cyp11b2 in glucocorticoid-producing zona fasciculata cells. This result was consistent with increased renin-independent aldosterone production and hypertension. All parameters were reversible following termination of DREADD-mediated Gq signaling. These findings demonstrate that Gq signaling is sufficient for adrenocortical aldosterone production and implicate this pathway in the determination of zone-specific steroid production within the adrenal cortex. This transgenic mouse also provides an inducible and reversible model of hyperaldosteronism to investigate PA therapeutics and the mechanisms leading to the damaging effects of aldosterone on the cardiovascular system.
Matthew J. Taylor, Matthew R. Ullenbruch, Emily C. Frucci, Juilee Rege, Mark S. Ansorge, Celso E. Gomez-Sanchez, Salma Begum, Edward Laufer, David T. Breault, William E. Rainey
Whether respiratory epithelial cells regulate the final transit of extravasated neutrophils into the inflamed airspace or are a passive barrier is poorly understood. Alveolar epithelial type 1 (AT1) cells, best known for solute transport and gas exchange, have few established immune roles. Epithelial membrane protein 2 (EMP2), a tetraspan protein that promotes recruitment of integrins to lipid rafts, is highly expressed in AT1 cells, but has no known function in lung biology. Here, we show that Emp2–/– mice exhibit reduced neutrophil influx into the airspace after a wide range of inhaled exposures. During bacterial pneumonia, Emp2–/– mice had attenuated neutrophilic lung injury and improved survival. Bone marrow chimeras, intravital neutrophil labeling, and in vitro assays suggested that defective transepithelial migration of neutrophils into the alveolar lumen occurs in Emp2–/– lungs. Emp2–/– AT1 cells had dysregulated surface display of multiple adhesion molecules, associated with reduced raft abundance. Epithelial raft abundance was dependent upon putative cholesterol-binding motifs in EMP2, whereas EMP2 supported adhesion molecule display and neutrophil transmigration through suppression of caveolins. Taken together, we propose that EMP2-dependent membrane organization ensures proper display on AT1 cells of a suite of proteins required to instruct paracellular neutrophil traffic into the alveolus.
Wan-Chi Lin, Kymberly M. Gowdy, Jennifer H. Madenspacher, Rachel L. Zemans, Kazuko Yamamoto, Miranda Lyons-Cohen, Hideki Nakano, Kyathanahalli Janardhan, Carmen J. Williams, Donald N. Cook, Joseph P. Mizgerd, Michael B. Fessler
Currently, an effective targeted therapy for pancreatitis is lacking. Hereditary pancreatitis (HP) is a heritable, autosomal-dominant disorder with recurrent acute pancreatitis (AP) progressing to chronic pancreatitis (CP) and a markedly increased risk of pancreatic cancer. In 1996, mutations in PRSS1 were linked to the development of HP. Here, we developed a mouse model by inserting a full-length human PRSS1R122H gene, the most commonly mutated gene in human HP, into mice. Expression of PRSS1R122H protein in the pancreas markedly increased stress signaling pathways and exacerbated AP. After the attack of AP, all PRSS1R122H mice had disease progression to CP, with similar histologic features as those observed in human HP. By comparing PRSS1R122H mice with PRSS1WT mice as well as enzymatically inactivated Dead-PRSS1R122H mice, we unraveled that increased trypsin activity is the mechanism for R122H mutation to sensitize mice to the development of pancreatitis. We further discovered that trypsin inhibition, in combination with anticoagulation therapy, synergistically prevented progression to CP in PRSS1R122H mice. These animal models help us better understand the complex nature of this disease and provide powerful tools for developing and testing novel therapeutics for human pancreatitis.
Fu Gui, Yuebo Zhang, Jianhua Wan, Xianbao Zhan, Yao Yao, Yinghua Li, Ashley N. Haddock, Ji Shi, Jia Guo, Jiaxiang Chen, Xiaohui Zhu, Brandy H. Edenfield, Lu Zhuang, Cheng Hu, Ying Wang, Debabrata Mukhopadhyay, Evette S. Radisky, Lizhi Zhang, Aurelia Lugea, Stephen J. Pandol, Yan Bi, Baoan Ji
Sustained, indolent immune injury of the vasculature of a heart transplant limits long-term graft and recipient survival. This injury is mitigated by a poorly characterized, maladaptive repair response. Vascular endothelial cells respond to proangiogenic cues in the embryo by differentiation to specialized phenotypes, associated with expression of apelin. In the adult, the role of developmental proangiogenic cues in repair of the established vasculature is largely unknown. We found that human and minor histocompatibility–mismatched donor mouse heart allografts with alloimmune-mediated vasculopathy upregulated expression of apelin in arteries and myocardial microvessels. In vivo, loss of donor heart expression of apelin facilitated graft immune cell infiltration, blunted vascular repair, and worsened occlusive vasculopathy in mice. In vitro, an apelin receptor agonist analog elicited endothelial nitric oxide synthase activation to promote endothelial monolayer wound repair, and reduce immune cell adhesion. Thus, apelin acted as an autocrine growth cue to sustain vascular repair and mitigate the effects of immune injury. Treatment with an apelin receptor agonist after vasculopathy was established markedly reduced progression of arterial occlusion in mice. Together, these initial data identify proangiogenic apelin as a key mediator of coronary vascular repair and a pharmacotherapeutic target for immune-mediated injury of the coronary vasculature.
Andrew G. Masoud, Jiaxin Lin, Abul K. Azad, Maikel A. Farhan, Conrad Fischer, Lin F. Zhu, Hao Zhang, Banu Sis, Zamaneh Kassiri, Ronald B. Moore, Daniel Kim, Colin C. Anderson, John C. Vederas, Benjamin A. Adam, Gavin Y. Oudit, Allan G. Murray
Mitochondrial dysfunction or loss is evident in neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations associated with NADH dehydrogenase subunits and nuclear gene mutations that affect mitochondrial function result in optic neuropathies. In this issue of the JCI, Del Dotto et al. and Piro-Mégy et al. identify heterozygous mutations in nuclear-encoded mitochondrial single-strand binding protein 1 (SSBP1) in patients with apparently dominant optic neuropathy with or without extraocular phenotypes. Both research groups reported similar mitochondrial findings in response to SSBP1 mutations. However, the specific SSBP1 mitochondria–associated function in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and the resulting optic nerve remains unclear. We suggest that high expression of SSBP1 during RGC differentiation is critical for mtDNA maintenance to produce appropriate optic nerve connectivity and that SSBP1 mutations in dominant optic atrophy patients do not permit stable binding to N6-methyldeoxyadenosine on the heavy strand involved with replication, leading to disruptions of mtDNA and, eventually, optic nerve dysfunction.
Lina Zelinger, Anand Swaroop
Inherited optic neuropathies include complex phenotypes, mostly driven by mitochondrial dysfunction. We report an optic atrophy spectrum disorder, including retinal macular dystrophy and kidney insufficiency leading to transplantation, associated with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion without accumulation of multiple deletions. By whole-exome sequencing, we identified mutations affecting the mitochondrial single-strand binding protein (SSBP1) in 4 families with dominant and 1 with recessive inheritance. We show that SSBP1 mutations in patient-derived fibroblasts variably affect the amount of SSBP1 protein and alter multimer formation, but not the binding to ssDNA. SSBP1 mutations impaired mtDNA, nucleoids, and 7S-DNA amounts as well as mtDNA replication, affecting replisome machinery. The variable mtDNA depletion in cells was reflected in severity of mitochondrial dysfunction, including respiratory efficiency, OXPHOS subunits, and complex amount and assembly. mtDNA depletion and cytochrome c oxidase–negative cells were found ex vivo in biopsies of affected tissues, such as kidney and skeletal muscle. Reduced efficiency of mtDNA replication was also reproduced in vitro, confirming the pathogenic mechanism. Furthermore, ssbp1 suppression in zebrafish induced signs of nephropathy and reduced optic nerve size, the latter phenotype complemented by WT mRNA but not by SSBP1 mutant transcripts. This previously unrecognized disease of mtDNA maintenance implicates SSBP1 mutations as a cause of human pathology.
Valentina Del Dotto, Farid Ullah, Ivano Di Meo, Pamela Magini, Mirjana Gusic, Alessandra Maresca, Leonardo Caporali, Flavia Palombo, Francesca Tagliavini, Evan Harris Baugh, Bertil Macao, Zsolt Szilagyi, Camille Peron, Margaret A. Gustafson, Kamal Khan, Chiara La Morgia, Piero Barboni, Michele Carbonelli, Maria Lucia Valentino, Rocco Liguori, Vandana Shashi, Jennifer Sullivan, Shashi Nagaraj, Mays El-Dairi, Alessandro Iannaccone, Ioana Cutcutache, Enrico Bertini, Rosalba Carrozzo, Francesco Emma, Francesca Diomedi-Camassei, Claudia Zanna, Martin Armstrong, Matthew Page, Nicholas Stong, Sylvia Boesch, Robert Kopajtich, Saskia Wortmann, Wolfgang Sperl, Erica E. Davis, William C. Copeland, Marco Seri, Maria Falkenberg, Holger Prokisch, Nicholas Katsanis, Valeria Tiranti, Tommaso Pippucci, Valerio Carelli
Mosaic-variegated aneuploidy (MVA) syndrome is a rare childhood disorder characterized by biallelic BUBR1, CEP57, or TRIP13 aberrations; increased chromosome missegregation; and a broad spectrum of clinical features, including various cancers, congenital defects, and progeroid pathologies. To investigate the mechanisms underlying this disorder and its phenotypic heterogeneity, we mimicked the BUBR1L1012P mutation in mice (BubR1L1002P) and combined it with 2 other MVA variants, BUBR1X753 and BUBR1H, generating a truncated protein and low amounts of wild-type protein, respectively. Whereas BubR1X753/L1002P and BubR1H/X753 mice died prematurely, BubR1H/L1002P mice were viable and exhibited many MVA features, including cancer predisposition and various progeroid phenotypes, such as short lifespan, dwarfism, lipodystrophy, sarcopenia, and low cardiac stress tolerance. Strikingly, although these mice had a reduction in total BUBR1 and spectrum of MVA phenotypes similar to that of BubR1H/H mice, several progeroid pathologies were attenuated in severity, which in skeletal muscle coincided with reduced senescence-associated secretory phenotype complexity. Additionally, mice carrying monoallelic BubR1 mutations were prone to select MVA-related pathologies later in life, with predisposition to sarcopenia correlating with mTORC1 hyperactivity. Together, these data demonstrate that BUBR1 allelic effects beyond protein level and aneuploidy contribute to disease heterogeneity in both MVA patients and heterozygous carriers of MVA mutations.
Cynthia J. Sieben, Karthik B. Jeganathan, Grace G. Nelson, Ines Sturmlechner, Cheng Zhang, Willemijn H. van Deursen, Bjorn Bakker, Floris Foijer, Hu Li, Darren J. Baker, Jan M. van Deursen
Arcuate nucleus agouti–related peptide (AgRP) neurons play a central role in feeding and are under complex regulation by both homeostatic hormonal and nutrient signals and hypothalamic neuronal pathways. Feeding may also be influenced by environmental cues, sensory inputs, and other behaviors, implying the involvement of higher brain regions. However, whether such pathways modulate feeding through direct synaptic control of AgRP neuron activity is unknown. Here, we show that nociceptin-expressing neurons in the anterior bed nuclei of the stria terminalis (aBNST) make direct GABAergic inputs onto AgRP neurons. We found that activation of these neurons inhibited AgRP neurons and feeding. The activity of these neurons increased upon food availability, and their ablation resulted in obesity. Furthermore, these neurons received afferent inputs from a range of upstream brain regions as well as hypothalamic nuclei. Therefore, aBNST GABAergic nociceptin neurons may act as a gateway to feeding behavior by connecting AgRP neurons to both homeostatic and nonhomeostatic neuronal inputs.
Mark A. Smith, Agharul I. Choudhury, Justyna A. Glegola, Paulius Viskaitis, Elaine E. Irvine, Pedro Caldas Custodio de Campos Silva, Sanjay Khadayate, Hanns Ulrich Zeilhofer, Dominic J. Withers
Mutations in genes encoding components of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication machinery cause mtDNA depletion syndromes (MDSs), which associate ocular features with severe neurological syndromes. Here, we identified heterozygous missense mutations in single-strand binding protein 1 (SSBP1) in 5 unrelated families, leading to the R38Q and R107Q amino acid changes in the mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein, a crucial protein involved in mtDNA replication. All affected individuals presented optic atrophy, associated with foveopathy in half of the cases. To uncover the structural features underlying SSBP1 mutations, we determined a revised SSBP1 crystal structure. Structural analysis suggested that both mutations affect dimer interactions and presumably distort the DNA-binding region. Using patient fibroblasts, we validated that the R38Q variant destabilizes SSBP1 dimer/tetramer formation, affects mtDNA replication, and induces mtDNA depletion. Our study showing that mutations in SSBP1 cause a form of dominant optic atrophy frequently accompanied with foveopathy brings insights into mtDNA maintenance disorders.
Camille Piro-Mégy, Emmanuelle Sarzi, Aleix Tarrés-Solé, Marie Péquignot, Fenna Hensen, Mélanie Quilès, Gaël Manes, Arka Chakraborty, Audrey Sénéchal, Béatrice Bocquet, Chantal Cazevieille, Agathe Roubertie, Agnès Müller, Majida Charif, David Goudenège, Guy Lenaers, Helmut Wilhelm, Ulrich Kellner, Nicole Weisschuh, Bernd Wissinger, Xavier Zanlonghi, Christian Hamel, Johannes N. Spelbrink, Maria Sola, Cécile Delettre
Robert A. Brodsky, Michael R. DeBaun
X-linked immunodeficiency with magnesium defect, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, and neoplasia (XMEN) disease is caused by deficiency of the magnesium transporter 1 gene (MAGT1). We studied 23 XMEN patients, 8 of whom were EBV-naïve. We observed lymphadenopathy (LAD), cytopenias, liver disease, cavum septum pellucidum, and increased CD4-CD8-B220-TCRalpha/beta+ T (abDNT) cells, in addition to the previously described features of an inverted CD4:CD8 ratio, CD4+ T lymphocytopenia, increased B cells, dysgammaglobulinemia, and decreased expression of the “Natural-Killer Group 2, member D” (NKG2D) receptor. EBV-associated B cell malignancies occurred frequently in EBV-infected patients. We investigated XMEN patients and autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) patients by deep immunophenotyping (32 immune markers) using Time of Flight Mass Cytometry (CyTOF). Our analysis revealed that the abundance of two populations of naïve B cells (CD20+CD27-CD22+IgM+HLA-DR+CXCR5+CXCR4++CD10+CD38+ and CD20+CD27-CD22+IgM+HLA-DR+CXCR5+CXCR4+CD10-CD38-) could differentially classify XMEN, ALPS, and normal individuals. We also performed glycoproteomics analysis on T lymphocytes and show that XMEN disease is a congenital disorder of glycosylation that affects a restricted subset of glycoproteins. Transfection of MAGT1 mRNA enabled us to rescue proteins with defective glycosylation. Together, these data provide new clinical and pathophysiological foundations with important ramifications for the diagnosis and treatment of XMEN disease.
Juan C. Ravell, Mami Matsuda-Lennikov, Samuel D. Chauvin, Juan Zou, Matthew Biancalana, Sally J. Deeb, Susan Price, Helen C. Su, Giulia Notarangelo, Ping Jiang, Aaron Morawski, Chrysi Kanellopoulou, Kyle W. Binder, Ratnadeep Mukherjee, James T. Anibal, Brian Sellers, Lixin Zheng, Tingyan He, Alex B. George, Stefania Pittaluga, Astin Powers, David E. Kleiner, Devika Kapuria, Marc Ghany, Sally Hunsberger, Jeffrey I. Cohen, Gulbu Uzel, Jenna Bergerson, Lynne Wolfe, Camilo Toro, William Gahl, Les R. Folio, Helen Matthews, Pam Angelus, Ivan K. Chinn, Jordan S. Orange, Claudia M. Trujillo-Vargas, Jose Luis Franco, Julio Orrego-Arango, Sebastian Gutiérrez-Hincapié, Niraj Chandrakant Patel, Kimiyo Raymond, Turkan Patiroglu, Ekrem Unal, Musa Karakukcu, Alexandre G.R. Day, Pankaj Mehta, Evan Masutani, Suk S. De Ravin, Harry L. Malech, Grégoire Altan-Bonnet, V. Koneti Rao, Matthias Mann, Michael J. Lenardo
β-thalassemia is a genetic anemia caused by partial or complete loss of β-globin synthesis leading to ineffective erythropoiesis and RBCs with short life-span. Currently, there is no efficacious oral medication modifying anemia for patients with beta-thalassemia. The inappropriately low levels of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin enable excessive iron absorption by ferroportin, the unique cellular iron exporter in mammals, leading to organ iron overload and associated morbidities. Correction of unbalanced iron absorption and recycling by induction of hepcidin synthesis or treatment with hepcidin mimetics ameliorates β-thalassemia. However, hepcidin modulation or replacement strategies currently in clinical development all require parenteral drug administration. We identified oral ferroportin inhibitors by screening a library of small molecular weight compounds for modulators of ferroportin internalization. Restricting iron availability by VIT-2763, the first clinical stage oral ferroportin inhibitor, ameliorated anemia and the dysregulated iron homeostasis in the Hbbth3/+ mouse model of beta-thalassemia intermedia. VIT-2763 not only improved erythropoiesis but also corrected the proportions of myeloid precursors in spleens of Hbbth3/+ mice. VIT-2763 is currently developed as an oral drug targeting ferroportin for the treatment of β-thalassemia.
Vania Manolova, Naja Nyffenegger, Anna Flace, Patrick Altermatt, Ahmet Varol, Cédric Doucerain, Hanna Sundstrom, Franz Dürrenberger
Recent occurrences of filoviruses and the arenavirus Lassa virus (LASV) in overlapping endemic areas of Africa highlight the need for a prophylactic vaccine that would confer protection against all of these viruses that cause lethal hemorrhagic fever (HF). We developed a quadrivalent formulation of Vesiculovax that contains recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vectors expressing filovirus glycoproteins and also contains a rVSV vector expressing the glycoprotein of a lineage IV strain of LASV. Cynomolgus macaques were vaccinated twice with the quadrivalent formulation, followed by challenge 28 days after the boost vaccination with each of the three corresponding filoviruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg) or a heterologous contemporary lineage II strain of LASV. Serum IgG and neutralizing antibody responses specific for all four glycoproteins were detected in all vaccinated animals. A modest and balanced cell-mediated immune response specific for the glycoproteins was also detected in most of the vaccinated macaques. Regardless of the levels of total glycoprotein-specific immune response detected after vaccination, all immunized animals were protected from disease and death following lethal challenges. These findings indicate that vaccination with attenuated rVSV vectors each expressing a single HF virus glycoprotein may provide protection against those filoviruses and LASV most commonly responsible for outbreaks of severe HF in Africa.
Robert W. Cross, Rong Xu, Demetrius Matassov, Stefan Hamm, Theresa E. Latham, Cheryl S. Gerardi, Rebecca M. Nowak, Joan B. Geisbert, Ayuko Ota-Setlik, Krystle N. Agans, Amara Luckay, Susan E. Witko, Lena Soukieh, Daniel J. Deer, Chad E. Mire, Heinz Feldmann, Christian Happi, Karla A. Fenton, John H. Eldridge, Thomas W. Geisbert