Current thalassemia gene therapy protocols require the collection of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), in vitro culture, lentivirus vector transduction, and retransplantation into myelo-ablated patients. Because of cost and technical complexity, it is unlikely that such protocols will be applicable in developing countries where the greatest demand for a beta-thalassemia therapy lies. We have developed a simple in vivo HSPC gene therapy approach that involved HSPC mobilization and an intravenous injection of integrating HDAd5/35++ vectors. Transduced HSPCs homed back to the bone marrow where they persisted long-term. HDAd5/35++ vectors for in vivo gene therapy of thalassemia had a unique capsid that targeted primitive HSPCs through human CD46, a relatively safe SB100X transposase-based integration machinery, a micro-LCR driven gamma-globin gene and, a MGMT(P140K) system that allowed for increasing the therapeutic effect by short-term treatment with low-dose O6BG/BCNU. We showed in “healthy” human CD46 transgenic mice and in a mouse model of thalassemia intermedia that our in vivo approach resulted in stable gamma-globin expression in the majority of circulating red blood cells. The high marking frequency was maintained in secondary recipients. In the thalassemia model, a near complete phenotypic correction was achieved. The treatment was well tolerated. This cost-efficient and “portable” approach could permit a broader clinical application of thalassemia gene therapy.
Hongjie Wang, Aphrodite Georgakopoulou, Nikoletta Psatha, Chang Li, Chrysi Capsali, Himanshu Bhusan Samal, Achilles Anagnostopoulos, Anja Ehrhardt, Zsuzsanna Izsvák, Thalia Papayannopoulou, Evangelia Yannaki, André Lieber
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a premature aging disorder characterized by accelerated cardiovascular disease with extensive fibrosis. It is caused by a mutation in LMNA leading to expression of truncated prelamin A (progerin) in the nucleus. To investigate the contribution of the endothelium to cardiovascular HGPS pathology, we generated an endothelium-specific HGPS mouse model with selective endothelial progerin expression. Transgenic mice develop interstitial myocardial and perivascular fibrosis and left ventricular hypertrophy associated with diastolic dysfunction and premature death. Endothelial cells show impaired shear stress response and reduced levels of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and NO. On the molecular level, progerin impairs nucleocytoskeletal coupling in endothelial cells through changes in mechanoresponsive components at the nuclear envelope, increased F-/G-actin ratios and deregulation of mechanoresponsive myocardin-related transcription factor-A (MRTFA). MRTFA binds to the Nos3 promoter reducing eNOS expression, thereby mediating a pro-fibrotic paracrine response in fibroblasts. MRTFA inhibition rescues eNOS levels and ameliorates the pro-fibrotic effect of endothelial cells in vitro. Although this murine model lacks the key anatomical feature of vascular smooth muscle cell loss seen in HGPS patients, our data show that progerin-induced impairment of mechanosignaling in endothelial cells contributes to excessive fibrosis and cardiovascular disease in HGPS patients.
Selma Osmanagic-Myers, Attila Kiss, Christina Manakanatas, Ouafa Hamza, Franziska Sedlmayer, Petra L. Szabo, Irmgard Fischer, Petra Fichtinger, Bruno K. Podesser, Maria Eriksson, Roland Foisner
Despite showing success in treating melanoma and haematological malignancies, adoptive cell therapy (ACT) has generated only limited effects in solid tumors. This is, in part, due to a lack of specific antigen targets, poor trafficking/infiltration and immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment. In this study, we combined ACT with oncolytic virus vaccines (OVV) to drive expansion and tumor infiltration of transferred antigen-specific T cells, and demonstrated that the combination is highly potent for the eradication of established solid tumors. Consistent with other successful immunotherapies, this approach elicited severe autoimmune consequence when the antigen targeted was a self-protein. However, modulation of IFNα/β signaling, either by functional blockade or rational choice of an OVV backbone, ameliorated autoimmune side effects without compromising antitumor efficacy. Our study uncovers a pathogenic role for IFNα/β in facilitating autoimmune toxicity during cancer immunotherapy and offers a safe and powerful combinatorial regimen with immediate translational applications.
Scott R. Walsh, Donald Bastin, Lan Chen, Andrew Nguyen, Christopher J. Storbeck, Charles Lefebvre, David Stojdl, Jonathan L. Bramson, John C. Bell, Yonghong Wan
X-linked dominant incontinentia pigmenti (IP) and X-linked recessive anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia with immunodeficiency (EDA-ID) are caused by loss-of-function and hypomorphic NEMO mutations, respectively. We describe a European mother with mild IP and a Japanese mother without IP, whose three boys with EDA-ID died of immunodeficiency. We identify the same private variant in an intron of IKBKG/NEMO, IVS4+866 C>T, which was inherited from and occurred de novo in the European and Japanese mothers, respectively. This mutation creates a new splicing donor site, giving rise to a 44-nucleotide pseudo-exon generating a frameshift. Its leakiness accounts for NF-κB activation being impaired, but not abolished in the boys’ cells. However, aberrant splicing rates differ between cell types, with WT NEMO mRNA and protein levels ranging from barely detectable in leukocytes to residual amounts in iPSC-derived macrophages, and higher levels in fibroblasts and iPSC-derived neuronal precursor cells. Finally, SRSF6 binds to the pseudo-exon, facilitating its inclusion. Moreover, SRSF6 knockdown or CLK inhibition restores WT NEMO expression and function in mutant cells. A recurrent deep intronic splicing mutation in IKBKG/NEMO underlies a purely quantitative NEMO defect in males that is most severe in leukocytes and can be rescued by the inhibition of SRSF6 or CLK.
Bertrand Boisson, Yoshitaka Honda, Masahiko Ajiro, Jacinta Bustamante, Matthieu Bendavid, Andrew R. Gennery, Yuri Kawasaki, Jose Ichishima, Mitsujiro Osawa, Hiroshi Nihira, Takeshi Shiba, Takayuki Tanaka, Maya Chrabieh, Benedetta Bigio, Hong Hur, Yuval Itan, Yupu Liang, Satoshi Okada, Kazushi Izawa, Ryuta Nishikomori, Osamu Ohara, Toshio Heike, Laurent Abel, Anne Puel, Megumu K. Saito, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Masatoshi Hagiwara, Takahiro Yasumi
Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is an autosomal dominant disease characterized by recurrent edema attacks associated with morbidity and mortality. HAE results from variations in the SERPING1 gene encoding C1 inhibitor (C1INH), a serine protease inhibitor (serpin). Reduced plasma levels of C1INH lead to enhanced activation of the contact system triggering high levels of bradykinin and increased vascular permeability, but the cellular mechanisms leading to low C1INH levels (20-30% of normal) in heterozygous HAE type I patients remain obscure. Here, we showed that C1INH encoded by a subset of HAE-causing SERPING1 alleles affected secretion of normal C1INH protein in a dominant negative fashion by triggering formation of protein-protein interactions between normal and mutant C1INH leading to creation of larger intracellular C1INH aggregates that were trapped in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Notably, intracellular aggregation of C1INH and ER abnormality were observed in fibroblasts from a heterozygous carrier of a dominant negative SERPING1 gene variant, but the condition was ameliorated by viral delivery of the SERPING1 gene. Collectively, our data link abnormal accumulation of serpins, a hallmark of serpinopathies, with dominant negative disease mechanisms affecting C1INH plasma levels in HAE type I patients and may pave the way for new treatments of HAE.
Didde Haslund, Laura Barrett Ryø, Sara Seidelin Majidi, Iben Kløvgaard Rose, Kristian Alsbjerg Skipper, Tue Fryland, Anja Bille Bohn, Claus Koch, Martin K. Thomsen, Yaseelan Palarasah, Thomas J. Corydon, Anette Bygum, Lene N. Nejsum, Jacob Giehm Mikkelsen
The negatively charged sugar sialic acid (Sia) occupies the outermost position in the bulk of cell surface glycans. Lack of sialylated glycans due to genetic ablation of the Sia activating enzyme CMP-sialic acid synthase (CMAS) resulted in embryonic lethality around day 9.5 post coitum (E9.5) in mice. Developmental failure was caused by complement activation on trophoblasts in Cmas-/- implants accompanied by infiltration of maternal neutrophils at the fetal-maternal interface, intrauterine growth restriction, impaired placental development and a thickened Reichert’s membrane. This phenotype, which shared features with complement-recepter-1 related protein Y (Crry) depletion, was rescued in E8.5 Cmas-/- mice upon injection of cobra venom factor resulting in exhaustion of the maternal complement component C3. Here we show that Sia is dispensable for early development of the embryo proper, but pivotal for fetal-maternal immune homeostasis during pregnancy, i.e. for protecting the allograft implant against attack by the maternal innate immune system. Finally, embryos devoid of cell surface sialylation suffered from malnutrition due to inadequate placentation as secondary effect.
Markus Abeln, Iris Albers, Ulrike Peters-Bernard, Kerstin Flächsig-Schulz, Elina Kats, Andreas Kispert, Stephen Tomlinson, Rita Gerardy-Schahn, Anja Münster-Kühnel, Birgit Weinhold
BACKGROUND. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous smoking-related disease characterized by airway obstruction and inflammation. This inflammation may persist even after smoking cessation and responds variably to corticosteroids. Personalizing treatment to biologically similar “molecular phenotypes” may improve therapeutic efficacy in COPD. IL-17A is involved in neutrophilic inflammation and corticosteroid resistance, and thus may be particularly important in a COPD molecular phenotype. METHODS. We generated a gene expression signature of IL-17A response in bronchial airway epithelial brushings (“BAE”) from smokers with and without COPD (n = 238), and validated it using data from two randomized trials of IL-17 blockade in psoriasis. This IL-17 signature was related to clinical and pathologic characteristics in two additional human studies of COPD: (1) SPIROMICS (n = 47), which included former and current smokers with COPD, and (2) GLUCOLD (n = 79), in which COPD participants were randomized to placebo or corticosteroids. RESULTS. The IL-17 signature was associated with an inflammatory profile characteristic of an IL-17 response, including increased airway neutrophils and macrophages. In SPIROMICS the signature was associated with increased airway obstruction and functional small airway disease on quantitative chest CT. In GLUCOLD the signature was associated with decreased response to corticosteroids, irrespective of airway eosinophilic or Type 2 inflammation. CONCLUSION. These data suggest that a gene signature of IL-17 airway epithelial response distinguishes a biologically, radiographically, and clinically distinct COPD subgroup that may benefit from personalized therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01969344. FUNDING. Primary support from NIH/NHLBI. For others see below.
Stephanie A. Christenson, Maarten van den Berge, Alen Faiz, Kai Imkamp, Nirav Bhakta, Luke R. Bonser, Lorna T. Zlock, Igor Z. Barjaktarevic, R. Graham Barr, Eugene R. Bleecker, Richard C. Boucher, Russell P. Bowler, Alejandro P. Comellas, Jeffrey L. Curtis, MeiLan K. Han, Nadia N. Hansel, Pieter S. Hiemstra, Robert J. Kaner, Jerry A. Krishnan, Fernando J. Martinez, Wanda K. O'Neal, Robert Paine III, Wim Timens, J. Michael Wells, Avrum Spira, David J. Erle, Prescott G. Woodruff
Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) is a mitochondrial enzyme detoxifying acetaldehyde and endogenous lipid aldehydes; previous studies suggest a protective role of ALDH2 against cardiovascular disease (CVD). Around 40% of East Asians carrying a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) ALDH2 rs671 have increased incidences of CVD. However, the role of ALDH2 in CVD beyond alcohol consumption remains poorly defined. Here we report that ALDH2/LDLR DKO mice have decreased atherosclerosis compared to LDLR KO mice, whereas ALDH2/APOpoE DKO have increased atherosclerosis, suggesting an unexpected interaction of ALDH2 with LDLR. Further studies demonstrate that in the absence of LDLR, AMPK phosphorylates ALDH2 at threonine 356 and enables its nuclear translocation. Nuclear ALDH2 interacts with HDAC3 and represses transcription of a lysosomal proton pump protein ATP6Vv0Ee2, critical for maintaining lysosomal function, autophagy and degradation of oxLDL. Interestingly, an interaction of cytosolic LDLR C-terminus with AMPK blocks ALDH2 phosphorylation and subsequent nuclear translocation, whereas ALDH2 rs671 mutant in human macrophages attenuates this interaction, which releases ALDH2 to nucleus to suppress ATP6Vv0Ee2 expression, resulting in increased foam cells due to impaired lysosomal function. Our studies reveal a novel role of ALDH2 and LDLR in atherosclerosis and provide a molecular mechanism by which ALDH2 rs671 SNP increases CVD.
Shanshan Zhong, Luxiao Li, Yu-Lei Zhang, Lili Zhang, Jianhong Lu, Shuyuan Guo, Ningning Liang, Jing Ge, Mingjiang Zhu, Yongzhen Tao, Yun-Cheng Wu, Huiyong Yin
Notch signaling regulates differentiation of the pancreatic endocrine lineage during embryogenesis, but the role of Notch in mature β cells is unclear. We found that islets derived from lean mice show modest β cell Notch activity, which increases in obesity and in response to high glucose. This response appeared maladaptive, as mice with β cell-specific deficient Notch transcriptional activity (β-Rbpj, β-DNMAML) showed improved glucose tolerance when subjected to high-fat diet feeding. Conversely, mice with β cell-specific expression of constitutively-active Notch1 (β-NICD) had a progressive loss of β cell maturity, due to proteasomal degradation of MafA, leading to impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and glucose intolerance with aging or obesity. Surprisingly, Notch-active β cells had increased proliferative capacity, leading to increased but dysfunctional β cell mass. These studies demonstrate a dynamic role for Notch in developed β cells to simultaneously regulate β cell function and proliferation.
Alberto Bartolome, Changyu Zhu, Lori Sussel, Utpal B. Pajvani
Replicative immortality is a hallmark of cancer governed by telomere maintenance. About 90% of human cancers maintain their telomeres by activating telomerase, driven by transcriptional upregulation of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT). Although TERT promoter mutations (TPMs) are a major cancer-associated genetic mechanism of TERT upregulation, many cancers exhibit TERT upregulation without TPMs. In this study, we described TERT Hypermethylated Oncological Region (THOR), a 433-bp genomic region encompassing 52 CpG sites located immediately upstream of the TERT core promoter, as a cancer-associated epigenetic mechanism of TERT upregulation. Unmethylated THOR repressed TERT promoter activity regardless of TPMs status, and hypermethylation of THOR counteracted this repressive function. THOR methylation analysis in 1,352 human tumors revealed frequent (>45%) cancer-associated DNA hypermethylation in 9 of 11 (82%) tumor types screened. Additionally, THOR hypermethylation — either independently or along with TPMs — accounted for how approximately 90% of human cancers can aberrantly activate telomerase. Thus, we propose THOR hypermethylation as a prevalent telomerase activating mechanism in cancer that can act independently or in conjunction with TPMs, further supporting the utility of THOR hypermethylation as a prognostic biomarker.
Donghyun D. Lee, Ricardo Leão, Martin Komosa, Marco Gallo, Cindy H. Zhang, Tatiana Lipman, Marc Remke, Abolfazl Heidari, Nuno Miguel Nunes, Joana D. Apolónio, Ramon Andrade De Mello, João Dias, David Huntsman, Thomas Hermanns, Peter J. Wild, Robert Vanner, Gelareh Zadeh, Jason Karamchandani, Sunit Das, Michael D. Taylor, Cynthia E. Hawkins, Jonathan D. Wasserman, Arnaldo Figueiredo, Robert J. Hamilton, Mark D. Minden, Khalida Wani, Bill Diplas, Hai Yan, Kenneth Aldape, Mohammad R. Akbari, Arnavaz Danesh, Trevor J. Pugh, Peter B. Dirks, Pedro Castelo-Branco, Uri Tabori
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