Concise Communication

Abstract

EZH2-mediated epigenetic regulation of T cell differentiation and regulatory T cell function has been described previously; however, the role of EZH2 in T cell–mediated anti-tumor immunity, especially in the context of immune checkpoint therapy, is not understood. Here, we showed that genetic depletion of EZH2 in regulatory T cells (FoxP3creEZH2fl/fl mice) leads to robust anti-tumor immunity. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of EZH2 in human T cells using CPI-1205 elicited phenotypic and functional alterations of the regulatory T cells and enhanced cytotoxic activity of effector T cells. We observed that ipilimumab (anti–CTLA-4) increased EZH2 expression in peripheral T cells from treated patients. We hypothesized that inhibition of EZH2 expression in T cells would increase the effectiveness of anti–CTLA-4 therapy, which we tested in murine models. Collectively, our data demonstrated that modulating EZH2 expression in T cells can improve anti-tumor responses elicited by anti–CTLA-4 therapy, which provides a strong rationale for a combination trial of CPI-1205 plus ipilimumab.

Authors

Sangeeta Goswami, Irina Apostolou, Jan Zhang, Jill Skepner, Swetha Anandhan, Xuejun Zhang, Liangwen Xiong, Patrick Trojer, Ana Aparicio, Sumit K. Subudhi, James P. Allison, Hao Zhao, Padmanee Sharma

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Abstract

The transcription factor GATA6 has been shown to be important for lung development and branching morphogenesis in mouse models, but its role in human lung development is largely unknown. Here, we studied the role of GATA6 during lung differentiation using human pluripotent stem cells. We found that the human stem cell lines most efficient at generating NKX2.1+ lung progenitors express lower endogenous levels of GATA6 during endoderm patterning and that knockdown of GATA6 during endoderm patterning increased the generation of these cells. Complete ablation of GATA6 resulted in the generation of lung progenitors displaying increased cell proliferation with up to a 15-fold expansion compared with control cells, whereas the null cell line displayed a defect in further development into mature lung cell types. Furthermore, transgenic expression of GATA6 at the endoderm anteriorization stage skewed development toward a liver fate at the expense of lung progenitors. Our results suggest a critical dosage effect of GATA6 during human endoderm patterning and a later requirement during terminal lung differentiation. These studies offer an approach of modulating GATA6 expression to enhance the production of lung progenitors from human stem cell sources.

Authors

Chia-Min Liao, Somdutta Mukherjee, Amita Tiyaboonchai, Jean Ann Maguire, Fabian L. Cardenas-Diaz, Deborah L. French, Paul Gadue

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Abstract

HIV-1 acquisition occurs most commonly after sexual contact. To establish infection, HIV-1 must infect cells that support high level replication, namely CD4+ T cells, which are absent from the outermost genital epithelium. Dendritic cells (DCs), present in mucosal epithelia, potentially facilitate HIV-1 acquisition. We show that vaginal epithelial DCs, termed CD1a+ VEDCs, are unlike other blood and tissue derived DCs because they express langerin but not DC-SIGN, and unlike skin-based langerin+ DC subset, Langerhans cells (LC), they do not harbor Birbeck granules. Individuals primarily acquire HIV-1 that utilize the CCR5 receptor (termed either R5 or R5X4) during heterosexual transmission, and the mechanism for the block against variants that only use the CXCR4 receptor (classified as X4) remains unclear. We show that X4 as compared to R5 HIV-1 show limited to no replication in CD1a+ VEDCs. This differential replication occurs post-fusion suggesting that receptor usage influences post-entry steps in the virus life-cycle. Furthermore, CD1a+ VEDCs isolated from HIV-1 infected virologically suppressed women harbor HIV-1 DNA. Thus, CD1a+ VEDCs are potentially both infected early during heterosexual transmission and retain virus during treatment. Understanding the interplay between HIV-1 and CD1a+ VEDCs will be important for future prevention and cure strategies.

Authors

Victor Pena-Cruz, Luis M. Agosto, Hisashi Akiyama, Alex Olson, Yvetane Moreau, Jean-Robert Larrieux, Andrew Henderson, Suryaram Gummuluru, Manish Sagar

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Abstract

For gene therapy of gain-of-function autosomal dominant diseases, either correcting or deleting the disease allele is potentially curative. To test whether there may be an advantage of one approach over the other for WHIM (warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections and myelokathexis) syndrome — a primary immunodeficiency disorder caused by gain-of-function autosomal dominant mutations in chemokine receptor CXCR4 — we performed competitive transplantation experiments using both lethally irradiated wild-type (Cxcr4+/+) and unconditioned WHIM (Cxcr4+/w) recipient mice. In both models, hematopoietic reconstitution was markedly superior using bone marrow (BM) cells from donors hemizygous for Cxcr4 (Cxcr4+/o) compared with BM cells from Cxcr4+/+ donors. Remarkably, only ~6% Cxcr4+/o hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) chimerism post-transplantation in unconditioned Cxcr4+/w recipient BM supported >70% long-term donor myeloid chimerism in blood and corrected myeloid cell deficiency in blood. Donor Cxcr4+/o HSCs differentiated normally and did not undergo exhaustion as late as 465 days post-transplantation. Thus, disease allele deletion resulting in Cxcr4 haploinsufficiency was superior to disease allele repair in a mouse model of gene therapy for WHIM syndrome, allowing correction of leukopenia without recipient conditioning.

Authors

Ji-Liang Gao, Erin Yim, Marie Siwicki, Alexander Yang, Qian Liu, Ari Azani, Albert Owusu-Ansah, David H. McDermott, Philip M. Murphy

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Abstract

DEP domain–containing 5 protein (DEPDC5) is a repressor of the recently recognized amino acid–sensing branch of the mTORC1 pathway. So far, its function in the brain remains largely unknown. Germline loss-of-function mutations in DEPDC5 have emerged as a major cause of familial refractory focal epilepsies, with case reports of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Remarkably, a fraction of patients also develop focal cortical dysplasia (FCD), a neurodevelopmental cortical malformation. We therefore hypothesized that a somatic second-hit mutation arising during brain development may support the focal nature of the dysplasia. Here, using postoperative human tissue, we provide the proof of concept that a biallelic 2-hit — brain somatic and germline — mutational mechanism in DEPDC5 causes focal epilepsy with FCD. We discovered a mutation gradient with a higher rate of mosaicism in the seizure-onset zone than in the surrounding epileptogenic zone. Furthermore, we demonstrate the causality of a Depdc5 brain mosaic inactivation using CRISPR-Cas9 editing and in utero electroporation in a mouse model recapitulating focal epilepsy with FCD and SUDEP-like events. We further unveil a key role of Depdc5 in shaping dendrite and spine morphology of excitatory neurons. This study reveals promising therapeutic avenues for treating drug-resistant focal epilepsies with mTORC1-targeting molecules.

Authors

Théo Ribierre, Charlotte Deleuze, Alexandre Bacq, Sara Baldassari, Elise Marsan, Mathilde Chipaux, Giuseppe Muraca, Delphine Roussel, Vincent Navarro, Eric Leguern, Richard Miles, Stéphanie Baulac

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Abstract

Mice homozygous for the Tyr208Asn amino acid substitution in the carboxy terminus of Src homology region 2 (SH2) domain–containing phosphatase 1 (SHP-1) (referred to as Ptpn6spin mice) spontaneously develop a severe inflammatory disease resembling neutrophilic dermatosis in humans. Disease in Ptpn6spin mice is characterized by persistent footpad swelling and suppurative inflammation. Recently, in addition to IL-1α and IL-1R signaling, we demonstrated a pivotal role for several kinases such as SYK, RIPK1, and TAK1 in promoting inflammatory disease in Ptpn6spin mice. In order to identify new kinases involved in SHP-1–mediated inflammation, we took a genetic approach and discovered apoptosis signal–regulating kinases 1 and 2 (ASK1 and ASK2) as novel kinases regulating Ptpn6-mediated footpad inflammation. Double deletion of ASK1 and ASK2 abrogated cutaneous inflammatory disease in Ptpn6spin mice. This double deletion further rescued the splenomegaly and lymphomegaly caused by excessive neutrophil infiltration in Ptpn6spin mice. Mechanistically, ASK regulates Ptpn6spin-mediated disease by controlling proinflammatory signaling in the neutrophils. Collectively, the present study identifies SHP-1 and ASK signaling crosstalk as a critical regulator of IL-1α–driven inflammation and opens future avenues for finding novel drug targets to treat neutrophilic dermatosis in humans.

Authors

Sarang Tartey, Prajwal Gurung, Tejasvi Krishna Dasari, Amanda Burton, Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti

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Abstract

Spermatogenesis is regulated by the 2 pituitary gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This process is considered impossible without the absolute requirement of LH-stimulated testicular testosterone (T) production. The role of FSH remains unclear because men and mice with inactivating FSH receptor (FSHR) mutations are fertile. We revisited the role of FSH in spermatogenesis using transgenic mice expressing a constitutively strongly active FSHR mutant in a LH receptor–null (LHR-null) background. The mutant FSHR reversed the azoospermia and partially restored fertility of Lhr–/– mice. The finding was initially ascribed to the residual Leydig cell T production. However, when T action was completely blocked with the potent antiandrogen flutamide, spermatogenesis persisted. Hence, completely T-independent spermatogenesis is possible through strong FSHR activation, and the dogma of T being a sine qua non for spermatogenesis may need modification. The mechanism for the finding appeared to be that FSHR activation maintained the expression of Sertoli cell genes considered androgen dependent. The translational message of our findings is the possibility of developing a new strategy of high-dose FSH treatment for spermatogenic failure. Our findings also provide an explanation of molecular pathogenesis for Pasqualini syndrome (fertile eunuchs; LH/T deficiency with persistent spermatogenesis) and explain how the hormonal regulation of spermatogenesis has shifted from FSH to T dominance during evolution.

Authors

Olayiwola O. Oduwole, Hellevi Peltoketo, Ariel Poliandri, Laura Vengadabady, Marcin Chrusciel, Milena Doroszko, Luna Samanta, Laura Owen, Brian Keevil, Nafis A. Rahman, Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi

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Abstract

Emerging data suggest that hypercholesterolemia has stimulatory effects on adaptive immunity and that these effects can promote atherosclerosis and perhaps other inflammatory diseases. However, research in this area has relied primarily on inbred strains of mice, whose adaptive immune system can differ substantially from that of humans. Moreover, the genetically induced hypercholesterolemia in these models typically results in plasma cholesterol levels that are much higher than those in most humans. To overcome these obstacles, we studied human immune system-reconstituted mice (hu-mice) rendered hypercholesterolemic by treatment with AAV8- PCSK9 and a high-fat/high-cholesterol Western-type diet (WD). These mice had a high percentage of human T cells and moderate hypercholesterolemia. Compared with hu-mice having lower plasma cholesterol, the PCSK9-WD mice developed a T cell-mediated inflammatory response in the lung and liver. Human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells bearing an effector memory phenotype were significantly elevated in the blood, spleen, and lungs of PCSK9-WD hu-mice, while splenic and circulating regulatory T cells were reduced. These data show that moderately high plasma cholesterol can disrupt human T cell homeostasis in vivo. This process may not only exacerbate atherosclerosis but also contribute to T cell-mediated inflammatory diseases in the setting of hypercholesterolemia.

Authors

Jonathan D. Proto, Amanda C. Doran, Manikandan Subramanian, Hui Wang, Mingyou Zhang, Erdi Sozen, Christina Rymond, George Kuriakose, Vivette D'Agati, Robert Winchester, Megan Sykes, Yong-Guang Yang, Ira Tabas

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Abstract

Genetic forms of vitamin D–dependent rickets (VDDRs) are due to mutations impairing activation of vitamin D or decreasing vitamin D receptor responsiveness. Here we describe two unrelated patients with early-onset rickets, reduced serum levels of the vitamin D metabolites 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and deficient responsiveness to parent and activated forms of vitamin D. Neither patient had a mutation in any genes known to cause VDDR, however, using whole exome sequence analysis we identified a recurrent de novo missense mutation c.902T>C (p.I301T) in CYP3A4 in both subjects that alters the conformation of substrate-recognition-site 4 (SRS-4). In vitro, the mutant CYP3A4 oxidized 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D with 10-fold greater activity than wild-type CYP3A4 and 2-fold greater activity than CYP24A1, the principal inactivator of vitamin D metabolites. As CYP3A4 mutations have not previously been linked to rickets, these findings provide new insight into vitamin D metabolism, and demonstrate that accelerated inactivation of vitamin D metabolites represents a previously undescribed mechanism for vitamin D deficiency.

Authors

Jeffrey D. Roizen, Dong Li, Lauren O'Lear, Muhammad K. Javaid, Nicholas J. Shaw, Peter R. Ebeling, Hanh H. Nguyen, Christine P. Rodda, Kenneth E. Thummel, Tom D Thacher, Hakon Hakonarson, Michael A. Levine

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Abstract

Immune evasion and the suppression of anti-tumor responses during cancer progression are considered hallmarks of cancer and are typically attributed to tumor-derived factors. Although the molecular basis for the crosstalk between tumor and immune cells is an area of active investigation, whether host-specific germline variants can dictate immunosuppressive mechanisms has remained a challenge to address. A commonly occurring germline mutation (c.1162G>A/rs351855 G/A) in the FGFR4 (CD334) gene enhances STAT3 signaling and is associated with poor prognosis and accelerated progression of multiple cancer types. Here, using rs351855 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) knock-in transgenic mice and Fgfr4 knockout mice, we reveal the genotype-specific gain of immunological function of suppressing the CD8/CD4+FOXP3+CD25+ve regulatory T cell ratio in vivo. Furthermore, using knock-in transgenic mouse models for lung and breast cancers, we establish the host-specific tumor-extrinsic functions of STAT3-enhancing germline variants in impeding the tumor infiltration of CD8 T cells. Thus, STAT3-enhancing germline receptor variants contribute to immune evasion through their pleiotropic functions in immune cells.

Authors

Daniel Kogan, Alexander Grabner, Christopher Yanucil, Christian Faul, Vijay Kumar Ulaganathan

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