Resistance to immunotherapy is one of the biggest problems of current oncotherapeutics. While T cell abundance is essential for tumor responsiveness to immunotherapy, factors that define the T cell–inflamed tumor microenvironment are not fully understood. We used an unbiased approach to identify tumor-intrinsic mechanisms shaping the immune tumor microenvironment (TME), focusing on pancreatic adenocarcinoma because it is refractory to immunotherapy and excludes T cells from the TME. From human tumors, we identified ephrin-A receptor 2 (EPHA2) as a candidate tumor-intrinsic driver of immunosuppression. Epha2 deletion reversed T cell exclusion and sensitized tumors to immunotherapy. We found that prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2), the gene encoding cyclooxygenase-2, lies downstream of EPHA2 signaling through TGF-β and is associated with poor patient survival. Ptgs2 deletion reversed T cell exclusion and sensitized tumors to immunotherapy; pharmacological inhibition of PTGS2 was similarly effective. Thus, EPHA2/PTGS2 signaling in tumor cells regulates tumor immune phenotypes; blockade may represent a therapeutic avenue for immunotherapy-refractory cancers. Our findings warrant clinical trials testing the effectiveness of therapies combining EPHA2/TGF-β/PTGS2 pathway inhibitors with antitumor immunotherapy and may change the treatment of notoriously therapy-resistant pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Nune Markosyan, Jinyang Li, Yu H. Sun, Lee P. Richman, Jeffrey H. Lin, Fangxue Yan, Liz Quinones, Yogev Sela, Taiji Yamazoe, Naomi Gordon, John W. Tobias, Katelyn T. Byrne, Andrew J. Rech, Garret A. FitzGerald, Ben Z. Stanger, Robert H. Vonderheide
Environmental triggers, including those from pathogens, are thought to play an important role in triggering autoimmune diseases, such as vasculitis, in genetically susceptible individuals. The mechanism by which activation of the innate immune system contributes to vessel-specific autoimmunity in vasculitis is not known. Systemic administration of Candida albicans water-soluble extract (CAWS) induces vasculitis in the aortic root and coronary arteries of mice that mimics human Kawasaki disease. We found that Dectin-2 signaling in macrophages resident in the aortic root of the heart induced early CCL2 production and the initial recruitment of CCR2+ inflammatory monocytes (iMos) into the aortic root and coronary arteries. iMos differentiated into monocyte-derived dendritic cells (Mo-DCs) in the vessel wall and were induced to release IL-1β in a Dectin-2/Syk/NLRP3 inflammasome–dependent pathway. IL-1β then activated cardiac endothelial cells to express CXCL1 and CCL2 and adhesion molecules that induced neutrophil and further iMo recruitment and accumulation in the aortic root and coronary arteries. Our findings demonstrate that Dectin-2–mediated induction of CCL2 production by macrophages resident in the aortic root and coronary arteries initiates vascular inflammation in a model of Kawasaki disease, suggesting an important role for the innate immune system in initiating vasculitis.
Chie Miyabe, Yoshishige Miyabe, Laura Bricio-Moreno, Jeffrey Lian, Rod A. Rahimi, Noriko N. Miura, Naohito Ohno, Yoichiro Iwakura, Tamihiro Kawakami, Andrew D. Luster
Physiological effects of cellular hypoxia are sensed by prolyl hydroxylase (PHD) enzymes, which regulate HIFs. Genetic interventions on HIF/PHD pathways have revealed multiple phenotypes that extend the known biology of hypoxia. Recent studies have unexpectedly implicated HIF in aspects of multiple immune and inflammatory pathways. However, such studies are often limited by systemic lethal effects and/or use tissue-specific recombination systems, which are inherently irreversible, unphysiologically restricted, and difficult to time. To study these processes better, we developed recombinant mice that expressed tetracycline-regulated shRNAs broadly targeting the main components of the HIF/PHD pathway, permitting timed bidirectional intervention. We show that stabilization of HIF levels in adult mice through PHD2 enzyme silencing by RNA interference or inducible recombination of floxed alleles results in multilineage leukocytosis and features of autoimmunity. This phenotype was rapidly normalized on reestablishment of the hypoxia-sensing machinery when shRNA expression was discontinued. In both situations, these effects were mediated principally through the Hif2a isoform. Assessment of cells bearing Treg markers from these mice revealed defective function and proinflammatory effects in vivo. We believe our findings reveal a new role for the PHD1/HIF2α pathway in the reversible regulation of T cell and immune activity.
Atsushi Yamamoto, Joanna Hester, Philip S. Macklin, Kento Kawai, Masateru Uchiyama, Daniel Biggs, Tammie Bishop, Katherine Bull, Xiaotong Cheng, Eleanor Cawthorne, Mathew L. Coleman, Tanya L. Crockford, Ben Davies, Lukas E. Dow, Rob Goldin, Kamil Kranc, Hiromi Kudo, Hannah Lawson, James McAuliffe, Kate Milward, Cheryl L. Scudamore, Elizabeth Soilleux, Fadi Issa, Peter J. Ratcliffe, Chris W. Pugh
TAR DNA-binding protein 43 kDa (TDP-43), encoded by TARDBP, is an RNA-binding protein, the nuclear depletion of which is the histopathological hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting both upper and lower motor neurons. Besides motor symptoms, patients with ALS often develop nonneuronal signs including glucose intolerance, but the underlying pathomechanism is still controversial, i.e., whether it is impaired insulin secretion and/or insulin resistance. Here, we showed that ALS subjects reduced early-phase insulin secretion and that the nuclear localization of TDP-43 was lost in the islets of autopsied ALS pancreas. Loss of TDP-43 inhibited exocytosis by downregulating CaV1.2 calcium channels, thereby reducing early-phase insulin secretion in a cultured β cell line (MIN6) and β cell–specific Tardbp knockout mice. Overexpression of CaV1.2 restored early-phase insulin secretion in Tardbp knocked-down MIN6 cells. Our findings suggest that TDP-43 regulates cellular exocytosis mediated by L-type voltage–dependent calcium channels and thus plays an important role in the early phase of insulin secretion by pancreatic islets. Thus, nuclear loss of TDP-43 is implicated in not only the selective loss of motor neurons but also in glucose intolerance due to impaired insulin secretion at an early stage of ALS.
Kunihiko Araki, Amane Araki, Daiyu Honda, Takako Izumoto, Atsushi Hashizume, Yasuhiro Hijikata, Shinichiro Yamada, Yohei Iguchi, Akitoshi Hara, Kazuhiro Ikumi, Kaori Kawai, Shinsuke Ishigaki, Yoko Nakamichi, Shin Tsunekawa, Yusuke Seino, Akiko Yamamoto, Yasunori Takayama, Shihomi Hidaka, Makoto Tominaga, Mica Ohara-Imaizumi, Atsushi Suzuki, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Atsushi Enomoto, Mari Yoshida, Hiroshi Arima, Shin-ichi Muramatsu, Gen Sobue, Masahisa Katsuno
Type 1 IFNs (IFN-I) generally protect mammalian hosts from virus infections, but in some cases, IFN-I is pathogenic. Because IFN-I is protective, it is commonly used to treat virus infections for which no specific approved drug or vaccine is available. The Middle East respiratory syndrome–coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is such an infection, yet little is known about the role of IFN-I in this setting. Here, we show that IFN-I signaling is protective during MERS-CoV infection. Blocking IFN-I signaling resulted in delayed virus clearance, enhanced neutrophil infiltration, and impaired MERS-CoV–specific T cell responses. Notably, IFN-I administration within 1 day after infection (before virus titers peak) protected mice from lethal infection, despite a decrease in IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) and inflammatory cytokine gene expression. In contrast, delayed IFN-β treatment failed to effectively inhibit virus replication, increased infiltration and activation of monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils in the lungs, and enhanced proinflammatory cytokine expression, resulting in fatal pneumonia in an otherwise sublethal infection. Together, these results suggest that the relative timing of the IFN-I response and maximal virus replication is key in determining outcomes, at least in infected mice. By extension, IFN-αβ or combination therapy may need to be used cautiously to treat viral infections in clinical settings.
Rudragouda Channappanavar, Anthony R. Fehr, Jian Zheng, Christine Wohlford-Lenane, Juan E. Abrahante, Matthias Mack, Ramakrishna Sompallae, Paul B. McCray Jr., David K. Meyerholz, Stanley Perlman
The precise regulation of synaptic dopamine (DA) content by the DA transporter (DAT) ensures the phasic nature of the DA signal, which underlies the ability of DA to encode reward prediction error, thereby driving motivation, attention, and behavioral learning. Disruptions to the DA system are implicated in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, more recently, autism spectrum disorder (ASD). An ASD-associated de novo mutation in the SLC6A3 gene resulting in a threonine-to-methionine substitution at site 356 (DAT T356M) was recently identified and has been shown to drive persistent reverse transport of DA (i.e., anomalous DA efflux) in transfected cells and to drive hyperlocomotion in Drosophila melanogaster. A corresponding mutation in the leucine transporter, a DAT-homologous transporter, promotes an outward-facing transporter conformation upon substrate binding, a conformation possibly underlying anomalous DA efflux. Here, we investigated in vivo the impact of this ASD-associated mutation on DA signaling and ASD-associated behaviors. We found that mice homozygous for this mutation displayed impaired striatal DA neurotransmission and altered DA-dependent behaviors that correspond with some of the behavioral phenotypes observed in ASD.
Gabriella E. DiCarlo, Jenny I. Aguilar, Heinrich J. G. Matthies, Fiona E. Harrison, Kyle E. Bundschuh, Alyssa West, Parastoo Hashemi, Freja Herborg, Mattias Rickhag, Hao Chen, Ulrik Gether, Mark T. Wallace, Aurelio Galli
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a multiorgan progressive genetic disease caused by loss of functional cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) channel. Previously, we identified a significant dysfunction in CF cells and model mice of the transcription factor nuclear factor E2–related factor-2 (Nrf2), a major regulator of redox balance and inflammatory signaling. Here we report that the approved F508del CFTR correctors VX809 and VX661 recover diminished Nrf2 function and colocalization with CFTR in CF human primary bronchial epithelia by proximity ligation assay, immunoprecipitation, and immunofluorescence, concordant with CFTR correction. F508del CFTR correctors induced Nrf2 nuclear translocation, Nrf2-dependent luciferase activity, and transcriptional activation of target genes. Rescue of Nrf2 function by VX809/VX661 was dependent on significant correction of F508del and was blocked by inhibition of corrected channel function, or high-level shRNA knockdown of CFTR or F508del CFTR. Mechanistically, F508del CFTR modulation restored Nrf2 phosphorylation and its interaction with the coactivator CREB-binding protein (CBP). Our findings demonstrate that sufficient modulation of F508del CFTR function corrects Nrf2 dysfunction in CF.
Dana C. Borcherding, Matthew E. Siefert, Songbai Lin, John Brewington, Hesham Sadek, John P. Clancy, Scott M. Plafker, Assem G. Ziady
Oxidative stress plays an important role in aging-related neurodegeneration. This study used littermates of WT and Nox2-knockout (Nox2KO) mice plus endothelial cell–specific human Nox2 overexpression–transgenic (HuNox2Tg) mice to investigate Nox2-derived ROS in brain aging. Compared with young WT mice (3–4 months), aging WT mice (20–22 months) had obvious metabolic disorders and loss of locomotor activity. Aging WT brains had high levels of angiotensin II (Ang II) and ROS production; activation of ERK1/2, p53, and γH2AX; and losses of capillaries and neurons. However, these abnormalities were markedly reduced in aging Nox2KO brains. HuNox2Tg brains at middle age (11–12 months) already had high levels of ROS production and activation of stress signaling pathways similar to those found in aging WT brains. The mechanism of Ang II–induced endothelial Nox2 activation in capillary damage was examined using primary brain microvascular endothelial cells. The clinical significance of Nox2-derived ROS in aging-related loss of cerebral capillaries and neurons was investigated using postmortem midbrain tissues of young (25–38 years) and elderly (61–85 years) adults. In conclusion, Nox2 activation is an important mechanism in aging-related cerebral capillary rarefaction and reduced brain function, with the possibility of a key role for endothelial cells.
Lampson M. Fan, Li Geng, Sarah Cahill-Smith, Fangfei Liu, Gillian Douglas, Chris-Anne Mckenzie, Colin Smith, Gavin Brooks, Keith M. Channon, Jian-Mei Li
Irreversible T cell exhaustion limits the efficacy of programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) blockade. We observed that dual CD40-TLR4 stimulation within a single tumor restored PD-1 sensitivity and that this regimen triggered a systemic tumor-specific CD8+ T cell response. This approach effectively treated established tumors in diverse syngeneic cancer models, and the systemic effect was dependent on the injected tumor, indicating that treated tumors were converted into necessary components of this therapy. Strikingly, this approach was associated with the absence of exhausted PD-1hi T cells in treated and distant tumors, while sparing the intervening draining lymph node and spleen. Furthermore, patients with transcription changes like those induced by this therapy experienced improved progression-free survival with anti–PD-1 treatment. Dual CD40-TLR4 activation within a single tumor is thus an approach for overcoming resistance to PD-1 blockade that is unique in its ability to cause the loss of exhausted T cells within tumors while sparing nonmalignant tissues.
Danny N. Khalil, Nathan Suek, Luis Felipe Campesato, Sadna Budhu, David Redmond, Robert M. Samstein, Chirag Krishna, Katherine S. Panageas, Marinela Capanu, Sean Houghton, Daniel Hirschhorn, Roberta Zappasodi, Rachel Giese, Billel Gasmi, Michael Schneider, Aditi Gupta, James J. Harding, John Alec Moral, Vinod P. Balachandran, Jedd D. Wolchok, Taha Merghoub
Although modifications of gut microbiota with antibiotics (Abx) influence mouse skin and cardiac allografts, its role in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) remains unknown. We aimed to determine whether and how recipient Abx pretreatment may affect hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and OLT outcomes. Mice (C57BL/6) with or without Abx treatment (10 days) were transplanted with allogeneic (BALB/c) cold-stored (18 hours) livers, followed by liver and blood sampling (6 hours). We divided 264 human OLT recipients on the basis of duration of pre-OLT Abx treatment into control (Abx-free/Abx <10 days; n = 108) and Abx treatment (Abx ≥10days; n = 156) groups; OLT biopsy (Bx) samples were collected 2 hours after OLT (n = 52). Abx in mice mitigated IRI-stressed OLT (IRI-OLT), decreased CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) (endoplasmic reticulum [ER] stress), enhanced LC3B (autophagy), and inhibited inflammation, whereas it increased serum prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and hepatic PGE2 receptor 4 (EP4) expression. PGE2 increased EP4, suppressed CHOP, and induced autophagosome formation in hepatocyte cultures in an EP4-dependent manner. An EP4 antagonist restored CHOP, suppressed LC3B, and recreated IRI-OLT. Remarkably, human recipients of Abx treatment plus OLT (Abx-OLT), despite severe pretransplantation clinical acuity, had higher EP4 and LC3B levels but lower CHOP levels, which coincided with improved hepatocellular function (serum aspartate aminotransferase/serum aspartate aminotransferase [sALT/sAST]) and a decreased incidence of early allograft dysfunction (EAD). Multivariate analysis identified “Abx-free/Abx <10 days” as a predictive factor of EAD. This study documents the benefits of Abx pretreatment in liver transplant recipients, identifies ER stress and autophagy regulation by the PGE2/EP4 axis as a homeostatic underpinning, and points to the microbiome as a therapeutic target in OLT.
Kojiro Nakamura, Shoichi Kageyama, Takahiro Ito, Hirofumi Hirao, Kentaro Kadono, Antony Aziz, Kenneth J. Dery, Matthew J. Everly, Kojiro Taura, Shinji Uemoto, Douglas G. Farmer, Fady M. Kaldas, Ronald W. Busuttil, Jerzy W. Kupiec-Weglinski
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