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In this issue, Verhaegen et al. report development and characterization of a genetically engineered mouse model of virus-driven Merkel cell carcinoma. The cover image shows a murine cutaneous small cell carcinoma with nuclear molding (blue), SOX2 expression (green), and keratin clumping (red) — characteristic features of human Merkel cell carcinoma. Image credit: Monique E. Verhaegen.
AbstractType 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AEC2s) function as progenitor cells in the lung. We have shown previously that failure of AEC2 regeneration results in progressive lung fibrosis in mice and is a cardinal feature of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). In this study, we identified a deficiency of a specific zinc transporter SLC39A8 (ZIP8) in AEC2s from both IPF lungs and lungs of old mice. Loss of ZIP8 expression was associated with impaired renewal capacity of AEC2s and enhanced lung fibrosis. ZIP8 regulation of AEC2 progenitor function was dependent on SIRT1. Replenishment with exogenous zinc and SIRT1 activation promoted self-renewal and differentiation of AEC2s from lung tissues of IPF patients and old mice. Deletion of Zip8 in AEC2s in mice impaired AEC2 renewal, increased susceptibility of the mice to bleomycin injury, and the mice developed spontaneous lung fibrosis. Therapeutic strategies to restore zinc metabolism and appropriate SIRT1 signaling could improve AEC2 progenitor function and mitigate ongoing fibrogenesis.
Jiurong Liang, Guanling Huang, Xue Liu, Forough Taghavifar, Ningshan Liu, Yizhou Wang, Nan Deng, Changfu Yao, Ting Xie, Vrishika Kulur, Kristy Dai, Ankita Burman, Simon C. Rowan, S. Samuel Weigt, John Belperio, Barry Stripp, William C. Parks, Dianhua Jiang, Paul W. Noble
Subendothelial macrophage internalization of modified lipids and foam cell formation are hallmarks of atherosclerosis. Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) are involved in various cellular activities; however, their role in foam cell formation is not fully understood. Here, using a loss-of-function lipid accumulation screening, we identified ubiquitin-specific peptidase 9 X-linked (USP9X) as a factor that suppressed lipid uptake in macrophages. We found that USP9X expression in lesional macrophages was reduced during atherosclerosis development in both humans and rodents. Atherosclerotic lesions from macrophage USP9X-deficient mice showed increased macrophage infiltration, lipid deposition, and necrotic core content than control apolipoprotein E-knockout (Apoe-/-) mice. Additionally, loss-of-function USP9X exacerbated lipid uptake, foam cell formation and inflammatory responses in macrophages. Mechanistically, the class A1 scavenger receptor (SR-A1) was identified as a USP9X substrate that removed the K63 polyubiquitin chain at the K27 site. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of USP9X increased SR-A1 cell surface internalization following binding of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL). The K27R mutation of SR-A1 dramatically attenuated basal and USP9X knockdown-induced ox-LDL uptake. Moreover, blocking binding of USP9X to SR-A1 with a cell-penetrating peptide exacerbated foam cell formation and atherosclerosis. In this study, we identified macrophage USP9X as a beneficial regulator of atherosclerosis and revealed the specific mechanisms for the development of potential therapeutic strategies for atherosclerosis.
Biqing Wang, Xuening Tang, Liu Yao, Yuxin Wang, Zhipeng Chen, Mengqi Li, Naishi Wu, Dawei Wu, Xiangchen Dai, Hongfeng Jiang, Ding Ai
PRAME is a prominent member of the cancer germline antigen family of proteins, which triggers autologous T-cell mediated immune responses. Integrative genomic analysis in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) uncovered recurrent, and highly focal deletions of 22q11.22 including the PRAME gene, which were associated with poor outcome. PRAME-deleted tumors showed cytotoxic T-cell immune escape and were associated with cold tumor microenvironments. In addition, PRAME down-modulation was strongly associated with somatic EZH2 Y641 mutations in DLBCL. In turn, PRC2-regulated genes were repressed in isogenic PRAME KO lymphoma cell lines and PRAME was found to directly interact with EZH2 as a negative regulator. EZH2 inhibition with EPZ-6438 abrogated these extrinsic and intrinsic effects leading to PRAME expression and microenvironment restoration in vivo. Our data highlight multiple functions of PRAME during lymphomagenesis, and provide a preclinical rationale for synergistic therapies combining epigenetic re-programming with PRAME-targeted therapies.
Katsuyoshi Takata, Lauren C. Chong, Daisuke Ennishi, Tomohiro Aoki, Michael Yu Li, Avinash Thakur, Shannon Healy, Elena Viganò, Tao Dao, Daniel Kwon, Gerben Duns, Julie S. Nielsen, Susana Ben-Neriah, Ethan Tse, Stacy S. Hung, Merrill Boyle, Sung Soo Mun, Christopher M. Bourne, Bruce Woolcock, Adèle H. Telenius, Makoto Kishida, Shinya Rai, Allen W. Zhang, Ali Bashashati, Saeed Saberi, Gianluca D' Antonio, Brad H. Nelson, Sohrab P. Shah, Pamela A. Hoodless, Ari M. Melnick, Randy D. Gascoyne, Joseph M. Connors, David A. Scheinberg, Wendy Béguelin, David W. Scott, Christian Steidl
Enhanced de novo lipogenesis mediated by sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) is thought to be involved in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) pathogenesis. In this study, we assessed the impact of SREBP inhibition on NASH and liver cancer development in murine models. Unexpectedly, SREBP inhibition via deletion of the SREBP cleavage-activating protein (SCAP) in the liver exacerbated liver injury, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis, despite markedly reduced hepatic steatosis. These phenotypes were ameliorated by restoring SREBP function. Transcriptome and lipidome analyses revealed that SCAP–SREBP pathway inhibition altered the fatty acid (FA) composition of phosphatidylcholines due to both impaired FA synthesis and disorganized FA incorporation into phosphatidylcholine via lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 3 (LPCAT3) downregulation, which led to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and hepatocyte injury. Supplementation of phosphatidylcholines significantly improved liver injury and ER stress induced by SCAP deletion. The activity of SCAP-SREBP-LPCAT3 axis was found inversely associated with liver fibrosis severity in human NASH. SREBP inhibition also cooperated with impaired autophagy to trigger liver injury. Thus, excessively strong and broad lipogenesis inhibition was counterproductive for NASH therapy, which will have important clinical implications in NASH treatment.
Satoshi Kawamura, Yuki Matsushita, Shigeyuki Kurosaki, Mizuki Tange, Naoto Fujiwara, Yuki Hayata, Yoku Hayakawa, Nobumi Suzuki, Masahiro Hata, Mayo Tsuboi, Takahiro Kishikawa, Hiroto Kinoshita, Takuma Nakatsuka, Masaya Sato, Yotaro Kudo, Yujin Hoshida, Atsushi Umemura, Akiko Eguchi, Tsuneo Ikenoue, Yoshihiro Hirata, Motonari Uesugi, Ryosuke Tateishi, Keisuke Tateishi, Mitsuhiro Fujishiro, Kazuhiko Koike, Hayato Nakagawa
Virus-specific CD8+ T cells play a central role in HIV-1 natural controllers to maintain suppressed viremia in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. These cells display a memory program that confers them stemness properties, high survival, polyfunctionality, proliferative capacity, metabolic plasticity, and antiviral potential. The development and maintenance of such qualities by memory CD8+ T cells appear crucial to achieving natural HIV-1 control. Here we show that targeting the signaling pathways Wnt/TCF-1 and mTORC through GSK3 inhibition to reprogram HIV-specific CD8+ T cells from non-controllers promoted functional capacities associated with natural control of infection. Features of such reprogrammed cells included the enrichment in TCF-1+ less-differentiated subsets, superior response to antigen, enhanced survival, polyfunctionality, metabolic plasticity, less mTORC1-dependency, improved response to γ-chain cytokines and stronger HIV suppressive capacity. Thus, such CD8+ T cell reprogramming, combined with other available immunomodulators, might represent a promising strategy for adoptive cell therapy in the search for an HIV-1 cure.
Federico Perdomo-Celis, Caroline Passaes, Valérie Monceaux, Stevenn Volant, Faroudy Boufassa, Pierre de Truchis, Morgane Marcou, Katia Bourdic, Laurence Weiss, Corinne Jung, Christine Bourgeois, Cécile Goujard, Laurence Meyer, Michaela Müller-Trutwin, Olivier Lambotte, Asier Sáez-Cirión
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
Cardiovascular diseases remain a leading cause of death worldwide, and treatment is complicated by the inadequacies of available therapies. This collection of reviews, developed by Daniel P. Kelly, explores emerging strategies for treating a range of cardiac pathologies, including: recent discoveries of epigenetic regulators that can be targeted to combat cardiac fibrosis, state of the art in genome-editing therapies, interactions of the vascular endothelium with metabolic tissues, current understanding of myosin modulators, and novel targets for treating dyslipidemia. Together, the reviews provide a broad update on numerous advances in cardiovascular medicine.