Clarin-1, a tetraspan-like membrane protein defective in Usher syndrome type IIIA (USH3A), is essential for hair bundle morphogenesis in auditory hair cells. We report a new synaptic role for clarin-1 in mouse auditory hair cells elucidated by characterization of Clrn1 total (Clrn1ex4–/–) and postnatal hair cell–specific conditional (Clrn1ex4fl/fl Myo15-Cre+/–) knockout mice. Clrn1ex4–/– mice were profoundly deaf, whereas Clrn1ex4fl/fl Myo15-Cre+/– mice displayed progressive increases in hearing thresholds, with, initially, normal otoacoustic emissions and hair bundle morphology. Inner hair cell (IHC) patch-clamp recordings for the 2 mutant mice revealed defective exocytosis and a disorganization of synaptic F-actin and CaV1.3 Ca2+ channels, indicative of a synaptopathy. Postsynaptic defects were also observed, with an abnormally broad distribution of AMPA receptors associated with a loss of afferent dendrites and defective electrically evoked auditory brainstem responses. Protein-protein interaction assays revealed interactions between clarin-1 and the synaptic CaV1.3 Ca2+ channel complex via the Cavβ2 auxiliary subunit and the PDZ domain–containing protein harmonin (defective in Usher syndrome type IC). Cochlear gene therapy in vivo, through adeno-associated virus–mediated Clrn1 transfer into hair cells, prevented the synaptic defects and durably improved hearing in Clrn1ex4fl/fl Myo15-Cre+/– mice. Our results identify clarin-1 as a key organizer of IHC ribbon synapses, and suggest new treatment possibilities for USH3A patients.
Didier Dulon, Samantha Papal, Pranav Patni, Matteo Cortese, Philippe F.Y. Vincent, Margot Tertrais, Alice Emptoz, Aziz Tlili, Yohan Bouleau, Vincent Michel, Sedigheh Delmaghani, Alain Aghaie, Elise Pepermans, Olinda Alegria-Prevot, Omar Akil, Lawrence Lustig, Paul Avan, Saaid Safieddine, Christine Petit, Aziz El-Amraoui
The motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by recessive, loss-of-function mutations of the survival motor neuron 1 gene (SMN1). Alone, such mutations are embryonically lethal, but SMA patients retain a paralog gene, SMN2, that undergoes alternative pre-mRNA splicing, producing low levels of SMN protein. By mechanisms that are not well understood, reduced expression of the ubiquitously expressed SMN protein causes an early-onset motor neuron disease that often results in infantile or childhood mortality. Recently, striking clinical improvements have resulted from two novel treatment strategies to increase SMN protein by (a) modulating the splicing of existing SMN2 pre-mRNAs using antisense oligonucleotides, and (b) transducing motor neurons with self-complementary adeno-associated virus 9 (scAAV9) expressing exogenous SMN1 cDNA. We review the recently published clinical trial results and discuss the differing administration, tissue targeting, and potential toxicities of these two therapies. We also focus on the challenges that remain, emphasizing the many clinical and biologic questions that remain open. Answers to these questions will enable further optimization of these remarkable SMA treatments as well as provide insights that may well be useful in application of these therapeutic platforms to other diseases.
Charlotte J. Sumner, Thomas O. Crawford
Neuronatin (Nnat) is an imprinted gene implicated in human obesity and widely expressed in neuroendocrine and metabolic tissues in a hormone- and nutrient-sensitive manner. However, its molecular and cellular functions and precise role in organismal physiology remain only partly defined. Here we demonstrate that mice lacking Nnat globally or specifically in β cells display impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion leading to defective glucose handling under conditions of nutrient excess. In contrast, we report no evidence for any feeding or body weight phenotypes in global Nnat-null mice. At the molecular level neuronatin augments insulin signal peptide cleavage by binding to the signal peptidase complex and facilitates translocation of the nascent preprohormone. Loss of neuronatin expression in β cells therefore reduces insulin content and blunts glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Nnat expression, in turn, is glucose-regulated. This mechanism therefore represents a novel site of nutrient-sensitive control of β cell function and whole-animal glucose homeostasis. These data also suggest a potential wider role for Nnat in the regulation of metabolism through the modulation of peptide processing events.
Steven J. Millership, Gabriela Da Silva Xavier, Agharul I. Choudhury, Sergio Bertazzo, Pauline Chabosseau, Silvia M.A. Pedroni, Elaine E. Irvine, Alex Montoya, Peter Faull, William R. Taylor, Julie Kerr-Conte, Francois Pattou, Jorge Ferrer, Mark Christian, Rosalind M. John, Mathieu Latreille, Ming Liu, Guy A. Rutter, James Scott, Dominic J. Withers
Crescentic glomerulonephritis, a complication of severe immune glomerular injury, is the pathological correlate of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, mediated by both humoral and cellular effectors. In the current issue of the JCI, Chen et al. have implicated Bowman’s capsule in functionally isolating potentially immune effectors, specifically antigen-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes, from podocytes. They suggest that, in crescentic glomerulonephritis, immune-mediated glomerular endothelial injury results in inside-out injury to the glomerulus, with subsequent leukocyte migration through a weakened or ruptured Bowman’s capsule, resulting in outside-in injury. Effector T cells then recognize nephritogenic antigens presented by podocytes or other cells within the urinary space, enhancing injury and crescent formation.
A. Richard Kitching, Maliha A. Alikhan
T cells play a key role in immune-mediated glomerulonephritis, but how cytotoxic T cells interact with podocytes remains unclear. To address this, we injected EGFP-specific CD8+ T cells from just EGFP death inducing (Jedi) mice into transgenic mice with podocyte-specific expression of EGFP. In healthy mice, Jedi T cells could not access EGFP+ podocytes. Conversely, when we induced nephrotoxic serum nephritis (NTSN) and injected Jedi T cells, EGFP+ podocyte transgenic mice showed enhanced proteinuria and higher blood urea levels. Morphometric analysis showed greater loss of EGFP+ podocytes, which was associated with severe crescentic and necrotizing glomerulonephritis. Notably, only glomeruli with disrupted Bowman’s capsule displayed massive CD8+ T cell infiltrates that were in direct contact with EGFP+ podocytes, causing their apoptosis. Thus, under control conditions with intact Bowman’s capsule, podocytes are not accessible to CD8+ T cells. However, breaches in Bowman’s capsule, as also noted in human crescentic glomerulonephritis, allow access of CD8+ T cells to the glomerular tuft and podocytes, resulting in their destruction. Through these mechanisms, a potentially reversible glomerulonephritis undergoes an augmentation process to a rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, leading to end-stage kidney disease. Translating these mechanistic insights to human crescentic nephritis should direct future therapeutic interventions at blocking CD8+ T cells, especially in progressive stages of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis.
Anqun Chen, Kyung Lee, Vivette D. D’Agati, Chengguo Wei, Jia Fu, Tian-Jun Guan, John Cijiang He, Detlef Schlondorff, Judith Agudo
Myocardial infarction (MI) arising from obstruction of the coronary circulation engenders massive cardiomyocyte loss and replacement by non-contractile scar tissue, leading to pathological remodeling, dysfunction, and ultimately heart failure. This is presently a global health problem for which there is no effective cure. Following MI, the innate immune system directs the phagocytosis of dead cell debris in an effort to stimulate cell repopulation and tissue renewal. In the mammalian adult heart, however, the persistent influx of immune cells, coupled with the lack of an inherent regenerative capacity, results in cardiac fibrosis. Here, we reveal that stimulation of cardiac lymphangiogenesis with VEGF-C improves clearance of the acute inflammatory response after MI by trafficking immune cells to draining mediastinal lymph nodes (MLNs) in a process dependent on lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE-1). Deletion of Lyve1 in mice, preventing docking and transit of leukocytes through the lymphatic endothelium, results in exacerbation of chronic inflammation and long-term deterioration of cardiac function. Our findings support targeting of the lymphatic/immune cell axis as a therapeutic paradigm to promote immune modulation and heart repair.
Joaquim Miguel Vieira, Sophie Norman, Cristina Villa del Campo, Thomas J. Cahill, Damien N. Barnette, Mala Gunadasa-Rohling, Louise A. Johnson, David R. Greaves, Carolyn A. Carr, David G. Jackson, Paul R. Riley
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 (LCs), they do not harbor Birbeck granules. Individuals primarily acquire HIV-1 that utilizes 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 with R5 HIV-1 shows limited to no replication in CD1a+ VEDCs. This differential replication occurs after fusion, suggesting that receptor usage influences postentry 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 infected early during heterosexual transmission and also retain virus during treatment. Understanding the interplay between HIV-1 and CD1a+ VEDCs is important for future prevention and cure strategies.
Victor Pena-Cruz, Luis M. Agosto, Hisashi Akiyama, Alex Olson, Yvetane Moreau, Jean-Robert Larrieux, Andrew Henderson, Suryaram Gummuluru, Manish Sagar
Podocyte malfunction occurs in autoimmune and nonautoimmune kidney disease. Calcium signaling is essential for podocyte injury, but the role of Ca2+/calmodulin–dependent kinase (CaMK) signaling in podocytes has not been fully explored. We report that podocytes from patients with lupus nephritis and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and lupus-prone and lipopolysaccharide- or adriamycin-treated mice display increased expression of CaMK IV (CaMK4), but not CaMK2. Mechanistically, CaMK4 modulated podocyte motility by altering the expression of the GTPases Rac1 and RhoA and suppressed the expression of nephrin, synaptopodin, and actin fibers in podocytes. In addition, it phosphorylated the scaffold protein 14-3-3β, which resulted in the release and degradation of synaptopodin. Targeted delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor to podocytes preserved their ultrastructure, averted immune complex deposition and crescent formation, and suppressed proteinuria in lupus-prone mice and proteinuria in mice exposed to lipopolysaccharide-induced podocyte injury by preserving nephrin/synaptopodin expression. In animals exposed to adriamycin, podocyte-specific delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor prevented and reversed podocyte injury and renal disease. We conclude that CaMK4 is pivotal in immune and nonimmune podocyte injury and that its targeted cell-specific inhibition preserves podocyte structure and function and should have therapeutic value in lupus nephritis and podocytopathies, including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
Kayaho Maeda, Kotaro Otomo, Nobuya Yoshida, Mones S. Abu-Asab, Kunihiro Ichinose, Tomoya Nishino, Michihito Kono, Andrew Ferretti, Rhea Bhargava, Shoichi Maruyama, Sean Bickerton, Tarek M. Fahmy, Maria G. Tsokos, George C. Tsokos
Langerhans cells (LCs) are likely among the first targets of HIV-1 infection due to their localization in mucosal tissues. In their recent work, Pena-Cruz and colleagues were able to study HIV-1 infection in vaginal epithelial DCs (VEDCs), termed CD1a+ VEDCs. They show that VEDCs are distinct from other blood- and tissue-derived DCs or LCs because they express the protein langerin but not the lectin receptor DC-SIGN, and they do not have Birbeck granules. The results from this study indicate that HIV-1 using CXCR4 replicates poorly in VEDCs but that a higher replication for HIV-1 using CCR5 strains is supported by VDECs. Furthermore, Pena-Cruz and colleagues demonstrate that VDECs can represent a viral reservoir in HIV-1–infected virologically suppressed women. As such, VDECs may represent another sanctuary of viral persistence and can be an additional obstacle to viral eradication.
Stephan Caucheteux, Vincent Piguet
Cancer progression is associated with alterations of intra- and extramedullary hematopoiesis to support a systemic tumor-promoting myeloid response. However, the functional specialty, mechanism, and clinical relevance of extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH) remain unclear. Here, we showed that the heightened splenic myelopoiesis in tumor-bearing hosts was not only characterized by the accumulation of myeloid precursors, but also associated with profound functional alterations of splenic early hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs). With the distinct capability to produce and respond to granulocyte-macrophage CSF (GM-CSF), these splenic HSPCs were “primed” and committed to generating immunosuppressive myeloid cells. Mechanistically, the CCL2/CCR2 axis–dependent recruitment and the subsequent local education by the splenic stroma were critical for eliciting this splenic HSPC response. Selective abrogation of this splenic EMH was sufficient to synergistically enhance the therapeutic efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade. Clinically, patients with different types of solid tumors exhibited increased splenic HSPC levels associated with poor survival. These findings reveal a unique and important role of splenic hematopoiesis in tumor-associated myelopoiesis.
Chong Wu, Huiheng Ning, Mingyu Liu, Jie Lin, Shufeng Luo, Wenjie Zhu, Jing Xu, Wen-Chao Wu, Jing Liang, Chun-Kui Shao, Jiaqi Ren, Bin Wei, Jun Cui, Min-Shan Chen, Limin Zheng
The hemostatic response to vascular injury culminates in a fibrin clot network that forms an initial barrier to blood loss and also contributes to microbial host defense. Fibrinogen is cleaved by thrombin into fibrin monomers that spontaneously polymerize into protofibrils and form the extensive fiber networks characteristic of blood clots. In this issue of the JCI, Macrae and colleagues characterize an alternative fibrin structure in which fibrinogen and fibrin assemble into a continuous 2D film at the exterior face of the fibrin clot network. Fibrin films connect to the underlying fiber network through tethering fibers and provide a protective barrier to microbial infiltration. These findings shed new light on a previously overlooked mechanism of fibrin assembly at the clot surface and provide a link between hemostasis and innate immunity.
Sean X. Gu, Steven R. Lentz
TNF is an important mediator in numerous inflammatory diseases, e.g., in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). In IBD, acute increases in TNF production can lead to disease flares. Glucocorticoids (GCs), which are steroids that bind and activate the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), are able to protect animals and humans against acute TNF-induced inflammatory symptoms. Mice with a poor transcriptional response of GR dimer–dependent target genes were studied in a model of TNF-induced lethal inflammation. In contrast to the GRWT/WT mice, these GRdim/dim mice displayed a substantial increase in TNF sensitivity and a lack of protection by the GC dexamethasone (DEX). Unchallenged GRdim/dim mice had a strong IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) signature, along with STAT1 upregulation and phosphorylation. This ISG signature was gut specific and, based on our studies with antibiotics, depended on the gut microbiota. GR dimers directly bound to short DNA sequences in the STAT1 promoter known as inverted repeat negative GRE (IR-nGRE) elements. Poor control of STAT1 in GRdim/dim mice led to failure to repress ISG genes, resulting in excessive necroptosis induction by TNF. Our findings support a critical interplay among gut microbiota, IFNs, necroptosis, and GR in both the basal response to acute inflammatory challenges and pharmacological intervention by GCs.
Marlies Ballegeer, Kelly Van Looveren, Steven Timmermans, Melanie Eggermont, Sofie Vandevyver, Fabien Thery, Karen Dendoncker, Jolien Souffriau, Jolien Vandewalle, Lise Van Wyngene, Riet De Rycke, Nozomi Takahashi, Peter Vandenabeele, Jan Tuckermann, Holger M. Reichardt, Francis Impens, Rudi Beyaert, Karolien De Bosscher, Roosmarijn E. Vandenbroucke, Claude Libert
Hemostasis requires conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin fibers that generate a characteristic network, interact with blood cells, and initiate tissue repair. The fibrin network is porous and highly permeable, but the spatial arrangement of the external clot face is unknown. Here we show that fibrin transitioned to the blood-air interface through Langmuir film formation, producing a protective film confining clots in human and mouse models. We demonstrated that only fibrin is required for formation of the film, and that it occurred in vitro and in vivo. The fibrin film connected to the underlying clot network through tethering fibers. It was digested by plasmin, and formation of the film was prevented with surfactants. Functionally, the film retained blood cells and protected against penetration by bacterial pathogens in a murine model of dermal infection. Our data show a remarkable aspect of blood clotting in which fibrin forms a protective film covering the external surface of the clot, defending the organism against microbial invasion.
Fraser L. Macrae, Cédric Duval, Praveen Papareddy, Stephen R. Baker, Nadira Yuldasheva, Katherine J. Kearney, Helen R. McPherson, Nathan Asquith, Joke Konings, Alessandro Casini, Jay L. Degen, Simon D. Connell, Helen Philippou, Alisa S. Wolberg, Heiko Herwald, Robert A.S. Ariëns
SEC24 family members are components of the coat protein complex II (COPII) machinery that interact directly with cargo or with other adapters to ensure proper sorting of secretory cargo into COPII vesicles. SEC24C is 1 of 4 mammalian SEC24 paralogs (SEC24A–D), which segregate into 2 subfamilies on the basis of sequence homology (SEC24A/SEC24B and SEC24C/SEC24D). Here, we demonstrate that postmitotic neurons, unlike professional secretory cells in other tissues, are exquisitely sensitive to loss of SEC24C. Conditional KO of Sec24c in neural progenitors during embryogenesis caused perinatal mortality and microcephaly, with activation of the unfolded protein response and apoptotic cell death of postmitotic neurons in the murine cerebral cortex. The cell-autonomous function of SEC24C in postmitotic neurons was further highlighted by the loss of cell viability caused by disrupting Sec24c expression in forebrain neurons of mice postnatally and in differentiated neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells. The neuronal cell death associated with Sec24c deficiency was rescued in knockin mice expressing Sec24d in place of Sec24c. These data suggest that SEC24C is a major cargo adapter for COPII-dependent transport in postmitotic neurons in developing and adult brains and that its functions overlap at least partially with those of SEC24D in mammals.
Bo Wang, Joung Hyuck Joo, Rebecca Mount, Brett J. W. Teubner, Alison Krenzer, Amber L. Ward, Viraj P. Ichhaporia, Elizabeth J. Adams, Rami Khoriaty, Samuel T. Peters, Shondra M. Pruett-Miller, Stanislav S. Zakharenko, David Ginsburg, Mondira Kundu
BACKGROUND. A common germline variant in HSD3B1(1245A>C) encodes for a hyperactive 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (3βHSD1) missense that increases metabolic flux from extragonadal precursor steroids to DHT synthesis in prostate cancer. Enabling of extragonadal DHT synthesis by HSD3B1(1245C) predicts for more rapid clinical resistance to castration and sensitivity to extragonadal androgen synthesis inhibition. HSD3B1(1245C) thus appears to define a subgroup of patients who benefit from blocking extragonadal androgens. However, abiraterone, which is administered to block extragonadal androgens, is a steroidal drug that is metabolized by 3βHSD1 to multiple steroidal metabolites, including 3-keto-5α-abiraterone, which stimulates the androgen receptor. Our objective was to determine if HSD3B1(1245C) inheritance is associated with increased 3-keto-5α-abiraterone synthesis in patients. METHODS. First, we characterized the pharmacokinetics of 7 steroidal abiraterone metabolites in 15 healthy volunteers. Second, we determined the association between serum 3-keto-5α-abiraterone levels and HSD3B1 genotype in 30 patients treated with abiraterone acetate (AA) after correcting for the determined pharmacokinetics. RESULTS. Patients who inherit 0, 1, and 2 copies of HSD3B1(1245C) have a stepwise increase in normalized 3-keto-5α-abiraterone (0.04 ng/ml, 2.60 ng/ml, and 2.70 ng/ml, respectively; P = 0.002). CONCLUSION. Increased generation of 3-keto-5α-abiraterone in patients with HSD3B1(1245C) might partially negate abiraterone benefits in these patients who are otherwise more likely to benefit from CYP17A1 inhibition. FUNDING. Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge Award, National Cancer Institute.
Mohammad Alyamani, Hamid Emamekhoo, Sunho Park, Jennifer Taylor, Nima Almassi, Sunil Upadhyay, Allison Tyler, Michael P. Berk, Bo Hu, Tae Hyun Hwang, William Douglas Figg, Cody J. Peer, Caly Chien, Vadim S. Koshkin, Prateek Mendiratta, Petros Grivas, Brian Rini, Jorge Garcia, Richard J. Auchus, Nima Sharifi
High-risk neuroblastoma is a devastating malignancy with very limited therapeutic options. Here, we identify withaferin A (WA) as a natural ferroptosis-inducing agent in neuroblastoma, which acts through a novel double-edged mechanism. WA dose-dependently either activates the nuclear factor–like 2 pathway through targeting of Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (noncanonical ferroptosis induction) or inactivates glutathione peroxidase 4 (canonical ferroptosis induction). Noncanonical ferroptosis induction is characterized by an increase in intracellular labile Fe(II) upon excessive activation of heme oxygenase-1, which is sufficient to induce ferroptosis. This double-edged mechanism might explain the superior efficacy of WA as compared with etoposide or cisplatin in killing a heterogeneous panel of high-risk neuroblastoma cells, and in suppressing the growth and relapse rate of neuroblastoma xenografts. Nano-targeting of WA allows systemic application and suppressed tumor growth due to an enhanced accumulation at the tumor site. Collectively, our data propose a novel therapeutic strategy to efficiently kill cancer cells by ferroptosis.
Behrouz Hassannia, Bartosz Wiernicki, Irina Ingold, Feng Qu, Simon Van Herck, Yulia Y. Tyurina, Hülya Bayır, Behnaz A. Abhari, Jose Pedro Friedmann Angeli, Sze Men Choi, Eline Meul, Karen Heyninck, Ken Declerck, Chandra Sekhar Chirumamilla, Maija Lahtela-Kakkonen, Guy Van Camp, Dmitri V. Krysko, Paul G. Ekert, Simone Fulda, Bruno G. De Geest, Marcus Conrad, Valerian E. Kagan, Wim Vanden Berghe, Peter Vandenabeele, Tom Vanden Berghe
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) infections are highly prevalent in developing countries, where clinical presentations range from asymptomatic colonization to severe cholera-like illness. The molecular basis for these varied presentations, which may involve strain-specific virulence features as well as host factors, has not been elucidated. We demonstrate that, when challenged with ETEC strain H10407, originally isolated from a case of cholera-like illness, blood group A human volunteers developed severe diarrhea more frequently than individuals from other blood groups. Interestingly, a diverse population of ETEC strains, including H10407, secrete the EtpA adhesin molecule. As many bacterial adhesins also agglutinate red blood cells, we combined the use of glycan arrays, biolayer inferometry, and noncanonical amino acid labeling with hemagglutination studies to demonstrate that EtpA is a dominant ETEC blood group A–specific lectin/hemagglutinin. Importantly, we have also shown that EtpA interacts specifically with glycans expressed on intestinal epithelial cells from blood group A individuals and that EtpA-mediated bacterial-host interactions accelerate bacterial adhesion and effective delivery of both the heat-labile and heat-stable toxins of ETEC. Collectively, these data provide additional insight into the complex molecular basis of severe ETEC diarrheal illness that may inform rational design of vaccines to protect those at highest risk.
Pardeep Kumar, F. Matthew Kuhlmann, Subhra Chakraborty, A. Louis Bourgeois, Jennifer Foulke-Abel, Brunda Tumala, Tim J. Vickers, David A. Sack, Barbara DeNearing, Clayton D. Harro, W. Shea Wright, Jeffrey C. Gildersleeve, Matthew A. Ciorba, Srikanth Santhanam, Chad K. Porter, Ramiro L. Gutierrez, Michael G. Prouty, Mark S. Riddle, Alexander Polino, Alaullah Sheikh, Mark Donowitz, James M. Fleckenstein
WHIM (warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections, and myelokathexis) syndrome is a genetic autoimmune disorder that results from gain-of-function mutations in the gene encoding chemokine receptor CXCR4. A previous study characterized a patient with WHIM who underwent a chromothriptic event that resulted in spontaneous deletion of the WHIM allele in a single hematopoietic stem cell and subsequent cure of the disease. In this issue of the JCI, Gao et al. extend this work and show that Cxcl4-haplosufficient bone marrow has a selective advantage for long-term engraftment in murine WHIM models. Moreover, successful engraftment occurred without prior conditioning of recipients. Together, these results have important implications for improving hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell transplant not only for patients with WHIM but also for all patients who may require the procedure.
Hal E. Broxmeyer
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 WT (Cxcr4+/+) and unconditioned WHIM (Cxcr4+/w) recipient mice. In both models, hematopoietic reconstitution was markedly superior using BM cells from donors hemizygous for Cxcr4 (Cxcr4+/o) compared with BM cells from Cxcr4+/+ donors. Remarkably, only approximately 6% Cxcr4+/o hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) chimerism after transplantation in unconditioned Cxcr4+/w recipient BM supported more than 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 after 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.
Ji-Liang Gao, Erin Yim, Marie Siwicki, Alexander Yang, Qian Liu, Ari Azani, Albert Owusu-Ansah, David H. McDermott, Philip M. Murphy
Tumor angiogenesis occurs through regulation of genes that orchestrate endothelial sprouting and vessel maturation, including deposition of a vessel-associated extracellular matrix. CD93 is a transmembrane receptor that is upregulated in tumor vessels in many cancers, including high-grade glioma. Here, we demonstrate that CD93 regulates β1 integrin signaling and organization of fibronectin fibrillogenesis during tumor vascularization. In endothelial cells and mouse retina, CD93 was found to be expressed in endothelial filopodia and to promote filopodia formation. The CD93 localization to endothelial filopodia was stabilized by interaction with multimerin-2 (MMRN2), which inhibited its proteolytic cleavage. The CD93-MMRN2 complex was required for activation of β1 integrin, phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), and fibronectin fibrillogenesis in endothelial cells. Consequently, tumor vessels in gliomas implanted orthotopically in CD93-deficient mice showed diminished activation of β1 integrin and lacked organization of fibronectin into fibrillar structures. These findings demonstrate a key role of CD93 in vascular maturation and organization of the extracellular matrix in tumors, identifying it as a potential target for therapy.
Roberta Lugano, Kalyani Vemuri, Di Yu, Michael Bergqvist, Anja Smits, Magnus Essand, Staffan Johansson, Elisabetta Dejana, Anna Dimberg