The devastating sequelae of diabetes mellitus include microvascular permeability, which results in retinopathy. Despite clinical and scientific advances, there remains a need for new approaches to treat retinopathy. Here, we have presented a possible treatment strategy, whereby targeting the small GTPase ARF6 alters VEGFR2 trafficking and reverses signs of pathology in 4 animal models that represent features of diabetic retinopathy and in a fifth model of ocular pathological angiogenesis. Specifically, we determined that the same signaling pathway utilizes distinct GEFs to sequentially activate ARF6, and these GEFs exert distinct but complementary effects on VEGFR2 trafficking and signal transduction. ARF6 activation was independently regulated by 2 different ARF GEFs — ARNO and GEP100. Interaction between VEGFR2 and ARNO activated ARF6 and stimulated VEGFR2 internalization, whereas a VEGFR2 interaction with GEP100 activated ARF6 to promote VEGFR2 recycling via coreceptor binding. Intervening in either pathway inhibited VEGFR2 signal output. Finally, using a combination of in vitro, cellular, genetic, and pharmacologic techniques, we demonstrated that ARF6 is pivotal in VEGFR2 trafficking and that targeting ARF6-mediated VEGFR2 trafficking has potential as a therapeutic approach for retinal vascular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy.
Weiquan Zhu, Dallas S. Shi, Jacob M. Winter, Bianca E. Rich, Zongzhong Tong, Lise K. Sorensen, Helong Zhao, Yi Huang, Zhengfu Tai, Tara M. Mleynek, Jae Hyuk Yoo, Christine Dunn, Jing Ling, Jake A. Bergquist, Jackson R. Richards, Amanda Jiang, Lisa A. Lesniewski, M. Elizabeth Hartnett, Diane M. Ward, Alan L. Mueller, Kirill Ostanin, Kirk R. Thomas, Shannon J. Odelberg, Dean Y. Li
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent psychiatric disorder in children. Although an imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs has been proposed as contributing to this disorder, the mechanisms underlying this highly heterogeneous disease remain largely unknown. Here, we show that N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (NDRG2) deficiency is involved in the development of ADHD in both mice and humans. Ndrg2-knockout (Ndrg2–/–) mice exhibited ADHD-like symptoms characterized by attention deficits, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and impaired memory. Furthermore, interstitial glutamate levels and excitatory transmission were markedly increased in the brains of Ndrg2–/– mice due to reduced astroglial glutamate clearance. We developed an NDRG2 peptide that rescued astroglial glutamate clearance and reduced excitatory glutamate transmission in NDRG2-deficient astrocytes. Additionally, NDRG2 peptide treatment rescued ADHD-like hyperactivity in the Ndrg2–/– mice, while routine methylphenidate treatment had no effect on hyperactivity in these animals. Finally, children who were heterozygous for rs1998848, a SNP in NDRG2, had a higher risk of ADHD than children who were homozygous for rs1998848. Our results indicate that NDRG2 deficiency leads to ADHD phenotypes and that impaired astroglial glutamate clearance, a mechanism distinct from the well-established dopamine deficit hypothesis for ADHD, underlies the resultant behavioral abnormalities.
Yan Li, Anqi Yin, Xin Sun, Ming Zhang, Jianfang Zhang, Ping Wang, Rougang Xie, Wen Li, Ze Fan, Yuanyuan Zhu, Han Wang, Hailong Dong, Shengxi Wu, Lize Xiong
Steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) is a frequent cause of chronic kidney disease. Here, we identified recessive mutations in the gene encoding the actin-binding protein advillin (AVIL) in 3 unrelated families with SRNS. While all AVIL mutations resulted in a marked loss of its actin-bundling ability, truncation of AVIL also disrupted colocalization with F-actin, thereby leading to impaired actin binding and severing. Additionally, AVIL colocalized and interacted with the phospholipase enzyme PLCE1 and with the ARP2/3 actin-modulating complex. Knockdown of AVIL in human podocytes reduced actin stress fibers at the cell periphery, prevented recruitment of PLCE1 to the ARP3-rich lamellipodia, blocked EGF-induced generation of diacylglycerol (DAG) by PLCE1, and attenuated the podocyte migration rate (PMR). These effects were reversed by overexpression of WT AVIL but not by overexpression of any of the 3 patient-derived AVIL mutants. The PMR was increased by overexpression of WT Avil or PLCE1, or by EGF stimulation; however, this increased PMR was ameliorated by inhibition of the ARP2/3 complex, indicating that ARP-dependent lamellipodia formation occurs downstream of AVIL and PLCE1 function. Together, these results delineate a comprehensive pathogenic axis of SRNS that integrates loss of AVIL function with alterations in the action of PLCE1, an established SRNS protein.
Jia Rao, Shazia Ashraf, Weizhen Tan, Amelie T. van der Ven, Heon Yung Gee, Daniela A. Braun, Krisztina Fehér, Sudeep P. George, Amin Esmaeilniakooshkghazi, Won-Il Choi, Tilman Jobst-Schwan, Ronen Schneider, Johanna Magdalena Schmidt, Eugen Widmeier, Jillian K. Warejko, Tobias Hermle, David Schapiro, Svjetlana Lovric, Shirlee Shril, Ankana Daga, Ahmet Nayir, Mohan Shenoy, Yincent Tse, Martin Bald, Udo Helmchen, Sevgi Mir, Afig Berdeli, Jameela A. Kari, Sherif El Desoky, Neveen A. Soliman, Arvind Bagga, Shrikant Mane, Mohamad A. Jairajpuri, Richard P. Lifton, Seema Khurana, Jose C. Martins, Friedhelm Hildebrandt
Angiocrine factors, such as Notch ligands, supplied by the specialized endothelial cells (ECs) within the bone marrow and splenic vascular niche play an essential role in modulating the physiology of adult hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). However, the relative contribution of various Notch ligands, specifically jagged-2, to the homeostasis of HSPCs is unknown. Here, we show that under steady state, jagged-2 is differentially expressed in tissue-specific vascular beds, but its expression is induced in hematopoietic vascular niches after myelosuppressive injury. We used mice with EC-specific deletion of the gene encoding jagged-2 (Jag2) to demonstrate that while EC-derived jagged-2 was dispensable for maintaining the capacity of HSPCs to repopulate under steady-state conditions, by activating Notch2 it did contribute to the recovery of HSPCs in response to myelosuppressive conditions. Engraftment and/or expansion of HSPCs was dependent on the expression of endothelial-derived jagged-2 following myeloablation. Additionally, jagged-2 expressed in bone marrow ECs regulated HSPC cell cycle and quiescence during regeneration. Endothelial-deployed jagged-2 triggered Notch2/Hey1, while tempering Notch2/Hes1 signaling in HSPCs. Collectively, these data demonstrate that EC-derived jagged-2 activates Notch2 signaling in HSPCs to promote hematopoietic recovery and has potential as a therapeutic target to accelerate balanced hematopoietic reconstitution after myelosuppression.
Peipei Guo, Michael G. Poulos, Brisa Palikuqi, Chaitanya R. Badwe, Raphael Lis, Balvir Kunar, Bi-Sen Ding, Sina Y. Rabbany, Koji Shido, Jason M. Butler, Shahin Rafii
Melanoma can be stratified into unique subtypes based on distinct pathologies. The acral/mucosal melanoma subtype is characterized by aberrant and constitutive activation of the proto-oncogene receptor tyrosine kinase C-KIT, which drives tumorigenesis. Treatment of these melanoma patients with C-KIT inhibitors has proven challenging, prompting us to investigate the downstream effectors of the C-KIT receptor. We determined that C-KIT stimulates MAP kinase–interacting serine/threonine kinases 1 and 2 (MNK1/2), which phosphorylate eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) and render it oncogenic. Depletion of MNK1/2 in melanoma cells with oncogenic C-KIT inhibited cell migration and mRNA translation of the transcriptional repressor SNAI1 and the cell cycle gene CCNE1. This suggested that blocking MNK1/2 activity may inhibit tumor progression, at least in part, by blocking translation initiation of mRNAs encoding cell migration proteins. Moreover, we developed an MNK1/2 inhibitor (SEL201), and found that SEL201-treated KIT-mutant melanoma cells had lower oncogenicity and reduced metastatic ability. Clinically, tumors from melanoma patients harboring KIT mutations displayed a marked increase in MNK1 and phospho-eIF4E. Thus, our studies indicate that blocking MNK1/2 exerts potent antimelanoma effects and support blocking MNK1/2 as a potential strategy to treat patients positive for KIT mutations.
Yao Zhan, Jun Guo, William Yang, Christophe Goncalves, Tomasz Rzymski, Agnieszka Dreas, Eliza Żyłkiewicz, Maciej Mikulski, Krzysztof Brzózka, Aniela Golas, Yan Kong, Meng Ma, Fan Huang, Bonnie Huor, Qianyu Guo, Sabrina Daniela da Silva, Jose Torres, Yutian Cai, Ivan Topisirovic, Jie Su, Krikor Bijian, Moulay A. Alaoui-Jamali, Sidong Huang, Fabrice Journe, Ghanem E. Ghanem, Wilson H. Miller Jr., Sonia V. del Rincón
Lymphedema, the most common lymphatic anomaly, involves defective lymphatic valve development; yet the epigenetic modifiers underlying lymphatic valve morphogenesis remain elusive. Here, we showed that during mouse development, the histone-modifying enzyme histone deacetylase 3 (Hdac3) regulates the formation of both lymphovenous valves, which maintain the separation of the blood and lymphatic vascular systems, and the lymphatic valves. Endothelium-specific ablation of Hdac3 in mice led to blood-filled lymphatic vessels, edema, defective lymphovenous valve morphogenesis, improper lymphatic drainage, defective lymphatic valve maturation, and complete lethality. Hdac3-deficient lymphovenous valves and lymphatic vessels exhibited reduced expression of the transcription factor Gata2 and its target genes. In response to oscillatory shear stress, the transcription factors Tal1, Gata2, and Ets1/2 physically interacted with and recruited Hdac3 to the evolutionarily conserved E-box–GATA–ETS composite element of a Gata2 intragenic enhancer. In turn, Hdac3 recruited histone acetyltransferase Ep300 to form an enhanceosome complex that promoted Gata2 expression. Together, these results identify Hdac3 as a key epigenetic modifier that maintains blood-lymph separation and integrates both extrinsic forces and intrinsic cues to regulate lymphatic valve development.
Harish P. Janardhan, Zachary J. Milstone, Masahiro Shin, Nathan D. Lawson, John F. Keaney Jr., Chinmay M. Trivedi
Dysregulated adipocyte physiology leads to imbalanced energy storage, obesity, and associated diseases, imposing a costly burden on current health care. Cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) plays a crucial role in controlling energy metabolism through central and peripheral mechanisms. In this work, adipocyte-specific inducible deletion of the CB1 gene (Ati-CB1–KO) was sufficient to protect adult mice from diet-induced obesity and associated metabolic alterations and to reverse the phenotype in already obese mice. Compared with controls, Ati-CB1–KO mice showed decreased body weight, reduced total adiposity, improved insulin sensitivity, enhanced energy expenditure, and fat depot–specific cellular remodeling toward lowered energy storage capacity and browning of white adipocytes. These changes were associated with an increase in alternatively activated macrophages concomitant with enhanced sympathetic tone in adipose tissue. Remarkably, these alterations preceded the appearance of differences in body weight, highlighting the causal relation between the loss of CB1 and the triggering of metabolic reprogramming in adipose tissues. Finally, the lean phenotype of Ati-CB1–KO mice and the increase in alternatively activated macrophages in adipose tissue were also present at thermoneutral conditions. Our data provide compelling evidence for a crosstalk among adipocytes, immune cells, and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), wherein CB1 plays a key regulatory role.
Inigo Ruiz de Azua, Giacomo Mancini, Raj Kamal Srivastava, Alejandro Aparisi Rey, Pierre Cardinal, Laura Tedesco, Cristina Maria Zingaretti, Antonia Sassmann, Carmelo Quarta, Claudia Schwitter, Andrea Conrad, Nina Wettschureck, V. Kiran Vemuri, Alexandros Makriyannis, Jens Hartwig, Maria Mendez-Lago, Laura Bindila, Krisztina Monory, Antonio Giordano, Saverio Cinti, Giovanni Marsicano, Stefan Offermanns, Enzo Nisoli, Uberto Pagotto, Daniela Cota, Beat Lutz
Age-related changes in the hematopoietic compartment are primarily attributed to cell-intrinsic alterations in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs); however, the contribution of the aged microenvironment has not been adequately evaluated. Understanding the role of the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment in supporting HSC function may prove to be beneficial in treating age-related functional hematopoietic decline. Here, we determined that aging of endothelial cells (ECs), a critical component of the BM microenvironment, was sufficient to drive hematopoietic aging phenotypes in young HSCs. We used an ex vivo hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell/EC (HSPC/EC) coculture system as well as in vivo EC infusions following myelosuppressive injury in mice to demonstrate that aged ECs impair the repopulating activity of young HSCs and impart a myeloid bias. Conversely, young ECs restored the repopulating capacity of aged HSCs but were unable to reverse the intrinsic myeloid bias. Infusion of young, HSC-supportive BM ECs enhanced hematopoietic recovery following myelosuppressive injury and restored endogenous HSC function in aged mice. Coinfusion of young ECs augmented aged HSC engraftment and enhanced overall survival in lethally irradiated mice by mitigating damage to the BM vascular microenvironment. These data lay the groundwork for the exploration of EC therapies that can serve as adjuvant modalities to enhance HSC engraftment and accelerate hematopoietic recovery in the elderly population following myelosuppressive regimens.
Michael G. Poulos, Pradeep Ramalingam, Michael C. Gutkin, Pierre Llanos, Katherine Gilleran, Sina Y. Rabbany, Jason M. Butler
Liver triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis and secretion are closely linked to nutrient availability. After a meal, hepatic TAG formation from fatty acids is decreased, largely due to a reduction in circulating free fatty acids (FFA). Despite the postprandial decrease in FFA-driven esterification and oxidation, VLDL-TAG secretion is maintained to support peripheral lipid delivery and metabolism. The regulatory mechanisms underlying the postprandial control of VLDL-TAG secretion remain unclear. Here, we demonstrated that the mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) is essential for this sustained VLDL-TAG secretion and lipid homeostasis. In murine models, the absence of hepatic mTORC1 reduced circulating TAG, despite hepatosteatosis, while activation of mTORC1 depleted liver TAG stores. Additionally, mTORC1 promoted TAG secretion by regulating phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase α (CCTα), the rate-limiting enzyme involved in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC). Increasing PC synthesis in mice lacking mTORC1 rescued hepatosteatosis and restored TAG secretion. These data identify mTORC1 as a major regulator of phospholipid biosynthesis and subsequent VLDL-TAG secretion, leading to increased postprandial TAG secretion.
William J. Quinn III, Min Wan, Swapnil V. Shewale, Rebecca Gelfer, Daniel J. Rader, Morris J. Birnbaum, Paul M. Titchenell
Uromodulin-associated kidney disease (UAKD) is caused by mutations in the uromodulin (UMOD) gene that result in a misfolded form of UMOD protein, which is normally secreted by nephrons. In UAKD patients, mutant UMOD is poorly secreted and accumulates in the ER of distal kidney epithelium, but its role in disease progression is largely unknown. Here, we modeled UMOD accumulation in mice by expressing the murine equivalent of the human UMOD p.Cys148Trp point mutation (UmodC147W/+ mice). Like affected humans, these UmodC147W/+ mice developed spontaneous and progressive kidney disease with organ failure over 24 weeks. Analysis of diseased kidneys and purified UMOD-producing cells revealed early activation of the PKR-like ER kinase/activating transcription factor 4 (PERK/ATF4) ER stress pathway, innate immune mediators, and increased apoptotic signaling, including caspase-3 activation. Unexpectedly, we also detected autophagy deficiency. Human cells expressing UMOD p.Cys147Trp recapitulated the findings in UmodC147W/+ mice, and autophagy activation with mTOR inhibitors stimulated the intracellular removal of aggregated mutant UMOD. Human cells producing mutant UMOD were susceptible to TNF-α– and TRAIL-mediated apoptosis due to increased expression of the ER stress mediator tribbles-3. Blocking TNF-α in vivo with the soluble recombinant fusion protein TNFR:Fc slowed disease progression in UmodC147W/+ mice by reducing active caspase-3, thereby preventing tubule cell death and loss of epithelial function. These findings reveal a targetable mechanism for disease processes involved in UAKD.
Bryce G. Johnson, Lan T. Dang, Graham Marsh, Allie M. Roach, Zebulon G. Levine, Anthony Monti, Deepak Reyon, Lionel Feigenbaum, Jeremy S. Duffield