Mobilized peripheral blood has become the primary source of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) for stem cell transplantation, with a 5-day course of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) as the most common regimen used for HSPC mobilization. The CXCR4 inhibitor plerixafor is a more rapid mobilizer, yet not potent enough when used as a single agent, thus emphasizing the need for faster acting agents with more predictable mobilization responses and fewer side effects. We sought to improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation by developing a new mobilization strategy in mice through combined targeting of the chemokine receptor CXCR2 and the very late antigen 4 (VLA4) integrin. Rapid and synergistic mobilization of HSPCs along with an enhanced recruitment of true HSCs was achieved when a CXCR2 agonist was coadministered in conjunction with a VLA4 inhibitor. Mechanistic studies revealed involvement of CXCR2 expressed on BM stroma in addition to stimulation of the receptor on granulocytes in the regulation of HSPC localization and egress. Given the rapid kinetics and potency of HSPC mobilization achieved by the VLA4 inhibitor and CXCR2 agonist combination in mice compared with currently approved HSPC mobilization methods, the combination represents an exciting potential strategy for clinical development in the future.
Darja Karpova, Michael P. Rettig, Julie Ritchey, Daniel Cancilla, Stephanie Christ, Leah Gehrs, Ezhilarasi Chendamarai, Moses O. Evbuomwan, Matthew Holt, Jingzhu Zhang, Grazia Abou-Ezzi, Hamza Celik, Eliza Wiercinska, Wei Yang, Feng Gao, Linda G. Eissenberg, Richard F. Heier, Stacy D. Arnett, Marvin J. Meyers, Michael J. Prinsen, David W. Griggs, Andreas Trumpp, Peter G. Ruminski, Dwight M. Morrow, Halvard B. Bonig, Daniel C. Link, John F. DiPersio
Oxidative stress is elevated in the recipients of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) and likely contributes to the development of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD is characterized by activation, expansion, cytokine production, and migration of alloreactive donor T cells, and remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality after allo-HCT. Hence, strategies to limit oxidative stress in GVHD are highly desirable. Thioredoxin-1 (Trx1) counteracts oxidative stress by scavenging ROS and regulating other enzymes that metabolize H2O2. The present study sought to elucidate the role of Trx1 in the pathophysiology of GVHD. Using murine and xenograft models of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (allo-BMT) and genetic (human Trx1-Tg) as well as pharmacological (human recombinant Trx1 [RTrx1]) strategies, we found that Trx1-Tg donor T cells or administration of RTrx1 to the recipients significantly reduced GVHD severity. Mechanistically, we observed that RTrx1 reduced ROS accumulation and cytokine production of mouse and human T cells in response to alloantigen stimulation in vitro. In allo-BMT settings, we found that Trx1-Tg or RTrx1 decreased downstream signaling molecules, including NF-κB activation and T-bet expression, and reduced proliferation, IFN-γ production, and ROS accumulation in donor T cells within GVHD target organs. More importantly, administration of RTrx1 did not impair the graft-versus-leukemia effect. Taken together, the current work provides a strong rationale for, and demonstrates the feasibility of, targeting the ROS pathway, which can be readily translated to the clinic.
M. Hanief Sofi, Yongxia Wu, Steven D. Schutt, Min Dai, Anusara Daenthanasanmak, Jessica Heinrichs Voss, Hung Nguyen, David Bastian, Supinya Iamsawat, Shanmugam Panneer Selvam, Chen Liu, Nilanjana Maulik, Besim Ogretmen, Junfei Jin, Shikhar Mehrotra, Xue-Zhong Yu
A resident population of dendritic cells (DCs) has been identified in murine bone marrow, but its contribution to the regulation of hematopoiesis and establishment of the stem cell niche is largely unknown. Here, we show that murine bone marrow DCs are perivascular and have a type 2 conventional DC (cDC2) immunophenotype. RNA expression analysis of sorted bone marrow DCs showed that expression of many chemokines and chemokine receptors is distinct from that observed in splenic cDC2s, suggesting that bone marrow DCs might represent a unique DC population. A similar population of DCs was present in human bone marrow. Ablation of conventional DCs (cDCs) results in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) mobilization that was greater than that seen with ablation of bone marrow macrophages, and cDC ablation also synergizes with granulocyte–colony stimulating factor to mobilize HSPCs. Ablation of cDCs was associated with an expansion of bone marrow endothelial cells and increased vascular permeability. CXCR2 expression in sinusoidal endothelial cells and the expression of 2 CXCR2 ligands, CXCL1 and CXCL2, in the bone marrow were markedly increased following cDC ablation. Treatment of endothelial cells in vitro with CXCL1 induced increased vascular permeability and HSPC transmigration. Finally, we showed that HSPC mobilization after cDC ablation is attenuated in mice lacking CXCR2 expression. Collectively, these data suggest that bone marrow DCs play an important role in regulating HSPC trafficking, in part, through regulation of sinusoidal CXCR2 signaling and vascular permeability.
Jingzhu Zhang, Teerawit Supakorndej, Joseph R. Krambs, Mahil Rao, Grazia Abou-Ezzi, Rachel Y. Ye, Sidan Li, Kathryn Trinkaus, Daniel C. Link
T cell therapy is a promising means to treat chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma. T cells engineered to express an HBV-specific T cell receptor (TCR) may cure an HBV infection upon adoptive transfer. We investigated the therapeutic potential and safety of T cells stably expressing high-affinity HBV envelope– or core–specific TCRs recognizing European and Asian HLA-A2 subtypes. Both CD8+ and CD4+ T cells from healthy donors and patients with chronic hepatitis B became polyfunctional effector cells when grafted with HBV-specific TCRs and eliminated HBV from infected HepG2-NTCP cell cultures. A single transfer of TCR-grafted T cells into HBV-infected, humanized mice controlled HBV infection, and virological markers declined by 4 to 5 log or below the detection limit. Engineered T cells specifically cleared infected hepatocytes without damaging noninfected cells when, as in a typical clinical setting, only a minority of hepatocytes were infected. Cell death was compensated by hepatocyte proliferation, and alanine amino transferase levels peaking between days 5 and 7 normalized again thereafter. Cotreatment with the entry inhibitor myrcludex B ensured long-term control of HBV infection. Thus, T cells stably transduced with highly functional TCRs have the potential to mediate clearance of HBV-infected cells, causing limited liver injury.
Karin Wisskirchen, Janine Kah, Antje Malo, Theresa Asen, Tassilo Volz, Lena Allweiss, Jochen M. Wettengel, Marc Lütgehetmann, Stephan Urban, Tanja Bauer, Maura Dandri, Ulrike Protzer
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) results from hematopoietic stem cell transformation by the BCR-ABL kinase. Despite the success of BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in treating CML patients, leukemia stem cells (LSCs) resist elimination and persist as a major barrier to cure. Previous studies suggest that overexpression of the sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) deacetylase may contribute to LSC maintenance in CML. Here, by genetically deleting SIRT1 in transgenic CML mice, we definitively demonstrated an important role for SIRT1 in leukemia development. We identified a previously unrecognized role for SIRT1 in mediating increased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in CML LSCs. We showed that mitochondrial alterations were kinase independent and that TKI treatment enhanced inhibition of CML hematopoiesis in SIRT1-deleted mice. We further showed that the SIRT1 substrate PGC-1α contributed to increased oxidative phosphorylation and TKI resistance in CML LSCs. These results reveal an important role for SIRT1 and downstream signaling mechanisms in altered mitochondrial respiration in CML LSCs.
Ajay Abraham, Shaowei Qiu, Balu K. Chacko, Hui Li, Andrew Paterson, Jianbo He, Puneet Agarwal, Mansi Shah, Robert Welner, Victor M. Darley-Usmar, Ravi Bhatia
Invasive fungal infection is a serious health threat with high morbidity and mortality. Current antifungal drugs only demonstrate partial success in improving prognosis. Furthermore, mechanisms regulating host defense against fungal pathogens remain elusive. Here, we report that the downstream of kinase 3 (Dok3) adaptor negatively regulates antifungal immunity in neutrophils. Our data revealed that Dok3 deficiency increased phagocytosis, proinflammatory cytokine production, and netosis in neutrophils, thereby enhancing mutant mouse survival against systemic infection with a lethal dose of the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans. Biochemically, Dok3 recruited protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) to dephosphorylate Card9, an essential player in innate antifungal defense, to dampen downstream NF-κB and JNK activation and immune responses. Thus, Dok3 suppresses Card9 signaling, and disrupting Dok3-Card9 interaction or inhibiting PP1 activity represents therapeutic opportunities to develop drugs to combat candidaemia.
Jia Tong Loh, Shengli Xu, Jian Xin Huo, Susana Soo-Yeon Kim, Yue Wang, Kong-Peng Lam
The etiology of severe hemolytic anemia in most patients with recessive hereditary spherocytosis (rHS) and the related disorder hereditary pyropoikilocytosis (HPP) is unknown. Whole-exome sequencing of DNA from probands of 24 rHS or HPP kindreds identified numerous mutations in erythrocyte membrane α-spectrin (SPTA1). Twenty-eight mutations were novel, with null alleles frequently found in trans to missense mutations. No mutations were identified in a third of SPTA1 alleles (17/48). WGS revealed linkage disequilibrium between the common rHS-linked αBH polymorphism and a rare intron 30 variant in all 17 mutation-negative alleles. In vitro minigene studies and in vivo splicing analyses revealed the intron 30 variant changes a weak alternate branch point (BP) to a strong BP. This change leads to increased utilization of an alternate 3′ splice acceptor site, perturbing normal α-spectrin mRNA splicing and creating an elongated mRNA transcript. In vivo mRNA stability studies revealed the newly created termination codon in the elongated transcript activates nonsense-mediated decay leading to spectrin deficiency. These results demonstrate that a unique mechanism of human genetic disease contributes to the etiology of a third of rHS cases, facilitating diagnosis and treatment of severe anemia and identifying a new target for therapeutic manipulation.
Patrick G. Gallagher, Yelena Maksimova, Kimberly Lezon-Geyda, Peter E. Newburger, Desiree Medeiros, Robin D. Hanson, Jennifer Rothman, Sara Israels, Donna A. Wall, Robert F. Sidonio Jr., Colin Sieff, L. Kate Gowans, Nupur Mittal, Roland Rivera-Santiago, David W. Speicher, Susan J. Baserga, Vincent P. Schulz
The development of metastatic melanoma is thought to require the dynamic shifting of neoplastic cells between proliferative and invasive phenotypes. Contrary to this conventional “phenotype switching” model, we now show that disease progression can involve malignant melanoma cells simultaneously displaying proliferative and invasive properties. Using a genetic mouse model of melanoma in combination with in vitro analyses of melanoma cell lines, we found that conditional deletion of the downstream signaling molecule Smad4, which abrogates all canonical TGF-β signaling, indeed inhibited both tumor growth and metastasis. Conditional deletion of the inhibitory signaling factor Smad7, however, generated cells that are both highly invasive and proliferative, indicating that invasiveness is compatible with a high proliferation rate. In fact, conditional Smad7 deletion led to sustained melanoma growth and at the same time promoted massive metastasis formation, a result consistent with data indicating that low SMAD7 levels in patient tumors are associated with a poor survival. Our findings reveal that modulation of SMAD7 levels can overcome the need for phenotype switching during tumor progression and may thus represent a therapeutic target in metastatic disease.
Eylul Tuncer, Raquel R. Calçada, Daniel Zingg, Sandra Varum, Phil Cheng, Sandra N. Freiberger, Chu-Xia Deng, Ingo Kleiter, Mitchell P. Levesque, Reinhard Dummer, Lukas Sommer
Influenza A virus–specific (IAV-specific) T cell responses are important correlates of protection during primary and subsequent infections. The generation and maintenance of robust IAV-specific T cell responses relies on T cell interactions with dendritic cells (DCs). In this study, we explore the role of the nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat–containing receptor family member NLRC4 in modulating the DC phenotype during IAV infection. Nlrc4–/– mice had worsened survival and increased viral titers during infection, normal innate immune cell recruitment, and IAV-specific CD8+ T cell responses, but severely blunted IAV-specific CD4+ T cell responses compared with WT mice. The defect in the pulmonary IAV–specific CD4+ T cell response was not a result of defective priming or migration of these cells in Nlrc4–/– mice but was instead due to an increase in FasL+ DCs, resulting in IAV-specific CD4+ T cell death. Together, our data support a role for NLRC4 in regulating the phenotype of lung DCs during a respiratory viral infection and thereby influencing the magnitude of protective T cell responses.
Emma E. Hornick, Jargalsaikhan Dagvadorj, Zeb R. Zacharias, Ann M. Miller, Ryan A. Langlois, Peter Chen, Kevin L. Legge, Gail A. Bishop, Fayyaz S. Sutterwala, Suzanne L. Cassel
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) remains a major respiratory illness in extremely premature infants. The biological mechanisms leading to BPD are not fully understood, although an arrest in lung development has been implicated. The current study aimed to investigate the occurrence of autophagy in the developing mouse lung and its regulatory role in airway branching and terminal sacculi formation. We found 2 windows of epithelial autophagy activation in the developing mouse lung, both resulting from AMPK activation. Inhibition of AMPK-mediated autophagy led to reduced lung branching in vitro. Conditional deletion of beclin 1 (Becn1) in mouse lung epithelial cells (Becn1Epi-KO), either at early (E10.5) or late (E16.5) gestation, resulted in lethal respiratory distress at birth or shortly after. E10.5 Becn1Epi-KO lungs displayed reduced airway branching and sacculi formation accompanied by impaired vascularization, excessive epithelial cell death, reduced mesenchymal thinning of the interstitial walls, and delayed epithelial maturation. E16.5 Becn1Epi-KO lungs had reduced terminal air sac formation and vascularization and delayed distal epithelial differentiation, a pathology similar to that seen in infants with BPD. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that intrinsic autophagy is an important regulator of lung development and morphogenesis and may contribute to the BPD phenotype when impaired.
Behzad Yeganeh, Joyce Lee, Leonardo Ermini, Irene Lok, Cameron Ackerley, Martin Post
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