Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the vasculature that is initiated by cholesterol deposition into the arterial wall, which triggers the infiltration of immune and inflammatory cells, including monocytes and macrophages. As atherosclerotic plaques progress, localized hypoxia promotes compensatory angiogenesis from the vasa vasorum. Immature neovessels are prone to leakage, thus destabilizing the plaque and leading to intraplaque hemorrhage. Macrophages with different phenotypes, ranging from classical inflammatory subtypes to alternatively activated antiinflammatory macrophages, have been identified in atherosclerotic lesions. Antiinflammatory hemoglobin-scavenging CD163+ macrophages are present in neovessel- and hemorrhage-rich areas; however, the role of these macrophages in atherogenesis has been unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Guo, Akahori, and colleagues show that CD163+ macrophages promote angiogenesis, vessel permeability, and leucocyte infiltration in human and mouse atherosclerotic lesions through a mechanism involving hemoglobin:haptoglobin/CD163/HIF1α-mediated VEGF induction. This study thus identifies proatherogenic properties of CD163+ macrophages, which previously were thought to be beneficial.
Benoit Pourcet, Bart Staels
Intake of hemoglobin by the hemoglobin-haptoglobin receptor CD163 leads to a distinct alternative non–foam cell antiinflammatory macrophage phenotype that was previously considered atheroprotective. Here, we reveal an unexpected but important pathogenic role for these macrophages in atherosclerosis. Using human atherosclerotic samples, cultured cells, and a mouse model of advanced atherosclerosis, we investigated the role of intraplaque hemorrhage on macrophage function with respect to angiogenesis, vascular permeability, inflammation, and plaque progression. In human atherosclerotic lesions, CD163+ macrophages were associated with plaque progression, microvascularity, and a high level of HIF1α and VEGF-A expression. We observed irregular vascular endothelial cadherin in intraplaque microvessels surrounded by CD163+ macrophages. Within these cells, activation of HIF1α via inhibition of prolyl hydroxylases promoted VEGF-mediated increases in intraplaque angiogenesis, vascular permeability, and inflammatory cell recruitment. CD163+ macrophages increased intraplaque endothelial VCAM expression and plaque inflammation. Subjects with homozygous minor alleles of the SNP rs7136716 had elevated microvessel density, increased expression of CD163 in ruptured coronary plaques, and a higher risk of myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease in population cohorts. Thus, our findings highlight a nonlipid-driven mechanism by which alternative macrophages promote plaque angiogenesis, leakiness, inflammation, and progression via the CD163/HIF1α/VEGF-A pathway.
Liang Guo, Hirokuni Akahori, Emanuel Harari, Samantha L. Smith, Rohini Polavarapu, Vinit Karmali, Fumiyuki Otsuka, Rachel L. Gannon, Ryan E. Braumann, Megan H. Dickinson, Anuj Gupta, Audrey L. Jenkins, Michael J. Lipinski, Johoon Kim, Peter Chhour, Paul S. de Vries, Hiroyuki Jinnouchi, Robert Kutys, Hiroyoshi Mori, Matthew D. Kutyna, Sho Torii, Atsushi Sakamoto, Cheol Ung Choi, Qi Cheng, Megan L. Grove, Mariem A. Sawan, Yin Zhang, Yihai Cao, Frank D. Kolodgie, David P. Cormode, Dan E. Arking, Eric Boerwinkle, Alanna C. Morrison, Jeanette Erdmann, Nona Sotoodehnia, Renu Virmani, Aloke V. Finn
SCN5A encodes the voltage-gated Na+ channel NaV1.5 that is responsible for depolarization of the cardiac action potential and rapid intercellular conduction. Mutations disrupting the SCN5A coding sequence cause inherited arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) linked to SCN5A splicing, localization, and function associate with heart failure–related sudden cardiac death. However, the clinical relevance of SNPs that modulate SCN5A expression levels remains understudied. We recently generated a transcriptome-wide map of microRNA (miR) binding sites in human heart, evaluated their overlap with common SNPs, and identified a synonymous SNP (rs1805126) adjacent to a miR-24 site within the SCN5A coding sequence. This SNP was previously shown to reproducibly associate with cardiac electrophysiological parameters, but was not considered to be causal. Here, we show that miR-24 potently suppresses SCN5A expression and that rs1805126 modulates this regulation. We found that the rs1805126 minor allele associates with decreased cardiac SCN5A expression and that heart failure subjects homozygous for the minor allele have decreased ejection fraction and increased mortality, but not increased ventricular tachyarrhythmias. In mice, we identified a potential basis for this in discovering that decreased Scn5a expression leads to accumulation of myocardial reactive oxygen species. Together, these data reiterate the importance of considering the mechanistic significance of synonymous SNPs as they relate to miRs and disease, and highlight a surprising link between SCN5A expression and nonarrhythmic death in heart failure.
Xiaoming Zhang, Jin-Young Yoon, Michael Morley, Jared M. McLendon, Kranti A. Mapuskar, Rebecca Gutmann, Haider Mehdi, Heather L. Bloom, Samuel C. Dudley, Patrick T. Ellinor, Alaa A. Shalaby, Raul Weiss, W.H. Wilson Tang, Christine S. Moravec, Madhurmeet Singh, Anne L. Taylor, Clyde W. Yancy, Arthur M. Feldman, Dennis M. McNamara, Kaikobad Irani, Douglas R. Spitz, Patrick Breheny, Kenneth B. Margulies, Barry London, Ryan L. Boudreau
Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons function as key regulators of metabolism and physiology by releasing prohormone-derived neuropeptides with distinct biological activities. However, our understanding of early events in prohormone maturation in the ER remains incomplete. Highlighting the significance of this gap in knowledge, a single POMC cysteine-to-phenylalanine mutation at position 28 (POMC-C28F) is defective for ER processing and causes early onset obesity in a dominant-negative manner in humans through an unclear mechanism. Here, we report a pathologically important role of Sel1L-Hrd1, the protein complex of ER-associated degradation (ERAD), within POMC neurons. Mice with POMC neuron–specific Sel1L deficiency developed age-associated obesity due, at least in part, to the ER retention of POMC that led to hyperphagia. The Sel1L-Hrd1 complex targets a fraction of nascent POMC molecules for ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation, preventing accumulation of misfolded and aggregated POMC, thereby ensuring that another fraction of POMC can undergo normal posttranslational processing and trafficking for secretion. Moreover, we found that the disease-associated POMC-C28F mutant evades ERAD and becomes aggregated due to the presence of a highly reactive unpaired cysteine thiol at position 50. Thus, this study not only identifies ERAD as an important mechanism regulating POMC maturation within the ER, but also provides insights into the pathogenesis of monogenic obesity associated with defective prohormone folding.
Geun Hyang Kim, Guojun Shi, Diane R.M. Somlo, Leena Haataja, Soobin Song, Qiaoming Long, Eduardo A. Nillni, Malcolm J. Low, Peter Arvan, Martin G. Myers Jr., Ling Qi
Multisystem proteinopathy (MSP) involves disturbances of stress granule (SG) dynamics and autophagic protein degradation that underlie the pathogenesis of a spectrum of degenerative diseases that affect muscle, brain, and bone. Specifically, identical mutations in the autophagic adaptor SQSTM1 can cause varied penetrance of 4 distinct phenotypes: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia, Paget’s disease of the bone, and distal myopathy. It has been hypothesized that clinical pleiotropy relates to additional genetic determinants, but thus far, evidence has been lacking. Here, we provide evidence that a TIA1 (p.N357S) variant dictates a myodegenerative phenotype when inherited, along with a pathogenic SQSTM1 mutation. Experimentally, the TIA1-N357S variant significantly enhances liquid-liquid–phase separation in vitro and impairs SG dynamics in living cells. Depletion of SQSTM1 or the introduction of a mutant version of SQSTM1 similarly impairs SG dynamics. TIA1-N357S–persistent SGs have increased association with SQSTM1, accumulation of ubiquitin conjugates, and additional aggregated proteins. Synergistic expression of the TIA1-N357S variant and a SQSTM1-A390X mutation in myoblasts leads to impaired SG clearance and myotoxicity relative to control myoblasts. These findings demonstrate a pathogenic connection between SG homeostasis and ubiquitin-mediated autophagic degradation that drives the penetrance of an MSP phenotype.
YouJin Lee, Per Harald Jonson, Jaakko Sarparanta, Johanna Palmio, Mohona Sarkar, Anna Vihola, Anni Evilä, Tiina Suominen, Sini Penttilä, Marco Savarese, Mridul Johari, Marie-Christine Minot, David Hilton-Jones, Paul Maddison, Patrick Chinnery, Jens Reimann, Cornelia Kornblum, Torsten Kraya, Stephan Zierz, Carolyn Sue, Hans Goebel, Asim Azfer, Stuart H. Ralston, Peter Hackman, Robert C. Bucelli, J. Paul Taylor, Conrad C. Weihl, Bjarne Udd
The compensatory proliferation of insulin-producing β cells is critical to maintaining glucose homeostasis at the early stage of type 2 diabetes. Failure of β cells to proliferate results in hyperglycemia and insulin dependence in patients. To understand the effect of the interplay between β cell compensation and lipid metabolism upon obesity and peripheral insulin resistance, we eliminated LDL receptor–related protein 1 (LRP1), a pleiotropic mediator of cholesterol, insulin, energy metabolism, and other cellular processes, in β cells. Upon high-fat diet exposure, LRP1 ablation significantly impaired insulin secretion and proliferation of β cells. The diminished insulin signaling was partly contributed to by the hypersensitivity to glucose-induced, Ca2+-dependent activation of Erk and the mTORC1 effector p85 S6K1. Surprisingly, in LRP1-deficient islets, lipotoxic sphingolipids were mitigated by improved lipid metabolism, mediated at least in part by the master transcriptional regulator PPARγ2. Acute overexpression of PPARγ2 in β cells impaired insulin signaling and insulin secretion. Elimination of Apbb2, a functional regulator of LRP1 cytoplasmic domain, also impaired β cell function in a similar fashion. In summary, our results uncover the double-edged effects of intracellular lipid metabolism on β cell function and viability in obesity and type 2 diabetes and highlight LRP1 as an essential regulator of these processes.
Risheng Ye, Ruth Gordillo, Mengle Shao, Toshiharu Onodera, Zhe Chen, Shiuhwei Chen, Xiaoli Lin, Jeffrey A. SoRelle, Xiaohong Li, Miao Tang, Mark P. Keller, Regina Kuliawat, Alan D. Attie, Rana K. Gupta, William L. Holland, Bruce Beutler, Joachim Herz, Philipp E. Scherer
Eradication of HIV-1 (HIV) is hindered by stable viral reservoirs. Viral latency is epigenetically regulated. While the effects of histone acetylation and methylation at the HIV long-terminal repeat (LTR) have been described, our knowledge of the proviral epigenetic landscape is incomplete. We report that a previously unrecognized epigenetic modification of the HIV LTR, histone crotonylation, is a regulator of HIV latency. Reactivation of latent HIV was achieved following the induction of histone crotonylation through increased expression of the crotonyl-CoA–producing enzyme acyl-CoA synthetase short-chain family member 2 (ACSS2). This reprogrammed the local chromatin at the HIV LTR through increased histone acetylation and reduced histone methylation. Pharmacologic inhibition or siRNA knockdown of ACSS2 diminished histone crotonylation–induced HIV replication and reactivation. ACSS2 induction was highly synergistic in combination with either a protein kinase C agonist (PEP005) or a histone deacetylase inhibitor (vorinostat) in reactivating latent HIV. In the SIV-infected nonhuman primate model of AIDS, the expression of ACSS2 was significantly induced in intestinal mucosa in vivo, which correlated with altered fatty acid metabolism. Our study links the HIV/SIV infection–induced fatty acid enzyme ACSS2 to HIV latency and identifies histone lysine crotonylation as a novel epigenetic regulator for HIV transcription that can be targeted for HIV eradication.
Guochun Jiang, Don Nguyen, Nancie M. Archin, Steven A. Yukl, Gema Méndez-Lagares, Yuyang Tang, Maher M. Elsheikh, George R. Thompson III, Dennis J. Hartigan-O’Connor, David M. Margolis, Joseph K. Wong, Satya Dandekar
Heart failure (HF) has been referred to as the cardiovascular epidemic of our time. Understanding the molecular determinants of HF disease progression and mortality risk is of utmost importance. In this issue of the JCI, Zhang et al. uncover an important link between clinical HF mortality risk and a common variant that regulates SCN5A expression through microRNA-dependent (miR-dependent)mechanisms. They also demonstrate that haploinsufficiency of SCN5A is associated with increased accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a genetically engineered murine model. Their data suggest that even modest depression of SCN5A expression may promote pathologic cardiac remodeling and progression of HF.
David S. Park, Glenn I. Fishman
Synthetic lethality is an efficient mechanism-based approach to selectively target DNA repair defects. ERCC1 deficiency is frequently found in non-small cell lung cancers, making this DNA repair protein an attractive target for exploiting synthetic lethal approaches in this disease. Using unbiased proteomic and metabolic high-throughput profiling on a unique in-house generated isogenic model of ERCC1 deficiency, we found marked metabolic rewiring of ERCC1-deficient populations, including decreased levels of the metabolite NAD+ and reduced expression of the rate-limiting NAD+ biosynthetic enzyme nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT). We further evidenced reduced NAMPT expression in NSCLC samples with low levels of ERCC1. These metabolic alterations were a primary effect of ERCC1 deficiency, and caused selective exquisite sensitivity to small molecule NAMPT inhibitors, both in vitro — ERCC1-deficient cells being approximately 1000 times more sensitive — and in vivo. Using transmission electronic microscopy and functional metabolic studies, we found that ERCC1-deficient cells harbor mitochondrial defects. We propose a model where NAD+ acts as a regulator of ERCC1-deficient NSCLC fitness. These findings open therapeutic opportunities that exploit a yet undescribed nuclear — mitochondrial synthetic lethal relationship in cancer cells, and highlight the potential for targeting DNA repair/metabolic crosstalks for cancer therapy.
Mehdi Touat, Tony Sourisseau, Nicolas Dorvault, Roman M. Chabanon, Marlène Garrido, Daphné Morel, Dragomir B. Krastev, Ludovic Bigot, Julien Adam, Jessica Frankum, Sylvère Durand, Clement Pontoizeau, Sylvie Souquère, Mei-Shiue Kuo, Sylvie Sauvaigo, Faraz Mardakheh, Alain Sarasin, Ken A. Olaussen, Luc Friboulet, Frédéric Bouillaud, Gérard Pierron, Alan Ashworth, Anne Lombès, Christopher J. Lord, Jean-Charles Soria, Sophie Postel-Vinay
Immune evasion and the suppression of anti-tumor responses during cancer progression are considered hallmarks of cancer and are typically attributed to tumor-derived factors. Although the molecular basis for the crosstalk between tumor and immune cells is an area of active investigation, whether host-specific germline variants can dictate immunosuppressive mechanisms has remained a challenge to address. A commonly occurring germline mutation (c.1162G>A/rs351855 G/A) in the FGFR4 (CD334) gene enhances STAT3 signaling and is associated with poor prognosis and accelerated progression of multiple cancer types. Here, using rs351855 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) knock-in transgenic mice and Fgfr4 knockout mice, we reveal the genotype-specific gain of immunological function of suppressing the CD8/CD4+FOXP3+CD25+ve regulatory T cell ratio in vivo. Furthermore, using knock-in transgenic mouse models for lung and breast cancers, we establish the host-specific tumor-extrinsic functions of STAT3-enhancing germline variants in impeding the tumor infiltration of CD8 T cells. Thus, STAT3-enhancing germline receptor variants contribute to immune evasion through their pleiotropic functions in immune cells.
Daniel Kogan, Alexander Grabner, Christopher Yanucil, Christian Faul, Vijay Kumar Ulaganathan
Major histocompatibility (MHC) class II molecules are strongly associated with many autoimmune disorders. In type 1 diabetes, the DQ8 molecule is common, confers significant disease risk and is involved in disease pathogenesis. We hypothesized blocking DQ8 antigen presentation would provide therapeutic benefit by preventing recognition of self-peptides by pathogenic T cells. We used the crystal structure of DQ8 to select drug-like small molecules predicted to bind structural pockets in the MHC antigen-binding cleft. A limited number of the predicted compounds inhibited DQ8 antigen presentation in vitro with one compound preventing insulin autoantibody production and delaying diabetes onset in an animal model of spontaneous autoimmune diabetes. An existing drug of similar structure, methyldopa, specifically blocked DQ8 in recent-onset patients with type 1 diabetes along with reducing inflammatory T cell responses toward insulin, highlighting the relevance of blocking disease-specific MHC class II antigen presentation to treat autoimmunity.
David A. Ostrov, Aimon Alkanani, Kristen A. McDaniel, Stephanie Case, Erin E. Baschal, Laura Pyle, Samuel Ellis, Bernadette Pöllinger, Katherine J. Seidl, Viral N. Shah, Satish K. Garg, Mark A. Atkinson, Peter A. Gottlieb, Aaron W. Michels
Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are associated with low levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C). The insulin-repressible FoxO transcription factors are potential mediators of insulin’s effect on HDL-C. FoxOs mediate a substantial portion of insulin-regulated transcription, and poor FoxO repression is thought to contribute to the excessive glucose production in diabetes. In this work, we show that mice with liver-specific triple FoxO knockout (L-FoxO1,3,4), which are known to have reduced hepatic glucose production, also have increased HDL-C. This was associated with decreased expression of HDL-C clearance factors, scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) and hepatic lipase, and defective selective uptake of HDL-cholesteryl ester by the liver. The phenotype could be rescued by re-expression of SR-BI. These findings demonstrate that hepatic FoxOs are required for cholesterol homeostasis and HDL-mediated reverse cholesterol transport to the liver.
Samuel X. Lee, Markus Heine, Christian Schlein, Rajasekhar Ramakrishnan, Jing Liu, Gabriella Belnavis, Ido Haimi, Alexander W. Fischer, Henry Ginsberg, Joerg Heeren, Franz Rinninger, Rebecca A. Haeusler
Transient vanilloid potential 1 (TRPV1) agonists are emerging as highly efficacious non-opioid analgesics in preclinical studies. These drugs selectively lesion TRPV1+ primary sensory afferents, which are responsible for the transmission of many noxious stimulus modalities. Resiniferatoxin (RTX) is a very potent and selective TRPV1 agonist and is a promising candidate for treating many types of pain. Recent work establishing intrathecal application of RTX for the treatment of pain resulting from advanced cancer has demonstrated profound analgesia in client-owned dogs with osteosarcoma. The present study uses transcriptomics and histochemistry to examine the molecular mechanism of RTX action in rats, in clinical canine subjects, and in one human subject with advanced cancer treated for pain using intrathecal RTX. In all three species we observe a strong analgesic action, yet this was accompanied by limited transcriptional alterations at the level of the DRG. Functional and neuroanatomical studies demonstrated that intrathecal RTX largely spares susceptible neuronal perikarya, which remain active peripherally, but unable to transmit signals to the spinal cord. The results demonstrate that central chemo-axotomy of the TRPV1+ afferents underlies RTX analgesia and refine the neurobiology underlying effective clinical use of TRPV1 agonists for pain control.
Matthew R. Sapio, John K. Neubert, Danielle M. LaPaglia, Dragan Maric, Jason M. Keller, Stephen J. Raithel, Eric L. Rohrs, Ethan M. Anderson, John A. Butman, Robert M. Caudle, Dorothy C. Brown, John D. Heiss, Andrew J. Mannes, Michael J. Iadarola
This month’s cover features a cortical pyramidal neuron, distinguishable by its yellow nucleus. The interaction of FingR-gephyrin (green) and ankyrin (magenta) at the axion initial segment helps to stabilize inhibitory synapse organization. The cell is filled with red fluorescent protein for visualization. The corresponding study by Wang et al. describes the defective neuronal morphology, synaptogenesis, and inhibitory signaling that underlie early infantile epileptic encephalography 5, a disease linked to mutations in αII spectrin. Image credit: Yu Wang.
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
Fibrosis describes a maladaptive response to injury that results in pathogenic production of extracellular matrix, the formation of stiff scar tissue, and compromised organ function. Although it is most often associated with chronic liver conditions and progressive lung disease, fibrosis can affect any organ of the body. There are few treatment options for this progressive, often fatal condition, but as ongoing research identifies the molecular pathways that initiate and propagate fibrotic remodeling, therapeutic possibilities may become available. The reviews in this series discuss recent insights into genetic predisposition to fibrotic disorders, the origins of fibroblasts and myofibroblasts, scar tissue formation, organ regeneration, and more, revealing opportunities to interrupt or even reverse disease progression.