RASA3 protein's role in success of Plavix. Coverage by R&D Magazine on "RASA3 is a critical inhibitor of RAP1-dependent platelet activation."
Advance in stem cells. Coverage by Harvard Gazette on "Differentiation of hypothalamic-like neurons from human pluripotent stem cells."
Small loop in human prion lends resistance to chronic wasting disease. Coverage by News Medical.net on "Human prion protein sequence elements impede cross-species chronic wasting disease transmission."
Cellular defect responsible for cystic fibrosis mucus build up. Coverage by Cystic Fibrosis News Today on "Defective goblet cell exocytosis contributes to murine cystic fibrosis–associated intestinal disease."
Therapy-resistant melanoma patient study. Coverage by Melanoma News Today and Health Canal on "Co-clinical assessment identifies patterns of BRAF inhibitor resistance in melanoma."
Human skin cells used to control appetite. Coverage by The News Reports.com on "Protein tyrosine phosphatase–σ regulates hematopoietic stem cell–repopulating capacity."
The small GTPase RAP1 is critical for platelet activation and thrombus formation. RAP1 activity in platelets is controlled by the GEF CalDAG-GEFI and an unknown regulator that operates downstream of the adenosine diphosphate (ADP) receptor, P2Y12, a target of antithrombotic therapy. Here, we provide evidence that the GAP, RASA3, inhibits platelet activation and provides a link between P2Y12 and activation of the RAP1 signaling pathway. In mice, reduced expression of RASA3 led to premature platelet activation and markedly reduced the life span of circulating platelets. The increased platelet turnover and the resulting thrombocytopenia were reversed by concomitant deletion of the gene encoding CalDAG-GEFI.
Lucia Stefanini, David S. Paul, Raymond F. Robledo, E. Ricky Chan, Todd M. Getz, Robert A. Campbell, Daniel O. Kechele, Caterina Casari, Raymond Piatt, Kathleen M. Caron, Nigel Mackman, Andrew S. Weyrich, Matthew C. Parrott, Yacine Boulaftali, Mark D. Adams, Luanne L. Peters, Wolfgang Bergmeier
The hypothalamus is the central regulator of systemic energy homeostasis, and its dysfunction can result in extreme body weight alterations. Insights into the complex cellular physiology of this region are critical to the understanding of obesity pathogenesis; however, human hypothalamic cells are largely inaccessible for direct study. Here, we developed a protocol for efficient generation of hypothalamic neurons from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) obtained from patients with monogenetic forms of obesity. Combined early activation of sonic hedgehog signaling followed by timed NOTCH inhibition in human ESCs/iPSCs resulted in efficient conversion into hypothalamic NKX2.1+ precursors. Application of a NOTCH inhibitor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) further directed the cells into arcuate nucleus hypothalamic-like neurons that express hypothalamic neuron markers proopiomelanocortin (POMC), neuropeptide Y (NPY), agouti-related peptide (AGRP), somatostatin, and dopamine. These hypothalamic-like neurons accounted for over 90% of differentiated cells and exhibited transcriptional profiles defined by a hypothalamic-specific gene expression signature that lacked pituitary markers. Importantly, these cells displayed hypothalamic neuron characteristics, including production and secretion of neuropeptides and increased p-AKT and p-STAT3 in response to insulin and leptin. Our results suggest that these hypothalamic-like neurons have potential for further investigation of the neurophysiology of body weight regulation and evaluation of therapeutic targets for obesity.
Liheng Wang, Kana Meece, Damian J. Williams, Kinyui Alice Lo, Matthew Zimmer, Garrett Heinrich, Jayne Martin Carli, Charles A. Leduc, Lei Sun, Lori M. Zeltser, Matthew Freeby, Robin Goland, Stephen H. Tsang, Sharon L. Wardlaw, Dieter Egli, Rudolph L. Leibel
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal prion disease of North American deer and elk and poses an unclear risk for transmission to humans. Human exposure to CWD occurs through hunting activities and consumption of venison from prion-infected animals. Although the amino acid residues of the prion protein (PrP) that prevent or permit human CWD infection are unknown, NMR-based structural studies suggest that the β2-α2 loop (residues 165–175) may impact species barriers. Here we sought to define PrP sequence determinants that affect CWD transmission to humans. We engineered transgenic mice that express human PrP with four amino acid substitutions that result in expression of PrP with a β2-α2 loop (residues 165–175) that exactly matches that of elk PrP. Compared with transgenic mice expressing unaltered human PrP, mice expressing the human-elk chimeric PrP were highly susceptible to elk and deer CWD prions but were concurrently less susceptible to human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions. A systematic in vitro survey of amino acid differences between humans and cervids identified two additional residues that impacted CWD conversion of human PrP. This work identifies amino acids that constitute a substantial structural barrier for CWD transmission to humans and helps illuminate the molecular requirements for cross-species prion transmission.
Timothy D. Kurt, Lin Jiang, Natalia Fernández-Borges, Cyrus Bett, Jun Liu, Tom Yang, Terry R. Spraker, Joaquín Castilla, David Eisenberg, Qingzhong Kong, Christina J. Sigurdson
Cystic fibrosis (CF) intestinal disease is associated with the pathological manifestation mucoviscidosis, which is the secretion of tenacious, viscid mucus that plugs ducts and glands of epithelial-lined organs. Goblet cells are the principal cell type involved in exocytosis of mucin granules; however, little is known about the exocytotic process of goblet cells in the CF intestine. Using intestinal organoids from a CF mouse model, we determined that CF goblet cells have altered exocytotic dynamics, which involved intrathecal granule swelling that was abruptly followed by incomplete release of partially decondensated mucus. Some CF goblet cells exhibited an ectopic granule location and distorted cellular morphology, a phenotype that is consistent with retrograde intracellular granule movement during exocytosis. Increasing the luminal concentration of bicarbonate, which mimics CF transmembrane conductance regulator–mediated anion secretion, increased spontaneous degranulation in WT goblet cells and improved exocytotic dynamics in CF goblet cells; however, there was still an apparent incoordination between granule decondensation and exocytosis in the CF goblet cells. Compared with those within WT goblet cells, mucin granules within CF goblet cells had an alkaline pH, which may adversely affect the polyionic composition of the mucins. Together, these findings indicate that goblet cell dysfunction is an epithelial-autonomous defect in the CF intestine that likely contributes to the pathology of mucoviscidosis and the intestinal manifestations of obstruction and inflammation.
Jinghua Liu, Nancy M. Walker, Akifumi Ootani, Ashlee M. Strubberg, Lane L. Clarke
Multiple mechanisms have been described that confer BRAF inhibitor resistance to melanomas, yet the basis of this resistance remains undefined in a sizable portion of patient samples. Here, we characterized samples from a set of patients with melanoma that included individuals at baseline diagnosis, on BRAF inhibitor treatment, and with resistant tumors at both the protein and RNA levels. Using RNA and DNA sequencing, we identified known resistance-conferring mutations in 50% (6 of 12) of the resistant samples. In parallel, targeted proteomic analysis by protein array categorized the resistant samples into 3 stable groups, 2 of which were characterized by reactivation of MAPK signaling to different levels and 1 that was MAPK independent. The molecular relevance of these classifications identified in patients was supported by both mutation data and the similarity of resistance patterns that emerged during a co-clinical trial in a genetically engineered mouse (GEM) model of melanoma that recapitulates the development of BRAF inhibitor resistance. Additionally, we defined candidate biomarkers in pre- and early-treatment patient samples that have potential for predicting clinical responses. On the basis of these observations, we suggest that BRAF inhibitor–resistant melanomas can be actionably classified using protein expression patterns, even without identification of the underlying genetic alteration.
Lawrence N. Kwong, Genevieve M. Boland, Dennie T. Frederick, Timothy L. Helms, Ahmad T. Akid, John P. Miller, Shan Jiang, Zachary A. Cooper, Xingzhi Song, Sahil Seth, Jennifer Kamara, Alexei Protopopov, Gordon B. Mills, Keith T. Flaherty, Jennifer A. Wargo, Lynda Chin
Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function is regulated by activation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) counterbalance RTK signaling; however, the functions of receptor PTPs in HSCs remain incompletely understood. We found that a receptor PTP, PTPσ, was substantially overexpressed in mouse and human HSCs compared with more mature hematopoietic cells. Competitive transplantation of bone marrow cells from PTPσ-deficient mice revealed that the loss of PTPσ substantially increased long-term HSC-repopulating capacity compared with BM cells from control mice. While HSCs from PTPσ-deficient mice had no apparent alterations in cell-cycle status, apoptosis, or homing capacity, these HSCs exhibited increased levels of activated RAC1, a RhoGTPase that regulates HSC engraftment capacity. shRNA-mediated silencing of PTPσ also increased activated RAC1 levels in wild-type HSCs. Functionally, PTPσ-deficient BM cells displayed increased cobblestone area–forming cell (CAFC) capacity and augmented transendothelial migration capacity, which was abrogated by RAC inhibition. Specific selection of human cord blood CD34+CD38–CD45RA–lin– PTPσ– cells substantially increased the repopulating capacity of human HSCs compared with CD34+CD38–CD45RA–lin– cells and CD34+CD38–CD45RA–lin–PTPσ+ cells. Our results demonstrate that PTPσ regulates HSC functional capacity via RAC1 inhibition and suggest that selecting for PTPσ-negative human HSCs may be an effective strategy for enriching human HSCs for transplantation.
Mamle Quarmyne, Phuong L. Doan, Heather A. Himburg, Xiao Yan, Mai Nakamura, Liman Zhao, Nelson J. Chao, John P. Chute