bims-nimamd Biomed News
on Neuroimmunity and neuroinflammation in ageing and metabolic disease
Issue of 2022‒02‒27
38 papers selected by
Fawaz Alzaïd
Sorbonne Université

  1. Nature. 2022 Feb 23.
      A hallmark pathological feature of the neurodegenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the depletion of RNA-binding protein TDP-43 from the nucleus of neurons in the brain and spinal cord1. A major function of TDP-43 is as a repressor of cryptic exon inclusion during RNA splicing2-4. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in UNC13A are among the strongest hits associated with FTD and ALS in human genome-wide association studies5,6, but how those variants increase risk for disease is unknown. Here we show that TDP-43 represses a cryptic exon-splicing event in UNC13A. Loss of TDP-43 from the nucleus in human brain, neuronal cell lines and motor neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells resulted in the inclusion of a cryptic exon in UNC13A mRNA and reduced UNC13A protein expression. The top variants associated with FTD or ALS risk in humans are located in the intron harbouring the cryptic exon, and we show that they increase UNC13A cryptic exon splicing in the face of TDP-43 dysfunction. Together, our data provide a direct functional link between one of the strongest genetic risk factors for FTD and ALS (UNC13A genetic variants), and loss of TDP-43 function.
  2. Nat Biotechnol. 2022 Feb 24.
      The combination of single-cell transcriptomics with mitochondrial DNA variant detection can be used to establish lineage relationships in primary human cells, but current methods are not scalable to interrogate complex tissues. Here, we combine common 3' single-cell RNA-sequencing protocols with mitochondrial transcriptome enrichment to increase coverage by more than 50-fold, enabling high-confidence mutation detection. The method successfully identifies skewed immune-cell expansions in primary human clonal hematopoiesis.
  3. J Clin Invest. 2022 Feb 24. pii: e148852. [Epub ahead of print]
      Brown adipose tissue (BAT), a crucial heat-generating organ, regulate whole-body energy metabolism by mediating thermogenesis. BAT inflammation is implicated in the pathogenesis of mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired thermogenesis. However, the link between BAT inflammation and systematic metabolism remains unclear. Herein, we use mice with BAT deficiency of thioredoxin-2 (TRX2), a protein that scavenges mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), to evaluate the impact of BAT inflammation on metabolism and thermogenesis and its underlying mechanism. Our results describe that BAT-specific TRX2 ablation improves systematic metabolic performance via enhancing lipid uptake, which protects mice from diet-induced obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, and insulin resistance. TRX2 deficiency impairs adaptive thermogenesis by suppressing fatty acid oxidation. Mechanistically, loss of TRX2 induces excessive mitochondrial ROS, mitochondrial integrity disruption, and cytosolic release of mitochondrial DNA, which in turn activate aberrant innate immune responses in BAT, including the cGAS-STING and the NLRP3 inflammasome pathways. We identify NLRP3 as a key converging point, as its inhibition reverses both the thermogenesis defect and the metabolic benefits seen under nutrient overload in BAT-specific Trx2-deficient mice. In conclusion, we identify TRX2 as a critical hub integrating oxidative stress, inflammation, and lipid metabolism in BAT; uncovering an adaptive mechanism underlying the link between BAT inflammation and systematic metabolism.
    Keywords:  Adipose tissue; Inflammation; Innate immunity; Metabolism; Mitochondria
  4. J Clin Invest. 2022 Feb 22. pii: e153920. [Epub ahead of print]
      Platelets have a wide range of functions including critical roles in hemostasis, thrombosis, and immunity. We hypothesized that during acute inflammation, such as in life-threatening sepsis, there are fundamental changes in the sites of platelet production and phenotypes of resultant platelets. Here, we showed during sepsis that the spleen is a major site of megakaryopoiesis and platelet production. Sepsis provoked an adrenergic-dependent mobilization of megakaryocyte-erythrocyte progenitors (MEPs) from the bone marrow to the spleen where interleukin-3 (IL-3) induced their differentiation into megakaryocytes. In the spleen, immune-skewed megakaryocytes produced a CD40 ligand-high platelet population with potent immunomodulatory functions. Transfusions of post-sepsis platelets enriched from splenic production enhanced immune responses and reduced overall mortality in sepsis-challenged animals. These findings identify a spleen-derived protective platelet population that may be broadly immunomodulatory in acute inflammatory states such as sepsis.
    Keywords:  Hematology; Hematopoietic stem cells; Innate immunity; Platelets; Stem cells
  5. J Immunol. 2022 Feb 25. pii: ji2100871. [Epub ahead of print]
      Activation of the Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channel is crucial for T cell functions. It was recently shown that naked cuticle homolog 2 (NKD2), a signaling adaptor molecule, orchestrates trafficking of ORAI1, a pore subunit of the CRAC channels, to the plasma membrane for sustained activation of the CRAC channels. However, the physiological role of sustained Ca2+ entry via ORAI1 trafficking remains poorly understood. Using NKD2 as a molecular handle, we show that ORAI1 trafficking is crucial for sustained Ca2+ entry and cytokine production, especially in inflammatory Th1 and Th17 cells. We find that murine T cells cultured under pathogenic Th17-polarizing conditions have higher Ca2+ levels that are NKD2-dependent than those under nonpathogenic conditions. In vivo, deletion of Nkd2 alleviated clinical symptoms of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice by selectively decreasing effector T cell responses in the CNS. Furthermore, we observed a strong correlation between NKD2 expression and proinflammatory cytokine production in effector T cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that the pathogenic effector T cell response demands sustained Ca2+ entry supported by ORAI1 trafficking.
  6. Cell. 2022 Feb 02. pii: S0092-8674(22)00138-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Vaccine-mediated immunity often relies on the generation of protective antibodies and memory B cells, which commonly stem from germinal center (GC) reactions. An in-depth comparison of the GC responses elicited by SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines in healthy and immunocompromised individuals has not yet been performed due to the challenge of directly probing human lymph nodes. Herein, through a fine-needle aspiration-based approach, we profiled the immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines in lymph nodes of healthy individuals and kidney transplant recipients (KTXs). We found that, unlike healthy subjects, KTXs presented deeply blunted SARS-CoV-2-specific GC B cell responses coupled with severely hindered T follicular helper cell, SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain-specific memory B cell, and neutralizing antibody responses. KTXs also displayed reduced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4 and CD8 T cell frequencies. Broadly, these data indicate impaired GC-derived immunity in immunocompromised individuals and suggest a GC origin for certain humoral and memory B cell responses following mRNA vaccination.
    Keywords:  SARS-CoV-2; T follicular helper cells; fine-needle aspiration; germinal center B cells; germinal centers; immunocompromised; kidney transplant recipients; mRNA vaccines; memory B cells; neutralizing antibodies
  7. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 25. 13(1): 1053
      Preexisting immunity against Cas9 proteins in humans represents a safety risk for CRISPR-Cas9 technologies. However, it is unclear to what extent preexisting Cas9 immunity is relevant to the eye as it is targeted for early in vivo CRISPR-Cas9 clinical trials. While the eye lacks T-cells, it contains antibodies, cytokines, and resident immune cells. Although precise mechanisms are unclear, intraocular inflammation remains a major cause of vision loss. Here, we used immunoglobulin isotyping and ELISA platforms to profile antibodies in serum and vitreous fluid biopsies from human adult subjects and Cas9-immunized mice. We observed high prevalence of preexisting Cas9-reactive antibodies in serum but not in the eye. However, we detected intraocular antibodies reactive to S. pyogenes-derived Cas9 after S. pyogenes intraocular infection. Our data suggest that serum antibody concentration may determine whether specific intraocular antibodies develop, but preexisting immunity to Cas9 may represent a lower risk in human eyes than systemically.
  8. Cell. 2022 Feb 15. pii: S0092-8674(22)00079-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Congenital heart disease (CHD) is present in 1% of live births, yet identification of causal mutations remains challenging. We hypothesized that genetic determinants for CHDs may lie in the protein interactomes of transcription factors whose mutations cause CHDs. Defining the interactomes of two transcription factors haplo-insufficient in CHD, GATA4 and TBX5, within human cardiac progenitors, and integrating the results with nearly 9,000 exomes from proband-parent trios revealed an enrichment of de novo missense variants associated with CHD within the interactomes. Scoring variants of interactome members based on residue, gene, and proband features identified likely CHD-causing genes, including the epigenetic reader GLYR1. GLYR1 and GATA4 widely co-occupied and co-activated cardiac developmental genes, and the identified GLYR1 missense variant disrupted interaction with GATA4, impairing in vitro and in vivo function in mice. This integrative proteomic and genetic approach provides a framework for prioritizing and interrogating genetic variants in heart disease.
    Keywords:  GATA4; GLYR1; NPAC; TBX5; congenital heart disease; de novo variants; disease variants; genetics; protein interactome networks
  9. Sci Adv. 2022 Feb 25. 8(8): eabg4485
      T cells defend against cancer and viral infections by rapidly scanning the surface of target cells seeking specific peptide antigens. This key process in adaptive immunity is sparked upon T cell receptor (TCR) binding of antigens within cell-cell junctions stabilized by integrin (LFA-1)/intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) complexes. A long-standing question in this area is whether the forces transmitted through the LFA-1/ICAM-1 complex tune T cell signaling. Here, we use spectrally encoded DNA tension probes to reveal the first maps of LFA-1 and TCR forces generated by the T cell cytoskeleton upon antigen recognition. DNA probes that control the magnitude of LFA-1 force show that F>12 pN potentiates antigen-dependent T cell activation by enhancing T cell-substrate engagement. LFA-1/ICAM-1 mechanical events with F>12 pN also enhance the discriminatory power of the TCR when presented with near cognate antigens. Overall, our results show that T cells integrate multiple channels of mechanical information through different ligand-receptor pairs to tune function.
  10. Nat Biotechnol. 2022 Feb 21.
      A goal of single-cell genome-wide profiling is to reconstruct dynamic transitions during cell differentiation, disease onset and drug response. Single-cell assays have recently been integrated with lineage tracing, a set of methods that identify cells of common ancestry to establish bona fide dynamic relationships between cell states. These integrated methods have revealed unappreciated cell dynamics, but their analysis faces recurrent challenges arising from noisy, dispersed lineage data. In this study, we developed coherent, sparse optimization (CoSpar) as a robust computational approach to infer cell dynamics from single-cell transcriptomics integrated with lineage tracing. Built on assumptions of coherence and sparsity of transition maps, CoSpar is robust to severe downsampling and dispersion of lineage data, which enables simpler experimental designs and requires less calibration. In datasets representing hematopoiesis, reprogramming and directed differentiation, CoSpar identifies early fate biases not previously detected, predicting transcription factors and receptors implicated in fate choice. Documentation and detailed examples for common experimental designs are available at .
  11. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 22. 13(1): 1001
      RNA interference is required for post-transcriptional silencing, but also has additional roles in transcriptional silencing of centromeres and genome stability. However, these roles have been controversial in mammals. Strikingly, we found that Dicer-deficient embryonic stem cells have strong proliferation and chromosome segregation defects as well as increased transcription of centromeric satellite repeats, which triggers the interferon response. We conducted a CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screen to restore viability and identified transcriptional activators, histone H3K9 methyltransferases, and chromosome segregation factors as suppressors, resembling Dicer suppressors identified in independent screens in fission yeast. The strongest suppressors were mutations in the transcriptional co-activator Brd4, which reversed the strand-specific transcription of major satellite repeats suppressing the interferon response, and in the histone acetyltransferase Elp3. We show that identical mutations in the second bromodomain of Brd4 rescue Dicer-dependent silencing and chromosome segregation defects in both mammalian cells and fission yeast. This remarkable conservation demonstrates that RNA interference has an ancient role in transcriptional silencing and in particular of satellite repeats, which is essential for cell cycle progression and proper chromosome segregation. Our results have pharmacological implications for cancer and autoimmune diseases characterized by unregulated transcription of satellite repeats.
  12. Science. 2022 Feb 25. 375(6583): eabi8264
      The sequencing of modern and ancient genomes from around the world has revolutionized our understanding of human history and evolution. However, the problem of how best to characterize ancestral relationships from the totality of human genomic variation remains unsolved. Here, we address this challenge with nonparametric methods that enable us to infer a unified genealogy of modern and ancient humans. This compact representation of multiple datasets explores the challenges of missing and erroneous data and uses ancient samples to constrain and date relationships. We demonstrate the power of the method to recover relationships between individuals and populations as well as to identify descendants of ancient samples. Finally, we introduce a simple nonparametric estimator of the geographical location of ancestors that recapitulates key events in human history.
  13. Diabetes. 2022 Feb 22. pii: db210581. [Epub ahead of print]
      Finding therapies that can protect and expand functional β-cell mass is a major goal of diabetes research. Here we generated β-cell-specific conditional knockout and gain-of-function mouse models and used human islet transplant experiments to examine how manipulating Nrf2 levels affects β-cell survival, proliferation and mass. Depletion of Nrf2 in β-cells results in decreased glucose-stimulated β-cell proliferation ex vivo and decreased adaptive β-cell proliferation and β-cell mass expansion after a high fat diet in vivo. Nrf2 protects β-cells from apoptosis after a high fat diet. Nrf2 loss-of-function decreases Pdx1 abundance and insulin content. Activating Nrf2 in a β-cell-specific manner increases β-cell proliferation and mass and improves glucose tolerance. Human islets transplanted under the kidney capsule of immunocompromised mice and treated systemically with CDDO-Me, an Nrf2 activator, display increased β-cell proliferation. Thus, by managing ROS levels, Nrf2 regulates β-cell mass and is an exciting therapeutic target for expanding and protecting β-cell mass in diabetes.
  14. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Mar 01. pii: e2110357119. [Epub ahead of print]119(9):
      Cytochrome c oxidase (COX) assembly factor 7 (COA7) is a metazoan-specific assembly factor, critical for the biogenesis of mitochondrial complex IV (cytochrome c oxidase). Although mutations in COA7 have been linked to complex IV assembly defects and neurological conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, ataxia, and leukoencephalopathy, the precise role COA7 plays in the biogenesis of complex IV is not known. Here, we show that loss of COA7 blocks complex IV assembly after the initial step where the COX1 module is built, progression from which requires the incorporation of copper and addition of the COX2 and COX3 modules. The crystal structure of COA7, determined to 2.4 Å resolution, reveals a banana-shaped molecule composed of five helix-turn-helix (α/α) repeats, tethered by disulfide bonds. COA7 interacts transiently with the copper metallochaperones SCO1 and SCO2 and catalyzes the reduction of disulfide bonds within these proteins, which are crucial for copper relay to COX2. COA7 binds heme with micromolar affinity, through axial ligation to the central iron atom by histidine and methionine residues. We therefore propose that COA7 is a heme-binding disulfide reductase for regenerating the copper relay system that underpins complex IV assembly.
    Keywords:  COA7; X-ray crystallography; cytochrome c oxidase; heme; mitochondria
  15. Immunity. 2022 Feb 15. pii: S1074-7613(22)00042-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Consecutive exposures to different pathogens are highly prevalent and often alter the host immune response. However, it remains unknown how a secondary bacterial infection affects an ongoing adaptive immune response elicited against primary invading pathogens. We demonstrated that recruitment of Sca-1+ monocytes into lymphoid organs during Salmonella Typhimurium (STm) infection disrupted pre-existing germinal center (GC) reactions. GC responses induced by influenza, plasmodium, or commensals deteriorated following STm infection. GC disruption was independent of the direct bacterial interactions with B cells and instead was induced through recruitment of CCR2-dependent Sca-1+ monocytes into the lymphoid organs. GC collapse was associated with impaired cellular respiration and was dependent on TNFα and IFNγ, the latter of which was essential for Sca-1+ monocyte differentiation. Monocyte recruitment and GC disruption also occurred during LPS-supplemented vaccination and Listeria monocytogenes infection. Thus, systemic activation of the innate immune response upon severe bacterial infection is induced at the expense of antibody-mediated immunity.
    Keywords:  B cell; LPS; Listeria; Salmonella; bacterial infection; germinal center; inflammation; monocytes
  16. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Feb 22. pii: e2107266119. [Epub ahead of print]119(8):
      In search of redox mechanisms in breast cancer, we uncovered a striking role for glutathione peroxidase 2 (GPx2) in oncogenic signaling and patient survival. GPx2 loss stimulates malignant progression due to reactive oxygen species/hypoxia inducible factor-α (HIF1α)/VEGFA (vascular endothelial growth factor A) signaling, causing poor perfusion and hypoxia, which were reversed by GPx2 reexpression or HIF1α inhibition. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis revealed a link between GPx2 loss, tumor angiogenesis, metabolic modulation, and HIF1α signaling. Single-cell RNA analysis and bioenergetic profiling revealed that GPx2 loss stimulated the Warburg effect in most tumor cell subpopulations, except for one cluster, which was capable of oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis, as confirmed by coexpression of phosphorylated-AMPK and GLUT1. These findings underscore a unique role for redox signaling by GPx2 dysregulation in breast cancer, underlying tumor heterogeneity, leading to metabolic plasticity and malignant progression.
    Keywords:  HIF1α; ROS signaling; breast cancer; glutathione peroxidase 2; metabolism
  17. Nature. 2022 Feb 23.
      Lung infections and smoking are risk factors for multiple sclerosis, a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease of the central nervous system1. In addition, the lung serves as a niche for the disease-inducing T cells for long-term survival and for maturation into migration-competent effector T cells2. Why the lung tissue in particular has such an important role in an autoimmune disease of the brain is not yet known. Here we detected a tight interconnection between the lung microbiota and the immune reactivity of the brain. A dysregulation in the lung microbiome significantly influenced the susceptibility of rats to developing autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Shifting the microbiota towards lipopolysaccharide-enriched phyla by local treatment with neomycin induced a type-I-interferon-primed state in brain-resident microglial cells. Their responsiveness towards autoimmune-dominated stimulation by type II interferons was impaired, which led to decreased proinflammatory response, immune cell recruitment and clinical signs. Suppressing lipopolysaccharide-producing lung phyla with polymyxin B led to disease aggravation, whereas addition of lipopolysaccharide-enriched phyla or lipopolysaccharide recapitulated the neomycin effect. Our data demonstrate the existence of a lung-brain axis in which the pulmonary microbiome regulates the immune reactivity of the central nervous tissue and thereby influences its susceptibility to autoimmune disease development.
  18. Immunity. 2022 Feb 21. pii: S1074-7613(22)00047-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      CD4+ T cell-derived interleukin 21 (IL-21) sustains CD8+ T cell responses during chronic viral infection, but the helper subset that confers this protection remains unclear. Here, we applied scRNA and ATAC-seq approaches to determine the heterogeneity of IL-21+CD4+ T cells during LCMV clone 13 infection. CD4+ T cells were comprised of three transcriptionally and epigenetically distinct populations: Cxcr6+ Th1 cells, Cxcr5+ Tfh cells, and a previously unrecognized Slamf6+ memory-like (Tml) subset. T cell differentiation was specifically redirected toward the Tml subset during chronic, but not acute, LCMV infection. Although this subset displayed an enhanced capacity to accumulate and some developmental plasticity, it remained largely quiescent, which may hinder its helper potential. Conversely, mixed bone marrow chimera experiments revealed that Tfh cell-derived IL-21 was critical to sustain CD8+ T cell responses and viral control. Thus, strategies that bolster IL-21+Tfh cell responses may prove effective in enhancing CD8+ T cell-mediated immunity.
    Keywords:  ATAC-seq; CD4 T cells; IL-21; LCMV Cl13; single-cell RNA sequencing
  19. Aging Cell. 2022 Feb 23. e13574
      Aging is an independent risk factor for acute kidney injury and subsequent chronic kidney diseases, while the underlying mechanism is still elusive. Here, we found that renal tubules highly express a conserved lysosomal endopeptidase, legumain, which is significantly downregulated with the growing of age. Tubule-specific legumain-knockout mice exhibit spontaneous renal interstitial fibrosis from the 3rd month. In the tubule-specific legumain-knockout mice and the cultured legumain-knockdown HK-2 cells, legumain deficiency induces the activation of tubular senescence and thus increases the secretion of profibrotic senescence-associated cytokines, which in turn accelerates the activation of fibroblasts. Blockage of senescence mitigates the fibrotic lesion caused by legumain deficiency. Mechanistically, we found that silencing down of legumain leads to the elevated lysosome pH value, enlargement of lysosome size, and increase of lysosomal voltage dependent membrane channel proteins. Either legumain downregulation or aging alone induces the activation of nuclear transcription factors EB (TFEB) while it fails to further upregulate in the elderly legumain-knockdown tubules, accompanied with impaired mitophagy and increased mitochondrial ROS (mtROS) accumulation. Therapeutically, supplementation of exosomal legumain ameliorated fibronectin and collagen I production in an in vitro coculture system of tubular cells and fibroblasts. Altogether, our data demonstrate that loss of legumain in combined with aging dysregulates lysosomal homeostasis, although either aging or legumain deficiency alone induces lysosome adaptation via stimulating lysosomal biogenesis. Consequently, impaired mitophagy leads to mtROS accumulation and therefore activates tubular senescence and boosts the interstitial fibrosis.
    Keywords:  aging-related renal fibrosis; autophagy; legumain (asparagine endopetidase); premature senescence
  20. J Clin Invest. 2022 Feb 22. pii: e153247. [Epub ahead of print]
      CD8+ T cell longevity regulated by metabolic activity plays important roles in cancer immunotherapy. Although in vitro polarized, transferred IL-9-secreting CD8+ Tc9 cells exert greater persistence and antitumor efficacy than Tc1/CTL cells, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here, we show that tumor-infiltrating Tc9 cells display significantly lower lipid peroxidation than Tc1 cells in several mouse models, which is strongly correlated with their persistence. Using RNA-sequence and functional validation, we found that Tc9 cells exhibited unique lipid metabolic programs. Tc9 cell-derived IL-9 activated STAT3, upregulated fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial activity, and rendered Tc9 cells with reduced lipid peroxidation and resistant to tumor or ROS induced ferroptosis in TME. IL-9 signal deficiency, inhibiting STAT3 or fatty acid oxidation increased lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis of Tc9 cells, resulting in impaired longevity and antitumor ability. Similarly, human Tc9 cells also possessed lower lipid peroxidation than Tc1 cells and tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells expressed lower IL-9 and higher lipid peroxidation- and ferroptosis-related genes than circulating CD8+ T cells in melanoma patients. This study indicates that lipid peroxidation regulates Tc9-cell longevity and antitumor effects via IL-9-STAT3-fatty acid oxidation pathway and regulating T-cell lipid peroxidation can be used to enhance T-cell based immunotherapy in human cancer.
    Keywords:  Cancer immunotherapy; Fatty acid oxidation; Immunology; Metabolism; T cells
  21. Science. 2022 Feb 25. 375(6583): 859-863
      Group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) are innate immune effectors that contribute to host defense. Whether ILC3 functions are stably modified after pathogen encounter is unknown. Here, we assess the impact of a time-restricted enterobacterial challenge to long-term ILC3 activation in mice. We found that intestinal ILC3s persist for months in an activated state after exposure to Citrobacter rodentium. Upon rechallenge, these "trained" ILC3s proliferate, display enhanced interleukin-22 (IL-22) responses, and have a superior capacity to control infection compared with naïve ILC3s. Metabolic changes occur in C. rodentium-exposed ILC3s, but only trained ILC3s have an enhanced proliferative capacity that contributes to increased IL-22 production. Accordingly, a limited encounter with a pathogen can promote durable phenotypic and functional changes in intestinal ILC3s that contribute to long-term mucosal defense.
  22. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Mar 01. pii: e2114401119. [Epub ahead of print]119(9):
      In most mammals and likely throughout vertebrates, the gene PRDM9 specifies the locations of meiotic double strand breaks; in mice and humans at least, it also aids in their repair. For both roles, many of the molecular partners remain unknown. Here, we take a phylogenetic approach to identify genes that may be interacting with PRDM9 by leveraging the fact that PRDM9 arose before the origin of vertebrates but was lost many times, either partially or entirely-and with it, its role in recombination. As a first step, we characterize PRDM9 domain composition across 446 vertebrate species, inferring at least 13 independent losses. We then use the interdigitation of PRDM9 orthologs across vertebrates to test whether it coevolved with any of 241 candidate genes coexpressed with PRDM9 in mice or associated with recombination phenotypes in mammals. Accounting for the phylogenetic relationship among a subsample of 189 species, we find two genes whose presence and absence is unexpectedly coincident with that of PRDM9: ZCWPW1, which was recently shown to facilitate double strand break repair, and its paralog ZCWPW2, as well as, more tentatively, TEX15 and FBXO47 ZCWPW2 is expected to be recruited to sites of PRDM9 binding; its tight coevolution with PRDM9 across vertebrates suggests that it is a key interactor within mammals and beyond, with a role either in recruiting the recombination machinery or in double strand break repair.
    Keywords:  PRDM9 evolution; comparative genomics; genetics; phylogenetics; recombination
  23. Sci Adv. 2022 Feb 25. 8(8): eabm4552
      GITR is a TNF receptor, and its activation promotes immune responses and drives antitumor activity. The receptor is activated by the GITR ligand (GITRL), which is believed to cluster receptors into a high-order array. Immunotherapeutic agonist antibodies also activate the receptor, but their mechanisms are not well characterized. We solved the structure of full-length mouse GITR bound to Fabs from the antibody DTA-1. The receptor is a dimer, and each subunit binds one Fab in an orientation suggesting that the antibody clusters receptors. Binding experiments with purified proteins show that DTA-1 IgG and GITRL both drive extensive clustering of GITR. Functional data reveal that DTA-1 and the anti-human GITR antibody TRX518 activate GITR in their IgG forms but not as Fabs. Thus, the divalent character of the IgG agonists confers an ability to mimic GITRL and cluster and activate GITR. These findings will inform the clinical development of this class of antibodies for immuno-oncology.
  24. Sci Immunol. 2022 Feb 25. 7(68): eabm2508
      The impact of genetic variants on cells challenged in biologically relevant contexts has not been fully explored. Here, we activated CD4+ T cells from 89 healthy donors and performed a single-cell RNA sequencing assay with >1 million cells to examine cell type-specific and activation-dependent effects of genetic variants. Single-cell expression quantitative trait loci (sc-eQTL) analysis of 19 distinct CD4+ T cell subsets showed that the expression of over 4000 genes is significantly associated with common genetic polymorphisms and that most of these genes show their most prominent effects in specific cell types. These genes included many that encode for molecules important for activation, differentiation, and effector functions of T cells. We also found new gene associations for disease-risk variants identified from genome-wide association studies and highlighted the cell types in which their effects are most prominent. We found that biological sex has a major influence on activation-dependent gene expression in CD4+ T cell subsets. Sex-biased transcripts were significantly enriched in several pathways that are essential for the initiation and execution of effector functions by CD4+ T cells like TCR signaling, cytokines, cytokine receptors, costimulatory, apoptosis, and cell-cell adhesion pathways. Overall, this DICE (Database of Immune Cell Expression, eQTLs, and Epigenomics) subproject highlights the power of sc-eQTL studies for simultaneously exploring the activation and cell type-dependent effects of common genetic variants on gene expression (
  25. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Mar 01. pii: e2118695119. [Epub ahead of print]119(9):
      Prelamin A is a farnesylated precursor of lamin A, a nuclear lamina protein. Accumulation of the farnesylated prelamin A variant progerin, with an internal deletion including its processing site, causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. Loss-of-function mutations in ZMPSTE24, which encodes the prelamin A processing enzyme, lead to accumulation of full-length farnesylated prelamin A and cause related progeroid disorders. Some data suggest that prelamin A also accumulates with physiological aging. Zmpste24 -/- mice die young, at ∼20 wk. Because ZMPSTE24 has functions in addition to prelamin A processing, we generated a mouse model to examine effects solely due to the presence of permanently farnesylated prelamin A. These mice have an L648R amino acid substitution in prelamin A that blocks ZMPSTE24-catalyzed processing to lamin A. The Lmna L648R/L648R mice express only prelamin and no mature protein. Notably, nearly all survive to 65 to 70 wk, with ∼40% of male and 75% of female Lmna L648R/L648R mice having near-normal lifespans of 90 wk (almost 2 y). Starting at ∼10 wk of age, Lmna L648R/L648R mice of both sexes have lower body masses than controls. By ∼20 to 30 wk of age, they exhibit detectable cranial, mandibular, and dental defects similar to those observed in Zmpste24 -/- mice and have decreased vertebral bone density compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Cultured embryonic fibroblasts from Lmna L648R/L648R mice have aberrant nuclear morphology that is reversible by treatment with a protein farnesyltransferase inhibitor. These novel mice provide a model to study the effects of farnesylated prelamin A during physiological aging.
    Keywords:  aging; bone; lamin; nuclear envelope; progeria
  26. J Cell Biol. 2022 Apr 04. pii: e202110073. [Epub ahead of print]221(4):
      Cell growth is well defined for late (postembryonic) stages of development, but evidence for early (embryonic) cell growth during postmitotic morphogenesis is limited. Here, we report early cell growth as a key characteristic of tubulogenesis in the Drosophila embryonic salivary gland (SG) and trachea. A BTB/POZ domain nuclear factor, Ribbon (Rib), mediates this early cell growth. Rib binds the transcription start site of nearly every SG-expressed ribosomal protein gene (RPG) and is required for full expression of all RPGs tested. Rib binding to RPG promoters in vitro is weak and not sequence specific, suggesting that specificity is achieved through cofactor interactions. Accordingly, we demonstrate Rib's ability to physically interact with each of the three known regulators of RPG transcription. Surprisingly, Rib-dependent early cell growth in another tubular organ, the embryonic trachea, is not mediated by direct RPG transcription. These findings support a model of early cell growth customized by transcriptional regulatory networks to coordinate organ form and function.
  27. Nature. 2022 Feb 23.
      The assembly of neural circuits is dependent on precise spatiotemporal expression of cell recognition molecules1-5. Factors controlling cell type specificity have been identified6-8, but how timing is determined remains unknown. Here we describe induction of a cascade of transcription factors by a steroid hormone (ecdysone) in all fly visual system neurons spanning target recognition and synaptogenesis. We demonstrate through single-cell sequencing that the ecdysone pathway regulates the expression of a common set of targets required for synaptic maturation and cell-type-specific targets enriched for cell-surface proteins regulating wiring specificity. Transcription factors in the cascade regulate the expression of the same wiring genes in complex ways, including activation in one cell type and repression in another. We show that disruption of the ecdysone pathway generates specific defects in dendritic and axonal processes and synaptic connectivity, with the order of transcription factor expression correlating with sequential steps in wiring. We also identify shared targets of a cell-type-specific transcription factor and the ecdysone pathway that regulate specificity. We propose that neurons integrate a global temporal transcriptional module with cell-type-specific transcription factors to generate different cell-type-specific patterns of cell recognition molecules regulating wiring.
  28. J Immunol. 2022 Feb 23. pii: ji2100843. [Epub ahead of print]
      Agonist-induced Rap1 GTP loading results in integrin activation involved in T cell trafficking and functions. MRL proteins Rap1-interacting adapter molecule (RIAM) and lamellipodin (LPD) are Rap1 effectors that can recruit talin1 to integrins, resulting in integrin activation. Recent work also implicates direct Rap1-talin1 interaction in integrin activation. Here, we analyze in mice the connections between Rap1 and talin1 that support integrin activation in conventional CD4+ T (Tconv) and CD25HiFoxp3+CD4+ regulatory T (Treg) cells. Talin1(R35E, R118E) mutation that disrupts both Rap1 binding sites results in a partial defect in αLβ2, α4β1, and α4β7 integrin activation in both Tconv and Treg cells with resulting defects in T cell homing. Talin1(R35E,R118E) Tconv manifested reduced capacity to induce colitis in an adoptive transfer mouse model. Loss of RIAM exacerbates the defects in Treg cell function caused by the talin1(R35E,R118E) mutation, and deleting both MRL proteins in combination with talin1(R35E,R118E) phenocopy the complete lack of integrin activation observed in Rap1a/b-null Treg cells. In sum, these data reveal the functionally significant connections between Rap1 and talin1 that enable αLβ2, α4β1, and α4β7 integrin activation in CD4+ T cells.
  29. J Immunol. 2022 Feb 23. pii: ji2101025. [Epub ahead of print]
      The pathobiology of rheumatoid inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis, involves the interplay between innate and adaptive immune components and resident synoviocytes. Single-cell analyses of patient samples and relevant mouse models have characterized many cellular subsets in RA. However, the impact of interactions between cell types is not fully understood. In this study, we temporally profiled murine arthritic synovial isolates at the single-cell level to identify perturbations similar to those found in human RA. Notably, murine macrophage subtypes like those found in RA patients were expanded in arthritis and linked to promoting the function of Th17 cells in the joint. In vitro experiments identified a capacity for murine macrophages to maintain the functionality and expansion of Th17 cells. Reciprocally, murine Th17 cell-derived TNF-α induced CD38+ macrophages that enhanced Th17 functionality. Murine synovial CD38+ macrophages were expanded during arthritis, and their depletion or blockade via TNF-α neutralization alleviated disease while reducing IL-17A-producing cells. These findings identify a cellular feedback loop that promotes Th17 cell pathogenicity through TNF-α to drive inflammatory arthritis.
  30. Sci Adv. 2022 Feb 25. 8(8): eabk3076
      Metabolic processes that fuel the growth of heterotrophic microbial communities are initiated by specialized biopolymer degraders that decompose complex forms of organic matter. It is unclear, however, to what extent degraders structure the downstream assembly of the community that follows polymer breakdown. Investigating a model marine microbial community that degrades chitin, we show that chitinases secreted by different degraders produce oligomers of specific chain lengths that not only select for specialized consumers but also influence the metabolites secreted by these consumers into a shared resource pool. Each species participating in the breakdown cascade exhibits unique hierarchical preferences for substrates, which underlies the sequential colonization of metabolically distinct groups as resource availability changes over time. By identifying the metabolic underpinnings of microbial community assembly, we reveal a hierarchical cross-feeding structure that allows biopolymer degraders to shape the dynamics of community assembly.
  31. JCI Insight. 2022 02 22. pii: e150251. [Epub ahead of print]7(4):
      The intensity and longevity of inflammatory responses to inhaled allergens is determined largely by the balance between effector and regulatory immune responses, but the mechanisms that determine the relative magnitudes of these opposing forces remain poorly understood. We have found that the type of adjuvant used during allergic sensitization has a profound effect on both the nature and longevity of the pulmonary inflammation triggered by subsequent reexposure to that same provoking allergen. TLR ligand adjuvants and house dust extracts primed immune responses characterized by a mixed neutrophilic and eosinophilic inflammation that was suppressed by multiple daily allergen challenges. During TLR ligand-mediated allergic sensitization, mice displayed transient airway neutrophilia, which triggered the release of TGF-β into the airway. This neutrophil-dependent production of TGF-β during sensitization had a delayed, suppressive effect on eosinophilic responses to subsequent allergen challenge. Neutrophil depletion during sensitization did not affect numbers of Foxp3+ Tregs but increased proportions of Gata3+CD4+ T cells, which, upon their transfer to recipient mice, triggered stronger eosinophilic inflammation. Thus, a neutrophil/TGF-β axis acts during TLR-mediated allergic sensitization to fine-tune the phenotype of developing allergen-specific CD4+ T cells and limit their pathogenicity, suggesting a novel immunotherapeutic approach to control eosinophilia in asthma.
    Keywords:  Asthma; Immunology; Inflammation; Neutrophils; Th2 response
  32. J Biol Chem. 2022 Feb 17. pii: S0021-9258(22)00184-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101744
      The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling pathway is activated by intracellular nutritional sufficiency and extracellular growth signals. It has been reported that mTORC1 acts as a hub that integrates these inputs to orchestrate a number of cellular responses, including translation, nucleotide synthesis, lipid synthesis, and lysosome biogenesis. However, little is known about specific control of mTORC1 signaling downstream of this complex. Here, we demonstrate that Ragulator, a heteropentameric protein complex required for mTORC1 activation in response to amino acids, is critical for inhibiting the nuclear translocation of transcription factor EB (TFEB). We established a unique RAW264.7 clone that lacked Ragulator but retained total mTORC1 activity. In a nutrition-sufficient state, the nuclear translocation of TFEB was markedly enhanced in the clone despite total mTORC1 kinase activity. In addition, as a cellular phenotype, the number of lysosomes was increased by ten-fold in the Ragulator-deficient clone compared to that of control cells. These findings indicate that mTORC1 essentially requires the Ragulator complex for regulating the subcellular distribution of TFEB. Our findings also suggest that other scaffold proteins may be associated with mTORC1 for the specific regulation of downstream signaling.
    Keywords:  Ragulator; lysosome; mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); nuclear translocation; scaffold protein; transcription factor EB
  33. Hepatology. 2022 Feb 26.
      BACKGROUND & AIMS: Growing evidence suggests an important role of B cells in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, a detailed functional analysis of B cell subsets in NAFLD pathogenesis is lacking.APPROACH & RESULTS: In wildtype mice, 21 weeks of high fat diet (HFD) feeding resulted in NAFLD with massive macrovesicular steatosis, modest hepatic and adipose tissue inflammation, insulin resistance and incipient fibrosis. Remarkably, Bnull (JHT) mice were partially protected whereas B cell harboring but antibody-deficient IgMi mice were completely protected from the development of hepatic steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis. The common feature of JHT and IgMi mice is that they do not secrete antibodies, while HFD feeding in wildtype mice led to increased levels of serum IgG2c. Whereas JHT mice have no B cells at all, regulatory B cells were found in the liver of both wildtype and IgMi mice. HFD reduced the number of regulatory B cells and interleukin 10 production in the liver of wildtype mice, while these increased in IgMi mice. Livers of patients with advanced liver fibrosis showed abundant deposition of IgG, stromal B cells and low numbers of interleukin 10 expressing cells, compatible with our experimental data.
    CONCLUSIONS: B lymphocytes have both detrimental and protective effects in HFD-induced NAFLD. The lack of secreted pathogenic antibodies protects partially from NAFLD, whereas the presence of certain B cell subsets provides additional protection. Interleukin 10-producing regulatory B cells may represent such a protective B cell subset.
    Keywords:  Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; adipose tissue dysfunction; diet-induced obesity; high fat diet; lipogenesis
  34. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 22. 13(1): 1006
      During decidualization in rodents, uterine stroma undergoes extensive reprograming into distinct cells, forming the discrete regions defined as the primary decidual zone (PDZ), the secondary decidual zone (SDZ) and the layer of undifferentiated stromal cells respectively. Here we show that uterine deletion of Men1, a member of the histone H3K4 methyltransferase complex, disrupts the terminal differentiation of stroma, resulting in chaotic decidualization and pregnancy failure. Genome-wide epigenetic profile reveals that Men1 binding in chromatin recapitulates H3K4me3 distribution. Further transcriptomic investigation demonstrates that Men1 directly regulates the expression of PTX3, an extra-cellular trap for FGF2 in decidual cells. Decreased Ptx3 upon Men1 ablation leads to aberrant activation of ERK1/2 in the SDZ due to the unrestrained FGF2 signal emanated from undifferentiated stromal cells, which blunt BMP2 induction and decidualization. In brief, our study provides genetic and molecular mechanisms for epigenetic rewiring mediated decidual regionalization by Men1 and sheds new light on pregnancy maintenance.
  35. Sci Immunol. 2022 Feb 25. 7(68): eabi6112
      Group 1 innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), which comprise both natural killer (NK) cells and ILC1s, are important innate effectors that can also positively and negatively influence adaptive immune responses. The latter function is generally ascribed to the ability of NK cells to recognize and kill activated T cells. Here, we used multiphoton intravital microscopy in mouse models of hepatitis B to study the intrahepatic behavior of group 1 ILCs and their cross-talk with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific CD8+ T cells. We found that hepatocellular antigen recognition by effector CD8+ T cells triggered a prominent increase in the number of hepatic NK cells and ILC1s. Group 1 ILCs colocalized and engaged in prolonged interactions with effector CD8+ T cells undergoing hepatocellular antigen recognition; however, they did not induce T cell apoptosis. Rather, group 1 ILCs constrained CD8+ T cell proliferation by controlling local interleukin-2 (IL-2) availability. Accordingly, group 1 ILC depletion, or genetic removal of their IL-2 receptor a chain, considerably increased the number of intrahepatic HBV-specific effector CD8+ T cells and the attendant immunopathology. Together, these results reveal a role for group 1 ILCs in controlling T cell-mediated liver immunopathology by limiting local IL-2 concentration and have implications for the treatment of chronic HBV infection.
  36. Sci Adv. 2022 Feb 25. 8(8): eabl4386
      Although ribosome assembly is quality controlled to maintain protein homeostasis, different ribosome populations have been described. How these form, especially under stress conditions that affect energy levels and stop the energy-intensive production of ribosomes, remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate how a physiologically relevant ribosome population arises during high Na+, sorbitol, or pH stress via dissociation of Rps26 from fully assembled ribosomes to enable a translational response to these stresses. The chaperone Tsr2 releases Rps26 in the presence of high Na+ or pH in vitro and is required for Rps26 release in vivo. Moreover, Tsr2 stores free Rps26 and promotes reincorporation of the protein, thereby repairing the subunit after the Na+ stress subsides. Our data implicate a residue in Rps26 involved in Diamond Blackfan Anemia in mediating the effects of Na+. These data demonstrate how different ribosome populations can arise rapidly, without major energy input and without bypass of quality control mechanisms.
  37. Nat Neurosci. 2022 Feb 24.
      The mammalian brain contains many specialized cells that develop from a thin sheet of neuroepithelial progenitor cells. Single-cell transcriptomics revealed hundreds of molecularly diverse cell types in the nervous system, but the lineage relationships between mature cell types and progenitor cells are not well understood. Here we show in vivo barcoding of early progenitors to simultaneously profile cell phenotypes and clonal relations in the mouse brain using single-cell and spatial transcriptomics. By reconstructing thousands of clones, we discovered fate-restricted progenitor cells in the mouse hippocampal neuroepithelium and show that microglia are derived from few primitive myeloid precursors that massively expand to generate widely dispersed progeny. We combined spatial transcriptomics with clonal barcoding and disentangled migration patterns of clonally related cells in densely labeled tissue sections. Our approach enables high-throughput dense reconstruction of cell phenotypes and clonal relations at the single-cell and tissue level in individual animals and provides an integrated approach for understanding tissue architecture.
  38. Diabetes. 2022 03 01. 71(3): 367-375
      Secretion of insulin from pancreatic β-cells is complex, but physiological glucose-dependent secretion is dominated by electrical activity, in turn controlled by ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel activity. Accordingly, loss-of-function mutations of the KATP channel Kir6.2 (KCNJ11) or SUR1 (ABCC8) subunit increase electrical excitability and secretion, resulting in congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI), whereas gain-of-function mutations cause underexcitability and undersecretion, resulting in neonatal diabetes mellitus (NDM). Thus, diazoxide, which activates KATP channels, and sulfonylureas, which inhibit KATP channels, have dramatically improved therapies for CHI and NDM, respectively. However, key findings do not fit within this simple paradigm: mice with complete absence of β-cell KATP activity are not hyperinsulinemic; instead, they are paradoxically glucose intolerant and prone to diabetes, as are older human CHI patients. Critically, despite these advances, there has been little insight into any role of KATP channel activity changes in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Intriguingly, the CHI progression from hypersecretion to undersecretion actually mirrors the classical response to insulin resistance in the progression of T2D. In seeking to explain the progression of CHI, multiple lines of evidence lead us to propose that underlying mechanisms are also similar and that development of T2D may involve loss of KATP activity.