bims-nimamd Biomed News
on Neuroimmunity and neuroinflammation in ageing and metabolic disease
Issue of 2022‒03‒27
58 papers selected by
Fawaz Alzaïd
Sorbonne Université

  1. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 25. 13(1): 1606
      The cellular processes that govern tumor resistance to immunotherapy remain poorly understood. To gain insight into these processes, here we perform a genome-scale CRISPR activation screen for genes that enable human melanoma cells to evade cytotoxic T cell killing. Overexpression of four top candidate genes (CD274 (PD-L1), MCL1, JUNB, and B3GNT2) conferred resistance in diverse cancer cell types and mouse xenografts. By investigating the resistance mechanisms, we find that MCL1 and JUNB modulate the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. JUNB encodes a transcription factor that downregulates FasL and TRAIL receptors, upregulates the MCL1 relative BCL2A1, and activates the NF-κB pathway. B3GNT2 encodes a poly-N-acetyllactosamine synthase that targets >10 ligands and receptors to disrupt interactions between tumor and T cells and reduce T cell activation. Inhibition of candidate genes sensitized tumor models to T cell cytotoxicity. Our results demonstrate that systematic gain-of-function screening can elucidate resistance pathways and identify potential targets for cancer immunotherapy.
  2. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 21. 13(1): 1503
      Although reprogramming of cellular metabolism is a hallmark of cancer, little is known about how metabolic reprogramming contributes to early stages of transformation. Here, we show that the histone deacetylase SIRT6 regulates tumor initiation during intestinal cancer by controlling glucose metabolism. Loss of SIRT6 results in an increase in the number of intestinal stem cells (ISCs), which translates into enhanced tumor initiating potential in APCmin mice. By tracking down the connection between glucose metabolism and tumor initiation, we find a metabolic compartmentalization within the intestinal epithelium and adenomas, where a rare population of cells exhibit features of Warburg-like metabolism characterized by high pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK) activity. Our results show that these cells are quiescent cells expressing +4 ISCs and enteroendocrine markers. Active glycolysis in these cells suppresses ROS accumulation and enhances their stem cell and tumorigenic potential. Our studies reveal that aerobic glycolysis represents a heterogeneous feature of cancer, and indicate that this metabolic adaptation can occur in non-dividing cells, suggesting a role for the Warburg effect beyond biomass production in tumors.
  3. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 23. 13(1): 1550
      RCOR1 is a known transcription repressor that recruits and positions LSD1 and HDAC1/2 on chromatin to erase histone methylation and acetylation. However, there is currently an incomplete understanding of RCOR1's range of localization and function. Here, we probe RCOR1's distribution on a genome-wide scale and unexpectedly find that RCOR1 is predominantly associated with transcriptionally active genes. Biochemical analysis reveals that RCOR1 associates with RNA Polymerase II (POL-II) during transcription and deacetylates its carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) at lysine 7. We provide evidence that this non-canonical RCOR1 activity is linked to dampening of POL-II productive elongation at actively transcribing genes. Thus, RCOR1 represses transcription in two ways-first, via a canonical mechanism by erasing transcriptionally permissive histone modifications through associating with HDACs and, second, via a non-canonical mechanism that deacetylates RNA POL-II's CTD to inhibit productive elongation. We conclude that RCOR1 is a transcription rheostat.
  4. Nat Metab. 2022 Mar 21.
      Tumour cells utilize multiple strategies to evade the immune system, but the underlying metabolic mechanisms remain poorly understood. The pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex converts pyruvate to acetyl-coenzyme A in mitochondria, thereby linking glycolysis to the ricarboxylic acid cycle. Here we show that the PDH complex E1 subunit α (PDHE1α) is also located in the cytosol. Cytosolic PDHE1α interacts with IKKβ and protein phosphatase 1B, thereby facilitating the inhibition of the NF-κB pathway. Cytosolic PDHE1α can be phosphorylated at S327 by ERK2 and translocated into mitochondria. Decreased cytosolic PDHE1α levels restore NF-κB signalling, whereas increased mitochondrial PDHE1α levels drive α-ketoglutarate production and promote reactive oxygen species detoxification. Synergistic activation of NF-κB and reactive oxygen species detoxification promotes tumour cell survival and enhances resistance to cytotoxic lymphocytes. Consistently, low levels of PDHE1α phosphorylation are associated with poor prognosis of patients with lung cancer. Our findings show a mechanism through which phosphorylation-dependent subcellular translocation of PDHE1α promotes tumour immune evasion.
  5. J Immunol. 2022 Mar 21. pii: ji2100966. [Epub ahead of print]
      Immunodeficient mice reconstituted with immune systems from patients, or personalized immune (PI) mice, are powerful tools for understanding human disease. Compared with immunodeficient mice transplanted with human fetal thymus tissue and fetal liver-derived CD34+ cells administered i.v. (Hu/Hu mice), PI mice, which are transplanted with human fetal thymus and adult bone marrow (aBM) CD34+ cells, demonstrate reduced levels of human reconstitution. We characterized APC and APC progenitor repopulation in human immune system mice and detected significant reductions in blood, bone marrow (BM), and splenic APC populations in PI compared with Hu/Hu mice. APC progenitors and hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) were less abundant in aBM CD34+ cells compared with fetal liver-derived CD34+ cell preparations, and this reduction in APC progenitors was reflected in the BM of PI compared with Hu/Hu mice 14-20 wk posttransplant. The number of HSCs increased in PI mice compared with the originally infused BM cells and maintained functional repopulation potential, because BM from some PI mice 28 wk posttransplant generated human myeloid and lymphoid cells in secondary recipients. Moreover, long-term PI mouse BM contained functional T cell progenitors, evidenced by thymopoiesis in thymic organ cultures. Injection of aBM cells directly into the BM cavity, transgenic expression of hematopoietic cytokines, and coinfusion of human BM-derived mesenchymal stem cells synergized to enhance long-term B cell and monocyte levels in PI mice. These improvements allow a sustained time frame of 18-22 wk where APCs and T cells are present and greater flexibility for modeling immune disease pathogenesis and immunotherapies in PI mice.
  6. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 23. 13(1): 1564
      Cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) plays a major role in detecting pathogenic DNA. It produces cyclic dinucleotide cGAMP, which subsequently binds to the adaptor protein STING and further triggers antiviral innate immune responses. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating cGAS enzyme activity remain largely unknown. Here, we characterize the cGAS-interacting protein Poly(rC)-binding protein 2 (PCBP2), which plays an important role in controlling cGAS enzyme activity, thereby mediating appropriate cGAS-STING signaling transduction. We find that PCBP2 overexpression reduces cGAS-STING antiviral signaling, whereas loss of PCBP2 significantly increases cGAS activity. Mechanistically, we show that PCBP2 negatively regulates anti-DNA viral signaling by specifically interacting with cGAS but not other components. Moreover, PCBP2 decreases cGAS enzyme activity by antagonizing cGAS condensation, thus ensuring the appropriate production of cGAMP and balancing cGAS-STING signal transduction. Collectively, our findings provide insight into how the cGAS-mediated antiviral signaling is regulated.
  7. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 24. 13(1): 1582
      Mitochondrial fission is critically important for controlling mitochondrial morphology, function, quality and transport. Drp1 is the master regulator driving mitochondrial fission, but exactly how Drp1 is regulated remains unclear. Here, we identified Drosophila Clueless and its mammalian orthologue CLUH as key regulators of Drp1. As with loss of drp1, depletion of clueless or CLUH results in mitochondrial elongation, while as with drp1 overexpression, clueless or CLUH overexpression leads to mitochondrial fragmentation. Importantly, drp1 overexpression rescues adult lethality, tissue disintegration and mitochondrial defects of clueless null mutants in Drosophila. Mechanistically, Clueless and CLUH promote recruitment of Drp1 to mitochondria from the cytosol. This involves CLUH binding to mRNAs encoding Drp1 receptors MiD49 and Mff, and regulation of their translation. Our findings identify a crucial role of Clueless and CLUH in controlling mitochondrial fission through regulation of Drp1.
  8. Nat Commun. 2022 03 22. 13(1): 1536
      Therapeutic mRNAs and vaccines are being developed for a broad range of human diseases, including COVID-19. However, their optimization is hindered by mRNA instability and inefficient protein expression. Here, we describe design principles that overcome these barriers. We develop an RNA sequencing-based platform called PERSIST-seq to systematically delineate in-cell mRNA stability, ribosome load, as well as in-solution stability of a library of diverse mRNAs. We find that, surprisingly, in-cell stability is a greater driver of protein output than high ribosome load. We further introduce a method called In-line-seq, applied to thousands of diverse RNAs, that reveals sequence and structure-based rules for mitigating hydrolytic degradation. Our findings show that highly structured "superfolder" mRNAs can be designed to improve both stability and expression with further enhancement through pseudouridine nucleoside modification. Together, our study demonstrates simultaneous improvement of mRNA stability and protein expression and provides a computational-experimental platform for the enhancement of mRNA medicines.
  9. Immunity. 2022 Mar 17. pii: S1074-7613(22)00127-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Understanding the drivers and markers of clonally expanding HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells is essential for HIV-1 eradication. We used single-cell ECCITE-seq, which captures surface protein expression, cellular transcriptome, HIV-1 RNA, and TCR sequences within the same single cell to track clonal expansion dynamics in longitudinally archived samples from six HIV-1-infected individuals (during viremia and after suppressive antiretroviral therapy) and two uninfected individuals, in unstimulated conditions and after CMV and HIV-1 antigen stimulation. Despite antiretroviral therapy, persistent antigen and TNF responses shaped T cell clonal expansion. HIV-1 resided in Th1-polarized, antigen-responding T cells expressing BCL2 and SERPINB9 that may resist cell death. HIV-1 RNA+ T cell clones were larger in clone size, established during viremia, persistent after viral suppression, and enriched in GZMB+ cytotoxic effector memory Th1 cells. Targeting HIV-1-infected cytotoxic CD4+ T cells and drivers of clonal expansion provides another direction for HIV-1 eradication.
    Keywords:  HIV-1 latent reservoir; HIV-1 persistence; HIV-1-induced immune dysfunction; T cell expansion dynamics; TNF response; antigen stimulation; clonal expansion; cytotoxic CD4(+) T lymphocytes; granzyme B; single-cell RNA-seq
  10. Nat Genet. 2022 Mar 24.
      Polymorphisms in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes strongly influence autoimmune disease risk. HLA risk alleles may influence thymic selection to increase the frequency of T cell receptors (TCRs) reactive to autoantigens (central hypothesis). However, research in human autoimmunity has provided little evidence supporting the central hypothesis. Here we investigated the influence of HLA alleles on TCR composition at the highly diverse complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3), which confers antigen recognition. We observed unexpectedly strong HLA-CDR3 associations. The strongest association was found at HLA-DRB1 amino acid position 13, the position that mediates genetic risk for multiple autoimmune diseases. We identified multiple CDR3 amino acid features enriched by HLA risk alleles. Moreover, the CDR3 features promoted by the HLA risk alleles are more enriched in candidate pathogenic TCRs than control TCRs (for example, citrullinated epitope-specific TCRs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis). Together, these results provide genetic evidence supporting the central hypothesis.
  11. J Exp Med. 2022 May 02. pii: e20220022. [Epub ahead of print]219(5):
      Natural killer (NK) cells can detect antibody-coated cells through recognition by the CD16 Fc receptor. The importance of CD16 in human NK cell biology has long been appreciated, but how CD16 functions in mouse NK cells remains poorly understood. Here, we report drastic differences between human and mouse CD16 functions in NK cells. We demonstrate that one of the adaptor molecules that CD16 associates with and signals through, CD3ζ, plays a critical role in these functional differences. Using a systematic approach, we demonstrate that residues in the transmembrane domain of the mouse CD3ζ molecule prevent efficient complex formation with mouse CD16, thereby dampening receptor function. Mutating these residues in mouse CD3ζ to those encoded by human CD3ζ resulted in rescue of CD16 receptor function. We reveal that the mouse CD3ζ transmembrane domain adopts a tightly packed confirmation, preventing association with CD16, whereas human CD3ζ adopts a versatile configuration that accommodates receptor assembly.
  12. Sci Immunol. 2022 Mar 25. 7(69): eabi7160
      IKZF1/IKAROS is a key transcription factor of lymphocyte development expressed throughout hematopoiesis. Heterozygous germline IKZF1 haploinsufficient (IKZF1HI) and dominant-negative (IKZF1DN) variants in humans cause B cell immune deficiency and combined immunodeficiency. Here, we identified previously unidentified heterozygous IKZF1 variants (R183C/H) located in the DNA binding domain in eight individuals with inflammatory, autoimmune, allergic symptoms, and abnormal plasma cell (PC) proliferation. Leukocytes of patients exhibited specific defects including impaired IL-2 production by T cells, T helper (TH) skewing toward TH2, low numbers of regulatory T cells (Treg), eosinophilia, and abnormal PC proliferation. In contrast to IKZF1HI and IKZF1DN, IKZF1R183H/C proteins showed increased DNA binding associated with increased gene expression of TH2 and PC differentiation, thus demonstrating that IKZF1R183H/C behave as gain-of-function (GOF) alleles. In vitro treatment with lenalidomide, known to degrade IKZF1, corrected TH2 and PC abnormalities caused by IKZF1R183H/C. These data extend the spectrum of pathological mechanisms associated with IKZF1 deficiencies and highlight the role of IKZF1 in late lymphoid differentiation stages.
  13. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 22. pii: S2211-1247(22)00289-3. [Epub ahead of print]38(12): 110548
      The protein C receptor (Procr) has been implicated as a stem cell surface marker in several tissues. It is unknown whether Procr acts as a functional signaling receptor in stem cells. Here, by conditional knockout in mammary stem cells (MaSCs), we demonstrate that Procr is essential for mammary gland development and homeostasis. Through proteomics profiling, we identify that, upon stimulation by the ligand protein C, Procr interacts with heat shock protein 90 (HSP90AA1) via its short cytoplasmic tail, recruiting Src and IGF1R to the complex at the plasma membrane. We show that Procr acts as a signaling receptor of protein C in regulation of MaSCs through HSP90, Src, and IGF1R in vitro. In vivo, IGF1R deletion in MaSCs displays similar phenotypes to Procr deletion. These findings illustrate the essential role of Procr signaling in MaSC maintenance, shedding light onto the molecular regulation by Procr in tissue stem cells.
    Keywords:  CP: Cell Biology; CP: Stem Cell Research; Hsp90; IGF1R; Procr; Src; development; mammary stem cell; self-renewal
  14. Nat Immunol. 2022 Mar 24.
      Innate lymphocytes encompass a diverse array of phenotypic identities with specialized functions. DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation are essential for epigenetic fidelity and fate commitment. The landscapes of these modifications are unknown in innate lymphocytes. Here, we characterized the whole-genome distribution of methyl-CpG and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) in mouse innate lymphoid cell 3 (ILC3), ILC2 and natural killer (NK) cells. We identified differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and differentially hydroxymethylated regions (DHMRs) between ILC and NK cell subsets and correlated them with transcriptional signatures. We associated lineage-determining transcription factors (LDTFs) with demethylation and demonstrated unique patterns of DNA methylation/hydroxymethylation in relationship to open chromatin regions (OCRs), histone modifications and TF-binding sites. We further identified an association between hydroxymethylation and NK cell superenhancers (SEs). Using mice lacking the DNA hydroxymethylase TET2, we showed the requirement for TET2 in optimal production of hallmark cytokines by ILC3s and interleukin-17A (IL-17A) by inflammatory ILC2s. These findings provide a powerful resource for studying innate lymphocyte epigenetic regulation and decode the regulatory logic governing their identity.
  15. Cell Death Differ. 2022 Mar 23.
      Mitochondrial ATP synthase is vital not only for cellular energy production but also for energy dissipation and cell death. ATP synthase c-ring was suggested to house the leak channel of mitochondrial permeability transition (mPT), which activates during excitotoxic ischemic insult. In this present study, we purified human c-ring from both eukaryotic and prokaryotic hosts to biophysically characterize its channel activity. We show that purified c-ring forms a large multi-conductance, voltage-gated ion channel that is inhibited by the addition of ATP synthase F1 subcomplex. In contrast, dissociation of F1 from FO occurs during excitotoxic neuronal death suggesting that the F1 constitutes the gate of the channel. mPT is known to dissipate the osmotic gradient across the inner membrane during cell death. We show that ATP synthase c-subunit knock down (KD) prevents the osmotic change in response to high calcium and eliminates large conductance, Ca2+ and CsA sensitive channel activity of mPT. These findings elucidate the gating mechanism of the ATP synthase c-subunit leak channel (ACLC) and suggest how ACLC opening is regulated by cell stress in a CypD-dependent manner.
  16. Cell Mol Immunol. 2022 Mar 23.
      Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are fundamentally important for maintaining systemic immune homeostasis and are also required for immune tolerance at the maternal-fetal interface during pregnancy. Recent studies have suggested that epigenetic regulation is critically involved in Treg development and function. However, the role of H3K36me has not yet been investigated. Here, we found that the H3K36me2 methyltransferase Nsd2 was highly expressed in Tregs. Although loss of Nsd2 did not impair systemic Treg development or function, the level of Tregs at the maternal-fetal interface was significantly decreased in pregnant Nsd2 conditional knockout mice. Consequently, maternal-fetal immune tolerance was disrupted in the absence of Nsd2 in Tregs, and the pregnant mice showed severe fetal loss. Mechanistically, Nsd2 was found to upregulate CXCR4 expression via H3K36me2 modification to promote Treg cell recruitment into the decidua and suppress the anti-fetal immune response. Overall, our data identified Nsd2 as a critical epigenetic regulator of Treg recruitment for maternal-fetal tolerance.
    Keywords:  Cell migration; Immune tolerance; Regulatory T cell
  17. Cell. 2022 Mar 18. pii: S0092-8674(22)00247-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cytokines are powerful immune modulators that initiate signaling through receptor dimerization, but natural cytokines have structural limitations as therapeutics. We present a strategy to discover cytokine surrogate agonists by using modular ligands that exploit induced proximity and receptor dimer geometry as pharmacological metrics amenable to high-throughput screening. Using VHH and scFv to human interleukin-2/15, type-I interferon, and interleukin-10 receptors, we generated combinatorial matrices of single-chain bispecific ligands that exhibited diverse spectrums of functional activities, including potent inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 by surrogate interferons. Crystal structures of IL-2R:VHH complexes revealed that variation in receptor dimer geometries resulted in functionally diverse signaling outputs. This modular platform enabled engineering of surrogate ligands that compelled assembly of an IL-2R/IL-10R heterodimer, which does not naturally exist, that signaled through pSTAT5 on T and natural killer (NK) cells. This "cytokine med-chem" approach, rooted in principles of induced proximity, is generalizable for discovery of diversified agonists for many ligand-receptor systems.
    Keywords:  SARS-CoV-2; VHH; bispecific antibodies; cell signaling; cytokine engineering; interferon; interleukin-10; interleukin-2; scFv
  18. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 21. 13(1): 1521
      Pannexin-1 (Panx1) channels have been shown to regulate leukocyte trafficking and tissue inflammation but the mechanism of Panx1 in chronic vascular diseases like abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) is unknown. Here we demonstrate that Panx1 on endothelial cells, but not smooth muscle cells, orchestrate a cascade of signaling events to mediate vascular inflammation and remodeling. Mechanistically, Panx1 on endothelial cells acts as a conduit for ATP release that stimulates macrophage activation via P2X7 receptors and mitochondrial DNA release to increase IL-1β and HMGB1 secretion. Secondly, Panx1 signaling regulates smooth muscle cell-dependent intracellular Ca2+ release and vascular remodeling via P2Y2 receptors. Panx1 blockade using probenecid markedly inhibits leukocyte transmigration, aortic inflammation and remodeling to mitigate AAA formation. Panx1 expression is upregulated in human AAAs and retrospective clinical data demonstrated reduced mortality in aortic aneurysm patients treated with Panx1 inhibitors. Collectively, these data identify Panx1 signaling as a contributory mechanism of AAA formation.
  19. J Virol. 2022 Mar 21. e0023522
      Here, we report the appearance of natural killer B (NKB) cells within the colon during simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection of susceptible monkeys. Using RNA sequencing (RNAseq) and flow cytometry, we show that NKB cells are unique cells with features and functions of both NK and B cells. NKB cells express receptors and ligands found on B cells that are important for (i) antigen presentation; (ii) activities associated with class switching, affinity maturation, and B-cell memory formation in secondary lymphoid follicles; and (iii) antigen recognition. The predominant immunoglobulins (Igs) expressed on NKB cells are IgA, although NKB cells can express surface IgM and IgG. There is dominant lambda expression over the kappa light chain characteristic of mucosal B cells. In addition to B-cell aspects, NKB cells express NK cell activation receptors and Fas ligand. We show in this study that NKB cells express perforin and granzymes and lyse cells in a lytic assay. In addition to NK cell cytolytic function, NKB cells also produce the inflammatory cytokines interferon gamma, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin-18 (IL-18). Finally, we noted the increased capacity of NKB cells to proliferate compared to NK cells and CD8+ T cells from the SIV-infected colon. The increased proliferation and inflammatory cytokine production may be related to the relatively high expression levels of IL-15 receptor beta, IL-7 receptor, IL-18 receptor, and 41BB relative to the same receptors on CD8 and NK cells. The properties of NKB cells may point to their role in the enhanced inflammation observed in the SIV-infected gut. IMPORTANCE There is low-level but significant mucosal inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract secondary to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection that has long-term consequences for the infected host. This inflammation most likely originates from the immune response that appears as a consequence of HIV. Here, we show in an animal model of HIV that the chronically SIV-infected gut contains cytotoxic natural killer B cells that produce inflammatory cytokines and proliferate during infection.
    Keywords:  B cells; cytokines; cytotoxic; gastrointestinal; gut inflammation; human immunodeficiency virus; immunoglobulin A; mucosal immunity; natural killer cells; simian immunodeficiency virus
  20. Nat Biotechnol. 2022 Mar 24.
      Technologies that profile chromatin modifications at single-cell resolution offer enormous promise for functional genomic characterization, but the sparsity of the measurements and integrating multiple binding maps represent substantial challenges. Here we introduce single-cell (sc)CUT&Tag-pro, a multimodal assay for profiling protein-DNA interactions coupled with the abundance of surface proteins in single cells. In addition, we introduce single-cell ChromHMM, which integrates data from multiple experiments to infer and annotate chromatin states based on combinatorial histone modification patterns. We apply these tools to perform an integrated analysis across nine different molecular modalities in circulating human immune cells. We demonstrate how these two approaches can characterize dynamic changes in the function of individual genomic elements across both discrete cell states and continuous developmental trajectories, nominate associated motifs and regulators that establish chromatin states and identify extensive and cell-type-specific regulatory priming. Finally, we demonstrate how our integrated reference can serve as a scaffold to map and improve the interpretation of additional scCUT&Tag datasets.
  21. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 24. 13(1): 1600
      Although mature podocytes lack tight junctions, tight junction integral membrane protein claudin-5 (CLDN5) is predominantly expressed on plasma membranes of podocytes under normal conditions. Using podocyte-specific Cldn5 knockout mice, we identify CLDN5 as a crucial regulator of podocyte function and reveal that Cldn5 deletion exacerbates podocyte injury and proteinuria in a diabetic nephropathy mouse model. Mechanistically, CLDN5 deletion reduces ZO1 expression and induces nuclear translocation of ZONAB, followed by transcriptional downregulation of WNT inhibitory factor-1 (WIF1) expression, which leads to activation of WNT signaling pathway. Podocyte-derived WIF1 also plays paracrine roles in tubular epithelial cells, as evidenced by the finding that animals with podocyte-specific deletion of Cldn5 or Wif1 have worse kidney fibrosis after unilateral ureteral obstruction than littermate controls. Systemic delivery of WIF1 suppresses the progression of diabetic nephropathy and ureteral obstruction-induced renal fibrosis. These findings establish a function for podocyte CLDN5 in restricting WNT signaling in kidney.
  22. Sci Rep. 2022 Mar 22. 12(1): 4869
      A major question in clinical science is how to study the natural course of a chronic disease from inception to end, which is challenging because it is impractical to follow patients over decades. Here, we developed BETR (Bayesian entry time realignment), a hierarchical Bayesian method for investigating the long-term natural history of diseases using data from patients followed over short durations. A simulation study shows that BETR outperforms an existing method that ignores patient-level variation in progression rates. BETR, when combined with a common Bayesian model comparison tool, can identify the correct disease progression function nearly 100% of the time, with high accuracy in estimating the individual disease durations and progression rates. Application of BETR in patients with geographic atrophy, a disease with a known natural history model, shows that it can identify the correct disease progression model. Applying BETR in patients with Huntington's disease demonstrates that the progression of motor symptoms follows a second order function over approximately 20 years.
  23. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 21. 13(1): 1518
      Bombyx Papi acts as a scaffold for Siwi-piRISC biogenesis on the mitochondrial surface. Papi binds first to Siwi via the Tudor domain and subsequently to piRNA precursors loaded onto Siwi via the K-homology (KH) domains. This second action depends on phosphorylation of Papi. However, the underlying mechanism remains unknown. Here, we show that Siwi targets Par-1 kinase to Papi to phosphorylate Ser547 in the auxiliary domain. This modification enhances the ability of Papi to bind Siwi-bound piRNA precursors via the KH domains. The Papi S547A mutant bound to Siwi, but evaded phosphorylation by Par-1, abrogating Siwi-piRISC biogenesis. A Papi mutant that lacked the Tudor and auxiliary domains escaped coordinated regulation by Siwi and Par-1 and bound RNAs autonomously. Another Papi mutant that lacked the auxiliary domain bound Siwi but did not bind piRNA precursors. A sophisticated mechanism by which Siwi cooperates with Par-1 kinase to promote Siwi-piRISC biogenesis was uncovered.
  24. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 24. 13(1): 1240
      Prime editing recently emerged as a next-generation approach for precise genome editing. Here we exploit DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair to develop two strategies that install precise genomic insertions using an SpCas9 nuclease-based prime editor (PEn). We first demonstrate that PEn coupled to a regular prime editing guide RNA (pegRNA) efficiently promotes short genomic insertions through a homology-dependent DSB repair mechanism. While PEn editing leads to increased levels of by-products, it can rescue pegRNAs that perform poorly with a nickase-based prime editor. We also present a small molecule approach that yields increased product purity of PEn editing. Next, we develop a homology-independent PEn editing strategy, which installs genomic insertions at DSBs through the non-homologous end joining pathway (NHEJ). Lastly, we show that PEn-mediated insertions at DSBs prevent Cas9-induced large chromosomal deletions and provide evidence that continuous Cas9-mediated cutting is one of the mechanisms by which Cas9-induced large deletions arise. Altogether, this work expands the current prime editing toolbox by leveraging distinct DNA repair mechanisms including NHEJ, which represents the primary pathway of DSB repair in mammalian cells.
  25. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 816378
      Succinate is at the crossroads of multiple metabolic pathways and plays a role in several immune responses acting as an inflammation signal. However, whether succinate regulates antiviral immune response remains unclear. Here, we found that the production of succinate was reduced in RAW264.7 cells during vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection. Using diethyl succinate to pretreat the mouse peritoneal macrophages and RAW264.7 cells before VSV infection, the production of interferon-β (IFN-β), chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 10 (CXCL-10), and IFN-stimulated genes 15 (ISG15) was significantly decreased, following which the VSV replication in diethyl succinate-pretreated cells was obviously increased. Moreover, succinate decreased the expression of IFN-β in serum, lung, and spleen derived from the VSV-infected mice. The overall survival rate in the VSV-infected mice with diethyl succinate pretreatment was also remarkably downregulated. Furthermore, we identified that succinate inhibited the activation of MAVS-TBK1-IRF3 signaling by suppressing the formation of MAVS aggregates. Our findings provide previously unrecognized roles of succinate in antiviral immune response and establish a novel link between metabolism and innate immune response.
    Keywords:  MAVS; VSV; antiviral immune response; metabolism; succinate
  26. Nature. 2022 Mar 21.
      Upon fertilization, the quiescent zygote experiences a burst of genome activation that initiates a short-lived totipotent state. Understanding totipotency in human cells would have very broad implications. However, in contrast to mouse1,2, proper demonstration of in vitro cultured human cells mimicking the time of zygotic genome activation (ZGA) or 8-cell (8C) stage had not yet been reported, and the study of embryos is limited by ethical and practical considerations. Here, we describe a transgene-free, rapid, and controllable method for producing 8C-like cells (8CLC) from human pluripotent stem cells (PSC). Single-cell analysis identified key molecular events and gene networks associated with this conversion. Loss-of-function experiments showed fundamental roles for DPPA3, a master regulator of DNA methylation in oocytes3, and TPRX1, a eutherian totipotent cell homeobox (ETCHbox) family transcription factor absent in mouse4. DPPA3 induces DNA demethylation throughout the 8CLC conversion, whereas TPRX1 is a key executor of the 8CLC gene networks. We further demonstrate that 8CLC can produce embryonic and extraembryonic lineages in vitro or in vivo in the form of blastoids5 and complex teratomas. Our approach provides a window to uncover the molecular logic of early human embryogenesis.
  27. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 12. pii: 3082. [Epub ahead of print]23(6):
      Based on the rapid increase in incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the identification of susceptibility genes and cell populations contributing to this condition is essential. Previous studies suggested multiple genes associated with the susceptibility of IBD; however, due to the analysis of whole-tissue samples, the contribution of individual cell populations remains widely unresolved. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) provides the opportunity to identify underlying cellular populations. We determined the enrichment of Crohn's disease (CD)-induced genes in a publicly available Crohn's disease scRNA-seq dataset and detected the strongest induction of these genes in innate lymphoid cells (ILC1), highly activated T cells and dendritic cells, pericytes and activated fibroblasts, as well as epithelial cells. Notably, these genes were highly enriched in IBD-associated neoplasia, as well as sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC). Indeed, the same six cell populations displayed an upregulation of CD-induced genes in a CRC scRNA-seq dataset. Finally, after integrating and harmonizing the CD and CRC scRNA-seq data, we demonstrated that these six cell types display a gradual increase in gene expression levels from a healthy state to an inflammatory and tumorous state. Together, we identified cell populations that specifically upregulate CD-induced genes in CD and CRC patients and could, therefore, contribute to inflammation-associated tumor development.
    Keywords:  Crohn’s disease; colorectal cancer; gene expression; inflammatory bowel disease; next generation sequencing; single cell sequencing; transcriptomics; ulcerative colitis
  28. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 21. 13(1): 1516
      In liver fibrosis, activated hepatic stellate cells are known to overexpress fibroblast activation protein. Here we report a targeted antifibrotic peptide-delivery system in which fibroblast activation protein, which is overexpressed in fibrotic regions of the liver, liberates the antifibrotic peptide melittin by cleaving a fibroblast activation protein-specific site in the peptide. The promelittin peptide is linked to pegylated and maleimide-functionalized liposomes, resulting in promelittin-modified liposomes. The promelittin-modified liposomes were effective in reducing the viability of activated hepatic stellate cells but not that of control cells. In three types of liver fibrosis mouse models, intravenously administered promelittin-modified liposomes significantly reduces fibrotic regions. In addition, in the bile duct ligation mouse model promelittin-modified liposome-treatment increases overall survival. Although this peptide-delivery concept was tested for liver fibrosis, it can potentially be adapted to other fibrotic diseases.
  29. J Clin Invest. 2022 Mar 22. pii: e149571. [Epub ahead of print]
      People living with HIV (PLWH) who are Immune Non-Responders (INR) persons are at greater risk of comorbidity and mortality than are Immune Responders (IR) who restore their CD4 T cells count (IR) after anti-retroviral therapy (ART). INR have low CD4-T cell counts (<350 c/ul), heightened systemic inflammation, and increased CD4-T cell cycling (Ki67+). Here we report the findings that memory CD4-T cells and plasma samples of INR from several cohorts are enriched in gut-derived bacterial solutes (GDBS) p-cresol-sulfate (PCS) and indoxyl sulfate (IS) that both negatively correlated with CD4-T cell counts. In vitro PCS or IS blocked CD4-T cell proliferation, induced apoptosis, and diminished the expression of mitochondrial proteins. Electron microscopy imaging (EMI) revealed perturbations of mitochondria networks similar to those found in INR following incubation of healthy memory CD4-T cells with PCS. Using the bacterial 16S rDNA, INR stool samples were found enriched with proteolytic bacterial genera that metabolize tyrosine and phenylalanine amino acids to produce PCS. We propose that toxic solutes from the gut bacterial flora may impair CD4-T cell recovery during ART and may contribute to CD4-T cell lymphopenia characteristic of INR.
    Keywords:  AIDS/HIV; Apoptosis; Infectious disease; Mitochondria; T cell development
  30. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 810824
      Major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) is an essential immune regulatory molecule that plays an important role in antigen presentation and T-cell development. Abnormal MHC II expression can lead to immunodeficiency, clinically termed as type II bare lymphocyte syndrome (BLS), which usually results from mutations in the MHC II transactivator (CIITA) and other coactivators. Here, we present a new paradigm for MHC II deficiency in mice that involves a spontaneous point mutation on H2-Aa. A significantly reduced population of CD4+ T cells was observed in mice obtained from the long-term homozygous breeding of autophagy-related gene microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 β (Map1lc3b, Lc3b) knockout mice; this phenotype was not attributed to the original knocked-out gene. MHC II expression was generally reduced, together with a marked deficiency of H2-Aa in the immune cells of these mice. Using cDNA and DNA sequencing, a spontaneous H2-Aa point mutation that led to false pre-mRNA splicing, deletion of eight bases in the mRNA, and protein frameshift was identified in these mice. These findings led to the discovery of a new type of spontaneous MHC II deficiency and provided a new paradigm to explain type II BLS in mice.
    Keywords:  CD4+ T cells; H2-Aa; MHC II; immunodeficiency; point mutation
  31. Nat Immunol. 2022 Mar 24.
      The use of lipid-formulated RNA vaccines for cancer or COVID-19 is associated with dose-limiting systemic inflammatory responses in humans that were not predicted from preclinical studies. Here, we show that the 'interleukin 1 (IL-1)-interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra)' axis regulates vaccine-mediated systemic inflammation in a host-specific manner. In human immune cells, RNA vaccines induce production of IL-1 cytokines, predominantly IL-1β, which is dependent on both the RNA and lipid formulation. IL-1 in turn triggers the induction of the broad spectrum of pro-inflammatory cytokines (including IL-6). Unlike humans, murine leukocytes respond to RNA vaccines by upregulating anti-inflammatory IL-1ra relative to IL-1 (predominantly IL-1α), protecting mice from cytokine-mediated toxicities at >1,000-fold higher vaccine doses. Thus, the IL-1 pathway plays a key role in triggering RNA vaccine-associated innate signaling, an effect that was unexpectedly amplified by certain lipids used in vaccine formulations incorporating N1-methyl-pseudouridine-modified RNA to reduce activation of Toll-like receptor signaling.
  32. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 22. 13(1): 1541
      Learning about positive and negative outcomes of actions is crucial for survival and underpinned by conserved circuits including the striatum. How associations between actions and outcomes are formed is not fully understood, particularly when the outcomes have mixed positive and negative features. We developed a novel foraging ('bandit') task requiring mice to maximize rewards while minimizing punishments. By 2-photon Ca++ imaging, we monitored activity of visually identified anterodorsal striatal striosomal and matrix neurons. We found that action-outcome associations for reward and punishment were encoded in parallel in partially overlapping populations. Single neurons could, for one action, encode outcomes of opposing valence. Striosome compartments consistently exhibited stronger representations of reinforcement outcomes than matrix, especially for high reward or punishment prediction errors. These findings demonstrate multiplexing of action-outcome contingencies by single identified striatal neurons and suggest that striosomal neurons are particularly important in action-outcome learning.
  33. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 23. 13(1): 1560
      Metabolic "dark matter" describes currently unknown metabolic processes, which form a blind spot in our general understanding of metabolism and slow down the development of biosynthetic cell factories and naturally derived pharmaceuticals. Mapping the dark matter of metabolism remains an open challenge that can be addressed globally and systematically by existing computational solutions. In this work, we use 489 generalized enzymatic reaction rules to map both known and unknown metabolic processes around a biochemical database of 1.5 million biological compounds. We predict over 5 million reactions and integrate nearly 2 million naturally and synthetically-derived compounds into the global network of biochemical knowledge, named ATLASx. ATLASx is available to researchers as a powerful online platform that supports the prediction and analysis of biochemical pathways and evaluates the biochemical vicinity of molecule classes ( ).
  34. J Immunol. 2022 Mar 25. pii: ji2100801. [Epub ahead of print]
      Optimal transcriptional programming needed for CD4 T cells to protect against influenza A virus (IAV) is unclear. Most IAV-primed CD4 T cells fit Th1 criteria. However, cells deficient for the Th1 "master regulator," T-bet, although marked by reduced Th1 identity, retain robust protective capacity. In this study, we show that T-bet's paralog, Eomesodermin (Eomes), is largely redundant in the presence of T-bet but is essential for the residual Th1 attributes of T-bet-deficient cells. Cells lacking both T-bet and Eomes instead develop concurrent Th17 and Th2 responses driven by specific inflammatory signals in the infected lung. Furthermore, the transfer of T-bet- and Eomes-deficient Th17, but not Th2, effector cells protects mice from lethal IAV infection. Importantly, these polyfunctional Th17 effectors do not display functional plasticity in vivo promoting gain of Th1 attributes seen in wild-type Th17 cells, which has clouded evaluation of the protective nature of Th17 programming in many studies. Finally, we show that primary and heterosubtypic IAV challenge is efficiently cleared in T-bet- and Eomes double-deficient mice without enhanced morbidity despite a strongly Th17-biased inflammatory response. Our studies thus demonstrate unexpectedly potent antiviral capacity of unadulterated Th17 responses against IAV, with important implications for vaccine design.
  35. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2022 Mar 23. e2105437
      Understanding metabolism is of great significance to decipher various physiological and pathogenic processes. While great progress has been made to profile gene expression, how to capture organ-, tissue-, and cell-type-specific metabolic profile (i.e., metabolic tissue atlas) in complex mammalian systems is lagging behind, largely owing to the lack of metabolic imaging tools with high resolution and high throughput. Here, the authors applied mid-infrared imaging coupled with heavy water (D2 O) metabolic labeling to a scope of mouse organs and tissues. The premise is that, as D2 O participates in the biosynthesis of various macromolecules, the resulting broad C-D vibrational spectrum should interrogate a wide range of metabolic pathways. Applying multivariate analysis to the C-D spectrum, the authors successfully identified both inter-organ and intra-tissue metabolic signatures of mice. A large-scale metabolic atlas map between different organs from the same mice is thus generated. Moreover, leveraging the power of unsupervised clustering methods, spatially-resolved metabolic signatures of brain tissues are discovered, revealing tissue and cell-type specific metabolic profile in situ. As a demonstration of this technique, the authors captured metabolic changes during brain development and charaztereized intratumoral metabolic heterogeneity of glioblastoma. Altogether, the integrated platform paves a way to map the metabolic tissue atlas for complex mammalian systems.
    Keywords:  heavy water labeling; infrared imaging; metabolic heterogeneity; metabolism; multivariate analysis
  36. Immunology. 2022 Mar 23.
      In CD4+ T helper cells, the active form of vitamin D3 , 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D) suppresses production of inflammatory cytokines, including interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), but the mechanisms for this are not yet fully defined. In innate immune cells, response to 1,25D has been linked to metabolic reprogramming. It is unclear whether 1,25D has similar effects on CD4+ T cells, although it is known that antigen stimulation of these cells promotes an anabolic metabolic phenotype, characterised by high rates of aerobic glycolysis to support clonal expansion and effector cytokine expression. Here, we performed in-depth analysis of metabolic capacity and pathway usage, employing extracellular flux and stable isotope-based tracing approaches, in CD4+ T cells treated with 1,25D. We report that 1,25D significantly decreases rates of aerobic glycolysis in activated CD4+ T cells, whilst exerting a lesser effect on mitochondrial glucose oxidation. This is associated with transcriptional repression of Myc, but not repression of mTOR activity under these conditions. Consistent with the modest effect of 1,25D on mitochondrial activity, it also did not impact CD4+ T cell mitochondrial mass or membrane potential. Finally, we demonstrate that inhibition of aerobic glycolysis by 1,25D substantially contributes to its immune-regulatory capacity in CD4+ T cells, since the suppression of IFN-γ expression was significantly blunted in the absence of aerobic glycolysis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  T cell; glycolysis; immunometabolism; metabolism; vitamin D
  37. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 21. 13(1): 1495
    Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI)
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is defined by amyloid (A) and tau (T) pathologies, with T better correlated to neurodegeneration (N). However, T and N have complex regional relationships in part related to non-AD factors that influence N. With machine learning, we assessed heterogeneity in 18F-flortaucipir vs. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography as markers of T and neuronal hypometabolism (NM) in 289 symptomatic patients from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. We identified six T/NM clusters with differing limbic and cortical patterns. The canonical group was defined as the T/NM pattern with lowest regression residuals. Groups resilient to T had less hypometabolism than expected relative to T and displayed better cognition than the canonical group. Groups susceptible to T had more hypometabolism than expected given T and exhibited worse cognitive decline, with imaging and clinical measures concordant with non-AD copathologies. Together, T/NM mismatch reveals distinct imaging signatures with pathobiological and prognostic implications for AD.
  38. Cell Metab. 2022 Mar 15. pii: S1550-4131(22)00087-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of activated T cells. The switch from oxidative phosphorylation to aerobic glycolysis provides energy and intermediary metabolites for the biosynthesis of macromolecules to support clonal expansion and effector function. Here, we show that glycolytic reprogramming additionally controls inflammatory gene expression via epigenetic remodeling. We found that the glucose transporter GLUT3 is essential for the effector functions of Th17 cells in models of autoimmune colitis and encephalomyelitis. At the molecular level, we show that GLUT3-dependent glucose uptake controls a metabolic-transcriptional circuit that regulates the pathogenicity of Th17 cells. Metabolomic, epigenetic, and transcriptomic analyses linked GLUT3 to mitochondrial glucose oxidation and ACLY-dependent acetyl-CoA generation as a rate-limiting step in the epigenetic regulation of inflammatory gene expression. Our findings are also important from a translational perspective because inhibiting GLUT3-dependent acetyl-CoA generation is a promising metabolic checkpoint to mitigate Th17-cell-mediated inflammatory diseases.
    Keywords:  ACLY; ATP-citrate lyase; GLUT1; GLUT3; Th17 cells; acetyl-CoA; glucose metabolism; glycolysis; histone acetylation; immunometabolism
  39. Biomedicines. 2022 Mar 08. pii: 625. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      In vivo establishment and long-term persistence of a heterogeneous memory or an adaptive NK cell pool represents a functional adaptation to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection in humans. Memory NK cells are commonly identified by lack of the FcεRIγ signalling chain, variably associated to the preferential but not completely overlapping expression of the HLA-E receptor NKG2C and CD57 maturation marker. Although characterized by selective hyperresponsiveness to IgG stimulation, the impact of the CD16/antibody interaction in regulating the establishment/maintenance and size, and in determining the relative abundance of this population, is still under investigation. Memory NK cell subset ex vivo profile and in vitro responsiveness to CD16 stimulation was evaluated in HCMV+ healthy donors and in patients affected by immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), an antibody-mediated autoimmune disease. We identified the FcεRIγ- NKG2C+CD57+ memory NK cell subset, whose abundance is uniquely associated with anti-HCMV antibody levels in healthy seropositive donors, and which is significantly expanded in ITP patients. This fully mature memory subset robustly and selectively expands in vitro in response to mAb-opsonized targets or ITP-derived platelets and displays superior CD16-dependent IFNγ production. Our work identifies opsonizing antibodies as a host-dependent factor that shapes HCMV-driven memory NK cell compartment. We first demonstrate that chronic exposure to auto-antibodies contributes to the establishment/expansion of a highly specialized and unique memory NK cell subset with distinct CD16-dependent functional capabilities. We also identify the specific contribution of the lack of FcεRIγ chain in conferring to NKG2C+CD57+ memory cells a higher responsivity to CD16 engagement.
    Keywords:  CD16; HCMV; auto-antibodies; immune thrombocytopenia (ITP); memory natural killer (NK) cells
  40. Mol Cell. 2022 Mar 12. pii: S1097-2765(22)00205-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Innate immune responses induce hundreds of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs). Viperin, a member of the radical S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) superfamily of enzymes, is the product of one such ISG that restricts the replication of a broad spectrum of viruses. Here, we report a previously unknown antiviral mechanism in which viperin activates a ribosome collision-dependent pathway that inhibits both cellular and viral RNA translation. We found that the radical SAM activity of viperin is required for translation inhibition and that this is mediated by viperin's enzymatic product, 3'-deoxy-3',4'-didehydro-CTP (ddhCTP). Viperin triggers ribosome collisions and activates the MAPKKK ZAK pathway that in turn activates the GCN2 arm of the integrated stress response pathway to inhibit translation. The study illustrates the importance of translational repression in the antiviral response and identifies viperin as a translation regulator in innate immunity.
    Keywords:  Kunjin virus; Zika virus; antiviral response; innate immunity; integrated stress response pathway; interferon-stimulated gene; ribosome collision; translational regulation; viperin
  41. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 21. 13(1): 1500
      Although the mammalian intestinal epithelium manifests robust regenerative capacity after various cytotoxic injuries, the underlying mechanism has remained unclear. Here we identify the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p57 as a specific marker for a quiescent cell population located around the +4 position of intestinal crypts. Lineage tracing reveals that the p57+ cells serve as enteroendocrine/tuft cell precursors under normal conditions but dedifferentiate and act as facultative stem cells to support regeneration after injury. Single-cell transcriptomics analysis shows that the p57+ cells undergo a dynamic reprogramming process after injury that is characterized by fetal-like conversion and metaplasia-like transformation. Population-level analysis also detects such spatiotemporal reprogramming widely in other differentiated cell types. In intestinal adenoma, p57+ cells manifest homeostatic stem cell activity, in the context of constitutively activated spatiotemporal reprogramming. Our results highlight a pronounced plasticity of the intestinal epithelium that supports maintenance of tissue integrity in normal and neoplastic contexts.
  42. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 22. 13(1): 1534
      Scanning two-photon (2P) fiberscopes (also termed endomicroscopes) have the potential to transform our understanding of how discrete neural activity patterns result in distinct behaviors, as they are capable of high resolution, sub cellular imaging yet small and light enough to allow free movement of mice. However, their acquisition speed is currently suboptimal, due to opto-mechanical size and weight constraints. Here we demonstrate significant advances in 2P fiberscopy that allow high resolution imaging at high speeds (26 fps) in freely-behaving mice. A high-speed scanner and a down-sampling scheme are developed to boost imaging speed, and a deep learning (DL) algorithm is introduced to recover image quality. For the DL algorithm, a two-stage learning transfer strategy is established to generate proper training datasets for enhancing the quality of in vivo images. Implementation enables video-rate imaging at ~26 fps, representing 10-fold improvement in imaging speed over the previous 2P fiberscopy technology while maintaining a high signal-to-noise ratio and imaging resolution. This DL-assisted 2P fiberscope is capable of imaging the arousal-induced activity changes in populations of layer2/3 pyramidal neurons in the primary motor cortex of freely-behaving mice, providing opportunities to define the neural basis of behavior.
  43. Immunity. 2022 Mar 15. pii: S1074-7613(22)00124-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Tuft cells are a type of intestinal epithelial cells that exist in epithelial barriers and play a critical role in immunity against parasite infection. It remains insufficiently clear whether Tuft cells participate in bacterial eradication. Here, we identified Sh2d6 as a signature marker for CD45+ Tuft-2 cells. Depletion of Tuft-2 cells resulted in susceptibility to bacterial infection. Tuft-2 cells quickly expanded in response to bacterial infection and sensed the bacterial metabolite N-undecanoylglycine through vomeronasal receptor Vmn2r26. Mechanistically, Vmn2r26 engaged with N-undecanoylglycine activated G-protein-coupled receptor-phospholipase C gamma2 (GPCR-PLCγ2)-Ca2+ signaling axis, which initiated prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) production. PGD2 enhanced the mucus secretion of goblet cells and induced antibacterial immunity. Moreover, Vmn2r26 signaling also promoted SpiB transcription factor expression, which is responsible for Tuft-2 cell development and expansion in response to bacterial challenge. Our findings reveal an additional function of Tuft-2 cells in immunity against bacterial infection through Vmn2r26-mediated recognition of bacterial metabolites.
    Keywords:  N-undecanoylglycine; PGD2; SpiB; Tuft-2 cell; Vmn2r26
  44. Nat Biotechnol. 2022 Mar 21.
      Single-cell RNA sequencing methods can profile the transcriptomes of single cells but cannot preserve spatial information. Conversely, spatial transcriptomics assays can profile spatial regions in tissue sections, but do not have single-cell resolution. Here, we developed a computational method called CellTrek that combines these two datasets to achieve single-cell spatial mapping through coembedding and metric learning approaches. We benchmarked CellTrek using simulation and in situ hybridization datasets, which demonstrated its accuracy and robustness. We then applied CellTrek to existing mouse brain and kidney datasets and showed that CellTrek can detect topological patterns of different cell types and cell states. We performed single-cell RNA sequencing and spatial transcriptomics experiments on two ductal carcinoma in situ tissues and applied CellTrek to identify tumor subclones that were restricted to different ducts, and specific T cell states adjacent to the tumor areas. Our data show that CellTrek can accurately map single cells in diverse tissue types to resolve their spatial organization.
  45. Cells. 2022 Mar 08. pii: 924. [Epub ahead of print]11(6):
      In human type 2 diabetes, adipose tissue plays an important role in disturbing glucose homeostasis by secreting factors that affect the function of cells and tissues throughout the body, including insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. We aimed here at studying the paracrine effect of stromal cells isolated from subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue on human beta cells. We developed an in vitro model wherein the functional human beta cell line EndoC-βH1 was treated with conditioned media from human adipose tissues. By using RNA-sequencing and western blotting, we determined that a conditioned medium derived from omental stromal cells stimulates several pathways, such as STAT, SMAD and RELA, in EndoC-βH1 cells. We also observed that upon treatment, the expression of beta cell markers decreased while dedifferentiation markers increased. Loss-of-function experiments that efficiently blocked specific signaling pathways did not reverse dedifferentiation, suggesting the implication of more than one pathway in this regulatory process. Taken together, we demonstrate that soluble factors derived from stromal cells isolated from human omental adipose tissue signal human beta cells and modulate their identity.
    Keywords:  EndoC-βH1; adipose tissue; dedifferentiation; human pancreatic beta cells; stromal cells; type 2 diabetes
  46. J Clin Invest. 2022 Mar 22. pii: e154118. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pericyte-mediated capillary constriction decreases cerebral blood flow in stroke after an occluded artery is unblocked. The determinants of pericyte tone are poorly understood. We show that a small rise in cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) in pericytes activates chloride efflux through the Ca2+-gated anion channel TMEM16A, thus depolarizing the cell and opening voltage-gated calcium channels. This mechanism strongly amplifies the pericyte [Ca2+]i rise and capillary constriction evoked by contractile agonists and ischemia. In a rodent stroke model, TMEM16A inhibition slows the ischemia-evoked pericyte [Ca2+]i rise, capillary constriction and pericyte death, reduces neutrophil stalling and improves cerebrovascular reperfusion. Genetic analysis implicates altered TMEM16A expression in poor patient recovery from ischemic stroke. Thus, pericyte TMEM16A is a crucial regulator of cerebral capillary function, and a potential therapeutic target for stroke and possibly other disorders of impaired microvascular flow, such as Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.
    Keywords:  Calcium; Cell Biology; Ion channels; Neurological disorders; Vascular Biology
  47. Cell Mol Immunol. 2022 Mar 23.
      The RNA helicase DHX15 is widely expressed in immune cells and traditionally thought to be an RNA splicing factor or a viral RNA sensor. However, the role of DHX15 in NK-cell activities has not been studied thus far. Here, we generated Dhx15-floxed mice and found that conditional deletion of Dhx15 in NK cells (Ncr1CreDhx15fl/fl mice) resulted in a marked reduction in NK cells in the periphery and that the remaining Dhx15-deleted NK cells failed to acquire a mature phenotype. As a result, Dhx15-deleted NK cells exhibited profound defects in their cytolytic functions. We also found that deletion of Dhx15 in NK cells abrogated their responsiveness to IL-15, which was associated with inhibition of IL-2/IL-15Rβ (CD122) expression and IL-15R signaling. The defects in Dhx15-deleted NK cells were rescued by ectopic expression of a constitutively active form of STAT5. Mechanistically, DHX15 did not affect CD122 mRNA splicing and stability in NK cells but instead facilitated the surface expression of CD122, likely through interaction with its 3'UTR, which was dependent on the ATPase domain of DHX15 rather than its splicing domain. Collectively, our data identify a key role for DHX15 in regulating NK-cell activities and provide novel mechanistic insights into how DHX15 regulates the IL-15 signaling pathway in NK cells.
    Keywords:  DEAH-box helicase 15 (DHX15); Homeostasis; IL-15 signaling pathway; Innate immunity; Natural killer (NK) cells
  48. J Exp Med. 2022 May 02. pii: e20200795. [Epub ahead of print]219(5):
      Lymph node fibroblastic reticular cells (LN-FRCs) provide functional structure to LNs and play important roles in interactions between T cells and antigen-presenting cells. However, the direct impact of LN-FRCs on naive CD4+ T cell differentiation has not been explored. Here, we show that T cell zone FRCs of LNs (LN-TRCs) express CD25, the α chain of the IL-2 receptor heterotrimer. Moreover, LN-TRCs trans-present IL-2 to naive CD4+ T cells through CD25, thereby facilitating early IL-2-mediated signaling. CD25-deficient LN-TRCs exhibit attenuated STAT5 phosphorylation in naive CD4+ T cells during T cell differentiation, promoting T helper 17 (Th17) cell differentiation and Th17 response-related gene expression. In experimental autoimmune disease models, disease severity was elevated in mice lacking CD25 in LN-TRCs. Therefore, our results suggest that CD25 expression on LN-TRCs regulates CD4+ T cell differentiation by modulating early IL-2 signaling of neighboring, naive CD4+ T cells, influencing the overall properties of immune responses.
  49. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 24. 13(1): 1580
      Due to changing environmental conditions, many species will have to migrate or occupy new suitable areas to avoid potential extinction in the current biodiversity crisis. Long-lived animals are especially vulnerable and ex-situ conservation actions can provide solutions through assisted colonisations. However, there is little empirical evidence on the process of founding new populations for such species or the feasibility of assisted colonisations as a viable conservation measure. Here, we combined genetics with reproductive data to study the rise of two wild populations of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the Cayman Islands as a possible outcome of a reintroduction program started 50 years ago. We show that both populations are highly related to the captive population but rapidly diverged due to genetic drift. Individuals from the reintroduced populations showed high levels of nest fidelity, within and across nesting seasons, indicating that philopatry may help reinforce the success of new populations. Additionally, we show that reintroduction from captive populations has not undermined the reproductive fitness of first generation individuals. Sea turtle reintroduction programs can, therefore, establish new populations but require scientific evaluation of costs and benefits and should be monitored over time to ensure viability in the long-term.
  50. Sci Immunol. 2022 Mar 24. eabo1303
      Durable T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 antigens after infection or vaccination improve immune-mediated viral clearance. To date, population-based surveys of COVID-19 adaptive immunity have focused on testing for IgG antibodies that bind spike protein and/or neutralize the virus. Deployment of existing methods for measuring T-cell immunity could provide a more complete profile of immune status, informing public health policies and interventions.
  51. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2022 Mar 23.
      Genetic mosaicism is the result of the accumulation of somatic mutations in the human genome starting from the first postzygotic cell generation and continuing throughout the whole life of an individual. The rapid development of next-generation and single-cell sequencing technologies is now allowing the study of genetic mosaicism in normal tissues, revealing unprecedented insights into their clonal architecture and physiology. The somatic variant repertoire of an adult human neuron is the result of somatic mutations that accumulate in the brain by different mechanisms and at different rates during development and ageing. Non-pathogenic developmental mutations function as natural barcodes that once identified in deep bulk or single-cell sequencing can be used to retrospectively reconstruct human lineages. This approach has revealed novel insights into the clonal structure of the human brain, which is a mosaic of clones traceable to the early embryo that contribute differentially to the brain and distinct areas of the cortex. Some of the mutations happening during development, however, have a pathogenic effect and can contribute to some epileptic malformations of cortical development and autism spectrum disorder. In this Review, we discuss recent findings in the context of genetic mosaicism and their implications for brain development and disease.
  52. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 22. pii: S2211-1247(22)00283-2. [Epub ahead of print]38(12): 110542
      Inner ear vestibular and spiral ganglion neurons (VGNs and SGNs) are known to play pivotal roles in balance control and sound detection. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying otic neurogenesis at early embryonic ages have remained unclear. Here, we use single-cell RNA sequencing to reveal the transcriptomes of mouse otic tissues at three embryonic ages, embryonic day 9.5 (E9.5), E11.5, and E13.5, covering proliferating and undifferentiated otic neuroblasts and differentiating VGNs and SGNs. We validate the high quality of our studies by using multiple assays, including genetic fate mapping analysis, and we uncover several genes upregulated in neuroblasts or differentiating VGNs and SGNs, such as Shox2, Myt1, Casz1, and Sall3. Notably, our findings suggest a general cascaded differentiation trajectory during early otic neurogenesis. The comprehensive understanding of early otic neurogenesis provided by our study holds critical implications for both basic and translational research.
    Keywords:  Casz1; Myt1; Sall3; Shox2; Tlx3; inner ear; otocyst; single-cell RNA-seq; spiral ganglion neuron; vestibular ganglion neuron
  53. J Immunol. 2022 Mar 23. pii: ji2100764. [Epub ahead of print]
      IL-2 is a pleiotropic cytokine that is critical for T cell immunity. Although the IL-2-mediated regulation of T cell immunity in mammals is relatively well understood, it remains largely unknown whether and how IL-2 regulates T cell immunity in lower vertebrates. To address this knowledge gap, we investigated the role played by IL-2 in the regulation of T cell response, as well as the associated underlying mechanisms in a teleost fish, large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea). We found that large yellow croaker (L. crocea) IL-2 (LcIL-2) significantly promoted T cell proliferation both in vivo and in vitro; significantly induced the differentiation of Th1, Th2, regulatory T, and cytotoxic T cells while inhibiting Th17 differentiation; and participated in the elimination of invading pathogenic bacteria. Mechanistically, the binding of LcIL-2 to its heterotrimer receptor complex (LcIL-15Rα/LcIL-2Rβ/Lcγc) triggered the conserved JAK-STAT5 pathway, which in turn regulated the expression of genes involved in T cell expansion, differentiation, and biological function. The MAPK and mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) axes, which are involved in TCR-mediated signaling, were also required for LcIL-2-mediated T cell response. Collectively, our results demonstrated that fish IL-2 plays a comprehensive regulatory role in T cell response and highlighted the complex and delicate network regulating T cell-driven immune response. We propose that T cell immunity is regulated by the interplay between TCR signaling and cytokine signaling, and that this basic strategy evolved before the emergence of the tetrapod lineage. Our findings provide valuable insights into the regulatory mechanisms underlying T cell response in teleosts.
  54. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 24. 13(1): 1588
      MAPK signaling inhibitor (MAPKi) therapies show limited efficacy for advanced thyroid cancers despite constitutive activation of the signaling correlates with disease recurrence and persistence. Understanding how BRAF pathway stimulates tumorigenesis could lead to new therapeutic targets. Here, through genetic and pathological approaches, we demonstrate that BRAFV600E promotes thyroid cancer development by increasing myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) penetrance. This BRAFV600E-induced immune suppression involves re-activation of the developmental factor TBX3, which in turn up-regulates CXCR2 ligands in a TLR2-NFκB dependent manner, leading to MDSCs recruitment into the tumor microenvironment. CXCR2 inhibition or MDSCs repression improves MAPKi therapy effect. Clinically, high TBX3 expression correlates with BRAFV600E mutation and increased CXCR2 ligands, along with abundant MDSCs infiltration. Thus, our study uncovers a BRAFV600E-TBX3-CXCLs-MDSCs axis that guides patient stratification and could be targeted to improve the efficacy of MAPKi therapy in advanced thyroid cancer patients.
  55. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 22. pii: S2211-1247(22)00297-2. [Epub ahead of print]38(12): 110553
      The Btla inhibitory receptor limits innate and adaptive immune responses, both preventing the development of autoimmune disease and restraining anti-viral and anti-tumor responses. It remains unclear how the functions of Btla in diverse lymphocytes contribute to immunoregulation. Here, we show that Btla inhibits activation of genes regulating metabolism and cytokine signaling, including Il6 and Hif1a, indicating a regulatory role in humoral immunity. Within mucosal Peyer's patches, we find T-cell-expressed Btla-regulated Tfh cells, while Btla in T or B cells regulates GC B cell numbers. Treg-expressed Btla is required for cell-intrinsic Treg homeostasis that subsequently controls GC B cells. Loss of Btla in lymphocytes results in increased IgA bound to intestinal bacteria, correlating with altered microbial homeostasis and elevations in commensal and pathogenic bacteria. Together our studies provide important insights into how Btla functions as a checkpoint in diverse conventional and regulatory lymphocyte subsets to influence systemic immune responses.
    Keywords:  B cell; CP: Immunology; CP: Microbiology; IgA; Tfh; Tfr; Treg; autoimmunity; germinal center; inhibitory receptor; microbiome
  56. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 23. 13(1): 1571
      Animal and human imaging research reported that the presence of cortical Alzheimer's Disease's (AD) neuropathology, beta-amyloid and neurofibrillary tau, is associated with altered neuronal activity and circuitry failure, together facilitating clinical progression. The locus coeruleus (LC), one of the initial subcortical regions harboring pretangle hyperphosphorylated tau, has widespread connections to the cortex modulating cognition. Here we investigate whether LC's in-vivo neuronal activity and functional connectivity (FC) are associated with cognitive decline in conjunction with beta-amyloid. We combined functional MRI of a novel versus repeated face-name paradigm, beta-amyloid-PET and longitudinal cognitive data of 128 cognitively unimpaired older individuals. We show that LC activity and LC-FC with amygdala and hippocampus was higher during novelty. We also demonstrated that lower novelty-related LC activity and LC-FC with hippocampus and parahippocampus were associated with steeper beta-amyloid-related cognitive decline. Our results demonstrate the potential of LC's functional properties as a gauge to identify individuals at-risk for AD-related cognitive decline.
  57. Dev Cell. 2022 Mar 15. pii: S1534-5807(22)00127-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Loss of sensory hair cells (HCs) in the mammalian inner ear leads to permanent hearing and vestibular defects, whereas loss of HCs in zebrafish results in their regeneration. We used single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to characterize the transcriptional dynamics of HC regeneration in zebrafish at unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution. We uncovered three sequentially activated modules: first, an injury/inflammatory response and downregulation of progenitor cell maintenance genes within minutes after HC loss; second, the transient activation of regeneration-specific genes; and third, a robust re-activation of developmental gene programs, including HC specification, cell-cycle activation, ribosome biogenesis, and a metabolic switch to oxidative phosphorylation. The results are relevant not only for our understanding of HC regeneration and how we might be able to trigger it in mammals but also for regenerative processes in general. The data are searchable and publicly accessible via a web-based interface.
    Keywords:  hair cell death; hair cell regeneration; lateral line system; mechanosensory organ; neomycin; pseudotime analysis; scRNA-seq atlas; stem cells; support cells; zebrafish