bims-nimamd Biomed News
on Neuroimmunity and neuroinflammation in ageing and metabolic disease
Issue of 2022‒05‒22
fifty-one papers selected by
Fawaz Alzaïd
Sorbonne Université

  1. Nature. 2022 May 19.
      Cancer immunoediting1 is a hallmark of cancer2 that predicts that lymphocytes kill more immunogenic cancer cells to cause less immunogenic clones to dominate a population. Although proven in mice1,3, whether immunoediting occurs naturally in human cancers remains unclear. Here, to address this, we investigate how 70 human pancreatic cancers evolved over 10 years. We find that, despite having more time to accumulate mutations, rare long-term survivors of pancreatic cancer who have stronger T cell activity in primary tumours develop genetically less heterogeneous recurrent tumours with fewer immunogenic mutations (neoantigens). To quantify whether immunoediting underlies these observations, we infer that a neoantigen is immunogenic (high-quality) by two features-'non-selfness'  based on neoantigen similarity to known antigens4,5, and 'selfness'  based on the antigenic distance required for a neoantigen to differentially bind to the MHC or activate a T cell compared with its wild-type peptide. Using these features, we estimate cancer clone fitness as the aggregate cost of T cells recognizing high-quality neoantigens offset by gains from oncogenic mutations. With this model, we predict the clonal evolution of tumours to reveal that long-term survivors of pancreatic cancer develop recurrent tumours with fewer high-quality neoantigens. Thus, we submit evidence that that the human immune system naturally edits neoantigens. Furthermore, we present a model to predict how immune pressure induces cancer cell populations to evolve over time. More broadly, our results argue that the immune system fundamentally surveils host genetic changes to suppress cancer.
  2. Nat Commun. 2022 May 16. 13(1): 2706
      In yeast, actin cables are F-actin bundles that are essential for cell division through their function as tracks for cargo movement from mother to daughter cell. Actin cables also affect yeast lifespan by promoting transport and inheritance of higher-functioning mitochondria to daughter cells. Here, we report that actin cable stability declines with age. Our genome-wide screen for genes that affect actin cable stability identified the open reading frame YKL075C. Deletion of YKL075C results in increases in actin cable stability and abundance, mitochondrial fitness, and replicative lifespan. Transcriptome analysis revealed a role for YKL075C in regulating branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism. Consistent with this, modulation of BCAA metabolism or decreasing leucine levels promotes actin cable stability and function in mitochondrial quality control. Our studies support a role for actin stability in yeast lifespan, and demonstrate that this process is controlled by BCAA and a previously uncharacterized ORF YKL075C, which we refer to as actin, aging and nutrient modulator protein 1 (AAN1).
  3. Sci Immunol. 2022 May 20. 7(71): eabi9733
      Atopic individuals show enhanced type 2 immune cell responses and a susceptibility to infections with certain bacteria and viruses. Although patients with allergic diseases harbor normal counts of circulating neutrophils, these cells exert deficient effector functions. However, the underlying mechanism of this dysregulation of neutrophils remains ill defined. Here, we find that development, aging, and elimination of neutrophils are accelerated in mice with a predisposition to type 2 immunity, which, in turn, causes susceptibility to infection with several bacteria. Neutrophil-mediated immunity to bacterial infection was greatly decreased in mice with a genetic or induced bias to type 2 immunity. Abrogation of interleukin-4 (IL-4) receptor signaling in these animals fully restored their antibacterial defense, which largely depended on Ly6G+ neutrophils. IL-4 signals accelerated the maturation of neutrophils in the bone marrow and caused their rapid release to the circulation and periphery. IL-4-stimulated neutrophils aged more rapidly in the periphery, as evidenced by their phenotypic and functional changes, including their decreased phagocytosis of bacterial particles. Moreover, neutrophils from type 2 immune predisposed mice were eliminated at a higher rate by apoptosis and phagocytosis by macrophages and dendritic cells. Collectively, IL-4 signaling-mediated neutrophil aging constitutes an important adaptive deficiency in type 2 inflammation, contributing to recurrent bacterial infections.
  4. PLoS Genet. 2022 May 18. 18(5): e1010201
      Heterochromatin spreading, the expansion of repressive chromatin structure from sequence-specific nucleation sites, is critical for stable gene silencing. Spreading re-establishes gene-poor constitutive heterochromatin across cell cycles but can also invade gene-rich euchromatin de novo to steer cell fate decisions. How chromatin context (i.e. euchromatic, heterochromatic) or different nucleation pathways influence heterochromatin spreading remains poorly understood. Previously, we developed a single-cell sensor in fission yeast that can separately record heterochromatic gene silencing at nucleation sequences and distal sites. Here we couple our quantitative assay to a genetic screen to identify genes encoding nuclear factors linked to the regulation of heterochromatin nucleation and the distal spreading of gene silencing. We find that mechanisms underlying gene silencing distal to a nucleation site differ by chromatin context. For example, Clr6 histone deacetylase complexes containing the Fkh2 transcription factor are specifically required for heterochromatin spreading at constitutive sites. Fkh2 recruits Clr6 to nucleation-distal chromatin sites in such contexts. In addition, we find that a number of chromatin remodeling complexes antagonize nucleation-distal gene silencing. Our results separate the regulation of heterochromatic gene silencing at nucleation versus distal sites and show that it is controlled by context-dependent mechanisms. The results of our genetic analysis constitute a broad community resource that will support further analysis of the mechanisms underlying the spread of epigenetic silencing along chromatin.
  5. Nat Commun. 2022 May 18. 13(1): 2748
      Toll-like receptors/Interleukin-1 receptor signaling plays an important role in high-fat diet-induced adipose tissue dysfunction contributing to obesity-associated metabolic syndromes. Here, we show an unconventional IL-1R-IRAKM-Slc25a1 signaling axis in adipocytes that reprograms lipogenesis to promote diet-induced obesity. Adipocyte-specific deficiency of IRAKM reduces high-fat diet-induced body weight gain, increases whole body energy expenditure and improves insulin resistance, associated with decreased lipid accumulation and adipocyte cell sizes. IL-1β stimulation induces the translocation of IRAKM Myddosome to mitochondria to promote de novo lipogenesis in adipocytes. Mechanistically, IRAKM interacts with and phosphorylates mitochondrial citrate carrier Slc25a1 to promote IL-1β-induced mitochondrial citrate transport to cytosol and de novo lipogenesis. Moreover, IRAKM-Slc25a1 axis mediates IL-1β induced Pgc1a acetylation to regulate thermogenic gene expression in adipocytes. IRAKM kinase-inactivation also attenuates high-fat diet-induced obesity. Taken together, our study suggests that the IL-1R-IRAKM-Slc25a1 signaling axis tightly links inflammation and adipocyte metabolism, indicating a potential therapeutic target for obesity.
  6. Cell Mol Immunol. 2022 May 17.
      Regulatory T cells (Tregs) promote immune homeostasis by maintaining self-tolerance and regulating inflammatory responses. Under certain inflammatory conditions, Tregs can lose their lineage stability and function. Previous studies have reported that ex vivo exposure to retinoic acid (RA) enhances Treg function and stability. However, it is unknown how RA receptor signaling in Tregs influences these processes in vivo. Herein, we employed mouse models in which RA signaling is silenced by the expression of the dominant negative receptor (DN) RARα in all T cells. Despite the fact that DNRARα conventional T cells are hypofunctional, Tregs had increased CD25 expression, STAT5 pathway activation, mTORC1 signaling and supersuppressor function. Furthermore, DNRARα Tregs had increased inhibitory molecule expression, amino acid transporter expression, and metabolic fitness and decreased antiapoptotic proteins. Supersuppressor function was observed when wild-type mice were treated with a pharmacologic pan-RAR antagonist. Unexpectedly, Treg-specific expression of DNRARα resulted in distinct phenotypes, such that a single allele of DNRARα in Tregs heightened their suppressive function, and biallelic expression led to loss of suppression and autoimmunity. The loss of Treg function was not cell intrinsic, as Tregs that developed in a noninflammatory milieu in chimeric mice reconstituted with DNRARα and wild-type bone marrow maintained the enhanced suppressive capacity. Fate mapping suggested that maintaining Treg stability in an inflammatory milieu requires RA signaling. Our findings indicate that RA signaling acts as a rheostat to balance Treg function in inflammatory and noninflammatory conditions in a dose-dependent manner.
    Keywords:  Autoimmunity; Metabolism; Retinoic acid; STAT5; Tregulatory cells; mTORC1
  7. Cell Rep. 2022 May 17. pii: S2211-1247(22)00589-7. [Epub ahead of print]39(7): 110818
      Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are a class of enzymes that control chromatin state and influence cell fate. We evaluated the chromatin accessibility and transcriptome dynamics of zinc-containing HDACs during cell differentiation in vitro coupled with chemical perturbation to identify the role of HDACs in mesendoderm cell fate specification. Single-cell RNA sequencing analyses of HDAC expression during human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) differentiation in vitro and mouse gastrulation in vivo reveal a unique association of HDAC1 and -3 with mesendoderm gene programs during exit from pluripotency. Functional perturbation with small molecules reveals that inhibition of HDAC1 and -3, but not HDAC2, induces mesoderm while impeding endoderm and early cardiac progenitor specification. These data identify unique biological functions of the structurally homologous enzymes HDAC1-3 in influencing hPSC differentiation from pluripotency toward mesendodermal and cardiac progenitor populations.
    Keywords:  CP: Molecular biology; CP: Stem cell research; HDAC inhibitors; HDACs; cardiac development; cardiac differentiation; cardiac progenitor specification; cell fate; embryonic development; endoderm differentiation; epigenetics; genomics; hPSCs; histone deacetylases; mesendoderm specification; mesoderm differentiation; scRNA-seq; single-cell RNA sequencing; stem cell differentiation; transcriptomics
  8. Nature. 2022 May 20.
      Gene regulation in the human genome is controlled by distal enhancers that activate specific nearby promoters1. One model for this specificity is that promoters might have sequence-encoded preferences for certain enhancers, for example mediated by interacting sets of transcription factors or cofactors2. This "biochemical compatibility" model has been supported by observations at individual human promoters and by genome-wide measurements in Drosophila3-9. However, the degree to which human enhancers and promoters are intrinsically compatible has not been systematically measured, and how their activities combine to control RNA expression remains unclear. Here we designed a high-throughput reporter assay called ExP STARR-seq (enhancer x promoter self-transcribing active regulatory region sequencing) and applied it to examine the combinatorial compatibilities of 1,000 enhancer and 1,000 promoter sequences in human K562 cells. We identify simple rules for enhancer-promoter compatibility: most enhancers activated all promoters by similar amounts, and intrinsic enhancer and promoter activities combine multiplicatively to determine RNA output (R2=0.82). In addition, two classes of enhancers and promoters showed subtle preferential effects. Promoters of housekeeping genes contained built-in activating motifs for factors such as GABPA and YY1, which decreased the responsiveness of promoters to distal enhancers. Promoters of variably expressed genes lacked these motifs and showed stronger responsiveness to enhancers. Together, this systematic assessment of enhancer-promoter compatibility suggests a multiplicative model tuned by enhancer and promoter class to control gene transcription in the human genome.
  9. Nat Commun. 2022 May 19. 13(1): 2762
      Beyond a function in hemostasis and thrombosis, platelets can regulate innate and adaptive immune responses. Hyperactive platelets are frequently associated with multiple human autoimmune diseases, yet their pathogenic functions in these diseases have not been fully established. Emerging studies show an essential function of the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) in maintenance of immune homeostasis. Here, we show that mice with platelet-specific deletion of Pten, develop age-related lymphoproliferative diseases and humoral autoimmunity not seen in wildtype animals. Platelet-specific Pten-deficient mice have aberrant T cell activation, excessive T follicular helper (Tfh) cell responses and accumulation of platelet aggregates in lymph nodes. Transferred Pten-deficient platelets are able to infiltrate into the peripheral lymphoid tissues and form more aggregates. Moreover, Pten-deficient platelets are hyperactive and overproduce multiple Tfh-promoting cytokines via activation of the PDK1/mTORC2-AKT-SNAP23 pathway. Pten-deficient platelets show enhanced interaction with CD4+ T cells and promote conversion of CD4+ T cells into Tfh cells. Our results implicate PTEN in platelet-mediated immune homeostasis, and provide evidence that hyperactive platelets function as an important mediator in autoimmune diseases using mouse models.
  10. Nature. 2022 May 18.
      SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron are globally relevant variants of concern (VOCs). While individuals infected with Delta are at risk to develop severe lung disease, infection with Omicron often causes milder symptoms, especially in vaccinated individuals1,2. The question arises whether widespread Omicron infections could lead to future cross-variant protection, accelerating the end of the pandemic. Here we show that without vaccination, infection with Omicron induces a limited humoral immune response in mice and humans. Sera from mice overexpressing the human ACE2 receptor and infected with Omicron neutralize only Omicron, but no other VOCs, whereas broader cross-variant neutralization was observed after WA1 and Delta infections. Unlike WA1 and Delta, Omicron replicates to low levels in the lungs and brains of infected animals, leading to mild disease with reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and diminished activation of lung-resident T cells. Sera from unvaccinated, Omicron-infected individuals show the same limited neutralization of only Omicron itself. In contrast, Omicron breakthrough infections induce overall higher neutralization titers against all VOCs. Our results demonstrate that Omicron infection enhances preexisting immunity elicited by vaccines but, on its own, may not confer broad protection against non-Omicron variants in unvaccinated individuals.
  11. Nat Commun. 2022 May 19. 13(1): 2770
      ATP-sensitive potassium channels (KATP) are metabolic sensors that convert the intracellular ATP/ADP ratio to the excitability of cells. They are involved in many physiological processes and implicated in several human diseases. Here we present the cryo-EM structures of the pancreatic KATP channel in both the closed state and the pre-open state, resolved in the same sample. We observe the binding of nucleotides at the inhibitory sites of the Kir6.2 channel in the closed but not in the pre-open state. Structural comparisons reveal the mechanism for ATP inhibition and Mg-ADP activation, two fundamental properties of KATP channels. Moreover, the structures also uncover the activation mechanism of diazoxide-type KATP openers.
  12. Cell Death Differ. 2022 May 14.
      Inflammasome contributes to the pathogenesis of various inflammatory diseases, but the epigenetic mechanism controlling its activation remains elusive. Here, we found that the histone methyltransferase Ezh2 mediates the activation of multiple types of inflammasomes in macrophages/microglia independent of its methyltransferase activity and thus promotes inflammasome-related pathologies. Mechanistically, Ezh2 functions through its SANT2 domain to maintain the enrichment of H3K27 acetylation in the promoter region of the long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) Neat1, thereby promoting chromatin accessibility and facilitating p65-mediated transcription of Neat1, which is a critical mediator of inflammasome assembly and activation. In addition, the tumour suppressor protein p53 competes with Ezh2 for the same binding region in the Neat1 promoter and thus antagonises Ezh2-induced Neat1 transcription and inflammasome activation. Therefore, loss of Ezh2 strongly promotes the binding of p53, which recruits the deacetylase SIRT1 for H3K27 deacetylation of the Neat1 promoter and thus suppresses Neat1 transcription and inflammasome activation. Overall, our study demonstrates an epigenetic mechanism involved in modulating inflammasome activation through an Ezh2/p53 competition model and highlights a novel function of Ezh2 in maintaining H3K27 acetylation to support lncRNA Neat1 transcription.
  13. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 858051
      Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILCs) are the innate counterpart of adaptive lymphoid T cells. They are key players in the regulation of tissues homeostasis and early inflammatory host responses. ILCs are divided into three groups, and further subdivided into five subsets, that are characterised by distinct transcription factors, surface markers and their cytokine expression profiles. Group 1 ILCs, including natural killer (NK) cells and non-NK cell ILC1s, express T-bet and produce IFN-γ. Group 2 ILCs depend on GATA3 and produce IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13. Group 3 ILCs, composed of ILC3s and Lymphoid Tissue Inducer (LTi) cells, express RORγt and produce IL-17 and IL-22. Even though, the phenotype of each subset is well defined, environmental signals can trigger the interconversion of phenotypes and the plasticity of ILCs, in both mice and humans. Several extrinsic and intrinsic drivers of ILC plasticity have been described. However, the changes in cellular metabolism that underlie ILC plasticity remain largely unexplored. Given that metabolic changes critically affect fate and effector function of several immune cell types, we, here, review recent findings on ILC metabolism and discuss the implications for ILC plasticity.
    Keywords:  Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILCs); OxPhos; cytokines; glycolysis; metabolism; plasticity
  14. Nat Commun. 2022 May 19. 13(1): 2781
      Membraneless cytoplasmic condensates of mRNAs and proteins, known as RNA granules, play pivotal roles in the regulation of mRNA fate. Their maintenance fine-tunes time and location of protein expression, affecting many cellular processes, which require complex protein distribution. Here, we report that RNA granules-monitored by DEAD-Box helicase 6 (DDX6)-disassemble during neuronal maturation both in cell culture and in vivo. This process requires neuronal function, as synaptic inhibition results in reversible granule assembly. Importantly, granule assembly is dependent on the RNA-binding protein Staufen2, known for its role in RNA localization. Altering the levels of free cytoplasmic mRNA reveals that RNA availability facilitates DDX6 granule formation. Specifically depleting RNA from DDX6 granules confirms RNA as an important driver of granule formation. Moreover, RNA is required for DDX6 granule assembly upon synaptic inhibition. Together, this data demonstrates how RNA supply favors RNA granule assembly, which not only impacts subcellular RNA localization but also translation-dependent synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory.
  15. Cell Rep Med. 2022 May 17. pii: S2666-3791(22)00137-9. [Epub ahead of print]3(5): 100620
      Metastatic disease in the brain is difficult to control and predicts poor prognosis. Here, we analyze human brain metastases and demonstrate their robust infiltration by CD8+ T cell subsets with distinct antigen specificities, phenotypic states, and spatial localization within the tumor microenvironment. Brain metastases are densely infiltrated by T cells; the majority of infiltrating CD8+ T cells express PD-1. Single-cell RNA sequencing shows significant clonal overlap between proliferating and exhausted CD8+ T cells, but these subsets have minimal clonal overlap with circulating and other tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells, including bystander CD8+ T cells specific for microbial antigens. Using spatial transcriptomics and spatial T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing, we show these clonally unrelated, phenotypically distinct CD8+ T cell populations occupy discrete niches within the brain metastasis tumor microenvironment. Together, our work identifies signaling pathways within CD8+ T cells and in their surrounding environment that may be targeted for immunotherapy of brain metastases.
    Keywords:  CD8(+) T cells; TCR-sequencing; brain metastases; bystander; exhaustion; spatial transcriptomics
  16. Nature. 2022 May 18.
      Diabetes mellitus is prevalent among women of reproductive age, and many women are left undiagnosed or untreated1. Gestational diabetes has profound and enduring effects on the long-term health of the offspring2,3. However, the link between pregestational diabetes and disease risk into adulthood in the next generation has not been sufficiently investigated. Here we show that pregestational hyperglycaemia renders the offspring more vulnerable to glucose intolerance. The expression of TET3 dioxygenase, responsible for 5-methylcytosine oxidation and DNA demethylation in the zygote4, is reduced in oocytes from a mouse model of hyperglycaemia (HG mice) and humans with diabetes. Insufficient demethylation by oocyte TET3 contributes to hypermethylation at the paternal alleles of several insulin secretion genes, including the glucokinase gene (Gck), that persists from zygote to adult, promoting impaired glucose homeostasis largely owing to the defect in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Consistent with these findings, mouse progenies derived from the oocytes of maternal heterozygous and homozygous Tet3 deletion display glucose intolerance and epigenetic abnormalities similar to those from the oocytes of HG mice. Moreover, the expression of exogenous Tet3 mRNA in oocytes from HG mice ameliorates the maternal effect in offspring. Thus, our observations suggest an environment-sensitive window in oocyte development that confers predisposition to glucose intolerance in the next generation through TET3 insufficiency rather than through a direct perturbation of the oocyte epigenome. This finding suggests a potential benefit of pre-conception interventions in mothers to protect the health of offspring.
  17. Nat Commun. 2022 May 18. 13(1): 2733
      Mammalian genomes comprise largely intergenic noncoding DNA with numerous cis-regulatory elements. Whether and how the size of intergenic DNA affects gene expression in a tissue-specific manner remain unknown. Here we show that genes with extended intergenic regions are preferentially expressed in neural tissues but repressed in other tissues in mice and humans. Extended intergenic regions contain twice as many active enhancers in neural tissues compared to other tissues. Neural genes with extended intergenic regions are globally co-expressed with neighboring neural genes controlled by distinct enhancers in the shared intergenic regions. Moreover, generic neural genes expressed in multiple tissues have significantly longer intergenic regions than neural genes expressed in fewer tissues. The intergenic regions of the generic neural genes have many tissue-specific active enhancers containing distinct transcription factor binding sites specific to each neural tissue. We also show that genes with extended intergenic regions are enriched for neural genes only in vertebrates. The expansion of intergenic regions may reflect the regulatory complexity of tissue-type-specific gene expression in the nervous system.
  18. Cytometry A. 2022 May 20.
      In their recent correspondence, Jie et al. strongly defend that the DE cell population they discovered are always dual lineage co-expressing cells and not complexes of B cells and T cells, which we have previously described as frequently present in single-cell RNA sequencing data. Here, we respond to the specific arguments made in their correspondence. Specifically, we demonstrate that the presence of a gene signature in a given cell population is not enough to ascertain that it does not contain cell-cell complexes, or that it represents a biologically distinct cell type. We also show that the gene signature of DE cells contains several genes from the myeloid lineage, suggesting either that their DE cells are a triple-lineage co-expressing cell, or a three-component cell aggregate. Finally, we identify multiple transcriptomic features of DE cells that correspond to B cell-T cell complexes, namely the presence of lower average expression of B- and T-cell specific genes, and a higher number of detected genes per cell. Taken together, our results demonstrate that solely based on their scRNAseq profile, it is not possible to ascertain that DE cells are dual expressing cells and not cell-cell complexes.
  19. Med (N Y). 2022 Jan 14. pii: S2666-6340(21)00404-9. [Epub ahead of print]3(1): 42-57.e5
      BACKGROUND: Idiopathic aplastic anemia is a potentially lethal disease, characterized by T cell-mediated autoimmune attack of bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells. Standard of care therapies (stem cell transplantation or immunosuppression) are effective but associated with a risk of serious toxicities.METHODS: An 18-year-old man presented with aplastic anemia in the context of a germline gain-of-function variant in STAT1. Treatment with the JAK1 inhibitor itacitinib resulted in a rapid resolution of aplastic anemia and a sustained recovery of hematopoiesis. Peripheral blood and bone marrow samples were compared before and after JAK1 inhibitor therapy.
    FINDINGS: Following therapy, samples showed a decrease in the plasma concentration of interferon-γ, a decrease in PD1-positive exhausted CD8+ T cell population, and a decrease in an interferon responsive myeloid population. Single-cell analysis of chromatin accessibility showed decreased accessibility of STAT1 across CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, as well as CD14+ monocytes. To query whether other cases of aplastic anemia share a similar STAT1-mediated pathophysiology, we examined a cohort of 9 patients with idiopathic aplastic anemia. Bone marrow from six of nine patients also displayed abnormal STAT1 hyper-activation.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings raise the possibility that STAT1 hyperactivition defines a subset of idiopathic aplastic anemia patients for whom JAK inhibition may be an efficacious therapy.
    FUNDING: Funding was provided by the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine Pathways Program and NIH T32 AI007387. A trial registration is at
    Keywords:  Aplastic anemia; JAK inhibition; JAK/STAT; STAT1 GOF; STAT1 gain-of-function; T-cell exhaustion; Translation to patients; autoimmune; interferon gamma; itacitinib
  20. Nat Commun. 2022 May 19. 13(1): 2769
      Calcium entering mitochondria potently stimulates ATP synthesis. Increases in calcium preserve energy synthesis in cardiomyopathies caused by mitochondrial dysfunction, and occur due to enhanced activity of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter channel. The signaling mechanism that mediates this compensatory increase remains unknown. Here, we find that increases in the uniporter are due to impairment in Complex I of the electron transport chain. In normal physiology, Complex I promotes uniporter degradation via an interaction with the uniporter pore-forming subunit, a process we term Complex I-induced protein turnover. When Complex I dysfunction ensues, contact with the uniporter is inhibited, preventing degradation, and leading to a build-up in functional channels. Preventing uniporter activity leads to early demise in Complex I-deficient animals. Conversely, enhancing uniporter stability rescues survival and function in Complex I deficiency. Taken together, our data identify a fundamental pathway producing compensatory increases in calcium influx during Complex I impairment.
  21. STAR Protoc. 2022 Jun 17. 3(2): 101366
      Investigating intestinal immune responses is critical to understanding local and systemic immunity. However, obtaining resident intestinal immune cells with high cell viability can be challenging. Here, we provide an optimized protocol to isolate lamina propria lymphocytes from the small and large intestines, including lymphocyte activation for cytokine expression analysis and techniques for surface and intracellular antibody staining and flow cytometry. This protocol can be used for isolating and analyzing tissue-resident immune cells from other tissues with specified modifications. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Kim et al. (2022).
    Keywords:  Cell isolation; Flow Cytometry/Mass Cytometry; Immunology; Single Cell
  22. Nat Commun. 2022 May 20. 13(1): 2821
      Cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2) is a large Ca2+ release channel in the sarcoplasmic reticulum and indispensable for excitation-contraction coupling in the heart. RyR2 is activated by Ca2+ and RyR2 mutations are implicated in severe arrhythmogenic diseases. Yet, the structural basis underlying channel opening and how mutations affect the channel remains unknown. Here, we address the gating mechanism of RyR2 by combining high-resolution structures determined by cryo-electron microscopy with quantitative functional analysis of channels carrying various mutations in specific residues. We demonstrated two fundamental mechanisms for channel gating: interactions close to the channel pore stabilize the channel to prevent hyperactivity and a series of interactions in the surrounding regions is necessary for channel opening upon Ca2+ binding. Mutations at the residues involved in the former and the latter mechanisms cause gain-of-function and loss-of-function, respectively. Our results reveal gating mechanisms of the RyR2 channel and alterations by pathogenic mutations at the atomic level.
  23. Sci Data. 2022 May 18. 9(1): 219
      Hospitalized patients receiving hematopoietic cell transplants provide a unique opportunity to study the human gut microbiome. We previously compiled a large-scale longitudinal dataset of fecal microbiota and associated metadata, but we had limited that analysis to taxonomic composition of bacteria from 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Here we augment those data with shotgun metagenomics. The compilation amounts to a nested subset of 395 samples compiled from different studies at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Shotgun metagenomics describes the microbiome at the functional level, particularly in antimicrobial resistances and virulence factors. We provide accession numbers that link each sample to the paired-end sequencing files deposited in a public repository, which can be directly accessed by the online services of PATRIC to be analyzed without the users having to download or transfer the files. Then, we show how shotgun sequencing enables the assembly of genomes from metagenomic data. The new data, combined with the metadata published previously, enables new functional studies of the microbiomes of patients with cancer receiving bone marrow transplantation.
  24. Cell Rep Med. 2022 May 17. pii: S2666-3791(22)00138-0. [Epub ahead of print]3(5): 100621
      Modulation of immune function at the tumor site could improve patient outcomes. Here, we analyze patient samples of metastatic melanoma, a tumor responsive to T cell-based therapies, and find that tumor-infiltrating T cells are primarily juxtaposed to CD14+ monocytes/macrophages rather than melanoma cells. Using immunofluorescence-guided laser capture microdissection, we analyze transcriptomes of CD3+ T cells, CD14 + monocytes/macrophages, and melanoma cells in non-dissociated tissue. Stromal CD14+ cells display a specific transcriptional signature distinct from CD14+ cells within tumor nests. This signature contains LY75, a gene linked with antigen capture and regulation of tolerance and immunity in dendritic cells (DCs). When applied to TCGA cohorts, this gene set can distinguish patients with significantly prolonged survival in metastatic cutaneous melanoma and other cancers. Thus, the stromal CD14+ cell signature represents a candidate biomarker and suggests that reprogramming of stromal macrophages to acquire DC function may offer a therapeutic opportunity for metastatic cancers.
    Keywords:  CD205; DEC-205; LY75; dendritic cells; macrophage; melanoma; myeloid infiltrate; spatial analysis; spatial tissue organization; transcriptomics
  25. Nat Commun. 2022 May 19. 13(1): 2758
      Mitochondrial complex I is a central metabolic enzyme that uses the reducing potential of NADH to reduce ubiquinone-10 (Q10) and drive four protons across the inner mitochondrial membrane, powering oxidative phosphorylation. Although many complex I structures are now available, the mechanisms of Q10 reduction and energy transduction remain controversial. Here, we reconstitute mammalian complex I into phospholipid nanodiscs with exogenous Q10. Using cryo-EM, we reveal a Q10 molecule occupying the full length of the Q-binding site in the 'active' (ready-to-go) resting state together with a matching substrate-free structure, and apply molecular dynamics simulations to propose how the charge states of key residues influence the Q10 binding pose. By comparing ligand-bound and ligand-free forms of the 'deactive' resting state (that require reactivating to catalyse), we begin to define how substrate binding restructures the deactive Q-binding site, providing insights into its physiological and mechanistic relevance.
  26. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2022 May 13. pii: S1084-9521(22)00160-4. [Epub ahead of print]
  27. Biomaterials. 2022 May 06. pii: S0142-9612(22)00209-5. [Epub ahead of print]285 121569
      Human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which arise from aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM), are widely used to treat blood diseases and cancers. However, a technique for their robust generation in vitro is still missing. Here we show temporal manipulation of Wnt signaling is sufficient and essential to induce AGM-like hematopoiesis from human pluripotent stem cells. TGFβ inhibition at the stage of aorta-like SOX17+CD235a- hemogenic endothelium yielded AGM-like hematopoietic progenitors, which closely resembled primary cord blood HSCs at the transcriptional level and contained diverse lineage-primed progenitor populations via single cell RNA-sequencing analysis. Notably, the resulting definitive cells presented lymphoid and myeloid potential in vitro; and could home to a definitive hematopoietic site in zebrafish and rescue bloodless zebrafish after transplantation. Engraftment and multilineage repopulating activities were also observed in mouse recipients. Together, our work provided a chemically-defined and feeder-free culture platform for scalable generation of AGM-like hematopoietic progenitor cells, leading to enhanced production of functional blood and immune cells for various therapeutic applications.
    Keywords:  Chemically defined; Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells; RNA sequencing; Stem cell differentiation; Transplantation; Wnt signaling
  28. Nat Commun. 2022 May 16. 13(1): 2691
      Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) exhibit considerable cell-intrinsic changes with age. Here, we present an integrated analysis of transcriptome and chromatin accessibility of aged HSCs and downstream progenitors. Alterations in chromatin accessibility preferentially take place in HSCs with aging, which gradually resolve with differentiation. Differentially open accessible regions (open DARs) in aged HSCs are enriched for enhancers and show enrichment of binding motifs of the STAT, ATF, and CNC family transcription factors that are activated in response to external stresses. Genes linked to open DARs show significantly higher levels of basal expression and their expression reaches significantly higher peaks after cytokine stimulation in aged HSCs than in young HSCs, suggesting that open DARs contribute to augmented transcriptional responses under stress conditions. However, a short-term stress challenge that mimics infection is not sufficient to induce persistent chromatin accessibility changes in young HSCs. These results indicate that the ongoing and/or history of exposure to external stresses may be epigenetically inscribed in HSCs to augment their responses to external stimuli.
  29. J Immunol. 2022 Jun 01. 208(11): 2450-2455
  30. Nat Commun. 2022 May 17. 13(1): 2714
      Many eukaryotic genes contain alternative promoters with distinct expression patterns. How these promoters are differentially regulated remains elusive. Here, we apply single-molecule imaging to quantify the transcriptional regulation of two alternative promoters (P1 and P2) of the Bicoid (Bcd) target gene hunchback in syncytial blastoderm Drosophila embryos. Contrary to the previous notion that Bcd only activates P2, we find that Bcd activates both promoters via the same two enhancers. P1 activation is less frequent and requires binding of more Bcd molecules than P2 activation. Using a theoretical model to relate promoter activity to enhancer states, we show that the two promoters follow common transcription kinetics driven by sequential Bcd binding at the two enhancers. Bcd binding at either enhancer primarily activates P2, while P1 activation relies more on Bcd binding at both enhancers. These results provide a quantitative framework for understanding the kinetic mechanisms of complex eukaryotic gene regulation.
  31. J Clin Invest. 2022 May 16. pii: e155333. [Epub ahead of print]132(10):
      In hypertrophied and failing hearts, fuel metabolism is reprogrammed to increase glucose metabolism, especially glycolysis. This metabolic shift favors biosynthetic function at the expense of ATP production. Mechanisms responsible for the switch are poorly understood. We found that inhibitory factor 1 of the mitochondrial FoF1-ATP synthase (ATPIF1), a protein known to inhibit ATP hydrolysis by the reverse function of ATP synthase during ischemia, was significantly upregulated in pathological cardiac hypertrophy induced by pressure overload, myocardial infarction, or α-adrenergic stimulation. Chemical cross-linking mass spectrometry analysis of hearts hypertrophied by pressure overload suggested that increased expression of ATPIF1 promoted the formation of FoF1-ATP synthase nonproductive tetramer. Using ATPIF1 gain- and loss-of-function cell models, we demonstrated that stalled electron flow due to impaired ATP synthase activity triggered mitochondrial ROS generation, which stabilized HIF1α, leading to transcriptional activation of glycolysis. Cardiac-specific deletion of ATPIF1 in mice prevented the metabolic switch and protected against the pathological remodeling during chronic stress. These results uncover a function of ATPIF1 in nonischemic hearts, which gives FoF1-ATP synthase a critical role in metabolic rewiring during the pathological remodeling of the heart.
    Keywords:  Cardiology; Heart failure; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Structural biology
  32. J Biol Chem. 2022 May 13. pii: S0021-9258(22)00470-7. [Epub ahead of print] 102030
      The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is a serine/threonine kinase complex that promotes anabolic processes including protein, lipid, and nucleotide synthesis, while suppressing catabolic processes such as macroautophagy. mTORC1 activity is regulated by growth factors and amino acids which signal through distinct but integrated molecular pathways: growth factors largely signal through the PI3K/Akt-dependent pathway, whereas the availabilities of amino acids leucine and arginine are communicated to mTORC1 by the Rag-GTPase pathway. While it is relatively well described how acute changes in leucine and arginine levels affect mTORC1 signaling, the effects of prolonged amino acid deprivation remain less well understood. Here, we demonstrate that prolonged deprivation of arginine and/or leucine leads to reactivation of mTORC1 activity, which reaches activation levels similar to those observed in nutrient-rich conditions. Surprisingly, we find that this reactivation is independent of the regeneration of amino acids by canonical autophagy or proteasomal degradation, but is dependent on PI3K/Akt signaling. Together, our data identify a novel crosstalk between the amino acid and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways upstream of mTORC1. These observations extend our understanding of the role of mTORC1 in growth-related diseases and indicate that dietary intervention by removal of leucine and/or arginine may be an ineffective therapeutic approach.
  33. Sci Transl Med. 2022 May 18. 14(645): eabj9152
      Burns and other traumatic injuries represent a substantial biomedical burden. The current standard of care for deep injuries is autologous split-thickness skin grafting (STSG), which frequently results in contractures, abnormal pigmentation, and loss of biomechanical function. Currently, there are no effective therapies that can prevent fibrosis and contracture after STSG. Here, we have developed a clinically relevant porcine model of STSG and comprehensively characterized porcine cell populations involved in healing with single-cell resolution. We identified an up-regulation of proinflammatory and mechanotransduction signaling pathways in standard STSGs. Blocking mechanotransduction with a small-molecule focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor promoted healing, reduced contracture, mitigated scar formation, restored collagen architecture, and ultimately improved graft biomechanical properties. Acute mechanotransduction blockade up-regulated myeloid CXCL10-mediated anti-inflammation with decreased CXCL14-mediated myeloid and fibroblast recruitment. At later time points, mechanical signaling shifted fibroblasts toward profibrotic differentiation fates, and disruption of mechanotransduction modulated mesenchymal fibroblast differentiation states to block those responses, instead driving fibroblasts toward proregenerative, adipogenic states similar to unwounded skin. We then confirmed these two diverging fibroblast transcriptional trajectories in human skin, human scar, and a three-dimensional organotypic model of human skin. Together, pharmacological blockade of mechanotransduction markedly improved large animal healing after STSG by promoting both early, anti-inflammatory and late, regenerative transcriptional programs, resulting in healed tissue similar to unwounded skin. FAK inhibition could therefore supplement the current standard of care for traumatic and burn injuries.
  34. Nat Commun. 2022 May 18. 13(1): 2485
      The utility of cancer whole genome and transcriptome sequencing (cWGTS) in oncology is increasingly recognized. However, implementation of cWGTS is challenged by the need to deliver results within clinically relevant timeframes, concerns about assay sensitivity, reporting and prioritization of findings. In a prospective research study we develop a workflow that reports comprehensive cWGTS results in 9 days. Comparison of cWGTS to diagnostic panel assays demonstrates the potential of cWGTS to capture all clinically reported mutations with comparable sensitivity in a single workflow. Benchmarking identifies a minimum of 80× as optimal depth for clinical WGS sequencing. Integration of germline, somatic DNA and RNA-seq data enable data-driven variant prioritization and reporting, with oncogenic findings reported in 54% more patients than standard of care. These results establish key technical considerations for the implementation of cWGTS as an integrated test in clinical oncology.
  35. Nat Commun. 2022 May 16. 13(1): 2692
      Soluble aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein tau have been challenging to assemble and characterize, despite their important role in the development of tauopathies. We found that sequential hyperphosphorylation by protein kinase A in conjugation with either glycogen synthase kinase 3β or stress activated protein kinase 4 enabled recombinant wild-type tau of isoform 0N4R to spontaneously polymerize into small amorphous aggregates in vitro. We employed tandem mass spectrometry to determine the phosphorylation sites, high-resolution native mass spectrometry to measure the degree of phosphorylation, and super-resolution microscopy and electron microscopy to characterize the morphology of aggregates formed. Functionally, compared with the unmodified aggregates, which require heparin induction to assemble, these self-assembled hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates more efficiently disrupt membrane bilayers and induce Toll-like receptor 4-dependent responses in human macrophages. Together, our results demonstrate that hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates are potentially damaging to cells, suggesting a mechanism for how hyperphosphorylation could drive neuroinflammation in tauopathies.
  36. Cell Rep. 2022 May 17. pii: S2211-1247(22)00599-X. [Epub ahead of print]39(7): 110828
      Transcription factors can exert opposite effects depending on the chromosomal context. The fission yeast transcription factor Atf1 both activates numerous genes in response to stresses and mediates heterochromatic gene silencing in the mating-type region. Investigating this context dependency, we report here that the establishment of silent heterochromatin in the mating-type region occurs at a reduced rate in the absence of Atf1 binding. Quantitative modeling accounts for the observed establishment profiles by a combinatorial recruitment of histone-modifying enzymes: locally by Atf1 at two binding sites and over the whole region by dynamically appearing heterochromatic nucleosomes, a source of which is the RNAi-dependent cenH element. In the absence of Atf1 binding, the synergy is lost, resulting in a slow rate of heterochromatin formation. The system shows how DNA-binding proteins can influence local nucleosome states and thereby potentiate long-range positive feedback on histone-modification reactions to enable heterochromatin formation over large regions in a context-dependent manner.
    Keywords:  CP: Molecular biology; epigenetics; fission yeast; gene silencing; heterochromatin; histone modifications; mathematical modeling; position effects; positive feedback; single-cell studies; transcription factors
  37. FASEB J. 2022 Jun;36(6): e22353
      Endothelial cell (EC) aging plays a vital role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease (CVD). MicroRNAs have emerged as crucial regulators of target gene expression by inhibiting mRNA translation and/or promoting mRNA degradation. We identify an aging-related and oxidative stress-responsive microRNA, miR-181b, that inhibits endothelial cell apoptosis and senescence. In gain- or loss-of-function studies, miR-181b regulated the expression of key apoptosis markers (Bcl2, Bax, cleaved-Caspase3) and senescence markers (p16, p21, γH2AX) and the ratio of apoptotic cells (TUNEL-positive) and senescent cells (SA-βgal-positive) in H2 O2 -induced ECs. Mechanistically, miR-181b targets MAP3K3 and modulates a MAP3K3/MKK/MAPK signaling pathway. MAP3K3 knockdown recapitulated the phenotype of miR-181b overexpression and miR-181b was dependent on MAP3K3 for regulating EC apoptosis and senescence. In vivo, miR-181b expression showed a negative correlation with increasing age in the mouse aorta. Endothelial-specific deficiency of miR-181a2b2 increased the target MAP3K3, markers of vascular senescence (p16, p21), and DNA double-strand breaks (γH2AX) in the aorta of aged mice. Collectively, this study unveils an important role of miR-181b in regulating vascular endothelial aging via an MAP3K3-MAPK signaling pathway, providing new potential therapeutic targets for antiaging therapy in CVD.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; atherosclerosis; endothelium; microRNA; senescence
  38. Cell Prolif. 2022 May 17. e13235
      OBJECTIVES: The expression of transcription factor Hoxb5 specifically marks the functional haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) in mice. However, our recent work demonstrated that ectopic expression of Hoxb5 exerted little effect on HSC but could convert B-cell progenitors into functional T cells in vivo. Thus, cell type- and development stage-specific roles of Hoxb5 in haematopoietic hierarchy await more extensive exploration. In this study, we aim to investigate the effect of Hoxb5 expression in multipotent blood progenitor cells.MATERIALS AND METHODS: A Mx1cre/RosaLSL-Hoxb5-EGFP/+ mouse model was used to evaluate the effect of Hoxb5 expression in blood multipotent progenitor cells (MPP). Golden standard serial transplantation experiments were used to test the long-term haematopoiesis potential of Hoxb5-expressing MPP. Single-cell RNA-seq analysis was used to characterize the gained molecular features of Hoxb5-expressing MPP and to compare with the global transcriptome features of natural adult HSC and fetal liver HSC (FL HSC).
    RESULTS: Here, with a mouse strain engineered with conditional expression of Hoxb5, we unveiled that induced expression of Hoxb5 in MPP led to the generation of a de novo Sca1+ c-kit+ CD11b+ CD48+ (CD11b+ CD48+ SK) cell type, which can repopulate long-term multilineage haematopoiesis in serial transplantations. RNA-seq analysis showed that CD11b+ CD48+ SK cells exhibited acquired features of DNA replication and cell division.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our current study uncovers that Hoxb5 can empower MPP with self-renewal ability and indicates an alternative approach for generating HSC-like cells in vivo from blood lineage cells.
  39. Nat Commun. 2022 May 19. 13(1): 2760
      Autophagy has vasculoprotective roles, but whether and how it regulates lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC) homeostasis and lymphangiogenesis is unknown. Here, we show that genetic deficiency of autophagy in LEC impairs responses to VEGF-C and injury-driven corneal lymphangiogenesis. Autophagy loss in LEC compromises the expression of main effectors of LEC identity, like VEGFR3, affects mitochondrial dynamics and causes an accumulation of lipid droplets (LDs) in vitro and in vivo. When lipophagy is impaired, mitochondrial ATP production, fatty acid oxidation, acetyl-CoA/CoA ratio and expression of lymphangiogenic PROX1 target genes are dwindled. Enforcing mitochondria fusion by silencing dynamin-related-protein 1 (DRP1) in autophagy-deficient LEC fails to restore LDs turnover and lymphatic gene expression, whereas supplementing the fatty acid precursor acetate rescues VEGFR3 levels and signaling, and lymphangiogenesis in LEC-Atg5-/- mice. Our findings reveal that lipophagy in LEC by supporting FAO, preserves a mitochondrial-PROX1 gene expression circuit that safeguards LEC responsiveness to lymphangiogenic mediators and lymphangiogenesis.
  40. Cytometry A. 2022 May 20.
      Regulatory T (Treg) cells are a specialized subpopulation of CD4+ T cells that enforce peripheral immune tolerance. Treg cells act to suppress exuberant immune responses, limit inflammation, and promote tissue repair, thereby maintaining homeostasis and tolerance to self-antigens and those of the commensal microbial flora. Treg cells are characterized by the expression of the master regulator Foxp3, which plays a major role in Treg cells development and function. Under inflammatory conditions, Foxp3+ Treg cells may acquire effector T cell programs that modify their phenotype and function, reflecting their plasticity. During microbial infections, Treg cells act to limit the immunopathology triggered by the host immune response to pathogens albeit at the potential risk of pathogen persistence. In this review, we will discuss the influence of Treg cells on the outcome of viral infection and will give an overview of the Treg phenotype at steady-state and in inflammatory conditions.
    Keywords:  flow cytometry; phenotyping; regulatory t cells; viral infection
  41. Cell Rep Med. 2022 May 03. pii: S2666-3791(22)00165-3. [Epub ahead of print] 100640
      Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific CD4+ T cells are likely important in immunity against coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), but our understanding of CD4+ longitudinal dynamics following infection and of specific features that correlate with the maintenance of neutralizing antibodies remains limited. Here, we characterize SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cells in a longitudinal cohort of 109 COVID-19 outpatients enrolled during acute infection. The quality of the SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ response shifts from cells producing interferon gamma (IFNγ) to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) from 5 days to 4 months post-enrollment, with IFNγ-IL-21-TNF-α+ CD4+ T cells the predominant population detected at later time points. Greater percentages of IFNγ-IL-21-TNF-α+ CD4+ T cells on day 28 correlate with SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies measured 7 months post-infection (⍴ = 0.4, p = 0.01). mRNA vaccination following SARS-CoV-2 infection boosts both IFNγ- and TNF-α-producing, spike-protein-specific CD4+ T cells. These data suggest that SARS-CoV-2-specific, TNF-α-producing CD4+ T cells may play an important role in antibody maintenance following COVID-19.
    Keywords:  CD4; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; T cells; TNF-α; Tfh; antibodies; cytokines; longitudinal; neutralizing antibodies
  42. Curr Opin Immunol. 2022 May 16. pii: S0952-7915(22)00036-X. [Epub ahead of print]77 102189
      Development of effective vaccines is a critical global health priority. Stimulating antigen-specific B and T cells to elicit long-lasting protection remains the central paradigm of vaccinology. Adjuvants are components that enhance vaccine immunogenicity by targeting specific innate immune receptors and pathways. Recent data highlight the capacity of adjuvants to induce durable epigenetic reprogramming of the innate immune system to engender heightened resistance against pathogens. This raises the prospect of developing epigenetic adjuvants that, in addition to stimulating robust T and B cell responses, convey broad protection against diverse pathogens by training the innate immune system. In this review, we discuss our emerging understanding of the various vaccines and adjuvants and their effects on durable reprogramming of the innate immune response, their putative mechanisms of action, and the promise and challenges of developing epigenetic adjuvants as a universal vaccine strategy.
  43. Cell Genom. 2022 Apr 13. 2(4): None
    Biobank Japan Project
      Polygenic risk scores (PRS) measure genetic disease susceptibility by combining risk effects across the genome. For coronary artery disease (CAD), type 2 diabetes (T2D), and breast and prostate cancer, we performed cross-ancestry evaluation of genome-wide PRSs in six biobanks in Europe, the United States, and Asia. We studied transferability of these highly polygenic, genome-wide PRSs across global ancestries, within European populations with different health-care systems, and local population substructures in a population isolate. All four PRSs had similar accuracy across European and Asian populations, with poorer transferability in the smaller group of individuals of African ancestry. The PRSs had highly similar effect sizes in different populations of European ancestry, and in early- and late-settlement regions with different recent population bottlenecks in Finland. Comparing genome-wide PRSs to PRSs containing a smaller number of variants, the highly polygenic, genome-wide PRSs generally displayed higher effect sizes and better transferability across global ancestries. Our findings indicate that in the populations investigated, the current genome-wide polygenic scores for common diseases have potential for clinical utility within different health-care settings for individuals of European ancestry, but that the utility in individuals of African ancestry is currently much lower.
    Keywords:  ancestry; breast cancer; coronary artery disease; diabetes; global health; health disparities; polygenic risk score; precision medicine; prostate cancer; risk prediction
  44. Nat Commun. 2022 May 19. 13(1): 2785
      Neuronal activity is emerging as a driver of central and peripheral nervous system cancers. Here, we examined neuronal physiology in mouse models of the tumor predisposition syndrome Neurofibromatosis-1 (NF1), with different propensities to develop nervous system cancers. We show that central and peripheral nervous system neurons from mice with tumor-causing Nf1 gene mutations exhibit hyperexcitability and increased secretion of activity-dependent tumor-promoting paracrine factors. We discovered a neurofibroma mitogen (COL1A2) produced by peripheral neurons in an activity-regulated manner, which increases NF1-deficient Schwann cell proliferation, establishing that neurofibromas are regulated by neuronal activity. In contrast, mice with the Arg1809Cys Nf1 mutation, found in NF1 patients lacking neurofibromas or optic gliomas, do not exhibit neuronal hyperexcitability or develop these NF1-associated tumors. The hyperexcitability of tumor-prone Nf1-mutant neurons results from reduced NF1-regulated hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channel function, such that neuronal excitability, activity-regulated paracrine factor production, and tumor progression are attenuated by HCN channel activation. Collectively, these findings reveal that NF1 mutations act at the level of neurons to modify tumor predisposition by increasing neuronal excitability and activity-regulated paracrine factor production.
  45. Sci Immunol. 2022 May 20. 7(71): eabm1920
      As early T cell precursors transition from multipotentiality to T lineage commitment, they change expression of multiple transcription factors. It is unclear whether individual transcription factors directly control choices between T cell identity and some alternative fate or whether these factors mostly affect proliferation or survival during the normal commitment process. Here, we unraveled the impacts of deleting individual transcription factors at two stages in early T cell development, using synchronized in vitro differentiation systems, single-cell RNA-seq with batch indexing, and controlled gene-disruption strategies. First, using a customized method for single-cell CRISPR disruption, we defined how the early-acting transcription factors Bcl11a, Erg, Spi1 (PU.1), Gata3, and Tcf7 (TCF1) function before commitment. The results revealed a kinetic tug of war within individual cells between T cell factors Tcf7 and Gata3 and progenitor factors Spi1 and Bcl11a, with an unexpected guidance role for Erg. Second, we tested how activation of transcription factor Bcl11b during commitment altered ongoing cellular programs. In knockout cells where Bcl11b expression was prevented, the cells did not undergo developmental arrest, instead following an alternative path as T lineage commitment was blocked. A stepwise, time-dependent regulatory cascade began with immediate-early transcription factor activation and E protein inhibition, finally leading Bcl11b knockout cells toward exit from the T cell pathway. Last, gene regulatory networks of transcription factor cross-regulation were extracted from the single-cell transcriptome results, characterizing the specification network operating before T lineage commitment and revealing its links to both the Bcl11b knockout alternative network and the network consolidating T cell identity during commitment.
  46. iScience. 2022 May 20. 25(5): 104278
      Neurodegeneration is a process involving both cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous neuron loss, followed by a collapse of neural networks, but its pathogenesis is poorly understood. We have previously demonstrated that Eomes-positive helper T (Eomes + Th) cells recognizing LINE-1(L1)-derived prototypic antigen ORF1 mediate neurotoxicity associated with the neurodegenerative pathology of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Here, we show that Eomes + Th cells accumulate in the CNS of mouse models of authentic neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD), and secrete the neurotoxic granzyme B after encounter with ORF1 antigen. Multimodal derepression of neuronal L1 transcription is observed in EAE and ALS/AD models during neurodegeneration in active and cell cycle-mediated manner, respectively. These data suggest that the adventitious concurrence of immune-mediated neurodegenerative traits by Eomes + Th cells and ectopic expression of L1-derived antigen(s) in the inflamed CNS may materialize a communal and previously unappreciated pathogenesis of neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  Biological sciences; Immunology; Neuroscience
  47. Nat Neurosci. 2022 May 19.
      Impaired cortical maturation is a postulated mechanism in the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia. In the sensory cortex, activity relayed by the thalamus during a postnatal sensitive period is essential for proper cortical maturation. Whether thalamic activity also shapes prefrontal cortical maturation is unknown. We show that inhibiting the mediodorsal and midline thalamus in mice during adolescence leads to a long-lasting decrease in thalamo-prefrontal projection density and reduced excitatory drive to prefrontal neurons. It also caused prefrontal-dependent cognitive deficits during adulthood associated with disrupted prefrontal cross-correlations and task outcome encoding. Thalamic inhibition during adulthood had no long-lasting consequences. Exciting the thalamus in adulthood during a cognitive task rescued prefrontal cross-correlations, task outcome encoding and cognitive deficits. These data point to adolescence as a sensitive window of thalamocortical circuit maturation. Furthermore, by supporting prefrontal network activity, boosting thalamic activity provides a potential therapeutic strategy for rescuing cognitive deficits in neurodevelopmental disorders.
  48. Nat Commun. 2022 May 18. 13(1): 2743
      We present the results of a GWAS of food liking conducted on 161,625 participants from the UK-Biobank. Liking was assessed over 139 specific foods using a 9-point scale. Genetic correlations coupled with structural equation modelling identified a multi-level hierarchical map of food-liking with three main dimensions: "Highly-palatable", "Acquired" and "Low-caloric". The Highly-palatable dimension is genetically uncorrelated from the other two, suggesting that independent processes underlie liking high reward foods. This is confirmed by genetic correlations with MRI brain traits which show with distinct associations. Comparison with the corresponding food consumption traits shows a high genetic correlation, while liking exhibits twice the heritability. GWAS analysis identified 1,401 significant food-liking associations which showed substantial agreement in the direction of effects with 11 independent cohorts. In conclusion, we created a comprehensive map of the genetic determinants and associated neurophysiological factors of food-liking.
  49. Dis Markers. 2022 ;2022 6010504
      Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a prevalent risk factor for cognitive impairment. Aerobic exercise can improve T2DM-related cognitive impairment; however, the possible mechanisms remain elusive. Thus, we assessed db/m mice and leptin receptor-deficient (db/db) mice that did or did not perform aerobic exercise (8 m/min, 60 min/day, and 5 days/week for 12 weeks). In this study, cognitive function was significantly impaired in the T2DM mice; aerobic exercise improved cognitive impairment through activating the AMPK/SIRT1 signalling pathway and inhibiting the JAK2/STAT3 signalling pathway in T2DM mice. However, after the application of RO8191 (JAK2 activator) or Compound C (AMPK inhibitor), the positive improvement of the exercise was evidently suppressed. Taken together, our data indicated that long-term aerobic exercise improves type 2 diabetes mellitus-related cognitive impairment by inhibiting JAK2/STAT3 and enhancing AMPK/SIRT1 pathways in mice.