bims-nimamd Biomed News
on Neuroimmunity and neuroinflammation in ageing and metabolic disease
Issue of 2022‒07‒10
34 papers selected by
Fawaz Alzaïd
Sorbonne Université

  1. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 05. 13(1): 3866
      Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is critical for regulatory T cell (Treg) function and homeostasis. At low doses, IL-2 can suppress immune pathologies by expanding Tregs that constitutively express the high affinity IL-2Rα subunit. However, even low dose IL-2, signaling through the IL2-Rβ/γ complex, may lead to the activation of proinflammatory, non-Treg T cells, so improving specificity toward Tregs may be desirable. Here we use messenger RNAs (mRNA) to encode a half-life-extended human IL-2 mutein (HSA-IL2m) with mutations promoting reliance on IL-2Rα. Our data show that IL-2 mutein subcutaneous delivery as lipid-encapsulated mRNA nanoparticles selectively activates and expands Tregs in mice and non-human primates, and also reduces disease severity in mouse models of acute graft versus host disease and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Single cell RNA-sequencing of mouse splenic CD4+ T cells identifies multiple Treg states with distinct response dynamics following IL-2 mutein treatment. Our results thus demonstrate the potential of mRNA-encoded HSA-IL2m immunotherapy to treat autoimmune diseases.
  2. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 06. 13(1): 3897
      Perivascular spaces (PVS) drain brain waste metabolites, but their specific flow paths are debated. Meningeal pia mater reportedly forms the outermost boundary that confines flow around blood vessels. Yet, we show that pia is perforated and permissive to PVS fluid flow. Furthermore, we demonstrate that pia is comprised of vascular and cerebral layers that coalesce in variable patterns along leptomeningeal arteries, often merging around penetrating arterioles. Heterogeneous pial architectures form variable sieve-like structures that differentially influence cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) transport along PVS. The degree of pial coverage correlates with macrophage density and phagocytosis of CSF tracer. In vivo imaging confirms transpial influx of CSF tracer, suggesting a role of pia in CSF filtration, but not flow restriction. Additionally, pial layers atrophy with age. Old mice also exhibit areas of pial denudation that are not observed in young animals, but pia is unexpectedly hypertrophied in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, pial thickness correlates with improved CSF flow and reduced β-amyloid deposits in PVS of old mice. We show that PVS morphology in mice is variable and that the structure and function of pia suggests a previously unrecognized role in regulating CSF transport and amyloid clearance in aging and disease.
  3. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 05. 13(1): 3861
      Mammalian pre-implantation embryos accumulate substantial lipids, which are stored in lipid droplets (LDs). Despite the fundamental roles of lipids in many cellular functions, the significance of building-up LDs for the developing embryo remains unclear. Here we report that the accumulation and mobilization of LDs upon implantation are causal in the morphogenesis of the pluripotent epiblast and generation of the pro-amniotic cavity in mouse embryos, a critical step for all subsequent development. We show that the CIDEA protein, found abundantly in adipocytes, enhances lipid storage in blastocysts and pluripotent stem cells by promoting LD enlargement through fusion. The LD-stored lipids are mobilized into lysosomes at the onset of lumenogenesis, but without CIDEA are prematurely degraded by cytosolic lipases. Loss of lipid storage or inactivation of lipophagy leads to the aberrant formation of multiple cavities within disorganised epithelial structures. Thus, our study reveals an unexpected role for LDs in orchestrating tissue remodelling and uncovers underappreciated facets of lipid metabolism in peri-implantation development.
  4. Nature. 2022 Jul 06.
      Gonadal development is a complex process that involves sex determination followed by divergent maturation into either testes or ovaries1. Historically, limited tissue accessibility, a lack of reliable in vitro models and critical differences between humans and mice have hampered our knowledge of human gonadogenesis, despite its importance in gonadal conditions and infertility. Here, we generated a comprehensive map of first- and second-trimester human gonads using a combination of single-cell and spatial transcriptomics, chromatin accessibility assays and fluorescent microscopy. We extracted human-specific regulatory programmes that control the development of germline and somatic cell lineages by profiling equivalent developmental stages in mice. In both species, we define the somatic cell states present at the time of sex specification, including the bipotent early supporting population that, in males, upregulates the testis-determining factor SRY and sPAX8s, a gonadal lineage located at the gonadal-mesonephric interface. In females, we resolve the cellular and molecular events that give rise to the first and second waves of granulosa cells that compartmentalize the developing ovary to modulate germ cell differentiation. In males, we identify human SIGLEC15+ and TREM2+ fetal testicular macrophages, which signal to somatic cells outside and inside the developing testis cords, respectively. This study provides a comprehensive spatiotemporal map of human and mouse gonadal differentiation, which can guide in vitro gonadogenesis.
  5. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 07. 13(1): 3907
      Existing knowledge of the role of epigenetic modifiers in pancreas development has exponentially increased. However, the function of TET dioxygenases in pancreatic endocrine specification remains obscure. We set out to tackle this issue using a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) differentiation system, in which TET1/TET2/TET3 triple knockout cells display severe defects in pancreatic β-cell specification. The integrative whole-genome analysis identifies unique cell-type-specific hypermethylated regions (hyper-DMRs) displaying reduced chromatin activity and remarkable enrichment of FOXA2, a pioneer transcription factor essential for pancreatic endoderm specification. Intriguingly, TET depletion leads to significant changes in FOXA2 binding at the pancreatic progenitor stage, in which gene loci with decreased FOXA2 binding feature low levels of active chromatin modifications and enriches for bHLH motifs. Transduction of full-length TET1 but not the TET1-catalytic-domain in TET-deficient cells effectively rescues β-cell differentiation accompanied by restoring PAX4 hypomethylation. Taking these findings together with the defective generation of functional β-cells upon TET1-inactivation, our study unveils an essential role of TET1-dependent demethylation in establishing β-cell identity. Moreover, we discover a physical interaction between TET1 and FOXA2 in endodermal lineage intermediates, which provides a mechanistic clue regarding the complex crosstalk between TET dioxygenases and pioneer transcription factors in epigenetic regulation during pancreas specification.
  6. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 05. 13(1): 3877
      DNA methylation is an evolutionarily conserved epigenetic mechanism essential for transposon silencing and heterochromatin assembly. In plants, DNA methylation widely occurs in the CG, CHG, and CHH (H = A, C, or T) contexts, with the maintenance of CHG methylation mediated by CMT3 chromomethylase. However, how CMT3 interacts with the chromatin environment for faithful maintenance of CHG methylation is unclear. Here we report structure-function characterization of the H3K9me2-directed maintenance of CHG methylation by CMT3 and its Zea mays ortholog ZMET2. Base-specific interactions and DNA deformation coordinately underpin the substrate specificity of CMT3 and ZMET2, while a bivalent readout of H3K9me2 and H3K18 allosterically stimulates substrate binding. Disruption of the interaction with DNA or H3K9me2/H3K18 led to loss of CMT3/ZMET2 activity in vitro and impairment of genome-wide CHG methylation in vivo. Together, our study uncovers how the intricate interplay of CMT3, repressive histone marks, and DNA sequence mediates heterochromatic CHG methylation.
  7. JCI Insight. 2022 Jul 08. pii: e160267. [Epub ahead of print]7(13):
      People with HIV (PWH) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) experience elevated rates of neurological impairment, despite controlling for demographic factors and comorbidities, suggesting viral or neuroimmune etiologies for these deficits. Here, we apply multimodal and cross-compartmental single-cell analyses of paired cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and peripheral blood in PWH and uninfected controls. We demonstrate that a subset of central memory CD4+ T cells in the CSF produced HIV-1 RNA, despite apparent systemic viral suppression, and that HIV-1-infected cells were more frequently found in the CSF than in the blood. Using cellular indexing of transcriptomes and epitopes by sequencing (CITE-seq), we show that the cell surface marker CD204 is a reliable marker for rare microglia-like cells in the CSF, which have been implicated in HIV neuropathogenesis, but which we did not find to contain HIV transcripts. Through a feature selection method for supervised deep learning of single-cell transcriptomes, we find that abnormal CD8+ T cell activation, rather than CD4+ T cell abnormalities, predominated in the CSF of PWH compared with controls. Overall, these findings suggest ongoing CNS viral persistence and compartmentalized CNS neuroimmune effects of HIV infection during ART and demonstrate the power of single-cell studies of CSF to better understand the CNS reservoir during HIV infection.
    Keywords:  AIDS/HIV; Neurological disorders; Neuroscience
  8. Nature. 2022 Jul 06.
      Gastrointestinal health depends on the adaptive immune system tolerating the foreign proteins in food1,2. This tolerance is paradoxical because the immune system normally attacks foreign substances by generating inflammation. Here we addressed this conundrum by using a sensitive cell enrichment method to show that polyclonal CD4+ T cells responded to food peptides, including a natural one from gliadin, by proliferating weakly in secondary lymphoid organs of the gut-liver axis owing to the action of regulatory T cells. A few food-specific T cells then differentiated into T follicular helper cells that promoted a weak antibody response. Most cells in the expanded population, however, lacked canonical T helper lineage markers and fell into five subsets dominated by naive-like or T follicular helper-like anergic cells with limited capacity to form inflammatory T helper 1 cells. Eventually, many of the T helper lineage-negative cells became regulatory T cells themselves through an interleukin-2-dependent mechanism. Our results indicate that exposure to food antigens causes cognate CD4+ naive T cells to form a complex set of noncanonical hyporesponsive T helper cell subsets that lack the inflammatory functions needed to cause gut pathology and yet have the potential to produce regulatory T cells that may suppress it.
  9. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 08. 13(1): 3972
      Insulin is a potent inducer of mRNA transcription and translation, contributing to metabolic regulation. Insulin has also been suggested to regulate mRNA stability through the processing body (P-body) molecular machinery. However, whether and how insulin regulates mRNA stability via P-bodies is not clear. Here we show that the E3-ligase TRIM24 is a critical factor linking insulin signalling to P-bodies. Upon insulin stimulation, protein kinase B (PKB, also known as Akt) phosphorylates TRIM24 and stimulates its shuttling from the nucleus into the cytoplasm. TRIM24 interacts with several critical components of P-bodies in the cytoplasm, promoting their polyubiquitylation, which consequently stabilises Pparγ mRNA. Inactivation of TRIM24 E3-ligase activity or prevention of its phosphorylation via knockin mutations in mice promotes hepatic Pparγ degradation via P-bodies. Consequently, both knockin mutations alleviate hepatosteatosis in mice fed on a high-fat diet. Our results demonstrate the critical role of TRIM24 in linking insulin signalling to P-bodies and have therapeutic implications for the treatment of hepatosteatosis.
  10. Retrovirology. 2022 Jul 08. 19(1): 15
      BACKGROUND: Innate immunity and type 1 interferon (IFN) defenses are critical for early control of HIV infection within CD4 + T cells. Despite these defenses, some acutely infected cells silence viral transcription to become latently infected and form the HIV reservoir in vivo. Latently infected cells persist through antiretroviral therapy (ART) and are a major barrier to HIV cure. Here, we evaluated innate immunity and IFN responses in multiple T cell models of HIV latency, including established latent cell lines, Jurkat cells latently infected with a reporter virus, and a primary CD4 + T cell model of virologic suppression.RESULTS: We found that while latently infected T cell lines have functional RNA sensing and IFN signaling pathways, they fail to induce specific interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) in response to innate immune activation or type 1 IFN treatment. Jurkat cells latently infected with a fluorescent reporter HIV similarly demonstrate attenuated responses to type 1 IFN. Using bulk and single-cell RNA sequencing we applied a functional genomics approach and define ISG expression dynamics in latent HIV infection, including HIV-infected ART-suppressed primary CD4 + T cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our observations indicate that HIV latency and viral suppression each link with cell-intrinsic defects in specific ISG induction. We identify a set of ISGs for consideration as latency restriction factors whose expression and function could possibly mitigate establishing latent HIV infection.
    Keywords:  HIV; Immune escape; Innate immunity; Interferon; Interferon-stimulated gene; Latent infection; RIG-I; Reservoir
  11. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Jul 04.
      The pancreas and liver arise from a common pool of progenitors. However, the underlying mechanisms that drive their lineage diversification from the foregut endoderm are not fully understood. To tackle this question, we undertook a multifactorial approach that integrated human pluripotent-stem-cell-guided differentiation, genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 screening, single-cell analysis, genomics and proteomics. We discovered that HHEX, a transcription factor (TF) widely recognized as a key regulator of liver development, acts as a gatekeeper of pancreatic lineage specification. HHEX deletion impaired pancreatic commitment and unleashed an unexpected degree of cellular plasticity towards the liver and duodenum fates. Mechanistically, HHEX cooperates with the pioneer TFs FOXA1, FOXA2 and GATA4, shared by both pancreas and liver differentiation programmes, to promote pancreas commitment, and this cooperation restrains the shared TFs from activating alternative lineages. These findings provide a generalizable model for how gatekeeper TFs like HHEX orchestrate lineage commitment and plasticity restriction in broad developmental contexts.
  12. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 04. 13(1): 3850
      Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) exhibits a sex bias, being more common in women than men, and we hypothesize that mitochondrial sex differences might underlie this bias. As part of genetic studies of heart failure in mice, we observe that heart mitochondrial DNA levels and function tend to be reduced in females as compared to males. We also observe that expression of genes encoding mitochondrial proteins are higher in males than females in human cohorts. We test our hypothesis in a panel of genetically diverse inbred strains of mice, termed the Hybrid Mouse Diversity Panel (HMDP). Indeed, we find that mitochondrial gene expression is highly correlated with diastolic function, a key trait in HFpEF. Consistent with this, studies of a "two-hit" mouse model of HFpEF confirm that mitochondrial function differs between sexes and is strongly associated with a number of HFpEF traits. By integrating data from human heart failure and the mouse HMDP cohort, we identify the mitochondrial gene Acsl6 as a genetic determinant of diastolic function. We validate its role in HFpEF using adenoviral over-expression in the heart. We conclude that sex differences in mitochondrial function underlie, in part, the sex bias in diastolic function.
  13. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 07. 13(1): 3920
      It is well-established that receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) is the inducer of physiological osteoclast differentiation. However, the specific drivers and mechanisms driving inflammatory osteoclast differentiation under pathological conditions remain obscure. This is especially true given that inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) demonstrate little to no ability to directly drive osteoclast differentiation. Here, we found that transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) priming enables TNF to effectively induce osteoclastogenesis, independently of the canonical RANKL pathway. Lack of TGFβ signaling in macrophages suppresses inflammatory, but not basal, osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption in vivo. Mechanistically, TGFβ priming reprograms the macrophage response to TNF by remodeling chromatin accessibility and histone modifications, and enables TNF to induce a previously unrecognized non-canonical osteoclastogenic program, which includes suppression of the TNF-induced IRF1-IFNβ-IFN-stimulated-gene axis, IRF8 degradation and B-Myb induction. These mechanisms are active in rheumatoid arthritis, in which TGFβ level is elevated and correlates with osteoclast activity. Our findings identify a TGFβ/TNF-driven inflammatory osteoclastogenic program, and may lead to development of selective treatments for inflammatory osteolysis.
  14. Nature. 2022 Jul 06.
      When deciding what to eat, animals evaluate sensory information about food quality alongside multiple ongoing internal states1-10. How internal states interact to alter sensorimotor processing and shape decisions such as food choice remains poorly understood. Here we use pan-neuronal volumetric activity imaging in the brain of Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the neuronal basis of internal state-dependent nutrient appetites. We created a functional atlas of the ventral fly brain and find that metabolic state shapes sensorimotor processing across large sections of the neuropil. By contrast, reproductive state acts locally to define how sensory information is translated into feeding motor output. These two states thus synergistically modulate protein-specific food intake and food choice. Finally, using a novel computational strategy, we identify driver lines that label neurons innervating state-modulated brain regions and show that the newly identified 'borboleta' region is sufficient to direct food choice towards protein-rich food. We thus identify a generalizable principle by which distinct internal states are integrated to shape decision making and propose a strategy to uncover and functionally validate how internal states shape behaviour.
  15. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 06. 13(1): 3895
      Most known pathogenic mutations occur in protein-coding regions of DNA and change the way proteins are made. Taking protein structure into account has therefore provided great insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying human genetic disease. While there has been much focus on how mutations can disrupt protein structure and thus cause a loss of function (LOF), alternative mechanisms, specifically dominant-negative (DN) and gain-of-function (GOF) effects, are less understood. Here, we investigate the protein-level effects of pathogenic missense mutations associated with different molecular mechanisms. We observe striking differences between recessive vs dominant, and LOF vs non-LOF mutations, with dominant, non-LOF disease mutations having much milder effects on protein structure, and DN mutations being highly enriched at protein interfaces. We also find that nearly all computational variant effect predictors, even those based solely on sequence conservation, underperform on non-LOF mutations. However, we do show that non-LOF mutations could potentially be identified by their tendency to cluster in three-dimensional space. Overall, our work suggests that many pathogenic mutations that act via DN and GOF mechanisms are likely being missed by current variant prioritisation strategies, but that there is considerable scope to improve computational predictions through consideration of molecular disease mechanisms.
  16. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 08. 13(1): 3955
      Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) is the primary methyltransferase generating symmetric-dimethyl-arginine marks on histone and non-histone proteins. PRMT5 dysregulation is implicated in multiple oncogenic processes. Here, we report that PRMT5-mediated methylation of protein kinase B (AKT) is required for its subsequent phosphorylation at Thr308 and Ser473. Moreover, pharmacologic or genetic inhibition of PRMT5 abolishes AKT1 arginine 15 methylation, thereby preventing AKT1 translocation to the plasma membrane and subsequent recruitment of its upstream activating kinases PDK1 and mTOR2. We show that PRMT5/AKT signaling controls the expression of the epithelial-mesenchymal-transition transcription factors ZEB1, SNAIL, and TWIST1. PRMT5 inhibition significantly attenuates primary tumor growth and broadly blocks metastasis in multiple organs in xenograft tumor models of high-risk neuroblastoma. Collectively, our results suggest that PRMT5 inhibition augments anti-AKT or other downstream targeted therapeutics in high-risk metastatic cancers.
  17. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 08. 13(1): 3956
      β-Adrenergic signaling is a core regulator of brown adipocyte function stimulating both lipolysis and transcription of thermogenic genes, thereby expanding the capacity for oxidative metabolism. We have used pharmacological inhibitors and a direct activator of lipolysis to acutely modulate the activity of lipases, thereby enabling us to uncover lipolysis-dependent signaling pathways downstream of β-adrenergic signaling in cultured brown adipocytes. Here we show that induction of lipolysis leads to acute induction of several gene programs and is required for transcriptional regulation by β-adrenergic signals. Using machine-learning algorithms to infer causal transcription factors, we show that PPARs are key mediators of lipolysis-induced activation of genes involved in lipid metabolism and thermogenesis. Importantly, however, lipolysis also activates the unfolded protein response and regulates the core circadian transcriptional machinery independently of PPARs. Our results demonstrate that lipolysis generates important metabolic signals that exert profound pleiotropic effects on transcription and function of cultured brown adipocytes.
  18. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 07. 13(1): 3775
      Mitofusins reside on the outer mitochondrial membrane and regulate mitochondrial fusion, a physiological process that impacts diverse cellular processes. Mitofusins are activated by conformational changes and subsequently oligomerize to enable mitochondrial fusion. Here, we identify small molecules that directly increase or inhibit mitofusins activity by modulating mitofusin conformations and oligomerization. We use these small molecules to better understand the role of mitofusins activity in mitochondrial fusion, function, and signaling. We find that mitofusin activation increases, whereas mitofusin inhibition decreases mitochondrial fusion and functionality. Remarkably, mitofusin inhibition also induces minority mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization followed by sub-lethal caspase-3/7 activation, which in turn induces DNA damage and upregulates DNA damage response genes. In this context, apoptotic death induced by a second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases (SMAC) mimetic is potentiated by mitofusin inhibition. These data provide mechanistic insights into the function and regulation of mitofusins as well as small molecules to pharmacologically target mitofusins.
  19. Nat Metab. 2022 Jul 04.
      DNA methylation is a crucial epigenetic modification in the establishment of cell-type-specific characteristics. However, how DNA methylation is selectively reprogrammed at adipocyte-specific loci during adipogenesis remains unclear. Here, we show that the transcription factor, C/EBPδ, and the DNA methylation eraser, TET3, cooperatively control adipocyte differentiation. We perform whole-genome bisulfite sequencing to explore the dynamics and regulatory mechanisms of DNA methylation in adipocyte differentiation. During adipogenesis, DNA methylation selectively decreases at adipocyte-specific loci carrying the C/EBP binding motif, which correlates with the activity of adipogenic promoters and enhancers. Mechanistically, we find that C/EBPδ recruits a DNA methylation eraser, TET3, to catalyse DNA demethylation at the C/EBP binding motif and stimulate the expression of key adipogenic genes. Ectopic expression of TET3 potentiates in vitro and in vivo adipocyte differentiation and recovers downregulated adipogenic potential, which is observed in aged mice and humans. Taken together, our study highlights how targeted reprogramming of DNA methylation through cooperative action of the transcription factor C/EBPδ, and the DNA methylation eraser TET3, controls adipocyte differentiation.
  20. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2022 Jul 02. pii: S0959-4388(22)00093-9. [Epub ahead of print]76 102599
      Neuroimmune dysfunction is a cardinal feature of neurodegenerative diseases. But how immune dysregulation in the brain and peripheral organs contribute to neurodegeneration remains unclear. Here, we discuss the recent advances highlighting neuroimmune dysfunction as a key disease-driving factor in frontotemporal dementia (FTD). We provide an overview of the clinical observations supporting a high prevalence of autoimmune diseases in FTD patients with mutations in GRN or C9orf72. We then focus on a myriad of evidence from human genetic studies, mouse models, in vitro assays, and multi-omics platform, which indicate that haploinsufficiency in GRN and C9orf72 promotes neuroimmune dysfunction and contributes to neurodegeneration and premature death. These compelling data provide key insights to disease mechanisms, biomarker discovery, and therapeutic interventions for FTD (120 words).
  21. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 08. 13(1): 3947
      Succinate dehydrogenase, which is known as mitochondrial complex II, has proven to be a fascinating machinery, attracting renewed and increased interest in its involvement in human diseases. Herein, we find that succinate dehydrogenase assembly factor 4 (SDHAF4) is downregulated in cardiac muscle in response to pathological stresses and in diseased hearts from human patients. Cardiac loss of Sdhaf4 suppresses complex II assembly and results in subunit degradation and complex II deficiency in fetal mice. These defects are exacerbated in young adults with globally impaired metabolic capacity and activation of dynamin-related protein 1, which induces excess mitochondrial fission and mitophagy, thereby causing progressive dilated cardiomyopathy and lethal heart failure in animals. Targeting mitochondria via supplementation with fumarate or inhibiting mitochondrial fission improves mitochondrial dynamics, partially restores cardiac function and prolongs the lifespan of mutant mice. Moreover, the addition of fumarate is found to dramatically improve cardiac function in myocardial infarction mice. These findings reveal a vital role for complex II assembly in the development of dilated cardiomyopathy and provide additional insights into therapeutic interventions for heart diseases.
  22. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 07. 13(1): 3916
      Peptide-MHC (pMHC) multimers have excelled in the detection of antigen-specific T cells and have allowed phenotypic analysis using other reagents, but their use for detection of low-affinity T cells remains a challenge. Here we develop a multimeric T cell identifying reagent platform using two-dimensional DNA origami scaffolds to spatially organize pMHCs (termed as dorimers) with nanoscale control. We show that these dorimers enhance the binding avidity for low-affinity antigen-specific T cell receptors (TCRs). The dorimers are able to detect more antigen-specific T cells in mouse CD8+ T cells and early-stage CD4+CD8+ double-positive thymocytes that express less dense TCRs, compared with the equivalent tetramers and dextramers. Moreover, we demonstrate dorimer function in the analysis of autoimmune CD8+ T cells that express low-affinity TCRs, which are difficult to detect using tetramers. We anticipate that dorimers could contribute to the investigation of antigen-specific T cells in immune T cell function or immunotherapy applications.
  23. J Exp Med. 2022 Aug 01. pii: e20212563. [Epub ahead of print]219(8):
      Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 α (HNF4A) is a highly conserved nuclear receptor that has been associated with ulcerative colitis. In mice, HNF4A is indispensable for the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis, yet the underlying mechanisms are poorly characterized. Here, we demonstrate that the expression of HNF4A in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) is required for the proper development and composition of the intraepithelial lymphocyte (IEL) compartment. HNF4A directly regulates expression of immune signaling molecules including butyrophilin-like (Btnl) 1, Btnl6, H2-T3, and Clec2e that control IEC-IEL crosstalk. HNF4A selectively enhances the expansion of natural IELs that are TCRγδ+ or TCRαβ+CD8αα+ to shape the composition of IEL compartment. In the small intestine, HNF4A cooperates with its paralog HNF4G, to drive expression of immune signaling molecules. Moreover, the HNF4A-BTNL regulatory axis is conserved in human IECs. Collectively, these findings underscore the importance of HNF4A as a conserved transcription factor controlling IEC-IEL crosstalk and suggest that HNF4A maintains intestinal homeostasis through regulation of the IEL compartment.
  24. Commun Biol. 2022 Jul 07. 5(1): 674
      HIV infection induces tissue damage including lymph node (LN) fibrosis and intestinal epithelial barrier disruption leading to bacterial translocation and systemic inflammation. Natural hosts of SIV, such as African Green Monkeys (AGM), do not display tissue damage despite high viral load in blood and intestinal mucosa. AGM mount a NK cell-mediated control of SIVagm replication in peripheral LN. We analyzed if NK cells also control SIVagm in mesenteric (mes) LN and if this has an impact on gut humoral responses and the production of IgA known for their anti-inflammatory role in the gut. We show that CXCR5 + NK cell frequencies increase in mesLN upon SIVagm infection and that NK cells migrate into and control viral replication in B cell follicles (BCF) of mesLN. The proportion of IgA+ memory B cells were increased in mesLN during SIVagm infection in contrast to SIVmac infection. Total IgA levels in gut remained normal during SIVagm infection, while strongly decreased in intestine of chronically SIVmac-infected macaques. Our data suggest an indirect impact of NK cell-mediated viral control in mesLN during SIVagm infection on preserved BCF function and IgA production in intestinal tissues.
  25. Cell Stem Cell. 2022 Jul 07. pii: S1934-5909(22)00252-1. [Epub ahead of print]29(7): 1018-1030
      The mammalian embryo exhibits a remarkable plasticity that allows it to correct for the presence of aberrant cells, adjust its growth so that its size is in accordance with its developmental stage, or integrate cells of another species to form fully functional organs. Here, we will discuss the contribution that cell competition, a quality control that eliminates viable cells that are less fit than their neighbors, makes to this plasticity. We will do this by reviewing the roles that cell competition plays in the early mammalian embryo and how they contribute to ensure normal development of the embryo.
  26. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 06. 13(1): 3883
      Epigenetic information regulates gene expression and development. However, our understanding of the evolution of epigenetic regulation on brain development in primates is limited. Here, we compared chromatin accessibility landscapes and transcriptomes during fetal prefrontal cortex (PFC) development between rhesus macaques and humans. A total of 304,761 divergent DNase I-hypersensitive sites (DHSs) are identified between rhesus macaques and humans, although many of these sites share conserved DNA sequences. Interestingly, most of the cis-elements linked to orthologous genes with dynamic expression are divergent DHSs. Orthologous genes expressed at earlier stages tend to have conserved cis-elements, whereas orthologous genes specifically expressed at later stages seldom have conserved cis-elements. These genes are enriched in synapse organization, learning and memory. Notably, DHSs in the PFC at early stages are linked to human educational attainment and cognitive performance. Collectively, the comparison of the chromatin epigenetic landscape between rhesus macaques and humans suggests a potential role for regulatory elements in the evolution of differences in cognitive ability between non-human primates and humans.
  27. Cell Metab. 2022 Jul 05. pii: S1550-4131(22)00227-3. [Epub ahead of print]34(7): 1004-1022.e8
      Chronic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and sustained activation of unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes in obesity. UPR signaling is a complex signaling pathway, which is still being explored in many different cellular processes. Here, we demonstrate that FK506-binding protein 11 (FKBP11), which is transcriptionally regulated by XBP1s, is severely reduced in the livers of obese mice. Restoring hepatic FKBP11 expression in obese mice initiates an atypical UPR signaling pathway marked by rewiring of PERK signaling toward NRF2, away from the eIF2α-ATF4 axis of the UPR. This alteration in UPR signaling establishes glucose homeostasis without changing hepatic ER stress, food consumption, or body weight. We conclude that ER stress during obesity can be beneficially rewired to promote glucose homeostasis. These findings may uncover possible new avenues in the development of novel approaches to treat diseases marked by ER stress.
    Keywords:  ER stress; FKBP11; NRF2; UPR signaling; glucose intolerance; insulin resistance; obesity; type 2 diabetes
  28. Nature. 2022 Jul 06.
      Transcriptomics has revealed that cortical inhibitory neurons exhibit a great diversity of fine molecular subtypes1-6, but it is not known whether these subtypes have correspondingly diverse patterns of activity in the living brain. Here we show that inhibitory subtypes in primary visual cortex (V1) have diverse correlates with brain state, which are organized by a single factor: position along the main axis of transcriptomic variation. We combined in vivo two-photon calcium imaging of mouse V1 with a transcriptomic method to identify mRNA for 72 selected genes in ex vivo slices. We classified inhibitory neurons imaged in layers 1-3 into a three-level hierarchy of 5 subclasses, 11 types and 35 subtypes using previously defined transcriptomic clusters3. Responses to visual stimuli differed significantly only between subclasses, with cells in the Sncg subclass uniformly suppressed, and cells in the other subclasses predominantly excited. Modulation by brain state differed at all hierarchical levels but could be largely predicted from the first transcriptomic principal component, which also predicted correlations with simultaneously recorded cells. Inhibitory subtypes that fired more in resting, oscillatory brain states had a smaller fraction of their axonal projections in layer 1, narrower spikes, lower input resistance and weaker adaptation as determined in vitro7, and expressed more inhibitory cholinergic receptors. Subtypes that fired more during arousal had the opposite properties. Thus, a simple principle may largely explain how diverse inhibitory V1 subtypes shape state-dependent cortical processing.
  29. Mol Cell. 2022 Jul 07. pii: S1097-2765(22)00597-4. [Epub ahead of print]82(13): 2357-2359
      Two recent reports (Martinez-Ara et al., 2022; Bergman et al., 2022) explore the compatibility between enhancers and promoters and find that enhancers preferentially activate promoters with low intrinsic activity rather than favoring housekeeping or cell-type-specific promoters.
  30. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 08. 13(1): 3967
      Although fluorescent indicators have been broadly utilized for monitoring bioactivities, fluorescence imaging, when applied to mammals, is limited to superficial targets or requires invasive surgical procedures. Thus, there is emerging interest in developing bioluminescent indicators for noninvasive mammalian imaging. Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) of neuronal activity is highly desired but hindered by insufficient photons needed to digitalize fast brain activities. In this work, we develop a luciferase prosubstrate deliverable at an increased dose and activated in vivo by nonspecific esterase. We further engineer a bright, bioluminescent indicator with robust responsiveness to calcium ions (Ca2+) and appreciable emission above 600 nm. Integration of these advantageous components enables the imaging of the activity of neuronal ensembles in awake mice minimally invasively with excellent signal-to-background and subsecond temporal resolution. This study thus establishes a paradigm for studying brain function in health and disease.
  31. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 02. 13(1): 3814
      Birds, reptiles and insects have the ability to discriminate humidity levels that influence their survival and geographic distribution. Insects are particularly susceptible to humidity changes due to high surface area to volume ratios, but it remains unclear how humidity sensors transduce humidity signals. Here we identified Or42b-expressing olfactory sensory neurons, which are required for moisture attraction in Drosophila. The sensilla housing Or42b neurons show cuticular deformations upon moist air stimuli, indicating a conversion of humidity into mechanical force. Accordingly, we found Or42b neurons directly respond to humidity changes and rely on the mechanosensitive ion channel TMEM63 to mediate humidity sensing (hygrosensation). Expressing human TMEM63B in Tmem63 mutant flies rescued their defective phenotype in moisture attraction, demonstrating functional conservation. Thus, our results reveal a role of Tmem63 in hygrosensation and support the strategy to detect humidity by transforming it into a mechanical stimulus, which is unique in sensory transduction.
  32. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 08. 13(1): 3939
    UK Biobank Eye and Vision Consortium
      Genetic diseases have been historically segregated into rare Mendelian disorders and common complex conditions. Large-scale studies using genome sequencing are eroding this distinction and are gradually unmasking the underlying complexity of human traits. Here, we analysed data from the Genomics England 100,000 Genomes Project and from a cohort of 1313 individuals with albinism aiming to gain insights into the genetic architecture of this archetypal rare disorder. We investigated the contribution of protein-coding and regulatory variants both rare and common. We focused on TYR, the gene encoding tyrosinase, and found that a high-frequency promoter variant, TYR c.-301C>T [rs4547091], modulates the penetrance of a prevalent, albinism-associated missense change, TYR c.1205G>A (p.Arg402Gln) [rs1126809]. We also found that homozygosity for a haplotype formed by three common, functionally-relevant variants, TYR c.[-301C;575C>A;1205G>A], is associated with a high probability of receiving an albinism diagnosis (OR>82). This genotype is also associated with reduced visual acuity and with increased central retinal thickness in UK Biobank participants. Finally, we report how the combined analysis of rare and common variants can increase diagnostic yield and can help inform genetic counselling in families with albinism.
  33. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 04. 13(1): 3852
      Although cigarette smoking is known to exacerbate asthma, only a few clinical asthma studies have been conducted involving smokers. Here we show, by comparing paired sputum and blood samples from smoking and non-smoking patients with asthma, that smoking associates with significantly higher frequencies of pro-inflammatory, natural-cytotoxicity-receptor-non-expressing type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3) in the sputum and memory-like, CD45RO-expressing ILC3s in the blood. These ILC3 frequencies positively correlate with circulating neutrophil counts and M1 alveolar macrophage frequencies, which are known to increase in uncontrolled severe asthma, yet do not correlate with circulating eosinophil frequencies that characterize allergic asthma. In vitro exposure of ILCs to cigarette smoke extract induces expression of the memory marker CD45RO in ILC3s. Cigarette smoke extract also impairs the barrier function of airway epithelial cells and increases their production of IL-1β, which is a known activating factor for ILC3s. Thus, our study suggests that cigarette smoking increases local and circulating frequencies of activated ILC3 cells, plays a role in their activation, thereby aggravating non-allergic inflammation and the severity of asthma.