bims-nimamd Biomed News
on Neuroimmunity and neuroinflammation in ageing and metabolic disease
Issue of 2023‒01‒15
72 papers selected by
Fawaz Alzaïd
Sorbonne Université

  1. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 06. 14(1): 108
      Some forms of mitochondrial dysfunction induce sterile inflammation through mitochondrial DNA recognition by intracellular DNA sensors. However, the involvement of mitochondrial dynamics in mitigating such processes and their impact on muscle fitness remain unaddressed. Here we report that opposite mitochondrial morphologies induce distinct inflammatory signatures, caused by differential activation of DNA sensors TLR9 or cGAS. In the context of mitochondrial fragmentation, we demonstrate that mitochondria-endosome contacts mediated by the endosomal protein Rab5C are required in TLR9 activation in cells. Skeletal muscle mitochondrial fragmentation promotes TLR9-dependent inflammation, muscle atrophy, reduced physical performance and enhanced IL6 response to exercise, which improved upon chronic anti-inflammatory treatment. Taken together, our data demonstrate that mitochondrial dynamics is key in preventing sterile inflammatory responses, which precede the development of muscle atrophy and impaired physical performance. Thus, we propose the targeting of mitochondrial dynamics as an approach to treating disorders characterized by chronic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction.
  2. Nat Genet. 2023 Jan;55(1): 19-25
      Single-cell genomics enables dissection of tumor heterogeneity and molecular underpinnings of drug response at an unprecedented resolution1-11. However, broad clinical application of these methods remains challenging, due to several practical and preanalytical challenges that are incompatible with typical clinical care workflows, namely the need for relatively large, fresh tissue inputs. In the present study, we show that multimodal, single-nucleus (sn)RNA/T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing, spatial transcriptomics and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) are feasible from small, frozen tissues that approximate routinely collected clinical specimens (for example, core needle biopsies). Compared with data from sample-matched fresh tissue, we find a similar quality in the biological outputs of snRNA/TCR-seq data, while reducing artifactual signals and compositional biases introduced by fresh tissue processing. Profiling sequentially collected melanoma samples from a patient treated in the KEYNOTE-001 trial12, we resolved cellular, genomic, spatial and clonotype dynamics that represent molecular patterns of heterogeneous intralesional evolution during anti-programmed cell death protein 1 therapy. To demonstrate applicability to banked biospecimens of rare diseases13, we generated a single-cell atlas of uveal melanoma liver metastasis with matched WGS data. These results show that single-cell genomics from archival, clinical specimens is feasible and provides a framework for translating these methods more broadly to the clinical arena.
  3. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 13. 14(1): 213
      Connecting genes to their cis-regulatory elements has been enabled by genome-wide mapping of chromatin interactions using proximity ligation in ChIA-PET, Hi-C, and their derivatives. However, these methods require millions of input cells for high-quality data and thus are unsuitable for many studies when only limited cells are available. Conversely, epigenomic profiling via transposase digestion in ATAC-seq requires only hundreds to thousands of cells to robustly map open chromatin associated with transcription activity, but it cannot directly connect active genes to their distal enhancers. Here, we combine proximity ligation in ChIA-PET and transposase accessibility in ATAC-seq into ChIATAC to efficiently map interactions between open chromatin loci in low numbers of input cells. We validate ChIATAC in Drosophila cells and optimize it for mapping 3D epigenomes in human cells robustly. Applying ChIATAC to primary human T cells, we reveal mechanisms that topologically regulate transcriptional programs during T cell activation.
  4. Science. 2023 Jan 13. 379(6628): 142-143
      Microbiota mediate neuroinflammation in a genetic- and sex-specific manner in mice.
  5. iScience. 2023 Jan 20. 26(1): 105802
      Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a heterogeneous disease with unclear underlying molecular mechanisms. Here, we perform single-cell RNA sequencing of hepatocytes and hepatic non-parenchymal cells to map the lipid signatures in mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We uncover previously unidentified clusters of hepatocytes characterized by either high or low srebp1 expression. Surprisingly, the canonical lipid synthesis driver Srebp1 is not predictive of hepatic lipid accumulation, suggestive of other drivers of lipid metabolism. By combining transcriptional data at single-cell resolution with computational network analyses, we find that NAFLD is associated with high constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) expression. Mechanistically, CAR interacts with four functional modules: cholesterol homeostasis, bile acid metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, and estrogen response. Nuclear expression of CAR positively correlates with steatohepatitis in human livers. These findings demonstrate significant cellular differences in lipid signatures and identify functional networks linked to hepatic steatosis in mice and humans.
    Keywords:  Molecular network; Molecular physiology; Systems biology; Transcriptomics
  6. Nat Biotechnol. 2023 Jan 09.
      Investigating how chromatin organization determines cell-type-specific gene expression remains challenging. Experimental methods for measuring three-dimensional chromatin organization, such as Hi-C, are costly and have technical limitations, restricting their broad application particularly in high-throughput genetic perturbations. We present C.Origami, a multimodal deep neural network that performs de novo prediction of cell-type-specific chromatin organization using DNA sequence and two cell-type-specific genomic features-CTCF binding and chromatin accessibility. C.Origami enables in silico experiments to examine the impact of genetic changes on chromatin interactions. We further developed an in silico genetic screening approach to assess how individual DNA elements may contribute to chromatin organization and to identify putative cell-type-specific trans-acting regulators that collectively determine chromatin architecture. Applying this approach to leukemia cells and normal T cells, we demonstrate that cell-type-specific in silico genetic screening, enabled by C.Origami, can be used to systematically discover novel chromatin regulation circuits in both normal and disease-related biological systems.
  7. Sci Immunol. 2023 Jan 06. 8(79): eadd9413
      Long-lived and high-affinity antibodies are derived from germinal center (GC) activity, but the cytokines that regulate GC function are still being identified. Here, we show that thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) signaling regulates the GC and the magnitude of antigen-specific antibody responses. Both GC B cells and T follicular helper (TFH) cells up-regulate the expression of surface TSLP receptor (TSLPR), but cell-specific loss of TSLPR results in distinct effects on GC formation and antibody production. TSLPR signaling on T cells supports the retention of antigen-specific B cells and TFH differentiation, whereas TSLPR in B cells regulates the generation of antigen-specific memory B cells. TSLPR in both cell types promotes interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) expression, which is important for efficient GC activity. Overall, we identified a previously unappreciated cytokine regulator of GCs and identified how this signaling pathway differentially regulates B and T cell responses in the GC.
  8. Mol Cell. 2023 Jan 05. pii: S1097-2765(22)01132-7. [Epub ahead of print]83(1): 1-3
      Cells must avoid licensing of neosynthesized DNA to prevent rereplication. In this issue of Molecular Cell, Ratnayeke et al. (2022)1 reveal how the licensing factor CDT1, prior to its degradation, inhibits DNA elongation by suppressing CMG helicase progression at replication forks.
  9. Sci Immunol. 2023 Jan 06. 8(79): eadg4688
      Natural killer (NK) cell pathogen-specific memory is selected and maintained in the absence of antigen receptor rearrangement.
  10. Nature. 2023 Jan 11.
      Protein phosphorylation is one of the most widespread post-translational modifications in biology1,2. With advances in mass-spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics, 90,000 sites of serine and threonine phosphorylation have so far been identified, and several thousand have been associated with human diseases and biological processes3,4. For the vast majority of phosphorylation events, it is not yet known which of the more than 300 protein serine/threonine (Ser/Thr) kinases encoded in the human genome are responsible3. Here we used synthetic peptide libraries to profile the substrate sequence specificity of 303 Ser/Thr kinases, comprising more than 84% of those predicted to be active in humans. Viewed in its entirety, the substrate specificity of the kinome was substantially more diverse than expected and was driven extensively by negative selectivity. We used our kinome-wide dataset to computationally annotate and identify the kinases capable of phosphorylating every reported phosphorylation site in the human Ser/Thr phosphoproteome. For the small minority of phosphosites for which the putative protein kinases involved have been previously reported, our predictions were in excellent agreement. When this approach was applied to examine the signalling response of tissues and cell lines to hormones, growth factors, targeted inhibitors and environmental or genetic perturbations, it revealed unexpected insights into pathway complexity and compensation. Overall, these studies reveal the intrinsic substrate specificity of the human Ser/Thr kinome, illuminate cellular signalling responses and provide a resource to link phosphorylation events to biological pathways.
  11. Science. 2023 Jan 13. 379(6628): 210
  12. Commun Biol. 2023 Jan 12. 6(1): 30
      Maternal nutrition plays a critical role in energy metabolism of offspring. We aim to elucidate the effect of long-term intermittent fasting (IF) before pregnancy on health outcomes of offspring. Here we show long-term IF before pregnancy disrupts intestinal homeostasis of offspring with subsequent disorder of glucose and lipid metabolism. This occurs through the reduction in beneficial microbiota such as Lactobacillus_intestinalis. Our observations further support the concept that intestinal microbiota in offspring is vulnerable to maternal nutrition, and its homeostasis is critical for the integrity of intestinal barrier and metabolic homeostasis.
  13. Immunity. 2023 Jan 10. pii: S1074-7613(22)00647-1. [Epub ahead of print]56(1): 3-5
      Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a common liver disease involving interactions between a variety of liver cell types. In this issue of Immunity, Wang et al. show that efferocytosis of dying lipid-laden hepatocytes by hepatic macrophages protects against the development of NASH.
  14. Cell. 2023 Jan 05. pii: S0092-8674(22)01538-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ribosomes frequently stall during mRNA translation, resulting in the context-dependent activation of quality control pathways to maintain proteostasis. However, surveillance mechanisms that specifically respond to stalled ribosomes with an occluded A site have not been identified. We discovered that the elongation factor-1α (eEF1A) inhibitor, ternatin-4, triggers the ubiquitination and degradation of eEF1A on stalled ribosomes. Using a chemical genetic approach, we unveiled a signaling network comprising two E3 ligases, RNF14 and RNF25, which are required for eEF1A degradation. Quantitative proteomics revealed the RNF14 and RNF25-dependent ubiquitination of eEF1A and a discrete set of ribosomal proteins. The ribosome collision sensor GCN1 plays an essential role by engaging RNF14, which directly ubiquitinates eEF1A. The site-specific, RNF25-dependent ubiquitination of the ribosomal protein RPS27A/eS31 provides a second essential signaling input. Our findings illuminate a ubiquitin signaling network that monitors the ribosomal A site and promotes the degradation of stalled translation factors, including eEF1A and the termination factor eRF1.
    Keywords:  CRISPRi screen; E3 ligase; K6-linked ubiquitin; RWD domain; diGly proteomics; natural product; protein synthesis; ribosomal ubiquitination; ribosome quality control; translation factor
  15. Cell. 2023 Jan 05. pii: S0092-8674(22)01520-3. [Epub ahead of print]186(1): 63-79.e21
      Metabolism is deeply intertwined with aging. Effects of metabolic interventions on aging have been explained with intracellular metabolism, growth control, and signaling. Studying chronological aging in yeast, we reveal a so far overlooked metabolic property that influences aging via the exchange of metabolites. We observed that metabolites exported by young cells are re-imported by chronologically aging cells, resulting in cross-generational metabolic interactions. Then, we used self-establishing metabolically cooperating communities (SeMeCo) as a tool to increase metabolite exchange and observed significant lifespan extensions. The longevity of the SeMeCo was attributable to metabolic reconfigurations in methionine consumer cells. These obtained a more glycolytic metabolism and increased the export of protective metabolites that in turn extended the lifespan of cells that supplied them with methionine. Our results establish metabolite exchange interactions as a determinant of cellular aging and show that metabolically cooperating cells can shape the metabolic environment to extend their lifespan.
    Keywords:  chronological aging; eukaryotic longevity; metabolic microenvironment; metabolite exchange interactions
  16. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 13. 14(1): 216
      GPR21 is a class-A orphan G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) and a potential therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders. This receptor shows high basal activity in coupling to multiple G proteins in the absence of any known endogenous agonist or synthetic ligand. Here, we present the structures of ligand-free human GPR21 bound to heterotrimeric miniGs and miniG15 proteins, respectively. We identified an agonist-like motif in extracellular loop 2 (ECL2) that occupies the orthosteric pocket and promotes receptor activation. A side pocket that may be employed as a new ligand binding site was also uncovered. Remarkably, G protein binding is accommodated by a flexible cytoplasmic portion of transmembrane helix 6 (TM6) which adopts little or undetectable outward movement. These findings will enable the design of modulators for GPR21 for understanding its signal transduction and exploring opportunity for deorphanization.
  17. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 11. 14(1): 151
      Oriented cell divisions are critical for the formation and maintenance of structured epithelia. Proper mitotic spindle orientation relies on polarised anchoring of force generators to the cell cortex by the evolutionarily conserved protein complex formed by the Gαi subunit of heterotrimeric G proteins, the Leucine-Glycine-Asparagine repeat protein (LGN) and the nuclear mitotic apparatus protein. However, the polarity cues that control cortical patterning of this ternary complex remain largely unknown in mammalian epithelia. Here we identify the membrane-associated protein Annexin A1 (ANXA1) as an interactor of LGN in mammary epithelial cells. Annexin A1 acts independently of Gαi to instruct the accumulation of LGN and nuclear mitotic apparatus protein at the lateral cortex to ensure cortical anchoring of Dynein-Dynactin and astral microtubules and thereby planar alignment of the mitotic spindle. Loss of Annexin A1 randomises mitotic spindle orientation, which in turn disrupts epithelial architecture and luminogenesis in three-dimensional cultures of primary mammary epithelial cells. Our findings establish Annexin A1 as an upstream cortical cue that regulates LGN to direct planar cell divisions during mammalian epithelial morphogenesis.
  18. Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 06. 9(1): eadd4333
      Macrophages mediate key antimicrobial responses against intracellular bacterial pathogens, such as Salmonella enterica. Yet, they can also act as a permissive niche for these pathogens to persist in infected tissues within granulomas, which are immunological structures composed of macrophages and other immune cells. We apply single-cell transcriptomics to investigate macrophage functional diversity during persistent S. enterica serovar Typhimurium (STm) infection in mice. We identify determinants of macrophage heterogeneity in infected spleens and describe populations of distinct phenotypes, functional programming, and spatial localization. Using an STm mutant with impaired ability to polarize macrophage phenotypes, we find that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) defines a granuloma macrophage population that is nonpermissive for intracellular bacteria, and their abundance anticorrelates with tissue bacterial burden. Disruption of pathogen control by neutralizing TNF is linked to preferential depletion of ACE+ macrophages in infected tissues. Thus, ACE+ macrophages have limited capacity to serve as cellular niche for intracellular bacteria to establish persistent infection.
  19. Mol Cell. 2023 Jan 05. pii: S1097-2765(22)01170-4. [Epub ahead of print]83(1): 57-73.e9
      The TFE3 and MITF master transcription factors maintain metabolic homeostasis by regulating lysosomal, melanocytic, and autophagy genes. Previous studies posited that their cytosolic retention by 14-3-3, mediated by the Rag GTPases-mTORC1, was key for suppressing transcriptional activity in the presence of nutrients. Here, we demonstrate using mammalian cells that regulated protein stability plays a fundamental role in their control. Amino acids promote the recruitment of TFE3 and MITF to the lysosomal surface via the Rag GTPases, activating an evolutionarily conserved phospho-degron and leading to ubiquitination by CUL1β-TrCP and degradation. Elucidation of the minimal functional degron revealed a conserved alpha-helix required for interaction with RagA, illuminating the molecular basis for a severe neurodevelopmental syndrome caused by missense mutations in TFE3 within the RagA-TFE3 interface. Additionally, the phospho-degron is recurrently lost in TFE3 genomic translocations that cause kidney cancer. Therefore, two divergent pathologies converge on the loss of protein stability regulation by nutrients.
    Keywords:  MITF; Rag GTPases; TFE3; kidney cancer; lysosomes; mTORC1; neurodevelopment; nutrient-sensing; phospho-degron; ubiquitin; β-TrCP
  20. Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 06. 9(1): eadd6626
      Despite the rapid utilization of immunotherapy, emerging challenges to the current immune checkpoint blockade need to be resolved. Here, we report that elevation of CD73 levels due to its aberrant turnover is correlated with poor prognosis in immune-cold triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs). We have identified TRIM21 as an E3 ligase that governs CD73 destruction. Disruption of TRIM21 stabilizes CD73 that in turn enhances CD73-catalyzed production of adenosine, resulting in the suppression of CD8+ T cell function. Replacement of lysine 133, 208, 262, and 321 residues by arginine on CD73 attenuated CD73 ubiquitylation and degradation. Diminishing of CD73 ubiquitylation remarkably promotes tumor growth and impedes antitumor immunity. In addition, a TRIM21high/CD73low signature in a subgroup of human breast malignancies was associated with a favorable immune profile. Collectively, our findings uncover a mechanism that governs CD73 proteolysis and point to a new therapeutic strategy by modulating CD73 ubiquitylation.
  21. Trends Neurosci. 2023 Jan 10. pii: S0166-2236(22)00239-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Efforts to understand how mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to neurodegeneration have primarily focussed on the role of mitochondria in neuronal energy metabolism. However, progress in understanding the etiological nature of emerging mitochondrial functions has yielded new ideas about the mitochondrial basis of neurological disease. Studies aimed at deciphering how mitochondria signal through interorganellar contacts, vesicular trafficking, and metabolic transmission have revealed that mitochondrial regulation of immunometabolism, cell death, organelle dynamics, and neuroimmune interplay are critical determinants of neural health. Moreover, the homeostatic mechanisms that exist to protect mitochondrial health through turnover via nanoscale proteostasis and lysosomal degradation have become integrated within mitochondrial signalling pathways to support metabolic plasticity and stress responses in the nervous system. This review highlights how these distinct mitochondrial pathways converge to influence neurological health and contribute to disease pathology.
    Keywords:  immunity; inflammation; metabolism; mitochondrial-derived vesicles; mitochondria–lysosome axis; quality control
  22. Commun Biol. 2023 Jan 12. 6(1): 22
      Patients with primary mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) defects present with fatigue and multi-system disorders, are often lean, and die prematurely, but the mechanistic basis for this clinical picture remains unclear. By integrating data from 17 cohorts of patients with mitochondrial diseases (n = 690) we find evidence that these disorders increase resting energy expenditure, a state termed hypermetabolism. We examine this phenomenon longitudinally in patient-derived fibroblasts from multiple donors. Genetically or pharmacologically disrupting OxPhos approximately doubles cellular energy expenditure. This cell-autonomous state of hypermetabolism occurs despite near-normal OxPhos coupling efficiency, excluding uncoupling as a general mechanism. Instead, hypermetabolism is associated with mitochondrial DNA instability, activation of the integrated stress response (ISR), and increased extracellular secretion of age-related cytokines and metabokines including GDF15. In parallel, OxPhos defects accelerate telomere erosion and epigenetic aging per cell division, consistent with evidence that excess energy expenditure accelerates biological aging. To explore potential mechanisms for these effects, we generate a longitudinal RNASeq and DNA methylation resource dataset, which reveals conserved, energetically demanding, genome-wide recalibrations. Taken together, these findings highlight the need to understand how OxPhos defects influence the energetic cost of living, and the link between hypermetabolism and aging in cells and patients with mitochondrial diseases.
  23. Nat Neurosci. 2023 Jan 12.
      Loss-of-function variants of TREM2 are associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), suggesting that activation of this innate immune receptor may be a useful therapeutic strategy. Here we describe a high-affinity human TREM2-activating antibody engineered with a monovalent transferrin receptor (TfR) binding site, termed antibody transport vehicle (ATV), to facilitate blood-brain barrier transcytosis. Upon peripheral delivery in mice, ATV:TREM2 showed improved brain biodistribution and enhanced signaling compared to a standard anti-TREM2 antibody. In human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived microglia, ATV:TREM2 induced proliferation and improved mitochondrial metabolism. Single-cell RNA sequencing and morphometry revealed that ATV:TREM2 shifted microglia to metabolically responsive states, which were distinct from those induced by amyloid pathology. In an AD mouse model, ATV:TREM2 boosted brain microglial activity and glucose metabolism. Thus, ATV:TREM2 represents a promising approach to improve microglial function and treat brain hypometabolism found in patients with AD.
  24. Immunity. 2023 Jan 10. pii: S1074-7613(22)00651-3. [Epub ahead of print]56(1): 1-3
      How gut regionalization impacts microbiota and immunity is unclear. In this issue of Immunity, Earley et al. show that jejumal GATA4 expression controls bacteria colonization through retinol metabolism and IgA production. This metabolic-immune axis limits intestinal Th17 responses and immunopathology.
  25. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 17. 120(3): e2205049120
      Stimulator of interferon genes (STING) signaling has been extensively studied in inflammatory diseases and cancer, while its role in T cell responses to infection is unclear. Using Listeria monocytogenes strains engineered to induce different levels of c-di-AMP, we found that high STING signals impaired T cell memory upon infection via increased Bim levels and apoptosis. Unexpectedly, reduction of TCR signal strength or T cell-STING expression decreased Bim expression, T cell apoptosis, and recovered T cell memory. We found that TCR signal intensity coupled STING signal strength to the unfolded protein response (UPR) and T cell survival. Under strong STING signaling, Indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) inhibition also reduced apoptosis and led to a recovery of T cell memory in STING sufficient CD8 T cells. Thus, STING signaling regulates CD8 T cell memory fitness through both cell-intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms. These studies provide insight into how IDO and STING therapies could improve long-term T cell protective immunity.
    Keywords:  CD8 T cell memory; STING; TCR
  26. Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 13. 9(2): eadc8825
      Metastatic disease is a major cause of death for patients with melanoma. Melanoma cells can become metastatic not only due to cell-intrinsic plasticity but also due to cancer-induced protumorigenic remodeling of the immune microenvironment. Here, we report that innate immune surveillance by natural killer (NK) cells is bypassed by human melanoma cells expressing the stem cell marker NGFR. Using in vitro and in vivo cytotoxic assays, we show that NGFR protects melanoma cells from NK cell-mediated killing and, furthermore, boosts metastasis formation in a mouse model with adoptively transferred human NK cells. Mechanistically, NGFR leads to down-regulation of NK cell activating ligands and simultaneous up-regulation of the fatty acid stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase (SCD) in melanoma cells. Notably, pharmacological and small interfering RNA-mediated inhibition of SCD reverted NGFR-induced NK cell evasion in vitro and in vivo. Hence, NGFR orchestrates immune control antagonizing pathways to protect melanoma cells from NK cell clearance, which ultimately favors metastatic disease.
  27. EMBO Rep. 2023 Jan 09. e55532
      Preclinical and clinical studies demonstrate that T cell-dependent bispecific antibodies (TDBs) induce systemic changes in addition to tumor killing, leading to adverse events. Here, we report an in-depth characterization of acute responses to TDBs in tumor-bearing mice. Contrary to modest changes in tumors, rapid and substantial lymphocyte accumulation and endothelial cell (EC) activation occur around large blood vessels in normal organs including the liver. We hypothesize that organ-specific ECs may account for the differential responses in normal tissues and tumors, and we identify a list of genes selectively upregulated by TDB in large liver vessels. Using one of the genes as an example, we demonstrate that CD9 facilitates ICAM-1 to support T cell-EC interaction in response to soluble factors released from a TDB-mediated cytotoxic reaction. Our results suggest that multiple factors may cooperatively promote T cell infiltration into normal organs as a secondary response to TDB-mediated tumor killing. These data shed light on how different vascular beds respond to cancer immunotherapy and may help improve their safety and efficacy.
    Keywords:  T cell-dependent bispecific antibody; cancer immunotherapy; cell adhesion molecules; endothelial cell
  28. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 09. 14(1): 118
      Microglia are central to pathogenesis in many neurological conditions. Drugs targeting colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF1R) to block microglial proliferation in preclinical disease models have shown mixed outcomes, thus the therapeutic potential of this approach remains unclear. Here, we show that CSF1R inhibitors given by multiple dosing paradigms in the Tg2541 tauopathy mouse model cause a sex-independent reduction in pathogenic tau and reversion of non-microglial gene expression patterns toward a normal wild type signature. Despite greater drug exposure in male mice, only female mice have functional rescue and extended survival. A dose-dependent upregulation of immediate early genes and neurotransmitter dysregulation are observed in the brains of male mice only, indicating that excitotoxicity may preclude functional benefits. Drug-resilient microglia in male mice exhibit morphological and gene expression patterns consistent with increased neuroinflammatory signaling, suggesting a mechanistic basis for sex-specific excitotoxicity. Complete microglial ablation is neither required nor desirable for neuroprotection and therapeutics targeting microglia must consider sex-dependent effects.
  29. Cell Rep. 2023 Jan 12. pii: S2211-1247(22)01891-5. [Epub ahead of print]42(1): 111987
      T cell activation, proliferation, function, and differentiation are tightly linked to proper metabolic reprogramming and regulation. By using [U-13C]glucose tracing, we reveal a critical role for GOT1 in promoting CD8+ T cell effector differentiation and function. Mechanistically, GOT1 enhances proliferation by maintaining intracellular redox balance and serine-mediated purine nucleotide biosynthesis. Further, GOT1 promotes the glycolytic programming and cytotoxic function of cytotoxic T lymphocytes via posttranslational regulation of HIF protein, potentially by regulating the levels of α-ketoglutarate. Conversely, genetic deletion of GOT1 promotes the generation of memory CD8+ T cells.
    Keywords:  CP: Metabolism; GOT1; HIF; NADH/NAD; effector and memory CD8(+) T cell; glucose; glutamate; serine
  30. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 13. 14(1): 203
      Some interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) encode proteins that inhibit LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposition. Here, we use immunoprecipitation followed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to identify proteins that associate with the L1 ORF1-encoded protein (ORF1p) in ribonucleoprotein particles. Three ISG proteins that interact with ORF1p inhibit retrotransposition: HECT and RLD domain containing E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase 5 (HERC5); 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthetase-like (OASL); and helicase with zinc finger 2 (HELZ2). HERC5 destabilizes ORF1p, but does not affect its cellular localization. OASL impairs ORF1p cytoplasmic foci formation. HELZ2 recognizes sequences and/or structures within the L1 5'UTR to reduce L1 RNA, ORF1p, and ORF1p cytoplasmic foci levels. Overexpression of WT or reverse transcriptase-deficient L1s lead to a modest induction of IFN-α expression, which is abrogated upon HELZ2 overexpression. Notably, IFN-α expression is enhanced upon overexpression of an ORF1p RNA binding mutant, suggesting ORF1p binding might protect L1 RNA from "triggering" IFN-α induction. Thus, ISG proteins can inhibit retrotransposition by different mechanisms.
  31. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 11. 14(1): 159
      TGFβ1 induces age-related bone loss by promoting degradation of TNF receptor-associated factor 3 (TRAF3), levels of which decrease in murine and human bone during aging. We report that a subset of neutrophils (TGFβ1+CCR5+) is the major source of TGFβ1 in murine bone. Their numbers are increased in bone marrow (BM) of aged wild-type mice and adult mice with TRAF3 conditionally deleted in mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs), associated with increased expression in BM of the chemokine, CCL5, suggesting that TRAF3 in MPCs limits TGFβ1+CCR5+ neutrophil numbers in BM of young mice. During aging, TGFβ1-induced TRAF3 degradation in MPCs promotes NF-κB-mediated expression of CCL5 by MPCs, associated with higher TGFβ1+CCR5+ neutrophil numbers in BM where they induce bone loss. TGFβ1+CCR5+ neutrophils decreased bone mass in male mice. The FDA-approved CCR5 antagonist, maraviroc, reduced TGFβ1+CCR5+ neutrophil numbers in BM and increased bone mass in aged mice. 15-mon-old mice with TGFβRII specifically deleted in MPCs had lower numbers of TGFβ1+CCR5+ neutrophils in BM and higher bone volume than wild-type littermates. We propose that pharmacologic reduction of TGFβ1+CCR5+ neutrophil numbers in BM could treat or prevent age-related osteoporosis.
  32. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 17. 120(3): e2218332120
      O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) modifies serine and threonine residues on nuclear and cytosolic proteins with O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc). OGT is essential for mammalian cell viability, but the underlying mechanisms are still enigmatic. We performed a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screen in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) to identify candidates whose depletion rescued the block in cell proliferation induced by OGT deficiency. We show that the block in cell proliferation in OGT-deficient cells stems from mitochondrial dysfunction secondary to mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) hyperactivation. In normal cells, OGT maintains low mTOR activity and mitochondrial fitness through suppression of proteasome activity; in the absence of OGT, increased proteasome activity results in increased steady-state amino acid levels, which in turn promote mTOR lysosomal translocation and activation, and increased oxidative phosphorylation. mTOR activation in OGT-deficient mESCs was confirmed by an independent phospho-proteomic screen. Our study highlights a unique series of events whereby OGT regulates the proteasome/ mTOR/ mitochondrial axis in a manner that maintains homeostasis of intracellular amino acid levels, mitochondrial fitness, and cell viability. A similar mechanism operates in CD8+ T cells, indicating its generality across mammalian cell types. Manipulating OGT activity may have therapeutic potential in diseases in which this signaling pathway is impaired.
    Keywords:  OGT; genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screen; mTOR; mitochondrion; proteasome
  33. Cell. 2023 Jan 05. pii: S0092-8674(22)01470-2. [Epub ahead of print]186(1): 209-229.e26
      Transcription factors (TFs) regulate gene programs, thereby controlling diverse cellular processes and cell states. To comprehensively understand TFs and the programs they control, we created a barcoded library of all annotated human TF splice isoforms (>3,500) and applied it to build a TF Atlas charting expression profiles of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) overexpressing each TF at single-cell resolution. We mapped TF-induced expression profiles to reference cell types and validated candidate TFs for generation of diverse cell types, spanning all three germ layers and trophoblasts. Targeted screens with subsets of the library allowed us to create a tailored cellular disease model and integrate mRNA expression and chromatin accessibility data to identify downstream regulators. Finally, we characterized the effects of combinatorial TF overexpression by developing and validating a strategy for predicting combinations of TFs that produce target expression profiles matching reference cell types to accelerate cellular engineering efforts.
    Keywords:  ORF overexpression; cell engineering; cellular disease modeling; combinatorial perturbation; gene regulation; genetic screening; neural progenitor; pluripotent stem cell; single cell profiling; transcription factor
  34. Nature. 2023 Jan 12.
      Despite the success of PD-1 blockade in melanoma and other cancers, effective treatment strategies to overcome resistance to cancer immunotherapy are lacking1,2. We identified the innate immune kinase TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1)3 as a candidate immune evasion gene in a pooled genetic screen4. Using a suite of genetic and pharmacologic tools across multiple experimental model systems, we confirm a role for TBK1 as an immune evasion gene. Targeting TBK1 enhances response to PD-1 blockade by lowering the cytotoxicity threshold to effector cytokines (TNFα/IFNγ). TBK1 inhibition in combination with PD-1 blockade also demonstrated efficacy using patient-derived tumour models, with concordant findings in matched patient-derived organotypic tumour spheroids (PDOTS) and matched patient-derived organoids (PDOs). Tumour cells lacking TBK1 are primed to undergo RIPK- and caspase-dependent cell death in response to TNFα/IFNγ in a JAK/STAT-dependent manner. Taken together, our results demonstrate that targeting TBK1 is a novel and effective strategy to overcome resistance to cancer immunotherapy.
  35. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 06. 14(1): 99
      DNA methylation is a fundamental epigenetic modification regulating gene expression. Aberrant DNA methylation is the most common molecular lesion in cancer cells. However, medical intervention has been limited to the use of broadly acting, small molecule-based demethylating drugs with significant side-effects and toxicities. To allow for targeted DNA demethylation, we integrated two nucleic acid-based approaches: DNMT1 interacting RNA (DiR) and RNA aptamer strategy. By combining the RNA inherent capabilities of inhibiting DNMT1 with an aptamer platform, we generated a first-in-class DNMT1-targeted approach - aptaDiR. Molecular modelling of RNA-DNMT1 complexes coupled with biochemical and cellular assays enabled the identification and characterization of aptaDiR. This RNA bio-drug is able to block DNA methylation, impair cancer cell viability and inhibit tumour growth in vivo. Collectively, we present an innovative RNA-based approach to modulate DNMT1 activity in cancer or diseases characterized by aberrant DNA methylation and suggest the first alternative strategy to overcome the limitations of currently approved non-specific hypomethylating protocols, which will greatly improve clinical intervention on DNA methylation.
  36. Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 13. 9(2): eadd2743
      Longevity is a defining, heritable trait that varies dramatically between species. To resolve the genetic regulation of this trait, we have mined genomic variation in rockfishes, which range in longevity from 11 to over 205 years. Multiple shifts in rockfish longevity have occurred independently and in a short evolutionary time frame, thus empowering convergence analyses. Our analyses reveal a common network of genes under convergent evolution, encompassing established aging regulators such as insulin signaling, yet also identify flavonoid (aryl-hydrocarbon) metabolism as a pathway modulating longevity. The selective pressures on these pathways indicate the ancestral state of rockfishes was long lived and that the changes in short-lived lineages are adaptive. These pathways were also used to explore genome-wide association studies of human longevity, identifying the aryl-hydrocarbon metabolism pathway to be significantly associated with human survival to the 99th percentile. This evolutionary intersection defines and cross-validates a previously unappreciated genetic architecture that associates with the evolution of longevity across vertebrates.
  37. Cell Mol Immunol. 2023 Jan 11.
      Upon recognition of foreign antigens, naïve B cells undergo rapid activation, growth, and proliferation. How B-cell growth and proliferation are coupled with activation remains poorly understood. Combining CRISPR/Cas9-mediated functional analysis and mouse genetics approaches, we found that Dhx33, an activation-induced RNA helicase, plays a critical role in coupling B-cell activation with growth and proliferation. Mutant mice with B-cell-specific deletion of Dhx33 exhibited impaired B-cell development, germinal center reactions, plasma cell differentiation, and antibody production. Dhx33-deficient B cells appeared normal in the steady state and early stage of activation but were retarded in growth and proliferation. Mechanistically, Dhx33 played an indispensable role in activation-induced upregulation of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) transcription. In the absence of Dhx33, activated B cells were compromised in their ability to ramp up 47S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) production and ribosome biogenesis, resulting in nucleolar stress, p53 accumulation, and cellular death. Our findings demonstrate an essential role for Dhx33 in coupling B-cell activation with growth and proliferation and suggest that Dhx33 inhibition is a potential therapy for lymphoma and antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases.
    Keywords:  B cell activation; Germinal center reaction; RNA helicases
  38. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 13. 14(1): 200
      Immune system molecules are expressed by neurons, yet their functions are often unknown. We have identified IL-13 and its receptor IL-13Ra1 as neuronal, synaptic proteins in mouse, rat, and human brains, whose engagement upregulates the phosphorylation of NMDAR and AMPAR subunits and, in turn, increases synaptic activity and CREB-mediated transcription. We demonstrate that increased IL-13 is a hallmark of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in male mice as well as in two distinct cohorts of human patients. We also provide evidence that IL-13 upregulation protects neurons from excitotoxic death. We show IL-13 upregulation occurring in several cohorts of human brain samples and in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Thus, IL-13 is a physiological modulator of synaptic physiology of neuronal origin, with implications for the establishment of synaptic plasticity and the survival of neurons under injury conditions. Furthermore, we suggest that the neuroprotection afforded through the upregulation of IL-13 represents an entry point for interventions in the pathophysiology of TBI.
  39. JCI Insight. 2023 Jan 10. pii: e163929. [Epub ahead of print]8(1):
      The liver is a highly regenerative organ, yet the presence of a dedicated stem cell population remains controversial. Here, we interrogate a severe hepatocyte injury model in adult zebrafish to define that regeneration involves a stem cell population. After near-total hepatocyte ablation, single-cell transcriptomic and high-resolution imaging analyses throughout the entire regenerative timeline reveal that biliary epithelial cells undergo transcriptional and morphological changes to become hepatocytes. As a population, biliary epithelial cells give rise to both hepatocytes and biliary epithelial cells. Biliary epithelial cells proliferate and dedifferentiate to express hepatoblast transcription factors prior to hepatocyte differentiation. This process is characterized by increased MAPK, PI3K, and mTOR signaling, and chemical inhibition of these pathways impairs biliary epithelial cell proliferation and fate conversion. We conclude that, upon severe hepatocyte ablation in the adult liver, biliary epithelial cells act as facultative liver stem cells in an EGFR-PI3K-mTOR-dependent manner.
    Keywords:  Adult stem cells; Hepatology; Stem cells
  40. Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 13. 9(2): eadd8579
      Misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are removed through a process known as ER-associated degradation (ERAD). ERAD occurs through an integral membrane protein quality control system that recognizes substrates, retrotranslocates the substrates across the membrane, and ubiquitinates and extracts the substrates from the membrane for degradation at the cytosolic proteasome. While ERAD systems are known to regulate lipid biosynthetic enzymes, the regulation of ERAD systems by the lipid composition of cellular membranes remains unexplored. Here, we report that the ER membrane composition influences ERAD function by incapacitating substrate extraction. Unbiased lipidomic profiling revealed that elevation of specific very-long-chain ceramides leads to a marked increase in the level of ubiquitinated substrates in the ER membrane and concomitantly reduces extracted substrates in the cytoplasm. This work reveals a previously unrecognized mechanism in which ER membrane lipid remodeling changes the activity of ERAD.
  41. JCI Insight. 2023 Jan 10. pii: e158100. [Epub ahead of print]
      Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive and ultimately fatal disease. Recent findings have shown a marked metabolic reprogramming associated with changes in mitochondrial homeostasis and autophagy during pulmonary fibrosis. The microRNA-33 (miR-33) family of microRNAs (miRNAs) encoded within the introns of SREBP (sterol regulatory element binding protein) genes are master regulators of sterol and fatty acid (FA) metabolism. miR-33 controls macrophage immuno-metabolic response and enhances mitochondrial biogenesis, FA oxidation, and cholesterol efflux. Here, we show that miR-33 levels are increased in Broncho Alveolar Lavage (BAL) cells isolated from IPF patients compared to healthy controls. We demonstrate that specific genetic ablation of miR-33 in macrophages protects against bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. The absence of miR-33 in macrophages improves mitochondrial homeostasis and increases autophagy while decreasing inflammatory response after bleomycin injury. Notably, pharmacological inhibition of miR-33 in macrophages via administration of anti-miR-33 Peptide Nucleic Acids (PNA-33) attenuates fibrosis in different in vivo and ex vivo mice and human models of pulmonary fibrosis. Together, these studies elucidate a major role of miR-33 in macrophages in the regulation of pulmonary fibrosis and uncover a novel therapeutic approach to treat this disease.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Fatty acid oxidation; Fibrosis; Metabolism; Pulmonology
  42. Cell. 2023 Jan 05. pii: S0092-8674(22)01521-5. [Epub ahead of print]186(1): 98-111.e21
      In eukaryotes, DNA replication initiation requires assembly and activation of the minichromosome maintenance (MCM) 2-7 double hexamer (DH) to melt origin DNA strands. However, the mechanism for this initial melting is unknown. Here, we report a 2.59-Å cryo-electron microscopy structure of the human MCM-DH (hMCM-DH), also known as the pre-replication complex. In this structure, the hMCM-DH with a constricted central channel untwists and stretches the DNA strands such that almost a half turn of the bound duplex DNA is distorted with 1 base pair completely separated, generating an initial open structure (IOS) at the hexamer junction. Disturbing the IOS inhibits DH formation and replication initiation. Mapping of hMCM-DH footprints indicates that IOSs are distributed across the genome in large clusters aligning well with initiation zones designed for stochastic origin firing. This work unravels an intrinsic mechanism that couples DH formation with initial DNA melting to license replication initiation in human cells.
    Keywords:  DNA replication initiation; human MCM2–7 complex; initial DNA melting; origin firing; pre-RC; replication licensing
  43. Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 06. 9(1): eabq5423
      Deposition of tau protein aggregates in the brain of affected individuals is a defining feature of "tauopathies," including Alzheimer's disease. Studies of human brain tissue and various model systems of tauopathy report that toxic forms of tau negatively affect nuclear and genomic architecture, identifying pathogenic tau-induced heterochromatin decondensation and consequent retrotransposon activation as a causal mediator of neurodegeneration. On the basis of their similarity to retroviruses, retrotransposons drive neuroinflammation via toxic intermediates, including double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). We find that dsRNA and dsRNA sensing machinery are elevated in astrocytes of postmortem brain tissue from patients with Alzheimer's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy and in brains of tau transgenic mice. Using a Drosophila model of tauopathy, we identify specific tau-induced retrotransposons that form dsRNA and find that pathogenic tau and heterochromatin decondensation causally drive dsRNA-mediated neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. Our study suggests that pathogenic tau-induced heterochromatin decondensation and retrotransposon activation cause elevation of inflammatory, transposable element-derived dsRNA in the adult brain.
  44. J Immunol. 2023 Jan 11. pii: ji2200169. [Epub ahead of print]
      Signal inhibitory receptor on leukocytes-1 (SIRL-1) is an immune inhibitory receptor expressed on human granulocytes and monocytes that dampens antimicrobial functions. We previously showed that sputum neutrophils from infants with severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis have decreased SIRL-1 surface expression compared with blood neutrophils and that SIRL-1 surface expression is rapidly lost from in vitro activated neutrophils. This led us to hypothesize that activated neutrophils lose SIRL-1 by ectodomain shedding. Here, we developed an ELISA and measured the concentration of soluble SIRL-1 (sSIRL-1) in patients with RSV bronchiolitis and hospitalized patients with COVID-19, which are both characterized by neutrophilic inflammation. In line with our hypothesis, sSIRL-1 concentration was increased in sputum compared with plasma of patients with RSV bronchiolitis and in serum of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 compared with control serum. In addition, we show that in vitro activated neutrophils release sSIRL-1 by proteolytic cleavage and that this diminishes the ability to inhibit neutrophilic reactive oxygen species production via SIRL-1. Finally, we found that SIRL-1 shedding is prevented by proteinase 3 inhibition and by extracellular adherence protein from Staphylococcus aureus. Notably, we recently showed that SIRL-1 is activated by PSMα3 from S. aureus, suggesting that S. aureus may counteract SIRL-1 shedding to benefit from preserved inhibitory function of SIRL-1. In conclusion, we report that SIRL-1 is released from activated neutrophils by proteinase 3 cleavage and that endogenous sSIRL-1 protein is present in vivo.
  45. Sci Immunol. 2023 Jan 13. 8(79): eabn6612
      T cells that recognize tumor antigens are crucial for mounting antitumor immune responses. Induction of antitumor T cells in immunogenic tumors depends on STING, the intracellular innate immune receptor for cyclic guanosine monophosphate-adenosine monophosphate (cGAMP) and related cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs). However, the optimal way to leverage STING activation in nonimmunogenic tumors is still unclear. Here, we show that cGAMP delivery by intratumoral injection of virus-like particles (cGAMP-VLP) led to differentiation of circulating tumor-specific T cells, decreased tumor regulatory T cells (Tregs), and antitumoral responses that synergized with PD1 blockade. By contrast, intratumoral injection of the synthetic CDN ADU-S100 led to tumor necrosis and systemic T cell activation but simultaneously depleted immune cells from injected tumors and induced minimal priming of circulating tumor-specific T cells. The antitumor effects of cGAMP-VLP required type 1 conventional dendritic cells (cDC1), whereas ADU-S100 eliminated cDC1 from injected tumors. cGAMP-VLP preferentially targeted STING in dendritic cells at a 1000-fold smaller dose than ADU-S100. Subcutaneous administration of cGAMP-VLP showed synergy when combined with PD1 blockade or a tumor Treg-depleting antibody to elicit systemic tumor-specific T cells and antitumor activity, leading to complete and durable tumor eradication in the case of tumor Treg depletion. These findings show that cell targeting of STING stimulation shapes the antitumor T cell response and identify a therapeutic strategy to enhance T cell-targeted immunotherapy.
  46. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 13. 14(1): 205
      Guanine (G)-rich nucleic acids can fold into G-quadruplex (G4) structures under permissive conditions. Although many RNAs contain sequences that fold into RNA G4s (rG4s) in vitro, their folding and functions in vivo are not well understood. In this report, we showed that the folding of putative rG4s in human cells into rG4 structures is dynamically regulated under stress. By using high-throughput dimethylsulfate (DMS) probing, we identified hundreds of endogenous stress-induced rG4s, and validated them by using an rG4 pull-down approach. Our results demonstrate that stress-induced rG4s are enriched in mRNA 3'-untranslated regions and enhance mRNA stability. Furthermore, stress-induced rG4 folding is readily reversible upon stress removal. In summary, our study revealed the dynamic regulation of rG4 folding in human cells and suggested that widespread rG4 motifs may have a global regulatory impact on mRNA stability and cellular stress response.
  47. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 06. 14(1): 102
      The cell nucleus is a primary target for intracellular bacterial pathogens to counteract immune responses and hijack host signalling pathways to cause disease. Here we identify two Brucella abortus effectors, NyxA and NyxB, that interfere with host protease SENP3, and this facilitates intracellular replication of the pathogen. The translocated Nyx effectors directly interact with SENP3 via a defined acidic patch (identified from the crystal structure of NyxB), preventing nucleolar localisation of SENP3 at late stages of infection. By sequestering SENP3, the effectors promote cytoplasmic accumulation of nucleolar AAA-ATPase NVL and ribosomal protein L5 (RPL5) in effector-enriched structures in the vicinity of replicating bacteria. The shuttling of ribosomal biogenesis-associated nucleolar proteins is inhibited by SENP3 and requires the autophagy-initiation protein Beclin1 and the SUMO-E3 ligase PIAS3. Our results highlight a nucleomodulatory function of two Brucella effectors and reveal that SENP3 is a crucial regulator of the subcellular localisation of nucleolar proteins during Brucella infection, promoting intracellular replication of the pathogen.
  48. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 06. 14(1): 96
      Gated entry of lipophilic ligands into the enclosed hydrophobic pocket in stand-alone Sec14 domain proteins often links lipid metabolism to membrane trafficking. Similar domains occur in multidomain mammalian proteins that activate small GTPases and regulate actin dynamics. The neuronal RhoGEF Kalirin, a central regulator of cytoskeletal dynamics, contains a Sec14 domain (KalbSec14) followed by multiple spectrin-like repeats and catalytic domains. Previous studies demonstrated that Kalirin lacking its Sec14 domain fails to maintain cell morphology or dendritic spine length, yet whether and how KalbSec14 interacts with lipids remain unknown. Here, we report the structural and biochemical characterization of KalbSec14. KalbSec14 adopts a closed conformation, sealing off the canonical ligand entry site, and instead employs a surface groove to bind a limited set of lysophospholipids. The low-affinity interactions of KalbSec14 with lysolipids are expected to serve as a general model for the regulation of Rho signaling by other Sec14-containing Rho activators.
  49. Aging Cell. 2023 Jan 13. e13767
      Aging results in an elevated burden of senescent cells, senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), and tissue infiltration of immune cells contributing to chronic low-grade inflammation and a host of age-related diseases. Recent evidence suggests that the clearance of senescent cells alleviates chronic inflammation and its associated dysfunction and diseases. However, the effect of this intervention on metabolic function in old age remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that dasatinib and quercetin (D&Q) have senolytic effects, reducing age-related increase in senescence-associated β-galactosidase, expression of p16 and p21 gene and P16 protein in perigonadal white adipose tissue (pgWAT; all p ≤ 0.04). This treatment also suppressed age-related increase in the expression of a subset of pro-inflammatory SASP genes (mcp1, tnf-α, il-1α, il-1β, il-6, cxcl2, and cxcl10), crown-like structures, abundance of T cells and macrophages in pgWAT (all p ≤ 0.04). In the liver and skeletal muscle, we did not find a robust effect of D&Q on senescence and inflammatory SASP markers. Although we did not observe an age-related difference in glucose tolerance, D&Q treatment improved fasting blood glucose (p = 0.001) and glucose tolerance (p = 0.007) in old mice that was concomitant with lower hepatic gluconeogenesis. Additionally, D&Q improved insulin-stimulated suppression of plasma NEFAs (p = 0.01), reduced fed and fasted plasma triglycerides (both p ≤ 0.04), and improved systemic lipid tolerance (p = 0.006). Collectively, results from this study suggest that D&Q attenuates adipose tissue inflammation and improves systemic metabolic function in old age. These findings have implications for the development of therapeutic agents to combat metabolic dysfunction and diseases in old age.
    Keywords:  aging; dasatinib; immune cells; inflammation; metabolic function; quercetin; senescence; senolytics
  50. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 09. 14(1): 128
      G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are ubiquitous integral membrane proteins involved in diverse cellular signaling processes. Here, we carry out a large-scale ensemble thermodynamic study of 45 ligand-free GPCRs employing a structure-based statistical mechanical framework. We find that multiple partially structured states co-exist in the GPCR native ensemble, with the TM helices 1, 6 and 7 displaying varied folding status, and shaping the conformational landscape. Strongly coupled residues are anisotropically distributed, accounting for only 13% of the residues, illustrating that a large number of residues are inherently dynamic. Active-state GPCRs are characterized by reduced conformational heterogeneity with altered coupling-patterns distributed throughout the structural scaffold. In silico alanine-scanning mutagenesis reveals that extra- and intra-cellular faces of GPCRs are coupled thermodynamically, highlighting an exquisite structural specialization and the fluid nature of the intramolecular interaction network. The ensemble-based perturbation methodology presented here lays the foundation for understanding allosteric mechanisms and the effects of disease-causing mutations in GCPRs.
  51. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 12. 14(1): 175
      Sex differences have been widely observed in human health. However, little is known about the underlying mechanism behind these observed sex differences. We hypothesize that sex-differentiated genetic effects are contributors of these phenotypic differences. Focusing on a collection of drug metabolism enzymes and transporters (DMET) genes, we discover sex-differentiated genetic regulatory mechanisms between these genes and human complex traits. Here, we show that sex-differentiated genetic effects were present at genome-level and at DMET gene regions for many human complex traits. These sex-differentiated regulatory mechanisms are reflected in the levels of gene expression and endogenous serum biomarkers. Through Mendelian Randomization analysis, we identify putative sex-differentiated causal effects in each sex separately. Furthermore, we identify and validate sex differential gene expression of a subset of DMET genes in human liver samples. We observe higher protein abundance and enzyme activity of CYP1A2 in male-derived liver microsomes, which leads to higher level of an active metabolite formation of clozapine, a commonly prescribed antipsychotic drug. Taken together, our results demonstrate the presence of sex-differentiated genetic effects on DMET gene regulation, which manifest in various phenotypic traits including disease risks and drug responses.
  52. Cell Death Differ. 2023 Jan 09.
      Kinase signaling in the tiered activation of inflammasomes and associated pyroptosis is a prime therapeutic target for inflammatory diseases. While MAPKs subsume pivotal roles during inflammasome priming, specifically the MAP3K7/JNK1/NLRP3 licensing axis, their involvement in successive steps of inflammasome activation is poorly defined. Using live-cell MAPK biosensors to focus on the inflammasome triggering event allowed us to identify a subsequent process of biphasic JNK activation. We find that this biphasic post-trigger JNK signaling initially facilitates the mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation needed to support core inflammasome formation, then supports the gasdermin-mediated cell permeation required for release of active IL-1β from human macrophages. We further identify and characterize a xanthine oxidase-ROS activated MAP3K5/JNK2 substrate licensing complex as a novel regulator of the GSDMD mobilization which precedes pyroptosis. We show that inhibitors targeting this MAP3K5 cascade alleviate morbidity in mouse models of colitis and dampen both augmented IL-1β release and cell permeation in monocytes derived from patients with gain-of-function inflammasomopathies.
  53. Blood. 2023 Jan 13. pii: blood.2022017514. [Epub ahead of print]
      Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) aging is accompanied by hematopoietic reconstitution dysfunction, including loss of regenerative and engraftment ability, myeloid differentiation bias and elevated risks of hematopoietic malignancies. Gut microbiota, a key regulator of host health and immunity, has been recently reported to impact hematopoiesis. However, there is currently limited empirical evidence elucidating the direct impact of gut microbiome on aging hematopoiesis. In this study, we performed fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from young mice to aged mice and observed significant increment in lymphoid differentiation and decrease in myeloid differentiation in aged recipient mice. Further, FMT from young mice rejuvenated aged HSCs with enhanced short-term and long-term hematopoietic repopulation capacity. Mechanistically, single-cell RNA sequencing deciphered that FMT from young mice mitigated inflammatory signals, upregulated FoxO signaling pathway and promoted lymphoid differentiation of HSCs during aging. Finally, integrated microbiome and metabolome analyses uncovered that FMT reshaped gut microbiota construction and metabolite landscape, and Lachnospiraceae and tryptophan-associated metabolites promoted the recovery of hematopoiesis and rejuvenated aged HSCs. Together, our study highlights the paramount importance of the gut microbiota in HSC aging and provides insights into therapeutic strategies for aging-related hematologic disorders.
  54. Science. 2023 Jan 13. 379(6628): 129
      By allowing genetic messages to make proteins, the changes led to key brain genes.
  55. Cell. 2023 Jan 05. pii: S0092-8674(22)01535-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Precise targeting of large transgenes to T cells using homology-directed repair has been transformative for adoptive cell therapies and T cell biology. Delivery of DNA templates via adeno-associated virus (AAV) has greatly improved knockin efficiencies, but the tropism of current AAV serotypes restricts their use to human T cells employed in immunodeficient mouse models. To enable targeted knockins in murine T cells, we evolved Ark313, a synthetic AAV that exhibits high transduction efficiency in murine T cells. We performed a genome-wide knockout screen and identified QA2 as an essential factor for Ark313 infection. We demonstrate that Ark313 can be used for nucleofection-free DNA delivery, CRISPR-Cas9-mediated knockouts, and targeted integration of large transgenes. Ark313 enables preclinical modeling of Trac-targeted CAR-T and transgenic TCR-T cells in immunocompetent models. Efficient gene targeting in murine T cells holds great potential for improved cell therapies and opens avenues in experimental T cell immunology.
    Keywords:  AAV; CAR-T cell; CRISPR/Cas9; Gene Editing; Gene targeting; Genome wide CRISPR screen; Immunology; T cell; Trac-CAR
  56. Cell. 2023 Jan 05. pii: S0092-8674(22)01517-3. [Epub ahead of print]186(1): 80-97.e26
      Glucose is a universal bioenergy source; however, its role in controlling protein interactions is unappreciated, as are its actions during differentiation-associated intracellular glucose elevation. Azido-glucose click chemistry identified glucose binding to a variety of RNA binding proteins (RBPs), including the DDX21 RNA helicase, which was found to be essential for epidermal differentiation. Glucose bound the ATP-binding domain of DDX21, altering protein conformation, inhibiting helicase activity, and dissociating DDX21 dimers. Glucose elevation during differentiation was associated with DDX21 re-localization from the nucleolus to the nucleoplasm where DDX21 assembled into larger protein complexes containing RNA splicing factors. DDX21 localized to specific SCUGSDGC motif in mRNA introns in a glucose-dependent manner and promoted the splicing of key pro-differentiation genes, including GRHL3, KLF4, OVOL1, and RBPJ. These findings uncover a biochemical mechanism of action for glucose in modulating the dimerization and function of an RNA helicase essential for tissue differentiation.
    Keywords:  DDX21; RNA helicases; glucose; mRNA splicing; tissue differentiation
  57. Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 13. 9(2): eabo7421
      Synapse loss strongly correlates with cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD), but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Deficient Wnt signaling contributes to synapse dysfunction and loss in AD. Consistently, a variant of the LRP6 receptor, (LRP6-Val), with reduced Wnt signaling, is linked to late-onset AD. However, the impact of LRP6-Val on the healthy and AD brain has not been examined. Knock-in mice, generated by gene editing, carrying this Lrp6 variant develop normally. However, neurons from Lrp6-val mice do not respond to Wnt7a, a ligand that promotes synaptic assembly through the Frizzled-5 receptor. Wnt7a stimulates the formation of the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6)-Frizzled-5 complex but not if LRP6-Val is present. Lrp6-val mice exhibit structural and functional synaptic defects that become pronounced with age. Lrp6-val mice present exacerbated synapse loss around plaques when crossed to the NL-G-F AD model. Our findings uncover a previously unidentified role for Lrp6-val in synapse vulnerability during aging and AD.
  58. Cancer Cell. 2023 Jan 03. pii: S1535-6108(22)00594-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) can produce durable responses against cancer. We and others have found that a subset of patients experiences paradoxical rapid cancer progression during immunotherapy. It is poorly understood how tumors can accelerate their progression during ICB. In some preclinical models, ICB causes hyperprogressive disease (HPD). While immune exclusion drives resistance to ICB, counterintuitively, patients with HPD and complete response (CR) following ICB manifest comparable levels of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells and interferon γ (IFNγ) gene signature. Interestingly, patients with HPD but not CR exhibit elevated tumoral fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and β-catenin signaling. In animal models, T cell-derived IFNγ promotes tumor FGF2 signaling, thereby suppressing PKM2 activity and decreasing NAD+, resulting in reduction of SIRT1-mediated β-catenin deacetylation and enhanced β-catenin acetylation, consequently reprograming tumor stemness. Targeting the IFNγ-PKM2-β-catenin axis prevents HPD in preclinical models. Thus, the crosstalk of core immunogenic, metabolic, and oncogenic pathways via the IFNγ-PKM2-β-catenin cascade underlies ICB-associated HPD.
    Keywords:  FGF2; IFNγ; PD-L1/PD-1 pathway; T cell immunity; complete response; glycolytic metabolism; hyperprogressive disease; immune checkpoint blockade; oncogenesis; β-catenin
  59. Nat Metab. 2023 Jan 12.
      Sepsis-induced cardiomyopathy (SICM) is common in septic patients with a high mortality and is characterized by an abnormal immune response. Owing to cellular heterogeneity, understanding the roles of immune cell subsets in SICM has been challenging. Here we identify a unique subpopulation of cardiac-resident macrophages termed CD163+RETNLA+ (Mac1), which undergoes self-renewal during sepsis and can be targeted to prevent SICM. By combining single-cell RNA sequencing with fate mapping in a mouse model of sepsis, we demonstrate that the Mac1 subpopulation has distinct transcriptomic signatures enriched in endocytosis and displays high expression of TREM2 (TREM2hi). TREM2hi Mac1 cells actively scavenge cardiomyocyte-ejected dysfunctional mitochondria. Trem2 deficiency in macrophages impairs the self-renewal capability of the Mac1 subpopulation and consequently results in defective elimination of damaged mitochondria, excessive inflammatory response in cardiac tissue, exacerbated cardiac dysfunction and decreased survival. Notably, intrapericardial administration of TREM2hi Mac1 cells prevents SICM. Our findings suggest that the modulation of TREM2hi Mac1 cells could serve as a therapeutic strategy for SICM.
  60. Nat Genet. 2023 Jan 09.
      Despite advances in predicting physical peptide-major histocompatibility complex I (pMHC I) binding, it remains challenging to identify functionally immunogenic neoepitopes, especially for MHC II. By using the results of >36,000 immunogenicity assay, we developed a method to identify pMHC whose structural alignment facilitates T cell reaction. Our method predicted neoepitopes for MHC II and MHC I that were responsive to checkpoint blockade when applied to >1,200 samples of various tumor types. To investigate selection by spontaneous immunity at the single epitope level, we analyzed the frequency spectrum of >25 million mutations in >9,000 treatment-naive tumors with >100 immune phenotypes. MHC II immunogenicity specifically lowered variant frequencies in tumors under high immune pressure, particularly with high TCR clonality and MHC II expression. A similar trend was shown for MHC I neoepitopes, but only in particular tissue types. In summary, we report immune selection imposed by MHC II-restricted natural or therapeutic T cell reactivity.
  61. Mol Cell. 2023 Jan 04. pii: S1097-2765(22)01169-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      The conserved regulon of heat shock factor 1 in budding yeast contains chaperones for general protein folding as well as zinc-finger protein Zpr1, whose essential role in archaea and eukaryotes remains unknown. Here, we show that Zpr1 depletion causes acute proteotoxicity driven by biosynthesis of misfolded eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1A (eEF1A). Prolonged Zpr1 depletion leads to eEF1A insufficiency, thereby inducing the integrated stress response and inhibiting protein synthesis. Strikingly, we show by using two distinct biochemical reconstitution approaches that Zpr1 enables eEF1A to achieve a conformational state resistant to protease digestion. Lastly, we use a ColabFold model of the Zpr1-eEF1A complex to reveal a folding mechanism mediated by the Zpr1's zinc-finger and alpha-helical hairpin structures. Our work uncovers the long-sought-after function of Zpr1 as a bespoke chaperone tailored to the biogenesis of one of the most abundant proteins in the cell.
    Keywords:  chaperone; heat shock response; integrated stress response; misfolding; translation elongation
  62. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jan 17. 120(3): e2207291120
      A small proportion of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients develop new disease activity soon after starting anti-CD20 therapy. This activity does not recur with further dosing, possibly reflecting deeper depletion of CD20-expressing cells with repeat infusions. We assessed cellular immune profiles and their association with transient disease activity following anti-CD20 initiation as a window into relapsing disease biology. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from independent discovery and validation cohorts of MS patients initiating ocrelizumab were assessed for phenotypic and functional profiles using multiparametric flow cytometry. Pretreatment CD20-expressing T cells, especially CD20dimCD8+ T cells with a highly inflammatory and central nervous system (CNS)-homing phenotype, were significantly inversely correlated with pretreatment MRI gadolinium-lesion counts, and also predictive of early disease activity observed after anti-CD20 initiation. Direct removal of pretreatment proinflammatory CD20dimCD8+ T cells had a greater contribution to treatment-associated changes in the CD8+ T cell pool than was the case for CD4+ T cells. Early disease activity following anti-CD20 initiation was not associated with reconstituting CD20dimCD8+ T cells, which were less proinflammatory compared with pretreatment. Similarly, this disease activity did not correlate with early reconstituting B cells, which were predominantly transitional CD19+CD24highCD38high with a more anti-inflammatory profile. We provide insights into the mode-of-action of anti-CD20 and highlight a potential role for CD20dimCD8+ T cells in MS relapse biology; their strong inverse correlation with both pretreatment and early posttreatment disease activity suggests that CD20-expressing CD8+ T cells leaving the circulation (possibly to the CNS) play a particularly early role in the immune cascades involved in relapse development.
    Keywords:  CD20-expressing T cells; CD20dim T cells; CD20dimCD8+ T cells; anti-CD20 therapy; ocrelizumab
  63. Nat Metab. 2023 Jan 09.
      Human pluripotent stem cell-derived islets (hPSC islets) are a promising alternative to primary human islets for the treatment of insulin-deficient diabetes. We previously demonstrated the feasibility of this approach in nonhuman primates; however, the therapeutic effects of hPSC islets can be limited by the maladaptive processes at the transplantation site. Here, we demonstrate successful implantation of hPSC-derived islets in a new transplantation site in the abdomen, the subanterior rectus sheath, in eight nonhuman primates (five male and three female). In this proof-of-principle study, we find that hPSC islets survive and gradually mature after transplantation, leading to improved glycemic control in diabetic primates. Notably, C-peptide secretion responds to meal challenge from 6 weeks post-transplantation (wpt), with stimulation indices comparable to those of native islets. The average post-prandial C-peptide level reaches approximately 2.0 ng ml-1 from 8 wpt, which is five times higher than the peak value we previously obtained after portal vein infusion of hPSC islets and was associated with a decrease of glycated hemoglobin levels by 44% at 12 wpt. Although additional studies in larger cohorts involving long-term follow-up of transplants are needed, our results indicate that the subanterior rectus sheath supports functional maturation and maintenance of hPSC islets, suggesting that it warrants further exploration as a transplantation target site in the context of for hPSC-based cell-replacement therapies.