First-generation immune checkpoint inhibitors, including anti–CTLA-4 and anti–programmed death 1 (anti–PD-1) antibodies, have led to major clinical progress, yet resistance frequently leads to treatment failure. Thus, new targets acting on T cells are needed. CD33-related sialic acid–binding immunoglobulin-like lectins (Siglecs) are pattern-recognition immune receptors binding to a range of sialoglycan ligands, which appear to function as self-associated molecular patterns (SAMPs) that suppress autoimmune responses. Siglecs are expressed at very low levels on normal T cells, and these receptors were not until recently considered as interesting targets on T cells for cancer immunotherapy. Here, we show an upregulation of Siglecs, including Siglec-9, on tumor-infiltrating T cells from non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), colorectal, and ovarian cancer patients. Siglec-9–expressing T cells coexpressed several inhibitory receptors, including PD-1. Targeting of the sialoglycan-SAMP/Siglec pathway in vitro and in vivo resulted in increased anticancer immunity. T cell expression of Siglec-9 in NSCLC patients correlated with reduced survival, and Siglec-9 polymorphisms showed association with the risk of developing lung and colorectal cancer. Our data identify the sialoglycan-SAMP/Siglec pathway as a potential target for improving T cell activation for immunotherapy.
Michal A. Stanczak, Shoib S. Siddiqui, Marcel P. Trefny, Daniela S. Thommen, Kayluz Frias Boligan, Stephan von Gunten, Alexandar Tzankov, Lothar Tietze, Didier Lardinois, Viola Heinzelmann-Schwarz, Michael von Bergwelt-Baildon, Wu Zhang, Heinz-Josef Lenz, Younghun Han, Christopher I. Amos, Mohammedyaseen Syedbasha, Adrian Egli, Frank Stenner, Daniel E. Speiser, Ajit Varki, Alfred Zippelius, Heinz Läubli
Immune nonresponder (INR) HIV-1–infected subjects are characterized by their inability to reconstitute the CD4+ T cell pool after antiretroviral therapy. This is linked to poor clinical outcome. Mechanisms underlying immune reconstitution failure are poorly understood, although, counterintuitively, INRs often have increased frequencies of circulating CD4+ T cells in the cell cycle. While cycling CD4+ T cells from healthy controls and HIV+ patients with restored CD4+ T cell numbers complete cell division in vitro, cycling CD4+ T cells from INRs do not. Here, we show that cells with the phenotype and transcriptional profile of Tregs were enriched among cycling cells in health and in HIV infection. Yet there were diminished frequencies and numbers of Tregs among cycling CD4+ T cells in INRs, and cycling CD4+ T cells from INR subjects displayed transcriptional profiles associated with the impaired development and maintenance of functional Tregs. Flow cytometric assessment of TGF-β activity confirmed the dysfunction of Tregs in INR subjects. Transcriptional profiling and flow cytometry revealed diminished mitochondrial fitness in Tregs among INRs, and cycling Tregs from INRs had low expression of the mitochondrial biogenesis regulators peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ coactivator 1-α (PGC1α) and transcription factor A for mitochondria (TFAM). In vitro exposure to IL-15 allowed cells to complete division, restored the expression of PGC1α and TFAM, and regenerated mitochondrial fitness in the cycling Tregs of INRs. Our data suggest that rescuing mitochondrial function could correct the immune dysfunction characteristic of Tregs in HIV-1–infected subjects who fail to restore CD4+ T cells during antiretroviral therapy.
Souheil-Antoine Younes, Aarthi Talla, Susan Pereira Ribeiro, Evgeniya V. Saidakova, Larisa B. Korolevskaya, Konstantin V. Shmagel, Carey L. Shive, Michael L. Freeman, Soumya Panigrahi, Sophia Zweig, Robert Balderas, Leonid Margolis, Daniel C. Douek, Donald. D. Anthony, Pushpa Pandiyan, Mark Cameron, Scott F. Sieg, Leonard H. Calabrese, Benigno Rodriguez, Michael M. Lederman
The mechanisms that drive T cell aging are not understood. We report that children and adult telomerase mutation carriers with short telomere length (TL) develop a T cell immunodeficiency that can manifest in the absence of bone marrow failure and causes life-threatening opportunistic infections. Mutation carriers shared T cell–aging phenotypes seen in adults 5 decades older, including depleted naive T cells, increased apoptosis, and restricted T cell repertoire. T cell receptor excision circles (TRECs) were also undetectable or low, suggesting that newborn screening may identify individuals with germline telomere maintenance defects. Telomerase-null mice with short TL showed defects throughout T cell development, including increased apoptosis of stimulated thymocytes, their intrathymic precursors, in addition to depleted hematopoietic reserves. When we examined the transcriptional programs of T cells from telomerase mutation carriers, we found they diverged from older adults with normal TL. Short telomere T cells upregulated DNA damage and intrinsic apoptosis pathways, while older adult T cells upregulated extrinsic apoptosis pathways and programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) expression. T cells from mice with short TL also showed an active DNA-damage response, in contrast with old WT mice, despite their shared propensity to apoptosis. Our data suggest there are TL-dependent and TL-independent mechanisms that differentially contribute to distinct molecular programs of T cell apoptosis with aging.
Christa L. Wagner, Vidya Sagar Hanumanthu, C. Conover Talbot Jr., Roshini S. Abraham, David Hamm, Dustin L. Gable, Christopher G. Kanakry, Carolyn D. Applegate, Janet Siliciano, J. Brooks Jackson, Stephen Desiderio, Jonathan K. Alder, Leo Luznik, Mary Armanios
Sugar- and lipid-derived aldehydes are reactive carbonyl species (RCS) frequently used as surrogate markers of oxidative stress in obesity. A pathogenic role for RCS in metabolic diseases of obesity remains controversial, however, partly because of their highly diffuse and broad reactivity and the lack of specific RCS-scavenging therapies. Naturally occurring histidine dipeptides (e.g., anserine and carnosine) show RCS reactivity, but their therapeutic potential in humans is limited by serum carnosinases. Here, we present the rational design, characterization, and pharmacological evaluation of carnosinol, i.e., (2S)-2-(3-amino propanoylamino)-3-(1H-imidazol-5-yl)propanol, a derivative of carnosine with high oral bioavailability that is resistant to carnosinases. Carnosinol displayed a suitable ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity) profile and was determined to have the greatest potency and selectivity toward α,β-unsaturated aldehydes (e.g., 4-hydroxynonenal, HNE, ACR) among all others reported thus far. In rodent models of diet-induced obesity and metabolic syndrome, carnosinol dose-dependently attenuated HNE adduct formation in liver and skeletal muscle, while simultaneously mitigating inflammation, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and steatohepatitis. These improvements in metabolic parameters with carnosinol were not due to changes in energy expenditure, physical activity, adiposity, or body weight. Collectively, our findings illustrate a pathogenic role for RCS in obesity-related metabolic disorders and provide validation for a promising new class of carbonyl-scavenging therapeutic compounds rationally derived from carnosine.
Ethan J. Anderson, Giulio Vistoli, Lalage A. Katunga, Katsuhiko Funai, Luca Regazzoni, T. Blake Monroe, Ettore Gilardoni, Luca Cannizzaro, Mara Colzani, Danilo De Maddis, Giuseppe Rossoni, Renato Canevotti, Stefania Gagliardi, Marina Carini, Giancarlo Aldini
Obesity and overnutrition increase levels of reactive sugar- and lipid-derived aldehydes called reactive carbonyl species (RCS). Increased tissue and circulating RCS levels have been tied to insulin resistance and inflammation, but previous pharmacological approaches to target RCS have had equivocal outcomes. In this issue of the JCI, Anderson et al. present evidence for the development and implementation of carnisonol, a compound that is biologically stable in vivo and shows impressive effects on improving metabolism and inflammation in rodent models of diet-induced obesity and metabolic dysfunction.
Jacob M. Haus, John P. Thyfault
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors have been broadly adopted as a gene delivery tool in clinical trials, owing to their high efficiency of transduction of several host tissues and their low immunogenicity. However, a considerable proportion of the population is naturally exposed to the WT virus from which AAV vectors are derived, which leads to the acquisition of immunological memory that can directly determine the outcome of gene transfer. Here, we show that prior exposure to AAV drives distinct capsid immunity profiles in healthy subjects. In peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from AAV-seropositive donors, recombinant AAV triggered TNF-α secretion in memory CD8+ T cells, B cell differentiation into antibody-secreting cells, and anti-capsid antibody production. Conversely, PBMCs isolated from AAV-seronegative individuals appeared to carry a population of NK cells reactive to AAV. Further, we demonstrated that the AAV capsid activates IL-1β and IL-6 cytokine secretion in monocyte-related dendritic cells (moDCs). IL-1β and IL-6 blockade inhibited the anti-capsid humoral response in vitro and in vivo. These results provide insights into immune responses to AAV in humans, define a possible role for moDCs and NK cells in capsid immunity, and open new avenues for the modulation of vector immunogenicity.
Klaudia Kuranda, Priscilla Jean-Alphonse, Christian Leborgne, Romain Hardet, Fanny Collaud, Solenne Marmier, Helena Costa Verdera, Giuseppe Ronzitti, Philippe Veron, Federico Mingozzi
Tumor-associated myeloid cells maintain immunosuppressive microenvironments within tumors. Identification of myeloid-specific receptors to modulate tumor-associated macrophage and myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) functions remains challenging. The leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptor B (LILRB) family members are negative regulators of myeloid cell activation. We investigated how LILRB targeting could modulate tumor-associated myeloid cell function. LILRB2 antagonism inhibited receptor-mediated activation of SHP1/2 and enhanced proinflammatory responses. LILRB2 antagonism also inhibited AKT and STAT6 activation in the presence of M-CSF and IL-4. Transcriptome analysis revealed that LILRB2 antagonism altered genes involved in cell cytoskeleton remodeling, lipid/cholesterol metabolism, and endosomal sorting pathways, as well as changed differentiation gene networks associated with inflammatory myeloid cells as opposed to their alternatively activated phenotype. LILRB2 blockade effectively suppressed granulocytic MDSC and Treg infiltration and significantly promoted in vivo antitumor effects of T cell immune checkpoint inhibitors. Furthermore, LILRB2 blockade polarized tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells from non–small cell lung carcinoma tumor tissues toward an inflammatory phenotype. Our studies suggest that LILRB2 can potentially act as a myeloid immune checkpoint by reprogramming tumor-associated myeloid cells and provoking antitumor immunity.
Hui-Ming Chen, William van der Touw, Yuan Shuo Wang, Kyeongah Kang, Sunny Mai, Jilu Zhang, Dayanira Alsina-Beauchamp, James A. Duty, Sathish Kumar Mungamuri, Bin Zhang, Thomas Moran, Richard Flavell, Stuart Aaronson, Hong-Ming Hu, Hisashi Arase, Suresh Ramanathan, Raja Flores, Ping-Ying Pan, Shu-Hsia Chen
Protein quality control (PQC) mechanisms are essential for maintaining cardiac function, and alterations in this pathway influence multiple forms of heart disease. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, understanding how the delicate balance between protein synthesis and degradation is regulated in the heart demands attention. The study by Hu et al. reveals that the extraproteasomal ubiquitin receptor Ubiquilin1 (Ubqln1) plays an important role in cardiac ubiquitination-proteasome coupling, particularly in response to myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury, thereby suggesting that this may be a new avenue for therapeutics.
Xi Fang, Christa Trexler, Ju Chen
Breast cancer (BrCa) is the malignant tumor that most seriously threatens female health; however, the molecular mechanism underlying its progression remains unclear. Here, we found that conditional deletion of hypermethylated in cancer 1 (HIC1) in the mouse mammary gland might contribute to premalignant transformation in the early stage of tumor formation. Moreover, the chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 14 (CXCL14) secreted by HIC1-deleted BrCa cells bound to its cognate receptor GPR85 on mammary fibroblasts in the microenvironment and was responsible for activating these fibroblasts via the ERK1/2, Akt, and neddylation pathways, whereas the activated fibroblasts promoted BrCa progression via the induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by the C-C chemokine ligand 17 (CCL17)/CC chemokine receptor 4 (CCR4) axis. Finally, we confirmed that the HIC1-CXCL14-CCL17 loop was associated with the malignant progression of BrCa. Therefore, the crosstalk between HIC1-deleted BrCa cells and mammary fibroblasts might play a critical role in BrCa development. Exploring the progression of BrCa from the perspective of microenvironment will be beneficial for identifying the potential prognostic markers of breast tumor and providing more effective treatment strategies.
Yingying Wang, Xiaoling Weng, Luoyang Wang, Mingang Hao, Yue Li, Lidan Hou, Yu Liang, Tianqi Wu, Mengfei Yao, Guowen Lin, Yiwei Jiang, Guohui Fu, Zhaoyuan Hou, Xiangjun Meng, Jinsong Lu, Jianhua Wang
Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) exhibit an age-related lineage switch between osteogenic and adipogenic fates, which contributes to bone loss and adiposity. Here we identified a long noncoding RNA, Bmncr, which regulated the fate of BMSCs during aging. Mice depleted of Bmncr (Bmncr-KO) showed decreased bone mass and increased bone marrow adiposity, whereas transgenic overexpression of Bmncr (Bmncr-Tg) alleviated bone loss and bone marrow fat accumulation. Bmncr regulated the osteogenic niche of BMSCs by maintaining extracellular matrix protein fibromodulin (FMOD) and activation of the BMP2 pathway. Bmncr affected local 3D chromatin structure and transcription of Fmod. The absence of Fmod modified the bone phenotype of Bmncr-Tg mice. Further analysis revealed that Bmncr would serve as a scaffold to facilitate the interaction of TAZ and ABL, and thus facilitate the assembly of the TAZ and RUNX2/PPARG transcriptional complex, promoting osteogenesis and inhibiting adipogenesis. Adeno-associated viral-mediated overexpression of Taz in osteoprogenitors alleviated bone loss and marrow fat accumulation in Bmncr-KO mice. Furthermore, restoring BMNCR levels in human BMSCs reversed the age-related switch between osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation. Our findings indicate that Bmncr is a key regulator of the age-related osteogenic niche alteration and cell fate switch of BMSCs.
Chang-Jun Li, Ye Xiao, Mi Yang, Tian Su, Xi Sun, Qi Guo, Yan Huang, Xiang-Hang Luo
The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) degrades a protein molecule via 2 main steps: ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Extraproteasomal ubiquitin receptors are thought to couple the 2 steps, but this proposition has not been tested in vivo with vertebrates. More importantly, impaired UPS performance plays a major role in cardiac pathogenesis, including myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), but the molecular basis of UPS impairment remains poorly understood. Ubiquilin1 is a bona fide extraproteasomal ubiquitin receptor. Here, we report that mice with a cardiomyocyte-restricted knockout of Ubiquilin1 (Ubqln1-CKO mice) accumulated a surrogate UPS substrate (GFPdgn) and increased myocardial ubiquitinated proteins without altering proteasome activities, resulting in late-onset cardiomyopathy and a markedly shortened life span. When subject to regional myocardial ischemia-reperfusion, young Ubqln1-CKO mice showed substantially exacerbated cardiac malfunction and enlarged infarct size, and conversely, mice with transgenic Ubqln1 overexpression displayed attenuated IRI. Furthermore, Ubqln1 overexpression facilitated proteasomal degradation of oxidized proteins and the degradation of a UPS surrogate substrate in cultured cardiomyocytes without increasing autophagic flux. These findings demonstrate that Ubiquilin1 is essential to cardiac ubiquitination-proteasome coupling and that an inadequacy in the coupling represents a major pathogenic factor for myocardial IRI; therefore, strategies to strengthen coupling have the potential to reduce IRI.
Chengjun Hu, Yihao Tian, Hongxin Xu, Bo Pan, Erin M. Terpstra, Penglong Wu, Hongmin Wang, Faqian Li, Jinbao Liu, Xuejun Wang
Lysyl-tRNA synthetase (KRS) functions canonically in cytosolic translational processes. However, KRS is highly expressed in colon cancer, and localizes to distinct cellular compartments upon phosphorylations (i.e., the plasma membranes after T52 phosphorylation and the nucleus after S207 phosphorylation), leading to probably alternative noncanonical functions. It is unknown how other subcellular KRSs crosstalk with environmental cues during cancer progression. Here, we demonstrate that the KRS-dependent metastatic behavior of colon cancer spheroids within 3D gels requires communication between cellular molecules and extracellular soluble factors and neighboring cells. Membranous KRS and nuclear KRS were found to participate in invasive cell dissemination of colon cancer spheroids in 3D gels. Cancer spheroids secreted GAS6 via a KRS-dependent mechanism and caused the M2 polarization of macrophages, which activated the neighboring cells via secretion of FGF2/GROα/M-CSF to promote cancer dissemination under environmental remodeling via fibroblast-mediated laminin production. Analyses of tissues from clinical colon cancer patients and Krs–/+ animal models for cancer metastasis supported the roles of KRS, GAS6, and M2 macrophages in KRS-dependent positive feedback between tumors and environmental factors. Altogether, KRS in colon cancer cells remodels the microenvironment to promote metastasis, which can thus be therapeutically targeted at these bidirectional KRS-dependent communications of cancer spheroids with environmental cues.
Seo Hee Nam, Doyeun Kim, Doohyung Lee, Hye-Mi Lee, Dae-Geun Song, Jae Woo Jung, Ji Eon Kim, Hye-Jin Kim, Nam Hoon Kwon, Eun-Kyeong Jo, Sunghoon Kim, Jung Weon Lee
Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) receptors that have been identified to date cannot fully explain the pathogenesis of EV-A71, which is an important global cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease and life-threatening encephalitis. We identified an IFN-γ–inducible EV-A71 cellular entry factor, human tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (hWARS), using genome-wide RNAi library screening. The importance of hWARS in mediating virus entry and infectivity was confirmed by virus attachment, in vitro pulldown, antibody/antigen blocking, and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated deletion. Hyperexpression and plasma membrane translocation of hWARS were observed in IFN-γ–treated semipermissive (human neuronal NT2) and cDNA-transfected nonpermissive (mouse fibroblast L929) cells, resulting in their sensitization to EV-A71 infection. Our hWARS-transduced mouse infection model showed pathological changes similar to those seen in patients with severe EV-A71 infection. Expression of hWARS is also required for productive infection by other human enteroviruses, including the clinically important coxsackievirus A16 (CV-A16) and EV-D68. This is the first report to our knowledge on the discovery of an entry factor, hWARS, that can be induced by IFN-γ for EV-A71 infection. Given that we detected high levels of IFN-γ in patients with severe EV-A71 infection, our findings extend the knowledge of the pathogenicity of EV-A71 in relation to entry factor expression upon IFN-γ stimulation and the therapeutic options for treating severe EV-A71–associated complications.
Man Lung Yeung, Lilong Jia, Cyril C. Y. Yip, Jasper F. W. Chan, Jade L. L. Teng, Kwok-Hung Chan, Jian-Piao Cai, Chaoyu Zhang, Anna J. Zhang, Wan-Man Wong, Kin-Hang Kok, Susanna K. P. Lau, Patrick C. Y. Woo, Janice Y. C. Lo, Dong-Yan Jin, Shin-Ru Shih, Kwok-Yung Yuen
Despite the success of immune checkpoint blockade against melanoma, many “cold” tumors like prostate cancer remain unresponsive. We found that hypoxic zones were prevalent across preclinical prostate cancer and resisted T cell infiltration even in the context of CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade. We demonstrated that the hypoxia-activated prodrug TH-302 reduces or eliminates hypoxia in these tumors. Combination therapy with this hypoxia-prodrug and checkpoint blockade cooperated to cure more than 80% of tumors in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate–derived (TRAMP-derived) TRAMP-C2 model. Immunofluorescence imaging showed that TH-302 drives an influx of T cells into hypoxic zones, which were expanded by checkpoint blockade. Further, combination therapy reduced myeloid-derived suppressor cell density by more than 50%, and durably reduced the capacity of the tumor to replenish the granulocytic subset. Spontaneous prostate tumors in TRAMP transgenic mice, which completely resist checkpoint blockade, showed minimal adenocarcinoma tumor burden at 36 weeks of age and no evidence of neuroendocrine tumors with combination therapy. Survival of Pb-Cre4, Ptenpc–/–Smad4pc–/– mice with aggressive prostate adenocarcinoma was also significantly extended by this combination of hypoxia-prodrug and checkpoint blockade. Hypoxia disruption and T cell checkpoint blockade may sensitize some of the most therapeutically resistant cancers to immunotherapy.
Priyamvada Jayaprakash, Midan Ai, Arthur Liu, Pratha Budhani, Todd Bartkowiak, Jie Sheng, Casey Ager, Courtney Nicholas, Ashvin R. Jaiswal, Yanqiu Sun, Krishna Shah, Sadhana Balasubramanyam, Nan Li, Guocan Wang, Jing Ning, Anna Zal, Tomasz Zal, Michael A. Curran
In critically ill patients, disruption of intestinal epithelial cell function occurs due to exposure of the epithelium to toxic internal and external inflammatory stimuli, which are key factors that trigger sepsis and multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). A greater understanding of how trauma and gut failure lead to sepsis and progression to MODS is much needed. In this issue of the JCI, Armacki and colleagues identify mechanisms by which thirty-eight-negative kinase 1 (TNK1) promotes the progression from intestinal apoptosis and gut failure to bacterial translocation, sepsis, and MODS. Moreover, the results of this study suggest TNK1 as a potential therapeutic target to prevent sepsis and MODS.
QiQi Zhou, G. Nicholas Verne
The introduction of anti-TNF antibody therapy has changed the course of treatment for Crohn’s disease. However, the fundamental mechanism for the onset of Crohn’s disease is still unknown, and the treatment strategy for this disease remains suboptimal. The assessment of the disease phenotype based on key environmental factors and genetic background may indicate options for the personalized treatment of Crohn’s disease. In this issue of the JCI, Liu et al. show that consumption of tobacco and the mutation of ATG16L1T300A, a prevalent Crohn’s disease susceptibility allele, drive defects in cells at the bottom of the intestinal crypt, the Paneth cells. These factors may provide novel targets for personalized medicine.
Shigeru Oshima, Mamoru Watanabe
The stroma of solid tumors can exclude or limit immune infiltration, or lead to the recruitment of tumor-promoting rather than tumor-attacking immune cells. This finding was reported by Jayaprakash et al. in this issue of the JCI, and it was particularly prominent in the hypoxic zones of tumors in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) cancer models. A current clinical goal of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) is to extend its utility to more patients by converting immunologically “cold” tumors that do not provoke a strong immunological response to “hot” tumors that are invaded by swarms of T cells. When the underlying cause is hypoxia linked, the therapeutic combination of simultaneous targeting of hypoxia and immune checkpoints merits exploration in future clinical trials.
Paul R. Walker
Enteroviruses, including subtype EV-A71, infect the brain, liver, heart, and other organs, causing a myriad of human diseases. This spectrum of disease is thought to be due, in part, to differential binding to host cells, and additional knowledge of enterovirus cell entry is essential for therapeutic development. In this issue of the JCI, Yeung et al. provide evidence of a novel EV-A71 entry factor, a host-produced tryptophan tRNA synthetase (hWARS), that facilitates entry of multiple subtypes of enteroviruses. hWARS is a cytoplasmic enzyme that is essential for translation but also upregulated and secreted during inflammatory processes. The results of this study support the notion of secreted hWARS as an unconventional virus entry factor that raises interesting questions about mechanisms by which inflammation and a tRNA synthetase facilitate viral pathogenesis.
Stanley Perlman, Tom Gallagher
Dysregulated intestinal epithelial apoptosis initiates gut injury, alters the intestinal barrier, and can facilitate bacterial translocation leading to a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and/or multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). A variety of gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, have been linked to intestinal apoptosis. Similarly, intestinal hyperpermeability and gut failure occur in critically ill patients, putting the gut at the center of SIRS pathology. Regulation of apoptosis and immune-modulatory functions have been ascribed to Thirty-eight-negative kinase 1 (TNK1), whose activity is regulated merely by expression. We investigated the effect of TNK1 on intestinal integrity and its role in MODS. TNK1 expression induced crypt-specific apoptosis, leading to bacterial translocation, subsequent septic shock, and early death. Mechanistically, TNK1 expression in vivo resulted in STAT3 phosphorylation, nuclear translocation of p65, and release of IL-6 and TNF-α. A TNF-α neutralizing antibody partially blocked development of intestinal damage. Conversely, gut-specific deletion of TNK1 protected the intestinal mucosa from experimental colitis and prevented cytokine release in the gut. Finally, TNK1 was found to be deregulated in the gut in murine and porcine trauma models and human inflammatory bowel disease. Thus, TNK1 might be a target during MODS to prevent damage in several organs, notably the gut.
Milena Armacki, Anna Katharina Trugenberger, Ann K. Ellwanger, Tim Eiseler, Christiane Schwerdt, Lucas Bettac, Dominik Langgartner, Ninel Azoitei, Rebecca Halbgebauer, Rüdiger Groß, Tabea Barth, André Lechel, Benjamin M. Walter, Johann M. Kraus, Christoph Wiegreffe, Johannes Grimm, Annika Scheffold, Marlon R. Schneider, Kenneth Peuker, Sebastian Zeißig, Stefan Britsch, Stefan Rose-John, Sabine Vettorazzi, Eckhart Wolf, Andrea Tannapfel, Konrad Steinestel, Stefan O. Reber, Paul Walther, Hans A. Kestler, Peter Radermacher, Thomas F.E. Barth, Markus Huber-Lang, Alexander Kleger, Thomas Seufferlein
SMAD4 is the only common SMAD in TGF-β signaling that usually impedes immune cell activation in the tumor microenvironment. However, we demonstrated here that selective deletion of Smad4 in NK cells actually led to dramatically reduced tumor cell rejection and augmented tumor cell metastases, reduced murine CMV clearance, as well as impeded NK cell homeostasis and maturation. This was associated with a downregulation of granzyme B (Gzmb), Kit, and Prdm1 in Smad4-deficient NK cells. We further unveiled the mechanism by which SMAD4 promotes Gzmb expression. Gzmb was identified as a direct target of a transcriptional complex formed by SMAD4 and JUNB. A JUNB binding site distinct from that for SMAD4 in the proximal Gzmb promoter was required for transcriptional activation by the SMAD4-JUNB complex. In a Tgfbr2 and Smad4 NK cell–specific double–conditional KO model, SMAD4-mediated events were found to be independent of canonical TGF-β signaling. Our study identifies and mechanistically characterizes unusual functions and pathways for SMAD4 in governing innate immune responses to cancer and viral infection, as well as NK cell development.
Youwei Wang, Jianhong Chu, Ping Yi, Wejuan Dong, Jennifer Saultz, Yufeng Wang, Hongwei Wang, Steven Scoville, Jianying Zhang, Lai-Chu Wu, Youcai Deng, Xiaoming He, Bethany Mundy-Bosse, Aharon G. Freud, Li-Shu Wang, Michael A. Caligiuri, Jianhua Yu