Rejection is the primary barrier to broader implementation of vascularized composite allografts (VCAs), including face and limb transplants. The immunologic pathways activated in face transplant rejection have not been fully characterized.METHODSUsing skin biopsies prospectively collected over 9 years from 7 face transplant patients, we studied rejection by gene expression profiling, histology, immunostaining, and T cell receptor sequencing.RESULTSGrade 1 rejection did not differ significantly from nonrejection, suggesting that it does not represent a pathologic state. In grade 2, there was a balanced upregulation of both proinflammatory T cell activation pathways and antiinflammatory checkpoint and immunomodulatory pathways, with a net result of no tissue injury. In grade 3, IFN-γ-driven inflammation, antigen-presenting cell activation, and infiltration of the skin by proliferative T cells bearing markers of antigen-specific activation and cytotoxicity tipped the balance toward tissue injury. Rejection of VCAs and solid organ transplants had both distinct and common features. VCA rejection was uniquely associated with upregulation of immunoregulatory genes, including SOCS1; induction of lipid antigen-presenting CD1 proteins; and infiltration by T cells predicted to recognize CD1b and CD1c.CONCLUSIONOur findings suggest that the distinct features of VCA rejection reflect the unique immunobiology of skin and that enhancing cutaneous immunoregulatory networks may be a useful strategy in combatting rejection.Trial registrationClinicalTrials.gov NCT01281267.FUNDINGAssistant Secretary of Defense and Health Affairs, through Reconstructive Transplant Research (W81XWH-17-1-0278, W81XWH-16-1-0647, W81XWH-16-1-0689, W81XWH-18-1-0784, W81XWH-1-810798); American Society of Transplantation's Transplantation and Immunology Research Network Fellowship Research Grant; Plastic Surgery Foundation Fellowship from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons; Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF15OC0014092); Lundbeck Foundation; Aage Bangs Foundation; A.P. Moller Foundation for the Advancement of Medical Science; NIH UL1 RR025758.
BACKGROUND: Despite a number of known health hazards of welding fume exposure, it is unclear how exposure affects the human metabolome. OBJECTIVE: We assessed the metabolic profiles of welders before and after a 6-hour welding shift, controlling for circadian rhythm of metabolism on a non-welding day. METHODS: Welders were recruited from a training centre in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 2006 and 2010-2012 and donated blood samples on a welding shift day before and after work, as well as on a non-welding day spent in an adjacent classroom. In total, we collected 509 samples from 74 participants. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry quantified 665 metabolites from thawed plasmas. Metabolites with significant time (afternoon compared with morning) and day (welding/classroom) interactions were identified by two-way analysis of variance, and the overnight changes were evaluated. RESULTS: Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and sphingasine 1-phosphate (SA1P) exhibited significant interaction effects between day and time with false discovery rate-adjusted p values of 0.03 and <0.01, respectively. S1P, SA1P and sphingosine shared similar trends over time: high relative levels in the morning of a non-welding day declining by afternoon, but with lower starting levels on a welding day and no decline. There was no obvious pattern related to current smoking status. CONCLUSION: S1P and SA1P profiles were different between welding day and classroom day. The S1P pathway was disrupted on the day of welding exposure. The levels of S1P, SA1P and sphingosine were highly correlated over time. S1P is a signalling lipid with many vital roles; thus, the underlying mechanism and clinical implications of this alteration need further investigation.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a lethal, therapy-resistant cancer that thrives in a highly desmoplastic, nutrient-deprived microenvironment. Several studies investigated the effects of depriving PDA of either glucose or glutamine alone. However, the consequences on PDA growth and metabolism of limiting both preferred nutrients have remained largely unknown. Here, we report the selection for clonal human PDA cells that survive and adapt to limiting levels of both glucose and glutamine. We find that adapted clones exhibit increased growth in vitro and enhanced tumor-forming capacity in vivo. Mechanistically, adapted clones share common transcriptional and metabolic programs, including amino acid use for de novo glutamine and nucleotide synthesis. They also display enhanced mTORC1 activity that prevents the proteasomal degradation of glutamine synthetase (GS), the rate-limiting enzyme for glutamine synthesis. This phenotype is notably reversible, with PDA cells acquiring alterations in open chromatin upon adaptation. Silencing of GS suppresses the enhanced growth of adapted cells and mitigates tumor growth. These findings identify nongenetic adaptations to nutrient deprivation in PDA and highlight GS as a dependency that could be targeted therapeutically in pancreatic cancer patients.
Introduction: Human metabolism and inflammation are closely related modulators of homeostasis and immunity. Metabolic profiling is a useful tool to understand the association between metabolism and inflammation at a systemic level.
Objective: To investigate the longitudinal associations between the concentration of plasma metabolites and biomarkers related to inflammation and oxidative stress.
Methods: We conducted a repeated cross-sectional analysis consisting of 8 short-term panels that included 88 healthy adult male welders in Massachusetts, USA. In each panel, we collected 1-6 repeated measurements of blood and urine. We used a human vascular injury panel assay and custom cytokine/chemokine assay to quantify inflammatory biomarker plasma levels, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to quantify the concentrations of 665 plasma metabolites, and a competitive enzyme-linked immunoassay to quantify urinary 8-OHdG and 8-isoprostane levels. We used linear mixed effects models to estimate the longitudinal association between each inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarker and each metabolite.
Results: At a 5% FDR threshold, we detected ≥1metabolite association for 8 unique inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers: urinary 8-isoprostane, plasma C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid A (SAA), intercellular adhesion molecule 1, circulating vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, interleukin 8 (IL-8), interleukin 10 (IL-10) and vascular endothelial growth factor. Specifically, 3 metabolites in the androgenic steroids pathway were negatively associated with SAA; 3 dihydrosphingomyelins metabolites were positively associated with 1 or more of CRP, SAA, IL-8 and IL-10; 4 metabolites in acyl choline metabolism pathways were negatively associated with IL-8; 7 lysophospholipid metabolites were negatively associated with 1 or more of CRP, SAA and IL-8; 4 sphingomyelins were positively associated with CRP and/or SAA; and 10 metabolites in the xanthine pathway were positively associated with urinary 8-isoprostane.
Conclusion: We found that metabolites in phospholipid groups had strong associations with multiple inflammatory biomarkers, especially CRP, SAA and IL-8. The mechanism of these associations warrants further investigation.
Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses against tumors are maintained by stem-like memory cells that self-renew but also give rise to effector-like cells. The latter gradually lose their anti-tumor activity and acquire an epigenetically fixed, hypofunctional state, leading to tumor tolerance. Here, we show that the conversion of stem-like into effector-like CTLs involves a major chemotactic reprogramming that includes the upregulation of chemokine receptor CXCR6. This receptor positions effector-like CTLs in a discrete perivascular niche of the tumor stroma that is densely occupied by CCR7+ dendritic cells (DCs) expressing the CXCR6 ligand CXCL16. CCR7+ DCs also express and trans-present the survival cytokine interleukin-15 (IL-15). CXCR6 expression and IL-15 trans-presentation are critical for the survival and local expansion of effector-like CTLs in the tumor microenvironment to maximize their anti-tumor activity before progressing to irreversible dysfunction. These observations reveal a cellular and molecular checkpoint that determines the magnitude and outcome of anti-tumor immune responses.
Functionally relevant neuronal connections are often organized within discrete layers of neuropil to ensure proper connectivity and information processing. While layer-specific assembly of neuronal connectivity is a dynamic process involving stepwise interactions between different neuron types, the mechanisms underlying this critical developmental process are not well understood. Here, we investigate the role of the transcription factor dFezf in layer selection within the Drosophila visual system, which is important for synaptic specificity. Our findings show that dFezf functions as a transcriptional repressor governing the precise temporal expression pattern of downstream genes, including other transcription factors required for proper connectivity. Layer-specific assembly of neuronal connectivity in the fly visual system is thus orchestrated by precise, temporally controlled transcriptional cascades.The layered compartmentalization of synaptic connections, a common feature of nervous systems, underlies proper connectivity between neurons and enables parallel processing of neural information. However, the stepwise development of layered neuronal connections is not well understood. The medulla neuropil of the Drosophila visual system, which comprises 10 discrete layers (M1 to M10), where neural computations underlying distinct visual features are processed, serves as a model system for understanding layered synaptic connectivity. The first step in establishing layer-specific connectivity in the outer medulla (M1 to M6) is the innervation by lamina (L) neurons of one of two broad, primordial domains that will subsequently expand and transform into discrete layers. We previously found that the transcription factor dFezf cell-autonomously directs L3 lamina neurons to their proper primordial broad domain before they form synapses within the developing M3 layer. Here, we show that dFezf controls L3 broad domain selection through temporally precise transcriptional repression of the transcription factor slp1 (sloppy paired 1). In wild-type L3 neurons, slp1 is transiently expressed at a low level during broad domain selection. When dFezf is deleted, slp1 expression is up-regulated, and ablation of slp1 fully rescues the defect of broad domain selection in dFezf-null L3 neurons. Although the early, transient expression of slp1 is expendable for broad domain selection, it is surprisingly necessary for the subsequent L3 innervation of the M3 layer. DFezf thus functions as a transcriptional repressor to coordinate the temporal dynamics of a transcriptional cascade that orchestrates sequential steps of layer-specific synapse formation.All raw data for RNA-seq and ATAC-seq have been deposited in the Gene Expression Omnibus, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/ (accession no. GSE163311) (47).
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Patients with simple steatosis (SS) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis can develop progressive liver fibrosis, which is associated with liver-related mortality. The mechanisms contributing to liver fibrosis development in SS, however, are poorly understood. SS is characterized by hepatocellular free fatty acid (FFA) accumulation without lobular inflammation seen in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Because the Hippo signaling transcriptional coactivator YAP1 (YAP) has previously been linked with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)-related fibrosis, we sought to explore how hepatocyte FFAs activate a YAP-mediated profibrogenic program.
METHODS: We analyzed RNA sequencing data from a GEO DataSet (accession: GSE162694) consisting of 143 patients with NAFLD. We also performed immunohistochemical, immunofluorescence, immunoblot, and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analyses (qRT-PCR) in liver specimens from NAFLD subjects, from a murine dietary NAFLD model, and in FFA-treated hepatic spheroids and hepatocytes.
RESULTS: YAP-target gene expression correlated with increasing fibrosis stage in NAFLD patients and was associated with fibrosis in mice fed a NAFLD-inducing diet. Hepatocyte-specific YAP deletion in the murine NAFLD model attenuated diet-induced fibrosis, suggesting a causative role of YAP in NAFLD-related fibrosis. Likewise, in hepatic spheroids composed of Huh7 hepatoma cells and primary human hepatic stellate cells, Huh7 YAP silencing reduced FFA-induced fibrogenic gene expression. Notably, inhibition of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase could block YAP activation in FFA-treated Huh7 cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These studies provide further evidence for the pathological role of YAP in NAFLD-associated fibrosis and that YAP activation in NAFLD may be driven by FFA-induced p38 MAPK activation.
PURPOSE: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is accompanied by a dysfunctional immune-inflammatory response following lung injury, including during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Limited causal biomarkers exist for ARDS development. We sought to identify novel genetic susceptibility targets for ARDS to focus further investigation on their biological mechanism and therapeutic potential.
METHODS: Meta-analyses of ARDS genome-wide association studies were performed with 1250 cases and 1583 controls in Europeans, and 387 cases and 387 controls in African Americans. The functionality of novel loci was determined in silico using multiple omics approaches. The causality of 114 factors potentially involved in ARDS development was assessed using Mendelian Randomization analysis.
RESULTS: There was distinct genetic heterogeneity in ARDS between Europeans and African Americans. rs7967111 at 12p13.2 was functionally associated with ARDS susceptibility in Europeans (odds ratio = 1.38; P = 2.15 × 10-8). Expression of two genes annotated at this locus, BORCS5 and DUSP16, was dynamic but ultimately decreased during ARDS development, as well as downregulated in immune cells alongside COVID-19 severity. Causal inference implied that comorbidity of inflammatory bowel disease and elevated levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin-10 causally increased ARDS risk, while vitamin D supplementation and vasodilator use ameliorated risk.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest a novel susceptibility locus in ARDS pathophysiology that implicates BORCS5 and DUSP16 as potentially acting in immune-inflammatory processes. This locus warrants further investigation to inform the development of therapeutic targets and clinical care strategies for ARDS, including those induced by COVID-19.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of liver disease worldwide. In adults with NAFLD, fibrosis can develop and progress to liver cirrhosis and liver failure. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of fibrosis progression are not fully understood. Using total RNA-Seq, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of NAFLD and fibrosis. We sequenced liver tissue from 143 adults across the full spectrum of fibrosis stage including those with stage 4 fibrosis (cirrhosis). We identified gene expression clusters that strongly correlate with fibrosis stage including four genes that have been found consistently across previously published transcriptomic studies on NASH i.e. COL1A2, EFEMP2, FBLN5 and THBS2. Using cell type deconvolution, we estimated the loss of hepatocytes versus gain of hepatic stellate cells, macrophages and cholangiocytes with advancing fibrosis stage. Hepatocyte-specific functional analysis indicated increase of pro-apoptotic pathways and markers of bipotent hepatocyte/cholangiocyte precursors. Regression modelling was used to derive predictors of fibrosis stage. This study elucidated molecular and cell composition changes associated with increasing fibrosis stage in NAFLD and defined informative gene signatures for the disease.
NAFLD is a leading comorbidity in HIV with an exaggerated course compared to the general population. Tesamorelin has been demonstrated to reduce liver fat and prevent fibrosis progression in HIV-associated NAFLD. We further showed that tesamorelin downregulated hepatic gene sets involved in inflammation, tissue repair, and cell division. Nonetheless, effects of tesamorelin on individual plasma proteins pertaining to these pathways are not known. Leveraging our prior randomized-controlled trial and transcriptomic approach, we performed a focused assessment of 9 plasma proteins corresponding to top leading edge genes within differentially modulated gene sets. Tesamorelin led to significant reductions in vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA, log2-fold change - 0.20 ± 0.35 vs. 0.05 ± 0.34, P = 0.02), transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFB1, - 0.35 ± 0.56 vs. - 0.05 ± 0.43, P = 0.05), and macrophage colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF1, - 0.17 ± 0.21 vs. 0.02 ± 0.20, P = 0.004) versus placebo. Among tesamorelin-treated participants, reductions in plasma VEGFA (r = 0.62, P = 0.006) and CSF1 (r = 0.50, P = 0.04) correlated with a decline in NAFLD activity score. Decreases in TGFB1 (r = 0.61, P = 0.009) and CSF1 (r = 0.64, P = 0.006) were associated with reduced gene-level fibrosis score. Tesamorelin suppressed key angiogenic, fibrogenic, and pro-inflammatory mediators. CSF1, a regulator of monocyte recruitment and activation, may serve as an innovative therapeutic target for NAFLD in HIV. Clinical Trials Registry Number: NCT02196831.
Rushdia Zareen Yusuf, Borja Saez, Azeem Sharda, Nick van Gastel, Vionnie WC Yu, Ninib Baryawno, Elizabeth W Scadden, Sanket Acharya, Shrikanta Chattophadhyay, Cherrie Huang, Vasanthi Viswanathan, Dana S'aulis, Julien Cobert, David B Sykes, Mark A Keibler, Sudeshna Das, John N Hutchinson, Michael Churchill, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Dongjun Lee, Francois Mercier, John Doench, Lars Bullinger, David J Logan, Stuart Schreiber, Gregory Stephanopoulos, William B Rizzo, and David T Scadden. 2020. “Aldehyde dehydrogenase 3a2 protects AML cells from oxidative death and the synthetic lethality of ferroptosis inducers.” Blood, 136, 11, Pp. 1303-1316.Abstract
Metabolic alterations in cancer represent convergent effects of oncogenic mutations. We hypothesized that a metabolism-restricted genetic screen, comparing normal primary mouse hematopoietic cells and their malignant counterparts in an ex vivo system mimicking the bone marrow microenvironment, would define distinctive vulnerabilities in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Leukemic cells, but not their normal myeloid counterparts, depended on the aldehyde dehydrogenase 3a2 (Aldh3a2) enzyme that oxidizes long-chain aliphatic aldehydes to prevent cellular oxidative damage. Aldehydes are by-products of increased oxidative phosphorylation and nucleotide synthesis in cancer and are generated from lipid peroxides underlying the non-caspase-dependent form of cell death, ferroptosis. Leukemic cell dependence on Aldh3a2 was seen across multiple mouse and human myeloid leukemias. Aldh3a2 inhibition was synthetically lethal with glutathione peroxidase-4 (GPX4) inhibition; GPX4 inhibition is a known trigger of ferroptosis that by itself minimally affects AML cells. Inhibiting Aldh3a2 provides a therapeutic opportunity and a unique synthetic lethality to exploit the distinctive metabolic state of malignant cells.
Over the last decade, the cost of -omics data creation has decreased 10-fold, whereas the need for analytical support for those data has increased exponentially. Consequently, bioinformaticians face a second wave of challenges: novel applications of existing approaches (, single-cell RNA sequencing), integration of -omics data sets of differing size and scale (, spatial transcriptomics), as well as novel computational and statistical methods, all of which require more sophisticated pipelines and data management. Nonetheless, bioinformatics cores are often asked to operate under primarily a cost-recovery model, with limited institutional support. Seeing the need to assess bioinformatics core operations, the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Genomics Bioinformatics Research Group conducted a survey to answer questions about staffing, services, financial models, and challenges to better understand the challenges bioinformatics core facilities are currently faced with and will need to address going forward. Of the respondent groups, we chose to focus on the survey data from smaller cores, which made up the majority. Although all cores indicated similar challenges in terms of changing technologies and analysis needs, small cores tended to have the added challenge of funding their operations largely through cost-recovery models with heavy administrative burdens.
Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) suffer frequent infections that account for significant morbidity and mortality. T cell cytotoxic responses are decreased in patients with SLE, yet the responsible molecular events are largely unknown. We find an expanded CD8CD38 T cell subset in a subgroup of patients with increased rates of infections. CD8CD38 T cells from healthy subjects and patients with SLE display decreased cytotoxic capacity, degranulation, and expression of granzymes A and B and perforin. The key cytotoxicity-related transcription factors T-bet, RUNX3, and EOMES are decreased in CD8CD38 T cells. CD38 leads to increased acetylated EZH2 through inhibition of the deacetylase Sirtuin1. Acetylated EZH2 represses RUNX3 expression, whereas inhibition of EZH2 restores CD8 T cell cytotoxic responses. We propose that high levels of CD38 lead to decreased CD8 T cell-mediated cytotoxicity and increased propensity to infections in patients with SLE, a process that can be reversed pharmacologically.
Ruei-Jiun Hung, Yanhui Hu, Rory Kirchner, Yifang Liu, Chiwei Xu, Aram Comjean, Sudhir Gopal Tattikota, Fangge Li, Wei Song, Shannan Ho Sui, and Norbert Perrimon. 2020. “A cell atlas of the adult midgut.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 117, 3, Pp. 1514-1523.Abstract
Studies of the adult midgut have led to many insights in our understanding of cell-type diversity, stem cell regeneration, tissue homeostasis, and cell fate decision. Advances in single-cell RNA sequencing provide opportunities to identify new cell types and molecular features. We used single-cell RNA sequencing to characterize the transcriptome of midgut epithelial cells and identified 22 distinct clusters representing intestinal stem cells, enteroblasts, enteroendocrine cells (EEs), and enterocytes. This unbiased approach recovered most of the known intestinal stem cells/enteroblast and EE markers, highlighting the high quality of the dataset, and led to insights on intestinal stem cell biology, cell type-specific organelle features, the roles of new transcription factors in progenitors and regional variation along the gut, 5 additional EE gut hormones, EE hormonal expression diversity, and paracrine function of EEs. To facilitate mining of this rich dataset, we provide a web-based resource for visualization of gene expression in single cells. Altogether, our study provides a comprehensive resource for addressing functions of genes in the midgut epithelium.
CAR T cell approaches to effectively target AML and T-ALL without off-tumor effects on healthy myeloid or T cell compartments respectively are an unmet medical need. NKG2D-ligands are a promising target given their absence on healthy cells and surface expression in a wide range of malignancies. NKG2D-ligand expression has been reported in a substantial group of patients with AML along with evidence for prognostic significance. However, reports regarding the prevalence and density of NKG2D-ligand expression in AML vary and detailed studies to define whether low level expression is sufficient to trigger NKG2D-ligand directed CART cell responses are lacking. NKG2D ligand expression in T-ALL has not previously been interrogated. Here we report that NKG2D-ligands are expressed in T-ALL cell lines and primary T-ALL. We confirm that NKG2D-ligands are frequently surface expressed in primary AML, albeit at relatively low levels. Utilizing CAR T cells incorporating the natural immune receptor NKG2D as the antigen binding domain, we demonstrate striking activity of CAR T cells targeting NKG2D-ligands against AML and T-ALL cell lines and show that even low-level ligand expression in primary AML targets results in robust NKG2D-CAR activity. We found that NKG2D-ligand expression can be selectively enhanced in low-expressing AML cell lines and primary AML blasts pharmacologic HDAC inhibition. Such pharmacologic NKG2D-ligand induction results in enhanced NKG2D-CAR anti-leukemic activity without affecting healthy PBMC, thereby providing rationale for the combination of HDAC-inhibitors with NKG2D-CAR T cell therapy as a potential strategy to achieve clinical NKG2D-CAR T cell efficacy in AML.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common comorbidity among people living with HIV that has a more aggressive course than NAFLD among the general population. In a recent randomized placebo-controlled trial, we demonstrated that the growth hormone-releasing hormone analog tesamorelin reduced liver fat and prevented fibrosis progression in HIV-associated NAFLD over 1 year. As such, tesamorelin is the first strategy that has shown to be effective against NAFLD among the population with HIV. The current study leveraged paired liver biopsy specimens from this trial to identify hepatic gene pathways that are differentially modulated by tesamorelin versus placebo. Using gene set enrichment analysis, we found that tesamorelin increased hepatic expression of hallmark gene sets involved in oxidative phosphorylation and decreased hepatic expression of gene sets contributing to inflammation, tissue repair, and cell division. Tesamorelin also reciprocally up- and downregulated curated gene sets associated with favorable and poor hepatocellular carcinoma prognosis, respectively. Notably, among tesamorelin-treated participants, these changes in hepatic expression correlated with improved fibrosis-related gene score. Our findings inform our knowledge of the biology of pulsatile growth hormone action and provide a mechanistic basis for the observed clinical effects of tesamorelin on the liver.