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In this issue, Li et al. demonstrate in a murine model of ischemic cardiac injury that disrupted pyrimidine biosynthesis in cardiomyocytes induces extensive DNA damage (green) in cardiac fibroblasts (red).
Recent studies have shown that vaccinated individuals harbor T cells that can cross-recognize SARS-CoV-2 and endemic human common cold coronaviruses (HCoVs). However, it is still unknown whether CD4+ T cells from vaccinated individuals recognize peptides from bat coronaviruses that may have the potential of causing future pandemics. In this study, we identified a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein epitope (S815-827) that is conserved in coronaviruses from different genera and subgenera including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, multiple bat coronaviruses and a feline coronavirus. Our results showed that S815-827 is recognized by 42% of vaccinated participants in our study who received the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) or Moderna (mRNA-1273) COVID-19 vaccines. Using T cell expansion and T cell receptor sequencing assays, we demonstrated that S815-827-reactive CD4+ T cells from the majority of responders cross-recognize homologous peptides from at least 6 other diverse coronaviruses. Our results support the hypothesis that the current mRNA vaccines elicit T cell responses that can cross-recognize bat coronaviruses, and thus might induce some protection against potential zoonotic outbreaks. Furthermore, our data provide important insights that inform the development of T cell-based pan-coronavirus vaccine strategies
Bezawit A. Woldemeskel, Arbor G. Dykema, Caroline Garliss, Saphira Cherfils, Kellie N. Smith, Joel N. Blankson
Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 7 (CLN7) disease is a lysosomal storage disease caused by mutations in the facilitator superfamily domain containing 8 (MFSD8) gene, which encodes a membrane-bound lysosomal protein MFSD8. To test the effectiveness and safety of adeno-associated viral (AAV) gene therapy, an in vitro study demonstrated that AAV2/MFSD8 dose-dependently rescued lysosomal function in fibroblasts from a CLN7 patient. An in vivo efficacy study using intrathecal administration of AAV9/MFSD8 to Mfsd8-/- mice at postnatal day (p)7-10 or p120 with high or low dose led to clear age- and dose-dependent effects. A high dose of AAV9/MFSD8 at p7-10 resulted in widespread MFSD8 mRNA expression, tendency of amelioration of subunit c of mitochondrial ATP synthase accumulation and glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity, normalization of impaired behaviors, doubled median lifespan, and extended normal body weight gain. In vivo safety studies in rodents concluded that intrathecal administration of AAV9/MFSD8 was safe and well-tolerated. In summary, these results demonstrated that the AAV9/MFSD8 vector is both effective and safe in preclinical models. Investigational New Drug application #19766 to initiate a Phase I intrathecal gene transfer trial for AAV9/MFSD8 was approved by the US FDA and the trial is enrolling CLN7 patients at Children’s Health in Dallas, TX in collaboration with UTSW Medical Center (clinicaltrials.gov NCT04737460).
Xin Chen, Thomas Dong, Yuhui Hu, Frances C. Shaffo, Nandkishore R. Belur, Joseph R. Mazzulli, Steven J. Gray
Despite being the first homolog of the bacterial RecQ helicase to be identified in humans the function of RECQL1 remains poorly characterised. Furthermore, unlike other members of the human RECQ family of helicases, mutations in RECQL1 have not been associated with a genetic disease. Here we identify two families with a novel genome instability disorder, named RECON (RECql ONe) Syndrome caused by biallelic mutations in the RECQL gene. The affected individuals exhibit short stature, progeroid facial features, a hypoplastic nose, xeroderma and skin photosensitivity. Affected individuals were homozygous for the same missense mutation in RECQL1 (p.Ala459Ser) located within its zinc binding domain. Biochemical analysis of the mutant RECQL1 protein revealed that the p.A459S missense mutation compromised its ATPase, helicase and fork restoration activity, whilst its capacity to promote single-strand DNA annealing was largely unaffected. At the cellular level, this mutation in RECQL1 gave rise to a defect in the ability to repair DNA damage induced by exposure to topoisomerase poisons and a failure of DNA replication to progress efficiently in the presence of abortive topoisomerase lesions. Taken together, RECQL1 is the fourth member of the RecQ family of helicases to be associated with a human genome instability disorder.
Bassam Abu-Libdeh, Satpal S. Jhujh, Srijita Dhar, Joshua A. Sommers, Arindam Datta, Gabriel M.C. Longo, Laura J. Grange, John J. Reynolds, Sophie L. Cooke, Gavin S. McNee, Robert Hollingworth, Beth L. Woodward, Anil N. Ganesh, Stephen J. Smerdon, Claudia M. Nicolae, Karina Durlacher-Betzer, Vered Molho-Pessach, Abdulsalam Abu-Libdeh, Vardiella Meiner, George-Lucian Moldovan, Vassilis Roukos, Tamar Harel, Robert M. Brosh Jr., Grant S. Stewart
Piezo1 forms mechanically-activated non-selective cation channels that contribute to endothelial response to fluid flow. Here we reveal an important role in the control of capillary density. Conditional endothelial-specific deletion of Piezo1 in adult mice depressed physical performance. Muscle microvascular endothelial cell apoptosis and capillary rarefaction were evident and sufficient to account for the effect on performance. There was selective upregulation of thrombospondin-2 (TSP2), an inducer of endothelial apoptosis, with no effect on thrombospondin-1 (TSP1), a related important player in muscle physiology. TSP2 was poorly expressed in muscle endothelial cells but robustly expressed in muscle pericytes, in which nitric oxide (NO) repressed the Tsp2 gene without effect on Tsp1. In the endothelial cells, Piezo1 was required for normal expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). The data suggest an endothelial-pericyte partnership of muscle in which endothelial Piezo1 senses blood flow to sustain capillary density and thereby maintain physical capability.
Fiona Bartoli, Marjolaine Debant, Eulashini Chuntharpursat-Bon, Elizabeth L. Evans, Katie E. Musialowski, Gregory Parsonage, Lara C. Morley, T. Simon Futers, Piruthivi Sukumar, T. Scott Bowen, Mark T. Kearney, Laeticia Lichtenstein, Lee D. Roberts, David J. Beech
Women have higher prevalence of asthma compared to men. In asthma, allergic airway inflammation is initiated by IL-33 signaling through ST2, leading to increased IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 production and eosinophil infiltration. Foxp3+ Tregs suppress and ST2+ Tregs promote allergic airway inflammation. Clinical studies showed the androgen, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), reduced asthma symptoms in patients, and mouse studies showed androgen receptor (AR) signaling decreased allergic airway inflammation. Yet, the role of AR signaling on lung Tregs remains unclear. Using AR deficient and Foxp3 fate-mapping mice, we determined that AR signaling increased Treg suppression during Alternaria extract (Alt Ext, allergen) challenge by stabilizing Foxp3+ Tregs and limiting the number of ST2+ ex-Tregs and IL-13+ Th2 and ex-Tregs. AR signaling also decreased Alt Ext-induced ST2+ Tregs in mice by limiting Gata2 expression, a transcription factor for ST2, and by decreasing Alt Ext-induced IL-33 production from murine airway epithelial cells. We confirmed our findings in human cells where 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen, decreased IL-33-induced ST2 expression in lung Tregs and decreased Alt Ext induced IL-33 secretion in human bronchial epithelial cells. Our findings showed that AR signaling stabilized Treg suppressive function, providing a mechanism for the sex difference in asthma.
Vivek D. Gandhi, Jacqueline-Yvonne Cephus, Allison E. Norlander, Nowrin U. Chowdhury, Jian Zhang, Zachary J. Ceneviva, Elie Tannous, Vasiliy V. Polosukhin, Nathan D. Putz, Nancy Wickersham, Amrit Singh, Lorraine B. Ware, Julie A Bastarache, Ciara M. Shaver, Hong Wei Chu, Ray S. Peebles Jr, Dawn C. Newcomb
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
Studies of the metabolic reprogramming that occurs in activated immune cells may reveal critical therapeutic nodes in immune-related disorders and provide guidance for fine-tuning immune-targeted therapies. In this series, curated by Jonathan Powell, reviews focus on the metabolic pathways underlying immune involvement in disease and treatment: strategies to enhance immune memory, vaccine responses, and cancer immunotherapy by optimizing memory T cell metabolism; metabolites that modulate immune function; the metabolites of the tumor microenvironment that reshape immune cell function in the tumor’s favor; metabolism-targeted small molecule inhibitors developed for oncology applications; and dyslipidemia in autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Together, the reviews illustrate the complex energetic dynamics supporting function and dysfunction in the innate and adaptive immune systems.