We investigated human T-cell repertoire formation using high throughput TCRβ CDR3 sequencing in immunodeficient mice receiving human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and human thymus grafts. Replicate humanized mice generated diverse and highly divergent repertoires. Repertoire narrowing and increased CDR3β sharing was observed during thymocyte selection. While hydrophobicity analysis implicated self-peptides in positive selection of the overall repertoire, positive selection favored shorter shared sequences that had reduced hydrophobicity at positions 6 and 7 of CDR3βs, suggesting weaker interactions with self-peptides than unshared sequences, possibly allowing escape from negative selection. Sharing was similar between autologous and allogeneic thymi and occurred between different cell subsets. Shared sequences were enriched for allo-crossreactive CDR3βs and for Type 1 diabetes-associated autoreactive CDR3βs. Single-cell TCR-sequencing showed increased sharing of CDR3αs compared to CDR3βs between mice. Our data collectively implicate preferential positive selection for shared human CDR3βs that are highly cross-reactive. While previous studies suggested a role for recombination bias in producing “public” sequences in mice, our study is the first to demonstrate a role for thymic selection. Our results implicate positive selection for promiscuous TCRβ sequences that likely evade negative selection, due to their low affinity for self-ligands, in the abundance of “public” human TCRβ sequences.
Mohsen Khosravi-Maharlooei, Aleksandar Obradovic, Aditya Misra, Keshav Motwani, Markus Holzl, Howard R. Seay, Susan DeWolf, Grace Nauman, Nichole Danzl, Haowei Li, Siu-hong Ho, Robert Winchester, Yufeng Shen, Todd M. Brusko, Megan Sykes
Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are emerging as attractive drug targets by virtue of their prevalence in various diseases including cancer. Drug development targeting IDPs is challenging because they have dynamical structure features and conventional drug design is not applicable. NUPR1 is an IDP playing an important role in pancreatic cancer. We previously reported that Trifluoperazine (TFP), an antipsychotic agent, was capable of binding to NUPR1 and inhibiting tumors growth. Unfortunately, TFP showed strong central nervous system side-effects. In this work, we undertook a multidisciplinary approach to optimize TFP, based on the synergy of computer modeling, chemical synthesis, and a variety of biophysical, biochemical and biological evaluations. A family of TFP-derived compounds was produced and the most active one, named ZZW-115, showed a dose-dependent tumor regression with no neurological effects and induced cell death mainly by necroptosis. This study opens a new perspective for drug development against IDPs, demonstrating the possibility of successful ligand-based drug design for such challenging targets.
Patricia Santofimia-Castaño, Yi Xia, Wenjun Lan, Zhengwei Zhou, Can Huang, Ling Peng, Philippe Soubeyran, Adrian Velazquez-Campoy, Olga Abian, Bruno Rizzuti, Jose L. Neira, Juan Iovanna
BACKGROUND. African American (AA) patients have higher cancer mortality rates and shorter survival times compared to European American (EA) patients. Despite a significant focus on socioeconomic factors, recent findings strongly argue the existence of biological factors driving this disparity. Most of these factors have been described in a cancer-type specific context rather than a pan-cancer setting. METHODS. A novel in silico approach based on Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) coupled to Transcription Factor enrichment was carried out to identify common biological drivers of pan-cancer racial disparity using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) dataset. Mitochondrial content in patient tissues was examined using a multi-cancer tissue microarray approach (TMA). RESULTS. Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation was uniquely enriched in AA tumors compared to EA tumors across various cancer types. AA tumors also showed strong enrichment for the ERR1-PGC1α-mediated transcriptional program, which has been implicated in mitochondrial biogenesis. TMA analysis revealed that AA cancers harbor significantly more mitochondria compared to their EA counterparts. CONCLUSIONS. These findings highlight changes in mitochondria as a common distinguishing feature between AA and EA tumors in a pan-cancer setting, and provide the rationale for the repurposing of mitochondrial inhibitors to treat AA cancers.
Danthasinghe Waduge Badrajee Piyarathna, Akhila Balasubramanian, James M. Arnold, Stacy M. Lloyd, Balasubramanyam Karanam, Patricia Castro, Michael M. Ittmann, Nagireddy Putluri, Nora Navone, Jeffrey A. Jones, Wendong Yu, Vlad C. Sandulache, Andrew G. Sikora, George Michailidis, Arun Sreekumar
Acute kidney injury (AKI) can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) if injury is severe and/or repair is incomplete. However, the pathogenesis of CKD following renal ischemic injury is not fully understood. Capillary rarefaction and tubular hypoxia are common findings during the AKI to CKD transition. We investigated the tubular stress response to hypoxia and demonstrated that a stress responsive transcription factor, FoxO3, was regulated by prolyl hydroxylase. Hypoxia inhibited FoxO3 prolyl hydroxylation and FoxO3 degradation, thus leading to FoxO3 accumulation and activation in tubular cells. Hypoxia-activated Hif-1α contributed to FoxO3 activation and functioned to protect kidneys, as tubular deletion of Hif-1α decreased hypoxia-induced FoxO3 activation, and resulted in more severe tubular injury and interstitial fibrosis following ischemic injury. Strikingly, tubular deletion of FoxO3 during the AKI to CKD transition aggravated renal structural and functional damage leading to a more profound CKD phenotype. We showed that tubular deletion of FoxO3 resulted in decreased autophagic response and increased oxidative injury, which may explain renal protection by FoxO3. Our study indicates that in the hypoxic kidney, stress responsive transcription factors can be activated for adaptions to counteract hypoxic insults, thus attenuating CKD development.
Ling Li, Huimin Kang, Qing Zhang, Vivette D. D'Agati, Qais Al-Awqati, Fangming Lin
Rationale Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes are widely associated with positive outcomes, yet carry key indicators of a systemic failed immune response against unresolved cancer. Cancer immunotherapies can reverse their tolerance phenotypes, while preserving tumor-reactivity and neoantigen-specificity shared with circulating immune cells. Objectives We performed comprehensive transcriptomic analyses to identify gene signatures common to circulating and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in the context of clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Modulated genes also associated with disease outcome were validated in other cancer types. Findings Using bioinformatics, we identified practical diagnostic markers and actionable targets of the failed immune response. On circulating lymphocytes, three genes, LEF1, FASLG, and MMP9, could efficiently stratify patients from healthy control donors. From their associations with resistance to cancer immunotherapies and microbial infections, we uncovered not only pan-cancer, but pan-pathology failed immune response profiles. A prominent lymphocytic matrix metallopeptidase cell migration pathway, is central to a panoply of diseases and tumor immunogenicity, correlates with multi-cancer recurrence, and identifies a feasible, non-invasive approach to pan-pathology diagnoses. Conclusions The non-invasive differently expressed genes we have identified warrant future investigation towards the development of their potential in precision diagnostics and precision pan-disease immunotherapeutics.
Anne Monette, Antigoni Morou, Nadia A. Al-Banna, Louise Rousseau, Jean-Baptiste Lattouf, Sara Rahmati, Tomas Tokar, Jean-Pierre Routy, Jean-Francois Cailhier, Daniel E. Kaufmann, Igor Jurisica, Rejean Lapointe
Identifying non-addictive opioid medications is a high priority in medical sciences, but μ-opioid receptors mediate both the analgesic and addictive effects of opioids. We found a significant pharmacodynamic difference between morphine and methadone that is determined entirely by heteromerization of μ-opioid receptors with galanin Gal1 receptors, rendering a profound decrease in the potency of methadone. This was explained by methadone’s weaker proficiency to activate the dopaminergic system as compared to morphine and predicted a dissociation of therapeutic versus euphoric effects of methadone, which was corroborated by a significantly lower incidence of self-report of “high” in methadone-maintained patients. These results suggest that μ-opioid-Gal1 receptor heteromers mediate the dopaminergic effects of opioids that may lead to a lower addictive liability of opioids with selective low potency for the μ-opioid-Gal1 receptor heteromer, exemplified by methadone.
Ning-Sheng Cai, César Quiroz, Jordi Bonaventura, Alessandro Bonifazi, Thomas O. Cole, Julia Purks, Amy S. Billing, Ebonie Massey, Michael Wagner, Eric D. Wish, Xavier Guitart, William Rea, Sherry Lam, Estefanía Moreno, Verònica Casadó-Anguera, Aaron D. Greenblatt, Arthur E. Jacobson, Kenner C. Rice, Vicent Casadó, Amy H. Newman, John W. Winkelman, Michael Michaelides, Eric Weintraub, Nora D. Volkow, Annabelle M. Belcher, Sergi Ferré
Post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) recently has had a marked impact on human allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Yet, our understanding of how PTCy prevents graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) largely has been extrapolated from major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-matched murine skin allografting models that were highly contextual in their efficacy. Herein, we developed a T-cell-replete, MHC-haploidentical, murine HCT model (B6C3F1→B6D2F1) to test the putative underlying mechanisms: alloreactive T-cell elimination, alloreactive T-cell intrathymic clonal deletion, and suppressor T-cell induction. In this model and confirmed in four others, PTCy did not eliminate alloreactive T cells identified using either specific Vβs or the 2C or 4C T-cell receptors. Furthermore, the thymus was not necessary for PTCy’s efficacy. Rather, PTCy induced alloreactive T-cell functional impairment which was supported by highly active suppressive mechanisms established within one day after PTCy that were sufficient to prevent new donor T cells from causing GVHD. These suppressive mechanisms included the rapid, preferential recovery of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells, including those that were alloantigen-specific, which served an increasingly critical function over time. Our results prompt a paradigm-shift in our mechanistic understanding of PTCy. These results have direct clinical implications for understanding tolerance induction and for rationally developing novel strategies to improve patient outcomes.
Lucas P. Wachsmuth, Michael T. Patterson, Michael A. Eckhaus, David J. Venzon, Ronald E. Gress, Christopher G. Kanakry
Opioid use disorder (OUD) is associated with the emergence of persistent negative emotional states during drug abstinence that drive compulsive drug taking and seeking. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in rats identified neurocircuits that were activated by stimuli that were previously paired with heroin withdrawal. The activation of amygdala and hypothalamic circuits was related to the degree of heroin dependence, supporting the significance of conditioned negative affect in sustaining compulsive-like heroin seeking and taking and providing neurobiological insights into the drivers of the current opioid crisis.
Stephanie A. Carmack, Robin J. Keeley, Janaina C.M. Vendruscolo, Emily G. Lowery-Gionta, Hanbing Lu, George F. Koob, Elliot A. Stein, Leandro F. Vendruscolo
Background: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells are a promising therapy for hematologic malignancies. B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is a rational target in multiple myeloma (MM). Methods: We conducted a phase I study of autologous T cells lentivirally-transduced with a fully-human, BCMA-specific CAR containing CD3ζ and 4-1BB signaling domains (CART-BCMA), in subjects with relapsed/refractory MM. Twenty-five subjects were treated in 3 cohorts: 1) 1-5 x 108 CART-BCMA cells alone; 2) Cyclophosphamide (Cy) 1.5 g/m2 + 1-5 x 107 CART-BCMA cells; and 3) Cy 1.5 g/m2 + 1-5 x 108 CART-BCMA cells. No pre-specified BCMA expression level was required. Results: CART-BCMA cells were manufactured and expanded in all subjects. Toxicities included cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity, which were grade 3-4 in 8 (32%) and 3 (12%) subjects, respectively, and reversible. One subject died at day 24 from candidemia and progressive myeloma, following treatment for severe CRS and encephalopathy. Responses (based on treated subjects) were seen in 4/9 (44%) in cohort 1, 1/5 (20%) in cohort 2, and 7/11 (64%) in cohort 3, including 5 partial, 5 very good partial, and 2 complete responses, 3 of which were ongoing at 11, 14, and 32 months. Decreased BCMA expression on residual MM cells was noted in responders; expression increased at progression in most. Responses and CART-BCMA expansion were associated with CD4:CD8 T cell ratio and frequency of CD45RO-CD27+CD8+ T cells in the pre-manufacturing leukapheresis product. Conclusion: CART-BCMA infusions with or without lymphodepleting chemotherapy are clinically active in heavily-pretreated MM patients. Trial Registration: NCT02546167. Funding: University of Pennsylvania-Novartis Alliance and NIH.
Adam D. Cohen, Alfred L. Garfall, Edward A. Stadtmauer, J. Joseph Melenhorst, Simon F. Lacey, Eric Lancaster, Dan T. Vogl, Brendan M. Weiss, Karen Dengel, Annemarie Nelson, Gabriela Plesa, Fang Chen, Megan M. Davis, Wei-Ting Hwang, Regina M. Young, Jennifer L. Brogdon, Randi Isaacs, Iulian Pruteanu-Malinici, Don L. Siegel, Bruce L. Levine, Carl H. June, Michael C. Milone
Mice selectively expressing PPARγ dominant negative mutation in vascular smooth muscle exhibit RhoBTB1-deficiency and hypertension. Our rationale was to employ genetic complementation to uncover the mechanism of action of RhoBTB1 in vascular smooth muscle. Inducible smooth muscle-specific restoration of RhoBTB1 fully corrected the hypertension and arterial stiffness by improving vasodilator function. Notably, the cardiovascular protection occurred despite preservation of increased agonist-mediated contraction and RhoA/Rho kinase activity, suggesting RhoBTB1 selectively controls vasodilation. RhoBTB1 augmented the cGMP response to nitric oxide by restraining the activity of phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) by acting as a substrate adaptor delivering PDE5 to the Cullin-3 E3 Ring ubiquitin ligase complex for ubiquitination inhibiting PDE5. Angiotensin-II infusion also caused RhoBTB1-deficiency and hypertension which was prevented by smooth muscle specific RhoBTB1 restoration. We conclude that RhoBTB1 protected from hypertension, vascular smooth muscle dysfunction, and arterial stiffness in at least two models of hypertension.
Masashi Mukohda, Shi Fang, Jing Wu, Larry N. Agbor, Anand R. Nair, Stella-Rita C. Ibeawuchi, Chunyan Hu, Xuebo Liu, Ko-Ting Lu, Deng-Fu Guo, Deborah R. Davis, Henry L. Keen, Frederick W. Quelle, Curt D. Sigmund
Chronic alcohol consumption causes liver injury, inflammation and fibrosis, thereby increasing morbidity and mortality. Paradoxically, modest drinking is believed to confer metabolic improvement, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we have identified a novel hepatoprotective brain/brown adipose tissue (BAT)/liver axis. Alcohol consumption or direct alcohol administration into the brain stimulated hypothalamic neural circuits and sympathetic nerves innervating BAT, and dramatically increased BAT uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) expression and activity in a BAT sympathetic nerve-dependent manner. BAT and beige fat oxidized fatty acids to fuel Ucp1-mediated thermogenesis, thereby inhibiting lipid trafficking into the liver. BAT also secreted several adipokines, including adiponectin that suppressed hepatocyte injury and death. Genetic deletion of Ucp1 profoundly augmented alcohol-induced liver steatosis, injury, inflammation and fibrosis in male and female mice. Conversely, activation of BAT and beige fat through cold exposure suppressed alcoholic liver disease development. Our results unravel an unrecognized brain alcohol-sensing/sympathetic nerve/BAT/liver axis that counteracts liver steatosis and injury.
Hong Shen, Lin Jiang, Jiandie D. Lin, M. Bishr Omary, Liangyou Rui
Neurofascin-155 (Nfasc155) is an essential glial cell adhesion molecule expressed in paranodal septate-like junctions of peripheral and central myelinated axons. The genetic deletion of Nfasc155 results in the loss of septate-like junctions and in conduction slowing. In humans, IgG4 antibodies against Nfasc155 are implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). These antibodies are associated with an aggressive onset, a refractoriness to intravenous immunoglobulin, and tremor of possible cerebellar origin. Here, we examined the pathogenic effects of patient-derived anti-Nfasc155 IgG4. These antibodies did not inhibit the ability of Nfasc155 to complex with its axonal partners contactin-1/CASPR1 or induce target internalization. Passive transfer experiments revealed that IgG4 antibodies target Nfasc155 on Schwann cell surface, and diminished Nfasc155 protein levels and prevented paranodal complex formation in neonatal animals. In adult animals, chronic intrathecal infusions of antibodies also induced the loss of Nfasc155 and of paranodal specialization and resulted in conduction alterations in motor nerves. These results indicate that anti-Nfasc155 IgG4 perturb conduction in absence of demyelination, validating the existence of paranodopathy. These results also shed light on the mechanisms regulating protein insertion at paranodes.
Constance Manso, Luis Querol, Cinta Lleixà, Mallory Poncelet, Mourad Mekaouche, Jean-Michel Vallat, Isabel Illa, Jerome J. Devaux
BACKGROUND. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells can induce remission in highly refractory leukemia and lymphoma subjects, yet the parameters for achieving sustained relapse-free survival are not fully delineated. METHODS. We analyzed 43 pediatric and young adult subjects participating in a Phase I trial of defined composition CD19CAR T cells (NCT02028455). CAR T cell phenotype, function and expansion, as well as starting material T cell repertoire, were analyzed in relation to therapeutic outcome (defined as achieving complete remission within 63 days) and duration of leukemia free survival and B cell aplasia. RESULTS. These analyses reveal that initial therapeutic failures (n = 5) were associated with attenuated CAR T cell expansion and/or rapid attrition of functional CAR effector cells following adoptive transfer. The CAR T products were similar in phenotype and function when compared to products resulting in sustained remissions. However, the initial apheresed peripheral blood T cells could be distinguished by an increased frequency of LAG-3+/TNF-αlow CD8 T cells and, following adoptive transfer, the rapid expression of exhaustion markers. For the 38 subjects who achieved an initial sustained MRD-neg remission, remission durability correlated with therapeutic products having increased frequencies of TNF-α-secreting CAR CD8+ T cells, and was dependent on a sufficiently high CD19+ antigen load at time of infusion to trigger CAR T cell proliferation. CONCLUSION. These parameters have the potential to prospectively identify patients at risk for therapeutic failure and support the development of approaches to boost CAR T cell activation and proliferation in patients with low levels of CD19 antigen. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02028455. FUNDING. Partial funding for this study was provided by Stand Up to Cancer & St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Dream Team Translational Research Grant (SU2C-AACR-DT1113), RO1 CA136551-05, Alex Lemonade Stand Phase I/II Infrastructure Grant, Conquer Cancer Foundation Career Development Award, Washington State Life Sciences Discovery Fund, Ben Towne Foundation, William Lawrence & Blanche Hughes Foundation, and Juno Therapeutics, Inc., a Celgene Company.
Olivia C. Finney, Hannah M. Brakke, Stephanie Rawlings-Rhea, Roxana Hicks, Danielle Doolittle, Marisa Lopez, Robert B. Futrell, Rimas J. Orentas, Daniel Li, Rebecca A. Gardner, Michael C. Jensen
The Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is one of the predominant tumor viruses in humans, but so far no therapeutic or prophylactic vaccination against this transforming pathogen is available. We demonstrated that heterologous prime-boost vaccination with the nuclear antigen 1 of EBV (EBNA1) either targeted to the DEC205 receptor on dendritic cells or expressed from a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector improved priming of antigen-specific CD4+ T-cell help. This help supported the expansion and maintenance of EBNA1 specific CD8+ T cells that are most efficiently primed by recombinant adenoviruses that encode EBNA1. These combined CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses protected from EBNA1 expressing T and B cell lymphomas, including lymphoproliferations that emerge spontaneously after EBNA1 expression. In particular the heterologous EBNA1-expressing adenovirus, boosted by EBNA1-encoding MVA vaccination, demonstrated protection as prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of the respective lymphoma challenges. Therefore, we suggest that such heterologous prime-boost vaccinations should be further explored for clinical development against EBV-associated malignancies as well as symptomatic primary EBV infection.
Julia Rühl, Carmen Citterio, Christine Engelmann, Tracey A. Haigh, Andrzej Dzionek, Johannes H. Dreyer, Rajiv Khanna, Graham S. Taylor, Joanna B. Wilson, Carol S. Leung, Christian Münz
A key mechanism of tumor resistance to immune cells is mediated by expression of peptide-loaded HLA-E in tumor cells, which suppresses natural killer (NK) cell activity via ligation of the NK inhibitory receptor CD94/NKG2A. Gene expression data from approximately 10,000 tumor samples showed widespread HLAE expression, with levels correlating with those of KLRC1 (NKG2A) and KLRD1 (CD94). To bypass HLA-E inhibition, we developed a way to generate highly functional NK cells lacking NKG2A. Constructs containing a single-chain variable fragment derived from an anti-NKG2A antibody were linked to endoplasmic reticulum-retention domains. After retroviral transduction in human peripheral blood NK cells, these NKG2A Protein Expression Blockers (PEBLs) abrogated NKG2A expression. The resulting NKG2Anull NK cells had higher cytotoxicity against HLA-E-expressing tumor cells. Transduction of anti-NKG2A PEBL produced more potent cytotoxicity than interference with an anti-NKG2A antibody and prevented de novo NKG2A expression, without affecting NK cell proliferation. In immunodeficient mice, NKG2Anull NK cells were significantly more powerful than NKG2A+ NK cells against HLA-E-expressing tumors. Thus, NKG2A downregulation evades the HLA-E cancer immune-checkpoint, and increases the anti-tumor activity of NK cell infusions. Because this strategy is easily adaptable to current protocols for clinical-grade immune cell processing, its clinical testing is feasible and warranted.
Takahiro Kamiya, See Voon Seow, Desmond Wong, Murray Robinson, Dario Campana
Background: Systems vaccinology allows cutting-edge analysis of innate biomarkers of vaccine efficacy. We have been exploring novel strategies to shape the adaptive immune response, by targeting innate immune cells through novel immunization routes. Methods: This randomized phase I/II clinical study (n=60 healthy subjects aged 18-45 years old) used transcriptomic analysis to discover early biomarkers of immune response quality after transcutaneous (t.c.), intradermal (i.d.), and intramuscular (i.m.) administration of a trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV season 2012-2013) (1:1:1 ratio). Safety and immunogenicity (hemagglutinin inhibition (HI), microneutralization (MN) antibodies and CD4, CD8 effector T cells) were measured at baseline Day (D)0 and at D21. Blood transcriptome was analyzed at D0 and D1. Results: TIV-specific CD8+GranzymeB+(GRZ) T cells appeared in more individuals immunized by the t.c. and i.d. routes, while immunization by the i.d. and i.m. routes prompted high levels of HI antibody titers and MN against A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 influenza viral strains. The early innate gene signature anticipated immunological outcome by discriminating two clusters of individuals with either distinct humoral or CD8 cytotoxic responses. Several pathways explained this dichotomy confirmed by nine genes and serum level of CXCL10 were correlated with either TIV-specific cytotoxic CD8+GRZ+ T-cell or antibody responses. A logistic regression analysis demonstrated that these nine genes and serum levels of CXCL10 (D1/D0) best foreseen TIV-specific CD8+GRZ+ T-cell and antibody responses at D21. Conclusion: This study provides new insight into the impact of immunization routes and innate signature in the quality of adaptive immune responses.
Eléna Gonçalves, Olivia Bonduelle, Angèle Soria, Pierre Loulergue, Alexandra Rousseau, Marine Cachanado, Henri Bonnabau, Rodolphe Thiebaut, Nicolas Tchitchek, Sylvie Behillil, Sylvie van der Werf, Annika Vogt, Tabassome Simon, Odile Launay, Behazine Combadière
BRAF and CRAF are critical components of the MAPK signaling pathway which is activated in many cancer types. In approximately 1% of melanomas, BRAF or CRAF are activated through structural arrangements. We describe here a metastatic melanoma with a GOLGA4-RAF1 fusion and pathogenic variants in CTNNB1 and CDKN2A. Anti-CTLA4/anti-PD1 combination immunotherapy failed to control tumor progression. In the absence of other actionable variants the patient was administered MEK inhibitor therapy on the basis of its potential action against RAF1 fusions. This resulted in a profound and clinically significant response. We demonstrated that GOLGA4-RAF1 expression was associated with ERK activation, elevated expression of the RAS/RAF downstream co-effector ETV5, and a high Ki67 index. These findings provide a rationale for the dramatic response to targeted therapy. This study shows that thorough molecular characterization of treatment-resistant cancers can identify therapeutic targets and personalize management, leading to improved patient outcomes.
Christopher R. McEvoy, Huiling Xu, Kortnye Smith, Dariush Etemadmoghadam, Huei San Leong, David Y. Choong, David J. Byrne, Amir Iravani, Sophie Beck, Linda Mileshkin, Richard W. Tothill, David D. Bowtell, Bindi M. Bates, Violeta Nastevski, Judy Browning, Anthony H. Bell, Chloe Khoo, Jayesh Desai, Andrew P. Fellowes, Stephen B. Fox, Owen W.J. Prall
BACKGROUND. Recent genomic and bioinformatic technological advances have made it possible to dissect the immune response to personalized neoantigens encoded by tumor-specific mutations. However, timely and efficient identification of neoantigens is still one of the major obstacles to using personalized neoantigen-based cancer immunotherapy. METHODS. Two different pipelines of neoantigens identification were established in this study: (1) Clinical grade targeted sequencing was performed in patients with refractory solid tumor, and mutant peptides with high variant allele frequency and predicted high HLA-binding affinity were de novo synthesized. (2) An inventory-shared neoantigen peptide library of common solid tumors was constructed, and patients' hotspot mutations were matched to the neoantigen peptide library. The candidate neoepitopes were identified by recalling memory T-cell responses in vitro. Subsequently, neoantigen-loaded dendritic cell vaccines and neoantigen-reactive T cells were generated for personalized immunotherapy in six patients. RESULTS. Immunogenic neo-epitopes were recognized by autologous T cells in 3 of 4 patients who utilized the de novo synthesis mode and in 6 of 13 patients who performed shared neoantigen peptide library, respectively. A metastatic thymoma patient achieved a complete and durable response beyond 29 months after treatment. Immune-related partial response was observed in another patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The remaining four patients achieved the prolonged stabilization of disease with a median PFS of 8.6 months. CONCLUSIONS. The current study provided feasible pipelines for neoantigen identification. Implementing these strategies to individually tailor neoantigens could facilitate the neoantigen-based translational immunotherapy research. TRIAL REGSITRATION. ChiCTR.org ChiCTR-OIC-16010092, ChiCTR-OIC-17011275, ChiCTR-OIC-17011913; ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03171220. FUNDING. This work was funded by grants from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFC1308900), the National Major Projects for “Major New Drugs Innovation and Development” (Grant No.2018ZX09301048-003), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81672367, 81572329, 81572601), and the Key Research and Development Program of Jiangsu Province (No. BE2017607).
Fangjun Chen, Zhengyun Zou, Juan Du, Shu Su, Jie Shao, Fanyan Meng, Ju Yang, Qiuping Xu, Naiqing Ding, Yang Yang, Qin Liu, Qin Wang, Zhichen Sun, Shujuan Zhou, Shiyao Du, Jia Wei, Baorui Liu
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic and deadly disease with a poor prognosis and few treatment options. Pathological remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by myofibroblasts is a key factor that drives disease pathogenesis, although the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Alternative polyadenylation (APA) has recently been shown to play a major role in cellular responses to stress by driving the expression of fibrotic factors and ECMs through altering microRNA sensitivity, but a connection to IPF has not been established. Here, we demonstrate that CFIm25, a global regulator of APA, is down-regulated in the lungs of patients with IPF and mice with pulmonary fibrosis, with its expression selectively reduced in alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) positive fibroblasts. Following the knockdown of CFIm25 in normal human lung fibroblasts, we identified 808 genes with shortened 3′UTRs, including those involved in the transforming growth factor-β signaling pathway, the Wnt signaling pathway, and cancer pathways. The expression of key pro-fibrotic factors can be suppressed by CFIm25 overexpression in IPF fibroblasts. Finally, we demonstrate that deletion of CFIm25 in fibroblasts or myofibroblast precursors using either the Col1a1 or the Foxd1 promoter enhances pulmonary fibrosis after bleomycin exposure in mice. Taken together, our results identified CFIm25 down-regulation as a novel mechanism to elevate pro-fibrotic gene expression in pulmonary fibrosis.
Tingting Weng, Junsuk Ko, Chioniso P. Masamha, Zheng Xia, Yu Xiang, Ning-yuan Chen, Jose G. Molina, Scott Collum, Tinne C. Mertens, Fayong Luo, Kemly Philip, Jonathan Davies, Jingjing Huang, Cory Wilson, Rajarajan A. Thandavarayan, Brian A. Bruckner, Soma S.K. Jyothula, Kelly A. Volcik, Lei Li, Leng Han, Wei Li, Shervin Assassi, Harry Karmouty-Quintana, Eric J. Wagner, Michael R. Blackburn
Bone osteogenic sarcoma has a poor prognosis as the exact cell of origin and the signaling pathways underling tumor formation remain undefined. Here, we report an osteogenic tumor mouse model based on the conditional knockout of liver kinase b1 (Lkb1; also known as Stk11) in Cathepsin K (Ctsk)-Cre expressing cells. Lineage tracing studies demonstrated that Ctsk-Cre could label a population of periosteal cells. The cells functioned as mesenchymal progenitors with regard to markers and functional properties. LKB1 deficiency increased proliferation and osteoblast differentiation of Ctsk+ periosteal cells, while downregulation of mTORC1 activity, using Raptor genetic mouse model or mTORC1 inhibitor treatment, ameliorated tumor progression of Ctsk-Cre Lkb1fllfl mice. Xenograft mouse models, using human osteosarcoma cell lines, also demonstrated that LKB1 deficiency promoted tumor formation, while mTOR inhibition suppressed xenograft tumor growth. In summary, we identified periosteum-derived Ctsk-Cre expressing cells as a cell of origin for osteogenic tumor and suggested the LKB1-mTORC1 pathway as a promising target for treatment of osteogenic tumor.
Yujiao Han, Heng Feng, Jun Sun, Xiaoting Liang, Zhuo Wang, Wenhui Xing, Qinggang Dai, Yang Yang, Anjia Han, Zhanying Wei, Qing Bi, Hongbin Ji, Tiebang Kang, Weiguo Zou