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p63 is a transcriptional regulator of ectodermal development that is required for basal cell proliferation and stem cell maintenance. p73 is a closely related p53 family member that is expressed in select p63-positive basal cells and can heterodimerize with p63. p73-/- mice lack multiciliated cells and have reduced numbers of basal epithelial cells in select tissues; however, the role of p73 in basal epithelial cells is unknown. Herein, we show that p73-deficient mice exhibit delayed wound healing despite morphologically normal-appearing skin. The delay in wound healing is accompanied by decreased proliferation and increased levels of biomarkers of the DNA damage response in basal keratinocytes at the epidermal wound edge. In wild-type mice, this same cell population exhibited increased p73 expression after wounding. Analyzing single-cell transcriptomic data, we found that p73 was expressed by epidermal and hair follicle stem cells, cell types required for wound healing. Moreover, we discovered that p73 isoforms expressed in the skin (ΔNp73) enhance p63-mediated expression of keratinocyte genes during cellular reprogramming from a mesenchymal to basal keratinocyte-like cell. We identified a set of 44 genes directly or indirectly regulated by ΔNp73 that are involved in skin development, cell junctions, cornification, proliferation, and wound healing. Our results establish a role for p73 in cutaneous wound healing through regulation of basal keratinocyte function.
Alzheimer's disease currently lacks treatment options that effectively reverse the biological/anatomical pathology and cognitive deficits associated with the disease. Loss of function of the nuclear receptor REV-ERB is associated with reduced cognitive function in mouse models. The effect of enhanced REV-ERB activity on cognitive function has not been examined. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that enhanced REV-ERB function may enhance cognitive function in a model of Alzheimer's disease. We utilized the REV-ERB agonist SR9009 to pharmacologically activate the activity of REV-ERB in the SAMP8 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. SR9009 reversed cognitive dysfunction of an aged SAMP8 mouse in several behavioral assays including novel object recognition, T-maze foot shock avoidance, and lever press operant conditioning task assessments. SR9009 treatment reduced amyloid-β 1-40 and 1-42 levels in the cortex, which is consistent with improved cognitive function. Furthermore, SR9009 treatment led to increased hippocampal PSD-95, cortical synaptophysin expression and the number of synapses suggesting improvement in synaptic function. We conclude that REV-ERB is a potential target for treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Radiation therapy is often combined with androgen deprivation therapy in the treatment of aggressive localized prostate cancer. However, castration-resistant disease may not respond to testosterone deprivation approaches. Enzalutamide is a second-generation anti-androgen with high affinity and activity that is used for the treatment of metastatic disease. Although radiosensitization mechanisms are known to be mediated through androgen receptor activity, this project aims to uncover the detailed DNA damage repair factors influenced by enzalutamide using multiple models of androgen-sensitive (LNCaP) and castration-resistant human prostate cancer (22Rv1 and DU145). Enzalutamide is able to radiosensitize both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent human prostate cancer models in cell culture and xenografts in mice, as well as a treatment-resistant patient-derived xenograft. The enzalutamide-mediated mechanism of radiosensitization includes delay of DNA repair through temporal prolongation of the repair factor complexes and halting the cell cycle, which results in decreased colony survival. Altogether, these findings support the use of enzalutamide concurrently with radiotherapy to enhance the treatment efficacy for prostate cancer.
Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are rarely elicited by current human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine designs, but the presence of bNAbs in naturally infected individuals may be associated with high plasma viral loads, suggesting that the magnitude, duration, and diversity of viral exposure may contribute to the development of bNAbs. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of a panel of human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from two subjects who developed broadly neutralizing autologous antibody responses during HIV-1 infection. In both subjects, we identified collections of mAbs that exhibited specificity only to a few autologous envelopes (Envs), with some mAbs exhibiting specificity only to a subset of Envs within the quasispecies of a particular sample at one time point. Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) isolated from these subjects mapped mostly to epitopes in the Env V3 loop region and the CD4 binding site. None of the individual neutralizing mAbs recovered exhibited the cumulative breadth of neutralization present in the serum of the subjects. Surprisingly, however, the activity of polyclonal mixtures comprising individual mAbs that each possessed limited neutralizing activity, could achieve increased breadth of neutralizing activity against autologous isolates. While a single broadly neutralizing antibody targeting one epitope can mediate neutralization breadth, the findings presented here suggest that a cooperative polyclonal process mediated by diverse antibodies with more limited breadth targeting multiple epitopes also can achieve neutralization breadth against HIV-1.
The regulatory subunit of human DNA primase has a C-terminal domain (p58C) that contains a [4Fe4S] cluster and binds DNA. Previous electrochemical analysis of a p58C construct revealed that its affinity for DNA is sensitive to the redox state of the [4Fe4S] cluster. Concerns about the validity of this conclusion have been raised, based in part on differences in X-ray crystal structures of the p58C272-464 construct used for that study and that of a N-terminally shifted p58C266-456 construct and consequently, an assumption that p58C272-464 has abnormal physical and functional properties. To address this controversy, a new p58C266-464 construct containing all residues was crystallized under the conditions previously used for crystallizing p58C272-464, and the solution structures of both constructs were assessed using circular dichroism and NMR spectroscopy. In the new crystal structure, p58C266-464 exhibits the same elements of secondary structure near the DNA binding site as observed in the crystal structure of p58C272-464. Moreover, in solution, circular dichroism and 15N,1H-heteronuclear single quantum coherence (HSQC) NMR spectra show there are no significant differences in the distribution of secondary structures or in the tertiary structure or the two constructs. To validate that the two constructs have the same functional properties, binding of a primed DNA template was measured using a fluorescence-based DNA binding assay, and the affinities for this substrate were the same (3.4 ± 0.5 μM and 2.7 ± 0.3 μM, respectively). The electrochemical properties of p58C266-464 were also measured and this p58C construct was able to engage in redox switching on DNA with the same efficiency as p58C272-464. Together, these results show that although p58C can be stabilized in different conformations in the crystalline state, in solution there is effectively no difference in the structure and functional properties of p58C constructs of different lengths.
The NAD+-dependent deacetylase SIRT2 is unique amongst sirtuins as it is effective in the cytosol, as well as the mitochondria. Defining the role of cytosolic acetylation state in specific tissues is difficult since even physiological effects at the whole body level are unknown. We hypothesized that genetic SIRT2 knockout (KO) would lead to impaired insulin action, and that this impairment would be worsened in HF fed mice. Insulin sensitivity was tested using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp in SIRT2 KO mice and WT littermates. SIRT2 KO mice exhibited reduced skeletal muscle insulin-induced glucose uptake compared to lean WT mice, and this impairment was exacerbated in HF SIRT2 KO mice. Liver insulin sensitivity was unaffected in lean SIRT2 KO mice. However, the insulin resistance that accompanies HF-feeding was worsened in SIRT2 KO mice. It was notable that the effects of SIRT2 KO were largely disassociated from cytosolic acetylation state, but were closely linked to acetylation state in the mitochondria. SIRT2 KO led to an increase in body weight that was due to increased food intake in HF fed mice. In summary, SIRT2 deletion in vivo reduces muscle insulin sensitivity and contributes to liver insulin resistance by a mechanism that is unrelated to cytosolic acetylation state. Mitochondrial acetylation state and changes in feeding behavior that result in increased body weight correspond to the deleterious effects of SIRT2 KO on insulin action.
OBJECTIVE - Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common surgical emergency in preterm infants, and pathogenesis associates with changes in the fecal microbiome. As fecal samples incompletely represent microbial communities in intestinal mucosa, we sought to determine the NEC tissue-specific microbiome and assess its contribution to pathogenesis.
DESIGN - We amplified and sequenced the V1-V3 hypervariable region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene extracted from intestinal tissue and corresponding fecal samples from 12 surgical patients with NEC and 14 surgical patients without NEC. Low quality and non-bacterial sequences were removed, and taxonomic assignment was made with the Ribosomal Database Project. Operational taxonomic units were clustered at 97%. We tested for differences between NEC and non-NEC samples in microbiome alpha- and beta-diversity and differential abundance of specific taxa between NEC and non-NEC samples. Additional analyses were performed to assess the contribution of other demographic and environmental confounding factors on the infant tissue and fecal microbiome.
RESULTS - The fecal and tissue microbial communities were different. NEC was associated with a distinct microbiome, which was characterized by low diversity, higher abundances of Staphylococcus and Clostridium_sensu_stricto, and lower abundances of Actinomyces and Corynebacterium. Infant age and vancomycin exposure correlated with shifts in the tissue microbiome.
CONCLUSION - The observed low diversity in NEC tissues suggests that NEC is associated with a bacterial bloom and a distinct mucosal bacterial community. The exact bacterial species that constitute the bloom varied by infant and were strongly influenced by age and exposure to vancomycin.
We used the CRISPR/Cas9 system to knock-in reporter transgenes at the kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) locus and isolated human proximal tubule cell (HK-2) clones. PCR verified targeted knock-in of the luciferase and eGFP reporter at the KIM-1 locus. HK-2-KIM-1 reporter cells responded to various stimuli including hypoxia, cisplatin, and high glucose, indicative of upregulation of KIM-1 expression. We attempted using CRISPR/Cas9 to also engineer the KIM-1 reporter in telomerase-immortalized human RPTEC cells. However, these cells demonstrated an inability to undergo homologous recombination at the target locus. KIM-1-reporter human proximal tubular cells could be valuable tools in drug discovery for molecules inhibiting kidney injury. Additionally, our gene targeting strategy could be used in other cell lines to evaluate the biology of KIM-1 in vitro or in vivo.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations and degrees of severity. Few genomic biomarkers for SLE have been validated and employed to inform clinical classifications and decisions. To discover and assess the gene-expression based SLE predictors in published studies, we performed a meta-analysis using our established signature database and a data similarity-driven strategy. From 13 training data sets on SLE gene-expression studies, we identified a SLE meta-signature (SLEmetaSig100) containing 100 concordant genes that are involved in DNA sensors and the IFN signaling pathway. We rigorously examined SLEmetaSig100 with both retrospective and prospective validation in two independent data sets. Using unsupervised clustering, we retrospectively elucidated that SLEmetaSig100 could classify clinical samples into two groups that correlated with SLE disease status and disease activities. More importantly, SLEmetaSig100 enabled personalized stratification demonstrating its ability to prospectively predict SLE disease at the individual patient level. To evaluate the performance of SLEmetaSig100 in predicting SLE, we predicted 1,171 testing samples to be either non-SLE or SLE with positive predictive value (97-99%), specificity (85%-84%), and sensitivity (60-84%). Our study suggests that SLEmetaSig100 has enhanced predictive value to facilitate current SLE clinical classification and provides personalized disease activity monitoring.
Immediately following a fracture, a fibrin laden hematoma is formed to prevent bleeding and infection. Subsequently, the organized removal of fibrin, via the protease plasmin, is essential to permit fracture repair through angiogenesis and ossification. Yet, when plasmin activity is lost, the depletion of fibrin alone is insufficient to fully restore fracture repair, suggesting the existence of additional plasmin targets important for fracture repair. Previously, activated matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) was demonstrated to function in fracture repair by promoting angiogenesis. Given that MMP-9 is a defined plasmin target, it was hypothesized that pro-MMP-9, following plasmin activation, promotes fracture repair. This hypothesis was tested in a fixed murine femur fracture model with serial assessment of fracture healing. Contrary to previous findings, a complete loss of MMP-9 failed to affect fracture healing and union through 28 days post injury. Therefore, these results demonstrated that MMP-9 is dispensable for timely fracture union and cartilage transition to bone in fixed femur fractures. Pro-MMP-9 is therefore not a significant target of plasmin in fracture repair and future studies assessing additional plasmin targets associated with angiogenesis are warranted.