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Discovery of genotype-phenotype relationships remains a major challenge in clinical medicine. Here, we combined three sources of phenotypic data to uncover a new mechanism for rare and common diseases resulting from collagen secretion deficits. Using a zebrafish genetic screen, we identified the ric1 gene as being essential for skeletal biology. Using a gene-based phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) in the EHR-linked BioVU biobank, we show that reduced genetically determined expression of RIC1 is associated with musculoskeletal and dental conditions. Whole-exome sequencing identified individuals homozygous-by-descent for a rare variant in RIC1 and, through a guided clinical re-evaluation, it was discovered that they share signs with the BioVU-associated phenome. We named this new Mendelian syndrome CATIFA (cleft lip, cataract, tooth abnormality, intellectual disability, facial dysmorphism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and revealed further disease mechanisms. This gene-based, PheWAS-guided approach can accelerate the discovery of clinically relevant disease phenome and associated biological mechanisms.
Tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2), or tuberin, is a pivotal regulator of the mechanistic target of rapamycin signaling pathway that controls cell survival, proliferation, growth, and migration. Loss of function manifests in organ-specific consequences, the mechanisms of which remain incompletely understood. Recent single cell analysis of the kidney has identified ATP-binding cassette G2 (Abcg2) expression in renal proximal tubules of adult mice as well as a in a novel cell population. The impact in adult kidney of knockdown in the Abcg2-expressing lineage has not been evaluated. We engineered an inducible system in which expression of truncated , lacking exons 36-37 with an intact 3' region and polycystin 1, is driven by Here, we demonstrate that selective expression of in the Abcg2 lineage drives recombination in proximal tubule epithelial and rare perivascular mesenchymal cells, which results in progressive proximal tubule injury, impaired kidney function, formation of cystic lesions, and fibrosis in adult mice. These data illustrate the critical importance of function in the Abcg2-expressing proximal tubule epithelium and mesenchyme during the development of cystic lesions and remodeling of kidney parenchyma.
Fibrosis accompanying wound healing can drive the failure of many different organs. Activated fibroblasts are the principal determinants of post-injury pathological fibrosis along with physiological repair, making them a difficult therapeutic target. Although activated fibroblasts are phenotypically heterogeneous, they are not recognized as distinct functional entities. Using mice that express GFP under the FSP1 or αSMA promoter, we characterized two non-overlapping fibroblast subtypes from mouse hearts after myocardial infarction. Here, we report the identification of FSP1-GFP cells as a non-pericyte, non-hematopoietic fibroblast subpopulation with a predominant pro-angiogenic role, characterized by in vitro phenotypic/cellular/ultrastructural studies and in vivo granulation tissue formation assays combined with transcriptomics and proteomics. This work identifies a fibroblast subtype that is functionally distinct from the pro-fibrotic αSMA-expressing myofibroblast subtype. Our study has the potential to shift our focus towards viewing fibroblasts as molecularly and functionally heterogeneous and provides a paradigm to approach treatment for organ fibrosis.
BACKGROUND - Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) expression increases extracellular matrix deposition and contributes to interstitial fibrosis in the kidney after injury. While PAI-1 is ubiquitously expressed in the kidney, we hypothesized that interstitial fibrosis is strongly dependent on fibroblast-specific PAI-1 (fbPAI-1).
METHODS - Tenascin C Cre (TNC Cre) and fbPAI-1 knockdown (KD) mice with green fluorescent protein (GFP) expressed within the TNC construct underwent unilateral ureteral obstruction and were sacrificed 10 days later.
RESULTS - GFP+ cells in fbPAI-1 KD mice showed significantly reduced PAI-1 expression. Interstitial fibrosis, measured by Sirius red staining and collagen I western blot, was significantly decreased in fbPAI-1 KD compared with TNC Cre mice. There was no significant difference in transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) expression or its activation between the two groups. However, GFP+ cells from fbPAI-1 KD mice had lower TGF β and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression. The number of fibroblasts was decreased in fbPAI-1 KD compared with TNC Cre mice, correlating with decreased alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression and less fibroblast cell proliferation. TNC Cre mice had decreased E-cadherin, a marker of differentiated tubular epithelium, in contrast to preserved expression in fbPAI-1 KD. F4/80-expressing cells, mostly CD11c+/F4/80+ cells, were increased while M1 macrophage markers were decreased in fbPAI-1 KD compared with TNC Cre mice.
CONCLUSION - These findings indicate that fbPAI-1 depletion ameliorates interstitial fibrosis by decreasing fibroblast proliferation in the renal interstitium, with resulting decreased collagen I. This is linked to decreased M1 macrophages and preserved tubular epithelium.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.
Cadherin-11 (CDH11) is upregulated in a variety of fibrotic diseases, including arthritis and calcific aortic valve disease. Our recent work has identified CDH11 as a potential therapeutic target and shown that treatment with a CDH11 functional blocking antibody can prevent hallmarks of calcific aortic valve disease in mice. The present study investigated the role of CDH11 in regulating the mechanobiological behavior of valvular interstitial cells believed to cause calcification. Aortic valve interstitial cells were harvested from Cdh11, Cdh11, and Cdh11 immortomice. Cells were subjected to inflammatory cytokines transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and IL-6 to characterize the molecular mechanisms by which CDH11 regulates their mechanobiological changes. Histology was performed on aortic valves from Cdh11, Cdh11, and Cdh11 mice to identify key responses to CDH11 deletion in vivo. We showed that CDH11 influences cell behavior through its regulation of contractility and its ability to bind substrates via focal adhesions. We also show that transforming growth factor-β overrides the normal relationship between CDH11 and smooth muscle α-actin to exacerbate the myofibroblast disease phenotype. This phenotypic switch is potentiated through the IL-6 signaling axis and could act as a paracrine mechanism of myofibroblast activation in neighboring aortic valve interstitial cells in a positive feedback loop. These data suggest CDH11 is an important mediator of the myofibroblast phenotype and identify several mechanisms by which it modulates cell behavior. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Cadherin-11 influences valvular interstitial cell contractility by regulating focal adhesions and inflammatory cytokine secretion. Transforming growth factor-β overrides the normal balance between cadherin-11 and smooth muscle α-actin expression to promote a myofibroblast phenotype. Cadherin-11 is necessary for IL-6 and chitinase-3-like protein 1 secretion, and IL-6 promotes contractility. Targeting cadherin-11 could therapeutically influence valvular interstitial cell phenotypes in a multifaceted manner.
During the dermal wound healing process, the mechanical rigidity of the newly deposited extracellular matrix and transforming growth factor-β1 promote the transition of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts. Myofibroblasts generate large cellular forces that contract and remodel the extracellular matrix leading to scar formation. In contrast, myofibroblasts are not detected in fetal dermal wounds which are more compliant and contain less transforming growth factor-β1 than adult wounds. Instead, fetal fibroblasts orchestrate scarless healing of dermal wounds resulting in healed tissues that resemble uninjured dermis. While these biomechanical differences suggest that the fetal wound environment promotes smaller cellular forces which enable regeneration, previous studies indicate that fetal fibroblasts have unique contractile properties that may facilitate scarless dermal repair. Therefore, we tested whether physiologic wound rigidities and transforming growth factor-β1 induce contractile forces and myofibroblast differentiation of fetal dermal fibroblasts. In comparison to their adult dermal counterparts, we found that fetal fibroblasts exhibit a deficient contractile response to rigid extracellular matrix and transforming growth factor-β1. Our data suggest that the contractile phenotype of fetal dermal fibroblasts limits their cellular force production and prevents their ability to differentiate into myofibroblasts.
© 2018 The Authors. Wound Repair and Regeneration published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of by the Wound Healing Society.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a keystone bacterium in the oral microbial communities that elicits a dysbiosis between the microbiota and the host. Therefore, inhibition of this organism in dental plaques has been one of the strategies for preventing and treating chronic periodontitis. We previously identified a Streptococcal ArcA derived Anti-P gingivalils Peptide (SAPP) that in vitro, is capable of repressing the expression of several virulence genes in the organism. This leads to a significant reduction in P gingivalis virulence potential, including its ability to colonize on the surface of Streptococcus gordonii, to invade human oral epithelial cells, and to produce gingipains. In this study, we showed that SAPP had minimal cytotoxicity to human oral keratinocytes and gingival fibroblasts. We observed that SAPP directly bound to the cell surface of P gingivalis, and that alterations in the sequence at the N-terminus of SAPP diminished its abilities to interact with P gingivalis cells and repressed the expression of virulence genes. Most strikingly, we demonstrated using an ex-vivo assay that besides its inhibitory activity against P gingivalis colonization, SAPP could also reduce the levels of several other oral Gram-negative bacteria strongly associated with periodontitis in multispecies biofilms. Our results provide a platform for the development of SAPP-targeted therapeutics against chronic periodontitis.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive inflammatory disease with high mortality and limited therapeutic options. Previous genetic and immunologic investigations suggest common intersections between idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), sarcoidosis, and murine models of pulmonary fibrosis. To identify immune responses that precede collagen deposition, we conducted molecular, immunohistochemical, and flow cytometric analysis of human and murine specimens. Immunohistochemistry revealed programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) up-regulation on IPF lymphocytes. PD-1CD4 T cells with reduced proliferative capacity and increased transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)/interleukin-17A (IL-17A) expression were detected in IPF, sarcoidosis, and bleomycin CD4 T cells. PD-1 T helper 17 cells are the predominant CD4 T cell subset expressing TGF-β. Coculture of PD-1CD4 T cells with human lung fibroblasts induced collagen-1 production. Strikingly, ex vivo PD-1 pathway blockade resulted in reductions in TGF-β and IL-17A expression from CD4 T cells, with concomitant declines in collagen-1 production from fibroblasts. Molecular analysis demonstrated PD-1 regulation of the transcription factor STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3). Chemical blockade of STAT3, using the inhibitor STATTIC, inhibited collagen-1 production. Both bleomycin administration to PD-1 null mice or use of antibody against programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) demonstrated significantly reduced fibrosis compared to controls. This work identifies a critical, previously unrecognized role for PD-1CD4 T cells in pulmonary fibrosis, supporting the use of readily available therapeutics that directly address interstitial lung disease pathophysiology.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.