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Hypoxia in the embryo is a frequent cause of intra-uterine growth retardation, low birth weight, and multiple organ defects. In the kidney, this can lead to low nephron endowment, predisposing to chronic kidney disease and arterial hypertension. A key component in cellular adaptation to hypoxia is the hypoxia-inducible factor pathway, which is regulated by prolyl-4-hydroxylase domain (PHD) dioxygenases PHD1, PHD2, and PHD3. In the adult kidney, PHD oxygen sensors are differentially expressed in a cell type-dependent manner and control the production of erythropoietin in interstitial cells. However, the role of interstitial cell PHDs in renal development has not been examined. Here we used a genetic approach in mice to interrogate PHD function in FOXD1-expressing stroma during nephrogenesis. We demonstrate that PHD2 and PHD3 are essential for normal kidney development as the combined inactivation of stromal PHD2 and PHD3 resulted in renal failure that was associated with reduced kidney size, decreased numbers of glomeruli, and abnormal postnatal nephron formation. In contrast, nephrogenesis was normal in animals with individual PHD inactivation. We furthermore demonstrate that the defect in nephron formation in PHD2/PHD3 double mutants required intact hypoxia-inducible factor-2 signaling and was dependent on the extent of stromal hypoxia-inducible factor activation. Thus, hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl-4-hydroxylation in renal interstitial cells is critical for normal nephron formation.
Copyright © 2017 International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Susceptibility and protection against human autoimmune diseases, including type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Goodpasture disease, is associated with particular human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles. However, the mechanisms underpinning such HLA-mediated effects on self-tolerance remain unclear. Here we investigate the molecular mechanism of Goodpasture disease, an HLA-linked autoimmune renal disorder characterized by an immunodominant CD4 T-cell self-epitope derived from the α3 chain of type IV collagen (α3). While HLA-DR15 confers a markedly increased disease risk, the protective HLA-DR1 allele is dominantly protective in trans with HLA-DR15 (ref. 2). We show that autoreactive α3-specific T cells expand in patients with Goodpasture disease and, in α3-immunized HLA-DR15 transgenic mice, α3-specific T cells infiltrate the kidney and mice develop Goodpasture disease. HLA-DR15 and HLA-DR1 exhibit distinct peptide repertoires and binding preferences and present the α3 epitope in different binding registers. HLA-DR15-α3 tetramer T cells in HLA-DR15 transgenic mice exhibit a conventional T-cell phenotype (T) that secretes pro-inflammatory cytokines. In contrast, HLA-DR1-α3 tetramer T cells in HLA-DR1 and HLA-DR15/DR1 transgenic mice are predominantly CD4Foxp3 regulatory T cells (T cells) expressing tolerogenic cytokines. HLA-DR1-induced T cells confer resistance to disease in HLA-DR15/DR1 transgenic mice. HLA-DR15 and HLA-DR1 healthy human donors display altered α3-specific T-cell antigen receptor usage, HLA-DR15-α3 tetramer Foxp3 T and HLA-DR1-α3 tetramer Foxp3CD25CD127 T dominant phenotypes. Moreover, patients with Goodpasture disease display a clonally expanded α3-specific CD4 T-cell repertoire. Accordingly, we provide a mechanistic basis for the dominantly protective effect of HLA in autoimmune disease, whereby HLA polymorphism shapes the relative abundance of self-epitope specific T cells that leads to protection or causation of autoimmunity.
Idiopathic aplastic anemia (AA) is an immune-mediated and serious form of bone marrow failure. Akin to other autoimmune diseases, we have previously shown that in AA regulatory T cells (Tregs) are reduced in number and function. The aim of this study was to further characterize Treg subpopulations in AA and investigate the potential correlation between specific Treg subsets and response to immunosuppressive therapy (IST) as well as their in vitro expandability for potential clinical use. Using mass cytometry and an unbiased multidimensional analytical approach, we identified 2 specific human Treg subpopulations (Treg A and Treg B) with distinct phenotypes, gene expression, expandability, and function. Treg B predominates in IST responder patients, has a memory/activated phenotype (with higher expression of CD95, CCR4, and CD45RO within FOXP3(hi), CD127(lo) Tregs), expresses the interleukin-2 (IL-2)/STAT5 pathway and cell-cycle commitment genes. Furthermore, in vitro-expanded Tregs become functional and take on the characteristics of Treg B. Collectively, this study identifies human Treg subpopulations that can be used as predictive biomarkers for response to IST in AA and potentially other autoimmune diseases. We also show that Tregs from AA patients are IL-2-sensitive and expandable in vitro, suggesting novel therapeutic approaches such as low-dose IL-2 therapy and/or expanded autologous Tregs and meriting further exploration.
Renal peritubular interstitial fibroblast-like cells are critical for adult erythropoiesis, as they are the main source of erythropoietin (EPO). Hypoxia-inducible factor 2 (HIF-2) controls EPO synthesis in the kidney and liver and is regulated by prolyl-4-hydroxylase domain (PHD) dioxygenases PHD1, PHD2, and PHD3, which function as cellular oxygen sensors. Renal interstitial cells with EPO-producing capacity are poorly characterized, and the role of the PHD/HIF-2 axis in renal EPO-producing cell (REPC) plasticity is unclear. Here we targeted the PHD/HIF-2/EPO axis in FOXD1 stroma-derived renal interstitial cells and examined the role of individual PHDs in REPC pool size regulation and renal EPO output. Renal interstitial cells with EPO-producing capacity were entirely derived from FOXD1-expressing stroma, and Phd2 inactivation alone induced renal Epo in a limited number of renal interstitial cells. EPO induction was submaximal, as hypoxia or pharmacologic PHD inhibition further increased the REPC fraction among Phd2-/- renal interstitial cells. Moreover, Phd1 and Phd3 were differentially expressed in renal interstitium, and heterozygous deficiency for Phd1 and Phd3 increased REPC numbers in Phd2-/- mice. We propose that FOXD1 lineage renal interstitial cells consist of distinct subpopulations that differ in their responsiveness to Phd2 inactivation and thus regulation of HIF-2 activity and EPO production under hypoxia or conditions of pharmacologic or genetic PHD inactivation.
We report that p73 is expressed in multiciliated cells (MCCs), is required for MCC differentiation, and directly regulates transcriptional modulators of multiciliogenesis. Loss of ciliary biogenesis provides a unifying mechanism for many phenotypes observed in p73 knockout mice including hydrocephalus; hippocampal dysgenesis; sterility; and chronic inflammation/infection of lung, middle ear, and sinus. Through p73 and p63 ChIP-seq using murine tracheal cells, we identified over 100 putative p73 target genes that regulate MCC differentiation and homeostasis. We validated Foxj1, a transcriptional regulator of multiciliogenesis, and many other cilia-associated genes as direct target genes of p73 and p63. We show p73 and p63 are co-expressed in a subset of basal cells and suggest that p73 marks these cells for MCC differentiation. In summary, p73 is essential for MCC differentiation, functions as a critical regulator of a transcriptome required for MCC differentiation, and, like p63, has an essential role in development of tissues.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Type 2 diabetes incidence increases with age, while β-cell replication declines. The transcription factor FoxM1 is required for β-cell replication in various situations, and its expression declines with age. We hypothesized that increased FoxM1 activity in aged β-cells would rejuvenate proliferation. Induction of an activated form of FoxM1 was sufficient to increase β-cell mass and proliferation in 12-month-old male mice after just 2 weeks. Unexpectedly, at 2 months of age, induction of activated FoxM1 in male mice improved glucose homeostasis with unchanged β-cell mass. Cells expressing activated FoxM1 demonstrated enhanced glucose-stimulated Ca2+ influx, which resulted in improved glucose tolerance through enhanced β-cell function. Conversely, our laboratory has previously demonstrated that mice lacking FoxM1 in the pancreas display glucose intolerance or diabetes with only a 60% reduction in β-cell mass, suggesting that the loss of FoxM1 is detrimental to β-cell function. Ex vivo insulin secretion was therefore examined in size-matched islets from young mice lacking FoxM1 in β-cells. Foxm1-deficient islets indeed displayed reduced insulin secretion. Our studies reveal that activated FoxM1 increases β-cell replication while simultaneously enhancing insulin secretion and improving glucose homeostasis, making FoxM1 an attractive therapeutic target for diabetes.
© 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.
Treg dysfunction is associated with a variety of inflammatory diseases. Treg populations are defined by expression of the oligomeric transcription factor FOXP3 and inability to produce IL-2, a cytokine required for T cell maintenance and survival. FOXP3 activity is regulated post-translationally by histone/protein acetyltransferases and histone/protein deacetylases (HDACs). Here, we determined that HDAC3 mediates both the development and function of the two main Treg subsets, thymus-derived Tregs and induced Tregs (iTregs). We determined that HDAC3 and FOXP3 physically interact and that HDAC3 expression markedly reduces Il2 promoter activity. In murine models, conditional deletion of Hdac3 during thymic Treg development restored Treg production of IL-2 and blocked the suppressive function of Tregs. HDAC3-deficient mice died from autoimmunity by 4-6 weeks of age; however, injection of WT FOXP3+ Tregs prolonged survival. Adoptive transfer of Hdac3-deficient Tregs, unlike WT Tregs, did not control T cell proliferation in naive mice and did not prevent allograft rejection or colitis. HDAC3 also regulated the development of iTregs, as HDAC3-deficient conventional T cells were not converted into iTregs under polarizing conditions and produced large amounts of IL-2, IL-6, and IL-17. We conclude that HDAC3 is essential for the normal development and suppressive functions of thymic and peripheral FOXP3+ Tregs.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, yet its etiology and pathogenesis are poorly understood. PD is characterized by selective dopaminergic (DAergic) degeneration and progressive hypokinetic motor impairment. Mutations in dj-1 cause autosomal recessive early-onset PD. DJ-1 is thought to protect DAergic neurons via an antioxidant mechanism, but the precise basis of this protection has not yet been resolved. Aging and manganese (Mn) exposure are significant non-genetic risk factors for PD. Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is an optimal model for PD and aging studies because of its simple nervous system, conserved DAergic machinery, and short 20-day lifespan. Here we tested the hypothesis that C. elegans DJ-1 homologues were protective against Mn-induced DAergic toxicity in an age-dependent manner. We showed that the deletion of C. elegans DJ-1 related (djr) genes, djr-1.2, decreased survival after Mn exposure. djr-1.2, the DJ-1 homologue was expressed in DAergic neurons and its deletion decreased lifespan and dopamine (DA)-dependent dauer movement behavior after Mn exposure. We also tested the role of DAF-16 as a regulator of dj-1.2 interaction with Mn toxicity. Lifespan defects resulting from djr-1.2 deletion could be restored to normal by overexpression of either DJR-1.2 or DAF-16. Furthermore, dauer movement alterations after djr-1.2 deletion were abolished by constitutive activation of DAF-16 through mutation of its inhibitor, DAF-2 insulin receptor. Taken together, our results reveal PD-relevant interactions between aging, the PD environmental risk factor manganese, and homologues of the established PD genetic risk factor DJ-1. Our data demonstrate a novel role for the DJ-1 homologue, djr-1.2, in mitigating Mn-dependent lifespan reduction and DA signaling alterations, involving DAF-2/DAF-16 signaling.
The winged-helix transcription factor Foxh1 is an essential regulator of Nodal signaling during the key developmental processes of gastrulation, anterior-posterior (A-P) patterning, and the derivation of left-right (L-R) asymmetry. Current models have Foxh1 bound to phospho-Smad2/3 (pSmad2/3) as a central transcriptional activator for genes targeted by Nodal signaling including Nodal itself, the feedback inhibitor Lefty2, and the positive transcriptional effector Pitx2. However, the conserved Engrailed homology-1 (EH1) motif present in Foxh1 suggests that modulated interaction with Groucho (Grg) co-repressors would allow Foxh1 to function as a transcriptional switch, toggling between transcriptional on and off states via pSmad2-Grg protein-switching, to ensure the properly timed initiation and suppression, and/or amplitude, of expression of Nodal and its target genes. We minimally mutated the Foxh1 EH1 motif, creating a novel Foxh1(mEH1) allele to test directly the contribution of Foxh1-Grg-mediated repression on the transient, dynamic pattern of Nodal signaling in mice. All aspects of Nodal and its target gene expression in Foxh1(mEH1/mEH1) embryos were equivalent to wild type. A-P patterning and organ situs in homozygous embryos and adult mice were also unaffected. The finding that Foxh1-Grg-mediated repression is not essential for Nodal expression during mouse embryogenesis suggests that other regulators compensate for the loss of repressive regulatory input that is mediated by Grg interactions. We suggest that the pervasive inductive properties of Nodal signaling exist within the context of a strongly buffered regulatory system that contributes to resilience and accuracy of its dynamic expression pattern.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Total or near-total loss of insulin-producing β-cells occurs in type 1 diabetes. Restoration of insulin production in type 1 diabetes is thus a major medical challenge. We previously observed in mice in which β-cells are completely ablated that the pancreas reconstitutes new insulin-producing cells in the absence of autoimmunity. The process involves the contribution of islet non-β-cells; specifically, glucagon-producing α-cells begin producing insulin by a process of reprogramming (transdifferentiation) without proliferation. Here we show the influence of age on β-cell reconstitution from heterologous islet cells after near-total β-cell loss in mice. We found that senescence does not alter α-cell plasticity: α-cells can reprogram to produce insulin from puberty through to adulthood, and also in aged individuals, even a long time after β-cell loss. In contrast, before puberty there is no detectable α-cell conversion, although β-cell reconstitution after injury is more efficient, always leading to diabetes recovery. This process occurs through a newly discovered mechanism: the spontaneous en masse reprogramming of somatostatin-producing δ-cells. The juveniles display 'somatostatin-to-insulin' δ-cell conversion, involving dedifferentiation, proliferation and re-expression of islet developmental regulators. This juvenile adaptability relies, at least in part, upon the combined action of FoxO1 and downstream effectors. Restoration of insulin producing-cells from non-β-cell origins is thus enabled throughout life via δ- or α-cell spontaneous reprogramming. A landscape with multiple intra-islet cell interconversion events is emerging, offering new perspectives for therapy.