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Tregs are essential for maintaining peripheral tolerance, and thus targeting these cells may aid in the treatment of autoimmunity and cancer by enhancing or reducing suppressive functions, respectively. Before these cells can be harnessed for therapeutic purposes, it is necessary to understand how they maintain tolerance under physiologically relevant conditions. We now report that transcription factor Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) controls naive Treg migration patterns via regulation of homeostatic and inflammatory homing receptors, and that in its absence KLF2-deficient Tregs are unable to migrate efficiently to secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs). Diminished Treg trafficking to SLOs is sufficient to initiate autoimmunity, indicating that SLOs are a primary site for maintaining peripheral tolerance under homeostatic conditions. Disease severity correlates with impaired Treg recruitment to SLOs and, conversely, promotion of Tregs into these tissues can ameliorate autoimmunity. Moreover, stabilizing KLF2 expression within the Treg compartment enhances peripheral tolerance by diverting these suppressive cells from tertiary tissues into SLOs. Taken together, these results demonstrate that peripheral tolerance is enhanced or diminished through modulation of Treg trafficking to SLOs, a process that can be controlled by adjusting KLF2 protein levels.
Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes that recognize and lyse virally infected or transformed cells. This latter property is being pursued in clinics to treat leukemia with the hope that further breakthroughs in NK cell biology can extend treatments to other cancers. At issue is the ability to expand transferred NK cells and prolong their functionality within the context of a tumor. In terms of NK cell expansion and survival, we now report that Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) is a key transcription factor that underpins both of these events. Excision of Klf2 using gene-targeted mouse models promotes spontaneous proliferation of immature NK cells in peripheral tissues, a phenotype that is replicated under ex vivo conditions. Moreover, KLF2 imprints a homeostatic migration pattern on mature NK cells that allows these cells to access IL-15-rich microenvironments. KLF2 accomplishes this feat within the mature NK cell lineage via regulation of a subset of homing receptors that respond to homeostatic ligands while leaving constitutively expressed receptors that recognize inflammatory cytokines unperturbed. Under steady-state conditions, KLF2-deficient NK cells alter their expression of homeostatic homing receptors and subsequently undergo apoptosis due to IL-15 starvation. This novel mechanism has implications regarding NK cell contraction following the termination of immune responses including the possibility that retention of an IL-15 transpresenting support system is key to extending NK cell activity in a tumor environment.
Neural stem cells in different locations of the postnatal mouse ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ) generate different subtypes of olfactory bulb (OB) interneurons. High Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling in the ventral V-SVZ regulates the production of specific subtypes of neurons destined for the OB. Here we found a transient territory of high SHH signaling in the dorsal V-SVZ beneath the corpus callosum (CC). Using intersectional lineage tracing in neonates to label dorsal radial glial cells (RGCs) expressing the SHH target gene Gli1, we demonstrate that this region produces many CC cells in the oligodendroglial lineage and specific subtypes of neurons in the OB. The number of oligodendroglial cells generated correlated with the levels of SHH signaling. This work identifies a dorsal domain of SHH signaling, which is an important source of oligodendroglial cells for the postnatal mammalian forebrain.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Although considerable evidence suggests that in utero arsenic exposure affects children's health, these data are mainly from areas of the world where groundwater arsenic levels far exceed the World Health Organization limit of 10 μg/L. We, and others, have found that more common levels of in utero arsenic exposure may also impact children's health. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. To address this issue, we analyzed the expression of key developmental genes in fetal placenta in a birth cohort of women using unregulated water supplies in a US region with elevated groundwater arsenic. We identified several genes whose expression associated with maternal arsenic exposure in a fetal sex-specific manner. In particular, expression of the HEDGEHOG pathway component, GLI3, in female placentae was both negatively associated with arsenic exposure and positively associated with infant birth weight. This suggests that modulation of GLI3 in the fetal placenta, and perhaps in other fetal tissues, contributes to arsenic's detrimental effects on fetal growth. We showed previously that arsenic-exposed NIH3T3 cells have reduced GLI3 repressor protein. Together, these studies identify GLI3 as a key signaling node that is affected by arsenic, mediating a subset of its effects on developmental signaling and fetal health.
Cancer patients frequently develop skeletal metastases that significantly impact quality of life. Since bone metastases remain incurable, a clearer understanding of molecular mechanisms regulating skeletal metastases is required to develop new therapeutics that block establishment of tumors in bone. While many studies have suggested that the microenvironment contributes to bone metastases, the factors mediating tumors to progress from a quiescent to a bone-destructive state remain unclear. In this study, we hypothesized that the "soil" of the bone microenvironment, specifically the rigid mineralized extracellular matrix, stimulates the transition of the tumor cells to a bone-destructive phenotype. To test this hypothesis, we synthesized 2D polyurethane (PUR) films with elastic moduli ranging from the basement membrane (70 MPa) to cortical bone (3800 MPa) and measured expression of genes associated with mechanotransduction and bone metastases. We found that expression of Integrin β3 (Iβ3), as well as tumor-produced factors associated with bone destruction (Gli2 and parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP)), significantly increased with matrix rigidity, and that blocking Iβ3 reduced Gli2 and PTHrP expression. To identify the mechanism by which Iβ3 regulates Gli2 and PTHrP (both are also known to be regulated by TGF-β), we performed Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and immunoprecipitation, which indicated that Iβ3 co-localized with TGF-β Receptor Type II (TGF-β RII) on rigid but not compliant films. Finally, transplantation of tumor cells expressing Iβ3 shRNA into the tibiae of athymic nude mice significantly reduced PTHrP and Gli2 expression, as well as bone destruction, suggesting a crucial role for tumor-produced Iβ3 in disease progression. This study demonstrates that the rigid mineralized bone matrix can alter gene expression and bone destruction in an Iβ3/TGF-β-dependent manner, and suggests that Iβ3 inhibitors are a potential therapeutic approach for blocking tumor transition to a bone destructive phenotype.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
We recently identified a novel susceptibility variant, rs865686, for estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer at 9q31.2. Here, we report a fine-mapping analysis of the 9q31.2 susceptibility locus using 43 160 cases and 42 600 controls of European ancestry ascertained from 52 studies and a further 5795 cases and 6624 controls of Asian ancestry from nine studies. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs676256 was most strongly associated with risk in Europeans (odds ratios [OR] = 0.90 [0.88-0.92]; P-value = 1.58 × 10(-25)). This SNP is one of a cluster of highly correlated variants, including rs865686, that spans ∼14.5 kb. We identified two additional independent association signals demarcated by SNPs rs10816625 (OR = 1.12 [1.08-1.17]; P-value = 7.89 × 10(-09)) and rs13294895 (OR = 1.09 [1.06-1.12]; P-value = 2.97 × 10(-11)). SNP rs10816625, but not rs13294895, was also associated with risk of breast cancer in Asian individuals (OR = 1.12 [1.06-1.18]; P-value = 2.77 × 10(-05)). Functional genomic annotation using data derived from breast cancer cell-line models indicates that these SNPs localise to putative enhancer elements that bind known drivers of hormone-dependent breast cancer, including ER-α, FOXA1 and GATA-3. In vitro analyses indicate that rs10816625 and rs13294895 have allele-specific effects on enhancer activity and suggest chromatin interactions with the KLF4 gene locus. These results demonstrate the power of dense genotyping in large studies to identify independent susceptibility variants. Analysis of associations using subjects with different ancestry, combined with bioinformatic and genomic characterisation, can provide strong evidence for the likely causative alleles and their functional basis.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.
Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is an important regulator of bone destruction in bone metastatic tumors. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) stimulates PTHrP production in part through the transcription factor Gli2, which is regulated independent of the Hedgehog signaling pathway in osteolytic cancer cells. However, inhibition of TGF-β in vivo does not fully inhibit tumor growth in bone or tumor-induced bone destruction, suggesting other pathways are involved. While Wnt signaling regulates Gli2 in development, the role of Wnt signaling in bone metastasis is unknown. Therefore, we investigated whether Wnt signaling regulates Gli2 expression in tumor cells that induce bone destruction. We report here that Wnt activation by β-catenin/T cell factor 4 (TCF4) over-expression or lithium chloride (LiCl) treatment increased Gli2 and PTHrP expression in osteolytic cancer cells. This was mediated through the TCF and Smad binding sites within the Gli2 promoter as determined by promoter mutation studies, suggesting cross-talk between TGF-β and Wnt signaling. Culture of tumor cells on substrates with bone-like rigidity increased Gli2 and PTHrP production, enhanced autocrine Wnt activity and led to an increase in the TCF/Wnt signaling reporter (TOPFlash), enriched β-catenin nuclear accumulation, and elevated Wnt-related genes by PCR-array. Stromal cells serve as an additional paracrine source of Wnt ligands and enhanced Gli2 and PTHrP mRNA levels in MDA-MB-231 and RWGT2 cells in vitro and promoted tumor-induced bone destruction in vivo in a β-catenin/Wnt3a-dependent mechanism. These data indicate that a combination of matrix rigidity and stromal-secreted factors stimulate Gli2 and PTHrP through Wnt signaling in osteolytic breast cancer cells, and there is significant cross-talk between the Wnt and TGF-β signaling pathways. This suggests that the Wnt signaling pathway may be a potential therapeutic target for inhibiting tumor cell response to the bone microenvironment and at the very least should be considered in clinical regimens targeting TGF-β signaling.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are a specialized subset of CD4(+) T cells that maintain self-tolerance by functionally suppressing autoreactive lymphocytes. The Treg compartment is composed of thymus-derived Tregs (tTregs) and peripheral Tregs (pTregs) that are generated in secondary lymphoid organs after exposure to antigen and specific cytokines, such as TGF-β. With regard to this latter lineage, pTregs [and their ex vivo generated counterparts, induced Tregs (iTregs)] offer particular therapeutic potential because these cells can be raised against specific antigens to limit autoimmunity. We now report that transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) is necessary for the generation of iTregs but not tTregs. Moreover, drugs that limit KLF2 proteolysis during T-cell activation enhance iTreg development. To the authors' knowledge, this study identifies the first transcription factor to distinguish between i/pTreg and tTreg ontogeny and demonstrates that KLF2 is a therapeutic target for the production of regulatory T cells.
The RNA-binding protein TDP-43 regulates RNA metabolism at multiple levels, including transcription, RNA splicing, and mRNA stability. TDP-43 is a major component of the cytoplasmic inclusions characteristic of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and some types of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. The importance of TDP-43 in disease is underscored by the fact that dominant missense mutations are sufficient to cause disease, although the role of TDP-43 in pathogenesis is unknown. Here we show that TDP-43 forms cytoplasmic mRNP granules that undergo bidirectional, microtubule-dependent transport in neurons in vitro and in vivo and facilitate delivery of target mRNA to distal neuronal compartments. TDP-43 mutations impair this mRNA transport function in vivo and in vitro, including in stem cell-derived motor neurons from ALS patients bearing any one of three different TDP-43 ALS-causing mutations. Thus, TDP-43 mutations that cause ALS lead to partial loss of a novel cytoplasmic function of TDP-43.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PURPOSE - Medulloblastoma comprises four distinct molecular subgroups: WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4. Current medulloblastoma protocols stratify patients based on clinical features: patient age, metastatic stage, extent of resection, and histologic variant. Stark prognostic and genetic differences among the four subgroups suggest that subgroup-specific molecular biomarkers could improve patient prognostication.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - Molecular biomarkers were identified from a discovery set of 673 medulloblastomas from 43 cities around the world. Combined risk stratification models were designed based on clinical and cytogenetic biomarkers identified by multivariable Cox proportional hazards analyses. Identified biomarkers were tested using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) on a nonoverlapping medulloblastoma tissue microarray (n = 453), with subsequent validation of the risk stratification models.
RESULTS - Subgroup information improves the predictive accuracy of a multivariable survival model compared with clinical biomarkers alone. Most previously published cytogenetic biomarkers are only prognostic within a single medulloblastoma subgroup. Profiling six FISH biomarkers (GLI2, MYC, chromosome 11 [chr11], chr14, 17p, and 17q) on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues, we can reliably and reproducibly identify very low-risk and very high-risk patients within SHH, Group 3, and Group 4 medulloblastomas.
CONCLUSION - Combining subgroup and cytogenetic biomarkers with established clinical biomarkers substantially improves patient prognostication, even in the context of heterogeneous clinical therapies. The prognostic significance of most molecular biomarkers is restricted to a specific subgroup. We have identified a small panel of cytogenetic biomarkers that reliably identifies very high-risk and very low-risk groups of patients, making it an excellent tool for selecting patients for therapy intensification and therapy de-escalation in future clinical trials.