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Helicobacter pylori infection is the main risk factor for the development of gastric cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death worldwide. H. pylori colonizes the human gastric mucosa and persists for decades. The inflammatory response is ineffective in clearing the infection, leading to disease progression that may result in gastric adenocarcinoma. We have shown that polyamines are regulators of the host response to H. pylori, and that spermine oxidase (SMOX), which metabolizes the polyamine spermine into spermidine plus HO, is associated with increased human gastric cancer risk. We now used a molecular approach to directly address the role of SMOX, and demonstrate that Smox-deficient mice exhibit significant reductions of gastric spermidine levels and H. pylori-induced inflammation. Proteomic analysis revealed that cancer was the most significantly altered functional pathway in Smox gastric organoids. Moreover, there was also less DNA damage and β-catenin activation in H. pylori-infected Smox mice or gastric organoids, compared to infected wild-type animals or gastroids. The link between SMOX and β-catenin activation was confirmed in human gastric organoids that were treated with a novel SMOX inhibitor. These findings indicate that SMOX promotes H. pylori-induced carcinogenesis by causing inflammation, DNA damage, and activation of β-catenin signaling.
Gastrointestinal infections often induce epithelial damage that must be repaired for optimal gut function. While intestinal stem cells are critical for this regeneration process [R. C. van der Wath, B. S. Gardiner, A. W. Burgess, D. W. Smith, 8, e73204 (2013); S. Kozar , 13, 626-633 (2013)], how they are impacted by enteric infections remains poorly defined. Here, we investigate infection-mediated damage to the colonic stem cell compartment and how this affects epithelial repair and recovery from infection. Using the pathogen we show that infection disrupts murine intestinal cellular organization and integrity deep into the epithelium, to expose the otherwise protected stem cell compartment, in a TcdB-mediated process. Exposure and susceptibility of colonic stem cells to intoxication compromises their function during infection, which diminishes their ability to repair the injured epithelium, shown by altered stem cell signaling and a reduction in the growth of colonic organoids from stem cells isolated from infected mice. We also show, using both mouse and human colonic organoids, that TcdB from epidemic ribotype 027 strains does not require Frizzled 1/2/7 binding to elicit this dysfunctional stem cell state. This stem cell dysfunction induces a significant delay in recovery and repair of the intestinal epithelium of up to 2 wk post the infection peak. Our results uncover a mechanism by which an enteric pathogen subverts repair processes by targeting stem cells during infection and preventing epithelial regeneration, which prolongs epithelial barrier impairment and creates an environment in which disease recurrence is likely.
Developmental biology has long benefited from studies of classic model organisms. These model systems have provided the fundamental understanding of general principles of development, as well as insight into genes and signaling pathways that control unique aspects of cell fate specification and tissue morphogenesis. Because human brain development cannot be studied in vivo, scientists have relied on these model systems to study basic principles underlying the development of this complex organ as many of these genes and signaling pathways play conserved roles in human development. However, recent studies have shown species-specific signatures in neurodevelopment such as the transcriptome of outer-radial glia, suggesting use of a human-derived model remains imperative. Over the past decade, human stem cell-derived brain organoids have emerged as a biologically relevant model system to study normal human brain development and neurological diseases. Here, we provide a historical perspective of this emerging model system, discuss current systems and limitations, and propose that new mechanistic insight into cell biology can be revealed using these three-dimensional brain structures.
Maladaptive proximal tubule (PT) repair has been implicated in kidney fibrosis through induction of cell-cycle arrest at G2/M. We explored the relative importance of the PT DNA damage response (DDR) in kidney fibrosis by genetically inactivating ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR), which is a sensor and upstream initiator of the DDR. In human chronic kidney disease, ATR expression inversely correlates with DNA damage. ATR was upregulated in approximately 70% of Lotus tetragonolobus lectin-positive (LTL+) PT cells in cisplatin-exposed human kidney organoids. Inhibition of ATR resulted in greater PT cell injury in organoids and cultured PT cells. PT-specific Atr-knockout (ATRRPTC-/-) mice exhibited greater kidney function impairment, DNA damage, and fibrosis than did WT mice in response to kidney injury induced by either cisplatin, bilateral ischemia-reperfusion, or unilateral ureteral obstruction. ATRRPTC-/- mice had more cells in the G2/M phase after injury than did WT mice after similar treatments. In conclusion, PT ATR activation is a key component of the DDR, which confers a protective effect mitigating the maladaptive repair and consequent fibrosis that follow kidney injury.
A critical event during kidney organogenesis is the differentiation of podocytes, specialized epithelial cells that filter blood plasma to form urine. Podocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-podocytes) have recently been generated in nephron-like kidney organoids, but the developmental stage of these cells and their capacity to reveal disease mechanisms remains unclear. Here, we show that hPSC-podocytes phenocopy mammalian podocytes at the capillary loop stage (CLS), recapitulating key features of ultrastructure, gene expression, and mutant phenotype. hPSC-podocytes in vitro progressively establish junction-rich basal membranes (nephrin podocin ZO-1 ) and microvillus-rich apical membranes (podocalyxin ), similar to CLS podocytes in vivo. Ultrastructural, biophysical, and transcriptomic analysis of podocalyxin-knockout hPSCs and derived podocytes, generated using CRISPR/Cas9, reveals defects in the assembly of microvilli and lateral spaces between developing podocytes, resulting in failed junctional migration. These defects are phenocopied in CLS glomeruli of podocalyxin-deficient mice, which cannot produce urine, thereby demonstrating that podocalyxin has a conserved and essential role in mammalian podocyte maturation. Defining the maturity of hPSC-podocytes and their capacity to reveal and recapitulate pathophysiological mechanisms establishes a powerful framework for studying human kidney disease and regeneration. Stem Cells 2017;35:2366-2378.
© 2017 AlphaMed Press.
Primary tumor organoids are a robust model of individual human cancers and present a unique platform for patient-specific drug testing. Optical imaging is uniquely suited to assess organoid function and behavior because of its subcellular resolution, penetration depth through the entire organoid, and functional endpoints. Specifically, optical metabolic imaging (OMI) is highly sensitive to drug response in organoids, and OMI in tumor organoids correlates with primary tumor drug response. Therefore, an OMI organoid drug screen could enable accurate testing of drug response for individualized cancer treatment. The objective of this perspective is to introduce OMI and tumor organoids to a general audience in order to foster the adoption of these techniques in diverse clinical and laboratory settings.
© 2017 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.
Although intestinal homeostasis is maintained by intestinal stem cells (ISCs), regeneration is impaired upon aging. Here, we first uncover changes in intestinal architecture, cell number, and cell composition upon aging. Second, we identify a decline in the regenerative capacity of ISCs upon aging because of a decline in canonical Wnt signaling in ISCs. Changes in expression of Wnts are found in stem cells themselves and in their niche, including Paneth cells and mesenchyme. Third, reactivating canonical Wnt signaling enhances the function of both murine and human ISCs and, thus, ameliorates aging-associated phenotypes of ISCs in an organoid assay. Our data demonstrate a role for impaired Wnt signaling in physiological aging of ISCs and further identify potential therapeutic avenues to improve ISC regenerative potential upon aging.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Primary tumor organoids grown in three-dimensional culture provide an excellent platform for studying tumor progression, invasion, and drug response. However, organoid generation protocols require fresh tumor tissue, which limits organoid research and clinical use. This study investigates cellular morphology, viability, and drug response of organoids derived from frozen tissues. The results demonstrate that viable organoids can be grown from flash-frozen and thawed tissue and from bulk tissues slowly frozen in DMSO supplemented media. While the freezing process affects the basal metabolic rate of the cells, the optical metabolic imaging index correlates between organoids derived from fresh and frozen tissue and can be used to detect drug response of organoids grown from frozen tissues. The slow, DMSO frozen tissue yielded organoids with more accurate drug response than the flash frozen tissues, and thus bulk tissue should be preserved for subsequent organoid generation by slow freezing in DMSO supplemented media.
OBJECTIVES - Three-dimensional organoids derived from primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas are an attractive platform for testing potential anticancer drugs on patient-specific tissue. Optical metabolic imaging (OMI) is a novel tool used to assess drug-induced changes in cellular metabolism, and its quantitative end point, the OMI index, is evaluated as a biomarker of drug response in pancreatic cancer organoids.
METHODS - Optical metabolic imaging is used to assess both malignant cell and fibroblast drug response within primary murine and human pancreatic cancer organoids.
RESULTS - Anticancer drugs induce significant reductions in the OMI index of murine and human pancreatic cancer organoids. Subpopulation analysis of OMI data revealed heterogeneous drug response and elucidated responding and nonresponding cell populations for a 7-day time course. Optical metabolic imaging index significantly correlates with immunofluorescence detection of cell proliferation and cell death.
CONCLUSIONS - Optical metabolic imaging of primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma organoids is highly sensitive to drug-induced metabolic changes, provides a nondestructive method for monitoring dynamic drug response, and presents a novel platform for patient-specific drug testing and drug development.
Human-pluripotent-stem-cell-derived kidney cells (hPSC-KCs) have important potential for disease modelling and regeneration. Whether the hPSC-KCs can reconstitute tissue-specific phenotypes is currently unknown. Here we show that hPSC-KCs self-organize into kidney organoids that functionally recapitulate tissue-specific epithelial physiology, including disease phenotypes after genome editing. In three-dimensional cultures, epiblast-stage hPSCs form spheroids surrounding hollow, amniotic-like cavities. GSK3β inhibition differentiates spheroids into segmented, nephron-like kidney organoids containing cell populations with characteristics of proximal tubules, podocytes and endothelium. Tubules accumulate dextran and methotrexate transport cargoes, and express kidney injury molecule-1 after nephrotoxic chemical injury. CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of podocalyxin causes junctional organization defects in podocyte-like cells. Knockout of the polycystic kidney disease genes PKD1 or PKD2 induces cyst formation from kidney tubules. All of these functional phenotypes are distinct from effects in epiblast spheroids, indicating that they are tissue specific. Our findings establish a reproducible, versatile three-dimensional framework for human epithelial disease modelling and regenerative medicine applications.