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Peptides and biologics provide unique opportunities to modulate intracellular targets not druggable by conventional small molecules. Most peptides and biologics are fused with cationic uptake moieties or formulated into nanoparticles to facilitate delivery, but these systems typically lack potency due to low uptake and/or entrapment and degradation in endolysosomal compartments. Because most delivery reagents comprise cationic lipids or polymers, there is a lack of reagents specifically optimized to deliver cationic cargo. Herein, we demonstrate the utility of the cytocompatible polymer poly(propylacrylic acid) (PPAA) to potentiate intracellular delivery of cationic biomacromolecules and nano-formulations. This approach demonstrates superior efficacy over all marketed peptide delivery reagents and enhances delivery of nucleic acids and gene editing ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) formulated with both commercially-available and our own custom-synthesized cationic polymer delivery reagents. These results demonstrate the broad potential of PPAA to serve as a platform reagent for the intracellular delivery of cationic cargo.
Intestinal inflammation is a risk factor for colorectal cancer formation, but the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we investigated whether colitis alters the colonic microbiota to enhance its cancer-inducing activity. Colitis increased epithelial oxygenation in the colon of mice and drove an expansion of within the gut-associated microbial community through aerobic respiration. An aerobic expansion of colibactin-producing was required for the cancer-inducing activity of this pathobiont in a mouse model of colitis-associated colorectal cancer formation. We conclude that increased epithelial oxygenation in the colon is associated with an expansion of a prooncogenic driver species, thereby increasing the cancer-inducing activity of the microbiota. One of the environmental factors important for colorectal cancer formation is the gut microbiota, but the habitat filters that control its cancer-inducing activity remain unknown. Here, we show that chemically induced colitis elevates epithelial oxygenation in the colon, thereby driving an expansion of colibactin-producing , a prooncogenic driver species. These data suggest that elevated epithelial oxygenation is a potential risk factor for colorectal cancer formation because the consequent changes in the gut habitat escalate the cancer-inducing activity of the microbiota.
Copyright © 2019 Cevallos et al.
Autopsy measures of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology have been leveraged as endophenotypes in previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, despite evidence of sex differences in Alzheimer's disease risk, sex-stratified models have not been incorporated into previous GWAS analyses. We looked for sex-specific genetic associations with Alzheimer's disease endophenotypes from six brain bank data repositories. The pooled dataset included 2701 males and 3275 females, the majority of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at autopsy (70%). Sex-stratified GWAS were performed within each dataset and then meta-analysed. Loci that reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10-8) in stratified models were further assessed for sex interactions. Additional analyses were performed in independent datasets leveraging cognitive, neuroimaging and CSF endophenotypes, along with age-at-onset data. Outside of the APOE region, one locus on chromosome 7 (rs34331204) showed a sex-specific association with neurofibrillary tangles among males (P = 2.5 × 10-8) but not females (P = 0.85, sex-interaction P = 2.9 × 10-4). In follow-up analyses, rs34331204 was also associated with hippocampal volume, executive function, and age-at-onset only among males. These results implicate a novel locus that confers male-specific protection from tau pathology and highlight the value of assessing genetic associations in a sex-specific manner.
© The Author(s) (2019). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: email@example.com.
Resuscitation with 0.9% Normal Saline (NS), a non-buffered acidic solution, leads to increased morbidity and mortality in the critically ill. The goal of this study was to determine the molecular mechanisms of endothelial injury after exposure to NS. The hypothesis of this investigation is that exposure of endothelium to NS would lead to loss of cell membrane integrity, resulting in release of ATP, activation of the purinergic receptor (P2X7R), and subsequent activation of stress activated signaling pathways and inflammation. Human saphenous vein endothelial cells (HSVEC) incubated in NS, but not buffered electrolyte solution (Plasma-Lyte, PL), exhibited abnormal morphology and increased release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and decreased transendothelial resistance (TEER), suggesting loss of membrane integrity. Incubation of intact rat aorta (RA) or human saphenous vein in NS but not PL led to impaired endothelial-dependent relaxation which was ameliorated by apyrase (hydrolyzes ATP) or SB203580 (p38 MAPK inhibitor). Exposure of HSVEC to NS but not PL led to activation of p38 MAPK and its downstream substrate, MAPKAP kinase 2 (MK2). Treatment of HSVEC with exogenous ATP led to interleukin 1β (IL-1β) release and increased vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM) expression. Treatment of RA with IL-1β led to impaired endothelial relaxation. IL-1β treatment of HSVEC led to increases in p38 MAPK and MK2 phosphorylation, and increased levels of arginase II. Incubation of porcine saphenous vein (PSV) in PL with pH adjusted to 6.0 or less also led to impaired endothelial function, suggesting that the acidic nature of NS is what contributes to endothelial dysfunction. Volume overload resuscitation in a porcine model after hemorrhage with NS, but not PL, led to acidosis and impaired endothelial function. These data suggest that endothelial dysfunction caused by exposure to acidic, non-buffered NS is associated with loss of membrane integrity, release of ATP, and is modulated by P2X7R-mediated inflammatory responses.
With age, long-lived proteins in the human body deteriorate, which can have consequences both for aging and disease. The aging process is often associated with the formation of covalently crosslinked proteins. Currently our knowledge of the mechanism of formation of these crosslinks is limited. In this study, proteomics was used to characterize sites of covalent protein-protein crosslinking and identify a novel mechanism of protein-protein crosslinking in the adult human lens. In this mechanism, Lys residues are crosslinked to C-terminal Asp residues that are formed by non-enzymatic protein truncation. Ten different crosslinks were identified in major lens proteins such as αA-crystallin, αB-crystallin and AQP0. Crosslinking in AQP0 increased significantly with age and also increased significantly in cataract lenses compared with normal lenses. Using model peptides, a mechanism of formation of the Lys-Asp crosslink was elucidated. The mechanism involves spontaneous peptide cleavage on the C-terminal side of Asp residues which can take place in the pH range 5-7.4. Cleavage appears to involve attack by the side chain carboxyl group on the adjacent peptide bond, resulting in the formation of a C-terminal Asp anhydride. This anhydride intermediate can then either react with water to form Asp, or with a nucleophile, such as a free amine group to form a crosslink. If an ε-amino group of Lys or an N-terminal amine group attacks the anhydride, a covalent protein-protein crosslink will be formed. This bi-phasic mechanism represents the first report to link two spontaneous events: protein cleavage and crosslinking that are characteristic of long-lived proteins.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
We evaluated the associations of subjective (self-reported everyday cognition [ECog]) and objective cognitive measures with regional amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau accumulation in 86 clinically normal elderly subjects from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Regression analyses were conducted to identify whether individual ECog domains (Memory, Language, Organization, Planning, Visuospatial, and Divided Attention) were equally or differentially associated with regional [F]florbetapir and [F]flortaucipir uptake and how these associations compared to those obtained with objective cognitive measures. A texture analysis, the weighted 2-point correlation, was used as an additional approach for estimating the whole-brain tau burden without positron emission tomography intensity normalization. Although the strongest models for ECog domains included either tau (planning and visuospatial) or Aβ (memory and organization), the strongest models for all objective measures included Aβ. In Aβ-negative participants, the strongest models for all ECog domains of executive functioning included tau. Our results indicate differential associations of individual subjective cognitive domains with Aβ and tau in clinically normal adults. Detailed characterization of ECog may render a valuable prescreening tool for pathological prediction.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Tau protein is found to be aggregated and hyperphosphorylated (p-tau) in many neurologic disorders, including Parkinson disease (PD) and related parkinsonisms, Alzheimer disease, traumatic brain injury, and even in normal aging. Although not known to produce autoimmune responses, we hypothesized that the appearance of aggregated tau and p-tau with disease could activate the immune system. We thus compared T cell responses to tau and p-tau-derived peptides between PD patients, age-matched healthy controls, and young healthy controls (<35 y old; who are less likely to have high levels of tau aggregates). All groups exhibited CD4 T cell responses to tau-derived peptides, which were associated with secretion of IFN-γ, IL-5, and/or IL-4. The PD and control participants exhibited a similar magnitude and breadth of responses. Some tau-derived epitopes, consisting of both unmodified and p-tau residues, were more highly represented in PD participants. These results were verified in an independent set of PD and control donors (either age-matched or young controls). Thus, T cells recognizing tau epitopes escape central and peripheral tolerance in relatively high numbers, and the magnitude and nature of these responses are not modulated by age or PD disease.
Copyright © 2019 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
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.
The chromatin-associated protein WDR5 is a promising target for pharmacological inhibition in cancer. Drug discovery efforts center on the blockade of the "WIN site" of WDR5, a well-defined pocket that is amenable to small molecule inhibition. Various cancer contexts have been proposed to be targets for WIN site inhibitors, but a lack of understanding of WDR5 target genes and of the primary effects of WIN site inhibitors hampers their utility. Here, by the discovery of potent WIN site inhibitors, we demonstrate that the WIN site links WDR5 to chromatin at a small cohort of loci, including a specific subset of ribosome protein genes. WIN site inhibitors rapidly displace WDR5 from chromatin and decrease the expression of associated genes, causing translational inhibition, nucleolar stress, and p53 induction. Our studies define a mode by which WDR5 engages chromatin and forecast that WIN site blockade could have utility against multiple cancer types.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
All nephrons in the mammalian kidney arise from a transient nephron progenitor population that is lost close to the time of birth. The generation of new nephron progenitors and their maintenance in culture are central to the success of kidney regenerative strategies. Using a lentiviral screening approach, we previously generated a human induced nephron progenitor-like state in vitro using a pool of six transcription factors. Here, we sought to develop a more efficient approach for direct reprogramming of human cells that could be applied in vivo. PiggyBac transposons are a non-viral integrating gene delivery system that is suitable for in vivo use and allows for simultaneous delivery of multiple genes. Using an inducible piggyBac transposon system, we optimized a protocol for the direct reprogramming of HK2 cells to induced nephron progenitor-like cells with expression of only 3 transcription factors (SNAI2, EYA1, and SIX1). Culture in conditions supportive of the nephron progenitor state further increased the expression of nephron progenitor genes. The refined protocol was then applied to primary human renal epithelial cells, which integrated into developing nephron structures in vitro and in vivo. Such inducible reprogramming to nephron progenitor-like cells could facilitate direct cellular reprogramming for kidney regeneration.
Copyright © 2019 International Society of Nephrology. All rights reserved.