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BACKGROUND - Vascular dysfunction is commonly seen during severe viral infections. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), has been postulated to play an important role in regulating vascular homeostasis as well as propagation of the inflammatory reaction. We hypothesized that the loss of eNOS would negatively impact toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) signaling and worsen vascular function to viral challenge.
METHODS - Human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs) were exposed to either control or eNOS siRNA and then treated with Poly I:C, a TLR3 agonist and mimicker of dsRNA viruses. Cells were assessed for protein-protein associations, cytokine and chemokine analysis as well as transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) as a surrogate of permeability.
RESULTS - HMVECs that had reduced eNOS expression had a significantly elevated increase in IL-6, IL-8 and IP-10 production after Poly I:C. In addition, the knockdown of eNOS enhanced the change in TEER after Poly I:C stimulation. Western blot analysis showed enhanced phosphorylation of p38 in sieNOS treated cells with Poly I:C compared to siControl cells. Proximity ligation assays further demonstrated direct eNOS-p38 protein-protein interactions. The addition of the p38 inhibitor, SB203580, in eNOS knockdown cells reduced both cytokine production after Poly I:C, and as well as mitigated the reduction in TEER, suggesting a direct link between eNOS and p38 in TLR3 signaling.
CONCLUSIONS - These results suggest that reduction of eNOS increases TLR3-mediated inflammation in human endothelial cells in a p38-dependent manner. This finding has important implications for understanding the pathogenesis of severe viral infections and the associated vascular dysfunction.
IMPACT STATEMENT - Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is associated with vasospasm that is refractory to traditional vasodilators, and inhibition of vasospasm after SAH remains a large unmet clinical need. SAH causes changes in the phosphorylation state of the small heat shock proteins (HSPs), HSP20 and HSP27, in the vasospastic vessels. In this study, the levels of HSP27 and HSP20 were manipulated using nanotechnology to mimic the intracellular phenotype of SAH-induced vasospasm, and the effect of this manipulation was tested on vasomotor responses in intact tissues. This work provides insight into potential therapeutic targets for the development of more effective treatments for SAH induced vasospasm.
Metastasis is the most lethal aspect of cancer, yet current therapeutic strategies do not target its key rate-limiting steps. We have previously shown that the entry of cancer cells into the blood stream, or intravasation, is highly dependent upon in vivo cancer cell motility, making it an attractive therapeutic target. To systemically identify genes required for tumor cell motility in an in vivo tumor microenvironment, we established a novel quantitative in vivo screening platform based on intravital imaging of human cancer metastasis in ex ovo avian embryos. Utilizing this platform to screen a genome-wide shRNA library, we identified a panel of novel genes whose function is required for productive cancer cell motility in vivo, and whose expression is closely associated with metastatic risk in human cancers. The RNAi-mediated inhibition of these gene targets resulted in a nearly total (>99.5%) block of spontaneous cancer metastasis in vivo.
Small-molecule inhibitors of the mTORC2 kinase (torkinibs) have shown efficacy in early clinical trials. However, the torkinibs under study also inhibit the other mTOR-containing complex mTORC1. While mTORC1/mTORC2 combined inhibition may be beneficial in cancer cells, recent reports describe compensatory cell survival upon mTORC1 inhibition due to loss of negative feedback on PI3K, increased autophagy, and increased macropinocytosis. Genetic models suggest that selective mTORC2 inhibition would be effective in breast cancers, but the lack of selective small-molecule inhibitors of mTORC2 have precluded testing of this hypothesis to date. Here we report the engineering of a nanoparticle-based RNAi therapeutic that can effectively silence the mTORC2 obligate cofactor Rictor. Nanoparticle-based Rictor ablation in HER2-amplified breast tumors was achieved following intratumoral and intravenous delivery, decreasing Akt phosphorylation and increasing tumor cell killing. Selective mTORC2 inhibition , combined with the HER2 inhibitor lapatinib, decreased the growth of HER2-amplified breast cancers to a greater extent than either agent alone, suggesting that mTORC2 promotes lapatinib resistance, but is overcome by mTORC2 inhibition. Importantly, selective mTORC2 inhibition was effective in a triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) model, decreasing Akt phosphorylation and tumor growth, consistent with our findings that RICTOR mRNA correlates with worse outcome in patients with basal-like TNBC. Together, our results offer preclinical validation of a novel RNAi delivery platform for therapeutic gene ablation in breast cancer, and they show that mTORC2-selective targeting is feasible and efficacious in this disease setting. This study describes a nanomedicine to effectively inhibit the growth regulatory kinase mTORC2 in a preclinical model of breast cancer, targeting an important pathogenic enzyme in that setting that has been undruggable to date. .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a pediatric disorder of dysregulated growth and differentiation caused by loss of function mutations in either the TSC1 or TSC2 genes, which regulate mTOR kinase activity. To study aberrations of early development in TSC, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells using dermal fibroblasts obtained from patients with TSC. During validation, we found that stem cells generated from TSC patients had a very high rate of integration of the reprogramming plasmid containing a shRNA against TP53. We also found that loss of one allele of TSC2 in human fibroblasts is sufficient to increase p53 levels and impair stem cell reprogramming. Increased p53 was also observed in TSC2 heterozygous and homozygous mutant human stem cells, suggesting that the interactions between TSC2 and p53 are consistent across cell types and gene dosage. These results support important contributions of TSC2 heterozygous and homozygous mutant cells to the pathogenesis of TSC and the important role of p53 during reprogramming.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com.
Clinical translation of therapies based on small interfering RNA (siRNA) is hampered by siRNA's comprehensively poor pharmacokinetic properties, which necessitate molecule modifications and complex delivery strategies. We sought an alternative approach to commonly used nanoparticle carriers by leveraging the long-lived endogenous serum protein albumin as an siRNA carrier. We synthesized siRNA conjugated to a diacyl lipid moiety (siRNA-L), which rapidly binds albumin in situ. siRNA-L, in comparison with unmodified siRNA, exhibited a 5.7-fold increase in circulation half-life, an 8.6-fold increase in bioavailability, and reduced renal accumulation. Benchmarked against leading commercial siRNA nanocarrier in vivo jetPEI, siRNA-L achieved 19-fold greater tumor accumulation and 46-fold increase in per-tumor-cell uptake in a mouse orthotopic model of human triple-negative breast cancer. siRNA-L penetrated tumor tissue rapidly and homogeneously; 30 min after i.v. injection, siRNA-L achieved uptake in 99% of tumor cells, compared with 60% for jetPEI. Remarkably, siRNA-L achieved a tumor:liver accumulation ratio >40:1 vs. <3:1 for jetPEI. The improved pharmacokinetic properties of siRNA-L facilitated significant tumor gene silencing for 7 d after two i.v. doses. Proof-of-concept was extended to a patient-derived xenograft model, in which jetPEI tumor accumulation was reduced fourfold relative to the same formulation in the orthotopic model. The siRNA-L tumor accumulation diminished only twofold, suggesting that the superior tumor distribution of the conjugate over nanoparticles will be accentuated in clinical situations. These data reveal the immense promise of in situ albumin targeting for development of translational, carrier-free RNAi-based cancer therapies.
Although siRNA-based nanomedicines hold promise for cancer treatment, conventional siRNA-polymer complex (polyplex) nanocarrier systems have poor pharmacokinetics following intravenous delivery, hindering tumor accumulation. Here, we determined the impact of surface chemistry on the in vivo pharmacokinetics and tumor delivery of siRNA polyplexes. A library of diblock polymers was synthesized, all containing the same pH-responsive, endosomolytic polyplex core-forming block but different corona blocks: 5 kDa (benchmark) and 20 kDa linear polyethylene glycol (PEG), 10 kDa and 20 kDa brush-like poly(oligo ethylene glycol), and 10 kDa and 20 kDa zwitterionic phosphorylcholine-based polymers (PMPC). In vitro, it was found that 20 kDa PEG and 20 kDa PMPC had the highest stability in the presence of salt or heparin and were the most effective at blocking protein adsorption. Following intravenous delivery, 20 kDa PEG and PMPC coronas both extended circulation half-lives 5-fold compared to 5 kDa PEG. However, in mouse orthotopic xenograft tumors, zwitterionic PMPC-based polyplexes showed highest in vivo luciferase silencing (>75% knockdown for 10 days with single IV 1 mg/kg dose) and 3-fold higher average tumor cell uptake than 5 kDa PEG polyplexes (20 kDa PEG polyplexes were only 2-fold higher than 5 kDa PEG). These results show that high molecular weight zwitterionic polyplex coronas significantly enhance siRNA polyplex pharmacokinetics without sacrificing polyplex uptake and bioactivity within tumors when compared to traditional PEG architectures.
A rationally-designed library of ternary siRNA polyplexes was developed and screened for gene silencing efficacy in vitro and in vivo with the goal of overcoming both cell-level and systemic delivery barriers. [2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate] (DMAEMA) was homopolymerized or copolymerized (50mol% each) with butyl methacrylate (BMA) from a reversible addition - fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) chain transfer agent, with and without pre-conjugation to polyethylene glycol (PEG). Both single block polymers were tested as core-forming units, and both PEGylated, diblock polymers were screened as corona-forming units. Ternary siRNA polyplexes were assembled with varied amounts and ratios of core-forming polymers to PEGylated corona-forming polymers. The impact of polymer composition/ratio, hydrophobe (BMA) placement, and surface PEGylation density was correlated to important outcomes such as polyplex size, stability, pH-dependent membrane disruptive activity, biocompatibility, and gene silencing efficiency. The lead formulation, DB4-PDB12, was optimally PEGylated not only to ensure colloidal stability (no change in size by DLS between 0 and 24h) and neutral surface charge (0.139mV) but also to maintain higher cell uptake (>90% positive cells) than the most densely PEGylated particles. The DB4-PDB12 polyplexes also incorporated BMA in both the polyplex core- and corona-forming polymers, resulting in robust endosomolysis and in vitro siRNA silencing (~85% protein level knockdown) of the model gene luciferase across multiple cell types. Further, the DB4-PDB12 polyplexes exhibited greater stability, increased blood circulation time, reduced renal clearance, increased tumor biodistribution, and greater silencing of luciferase compared to our previously-optimized, binary parent formulation following intravenous (i.v.) delivery. This polyplex library approach enabled concomitant optimization of the composition and ratio of core- and corona-forming polymers (indirectly tuning PEGylation density) and identification of a ternary nanomedicine optimized to overcome important siRNA delivery barriers in vitro and in vivo.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Leucine Rich Repeat Containing 8A (LRRC8A) is a required component of volume-regulated anion channels (VRACs). In vascular smooth muscle cells, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) activates VRAC via type 1 TNFα receptors (TNFR1), and this requires superoxide (O) production by NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1). VRAC inhibitors suppress the inflammatory response to TNFα by an unknown mechanism. We hypothesized that LRRC8A directly supports Nox1 activity, providing a link between VRAC current and inflammatory signaling. VRAC inhibition by 4-(2-butyl-6,7-dichlor-2-cyclopentylindan-1-on-5-yl) oxobutyric acid (DCPIB) impaired NF-κB activation by TNFα. LRRC8A siRNA reduced the magnitude of VRAC and inhibited TNFα-induced NF-κB activation, iNOS and VCAM expression, and proliferation of VSMCs. Signaling steps disrupted by both siLRRC8A and DCPIB included; extracellular O production by Nox1, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation and endocytosis of TNFR1. Extracellular superoxide dismutase, but not catalase, selectively inhibited TNFR1 endocytosis and JNK phosphorylation. Thus, O is the critical extracellular oxidant for TNFR signal transduction. Reducing JNK expression (siJNK) increased extracellular O suggesting that JNK provides important negative feedback regulation to Nox1 at the plasma membrane. LRRC8A co-localized by immunostaining, and co-immunoprecipitated with, both Nox1 and its p22phox subunit. LRRC8A is a component of the Nox1 signaling complex. It is required for extracellular O production, which is in turn essential for TNFR1 endocytosis. These data are the first to provide a molecular mechanism for the potent anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory effects of VRAC inhibition.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivered from reactive oxygen species-degradable tissue engineering scaffolds promotes diabetic wound healing in rats. Porous poly(thioketal-urethane) scaffolds implanted in diabetic wounds locally deliver siRNA that inhibits the expression of prolyl hydroxylase domain protein 2, thereby increasing the expression of progrowth genes and increasing vasculature, proliferating cells, and tissue development in diabetic wounds.
© 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.