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Understanding the genetic architecture of host proteins interacting with SARS-CoV-2 or mediating the maladaptive host response to COVID-19 can help to identify new or repurpose existing drugs targeting those proteins. We present a genetic discovery study of 179 such host proteins among 10,708 individuals using an aptamer-based technique. We identify 220 host DNA sequence variants acting in cis (MAF 0.01-49.9%) and explaining 0.3-70.9% of the variance of 97 of these proteins, including 45 with no previously known protein quantitative trait loci (pQTL) and 38 encoding current drug targets. Systematic characterization of pQTLs across the phenome identified protein-drug-disease links and evidence that putative viral interaction partners such as MARK3 affect immune response. Our results accelerate the evaluation and prioritization of new drug development programmes and repurposing of trials to prevent, treat or reduce adverse outcomes. Rapid sharing and detailed interrogation of results is facilitated through an interactive webserver ( https://omicscience.org/apps/covidpgwas/ ).
Abnormal expression or function of several classes of kinases contribute to the development of many types of solid and hematologic malignancies. TKs (tyrosine kinases) in particular play a role in tumor growth, metastasis, neovascularization, suppression of immune surveillance, and drug resistance. TKIs (tyrosine kinase inhibitors) targeted to TKs such as BCR-ABL1, VEGF receptors, PDGF receptors, have transformed therapy of certain forms of cancer by providing excellent efficacy with relatively low adverse event rates. Yet some of these agents have been associated with high rates of vascular events, presumably from prothrombotic complications that result in myocardial infarction, stroke, and critical limb ischemia. This review describes the scope of the problem evidenced by clinical experience with some of the most commonly used TKIs, with a focus on TKIs targeted to the BCR-ABL1 (breakpoint cluster region-Abelson 1) translocation. We also discuss the potential mechanisms responsible for arterial thrombotic complications that could lead to mitigation strategies or unique TK targeting strategies to reduce adverse event rates without compromising efficacy.
Here, we present a joint-tissue imputation (JTI) approach and a Mendelian randomization framework for causal inference, MR-JTI. JTI borrows information across transcriptomes of different tissues, leveraging shared genetic regulation, to improve prediction performance in a tissue-dependent manner. Notably, JTI includes the single-tissue imputation method PrediXcan as a special case and outperforms other single-tissue approaches (the Bayesian sparse linear mixed model and Dirichlet process regression). MR-JTI models variant-level heterogeneity (primarily due to horizontal pleiotropy, addressing a major challenge of transcriptome-wide association study interpretation) and performs causal inference with type I error control. We make explicit the connection between the genetic architecture of gene expression and of complex traits and the suitability of Mendelian randomization as a causal inference strategy for transcriptome-wide association studies. We provide a resource of imputation models generated from GTEx and PsychENCODE panels. Analysis of biobanks and meta-analysis data, and extensive simulations show substantially improved statistical power, replication and causal mapping rate for JTI relative to existing approaches.
Coessentiality mapping has been useful to systematically cluster genes into biological pathways and identify gene functions. Here, using the debiased sparse partial correlation (DSPC) method, we construct a functional coessentiality map for cellular metabolic processes across human cancer cell lines. This analysis reveals 35 modules associated with known metabolic pathways and further assigns metabolic functions to unknown genes. In particular, we identify C12orf49 as an essential regulator of cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism in mammalian cells. Mechanistically, C12orf49 localizes to the Golgi, binds membrane-bound transcription factor peptidase, site 1 (MBTPS1, site 1 protease) and is necessary for the cleavage of its substrates, including sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) transcription factors. This function depends on the evolutionarily conserved uncharacterized domain (DUF2054) and promotes cell proliferation under cholesterol depletion. Notably, c12orf49 depletion in zebrafish blocks dietary lipid clearance in vivo, mimicking the phenotype of mbtps1 mutants. Finally, in an electronic health record (EHR)-linked DNA biobank, C12orf49 is associated with hyperlipidaemia through phenome analysis. Altogether, our findings reveal a conserved role for C12orf49 in cholesterol and lipid homeostasis and provide a platform to identify unknown components of other metabolic pathways.
The microtubule cytoskeleton of pancreatic islet β-cells regulates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). We have reported that the microtubule-mediated movement of insulin vesicles away from the plasma membrane limits insulin secretion. High glucose-induced remodeling of microtubule network facilitates robust GSIS. This remodeling involves disassembly of old microtubules and nucleation of new microtubules. Here, we examine the mechanisms whereby glucose stimulation decreases microtubule lifetimes in β-cells. Using real-time imaging of photoconverted microtubules, we demonstrate that high levels of glucose induce rapid microtubule disassembly preferentially in the periphery of individual β-cells, and this process is mediated by the phosphorylation of microtubule-associated protein tau. Specifically, high glucose induces tau hyper-phosphorylation via glucose-responsive kinases GSK3, PKA, PKC, and CDK5. This causes dissociation of tau from and subsequent destabilization of microtubules. Consequently, tau knockdown in mouse islet β-cells facilitates microtubule turnover, causing increased basal insulin secretion, depleting insulin vesicles from the cytoplasm, and impairing GSIS. More importantly, tau knockdown uncouples microtubule destabilization from glucose stimulation. These findings suggest that tau suppresses peripheral microtubules turning over to restrict insulin oversecretion in basal conditions and preserve the insulin pool that can be released following stimulation; high glucose promotes tau phosphorylation to enhance microtubule disassembly to acutely enhance GSIS.
© 2020 by the American Diabetes Association.
BACKGROUND/AIMS - Loss-of-Function (LOF) of the potassium chloride cotransporter 3 (KCC3) results in hereditary sensorimotor neuropathy with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (HSMN/ACC). Our KCC3 knockout mouse recapitulated axonal swelling and tissue vacuolization observed in autopsies of individuals with HSMN/ACC. We previously documented the first human case of a KCC3 gain-of-function (GOF) in which the patient also exhibited severe peripheral neuropathy. Furthermore, the GOF mouse model exhibited shrunken axons implicating the cotransporter in cell volume homeostasis. It is unclear how both KCC3 LOF and GOF lead to peripheral neuropathy. Thus, we sought to study differences in cell volume regulation of dorsal root ganglion neurons isolated from different mouse lines.
METHODS - Using wide-field microscopy, we measured calcein fluorescence intensity through pinhole measurements at the center of cells and compared cell swelling and cell volume regulation/recovery of wild-type, LOF, and GOF dorsal root ganglia neurons, as well as wild-type neurons treated with a KCC-specific inhibitor.
RESULTS - In contrast to control neurons that swell and volume regulate under a hypotonic challenge, neurons lacking KCC3 swell but fail to volume regulate. Similar data were observed in wild-type neurons treated with the KCC inhibitor. We also show that sensory neurons expressing a constitutively active KCC3 exhibited a blunted swelling phase compared to wild-type neurons, questioning the purely osmotic nature of the swelling phase.
CONCLUSION - These findings demonstrate the integral role of KCC3 in cell volume homeostasis and support the idea that cell volume homeostasis is critical to the health of peripheral nerves.
© Copyright by the Author(s). Published by Cell Physiol Biochem Press.
During β-adrenergic stimulation of brown adipose tissue (BAT), p38 phosphorylates the activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2) which then translocates to the nucleus to activate the expression of Ucp1 and Pgc-1α. The mechanisms underlying ATF2 target activation are unknown. Here we demonstrate that p62 (Sqstm1) binds to ATF2 to orchestrate activation of the Ucp1 enhancer and Pgc-1α promoter. P62 mice show reduced expression of Ucp1 and Pgc-1α with impaired ATF2 genomic binding. Modulation of Ucp1 and Pgc-1α expression through p62 regulation of ATF2 signaling is demonstrated in vitro and in vivo in p62 mice, global p62 and Ucp1-Cre p62 mice. BAT dysfunction resulting from p62 deficiency is manifest after birth and obesity subsequently develops despite normal food intake, intestinal nutrient absorption and locomotor activity. In summary, our data identify p62 as a master regulator of BAT function in that it controls the Ucp1 pathway through regulation of ATF2 genomic binding.
The B cell CLL/lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) family of proteins control the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis, also known as intrinsic apoptosis. Direct binding between members of the BCL-2 family regulates mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) after an apoptotic insult. The ability of the cell to sense stress and translate it into a death signal has been a major theme of research for nearly three decades; however, other mechanisms by which the BCL-2 family coordinates cellular homeostasis beyond its role in initiating apoptosis are emerging. One developing area of research is understanding how the BCL-2 family of proteins regulate development using pluripotent stem cells as a model system. Understanding BCL-2 family-mediated regulation of mitochondrial homeostasis in cell death and beyond would uncover new facets of stem cell maintenance and differentiation potential.
© 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVES - Idiopathic subglottic stenosis (iSGS) is an inflammatory process leading to fibrosis and narrowing of the laryngotracheal airway. There is variability in patient response to surgical intervention, but the mechanisms underlying this variability are unknown. In this pilot study, we measure expression of candidate targets at the mucosal surface of the subglottis in iSGS patients. We aim to identify putative biomarkers for iSGS that provide insights into the molecular basis of disease progression, yield a gene signature for the disease, and/or predict a response to therapy.
STUDY DESIGN - In vitro comparative study of human cells.
METHODS - Levels of candidate transcripts and proteins were measured in healthy and stenotic laryngotracheal tissue specimens taken from the mucosal surface in 16 iSGS patients undergoing endoscopic balloon dilation. Pre- and post-operative pulmonary function test and patient reported voice and breathing outcomes were also assessed. Unsupervised clustering was used to define patient subgroups based on expression profile.
RESULTS - Pulmonary function and voice and breathing outcome metrics demonstrated significant post-operative improvement. Transcript levels of αSMA, CCL2, COL1A1, COL3A1, FN1, IFNG, and TGFB1 and protein levels of CCL2, IFNG, and IL-6 were significantly upregulated in stenotic as compared to healthy tissues. Marked heterogeneity was observed in the patterns of expression of candidate markers across individuals and tissue types. Patient subgroups defined by expression profile did not show a statistically significant difference in dilation interval.
CONCLUSION - Pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic pathways are significantly upregulated along the mucosal surface of stenotic laryngotracheal tissues, and CCL2 and IFNG merit further investigation as potential iSGS biomarkers.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE - 4 Laryngoscope, 131:342-349, 2021.
© 2020 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.
Although cellular stress response is important for maintaining function and survival, overactivation of late-stage stress effectors cause dysfunction and death. We show that the myelin transcription factors (TFs) Myt1 (Nzf2), Myt2 (Myt1l, Nztf1, and Png-1), and Myt3 (St18 and Nzf3) prevent such overactivation in islet β cells. Thus, we found that co-inactivating the Myt TFs in mouse pancreatic progenitors compromised postnatal β cell function, proliferation, and survival, preceded by upregulation of late-stage stress-response genes activating transcription factors (e.g., Atf4) and heat-shock proteins (Hsps). Myt1 binds putative enhancers of Atf4 and Hsps, whose overexpression largely recapitulated the Myt-mutant phenotypes. Moreover, Myt(MYT)-TF levels were upregulated in mouse and human β cells during metabolic stress-induced compensation but downregulated in dysfunctional type 2 diabetic (T2D) human β cells. Lastly, MYT knockdown caused stress-gene overactivation and death in human EndoC-βH1 cells. These findings suggest that Myt TFs are essential restrictors of stress-response overactivity.
Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.