Manoli I, Sysol JR, Epping MW, Li L, Wang C, Sloan JL, Pass A, Gagné J, Ktena YP, Li L, Trivedi NS, Ouattara B, Zerfas PM, Hoffmann V, Abu-Asab M, Tsokos MG, Kleiner DE, Garone C, Cusmano-Ozog K, Enns GM, Vernon HJ, Andersson HC, Grunewald S, Elkahloun AG, Girard CL, Schnermann J, DiMauro S, Andres-Mateos E, Vandenberghe LH, Chandler RJ, Venditti CP. FGF21 underlies a hormetic response to metabolic stress in methylmalonic acidemia. JCI Insight 2018;3(23)Abstract
Methylmalonic acidemia (MMA), an organic acidemia characterized by metabolic instability and multiorgan complications, is most frequently caused by mutations in methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MUT). To define the metabolic adaptations in MMA in acute and chronic settings, we studied a mouse model generated by transgenic expression of Mut in the muscle. Mut-/-;TgINS-MCK-Mut mice accurately replicate the hepatorenal mitochondriopathy and growth failure seen in severely affected patients and were used to characterize the response to fasting. The hepatic transcriptome in MMA mice was characterized by the chronic activation of stress-related pathways and an aberrant fasting response when compared with controls. A key metabolic regulator, Fgf21, emerged as a significantly dysregulated transcript in mice and was subsequently studied in a large patient cohort. The concentration of plasma FGF21 in MMA patients correlated with disease subtype, growth indices, and markers of mitochondrial dysfunction but was not affected by renal disease. Restoration of liver Mut activity, by transgenesis and liver-directed gene therapy in mice or liver transplantation in patients, drastically reduced plasma FGF21 and was associated with improved outcomes. Our studies identify mitocellular hormesis as a hepatic adaptation to metabolic stress in MMA and define FGF21 as a highly predictive disease biomarker.
The adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector is a preferred delivery platform for in vivo gene therapy. Natural and engineered variations of the AAV capsid affect a plurality of phenotypes relevant to gene therapy, including vector production and host tropism. Fundamental to these aspects is the mechanism of AAV capsid assembly. Here, the role of the viral co-factor assembly-activating protein (AAP) was evaluated in 12 naturally occurring AAVs and 9 putative ancestral capsid intermediates. The results demonstrate increased capsid protein stability and VP-VP interactions in the presence of AAP. The capsid's dependence on AAP can be partly overcome by strengthening interactions between monomers within the assembly, as illustrated by the transfer of a minimal motif defined by a phenotype-to-phylogeny mapping method. These findings suggest that the emergence of AAP within the Dependovirus genus relaxes structural constraints on AAV assembly in favor of increasing the degrees of freedom for the capsid to evolve.
The medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) gives rise to the majority of mouse forebrain interneurons. Here, we examine the lineage relationship among MGE-derived interneurons using a replication-defective retroviral library containing a highly diverse set of DNA barcodes. Recovering the barcodes from the mature progeny of infected progenitor cells enabled us to unambiguously determine their respective lineal relationship. We found that clonal dispersion occurs across large areas of the brain and is not restricted by anatomical divisions. As such, sibling interneurons can populate the cortex, hippocampus striatum, and globus pallidus. The majority of interneurons appeared to be generated from asymmetric divisions of MGE progenitor cells, followed by symmetric divisions within the subventricular zone. Altogether, our findings uncover that lineage relationships do not appear to determine interneuron allocation to particular regions. As such, it is likely that clonally related interneurons have considerable flexibility as to the particular forebrain circuits to which they can contribute.
BACKGROUND: The vertebrate retina comprises sensory neurons, the photoreceptors, as well as many other types of neurons and one type of glial cell. These cells are generated by multipotent and restricted retinal progenitor cells (RPCs), which express Notch1. Loss of Notch1 in RPCs late during retinal development results in the overproduction of rod photoreceptors at the expense of interneurons and glia. RESULTS: To examine the molecular underpinnings of this observation, microarray analysis of single retinal cells from wild-type or Notch1 conditional knockout retinas was performed. In situ hybridization was carried out to validate some of the findings. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of Notch1-mutant cells lost expression of known Notch target genes. These cells also had low levels of RPC and cell cycle genes, and robustly up-regulated rod precursor genes. In addition, single wild-type cells, in which cell cycle marker genes were down-regulated, expressed markers of both rod photoreceptors and interneurons.
Nuclear hormone receptors play a major role in the development of many tissues. This study uncovers a novel role for testicular receptor 2 (Tr2, Nr2c1) in defining the early phase of retinal development and regulating normal retinal cell patterning and topography. The mammalian retina undergoes an overlapping yet biphasic period of development to generate all seven retinal cell types. We discovered that Nr2c1 expression coincides with development of the early retinal cells. Loss of Nr2c1 causes a severe vision deficit and impacts early, but not late retina cell types. Retinal cone cell topography is disrupted with an increase in displaced amacrine cells. Additionally, genetic background significantly impacts phenotypic outcome of cone photoreceptor cells but not amacrine cells. Chromatin-IP experiments reveal NR2C1 regulates early cell transcription factors that regulate retinal progenitor cells during development, including amacrine (Satb2) and cone photoreceptor regulators thyroid and retinoic acid receptors. This study supports a role for Nr2c1 in defining the biphasic period of retinal development and specifically influencing the early phase of retinal cell fate.
Because there are currently no biological treatments for hearing loss, we sought to advance gene therapy approaches to treat genetic deafness. We focused on Usher syndrome, a devastating genetic disorder that causes blindness, balance disorders and profound deafness, and studied a knock-in mouse model, Ush1c c.216G>A, for Usher syndrome type IC (USH1C). As restoration of complex auditory and balance function is likely to require gene delivery systems that target auditory and vestibular sensory cells with high efficiency, we delivered wild-type Ush1c into the inner ear of Ush1c c.216G>A mice using a synthetic adeno-associated viral vector, Anc80L65, shown to transduce 80-90% of sensory hair cells. We demonstrate recovery of gene and protein expression, restoration of sensory cell function, rescue of complex auditory function and recovery of hearing and balance behavior to near wild-type levels. The data represent unprecedented recovery of inner ear function and suggest that biological therapies to treat deafness may be suitable for translation to humans with genetic inner ear disorders.
Corneal transplantation is the most commonly performed organ transplantation. Immune privilege of the cornea is widely recognized, partly because of the relatively favorable outcome of corneal grafts. The first-time recipient of corneal allografts in an avascular, low-risk setting can expect a 90% success rate without systemic immunosuppressive agents and histocompatibility matching. However, immunologic rejection remains the major cause of graft failure, particularly in patients with a high risk for rejection. Corticosteroids remain the first-line therapy for the prevention and treatment of immune rejection. However, current pharmacological measures are limited in their side-effect profiles, repeated application, lack of targeted response, and short duration of action. Experimental ocular gene therapy may thus present new horizons in immunomodulation. From efficient viral vectors to sustainable alternative splicing, we discuss the progress of gene therapy in promoting graft survival and postulate further avenues for gene-mediated prevention of allogeneic graft rejection.
Reactive gliosis is a complex process that involves changes in gene expression and morphological remodeling. The mouse optic nerve, where astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes interact with retinal ganglion cell axons and each other, is a particularly suitable model for studying the molecular mechanisms of reactive gliosis. We triggered gliosis at the mouse optic nerve head by retro orbital nerve crush. We followed the expression profiles of 14,000 genes from 1 day to 3 months, as the optic nerve formed a glial scar. The transcriptome showed profound changes. These were greatest shortly after injury; the numbers of differentially regulated genes then dropped, returning nearly to resting levels by 3 months. Different genes were modulated with very different time courses, and functionally distinct groups of genes responded in partially overlapping waves. These correspond roughly to two quick waves of inflammation and cell proliferation, a slow wave of tissue remodeling and debris removal, and a final stationary phase that primarily reflects permanent structural changes in the axons. Responses from astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes were distinctively different, both molecularly and morphologically. Comparisons to other models of brain injury and to glaucoma indicated that the glial responses depended on both the tissue and the injury. Attempts to modulate glial function after axonal injuries should consider different mechanistic targets at different times following the insult.
Within the next decade, we will see many gene therapy clinical trials for eye diseases progress, which may lead to treatments for thousands of visually impaired people around the world. To target retinal diseases that affect specific cell types, several recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotypes have been generated and used successfully in pre-clinical mouse studies. Because there are numerous anatomic, and physiologic differences between the eyes of mice and 'men' and because surgical delivery approaches and immunologic responses also differ between these species, we evaluated the transduction characteristics of two promising new serotypes AAV7m8 and AAV8BP2, in retinas of animals that are most similar to those of humans: non-human primates (NHPs). We report that while AAV7m8 efficiently targets a variety of cell types by subretinal injection in NHPs, transduction after intravitreal delivery was mostly restricted to the inner retina at lower doses that did not induce an immune response. AAV8BP2 targets the cone photoreceptors efficiently but bipolar cells inefficiently by subretinal injection. Additionally, we observed transduction of both serotypes in the anterior chamber of the eye and the optic pathway of the brain post intravitreal delivery. Finally, we assessed immunogenicity, keeping in mind that these AAV capsids may be used in future clinical trials. We found that AAV8BP2 had a better safety profile compared to AAV7m8 even at the highest doses administered. Our studies underscore the differences in AAV transduction between mice and primates highlighting the importance of careful evaluation of therapeutic vectors in NHPs prior to moving into clinical trials.
DNA damage induced by reactive carbonyls (mainly methylglyoxal and glyoxal), called DNA glycation, is quantitatively as important as oxidative damage. DNA glycation is associated with increased mutation frequency, DNA strand breaks, and cytotoxicity. However, in contrast to guanine oxidation repair, how glycated DNA is repaired remains undetermined. Here, we found that the parkinsonism-associated protein DJ-1 and its bacterial homologs Hsp31, YhbO, and YajL could repair methylglyoxal- and glyoxal-glycated nucleotides and nucleic acids. DJ-1-depleted cells displayed increased levels of glycated DNA, DNA strand breaks, and phosphorylated p53. Deglycase-deficient bacterial mutants displayed increased levels of glycated DNA and RNA and exhibited strong mutator phenotypes. Thus, DJ-1 and its prokaryotic homologs constitute a major nucleotide repair system that we name guanine glycation repair.
BACKGROUND: Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) are an urgent global health threat. Inferring the dynamics of local CRE dissemination is currently limited by our inability to confidently trace the spread of resistance determinants to unrelated bacterial hosts. Whole-genome sequence comparison is useful for identifying CRE clonal transmission and outbreaks, but high-frequency horizontal gene transfer (HGT) of carbapenem resistance genes and subsequent genome rearrangement complicate tracing the local persistence and mobilization of these genes across organisms. METHODS: To overcome this limitation, we developed a new approach to identify recent HGT of large, near-identical plasmid segments across species boundaries, which also allowed us to overcome technical challenges with genome assembly. We applied this to complete and near-complete genome assemblies to examine the local spread of CRE in a systematic, prospective collection of all CRE, as well as time- and species-matched carbapenem-susceptible Enterobacterales, isolated from patients from four US hospitals over nearly 5 years. RESULTS: Our CRE collection comprised a diverse range of species, lineages, and carbapenem resistance mechanisms, many of which were encoded on a variety of promiscuous plasmid types. We found and quantified rearrangement, persistence, and repeated transfer of plasmid segments, including those harboring carbapenemases, between organisms over multiple years. Some plasmid segments were found to be strongly associated with specific locales, thus representing geographic signatures that make it possible to trace recent and localized HGT events. Functional analysis of these signatures revealed genes commonly found in plasmids of nosocomial pathogens, such as functions required for plasmid retention and spread, as well survival against a variety of antibiotic and antiseptics common to the hospital environment. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, the framework we developed provides a clearer, high-resolution picture of the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance importation, spread, and persistence in patients and healthcare networks.
Patterns of gene expression can be used to characterize and classify neuronal types. It is challenging, however, to generate taxonomies that fulfill the essential criteria of being comprehensive, harmonizing with conventional classification schemes, and lacking superfluous subdivisions of genuine types. To address these challenges, we used massively parallel single-cell RNA profiling and optimized computational methods on a heterogeneous class of neurons, mouse retinal bipolar cells (BCs). From a population of ∼25,000 BCs, we derived a molecular classification that identified 15 types, including all types observed previously and two novel types, one of which has a non-canonical morphology and position. We validated the classification scheme and identified dozens of novel markers using methods that match molecular expression to cell morphology. This work provides a systematic methodology for achieving comprehensive molecular classification of neurons, identifies novel neuronal types, and uncovers transcriptional differences that distinguish types within a class.
BACKGROUND: Since the first evidence suggesting existence of stem-like cancer cells, the process of cells reprogramming to the stem cell state remains as an attractive tool for cancer stemness research. Current knowledge in the field of cancer stemness, indicates that the microenvironment is a fundamental regulator of cell behavior. With regard to this, we investigated the changes of genome wide gene expression in reprogrammed human colon normal epithelial CRL-1831 and colon carcinoma DLD1 cell lines grown under more physiologically relevant three-dimensional (3D) cell culture microenvironment compared to 2D monolayer. METHODS: Whole genome gene expression changes were evaluated in both cell lines cultured under 3D conditions over a 2D monolayer by gene expression microarray analysis. To evaluate the biological significance of gene expression changes, we performed pathway enrichment analysis using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database. Gene network analysis was used to study relationships between differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in functional categories by the GeneMANIA Cytoscape toolkit. RESULTS: In total, we identified 3228 and 2654 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) for colon normal and cancer reprogrammed cell lines, respectively. Furthermore, the expression of 1097 genes was commonly regulated in both cell lines. KEGG enrichment analysis revealed that in total 129 and 101 pathways for iPSC-CRL-1831 and for CSC-DLD1, respectively, were enriched. Next, we grouped these pathways into three functional categories: cancer transformation/metastasis, cell interaction, and stemness. β-catenin (CTNNB1) was confirmed as a hub gene of all three functional categories. CONCLUSIONS: Our present findings suggest common pathways between reprogrammed human colon normal epithelium (iPSC-CRL-1831) and adenocarcinoma (CSC-DLD1) cells grown under 3D microenvironment. In addition, we demonstrated that pathways important for cancer transformation and tumor metastatic activity are altered both in normal and cancer stem-like cells during the transfer from 2D to 3D culture conditions. Thus, we indicate the potential of cell culture models enriched in normal and cancer stem-like cells for the identification of new therapeutic targets in cancer treatment.
Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) have been employed successfully as gene therapy vectors in treating various genetic diseases for almost two decades. However, transgene packaging is usually imperfect, and developing a rapid and accurate method for measuring the proportion of DNA encapsidation is an important step for improving the downstream process of large scale vector production. In this study, we used two-dimensional class averages and three-dimensional classes, intermediate outputs in the single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) image reconstruction pipeline, to determine the proportion of DNA-packaged and empty capsid populations. Two different preparations of AAV3 were analyzed to estimate the minimum number of particles required to be sampled by cryo-EM in order for robust calculation of the proportion of the full versus empty capsids in any given sample. Cost analysis applied to the minimum amount of data required for a valid ratio suggests that cryo-EM is an effective approach to analyze vector preparations.
The ability to detect and/or manipulate specific cell populations based upon the presence of intracellular protein epitopes would enable many types of studies and applications. Protein binders such as nanobodies (Nbs) can target untagged proteins (antigens) in the intracellular environment. However, genetically expressed protein binders are stable regardless of antigen expression, complicating their use for applications that require cell-specificity. Here, we created a conditional system in which the stability of an Nb depends upon an antigen of interest. We identified Nb framework mutations that can be used to rapidly create destabilized Nbs. Fusion of destabilized Nbs to various proteins enabled applications in living cells, such as optogenetic control of neural activity in specific cell types in the mouse brain, and detection of HIV-infected human cells by flow cytometry. These approaches are generalizable to other protein binders, and enable the rapid generation of single-polypeptide sensors and effectors active in cells expressing specific intracellular proteins.
OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association of blood vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D, 25(OH)D) concentration and vitamin D pathway genes with myopia. METHODS: We searched the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases for studies published up to 29 January 2018. Cross-sectional or cohort studies which evaluated the blood 25(OH)D concentration, blood 25(OH)D3 concentration or vitamin D pathway genes, in relation to risk of myopia or refractive errors were included. Standard mean difference (SMD) of blood 25(OH)D concentrations between the myopia and non-myopia groups was calculated. The associations of blood 25(OH)D concentrations and polymorphisms in vitamin D pathway genes with myopia using summary ORs were evaluated. RESULTS: We summarised seven studies involving 25 008 individuals in the meta-analysis. The myopia group had lower 25(OH)D concentration than the non-myopia group (SMD=-0.27 nmol/L, p=0.001). In the full analysis, the risk of myopia was inversely associated with blood 25(OH)D concentration after adjusting for sunlight exposure or time spent outdoors (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=0.92 per 10 nmol/L, p<0.0001). However, the association was not statistically significant for the <18 years subgroup (AOR=0.91 per 10 nmol/L, p=0.13) and was significant only for 25(OH)D3 (likely to be mainly sunlight derived), but not total 25(OH)D (AOR=0.93 per 10 nmol/L, p=0.00007; AOR=0.91 per 10 nmol/L, p=0.15). We analysed four single nucleotide polymorphisms in the VDR gene from two studies; there was no significant association with myopia. CONCLUSIONS: Lower 25(OH)D is associated with increased risk of myopia; the lack of a genetic association suggests that 25(OH)D level may be acting as a proxy for time outdoors.
There are many transgenic GFP reporter lines that allow the visualization of specific populations of cells. Using such lines for functional studies requires a method that transforms GFP into a molecule that enables genetic manipulation. We developed a method that exploits GFP for gene manipulation, Cre recombinase dependent on GFP (CRE-DOG), a split component system that uses GFP and its derivatives to directly induce Cre/loxP recombination. Using plasmid electroporation and AAV viral vectors, we delivered CRE-DOG to multiple GFP mouse lines, which led to effective recombination selectively in GFP-labeled cells. Furthermore, CRE-DOG enabled optogenetic control of these neurons. Beyond providing a new set of tools for manipulation of gene expression selectively in GFP(+) cells, we found that GFP can be used to reconstitute the activity of a protein not known to have a modular structure, suggesting that this strategy might be applicable to a wide range of proteins.
Hearing loss, including genetic hearing loss, is one of the most common forms of sensory deficits in humans with limited options of treatment. Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene transfer has been shown to recover auditory functions effectively in mouse models of genetic deafness when delivered at neonatal stages. However, the mouse cochlea is still developing at those time points, whereas in humans, the newborn inner ears are already fully mature. For effective gene therapy to treat genetic deafness, it is necessary to determine whether AAV-mediated therapy can be equally effective in the fully mature mouse inner ear without causing damage to the inner ear. This study tested several AAV serotypes by canalostomy in adult mice. It is shown that most AAVs transduce the sensory inner hair cells efficiently, but are less efficient at transducing outer hair cells. A subset of AAVs also transduces non-sensory cochlear cell types. Neither the surgical procedure of canalostomy nor the AAV serotypes damage hair cells or impair normal hearing. The studies indicate that canalostomy can be a viable route for safe and efficient gene delivery, and they expand the repertoire of AAVs to target diverse cell types in the adult inner ear.