Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPis) are DNA-damaging agents that trap PARP-DNA complexes and interfere with DNA replication. Three PARPis — olaparib, niraparib, and rucaparib — were recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers. These PARPis, along with 2 others (talazoparib and veliparib), are being evaluated for their potential to treat additional malignancies, including prostate cancers. While lack of PARP-1 confers high resistance to PARPis, it has not been established whether or not the levels of PARP-1 directly correlate with tumor response. In this issue of the JCI, Makvandi and coworkers describe an approach to address this question using [18F]FluorThanatrace, an [18F]-labeled PARP-1 inhibitor, for PET. The tracer was taken up by patient tumor tissue and appeared to differentiate levels of PARP-1 expression; however, future studies should be aimed at determining if this tracer can be used to stratify patient response to PARPi therapy.
Anish Thomas, Junko Murai, Yves Pommier
The identity and function of the fibroblast, a highly prevalent cell type in the heart, have remained poorly defined. Recent faithful genetic lineage–tracing studies revealed that during development, the cardiac fibroblasts are derived from the epicardium and the endothelium, whereas in the adult heart, they constitute the cardiac injury–responsive resident fibroblast. In the current issue of the JCI, Molkentin and colleagues decipher the time course and mechanism of the fibroblast in response to myocardial infarction (MI). The model they propose is surprisingly simple and clear. It consists of three major phases. First, fibroblasts in the ischemic area die. Second, surrounding fibroblasts proliferate and migrate into the spaces created by dying cardiomyocytes over a few days. The new fibroblasts in the scar are activated and adopt a smooth muscle actin– and periostin-positive “myofibroblast” phenotype, which appears to last as long as the scar is not mature (~10 days after MI). In the third phase, initially proliferating myofibroblasts lose smooth muscle actin expression and convert to a nonproliferating, matrix-producing phenotype with a newly acquired tendon gene signature. Interestingly, this state appears to differ from that of quiescent fibroblasts in the uninjured heart, as it is resistant to proliferative stimuli. These cells are therefore termed “matrifibrocytes,” a novel category whose study will certainly further advance the field.
Cerebral white matter injury (WMI) persistently disrupts myelin regeneration by oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). We identified a specific bioactive hyaluronan fragment (bHAf) that downregulates myelin gene expression and chronically blocks OPC maturation and myelination via a tolerance-like mechanism that dysregulates pro-myelination signaling via AKT. Desensitization of AKT occurs via TLR4 but not TLR2 or CD44. OPC differentiation was selectively blocked by bHAf in a maturation-dependent fashion at the late OPC (preOL) stage by a noncanonical TLR4/TRIF pathway that induced persistent activation of the FoxO3 transcription factor downstream of AKT. Activated FoxO3 selectively localized to oligodendrocyte lineage cells in white matter lesions from human preterm neonates and adults with multiple sclerosis. FoxO3 constraint of OPC maturation was bHAf dependent, and involved interactions at the FoxO3 and MBP promoters with the chromatin remodeling factor Brg1 and the transcription factor Olig2, which regulate OPC differentiation. WMI has adapted an immune tolerance–like mechanism whereby persistent engagement of TLR4 by bHAf promotes an OPC niche at the expense of myelination by engaging a FoxO3 signaling pathway that chronically constrains OPC differentiation.
Taasin Srivastava, Parham Diba, Justin M. Dean, Fatima Banine, Daniel Shaver, Matthew Hagen, Xi Gong, Weiping Su, Ben Emery, Daniel L. Marks, Edward N. Harris, Bruce Baggenstoss, Paul H. Weigel, Larry S. Sherman, Stephen A. Back
Immunotherapy prolongs survival in only a subset of melanoma patients, highlighting the need to better understand the driver tumor microenvironment. We conducted bioinformatic analyses of 703 transcriptomes to probe the immune landscape of primary cutaneous melanomas in a population-ascertained cohort. We identified and validated 6 immunologically distinct subgroups, with the largest having the lowest immune scores and the poorest survival. This poor-prognosis subgroup exhibited expression profiles consistent with β-catenin–mediated failure to recruit CD141+ DCs. A second subgroup displayed an equally bad prognosis when histopathological factors were adjusted for, while 4 others maintained comparable survival profiles. The 6 subgroups were replicated in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) melanomas, where β-catenin signaling was also associated with low immune scores predominantly related to hypomethylation. The survival benefit of high immune scores was strongest in patients with double-WT tumors for BRAF and NRAS, less strong in BRAF-V600 mutants, and absent in NRAS (codons 12, 13, 61) mutants. In summary, we report evidence for a β-catenin–mediated immune evasion in 42% of melanoma primaries overall and in 73% of those with the worst outcome. We further report evidence for an interaction between oncogenic mutations and host response to melanoma, suggesting that patient stratification will improve immunotherapeutic outcomes.
Jérémie Nsengimana, Jon Laye, Anastasia Filia, Sally O’Shea, Sathya Muralidhar, Joanna Poźniak, Alastair Droop, May Chan, Christy Walker, Louise Parkinson, Joanne Gascoyne, Tracey Mell, Minttu Polso, Rosalyn Jewell, Juliette Randerson-Moor, Graham P. Cook, D. Timothy Bishop, Julia Newton-Bishop
Receptor interacting protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) has important kinase-dependent and kinase-independent scaffolding functions that activate or prevent apoptosis or necroptosis in a cell context–dependent manner. The kinase activity of RIPK1 mediates hypothermia and lethality in a mouse model of TNF-induced shock, reflecting the hyperinflammatory state of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), where the proinflammatory “cytokine storm” has long been viewed as detrimental. Here, we demonstrate that cytokine and chemokine levels did not predict survival and, importantly, that kinase-inactive Ripk1D138N/D138N hematopoietic cells afforded little protection from TNF- or TNF/zVAD-induced shock in reconstituted mice. Unexpectedly, RIPK1 kinase–inactive mice transplanted with WT hematopoietic cells remained resistant to TNF-induced shock, revealing that a nonhematopoietic lineage mediated protection. TNF-treated Ripk1D138N/D138N mice exhibited no significant increases in intestinal or vascular permeability, nor did they activate the clotting cascade. We show that TNF administration damaged the liver vascular endothelium and induced phosphorylated mixed lineage kinase domain-like (phospho-MLKL) reactivity in endothelial cells isolated from TNF/zVAD-treated WT, but not Ripk1D138N/D138N, mice. These data reveal that the tissue damage present in this SIRS model is reflected, in part, by breaks in the vasculature due to endothelial cell necroptosis and thereby predict that RIPK1 kinase inhibitors may provide clinical benefit to shock and/or sepsis patients.
Matija Zelic, Justine E. Roderick, Joanne A. O’Donnell, Jesse Lehman, Sung Eun Lim, Harish P. Janardhan, Chinmay M. Trivedi, Manolis Pasparakis, Michelle A. Kelliher
Increasing evidence suggests that synapse dysfunctions are a major determinant of several neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Here we identify protein kinase N1 (PKN1) as a novel key player in fine-tuning the balance between axonal outgrowth and presynaptic differentiation in the parallel fiber–forming (PF-forming) cerebellar granule cells (Cgcs). Postnatal Pkn1–/– animals showed a defective PF–Purkinje cell (PF-PC) synapse formation. In vitro, Pkn1–/– Cgcs exhibited deregulated axonal outgrowth, elevated AKT phosphorylation, and higher levels of neuronal differentiation-2 (NeuroD2), a transcription factor preventing presynaptic maturation. Concomitantly, Pkn1–/– Cgcs had a reduced density of presynaptic sites. By inhibiting AKT with MK-2206 and siRNA-mediated knockdown, we found that AKT hyperactivation is responsible for the elongated axons, higher NeuroD2 levels, and reduced density of presynaptic specifications in Pkn1–/– Cgcs. In line with our in vitro data, Pkn1–/– mice showed AKT hyperactivation, elevated NeuroD2 levels, and reduced expression of PF-PC synaptic markers during stages of PF maturation in vivo. The long-term effect of Pkn1 knockout was further seen in cerebellar atrophy and mild ataxia. In summary, our results demonstrate that PKN1 functions as a developmentally active gatekeeper of AKT activity, thereby fine-tuning axonal outgrowth and presynaptic differentiation of Cgcs and subsequently the correct PF-PC synapse formation.
Stephanie zur Nedden, Rafaela Eith, Christoph Schwarzer, Lucia Zanetti, Hartwig Seitter, Friedrich Fresser, Alexandra Koschak, Angus J.M. Cameron, Peter J. Parker, Gottfried Baier, Gabriele Baier-Bitterlich
LN follicles constitute major reservoir sites for HIV/SIV persistence. Cure strategies could benefit from the characterization of CD8+ T cells able to access and eliminate HIV-infected cells from these areas. In this study, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the phenotype, frequency, localization, and functionality of follicular CD8+ T cells (fCD8+) in SIV-infected nonhuman primates. Although disorganization of follicles was a major factor, significant accumulation of fCD8+ cells during chronic SIV infection was also observed in intact follicles, but only in pathogenic SIV infection. In line with this, tissue inflammatory mediators were strongly associated with the accumulation of fCD8+ cells, pointing to tissue inflammation as a major factor in this process. These fCD8+ cells have cytolytic potential and can be redirected to target and kill HIV-infected cells using bispecific antibodies. Altogether, our data support the use of SIV infection to better understand the dynamics of fCD8+ cells and to develop bispecific antibodies as a strategy for virus eradication.
Sara Ferrando-Martinez, Eirini Moysi, Amarendra Pegu, Sarah Andrews, Krystelle Nganou Makamdop, David Ambrozak, Adrian B. McDermott, David Palesch, Mirko Paiardini, George N. Pavlakis, Jason M. Brenchley, Daniel Douek, John R. Mascola, Constantinos Petrovas, Richard A. Koup
Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) has demonstrated curative potential in several types of cancer, but only for a small number of patients. Thus, the identification of reliable and noninvasive biomarkers for predicting ICB responsiveness is an urgent unmet need. Here, we show that ICB increased tumor vessel perfusion in treatment-sensitive EO771 and MMTV-PyVT breast tumor as well as CT26 and MCA38 colon tumor models, but not in treatment-resistant MCaP0008 and 4T1 breast tumor models. In the sensitive tumor models, the ability of anti–cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated protein 4 or anti–programmed cell death 1 therapy to increase vessel perfusion strongly correlated with its antitumor efficacy. Moreover, globally enhanced tumor vessel perfusion could be detected by Doppler ultrasonography before changes in tumor size, which predicted final therapeutic efficacy with more than 90% sensitivity and specificity. Mechanistically, CD8+ T cell depletion, IFN-γ neutralization, or implantation of tumors in IFN-γ receptor knockout mice abrogated the vessel perfusion enhancement and antitumor effects of ICB. These results demonstrated that ICB increased vessel perfusion by promoting CD8+ T cell accumulation and IFN-γ production, indicating that increased vessel perfusion reflects the successful activation of antitumor T cell immunity by ICB. Our findings suggest that vessel perfusion can be used as a novel noninvasive indicator for predicting ICB responsiveness.
Xichen Zheng, Zhaoxu Fang, Xiaomei Liu, Shengming Deng, Pei Zhou, Xuexiang Wang, Chenglin Zhang, Rongping Yin, Haitian Hu, Xiaolan Chen, Yijie Han, Yun Zhao, Steven H. Lin, Songbing Qin, Xiaohua Wang, Betty Y.S. Kim, Penghui Zhou, Wen Jiang, Qingyu Wu, Yuhui Huang
BACKGROUND. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors are effective in a broad population of patients with ovarian cancer; however, resistance caused by low enzyme expression of the drug target PARP-1 remains to be clinically evaluated in this context. We hypothesize that PARP-1 expression is variable in ovarian cancer and can be quantified in primary and metastatic disease using a novel PET imaging agent. METHODS. We used a translational approach to describe the significance of PET imaging of PARP-1 in ovarian cancer. First, we produced PARP1-KO ovarian cancer cell lines using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to test the loss of PARP-1 as a resistance mechanism to all clinically used PARP inhibitors. Next, we performed preclinical microPET imaging studies using ovarian cancer patient–derived xenografts in mouse models. Finally, in a phase I PET imaging clinical trial we explored PET imaging as a regional marker of PARP-1 expression in primary and metastatic disease through correlative tissue histology. RESULTS. We found that deletion of PARP1 causes resistance to all PARP inhibitors in vitro, and microPET imaging provides proof of concept as an approach to quantify PARP-1 in vivo. Clinically, we observed a spectrum of standard uptake values (SUVs) ranging from 2–12 for PARP-1 in tumors. In addition, we found a positive correlation between PET SUVs and fluorescent immunohistochemistry for PARP-1 (r2 = 0.60). CONCLUSION. This work confirms the translational potential of a PARP-1 PET imaging agent and supports future clinical trials to test PARP-1 expression as a method to stratify patients for PARP inhibitor therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02637934. FUNDING. Research reported in this publication was supported by the Department of Defense OC160269, a Basser Center team science grant, NIH National Cancer Institute R01CA174904, a Department of Energy training grant DE-SC0012476, Abramson Cancer Center Radiation Oncology pilot grants, the Marsha Rivkin Foundation, Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation, and Paul Calabresi K12 Career Development Award 5K12CA076931.
Mehran Makvandi, Austin Pantel, Lauren Schwartz, Erin Schubert, Kuiying Xu, Chia-Ju Hsieh, Catherine Hou, Hyoung Kim, Chi-Chang Weng, Harrison Winters, Robert Doot, Michael D. Farwell, Daniel A. Pryma, Roger A. Greenberg, David A. Mankoff, Fiona Simpkins, Robert H. Mach, Lilie L. Lin
Fibroblasts are a dynamic cell type that achieve selective differentiated states to mediate acute wound healing and long-term tissue remodeling with scarring. With myocardial infarction injury, cardiomyocytes are replaced by secreted extracellular matrix proteins produced by proliferating and differentiating fibroblasts. Here, we employed 3 different mouse lineage-tracing models and stage-specific gene profiling to phenotypically analyze and classify resident cardiac fibroblast dynamics during myocardial infarction injury and stable scar formation. Fibroblasts were activated and highly proliferative, reaching a maximum rate within 2 to 4 days after infarction injury, at which point they expanded 3.5-fold and were maintained long term. By 3 to 7 days, these cells differentiated into myofibroblasts that secreted abundant extracellular matrix proteins and expressed smooth muscle α-actin to structurally support the necrotic area. By 7 to 10 days, myofibroblasts lost proliferative ability and smooth muscle α-actin expression as the collagen-containing extracellular matrix and scar fully matured. However, these same lineage-traced initial fibroblasts persisted within the scar, achieving a new molecular and stable differentiated state referred to as a matrifibrocyte, which was also observed in the scars of human hearts. These cells express common and unique extracellular matrix and tendon genes that are more specialized to support the mature scar.
Xing Fu, Hadi Khalil, Onur Kanisicak, Justin G. Boyer, Ronald J. Vagnozzi, Bryan D. Maliken, Michelle A. Sargent, Vikram Prasad, Iñigo Valiente-Alandi, Burns C. Blaxall, Jeffery D. Molkentin
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a degenerative motor neuron (MN) disease caused by loss of functional SMN protein due to SMN1 gene mutations, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Increasing SMN levels ameliorates the disease phenotype and is unanimously accepted as a therapeutic approach for SMA patients. The ubiquitin/proteasome system is known to regulate SMN protein levels; however whether autophagy controls SMN levels remains poorly explored. Here we show that SMN protein is degraded by autophagy. Pharmacological and genetic inhibition of autophagy increase SMN levels, while induction of autophagy decreases SMN. SMN degradation occurs via its interaction with the autophagy adapter p62/SQSTM1. We also show that SMA neurons display reduced autophagosome clearance, increased p62/ubiquitinated protein levels, and hyperactivated mTORC1 signaling. Importantly, reducing p62 levels markedly increases SMN and its binding partner gemin2, promotes MN survival and extends lifespan in fly and mouse SMA models revealing p62 as a new potential therapeutic target to treat SMA.
Natalia Rodriguez-Muela, Andrey Parkhitko, Tobias Grass, Rebecca M. Gibbs, Erika M. Norabuena, Norbert Perrimon, Rajat Singh, Lee L. Rubin
Progression of chronic kidney disease associated with progressive fibrosis and impaired tubular epithelial regeneration is still an unmet biomedical challenge, because once chronic lesions have manifested, no effective therapies are available as of yet for clinical use. Prompted by various studies across multiple organs demonstrating that preconditioning regimens to induce endogenous regenerative mechanisms protect various organs from later incurring acute injuries, we here aimed to gain insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying successful protection and to explore whether such pathways could be utilized to inhibit progression of chronic organ injury. We identified a protective mechanism that is controlled by the transcription factor ARNT, which effectively inhibits progression of chronic kidney injury by transcriptional induction of ALK3, the principal mediator of anti-fibrotic and pro-regenerative BMP signaling responses. We further report that ARNT expression itself is controlled by the FKBP12/YY1 transcriptional repressor complex, and that disruption of such FKBP12/YY1 complexes by picomolar FK506 at sub-immunosuppressive doses increases ARNT expression, subsequently leading to homodimeric ARNT-induced ALK3 transcription. Direct targeting of FKBP12/YY1 with in vivo-morpholino approaches or small molecule inhibitors including GPI-1046 were equally effective to induce ARNT expression with subsequent activation of ALK3-dependent canonical BMP signaling responses and attenuated chronic organ failure in models of chronic kidney, but also cardiac and liver injuries. In summary, we report an organ protective mechanism, which can be pharmacologically modulated by immunophilin ligands FK506, GPI-1046 or therapeutically targeted by in vivo-morpholino approaches.
Björn Tampe, Désirée Tampe, Gunsmaa Nyamsuren, Friederike Klöpper, Gregor Rapp, Anne Kauffels, Thomas Lorf, Elisabeth M. Zeisberg, Gerhard A. Müller, Raghu Kalluri, Samy Hakroush, Michael Zeisberg
Complications of diabetes affect tissues throughout body, including central nervous system. Epidemiological studies show that diabetic patients have increased risk of depression, anxiety, age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Mice lacking insulin receptor in brain or on hypothalamic neurons display an array of metabolic abnormalities, however, the role of insulin action on astrocytes and neurobehaviors remains less well-studied. Here, we demonstrate that astrocytes are a direct insulin target in the brain and that knockout of IR on astrocytes causes increased anxiety and depressive-like behaviors in mice. This can be reproduced in part by deletion of IR on astrocytes in the nucleus accumbens. At a molecular level, loss of insulin signaling in astrocytes impaired tyrosine phosphorylation of Munc18c. This led to decreased exocytosis of ATP from astrocytes, resulting in decreased purinergic signaling on dopaminergic neurons. These reductions contributed to decreased dopamine release from brain slices. Central administration of ATP analogues could reverse depressive-like behaviors in mice with astrocyte IR knockout. Thus, astrocytic insulin signaling plays an important role in dopaminergic signaling, providing a potential mechanism by which astrocytic insulin action may contribute to increased rates of depression in people with diabetes, obesity and other insulin resistant states.
Weikang Cai, Chang Xue, Masaji Sakaguchi, Masahiro Konishi, Alireza Shirazian, Heather A. Ferris, Mengyao Li, Ruichao Yu, Andre Kleinridders, Emmanuel N. Pothos, C. Ronald Kahn
Synthetic lethality-based strategy has been developed to identify therapeutic targets in cancer harboring tumor suppressor gene mutations, as exemplified by the effectiveness of PARP inhibitors in BRCA1/2-mutated tumors. However, many synthetic lethal interactors are less reliable due to the fact that such genes usually do not perform fundamental or indispensable functions in the cell. Here we developed an approach to identify the “essential lethality” arose from these mutated/deleted essential genes, which are largely tolerated in cancer cells due to genetic redundancy. We uncovered the cohesion subunit SA1 as a putative synthetic-essential target in cancers carrying inactivating mutations of its paralog, SA2. In SA2-deficient Ewing sarcoma and bladder cancer, further depletion of SA1 profoundly and specifically suppressed cancer cell proliferation, survival and tumorigenic potential. Mechanistically, inhibition of SA1 in the SA2-mutated cells led to premature chromatid separation, dramatic extension of mitotic duration, and consequently lethal failure of cell division. More importantly, depletion of SA1 rendered those SA2-mutated cells more susceptible to DNA damage, especially double-strand breaks (DSBs), due to reduced functionality of DNA repair. Furthermore, inhibition of SA1 sensitized the SA2-deficient cancer cells to PARP inhibitors in vitro and in vivo, providing a potential therapeutic strategy for patients with SA2-deficient tumors.
Yunhua Liu, Hanchen Xu, Kevin Van der Jeught, Yujing Li, Sheng Liu, Lu Zhang, Yuanzhang Fang, Xinna Zhang, Milan Rodovich, Bryan P. Schneider, Xiaoming He, Cheng Huang, Chi Zhang, Jun Wan, Guang Ji, Xiongbin Lu
BACKGROUND. Monogenic Interferon (IFN)-mediated autoinflammatory diseases present in infancy with systemic inflammation, an IFN-response-gene-signature (IRS), inflammatory organ damage and high mortality. We used the janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor baricitinib with IFN-blocking activity in vitro, to ameliorate disease. METHODS. Between October 2011 and February 2017, 10 patients with CANDLE (chronic atypical neutrophilic dermatosis with lipodystrophy and elevated temperatures), 4 with SAVI (Stimulator of IFN genes (STING)-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy), and 4 patients with other interferonopathies were enrolled in an Expanded Access Program. Patients underwent dose-escalation, benefit was assessed by reductions in daily disease symptoms and corticosteroid requirement. Quality-of-life, organ inflammation, changes in IFN-induced biomarkers, and safety were longitudinally assessed. RESULTS. 18 patients were treated for a mean duration of 3.0 years (1.5–4.9 years). The median daily symptom score decreased from 1.3 (IQR 0.93–1.78) to 0.25 (IQR 0.1-0.63) (P < 0.0001). In 14 patients receiving steroids at baseline, daily prednisone doses decreased from 0.44 mg/kg/day (IQR 0.31–1.09) to 0.11 mg/kg/day (IQR 0.02–0.24) (P < 0.01); 5 of 10 CANDLE patients achieved lasting clinical remission. Quality of life, height and bone mineral density Z-scores significantly improved, and IFN biomarkers decreased. Three patients discontinued, two with genetically undefined conditions due to lack of efficacy, and one CANDLE patient due to BK viremia and azotemia. The most common adverse events were upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, BK viruria and viremia. CONCLUSION. On baricitinib treatment, clinical manifestations, inflammatory and IFN biomarkers improved in patients with the monogenic interferonopathies, CANDLE, SAVI and 2 other interferonopathies. Monitoring safety and efficacy is important in benefit-risk assessment. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01724580 and NCT02974595. FUNDING. NIH, NIAID, NIAMS, NIDDK, NHLBI, NINDS, and the Clinical Center. Baricitinib was provided by Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly is the sponsor of the compassionate use program.
Gina A. Montealegre Sanchez, Adam Reinhardt, Suzanne Ramsey, Helmut Wittkowski, Philip J. Hashkes, Yackov Berkun, Susanne Schalm, Sara Murias, Jason A. Dare, Diane Brown, Deborah L. Stone, Ling Gao, Thomas Klausmeier, Dirk Foell, Adriana A. de Jesus, Dawn C. Chapelle, Hanna Kim, Samantha Dill, Robert Colbert, Laura Failla, Bahar Kost, Michelle O'Brien, James C. Reynolds, Les R. Folio, Katherine R. Calvo, Scott M. Paul, Nargues Weir, Alessandra Brofferio, Ariane Soldatos, Angélique Biancotto, Edward W. Cowen, John G. Digiovanna, Massimo Gadina, Andrew J. Lipton, Colleen Hadigan, Steven M. Holland, Joseph Fontana, Ahmad S. Alawad, Rebecca J. Brown, Kristina I. Rother, Theo Heller, Kristina M. Brooks, Parag Kumar, Stephen R. Brooks, Meryl Waldman, Harsharan K. Singh, Volker Nickeleit, Maria Silk, Apurva Prakash, Jonathan M. Janes, Seza Ozen, Paul G. Wakim, Paul A. Brogan, William L. Macias, Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky
In this issue, Miles et al. demonstrate that a synthetic D-amino acid mimic of a naturally occurring influenza peptide can induce protective immunity with the added benefit of enhanced stability. The cover image is a nod to the chirality of the two peptides, which can exist in asymmetric, mirror-imaged right- and left-handed forms.
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
Cellular senescence is a normal consequence of aging, resulting from lifelong accumulation of DNA damage that triggers an end to cell replication. Although senescent cells no longer divide, they persist in their tissue of origin and develop characteristics that can hasten and exacerbate age-related disease. This series addresses the contribution of cellular senescence to cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and arthritic disorders as well as the senescent phenotypes in various tissues and cell types. In addition to their cell-intrinsic effects, senescent cells develop the ability to negatively influence healthy neighboring cells and immune cells by secreting senescence-associated set of cytokines and mediators known as the SASP. These reviews also highlight ongoing efforts to accurately identify, target, and eliminate senescent cells or otherwise combat their deleterious effects in disease. One day, this work may provide the basis for therapies targeting aging cells in multiple organs.