[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are numerous cell types with scarcely understood functions, whose interactions with the immune system are not well characterized. To facilitate their study, we generated a mouse bearing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-specific CD8(+) T cells. Transfer of the T cells into EGFP reporter animals can be used to kill EGFP-expressing cells, allowing selective depletion of desired cell types, or to interrogate T-cell interactions with specific populations. Using this system, we eliminate a rare EGFP-expressing cell type in the heart and demonstrate its role in cardiac function. We also show that naive T cells are recruited into the mouse brain by antigen-expressing microglia, providing evidence of an immune surveillance pathway in the central nervous system. The just EGFP death-inducing (Jedi) T cells enable visualization of a T-cell antigen. They also make it possible to utilize hundreds of existing EGFP-expressing mice, tumors, pathogens and other tools, to study T-cell interactions with many different cell types, to model disease states and to determine the functions of poorly characterized cell populations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hypothalamus is the central regulator of systemic energy homeostasis, and its dysfunction can result in extreme body weight alterations. Insights into the complex cellular physiology of this region are critical to the understanding of obesity pathogenesis; however, human hypothalamic cells are largely inaccessible for direct study. Here, we developed a protocol for efficient generation of hypothalamic neurons from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) obtained from patients with monogenetic forms of obesity. Combined early activation of sonic hedgehog signaling followed by timed NOTCH inhibition in human ESCs/iPSCs resulted in efficient conversion into hypothalamic NKX2.1+ precursors. Application of a NOTCH inhibitor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) further directed the cells into arcuate nucleus hypothalamic-like neurons that express hypothalamic neuron markers proopiomelanocortin (POMC), neuropeptide Y (NPY), agouti-related peptide (AGRP), somatostatin, and dopamine. These hypothalamic-like neurons accounted for over 90% of differentiated cells and exhibited transcriptional profiles defined by a hypothalamic-specific gene expression signature that lacked pituitary markers. Importantly, these cells displayed hypothalamic neuron characteristics, including production and secretion of neuropeptides and increased p-AKT and p-STAT3 in response to insulin and leptin. Our results suggest that these hypothalamic-like neurons have potential for further investigation of the neurophysiology of body weight regulation and evaluation of therapeutic targets for obesity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Generation of surrogate sources of insulin-producing β-cells remains a goal of diabetes therapy. While most efforts have been directed at differentiating embryonic or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into β-like-cells through endodermal progenitors, we have shown that gut endocrine progenitor cells of mice can be differentiated into glucose-responsive, insulin-producing cells by ablation of transcription factor Foxo1. Here we show that FOXO1 is present in human gut endocrine progenitor and serotonin-producing cells. Using gut organoids derived from human iPS cells, we show that FOXO1 inhibition using a dominant-negative mutant or lentivirus-encoded small hairpin RNA promotes generation of insulin-positive cells that express all markers of mature pancreatic β-cells, release C-peptide in response to secretagogues and survive in vivo following transplantation into mice. The findings raise the possibility of using gut-targeted FOXO1 inhibition or gut organoids as a source of insulin-producing cells to treat human diabetes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Defects in Membrane Frizzled-related Protein (MFRP) cause autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (RP). MFRP codes for a retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-specific membrane receptor of unknown function. In patient-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS)-derived RPE cells, precise levels of MFRP, and its dicistronic partner CTRP5, are critical to the regulation of actin organization. Overexpression of CTRP5 in naïve human RPE cells phenocopied behavior of MFRP-deficient patient RPE (iPS-RPE) cells. AAV8 (Y733F) vector expressing human MFRP rescued the actin disorganization phenotype and restored apical microvilli in patient-specific iPS-RPE cell lines. As a result, AAV-treated MFRP mutant iPS-RPE recovered pigmentation and transepithelial resistance. The efficacy of AAV-mediated gene therapy was also evaluated in Mfrp(rd6)/Mfrp(rd6) mice-an established preclinical model of RP-and long-term improvement in visual function was observed in AAV-Mfrp treated mice. This report is the first to indicate the successful use of human iPS-RPE cells as a recipient for gene therapy. The observed favorable response to gene therapy in both patient-specific cell lines and the Mfrp(rd6)/Mfrp(rd6) preclinical model suggests that this form of degeneration caused by MFRP mutations is a potential target for interventional trials.Molecular Therapy (2014); doi:10.1038/mt.2014.100.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Common polymorphisms in the first intron of FTO are associated with increased body weight in adults. Previous studies have suggested that a CUX1-regulatory element within the implicated FTO region controls expression of FTO and the nearby ciliary gene, RPGRIP1L. Given the role of ciliary genes in energy homeostasis, we hypothesized that mice hypomorphic for Rpgrip1l would display increased adiposity. We find that Rpgrip1l(+/-) mice are hyperphagic and fatter, and display diminished suppression of food intake in response to leptin administration. In the hypothalamus of Rpgrip1l(+/-) mice, and in human fibroblasts with hypomorphic mutations in RPGRIP1L, the number of AcIII-positive cilia is diminished, accompanied by impaired convening of the leptin receptor to the vicinity of the cilium, and diminished pStat3 in response to leptin. These findings suggest that RPGRIP1L may be partly or exclusively responsible for the obesity susceptibility signal at the FTO locus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transfer of somatic cell nuclei into oocytes can give rise to pluripotent stem cells that are consistently equivalent to embryonic stem cells, holding promise for autologous cell replacement therapy. Although methods to induce pluripotent stem cells from somatic cells by transcription factors are widely used in basic research, numerous differences between induced pluripotent stem cells and embryonic stem cells have been reported, potentially affecting their clinical use. Because of the therapeutic potential of diploid embryonic stem-cell lines derived from adult cells of diseased human subjects, we have systematically investigated the parameters affecting efficiency of blastocyst development and stem-cell derivation. Here we show that improvements to the oocyte activation protocol, including the use of both kinase and translation inhibitors, and cell culture in the presence of histone deacetylase inhibitors, promote development to the blastocyst stage. Developmental efficiency varied between oocyte donors, and was inversely related to the number of days of hormonal stimulation required for oocyte maturation, whereas the daily dose of gonadotropin or the total number of metaphase II oocytes retrieved did not affect developmental outcome. Because the use of concentrated Sendai virus for cell fusion induced an increase in intracellular calcium concentration, causing premature oocyte activation, we used diluted Sendai virus in calcium-free medium. Using this modified nuclear transfer protocol, we derived diploid pluripotent stem-cell lines from somatic cells of a newborn and, for the first time, an adult, a female with type 1 diabetes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While the past decade has seen great progress in mapping loci for common diseases, studying how these risk alleles lead to pathology remains a challenge. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects nine million older Americans, and is characterized by loss of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Although the closely linked genome-wide association studies (GWAS) ARMS2/HTRA1 genes, located at the chromosome 10q26 locus, are strongly associated with the risk of AMD, their downstream targets are unknown. Low population frequencies of risk alleles in tissue banks make it impractical to study their function in cells derived from autopsied tissue. Moreover, autopsy eyes from end-stage AMD patients, where age-related RPE atrophy and fibrosis are already present, cannot be used to determine how abnormal ARMS2/HTRA1 expression can initiate RPE pathology. Instead, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell-derived RPE from patients provides us with earlier stage AMD patient-specific cells and allows us to analyze the underlying mechanisms at this critical time point. An unbiased proteome screen of A2E-aged patient-specific iPS-derived RPE cell lines identified SOD2-mediated antioxidative defense in the genetic allele's susceptibility of AMD. The AMD-associated risk haplotype (T-in/del-A) impairs the ability of the RPE to defend against aging-related oxidative stress. SOD2 defense is impaired in RPE homozygous for the risk haplotype (T-in/del-A; T-in/del-A), while the effect was less pronounced in RPE homozygous for the protective haplotype (G-Wt-G; G-Wt-G). ARMS2/HTRA1 risk alleles decrease SOD2 defense, making RPE more susceptible to oxidative damage and thereby contributing to AMD pathogenesis.
Human Molecular Genetics 02/2014; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu053 · 6.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperphagia is a central feature of inherited disorders (e.g., Prader-Willi Syndrome) in which obesity is a primary phenotypic component. Hyperphagia may also contribute to obesity as observed in the general population, thus raising the potential importance of common underlying mechanisms and treatments. Substantial gaps in understanding the molecular basis of inherited hyperphagia syndromes are present as are a lack of mechanistic of mechanistic targets that can serve as a basis for pharmacologic and behavioral treatments.
International conference with 28 experts, including scientists and caregivers, providing presentations, panel discussions, and debates.
The reviewed collective research and clinical experience provides a critical body of new and novel information on hyperphagia at levels ranging from molecular to population. Gaps in understanding and tools needed for additional research were identified.
This report documents the full scope of important topics reviewed at a comprehensive international meeting devoted to the topic of hyperphagia and identifies key areas for future funding and research.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wolfram syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in WFS1 and characterized by insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, optic atrophy and deafness. To investigate the cause of beta cell failure, we used induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to create insulin-producing cells from individuals with Wolfram syndrome. WFS1-deficient beta cells showed increased levels of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress molecules, and decreased insulin content. Upon exposure to experimental ER stress, Wolfram beta cells showed impaired insulin processing and failed to increase insulin secretion in response to glucose and other secretagogues. Importantly, 4-phenyl butyric acid, a chemical protein folding and trafficking chaperone, restored normal insulin synthesis and the ability to upregulate insulin secretion. These studies show that ER stress plays a central role in beta cell failure in Wolfram syndrome and indicate that chemical chaperones might have therapeutic relevance under conditions of ER stress in Wolfram syndrome and other forms of diabetes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers control DNA access for transcription, recombination, and other processes. Acf1 (also known as BAZ1A in mammals) is a defining subunit of the conserved ISWI-family chromatin remodelers ACF and CHRAC, first purified over 15 years ago from Drosophila melanogaster embryos. Much is known about biochemical properties of ACF and CHRAC, which move nucleosomes in vitro and in vivo to establish ordered chromatin arrays. Genetic studies in yeast, flies and cultured human cells clearly implicate these complexes in transcriptional repression via control of chromatin structures. RNAi experiments in transformed mammalian cells in culture also implicate ACF and CHRAC in DNA damage checkpoints and double-strand break repair. However, their essential in vivo roles in mammals are unknown. Here, we show that Baz1a-knockout mice are viable and able to repair developmentally programmed DNA double-strand breaks in the immune system and germ line, I-SceI endonuclease-induced breaks in primary fibroblasts via homologous recombination, and DNA damage from mitomycin C exposure in vivo. However, Baz1a deficiency causes male-specific sterility in accord with its high expression in male germ cells, where it displays dynamic, stage-specific patterns of chromosomal localization. Sterility is caused by pronounced defects in sperm development, most likely a consequence of massively perturbed gene expression in spermatocytes and round spermatids in the absence of BAZ1A: the normal spermiogenic transcription program is largely intact but more than 900 other genes are mis-regulated, primarily reflecting inappropriate up-regulation. We propose that large-scale changes in chromatin composition that occur during spermatogenesis create a window of vulnerability to promiscuous transcription changes, with an essential function of ACF and/or CHRAC chromatin remodeling activities being to safeguard against these alterations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exchange of the oocyte genome with the genome of a somatic cell from a patient might allow the generation of stem cells and replacement cell types for incurable diseases, such as Parkinson disease or type 1 diabetes mellitus. Additionally, nuclear transfer might allow the prevention of mitochondrial disease transmission. Realizing these promises requires the availability of human oocytes for research and their use consistent with appropriate and balanced guidelines that allow scientific progress while addressing ethical considerations.