[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatic gluconeogenesis is required for maintaining blood glucose homeostasis; yet, in diabetes mellitus, this process is unrestrained and is a major contributor to fasting hyperglycemia. To date, the impacts of chromatin modifying enzymes and chromatin landscape on gluconeogenesis are poorly understood. Through catalyzing the removal of methyl groups from specific lysine residues in the histone tail, histone demethylases modulate chromatin structure and, hence, gene expression. Here we perform an RNA interference screen against the known histone demethylases and identify a histone H3 lysine 36 (H3K36) demethylase, Jhdm1a, as a key negative regulator of gluconeogenic gene expression. In vivo, silencing of Jhdm1a promotes liver glucose synthesis, while its exogenous expression reduces blood glucose level. Importantly, the regulation of gluconeogenesis by Jhdm1a requires its demethylation activity. Mechanistically, we find that Jhdm1a regulates the expression of a major gluconeogenic regulator, C/EBPα. This is achieved, at least in part, by its USF1-dependent association with the C/EBPα promoter and its subsequent demethylation of dimethylated H3K36 on the C/EBPα locus. Our work provides compelling evidence that links histone demethylation to transcriptional regulation of gluconeogenesis and has important implications for the treatment of diabetes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels are formed from existing vessels. Mammalian populations, including humans and mice, harbor genetic variations that alter angiogenesis. Angiogenesis-regulating gene variants can result in increased susceptibility to multiple angiogenesis-dependent diseases in humans. Our efforts to dissect the complexity of the genetic diversity that regulates angiogenesis have used laboratory animals due to the availability of genome sequence for many species and the ability to perform high volume controlled breeding. Using the murine corneal micropocket assay, we have observed more than ten-fold difference in angiogenic responsiveness among various mouse strains. This degree of difference is observed with either bFGF or VEGF induced corneal neovascularization. Ongoing mapping studies have identified multiple loci that affect angiogenic responsiveness in several mouse models. In this study, we used F2 intercrosses between C57BL/6J and the 129 substrains 129P1/ReJ and 129P3/J, as well as the SJL/J strain, where we have identified new QTLs that affect angiogenic responsiveness. In the case of AngFq5, on chromosome 7, congenic animals were used to confirm the existence of this locus and subcongenic animals, combined with a haplotype-based mapping approach that identified the pink-eyed dilution mutation as a candidate polymorphism to explain AngFq5. The ability of mutations in the pink-eyed dilution gene to affect angiogenic response was demonstrated using the p-J allele at the same locus. Using this allele, we demonstrate that pink-eyed dilution mutations in Oca2 can affect both bFGF and VEGF-induced corneal angiogenesis.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e35237. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Host cells use metabolic signaling through the LXRα nuclear receptor to defend against Listeria monocytogenes infection. 25-Hydroxycholesterol is a natural ligand of LXRs that is produced by the enzyme cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H). We found that expression of Ch25h is upregulated following L. monocytogenes infection in a beta interferon (IFN-β)-dependent fashion. Moreover, increased Ch25h expression promotes survival of L. monocytogenes-infected cells and increases sensitivity of the host to infection. We determined that expression of Cd5l, a prosurvival gene, is controlled by CH25H. In addition, we found that CD5L inhibits activation of caspase-1, promoting survival of infected macrophages. Our results reveal a mechanism by which an intracellular pathogen can prolong survival of infected cells, thus providing itself with a protected environment in which to replicate.
Infection and immunity 01/2011; 79(4):1526-35. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Candida albicans is a ubiquitous opportunistic pathogen that is the most prevalent cause of hospital-acquired fungal infections. In mammalian hosts, C. albicans is engulfed by phagocytes that attack the pathogen with DNA-damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). Acetylation of histone H3 lysine 56 (H3K56) by the fungal-specific histone acetyltransferase Rtt109 is important for yeast model organisms to survive DNA damage and maintain genome integrity. To assess the importance of Rtt109 for C. albicans pathogenicity, we deleted the predicted homolog of Rtt109 in the clinical C. albicans isolate, SC5314. C. albicans rtt109(-/-) mutant cells lack acetylated H3K56 (H3K56ac) and are hypersensitive to genotoxic agents. Additionally, rtt109(-/-) mutant cells constitutively display increased H2A S129 phosphorylation and elevated DNA repair gene expression, consistent with endogenous DNA damage. Importantly, C. albicans rtt109(-/-) cells are significantly less pathogenic in mice and more susceptible to killing by macrophages in vitro than are wild-type cells. Via pharmacological inhibition of the host NADPH oxidase enzyme, we show that the increased sensitivity of rtt109(-/-) cells to macrophages depends on the host's ability to generate ROS, providing a mechanistic link between the drug sensitivity, gene expression, and pathogenesis phenotypes. We conclude that Rtt109 is particularly important for fungal pathogenicity, suggesting a unique target for therapeutic antifungal compounds.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2010; 107(4):1594-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Host susceptibility to infection is controlled in large measure by the genetic makeup of the host. Spirochetes of the genus Borrelia include nearly 40 species of vector-borne spirochetes that are capable of infecting a wide range of mammalian hosts, causing Lyme disease and relapsing fever. Relapsing fever is associated with high-level bacteremia, as well as hematologic manifestations, such as thrombocytopenia (i.e., low platelet numbers) and anemia. To facilitate studies of genetic control of susceptibility to Borrelia hermsii infection, we performed a systematic analysis of the course of infection using immunocompetent and immunocompromised inbred strains of mice. Our analysis revealed that sensitivity to B. hermsii infections is genetically controlled. In addition, whereas the role of adaptive immunity to relapsing fever-causing spirochetes is well documented, we found that innate immunity contributes significantly to the reduction of bacterial burden. Similar to human infection, the progression of the disease in mice was associated with thrombocytopenia and anemia. Histological and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis of infected tissues indicated that red blood cells (RBCs) were removed by tissue-resident macrophages, a process that could lead to anemia. Spirochetes in the spleen and liver were often visualized associated with RBCs, lending support to the hypothesis that direct interaction of B. hermsii spirochetes with RBCs leads to clearance of bacteria from the bloodstream by tissue phagocytes.
Infection and immunity 12/2009; 78(2):586-94. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intrahepatic and extrahepatic metastases are common findings in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) expression is frequently induced in HCC, and serum IGF2 levels correlate with the presence of extrahepatic metastases. Yet, the role of IGF-induced signaling in the dissemination of HCC remains unclear. We have previously observed elevated IGF2 levels in tumors with metastatic potential in an HCC mouse model. Here, we demonstrate that inhibition of IGF2, or its receptor IGF1R, impairs the migration and invasion activities of murine HCC cells. Furthermore, inhibition of IGF1R also impairs the ability of HCC cells to colonize the lungs after introduction into the circulation through the tail vein but does not impair subcutaneous tumor growth. Collectively, these findings suggest that IGF1R-mediated signaling plays a causative role in tumor dissemination but is not required for tumor growth per se. Although previous studies indicate that IGF ligands can signal through IGF1R/insulin receptor (IR) heterodimers, and IR-A homodimers, we demonstrate that the IR is not required for invasion and metastasis by HCC cells. Finally, we identify matrix metalloproteinase 2 as a mediator of the invasive phenotype downstream of IGF1R-induced signaling. Thus, our studies demonstrate the importance of IGF2-induced signaling in the dissemination of HCC cells.
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 10/2009; 11(9):835-45. · 5.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Haemophilus influenzae efficiently colonizes and persists at the human nasopharyngeal mucosa, causing disease when it spreads to other sites. Nitric oxide (NO) represents a major antimicrobial defense deployed by host cells in locations colonized by H. influenzae during pathogenesis that are likely to vary in oxygen levels. Formate-dependent nitrite reductase regulator (FNR) is an oxygen-sensitive regulator in several bacterial pathogens. We report that fnr of H. influenzae is required for anaerobic defense against exposure to NO donors and to resist NO-dependent effects of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma)-activated murine bone marrow-derived macrophages. To understand the mechanism of resistance, we investigated the role of FNR-regulated genes in defense against NO sources. Expression analysis revealed FNR-dependent activation of nrfA, dmsA, napA, and ytfE. Nonpolar deletion mutants of nrfA and ytfE exhibited sensitivity to NO donors, and the ytfE gene was more critical for survival. Compared to the wild-type strain, the ytfE mutant exhibited decreased survival when exposed to macrophages, a defect that was more pronounced after prior stimulation of macrophages with IFN-gamma or lipopolysaccharide. Complementation restored survival of the mutant to the level in the parental strain. Increased sensitivity of the ytfE mutant relative to that of the parent was abrogated by treatment of macrophages with a NO synthase inhibitor, implicating YtfE in resistance to a NO-dependent pathway. These results identify a requirement for FNR in positive control of ytfE and indicate a critical role for ytfE in resistance of H. influenzae to reactive nitrogen species and the antibacterial effects of macrophages.
Infection and immunity 04/2009; 77(5):1945-58. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic makeup of the host plays a significant role in the course and outcome of infection. Inbred strains of mice display a wide range of sensitivities to Listeria monocytogenes infection and thus serve as a good model for analysis of the effect of genetic polymorphism. The outcome of L. monocytogenes infection in mice is influenced by the ability of this bacterium to induce expression of interferon beta mRNA, encoded in mouse by the Ifnb1 (interferon beta 1, fibroblast) gene. Mouse strains that lack components of the IFN beta signaling pathway are substantially more resistant to infection. We found that macrophages from the ByJ substrain of the common C57BL/6 inbred strain of mice are impaired in their ability to induce Ifnb1 expression in response to bacterial and viral infections. We mapped the locus that controls differential expression of Ifnb1 to a region on Chromosome 7 that includes interferon regulatory factor 3 (Irf3), which encodes a transcription factor responsible for early induction of Ifnb1 expression. In C57BL/6ByJ mice, Irf3 mRNA was inefficiently spliced, with a significant proportion of the transcripts retaining intron 5. Analysis of the Irf3 locus identified a single base-pair polymorphism and revealed that intron 5 of Irf3 is spliced by the atypical U12-type spliceosome. We found that the polymorphism disrupts a U12-type branchpoint and has a profound effect on the efficiency of splicing of Irf3. We demonstrate that a naturally occurring change in the splicing control element has a dramatic effect on the resistance to L. monocytogenes infection. Thus, the C57BL/6ByJ mouse strain serves as an example of how a mammalian host can counter bacterial virulence strategies by introducing subtle alteration of noncoding sequences.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We undertook a quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis in mice to identify modifier genes that might influence the severity of human iron disorders. We identified a strong QTL on mouse chromosome 9 that differentially affected macrophage iron burden in C57BL/10J and SWR/J mice. A C57BL/10J missense allele of an evolutionarily conserved gene, Mon1a, cosegregated with the QTL in congenic mouse lines. We present evidence that Mon1a is involved in trafficking of ferroportin, the major mammalian iron exporter, to the surface of iron-recycling macrophages. Differences in amounts of surface ferroportin correlate with differences in cellular iron content. Mon1a is also important for trafficking of cell-surface and secreted molecules unrelated to iron metabolism, suggesting that it has a fundamental role in the mammalian secretory apparatus.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. HCC patients frequently present with disease that has metastasized to other regions of the liver, the portal vein, lymph nodes, or lungs, leading to poor prognoses. Therefore, model systems that allow exploration of the molecular mechanisms underlying metastasis in this disease are greatly needed. We describe here a metastatic HCC model generated after the somatic introduction of the mouse polyoma virus middle T antigen to mice with liver-specific deletion of the Trp53 tumor suppressor locus and show the cell autonomous effect of p53 loss of function on HCC metastasis. We additionally find that cholangiocarcinoma also develops in these mice, and some tumors display features of both HCC and cholangiocarcinoma, suggestive of origin from liver progenitor cells. Concomitant loss of the Ink4a/Arf tumor suppressor locus accelerates tumor formation and metastasis, suggesting potential roles for the p16 and p19 tumor suppressors in this process. Significantly, tumor cell lines isolated from tumors lacking both Trp53 and Ink4a/Arf display enhanced invasion activity in vitro relative to those lacking Trp53 alone. Thus, our data illustrate a new model system amenable for the analysis of HCC metastasis.
Cancer Research 09/2007; 67(16):7589-96. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For almost half a century, the mouse model of Listeria monocytogenes infection has been used to analyse both innate and adaptive components of immunity and to discover key immune genes. Vast accumulated knowledge about the disease in mice provides a unique framework for identifying and characterising immune molecules using a variety of experimental approaches. To illustrate the range of questions that can be addressed using modern genetics and genomics tools, the authors provide an overview of the analysis of components of immune signalling networks using the mouse model of L. monocytogenes infection.
Briefings in Functional Genomics and Proteomics 12/2005; 4(3):258-69.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological, clinical, and experimental approaches have convincingly demonstrated that host resistance to infection with intracellular pathogens is significantly influenced by genetic polymorphisms. Using a mouse model of infection with virulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), we have previously identified the sst1 locus as a genetic determinant of host resistance to tuberculosis. In this study we demonstrate that susceptibility to another intracellular pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, is also influenced by the sst1 locus. The contribution of sst1 to anti-listerial immunity is much greater in immunodeficient scid mice, indicating that this locus controls innate immunity and becomes particularly important when adaptive immunity is significantly depressed. Similar to our previous observations using infection with MTB, the resistant allele of sst1 prevents formation of necrotic infectious lesions in vivo. We have shown that macrophages obtained from sst1-resistant congenic mice possess superior ability to kill L. monocytogenes in vitro. The bactericidal effect of sst1 is dependent on IFN-gamma activation and reactive oxygen radical production by activated macrophages after infection, but is independent of NO production. It is possible that there is a single gene that controls common IFN-dependent macrophage function, which is important in the pathogenesis of infections caused by both MTB and L. monocytogenes. However, host resistance to the two pathogens may be controlled by two different polymorphic genes encoded within the sst1 locus. The polymorphic gene(s) encoded within the sst1 locus that controls macrophage interactions with the two intracellular pathogens remains to be elucidated.
The Journal of Immunology 11/2004; 173(8):5112-20. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The B10.Q/J strain of mice was serendipitously discovered to be highly susceptible to infection by the intracellular protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii but markedly resistant to induction of autoimmune arthritis. We have previously shown that the B10.Q/J phenotype is controlled by a single recessive locus and is associated with lymphocyte hyporesponsiveness to IL-12. Using genetic approaches, we have now localized the B10.Q/J locus to chromosome 9 and established its identity as Tyk2, a Janus kinase essential for IL-12 and IFN-alpha/beta cytokine signaling. The B10.Q/J Tyk2 gene contained a single missense mutation resulting in a nonconservative amino acid substitution (E775K) in an invariant motif of the pseudokinase (Janus kinase homology 2) domain. This mutation appeared to result in the absence of the B10.Q/J-encoded Tyk2 protein, despite presence of Tyk2-specific transcripts. Phenotypically, B10.Q/J cells were indistinguishable from Tyk2-deficient cells, showing impaired signaling and biologic responses to IL-12, IL-23, and type I IFNs. The analogous E782K mutant of human Tyk2 failed to restore IFN-alpha responsiveness in Tyk2 null 11,1 cells. Our results indicate a crucial role for Tyk2 in T helper 1-mediated protective and pathogenic immune responses. An additional implication of our findings is that naturally occurring mutations in the Tyk2 gene may underlie altered susceptibilities to infectious or autoimmune diseases in human and animal populations.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2003; 100(20):11594-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spt3 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is required for the normal transcription of many genes in vivo. Past studies have shown that Spt3 is required for both mating and sporulation, two events that initiate when cells are at G(1)/START. We now show that Spt3 is needed for two other events that begin at G(1)/START, diploid filamentous growth and haploid invasive growth. In addition, Spt3 is required for normal expression of FLO11, a gene required for filamentous growth, although this defect is not the sole cause of the spt3Delta/spt3Delta filamentous growth defect. To extend our studies of Spt3's role in filamentous growth to the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans, we have identified the C. albicans SPT3 gene and have studied its role in C. albicans filamentous growth and virulence. Surprisingly, C. albicans spt3Delta/spt3Delta mutants are hyperfilamentous, the opposite phenotype observed for S. cerevisiae spt3Delta/spt3Delta mutants. Furthermore, C. albicans spt3Delta/spt3Delta mutants are avirulent in mice. These experiments demonstrate that Spt3 plays important but opposite roles in filamentous growth in S. cerevisiae and C. albicans.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the role of host heredity in susceptibility to infectious diseases is significant, the genetic control of immunity to infection remains poorly understood. Advances in experimental and epidemiological analyses of complex genetic traits have led to the discoveries of novel genetic determinants of host resistance. New loci that control susceptibility to a number of intracellular pathogens have been identified using mouse models of infectious diseases. The contributions of individual loci, however, vary in quantitative and qualitative manner, depending on mechanisms of pathogen virulence and genetic background of the host. In this review, we discuss how genetic analysis of host resistance contributes to further understanding of host immunity and pathogenesis of intracellular infections.
Current Opinion in Microbiology 03/2002; 5(1):111-7. · 8.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inbred mouse strains exhibit striking differences in the susceptibility of their macrophages to the effects of anthrax lethal toxin (LeTx). Previous data has shown that this difference in susceptibility lies downstream of toxin entry into macrophages. A locus controlling this phenotype, called Ltxs1, has been mapped to chromosome 11, but the responsible gene has not been identified.
Here, we report the identification of the Ltxs1 gene as Kif1C, which encodes a kinesin-like motor protein of the UNC104 subfamily. Kif1C is the only gene in the Ltxs1 interval exhibiting polymorphisms between susceptible and resistant strains. Multiple alleles of Kif1C determine the susceptibility or resistance of cultured mouse macrophages to LeTx. Treatment of resistant macrophages with brefeldin-A (which alters the cellular localization of Kif1C) induces susceptibility to LeTx, while ectopic expression of a resistance allele of Kif1C in susceptible macrophages causes a 4-fold increase in the number of cells surviving LeTx treatment. We also show that cleavage of map kinase kinase 3, a target of LeTx proteolysis, occurs in resistant cells.
We conclude that mutations in Kif1C are responsible for the differences in the susceptibility of inbred mouse macrophages to LeTx and that proper Kif1C function is required for LeTx resistance. Since the LeTx-mediated proteolysis of map kinase kinase 3 occurs even in resistant cells, Kif1C does not affect cellular entry or processing of LeTx and likely influences events occurring later in the intoxication pathway.
Current Biology 11/2001; 11(19):1503-11. · 9.49 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intrahepatic and extrahepatic metastases are common findings in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) expression is frequently induced in HCC, and serum IGF2 levels correlate with the presence of extrahepatic metastases. Yet, the role of IGF-induced signaling in the dissemination of HCC remains unclear. We have previously observed elevated IGF2 levels in tumors with metastatic potential in an HCC mouse model. Here, we demonstrate that inhibition of IGF2, or its receptor IGF1R, impairs the migration and invasion activities of murine HCC cells. Furthermore, inhibition of IGF1R also impairs the ability of HCC cells to colonize the lungs after introduction into the circulation through the tail vein but does not impair subcutaneous tumor growth. Collectively, these findings suggest that IGF1R-mediated signaling plays a causative role in tumor dissemination but is not required for tumor growth per se. Although previous studies indicate that IGF ligands can signal through IGF1R/ insulin receptor (IR) heterodimers, and IR-A homodimers, we demonstrate that the IR is not required for invasion and metastasis by HCC cells. Finally, we identify matrix metalloproteinase 2 as a mediator of the invasive pheno- type downstream of IGF1R-induced signaling. Thus, our studies demonstrate the importance of IGF2-induced sig- naling in the dissemination of HCC cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a method for the interval mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for a time-to-death trait when a considerable proportion of individuals fail to die. This work was motivated by a mouse cross for susceptibility to Listeria infection, in which 30% of the mice recovered from infection, and the other 70% died within 240 hours, with an average (standard deviation, SD) time-to-death of 106 (33) hours. We consider a single-QTL model in which a mouse with genotype at the QTL has probability of recovering from the infection, and, if the mouse dies, its log time-to-death follows a normal distribution with mean and SD . We describe the calculation of three lod scores: LOD( ), to test the hypothesis that the are equal; LOD( ), to test the hypothesis that the are equal; and LOD( , ), to test the combined hypothesis that both the and the are constant in .