Li Jiang

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

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Publications (6)31.76 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: ASXL1 is mutated/deleted with high frequencies in multiple forms of myeloid malignancies and its alterations are associated with poor prognosis. De novo ASXL1 mutations cause Bohring-Opitz syndrome characterized by multiple congenital malformations. We show that Asxl1-deletion in mice led to developmental abnormalities including dwarfism, anophthalmia and 80% embryonic lethality. Surviving Asxl1(-/-) mice lived for up to 42 days and developed features of MDS, including dysplastic neutrophils and multiple lineage cytopenia. Asxl1(-/-) mice had a reduced HSC-pool and Asxl1(-/-) HSCs exhibited decreased hematopoietic repopulating capacity with skewed cell differentiation favoring granulocytic lineage. Importantly, Asxl1(+/-) mice also developed mild MDS-like disease, which could progress to MDS/MPN, demonstrating a haploinsufficient effect of Asxl1 in the pathogenesis of myeloid malignancies. Asxl1-loss led to an increased apoptosis and mitosis in LK cells, consistent with human MDS. Furthermore, Asxl1(-/-) LK cells exhibited decreased global levels of H3K27me3 and H3K4me3, and altered expression of genes regulating apoptosis (Bcl2, Bcl2l12 and Bcl2l13). Collectively, we report a novel ASXL1 murine model which recapitulates human myeloid malignancies, implying that Asxl1 functions as a tumor suppressor to maintain hematopoietic cell homeostasis. Future work is necessary to clarify the contribution of microenvironment to the hematopoietic phenotypes observed in the constitutional Asxl1(-/-) mice.
    Blood 11/2013; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common genetic disorder affecting 1 in 3500 individuals. Patients with NF1 are predisposed to debilitating skeletal manifestations, including osteopenia/osteoporosis and long bone pseudarthrosis (non-union fracture). Hyperactivation of the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in NF1 is known to underlie aberrant proliferation and differentiation in cell lineages, including osteoclast progenitors and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) also known as osteoblast progenitors (pro-OBLs). Our current study demonstrates the hyper Ras/MAPK as a critical pathway underlying the pathogenesis of NF1 associated fracture repair deficits. Nf1-deficient pro-OBLs exhibit Ras/MAPK hyperactivation. Introduction of the NF1 GTPase activating related domain (NF1 GAP-related domain) in vitro is sufficient to rescue hyper Ras activity and enhance osteoblast (OBL) differentiation in Nf1(-/-) pro-OBLs and NF1 human (h) MSCs cultured from NF1 patients with skeletal abnormalities including pseudarthrosis or scoliosis. Pharmacologic inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) signaling with PD98059 partially rescues aberrant Erk activation while enhancing OBL differentiation and expression of OBL markers, osterix and osteocalcin, in Nf1-deficient murine pro-OBLs. Similarly, MEK inhibition enhances OBL differentiation of hMSCs. In addition, PD98059 rescues aberrant osteoclast maturation in Nf1 haploinsufficient bone marrow mononuclear cells. Importantly, MEK inhibitor significantly improves fracture healing in an NF1 murine model, Col2.3Cre;Nf1(flox/-). Collectively, these data indicate the Ras/MAPK cascade as a critical pathway in the pathogenesis of bone loss and pseudarthrosis related to NF1 mutations. These studies provide evidence for targeting the MAPK pathway to improve bone mass and treat pseudarthrosis in NF1.
    Human Molecular Genetics 07/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Skeletal abnormalities including osteoporosis and osteopenia occur frequently in both pediatric and adult neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients. NF1 (Nf1) haploinsufficient osteoclasts and osteoclast progenitors derived from both NF1 patients and Nf1(+/-) mice exhibit increased differentiation, migration, and bone resorptive capacity in vitro, mediated by hyperactivation of p21(Ras) in response to limiting concentrations of macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF). Here, we show that M-CSF binding to its receptor, c-Fms, results in increased c-Fms activation in Nf1(+/) (-) osteoclast progenitors, mediating multiple gain-in-functions through the downstream effectors Erk1/2 and p90RSK. PLX3397, a potent and selective c-Fms inhibitor, attenuated M-CSF mediated Nf1(+/-) osteoclast migration by 50%, adhesion by 70%, and pit formation by 60%. In vivo, we administered PLX3397 to Nf1(+/-) osteoporotic mice induced by ovariectomy (OVX) and evaluated changes in bone mass and skeletal architecture. We found that PLX3397 prevented bone loss in Nf1(+/-)-OVX mice by reducing osteoclast differentiation and bone resorptive activity in vivo. Collectively, these results implicate the M-CSF/c-Fms signaling axis as a critical pathway underlying the aberrant functioning of Nf1 haploinsufficient osteoclasts and may provide a potential therapeutic target for treating NF1 associated osteoporosis and osteopenia.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e46900. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The intricately regulated Ras pathway coordinates multiple kit-ligand-induced mast cell functions, including chemotaxis, proliferation, and degranulation. However, the intracellular proteins that modulate the intensity and duration of stem cell factor-induced signals and the consequent cellular response are incompletely understood. Scaffolding proteins coordinate the spatial organization of mitogen-activated protein kinase proteins that may potentiate and/or inhibit cell functions. The kinase suppressor of Ras (KSR1) protein is known to function as a molecular scaffold and coordinates the organization of Raf/Mek/Erk in response to receptor tyrosine kinases. However, the impact of KSR1 in myeloid mast cell functions and in response to stem cell factor remains unknown. In the present study, we investigated the role of KSR1 in regulating cellular functions of bone marrow-derived mast cells of KSR1-deficient ((-/-)) mice. Genetic disruption of KSR1 resulted in both striking reductions in kit-ligand-mediated proliferation and degranulation, which are commonly attributed to mitogen-activated protein kinase signals. Surprisingly, disruption of the KSR1 scaffold also resulted in a decline in migration that is generally not linked to Raf-Erk signals. We found that loss of KSR1 does impact the biochemical activation of p21-activated kinase, a kinase that is known to modulate Raf-Erk signals and also F-actin polymerization key to mast cell migration. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that the scaffolding protein KSR1 has an important role in multiple kit-ligand-mediated mast cell functions. This study elucidates varied mast cell physiological functions for KSR1, including those related to cytoskeletal organization, and it suggests a novel molecular target for attenuating mast cell-mediated inflammation.
    Experimental hematology 07/2011; 39(10):969-76. · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Germline mutations in the NF1 tumor suppressor gene cause neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a complex genetic disorder with a high predisposition of numerous skeletal dysplasias including short stature, osteoporosis, kyphoscoliosis, and fracture non-union (pseudoarthrosis). We have developed murine models that phenocopy many of the skeletal dysplasias observed in NF1 patients, including reduced bone mass and fracture non-union. We also show that the development of these skeletal manifestations requires an Nf1 haploinsufficient background in addition to nullizygous loss of Nf1 in mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells (MSCs) and/or their progenies. This is replicated in two animal models of NF1, PeriCre(+);Nf1(flox/-) and Col2.3Cre(+);Nf1(flox/-) mice. Adoptive transfer experiments demonstrate a critical role of the Nf1+/- marrow microenvironment in the impaired fracture healing in both models and adoptive transfer of WT bone marrow cells improves fracture healing in these mice. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a non-cell autonomous mechanism in non-malignant NF1 manifestations. Collectively, these data provide evidence of a combinatory effect between nullizygous loss of Nf1 in osteoblast progenitors and haploinsufficiency in hematopoietic cells in the development of non-malignant NF1 manifestations.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(9):e24917. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1 and 2) are widely-expressed and they modulate proliferation, survival, differentiation, and protein synthesis in multiple cell lineages. Altered ERK1/2 signaling is found in several genetic diseases with skeletal phenotypes, including Noonan syndrome, Neurofibromatosis type 1, and Cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome, suggesting that MEK-ERK signals regulate human skeletal development. Here, we examine the consequence of Erk1 and Erk2 disruption in multiple functions of osteoclasts, specialized macrophage/monocyte lineage-derived cells that resorb bone. We demonstrate that Erk1 positively regulates osteoclast development and bone resorptive activity, as genetic disruption of Erk1 reduced osteoclast progenitor cell numbers, compromised pit formation, and diminished M-CSF-mediated adhesion and migration. Moreover, WT mice reconstituted long-term with Erk1(-/-) bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMNCs) demonstrated increased bone mineral density as compared to recipients transplanted with WT and Erk2(-/-) BMMNCs, implicating marrow autonomous, Erk1-dependent osteoclast function. These data demonstrate Erk1 plays an important role in osteoclast functions while providing rationale for the development of Erk1-specific inhibitors for experimental investigation and/or therapeutic modulation of aberrant osteoclast function.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(9):e24780. · 3.73 Impact Factor