Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a rare and intractable disease characterized by extraskeletal bone formation through endochondral ossification. Patients with FOP harbor point mutations in ACVR1, a type I receptor for BMPs. Although mutated ACVR1 (FOP-ACVR1) has been shown to render hyperactivity in BMP signaling, we and others have uncovered a mechanism by which FOP-ACVR1 mistransduces BMP signaling in response to Activin-A, a molecule that normally transduces TGF-β signaling. Although Activin-A evokes enhanced chondrogenesis in vitro and heterotopic ossification (HO) in vivo, the underlying mechanisms have yet to be revealed. To this end, we developed a high-throughput screening (HTS) system using FOP patient–derived induced pluripotent stem cells (FOP-iPSCs) to identify pivotal pathways in enhanced chondrogenesis that are initiated by Activin-A. In a screen of 6,809 small-molecule compounds, we identified mTOR signaling as a critical pathway for the aberrant chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stromal cells derived from FOP-iPSCs (FOP-iMSCs). Two different HO mouse models, an FOP model mouse expressing FOP-ACVR1 and an FOP-iPSC–based HO model mouse, revealed critical roles for mTOR signaling in vivo. Moreover, we identified ENPP2, an enzyme that generates lysophosphatidic acid, as a linker of FOP-ACVR1 and mTOR signaling in chondrogenesis. These results uncovered the crucial role of the Activin-A/FOP-ACVR1/ENPP2/mTOR axis in FOP pathogenesis.
Kyosuke Hino, Kazuhiko Horigome, Megumi Nishio, Shingo Komura, Sanae Nagata, Chengzhu Zhao, Yonghui Jin, Koichi Kawakami, Yasuhiro Yamada, Akira Ohta, Junya Toguchida, Makoto Ikeya
Accumulating evidence suggests that glioma stem cells (GSCs) are important therapeutic targets in glioblastoma (GBM). In this study, we identified NIMA-related kinase 2 (NEK2) as a functional binding protein of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) that plays a critical role in the posttranslational regulation of EZH2 protein in GSCs. NEK2 was among the most differentially expressed kinase-encoding genes in GSC-containing cultures (glioma spheres), and it was required for in vitro clonogenicity, in vivo tumor propagation, and radioresistance. Mechanistically, the formation of a protein complex comprising NEK2 and EZH2 in glioma spheres phosphorylated and then protected EZH2 from ubiquitination-dependent protein degradation in a NEK2 kinase activity–dependent manner. Clinically, NEK2 expression in patients with glioma was closely associated with EZH2 expression and correlated with a poor prognosis. NEK2 expression was also substantially elevated in recurrent tumors after therapeutic failure compared with primary untreated tumors in matched GBM patients. We designed a NEK2 kinase inhibitor, compound 3a (CMP3a), which efficiently attenuated GBM growth in a mouse model and exhibited a synergistic effect with radiotherapy. These data demonstrate a key role for NEK2 in maintaining GSCs in GBM by stabilizing the EZH2 protein and introduce the small-molecule inhibitor CMP3a as a potential therapeutic agent for GBM.
Jia Wang, Peng Cheng, Marat S. Pavlyukov, Hai Yu, Zhuo Zhang, Sung-Hak Kim, Mutsuko Minata, Ahmed Mohyeldin, Wanfu Xie, Dongquan Chen, Violaine Goidts, Brendan Frett, Wenhao Hu, Hongyu Li, Yong Jae Shin, Yeri Lee, Do-Hyun Nam, Harley I. Kornblum, Maode Wang, Ichiro Nakano
Generation of functional hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) from human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) has been a long-sought-after goal for use in hematopoietic cell production, disease modeling, and eventually transplantation medicine. Homing of HSPCs from bloodstream to bone marrow (BM) is an important aspect of HSPC biology that has remained unaddressed in efforts to derive functional HSPCs from human PSCs. We have therefore examined the BM homing properties of human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived HSPCs (hiPS-HSPCs). We found that they express molecular effectors of BM extravasation, such as the chemokine receptor CXCR4 and the integrin dimer VLA-4, but lack expression of E-selectin ligands that program HSPC trafficking to BM. To overcome this deficiency, we expressed human fucosyltransferase 6 using modified mRNA. Expression of fucosyltransferase 6 resulted in marked increases in levels of cell surface E-selectin ligands. The glycoengineered cells exhibited enhanced tethering and rolling interactions on E-selectin–bearing endothelium under flow conditions in vitro as well as increased BM trafficking and extravasation when transplanted into mice. However, glycoengineered hiPS-HSPCs did not engraft long-term, indicating that additional functional deficiencies exist in these cells. Our results suggest that strategies toward increasing E-selectin ligand expression could be applicable as part of a multifaceted approach to optimize the production of HSPCs from human PSCs.
Jungmin Lee, Brad Dykstra, Joel A. Spencer, Laurie L. Kenney, Dale L. Greiner, Leonard D. Shultz, Michael A. Brehm, Charles P. Lin, Robert Sackstein, Derrick J. Rossi
The esophageal lumen is lined by a stratified squamous epithelium comprised of proliferative basal cells that differentiate while migrating toward the luminal surface and eventually desquamate. Rapid epithelial renewal occurs, but the specific cell of origin that supports this high proliferative demand remains unknown. Herein, we have described a long-lived progenitor cell population in the mouse esophageal epithelium that is characterized by expression of keratin 15 (
Véronique Giroux, Ashley A. Lento, Mirazul Islam, Jason R. Pitarresi, Akriti Kharbanda, Kathryn E. Hamilton, Kelly A. Whelan, Apple Long, Ben Rhoades, Qiaosi Tang, Hiroshi Nakagawa, Christopher J. Lengner, Adam J. Bass, E. Paul Wileyto, Andres J. Klein-Szanto, Timothy C. Wang, Anil K. Rustgi
It has been postulated that during human fetal development, all cells of the lung epithelium derive from embryonic, endodermal, NK2 homeobox 1–expressing (NKX2-1+) precursor cells. However, this hypothesis has not been formally tested owing to an inability to purify or track these progenitors for detailed characterization. Here we have engineered and developmentally differentiated NKX2-1GFP reporter pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) in vitro to generate and isolate human primordial lung progenitors that express NKX2-1 but are initially devoid of differentiated lung lineage markers. After sorting to purity, these primordial lung progenitors exhibited lung epithelial maturation. In the absence of mesenchymal coculture support, this NKX2-1+ population was able to generate epithelial-only spheroids in defined 3D cultures. Alternatively, when recombined with fetal mouse lung mesenchyme, the cells recapitulated epithelial-mesenchymal developing lung interactions. We imaged these progenitors in real time and performed time-series global transcriptomic profiling and single-cell RNA sequencing as they moved through the earliest moments of lung lineage specification. The profiles indicated that evolutionarily conserved, stage-dependent gene signatures of early lung development are expressed in primordial human lung progenitors and revealed a CD47hiCD26lo cell surface phenotype that allows their prospective isolation from untargeted, patient-specific PSCs for further in vitro differentiation and future applications in regenerative medicine.
Finn Hawkins, Philipp Kramer, Anjali Jacob, Ian Driver, Dylan C. Thomas, Katherine B. McCauley, Nicholas Skvir, Ana M. Crane, Anita A. Kurmann, Anthony N. Hollenberg, Sinead Nguyen, Brandon G. Wong, Ahmad S. Khalil, Sarah X.L. Huang, Susan Guttentag, Jason R. Rock, John M. Shannon, Brian R. Davis, Darrell N. Kotton
Pulmonary vascular disease is characterized by remodeling and loss of microvessels and is typically attributed to pathological responses in vascular endothelium or abnormal smooth muscle cell phenotypes. We have challenged this understanding by defining an adult pulmonary mesenchymal progenitor cell (MPC) that regulates both microvascular function and angiogenesis. The current understanding of adult MPCs and their roles in homeostasis versus disease has been limited by a lack of genetic markers with which to lineage label multipotent mesenchyme and trace the differentiation of these MPCs into vascular lineages. Here, we have shown that lineage-labeled lung MPCs expressing the ATP-binding cassette protein ABCG2 (ABCG2+) are pericyte progenitors that participate in microvascular homeostasis as well as adaptive angiogenesis. Activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, either autonomously or downstream of decreased BMP receptor signaling, enhanced ABCG2+ MPC proliferation but suppressed MPC differentiation into a functional pericyte lineage. Thus, enhanced Wnt/β-catenin signaling in ABCG2+ MPCs drives a phenotype of persistent microvascular dysfunction, abnormal angiogenesis, and subsequent exacerbation of bleomycin-induced fibrosis. ABCG2+ MPCs may, therefore, account in part for the aberrant microvessel function and remodeling that are associated with chronic lung diseases.
Christa F. Gaskill, Erica J. Carrier, Jonathan A. Kropski, Nathaniel C. Bloodworth, Swapna Menon, Robert F. Foronjy, M. Mark Taketo, Charles C. Hong, Eric D. Austin, James D. West, Anna L. Means, James E. Loyd, W. David Merryman, Anna R. Hemnes, Stijn De Langhe, Timothy S. Blackwell, Dwight J. Klemm, Susan M. Majka
Congenital heart disease (CHD) represents the most prevalent inborn anomaly. Only a minority of CHD cases are attributed to genetic causes, suggesting a major role of environmental factors. Nonphysiological hypoxia during early pregnancy induces CHD, but the underlying reasons are unknown. Here, we have demonstrated that cells in the mouse heart tube are hypoxic, while cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) expressing islet 1 (ISL1) in the secondary heart field (SHF) are normoxic. In ISL1+ CPCs, induction of hypoxic responses caused CHD by repressing
Xuejun Yuan, Hui Qi, Xiang Li, Fan Wu, Jian Fang, Eva Bober, Gergana Dobreva, Yonggang Zhou, Thomas Braun
The mTOR pathway is a critical determinant of cell persistence and growth wherein mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) mediates a balance between growth factor stimuli and nutrient availability. Amino acids or glucose facilitates mTORC1 activation by inducing RagA GTPase recruitment of mTORC1 to the lysosomal outer surface, enabling activation of mTOR by the Ras homolog Rheb. Thereby, RagA alters mTORC1-driven growth in times of nutrient abundance or scarcity. Here, we have evaluated differential nutrient-sensing dependence through RagA and mTORC1 in hematopoietic progenitors, which dynamically drive mature cell production, and hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), which provide a quiescent cellular reserve. In nutrient-abundant conditions, RagA-deficient HSC were functionally unimpaired and upregulated mTORC1 via nutrient-insensitive mechanisms. RagA was also dispensable for HSC function under nutritional stress conditions. Similarly, hyperactivation of RagA did not affect HSC function. In contrast, RagA deficiency markedly altered progenitor population function and mature cell output. Therefore, RagA is a molecular mechanism that distinguishes the functional attributes of reactive progenitors from a reserve stem cell pool. The indifference of HSC to nutrient sensing through RagA contributes to their molecular resilience to nutritional stress, a characteristic that is relevant to organismal viability in evolution and in modern HSC transplantation approaches.
Demetrios Kalaitzidis, Dongjun Lee, Alejo Efeyan, Youmna Kfoury, Naema Nayyar, David B. Sykes, Francois E. Mercier, Ani Papazian, Ninib Baryawno, Gabriel D. Victora, Donna Neuberg, David M. Sabatini, David T. Scadden
A hallmark of aged mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells (MSCs) in bone marrow is the pivot of differentiation potency from osteoblast to adipocyte coupled with a decrease in self-renewal capacity. However, how these cellular events are orchestrated in the aging progress is not fully understood. In this study, we have used molecular and genetic approaches to investigate the role of forkhead box P1 (FOXP1) in transcriptional control of MSC senescence. In bone marrow MSCs, FOXP1 expression levels declined with age in an inverse manner with those of the senescence marker
Hanjun Li, Pei Liu, Shuqin Xu, Yinghua Li, Joseph D. Dekker, Baojie Li, Ying Fan, Zhenlin Zhang, Yang Hong, Gong Yang, Tingting Tang, Yongxin Ren, Haley O. Tucker, Zhengju Yao, Xizhi Guo
The BM niche comprises a tightly controlled microenvironment formed by specific tissue and cells that regulates the behavior of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Here, we have provided a 3D model that is tunable in different BM niche components and useful, both in vitro and in vivo, for studying the maintenance of normal and malignant hematopoiesis. Using scaffolds, we tested the capacity of different stromal cell types to support human HSCs. Scaffolds coated with human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) proved to be superior in terms of HSC engraftment and long-term maintenance when implanted in vivo. Moreover, we found that hMSC-coated scaffolds can be modulated to form humanized bone tissue, which was also able to support human HSC engraftment. Importantly, hMSC-coated humanized scaffolds were able to support the growth of leukemia patient cells in vivo, including the growth of samples that would not engraft the BM of immunodeficient mice. These results demonstrate that an s.c. implantation approach in a 3D carrier scaffold seeded with stromal cells is an effective in vivo niche model for studying human hematopoiesis. The various niche components of this model can be changed depending on the context to improve the engraftment of nonengrafting acute myeloid leukemia (AML) samples.
Ander Abarrategi, Katie Foster, Ashley Hamilton, Syed A. Mian, Diana Passaro, John Gribben, Ghulam Mufti, Dominique Bonnet