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Molecular Medicine 2013

Articles from this Volume

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jul 1, 2013 12:59 PM CDT
Geoffrey Paltser, Xue Jun Liu, Jason Yantha, Shawn Winer, Hubert Tsui, Ping Wu, Yuko Maezawa, Lindsay S Cahill, Christine L Laliberté, Sreeram V Ramagopalan, Gabriele C DeLuca, A Dessa Sadovnick, Igor Astsaturov, George C Ebers,5R Mark Henkelman, Michael W Salter, and H-Michael Dosch

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic progressive, demyelinating condition whose therapeutic needs are unmet, and whose pathoetiology is elusive. We report that transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1) expressed in a major sensory neuron subset, controls severity and progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice and likely in primary progressive MS. TRPV1–/– B6 congenics are protected from EAE. Increased survival reflects reduced central nervous systems (CNS) infiltration, despite indistinguishable T cell autoreactivity and pathogenicity in the periphery of TRPV1-sufficient and -deficient mice. The TRPV1+ neurovascular complex defining the blood-CNS barriers promoted invasion of pathogenic lymphocytes without the contribution of TRPV1-dependent neuropeptides such as substance P. In MS patients, we found a selective risk-association of the missense rs877610 TRPV1 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in primary progressive disease. Our findings indicate that TRPV1 is a critical disease modifier in EAE, and we identify a predictor of severe disease course and a novel target for MS therapy. 

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Supplementary data

Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jun 26, 2013 2:28 PM CDT
Sonja M Wojcik,  Martesa Tantra, Beata Stepniak, Kwun-nok M Man, Katja Müller-Ribbe, Martin Begemann, Anes Ju,  Sergi Papiol,  Anja Ronnenberg, Artem Gurvich,2 Yong Shin, Iris Augustin,  Nils Brose,  and Hannelore Ehrenreich

Anxiety disorders and substance abuse, including benzodiazepine use disorder, frequently occur together. Unfortunately, treatment of anxiety disorders still includes benzodiazepines, and patients with an existing comorbid benzodiazepine use disorder or a genetic susceptibility for benzodiazepine use disorder may be at risk of adverse treatment outcomes. The identification of genetic predictors for anxiety disorders, and especially for benzodiazepine use disorder, could aid the selection of the best treatment option and improve clinical outcomes. The brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitor I–associated protein 3 (Baiap3) is a member of the mammalian uncoordinated 13 (Munc13) protein family of synaptic regulators of neurotransmitter exocytosis, with a striking expression pattern in amygdalae, hypothalamus and periaqueductal gray. Deletion of Baiap3 in mice leads to enhanced seizure propensity and increased anxiety, with the latter being more pronounced in female than in male animals. We hypothesized that genetic variation in human BAIAP3 may also be associated with anxiety. By using a phenotype-based genetic association study, we identified two human BAIAP3 single-nucleotide polymorphism risk genotypes (AA for rs2235632, TT for rs1132358) that show a significant association with anxiety in women and, surprisingly, with benzodiazepine abuse in men. Returning to mice, we found that male, but not female, Baiap3 knockout (KO) mice develop tolerance to diazepam more quickly than control animals. Analysis of cultured Baiap3 KO hypothalamus slices revealed an increase in basal network activity and an altered response to diazepam withdrawal. Thus, Baiap3/BAIAP3 is gender specifically associated with anxiety and benzodiazepine use disorder, and the analysis of Baiap3/BAIAP3-related functions may help elucidate mechanisms underlying the development of both disorders. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jun 6, 2013 12:28 PM CDT
Dana Marcus, Michal Lichtenstein, Ann Saada, and Haya Lorberboum-Galski

Disorders of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system frequently result in a severe multisystem disease with the consequence of early childhood death. Among these disorders, isolated complex I deficiency is the most frequently diagnosed, accounting for one-third of all cases of respiratory chain deficiency. We chose to focus on complex I deficiency, caused by mutation in the assembly factor chromosome 6, open reading frame 66 (C6ORF66; NADH dehydrogenase [ubiquinone] complex I assembly factor 4 [NDUFAF4]) protein. We used the approach of cell- and organelle-directed protein/enzyme replacement therapy, with the transactivator of transcription (TAT) peptide as the moiety delivery system. This step will enable us to deliver the wild-type assembly factor C6ORF66 into patient cells and their mitochondria, leading to the proper assembly and function of complex I and, as a result, to a functional OXPHOS system. We designed and constructed the TAT-ORF fusion protein by gene fusion techniques, expressed the protein in an Escherichia coli expression system and highly purified it. Our results indicate that TAT-ORF enters patients’ cells and their mitochondria rapidly and efficiently. TAT-ORF is biologically active and led to an increase in complex I activity. TATORF also increased the number of patient cells and improved the activity of their mitochondria. Moreover, we observed an increase in ATP production, a decrease in the content of mitochondria and a decrease in the level of reactive oxygen species. Our results suggest that this approach of protein replacement therapy for the treatment of mitochondrial disorders is a promising one. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jun 5, 2013 9:17 AM CDT

Nikos Papakonstantinou, Stavroula Ntoufa, Elisavet Chartomatsidou, Giorgio Papadopoulos, Artemis Hatzigeorgiou, Achiles Anagnostopoulos, Katerina Chlichlia, Paolo Ghia, Marta Muzio, Chrysoula Belessi, and Kostas Stamatopoulos

Critical processes of B-cell physiology, including immune signaling through the B-cell receptor (BcR) and/or Toll-like receptors (TLRs), are targeted by microRNAs. With this in mind and also given the important role of BcR and TLR signaling and microRNAs in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), we investigated whether microRNAs could be implicated in shaping the behavior of CLL clones with distinct BcR and TLR molecular and functional profiles. To this end, we examined 79 CLL cases for the expression of 33 microRNAs, selected on the following criteria: (a) deregulated in CLL versus normal B-cells; (b) differentially expressed in CLL subgroups with distinct clinicobiological features; and, (c) if meeting (a) + (b), having predicted targets in the immune signaling pathways. Significant upregulation of miR-150, miR-29c, miR-143 and miR-223 and downregulation of miR-15a was found in mutated versus unmutated CLL, with miR-15a showing the highest fold difference. Comparison of two major subsets with distinct stereotyped BcRs and signaling signatures, namely subset 1 [IGHV1/5/7-IGKV1(D)-39, unmutated, bad prognosis] versus subset 4 [IGHV4- 34/IGKV2-30, mutated, good prognosis] revealed differences in the expression of miR-150, miR-29b, miR-29c and miR-101, all downregulated in subset 1. We were also able to link these distinct microRNA profiles with cellular phenotypes, importantly showing that, in subset 1, miR-101 downregulation is associated with overexpression of the enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) protein, which has been associated with clinical aggressiveness in other B-cell lymphomas. In conclusion, specific miRNAs differentially expressed among CLL subgroups with distinct BcR and/or TLR signaling may modulate the biological and clinical behavior of the CLL clones. 

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Supplementary data

Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 22, 2013 1:25 PM CDT

Mårten Wendt, Ola Börjesson, Aune Avik, Johan Bratt, Björn Anderstam, Abdul R Qureshi, Edmund J Miller, Iva Gunnarsson, and Annette Bruchfeld

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a proinflammatory cytokine known to be released from lymphocytes, macrophages and endothelial cells and also in animal models shown to be inducible with glucocorticoids (GC). In contrast, thyroxine seems to antagonize MIF activity. To investigate whether MIF is increased in active antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) and possible correlations with GC dosing and thyroid hormone levels, 27 consecutive patients with active AAV were studied and followed prospectively. Disease activity was assessed using Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score 2003 (BVAS) at baseline and at follow-up at 3 and 6 months, along with MIF, thyroid hormones free triiodothyronine (fT3) and free thyroxine (fT4), C-reactive protein (CRP) and creatinine. MIF was elevated significantly at baseline compared with follow-up at 3 and 6 months (8,618 pg/mL versus 5,696 and 6,212 respectively; P < 0.002) but did not correlate to CRP, GC dose, creatinine or organ involvement. fT3 was depressed significantly at baseline compared with follow-up (1.99 pg/mL versus 2.31 and 2.67 respectively; P = 0.01) and correlated inversely to the BVAS score at baseline. We found a significant correlation between the MIF/fT4 ratio at baseline versus MIF/fT4 ratio at 6 months (ρ = 0.52, P < 0.005) and a trend between the baseline MIF/fT3 ratio versus MIF/fT3 ratio at 6 months (ρ = 0.39, P = 0.05). These results suggest a possible role for MIF and thyroid status in AAV. Further studies could reveal whether the association between AAV and thyroid hormone levels in the context of elevated MIF may present a link as well as a target of treatment. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 20, 2013 2:54 PM CDT

Antonella Chillemi, Gianluca Zaccarello, Valeria Quarona, Manuela Ferracin, Chiara Ghimenti, Massimo Massaia,2,5 Alberto L Horenstein, and Fabio Malavasi

In vivo
use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) has become a mainstay of routine clinical practice in the treatment of various human diseases. A number of molecules can serve as targets, according to the condition being treated. Now entering human clinical trials, CD38 molecule is a particularly attractive target because of its peculiar pattern of expression and its twin role as receptor and ectoenzyme. This review provides a range of analytical perspectives on the current progress in and challenges to anti- CD38 mAb therapy. We present a synopsis of the evidence available on CD38, particularly in myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Our aim is to make the data from basic science helpful and accessible to a diverse clinical audience and, at the same time, to improve its potential for in vivo use. The topics covered include tissue distribution and signal implementation by mAb ligation and the possibility of increasing cell density on target cells by exploiting information about the molecule’s regulation in combination with drugs approved for in vivo use. Also analyzed is the behavior of CD38 as an enzyme: CD38 is a component of a pathway leading to the production of adenosine in the tumor microenvironment, thus inducing local anergy. Consequently, not only might CD38 be a prime target for mAb-mediated therapy, but its functional block may contribute to general improvement in cancer immunotherapy and outcomes. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 15, 2013 9:24 AM CDT

Sodam Kim, Sun Young Kim, John P Pribis, Michael Lotze, Kevin P Mollen, Richard Shapiro, Patricia Loughran, Melanie J Scott, and Timothy R Billiar


High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is a DNA-binding protein that possesses cytokinelike, proinflammatory properties when released extracellularly in the C23–C45 disulfide form. HMGB1 also plays a key role as a mediator of acute and chronic inflammation in models of sterile injury. Although HMGB1 interacts with multiple pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), many of its effects in injury models occur through an interaction with toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). HMGB1 interacts directly with the TLR4/myeloid differentiation protein 2 (MD2) complex, although the nature of this interaction remains unclear. We demonstrate that optimal HMGB1-dependent TLR4 activation in vitro requires the coreceptor CD14. TLR4 and MD2 are recruited into CD14-containing lipid rafts of RAW264.7 macrophages after stimulation with HMGB1, and TLR4 interacts closely with the lipid raft protein GM1. Furthermore, we show that HMGB1 stimulates tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α release in WT but not in TLR4–/–, CD14–/–, TIR domain-containing adapter-inducing interferon-β (TRIF)–/– or myeloid differentiation primary response protein 88 (MyD88)–/– macrophages. HMGB1 induces the release of monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1), interferon gamma–induced protein 10 (IP-10) and macrophage inflammatory protein 1α (MIP-1α) in a TLR4- and CD14-dependent manner. Thus, efficient recognition of HMGB1 by the TLR4/MD2 complex requires CD14. 

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Supplementary data
Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 15, 2013 9:18 AM CDT

Silvia Consalvi, Chiara Mozzetta, Paolo Bettica, Massimiliano Germani, Francesco Fiorentini,

Francesca Del Bene, Maurizio Rocchetti, Flavio Leoni,2 Valmen Monzani, Paolo Mascagni,

Pier Lorenzo Puri, and Valentina Saccone

Previous work has established the existence of dystrophin–nitric oxide (NO) signaling to histone deacetylases (HDACs) that is deregulated in dystrophic muscles. As such, pharmacological interventions that target HDACs (that is, HDAC inhibitors) are of potential therapeutic interest for the treatment of muscular dystrophies. In this study, we explored the effectiveness of long-term treatment with different doses of the HDAC inhibitor givinostat in mdx mice—the mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This study identified an efficacy for recovering functional and histological parameters within a window between 5 and 10 mg/kg/d of givinostat, with evident reduction of the beneficial effects with 1 mg/kg/d dosage. The long-term (3.5 months) exposure of 1.5-month-old mdx mice to optimal concentrations of givinostat promoted the formation of muscles with increased cross-sectional area and reduced fibrotic scars and fatty infiltration, leading to an overall improvement of endurance performance in treadmill tests and increased membrane stability. Interestingly, a reduced inflammatory infiltrate was observed in muscles of mdx mice exposed to 5 and 10 mg/kg/d of givinostat. A parallel pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analysis confirmed the relationship between the effective doses of givinostat and the drug distribution in muscles and blood of treated mice. These findings provide the preclinical basis for an immediate translation of givinostat into clinical studies with DMD patients. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 15, 2013 9:06 AM CDT

Natasha C Brooks, Alexandra H Marshall, Nour Qa’aty, Yaeko Hiyama, Darren Boehning, and Marc G Jeschke

The first 24 h following burn injury is known as the ebb phase and is characterized by a depressed metabolic rate. While the postburn ebb phase has been well described, the molecular mechanisms underlying this response are poorly understood. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) regulates metabolic rate by maintaining glucose homeostasis through the hepatic ER stress response. We have shown that burn injury leads to ER stress in the liver during the first 24 h following thermal injury. However, whether ER stress is linked to the metabolic responses during the ebb phase of burn injury is poorly understood. Here, we show in an animal model that burn induces activation of activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) and inositol requiring enzyme-1 (IRE-1) and this leads to increased expression of spliced X-box binding protein-1 (XBP-1s) messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) during the ebb phase. This is associated with increased expression of XBP-1 target genes and downregulation of the key gluconeogenic enzyme glucose-6- phosphatase (G6Pase). We conclude that upregulation of the ER stress response after burn injury is linked to attenuated gluconeogenesis and sustained glucose tolerance in the postburn ebb phase. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on May 10, 2013 11:05 AM CDT
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