The development and function of stem and progenitor cells that produce blood cells are vital in physiology. GATA-binding protein 2 (GATA2) mutations cause GATA-2 deficiency syndrome involving immunodeficiency, myelodysplastic syndrome, and acute myeloid leukemia. GATA-2 physiological activities necessitate that it be strictly regulated, and cell type–specific enhancers fulfill this role. The +9.5 intronic enhancer harbors multiple conserved cis-elements, and germline mutations of these cis-elements are pathogenic in humans. Since mechanisms underlying how GATA2 enhancer disease mutations impact hematopoiesis and pathology are unclear, we generated mouse models of the enhancer mutations. While a multi-motif mutant was embryonically lethal, a single-nucleotide Ets motif mutant was viable, and steady-state hematopoiesis was normal. However, the Ets motif mutation abrogated stem/progenitor cell regeneration following stress. These results reveal a new mechanism in human genetics, in which a disease predisposition mutation inactivates enhancer regenerative activity, while sparing developmental activity. Mutational sensitization to stress that instigates hematopoietic failure constitutes a paradigm for GATA-2 deficiency syndrome and other contexts of GATA-2–dependent pathogenesis.
Alexandra A. Soukup, Ye Zheng, Charu Mehta, Jun Wu, Peng Liu, Miao Cao, Inga Hofmann, Yun Zhou, Jing Zhang, Kirby D. Johnson, Kyunghee Choi, Sunduz Keles, Emery H. Bresnick
A variety of neurological procedures, including deep brain stimulation and craniotomies that require tissue removal near elegant cortices, require patients to remain awake and responsive in order to monitor function. Such procedures can produce anxiety and are poorly tolerated in some subjects. In this issue of the JCI, Bijanki and colleagues demonstrate that electrical stimulation of the left dorsal anterior cingulum bundle promoted a positive (mirthful) effect and reduced anxiety, without sedation, in three patients with epilepsy undergoing intracranial electrode monitoring. The results of this study highlight the need for further evaluation of anterior cingulum stimulation to reduce anxiety during awake surgery and as a possible approach for treating anxiety disorders.
Kelly A. Mills
BACKGROUND. Awake neurosurgery requires patients to converse and respond to visual or verbal prompts to identify and protect brain tissue supporting essential functions such as language, primary sensory modalities, and motor function. These procedures can be poorly tolerated because of patient anxiety, yet acute anxiolytic medications typically cause sedation and impair cortical function. METHODS. In this study, direct electrical stimulation of the left dorsal anterior cingulum bundle was discovered to reliably evoke positive affect and anxiolysis without sedation in a patient with epilepsy undergoing research testing during standard inpatient intracranial electrode monitoring. These effects were quantified using subjective and objective behavioral measures, and stimulation was found to evoke robust changes in local and distant neural activity. RESULTS. The index patient ultimately required an awake craniotomy procedure to confirm safe resection margins in the treatment of her epilepsy. During the procedure, cingulum bundle stimulation enhanced positive affect and reduced the patient’s anxiety to the point that intravenous anesthetic/anxiolytic medications were discontinued and cognitive testing was completed. Behavioral responses were subsequently replicated in 2 patients with anatomically similar electrode placements localized to an approximately 1-cm span along the anterior dorsal cingulum bundle above genu of the corpus callosum. CONCLUSIONS. The current study demonstrates a robust anxiolytic response to cingulum bundle stimulation in 3 patients with epilepsy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. The current study was not affiliated with any formal clinical trial. FUNDING. This project was supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the NIH.
Kelly R. Bijanki, Joseph R. Manns, Cory S. Inman, Ki Sueng Choi, Sahar Harati, Nigel P. Pedersen, Daniel L. Drane, Allison C. Waters, Rebecca E. Fasano, Helen S. Mayberg, Jon T. Willie
Sphingolipid imbalance is the culprit in a variety of neurological diseases, some affecting the myelin sheath. We have used whole-exome sequencing in patients with undetermined leukoencephalopathies to uncover the endoplasmic reticulum lipid desaturase DEGS1 as the causative gene in 19 patients from 13 unrelated families. Shared features among the cases include severe motor arrest, early nystagmus, dystonia, spasticity, and profound failure to thrive. MRI showed hypomyelination, thinning of the corpus callosum, and progressive thalamic and cerebellar atrophy, suggesting a critical role of DEGS1 in myelin development and maintenance. This enzyme converts dihydroceramide (DhCer) into ceramide (Cer) in the final step of the de novo biosynthesis pathway. We detected a marked increase of the substrate DhCer and DhCer/Cer ratios in patients’ fibroblasts and muscle. Further, we used a knockdown approach for disease modeling in Danio rerio, followed by a preclinical test with the first-line treatment for multiple sclerosis, fingolimod (FTY720, Gilenya). The enzymatic inhibition of Cer synthase by fingolimod, 1 step prior to DEGS1 in the pathway, reduced the critical DhCer/Cer imbalance and the severe locomotor disability, increasing the number of myelinating oligodendrocytes in a zebrafish model. These proof-of-concept results pave the way to clinical translation.
Devesh C. Pant, Imen Dorboz, Agatha Schluter, Stéphane Fourcade, Nathalie Launay, Javier Joya, Sergio Aguilera-Albesa, Maria Eugenia Yoldi, Carlos Casasnovas, Mary J. Willis, Montserrat Ruiz, Dorothée Ville, Gaetan Lesca, Karine Siquier-Pernet, Isabelle Desguerre, Huifang Yan, Jingmin Wang, Margit Burmeister, Lauren Brady, Mark Tarnopolsky, Carles Cornet, Davide Rubbini, Javier Terriente, Kiely N. James, Damir Musaev, Maha S. Zaki, Marc C. Patterson, Brendan C. Lanpher, Eric W. Klee, Filippo Pinto e Vairo, Elizabeth Wohler, Nara Lygia de M. Sobreira, Julie S. Cohen, Reza Maroofian, Hamid Galehdari, Neda Mazaheri, Gholamreza Shariati, Laurence Colleaux, Diana Rodriguez, Joseph G. Gleeson, Cristina Pujades, Ali Fatemi, Odile Boespflug-Tanguy, Aurora Pujol
Local flow patterns determine the uneven distribution of atherosclerotic lesions. This research aims to elucidate the mechanism of regulation of nuclear translocation of Yes-associated protein (YAP) under oscillatory shear stress (OSS) in the atheroprone phenotype of endothelial cells (ECs). We report here that OSS led to tyrosine phosphorylation and strong, continuous nuclear translocation of YAP in ECs that is dependent on integrin α5β1 activation. YAP overexpression in ECs blunted the anti-atheroprone effect of an integrin α5β1–blocking peptide (ATN161) in Apoe–/– mice. Activation of integrin α5β1 induced tyrosine, but not serine, phosphorylation of YAP in ECs. Blockage of integrin α5β1 with ATN161 abolished the phosphorylation of YAP at Y357 induced by OSS. Mechanistic studies showed that c-Abl inhibitor attenuated the integrin α5β1–induced YAP tyrosine phosphorylation. Furthermore, the phosphorylation of c-Abl and YAPY357 was significantly increased in ECs in atherosclerotic vessels of mice and in human plaques versus normal vessels. Finally, bosutinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, markedly reduced the level of YAPY357 and the development of atherosclerosis in Apoe–/– mice. The c-Abl/YAPY357 pathway serves as a mechanism for the activation of integrin α5β1 and the atherogenic phenotype of ECs in response to OSS, and provides a potential therapeutic strategy for atherogenesis.
Bochuan Li, Jinlong He, Huizhen Lv, Yajin Liu, Xue Lv, Chenghu Zhang, Yi Zhu, Ding Ai
The rapid expansion in the number of encephalitis disorders associated with autoantibodies against neuronal proteins has led to an incremental increase in use of the term “autoimmune epilepsy,” yet has occurred with limited attention to the physiopathology of each disease and genuine propensity to develop epilepsy. Indeed, most autoimmune encephalitides present with seizures, but the probability of evolving to epilepsy is relatively small. The risk of epilepsy is higher for disorders in which the antigens are intracellular (often T cell–mediated) compared with disorders in which the antigens are on the cell surface (antibody-mediated). Most autoantibodies against neuronal surface antigens show robust effects on the target proteins, resulting in hyperexcitability and impairment of synaptic function and plasticity. Here, we trace the evolution of the concept of autoimmune epilepsy and examine common inflammatory pathways that might lead to epilepsy. Then, we focus on several antibody-mediated encephalitis disorders that associate with seizures and review the synaptic alterations caused by patients’ antibodies, with emphasis on those that have been modeled in animals (e.g., antibodies against NMDA, AMPA receptors, LGI1 protein) or in cultured neurons (e.g., antibodies against the GABAb receptor).
Christian Geis, Jesus Planagumà, Mar Carreño, Francesc Graus, Josep Dalmau
Mast cells (MCs) are immune sentinels, but whether they also function as antigen-presenting cells (APCs) remains elusive. Using mouse models of MC deficiency, we report on MC-dependent recruitment and activation of multiple T cell subsets to the skin and draining lymph nodes (DLNs) during dengue virus (DENV) infection. Newly recruited and locally proliferating γδ T cells were the first T cell subset to respond to MC-driven inflammation, and their production of IFN-γ was MC dependent. MC–γδ T cell conjugates were observed consistently in infected peripheral tissues, suggesting a new role for MCs as nonconventional APCs for γδ T cells. MC-dependent γδ T cell activation and proliferation during DENV infection required T cell receptor (TCR) signaling and the nonconventional antigen presentation molecule endothelial cell protein C receptor (EPCR) on MCs. γδ T cells, not previously implicated in DENV host defense, killed infected targeted DCs and contributed to the clearance of DENV in vivo. We believe immune synapse formation between MCs and γδ T cells is a novel mechanism to induce specific and protective immunity at sites of viral infection.
Chinmay Kumar Mantri, Ashley L. St. John
ARHGEF1 is a RhoA-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor expressed in hematopoietic cells. We used whole-exome sequencing to identify compound heterozygous mutations in ARHGEF1, resulting in the loss of ARHGEF1 protein expression in 2 primary antibody–deficient siblings presenting with recurrent severe respiratory tract infections and bronchiectasis. Both ARHGEF1-deficient patients showed an abnormal B cell immunophenotype, with a deficiency in marginal zone and memory B cells and an increased frequency of transitional B cells. Furthermore, the patients’ blood contained immature myeloid cells. Analysis of a mediastinal lymph node from one patient highlighted the small size of the germinal centers and an abnormally high plasma cell content. On the molecular level, T and B lymphocytes from both patients displayed low RhoA activity and low steady-state actin polymerization (even after stimulation of lysophospholipid receptors). As a consequence of disturbed regulation of the RhoA downstream target Rho-associated kinase I/II (ROCK), the patients’ lymphocytes failed to efficiently restrain AKT phosphorylation. Enforced ARHGEF1 expression or drug-induced activation of RhoA in the patients’ cells corrected the impaired actin polymerization and AKT regulation. Our results indicate that ARHGEF1 activity in human lymphocytes is involved in controlling actin cytoskeleton dynamics, restraining PI3K/AKT signaling, and confining B lymphocytes and myelocytes within their dedicated functional environment.
Amine Bouafia, Sébastien Lofek, Julie Bruneau, Loïc Chentout, Hicham Lamrini, Amélie Trinquand, Marie-Céline Deau, Lucie Heurtier, Véronique Meignin, Capucine Picard, Elizabeth Macintyre, Olivier Alibeu, Marc Bras, Thierry Jo Molina, Marina Cavazzana, Isabelle André-Schmutz, Anne Durandy, Alain Fischer, Eric Oksenhendler, Sven Kracker
Primary antibody deficiencies are the most common immunodeficiencies in humans; however, identification of the underlying genetic and biochemical basis for these diseases is often difficult, given that these deficiencies typically involve complex genetic etiologies. In this issue of the JCI, Bouafia et al. performed whole-exome sequencing on a pair of siblings with primary antibody deficiencies and identified genetic mutations that result in a deficiency of ARHGEF1, a hematopoietic intracellular signaling molecule that transmits signals from GPCRs. ARHGEF1-deficient lymphocytes from the affected siblings exhibited important functional deficits that indicate that loss of ARHGEF1 accounts for the observed primary antibody deficiency, which manifests in an inability to mount antibody responses to vaccines and pathogens. Thus, this report demonstrates an important role for ARHGEF1 in GPCR signal transduction required for appropriate adaptive immune responses in humans.
Divij Mathew, Kimberly N. Kremer, Raul M. Torres
Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) is frequently associated in humans with loss-of-function mutations in complement-regulating proteins or gain-of-function mutations in complement-activating proteins. Thus, aHUS provides an archetypal complement-mediated disease with which to model new therapeutic strategies and treatments. Herein, we show that, when transferred to mice, an aHUS-associated gain-of-function change (D1115N) to the complement-activation protein C3 results in aHUS. Homozygous C3 p.D1115N (C3KI) mice developed spontaneous chronic thrombotic microangiopathy together with hematuria, thrombocytopenia, elevated creatinine, and evidence of hemolysis. Mice with active disease had reduced plasma C3 with C3 fragment and C9 deposition within the kidney. Therapeutic blockade or genetic deletion of C5, a protein downstream of C3 in the complement cascade, protected homozygous C3KI mice from thrombotic microangiopathy and aHUS. Thus, our data provide in vivo modeling evidence that gain-of-function changes in complement C3 drive aHUS. They also show that long-term C5 deficiency is not accompanied by development of other renal complications (such as C3 glomerulopathy) despite sustained dysregulation of C3. Our results suggest that this preclinical model will allow testing of novel complement inhibitors with the aim of developing precisely targeted therapeutics that could have application in many complement-mediated diseases.
Kate Smith-Jackson, Yi Yang, Harriet Denton, Isabel Y. Pappworth, Katie Cooke, Paul N. Barlow, John P. Atkinson, M. Kathryn Liszewski, Matthew C. Pickering, David Kavanagh, H. Terence Cook, Kevin J. Marchbank
Effector T cell responses directed toward cancer neoantigens mediate tumor regression following checkpoint blockade or adoptive T cell immunotherapy, but are generally “private”, thus requiring considerable effort for their identification. In this issue of the JCI, Malekzadeh et al. show that a fraction of patients with epithelial cancers mount antigen-specific T cell responses to “hot spot” p53 mutations that in some cases are shared among patients. This work suggests that other genes frequently mutated in human cancer can be immunogenic, thus offering a rapid way to screen for cancer neoantigens that can be targeted by subsequent T cell–based therapies.
Enrico Lugli, Pia Kvistborg, Giovanni Galletti
Austin K. Mattox, Justin Lowenthal
Joint pain is the defining symptom of osteoarthritis (OA) but its origin and mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we investigated an unprecedented role of osteoclast-initiated subchondral bone remodeling in sensory innervation for OA pain. We show that osteoclasts secrete netrin-1 to induce sensory nerve axonal growth in subchondral bone. Reduction of osteoclast formation by knockout of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (Rankl) in osteocytes inhibited the growth of sensory nerves into subchondral bone, dorsal root ganglion neuron hyperexcitability, and behavioral measures of pain hypersensitivity in OA mice. Moreover, we demonstrated a possible role for netrin-1 secreted by osteoclasts during aberrant subchondral bone remodeling in inducing sensory innervation and OA pain through its receptor DCC (deleted in colorectal cancer). Importantly, knockout of Netrin1 in tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase–positive (TRAP-positive) osteoclasts or knockdown of Dcc reduces OA pain behavior. In particular, inhibition of osteoclast activity by alendronate modifies aberrant subchondral bone remodeling and reduces innervation and pain behavior at the early stage of OA. These results suggest that intervention of the axonal guidance molecules (e.g., netrin-1) derived from aberrant subchondral bone remodeling may have therapeutic potential for OA pain.
Shouan Zhu, Jianxi Zhu, Gehua Zhen, Yihe Hu, Senbo An, Yusheng Li, Qin Zheng, Zhiyong Chen, Ya Yang, Mei Wan, Richard Leroy Skolasky, Yong Cao, Tianding Wu, Bo Gao, Mi Yang, Manman Gao, Julia Kuliwaba, Shuangfei Ni, Lei Wang, Chuanlong Wu, David Findlay, Holger K. Eltzschig, Hong Wei Ouyang, Janet Crane, Feng-Quan Zhou, Yun Guan, Xinzhong Dong, Xu Cao
Parisa Malekzadeh, Anna Pasetto, Paul F. Robbins, Maria R. Parkhurst, Biman C. Paria, Li Jia, Jared J. Gartner, Victoria Hill, Zhiya Yu, Nicholas P. Restifo, Abraham Sachs, Eric Tran, Winifred Lo, Robert P.T. Somerville, Steven A. Rosenberg, Drew C. Deniger
Noncoding RNAs are emerging as important players in gene regulation and disease pathogeneses. Here, we show that a previously uncharacterized long noncoding RNA, nexilin F-actin binding protein antisense RNA 1 (NEXN-AS1), modulates the expression of the actin-binding protein NEXN and that NEXN exerts a protective role against atherosclerosis. An expression microarray analysis showed that the expression of both NEXN-AS1 and NEXN was reduced in human atherosclerotic plaques. In vitro experiments revealed that NEXN-AS1 interacted with the chromatin remodeler BAZ1A and the 5′ flanking region of the NEXN gene and that it also upregulated NEXN expression. Augmentation of NEXN-AS1 expression inhibited TLR4 oligomerization and NF-κB activity, downregulated the expression of adhesion molecules and inflammatory cytokines by endothelial cells, and suppressed monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells. These inhibitory effects of NEXN-AS1 were abolished by knockdown of NEXN. In vivo experiments using ApoE-knockout mice fed a Western high-fat diet demonstrated that NEXN deficiency promoted atherosclerosis and increased macrophage abundance in atherosclerotic lesions, with heightened expression of adhesion molecules and inflammatory cytokines, whereas augmented NEXN expression deterred atherosclerosis. Patients with coronary artery disease were found to have lower blood NEXN levels than healthy individuals. These results indicate that NEXN-AS1 and NEXN represent potential therapeutic targets in atherosclerosis-related diseases.
Yan-Wei Hu, Feng-Xia Guo, Yuan-Jun Xu, Pan Li, Zhi-Feng Lu, David G. McVey, Lei Zheng, Qian Wang, John H. Ye, Chun-Min Kang, Shao-Guo Wu, Jing-Jing Zhao, Xin Ma, Zhen Yang, Fu-Chun Fang, Yu-Rong Qiu, Bang-Ming Xu, Lei Xiao, Qian Wu, Li-Mei Wu, Li Ding, Tom R. Webb, Nilesh J. Samani, Shu Ye
Chronic stress triggers activation of the sympathetic nervous system and drives malignancy. Using an immunodeficient murine system, we showed that chronic stress–induced epinephrine promoted breast cancer stem-like properties via lactate dehydrogenase A–dependent (LDHA-dependent) metabolic rewiring. Chronic stress–induced epinephrine activated LDHA to generate lactate, and the adjusted pH directed USP28-mediated deubiquitination and stabilization of MYC. The SLUG promoter was then activated by MYC, which promoted development of breast cancer stem-like traits. Using a drug screen that targeted LDHA, we found that a chronic stress–induced cancer stem-like phenotype could be reversed by vitamin C. These findings demonstrated the critical importance of psychological factors in promoting stem-like properties in breast cancer cells. Thus, the LDHA-lowering agent vitamin C can be a potential approach for combating stress-associated breast cancer.
Bai Cui, Yuanyuan Luo, Pengfei Tian, Fei Peng, Jinxin Lu, Yongliang Yang, Qitong Su, Bing Liu, Jiachuan Yu, Xi Luo, Liu Yin, Wei Cheng, Fan An, Bin He, Dapeng Liang, Sijin Wu, Peng Chu, Luyao Song, Xinyu Liu, Huandong Luo, Jie Xu, Yujia Pan, Yang Wang, Dangsheng Li, Peng Huang, Qingkai Yang, Lingqiang Zhang, Binhua P. Zhou, Suling Liu, Guowang Xu, Eric W.-F. Lam, Keith W. Kelley, Quentin Liu
Metastasis is the dominant cause of patient death in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), and a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying SCLC metastasis may potentially improve clinical treatment. Through genome-scale screening for key regulators of mouse Rb1–/– Trp53–/– SCLC metastasis using the pooled CRISPR/Cas9 library, we identified Cullin5 (CUL5) and suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), two components of the Cullin-RING E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, as top candidates. Mechanistically, the deficiency of CUL5 or SOCS3 disrupted the functional formation of the E3 ligase complex and prevented the degradation of integrin β1, which stabilized integrin β1 and activated downstream focal adhesion kinase/SRC (FAK/SRC) signaling and eventually drove SCLC metastasis. Low expression levels of CUL5 and SOCS3 were significantly associated with high integrin β1 levels and poor prognosis in a large cohort of 128 clinical patients with SCLC. Moreover, the CUL5-deficient SCLCs were vulnerable to the treatment of the FDA-approved SRC inhibitor dasatinib. Collectively, this work identifies the essential role of CUL5- and SOCS3-mediated integrin β1 turnover in controlling SCLC metastasis, which might have therapeutic implications.
Gaoxiang Zhao, Liyan Gong, Dan Su, Yujuan Jin, Chenchen Guo, Meiting Yue, Shun Yao, Zhen Qin, Yi Ye, Ying Tang, Qibiao Wu, Jian Zhang, Binghai Cui, Qiurong Ding, Hsinyi Huang, Liang Hu, Yuting Chen, Peiyuan Zhang, Guohong Hu, Luonan Chen, Kwok-Kin Wong, Daming Gao, Hongbin Ji
BACKGROUND. Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) causes an estimated 180,000 deaths annually, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa, where most patients receive fluconazole (FLC) monotherapy. While relapse after FLC monotherapy with resistant strains is frequently observed, the mechanisms and impact of emergence of FLC resistance in human CM are poorly understood. Heteroresistance (HetR) — a resistant subpopulation within a susceptible strain — is a recently described phenomenon in Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) and Cryptococcus gattii (Cg), the significance of which has not previously been studied in humans. METHODS. A cohort of 20 patients with HIV-associated CM in Tanzania was prospectively observed during therapy with either FLC monotherapy or in combination with flucytosine (5FC). Total and resistant subpopulations of Cryptococcus spp. were quantified directly from patient cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Stored isolates underwent whole genome sequencing and phenotypic characterization. RESULTS. Heteroresistance was detectable in Cryptococcus spp. in the CSF of all patients at baseline (i.e., prior to initiation of therapy). During FLC monotherapy, the proportion of resistant colonies in the CSF increased during the first 2 weeks of treatment. In contrast, no resistant subpopulation was detectable in CSF by day 14 in those receiving a combination of FLC and 5FC. Genomic analysis revealed high rates of aneuploidy in heteroresistant colonies as well as in relapse isolates, with chromosome 1 (Chr1) disomy predominating. This is apparently due to the presence on Chr1 of ERG11, which is the FLC drug target, and AFR1, which encodes a drug efflux pump. In vitro efflux levels positively correlated with the level of heteroresistance. CONCLUSION. Our findings demonstrate for what we believe is the first time the presence and emergence of aneuploidy-driven FLC heteroresistance in human CM, association of efflux levels with heteroresistance, and the successful suppression of heteroresistance with 5FC/FLC combination therapy. FUNDING. This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award for Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology 097377/Z/11/Z and the Daniel Turnberg Travel Fellowship.
Neil R.H. Stone, Johanna Rhodes, Matthew C. Fisher, Sayoki Mfinanga, Sokoine Kivuyo, Joan Rugemalila, Ella Shtifman Segal, Leor Needleman, Síle F. Molloy, June Kwon-Chung, Thomas S. Harrison, William Hope, Judith Berman, Tihana Bicanic
Across clinical trials, T cell expansion and persistence following adoptive cell transfer (ACT) have correlated with superior patient outcomes. Herein, we undertook a pan-cancer analysis to identify actionable ligand/receptor pairs capable of compromising T cell durability following ACT. We discovered that FASLG, the gene encoding the apoptosis-inducing ligand FasL, is overexpressed within the majority of human tumor microenvironments (TMEs). Further, we uncovered that Fas, the receptor for FasL, is highly expressed on patient-derived T cells used for clinical ACT. We hypothesized that a cognate Fas-FasL interaction within the TME might limit both T cell persistence and anti-tumor efficacy. We discovered that genetic engineering of Fas variants impaired in the ability to bind FADD functioned as dominant negative receptors (DNRs), preventing FasL-induced apoptosis in Fas-competent T cells. T cells co-engineered with a Fas DNR and either a T cell receptor or chimeric antigen receptor exhibited enhanced persistence following ACT, resulting in superior anti-tumor efficacy against established solid and hematologic cancers. Despite increased longevity, Fas DNR-engineered T cells did not undergo aberrant expansion or mediate autoimmunity. Thus, T cell-intrinsic disruption of Fas signaling through genetic engineering represents a potentially universal strategy to enhance ACT efficacy across a broad range of human malignancies.
Tori N. Yamamoto, Ping-Hsien Lee, Suman K. Vodnala, Devikala Gurusamy, Rigel J. Kishton, Zhiya Yu, Arash Eidizadeh, Robert Eil, Jessica Fioravanti, Luca Gattinoni, James N. Kochenderfer, Terry J. Fry, Bulent Arman Aksoy, Jeffrey Hammerbacher, Anthony C. Cruz, Richard M. Siegel, Nicholas P. Restifo, Christopher A. Klebanoff
Michael J. Joyner, Nigel Paneth