Precision medicine seeks to treat disease with molecular specificity. Advances in genome sequence analysis, gene delivery, and genome surgery have allowed clinician-scientists to treat genetic conditions at the level of their pathology. As a result, progress in treating retinal disease using genetic tools has advanced tremendously over the past several decades. Breakthroughs in gene delivery vectors, both viral and nonviral, have allowed the delivery of genetic payloads in preclinical models of retinal disorders and have paved the way for numerous successful clinical trials. Moreover, the adaptation of CRISPR-Cas systems for genome engineering have enabled the correction of both recessive and dominant pathogenic alleles, expanding the disease-modifying power of gene therapies. Here, we highlight the translational progress of gene therapy and genome editing of several retinal disorders, including RPE65-, CEP290-, and GUY2D-associated Leber congenital amaurosis, as well as choroideremia, achromatopsia, Mer tyrosine kinase– (MERTK–) and RPGR X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, Usher syndrome, neovascular age-related macular degeneration, X-linked retinoschisis, Stargardt disease, and Leber hereditary optic neuropathy.
James E. DiCarlo, Vinit B. Mahajan, Stephen H. Tsang
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are important drivers of cancers. In addition to genomic alterations, aberrant activation of wild type RTKs plays an important role in driving cancer progression. However, the underlying mechanisms of how RTKs drive prostate cancer remain incompletely characterized. Here we show that non-proteolytic ubiquitination of RTK regulates its kinase activity and contributes to RTK-mediated prostate cancer metastasis. TRAF4, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, is highly expressed in metastatic prostate cancer. We demonstrated here that it is a key player in regulating RTK mediated prostate cancer metastasis. We further identified TrkA, a neurotrophin RTK, as TRAF4-targeted ubiquitination substrate that promotes cancer cell invasion and inhibition of TrkA activity abolished TRAF4-dependent cell invasion. TRAF4 promoted K27 and K29-linked ubiquitination at the TrkA kinase domain and increased its kinase activity. Mutation of TRAF4-targeted ubiquitination sites abolished TrkA tyrosine auto-phosphorylation and its interaction with downstream proteins. TRAF4 knockdown also suppressed NGF-stimulated TrkA downstream p38 MAPK activation and invasion-associated gene expression. Furthermore, elevated TRAF4 levels significantly correlated with increased NGF-stimulated invasion-associated gene expression in prostate cancer patients, indicating that this signaling axis is significantly activated during oncogenesis. Our results revealed a post-translational modification mechanism contributing to aberrant non-mutated RTK activation in cancer cells.
Ramesh Singh, Dileep Karri, Hong Shen, Jiangyong Shao, Subhamoy Dasgupta, Shixia Huang, Dean P. Edwards, Michael M. Ittmann, Bert W. O’Malley, Ping Yi
DEP domain–containing 5 protein (DEPDC5) is a repressor of the recently recognized amino acid–sensing branch of the mTORC1 pathway. So far, its function in the brain remains largely unknown. Germline loss-of-function mutations in DEPDC5 have emerged as a major cause of familial refractory focal epilepsies, with case reports of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Remarkably, a fraction of patients also develop focal cortical dysplasia (FCD), a neurodevelopmental cortical malformation. We therefore hypothesized that a somatic second-hit mutation arising during brain development may support the focal nature of the dysplasia. Here, using postoperative human tissue, we provide the proof of concept that a biallelic 2-hit — brain somatic and germline — mutational mechanism in DEPDC5 causes focal epilepsy with FCD. We discovered a mutation gradient with a higher rate of mosaicism in the seizure-onset zone than in the surrounding epileptogenic zone. Furthermore, we demonstrate the causality of a Depdc5 brain mosaic inactivation using CRISPR-Cas9 editing and in utero electroporation in a mouse model recapitulating focal epilepsy with FCD and SUDEP-like events. We further unveil a key role of Depdc5 in shaping dendrite and spine morphology of excitatory neurons. This study reveals promising therapeutic avenues for treating drug-resistant focal epilepsies with mTORC1-targeting molecules.
Théo Ribierre, Charlotte Deleuze, Alexandre Bacq, Sara Baldassari, Elise Marsan, Mathilde Chipaux, Giuseppe Muraca, Delphine Roussel, Vincent Navarro, Eric Leguern, Richard Miles, Stéphanie Baulac
Single cancer cell sequencing studies currently use randomly-selected cells, limiting correlations between genomic aberrations, morphology and spatial localization. We laser-captured microdissected single cells from morphologically-distinct areas of primary breast cancer and corresponding lymph node metastasis and performed whole-exome or deep-target sequencing of greater than 100 such cells. Two major subclones co-existed in different areas of the primary tumor, and the lymph node metastasis originated from a minor subclone in the invasive front of the primary tumor with additional copy number changes including 8q gain, but no additional point mutations in driver genes. Lack of metastasis-specific driver events lead us to assess whether other clonal and subclonal genomic aberrations pre-existing in primary tumors contribute to lymph node metastasis. Gene mutations and copy number variations analyzed in five breast cancer tissue sample sets revealed that copy number variations in several genomic regions, including areas within chromosome 1p, 8q, 9p, 12q and 20q, harboring several metastasis-associated genes, were consistently associated with lymph node metastasis. Moreover, clonal expansion was observed in an area of morphologically-normal breast epithelia, likely driven by a driver mutation and a subsequent amplification in chromosome 1q. Our study illuminates the molecular evolution of breast cancer and genomic aberrations contributing to metastases.
Li Bao, Zhaoyang Qian, Maria B. Lyng, Ling Wang, Yuan Yu, Ting Wang, Xiuqing Zhang, Huanming Yang, Nils Brünner, Jun Wang, Henrik J. Ditzel
Increasing evidence suggests a role for excessive intake of fructose in the Western diet as a contributor to the current epidemics of metabolic syndrome and obesity. Hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI) is a difficult and potentially lethal orphan disease associated with impaired fructose metabolism. In HFI, the deficiency of a particular aldolase, aldolase B, results in the accumulation of intracellular phosphorylated fructose thus leading to phosphate sequestration and depletion, increased ATP turnover and a plethora of conditions leading to clinical manifestations including fatty liver, hyperuricemia, Fanconi syndrome and severe hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, to date, there is no treatment for HFI and avoiding sugar and fructose in our society has become quite challenging. In this report, through use of genetically modified mice and pharmacological inhibitors, we demonstrate that the absence or inhibition of ketohexokinase (Khk), an enzyme upstream of aldolase B, is sufficient to prevent hypoglycemia and liver and intestinal injury associated with HFI using aldolase B knockout mice. We thus provide evidence for the first time of a potential therapeutic approach for this condition. Mechanistically, our studies suggest that it is the inhibition of the Khk C isoform, not the A isoform, that protects animals from HFI.
Miguel A. Lanaspa, Ana Andres-Hernando, David J. Orlicky, Christina Cicerchi, Cholsoon Jang, Nanxing Li, Tamara Milagres, Masanari Kuwabara, Michael F. Wempe, Joshua D. Rabinowitz, Richard J. Johnson, Dean R. Tolan
Metastatic breast cancers are still incurable. Characterizing the evolutionary landscape of these cancers, including the role of metastatic axillary lymph nodes (ALNs) in seeding distant organ metastasis, can provide a rational basis for effective treatments. Here, we have described the genomic analyses of the primary tumors and metastatic lesions from 99 samples obtained from 20 patients with breast cancer. Our evolutionary analyses revealed diverse spreading and seeding patterns that govern tumor progression. Although linear evolution to successive metastatic sites was common, parallel evolution from the primary tumor to multiple distant sites was also evident. Metastatic spreading was frequently coupled with polyclonal seeding, in which multiple metastatic subclones originated from the primary tumor and/or other distant metastases. Synchronous ALN metastasis, a well-established prognosticator of breast cancer, was not involved in seeding the distant metastasis, suggesting a hematogenous route for cancer dissemination. Clonal evolution coincided frequently with emerging driver alterations and evolving mutational processes, notably an increase in apolipoprotein B mRNA–editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like–associated (APOBEC-associated) mutagenesis. Our data provide genomic evidence for a role of ALN metastasis in seeding distant organ metastasis and elucidate the evolving mutational landscape during cancer progression.
Ikram Ullah, Govindasamy-Muralidharan Karthik, Amjad Alkodsi, Una Kjällquist, Gustav Stålhammar, John Lövrot, Nelson-Fuentes Martinez, Jens Lagergren, Sampsa Hautaniemi, Johan Hartman, Jonas Bergh
Genetic forms of vitamin D–dependent rickets (VDDRs) are due to mutations impairing activation of vitamin D or decreasing vitamin D receptor responsiveness. Here we describe two unrelated patients with early-onset rickets, reduced serum levels of the vitamin D metabolites 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and deficient responsiveness to parent and activated forms of vitamin D. Neither patient had a mutation in any genes known to cause VDDR, however, using whole exome sequence analysis we identified a recurrent de novo missense mutation c.902T>C (p.I301T) in CYP3A4 in both subjects that alters the conformation of substrate-recognition-site 4 (SRS-4). In vitro, the mutant CYP3A4 oxidized 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D with 10-fold greater activity than wild-type CYP3A4 and 2-fold greater activity than CYP24A1, the principal inactivator of vitamin D metabolites. As CYP3A4 mutations have not previously been linked to rickets, these findings provide new insight into vitamin D metabolism, and demonstrate that accelerated inactivation of vitamin D metabolites represents a previously undescribed mechanism for vitamin D deficiency.
Jeffrey D. Roizen, Dong Li, Lauren O'Lear, Muhammad K. Javaid, Nicholas J. Shaw, Peter R. Ebeling, Hanh H. Nguyen, Christine P. Rodda, Kenneth E. Thummel, Tom D Thacher, Hakon Hakonarson, Michael A. Levine
Multisystem proteinopathy (MSP) involves disturbances of stress granule (SG) dynamics and autophagic protein degradation that underlie the pathogenesis of a spectrum of degenerative diseases that affect muscle, brain, and bone. Specifically, identical mutations in the autophagic adaptor SQSTM1 can cause varied penetrance of 4 distinct phenotypes: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia, Paget’s disease of the bone, and distal myopathy. It has been hypothesized that clinical pleiotropy relates to additional genetic determinants, but thus far, evidence has been lacking. Here, we provide evidence that a TIA1 (p.N357S) variant dictates a myodegenerative phenotype when inherited, along with a pathogenic SQSTM1 mutation. Experimentally, the TIA1-N357S variant significantly enhances liquid-liquid–phase separation in vitro and impairs SG dynamics in living cells. Depletion of SQSTM1 or the introduction of a mutant version of SQSTM1 similarly impairs SG dynamics. TIA1-N357S–persistent SGs have increased association with SQSTM1, accumulation of ubiquitin conjugates, and additional aggregated proteins. Synergistic expression of the TIA1-N357S variant and a SQSTM1-A390X mutation in myoblasts leads to impaired SG clearance and myotoxicity relative to control myoblasts. These findings demonstrate a pathogenic connection between SG homeostasis and ubiquitin-mediated autophagic degradation that drives the penetrance of an MSP phenotype.
YouJin Lee, Per Harald Jonson, Jaakko Sarparanta, Johanna Palmio, Mohona Sarkar, Anna Vihola, Anni Evilä, Tiina Suominen, Sini Penttilä, Marco Savarese, Mridul Johari, Marie-Christine Minot, David Hilton-Jones, Paul Maddison, Patrick Chinnery, Jens Reimann, Cornelia Kornblum, Torsten Kraya, Stephan Zierz, Carolyn Sue, Hans Goebel, Asim Azfer, Stuart H. Ralston, Peter Hackman, Robert C. Bucelli, J. Paul Taylor, Conrad C. Weihl, Bjarne Udd
SCN5A encodes the voltage-gated Na+ channel NaV1.5 that is responsible for depolarization of the cardiac action potential and rapid intercellular conduction. Mutations disrupting the SCN5A coding sequence cause inherited arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) linked to SCN5A splicing, localization, and function associate with heart failure–related sudden cardiac death. However, the clinical relevance of SNPs that modulate SCN5A expression levels remains understudied. We recently generated a transcriptome-wide map of microRNA (miR) binding sites in human heart, evaluated their overlap with common SNPs, and identified a synonymous SNP (rs1805126) adjacent to a miR-24 site within the SCN5A coding sequence. This SNP was previously shown to reproducibly associate with cardiac electrophysiological parameters, but was not considered to be causal. Here, we show that miR-24 potently suppresses SCN5A expression and that rs1805126 modulates this regulation. We found that the rs1805126 minor allele associates with decreased cardiac SCN5A expression and that heart failure subjects homozygous for the minor allele have decreased ejection fraction and increased mortality, but not increased ventricular tachyarrhythmias. In mice, we identified a potential basis for this in discovering that decreased Scn5a expression leads to accumulation of myocardial reactive oxygen species. Together, these data reiterate the importance of considering the mechanistic significance of synonymous SNPs as they relate to miRs and disease, and highlight a surprising link between SCN5A expression and nonarrhythmic death in heart failure.
Xiaoming Zhang, Jin-Young Yoon, Michael Morley, Jared M. McLendon, Kranti A. Mapuskar, Rebecca Gutmann, Haider Mehdi, Heather L. Bloom, Samuel C. Dudley, Patrick T. Ellinor, Alaa A. Shalaby, Raul Weiss, W.H. Wilson Tang, Christine S. Moravec, Madhurmeet Singh, Anne L. Taylor, Clyde W. Yancy, Arthur M. Feldman, Dennis M. McNamara, Kaikobad Irani, Douglas R. Spitz, Patrick Breheny, Kenneth B. Margulies, Barry London, Ryan L. Boudreau
Immune evasion and the suppression of anti-tumor responses during cancer progression are considered hallmarks of cancer and are typically attributed to tumor-derived factors. Although the molecular basis for the crosstalk between tumor and immune cells is an area of active investigation, whether host-specific germline variants can dictate immunosuppressive mechanisms has remained a challenge to address. A commonly occurring germline mutation (c.1162G>A/rs351855 G/A) in the FGFR4 (CD334) gene enhances STAT3 signaling and is associated with poor prognosis and accelerated progression of multiple cancer types. Here, using rs351855 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) knock-in transgenic mice and Fgfr4 knockout mice, we reveal the genotype-specific gain of immunological function of suppressing the CD8/CD4+FOXP3+CD25+ve regulatory T cell ratio in vivo. Furthermore, using knock-in transgenic mouse models for lung and breast cancers, we establish the host-specific tumor-extrinsic functions of STAT3-enhancing germline variants in impeding the tumor infiltration of CD8 T cells. Thus, STAT3-enhancing germline receptor variants contribute to immune evasion through their pleiotropic functions in immune cells.
Daniel Kogan, Alexander Grabner, Christopher Yanucil, Christian Faul, Vijay Kumar Ulaganathan