Authors: Keefe JA, Hwang SJ, Huan T, Mendelson M, Yao C, Courchesne P, Saleh MA, Madhur MS, Levy D
Journal: Hypertension. 2019 Feb;73(2):497-503. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12094.
Genetic variants at SH2B3 are associated with blood pressure and circulating β2M (β-2 microglobulin), a well-characterized kidney filtration biomarker. We hypothesize that circulating β2M is an independent risk predictor of hypertension and may causally contribute to its development. The study sample consisted of 7,065 Framingham Heart Study participants with measurements of plasma β2M. Generalized estimating equations were used to test the association of β2M with prevalent and new-onset hypertension. There were 2,145 (30%) cases of prevalent hypertension at baseline and 886 (21%) cases of incident hypertension during 6 years of follow-up. A 1-SD increase in baseline plasma β2M was associated with a greater risk of prevalent (odds ratio 1.14, 95% CI 1.05-1.24) and new-onset (odds ratio 1.18, 95% CI 1.07-1.32) hypertension. Individuals within the top β2M quartile had a greater risk than the bottom quartile for prevalent (odds ratio 1.29, 95% CI 1.05-1.57) and new-onset (odds ratio 1.59, 95% CI 1.20-2.11) hypertension. These associations remained essentially unchanged in analyses restricted to participants free of albuminuria and chronic kidney disease. Mendelian randomization demonstrated that lower SH2B3 expression is causal for increased circulating β2M levels, and in a hypertensive mouse model, knockout of Sh2b3 increased β2M gene expression. In a community-based study of healthy individuals, higher plasma β2M levels are associated with increased risk of prevalent and incident hypertension independent of chronic kidney disease status. Overlapping genetic signals for hypertension and β2M, in conjunction with mouse knockout experiments, suggest that the SH2B3-β2M axis plays a causal role in hypertension.
Authors: Sommers JA, Kulikowicz T, Croteau DL, Dexheimer T, Dorjsuren D, Jadhav A, Maloney DJ, Simeonov A, Bohr VA, Brosh RM Jr
Journal: PLoS One. 2019 Jan 9;14(1):e0210525. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210525. eCollection 2019.
Werner syndrome (WS), an autosomal recessive genetic disorder, displays accelerated clinical symptoms of aging leading to a mean lifespan less than 50 years. The WS helicase-nuclease (WRN) is involved in many important pathways including DNA replication, recombination and repair. Replicating cells are dependent on helicase activity, leading to the pursuit of human helicases as potential therapeutic targets for cancer treatment. Small molecule inhibitors of DNA helicases can be used to induce synthetic lethality, which attempts to target helicase-dependent compensatory DNA repair pathways in tumor cells that are already genetically deficient in a specific pathway of DNA repair. Alternatively, helicase inhibitors may be useful as tools to study the specialized roles of helicases in replication and DNA repair. In this study, approximately 350,000 small molecules were screened based on their ability to inhibit duplex DNA unwinding by a catalytically active WRN helicase domain fragment in a high-throughput fluorometric assay to discover new non-covalent small molecule inhibitors of the WRN helicase. Select compounds were screened to exclude ones that inhibited DNA unwinding by other helicases in the screen, bound non-specifically to DNA, acted as irreversible inhibitors, or possessed unfavorable chemical properties. Several compounds were tested for their ability to impair proliferation of cultured tumor cells. We observed that two of the newly identified WRN helicase inhibitors inhibited proliferation of cancer cells in a lineage-dependent manner. These studies represent the first high-throughput screen for WRN helicase inhibitors and the results have implications for anti-cancer strategies targeting WRN in different cancer cells and genetic backgrounds.
Authors: Gershlick DC, Ishida M, Jones JR, Bellomo A, Bonifacino JS, Everman DB
Journal: Hum Mol Genet. 2019 Jan 8. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy423. [Epub ahead of print]
GARP and EARP are related heterotetrameric protein complexes that associate with the cytosolic face of the trans-Golgi network and recycling endosomes, respectively. At these locations, GARP and EARP function to promote the fusion of endosome-derived transport carriers with their corresponding compartments. GARP and EARP share three subunits, VPS51, VPS52 and VPS53, and each has an additional complex-specific subunit, VPS54 or VPS50, respectively. The role of these complexes in human physiology, however, remains poorly understood. By exome sequencing, we have identified compound heterozygous mutations in the gene encoding the shared GARP/EARP subunit VPS51 in a six-year-old patient with severe global developmental delay, microcephaly, hypotonia, epilepsy, cortical vision impairment, pontocerebellar abnormalities, failure to thrive, liver dysfunction, lower extremity edema and dysmorphic features. The mutation in one allele causes a frameshift that produces a longer but highly unstable protein that is degraded by the proteasome. In contrast, the other mutant allele produces a protein with a single amino-acid substitution that is stable but assembles less efficiently with the other GARP/EARP subunits. Consequently, skin fibroblasts from the patient have reduced levels of fully-assembled GARP and EARP complexes. Likely because of this deficiency, the patient's fibroblasts display altered distribution of the cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor, which normally sorts acid hydrolases to lysosomes. Furthermore, a fraction of the patient's fibroblasts exhibit swelling of lysosomes. These findings thus identify a novel genetic locus for a neurodevelopmental disorder and highlight the critical importance of GARP/EARP function in cellular and organismal physiology.
Authors: Ghanem AM, Hamimi AH, Matta JR, Carass A, Elgarf RM, Gharib AM, Abd-Elmoniem KZ
Journal: Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 10;9(1):47. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37168-4.
Coronary plaque burden measured by coronary computerized tomography angiography (CCTA), independent of stenosis, is a significant independent predictor of coronary heart disease (CHD) events and mortality. Hence, it is essential to develop comprehensive CCTA plaque quantification beyond existing subjective plaque volume or stenosis scoring methods. The purpose of this study is to develop a framework for automated 3D segmentation of CCTA vessel wall and quantification of atherosclerotic plaque, independent of the amount of stenosis, along with overcoming challenges caused by poor contrast, motion artifacts, severe stenosis, and degradation of image quality. Vesselness, region growing, and two sequential level sets are employed for segmenting the inner and outer wall to prevent artifact-defective segmentation. Lumen and vessel boundaries are joined to create the coronary wall. Curved multiplanar reformation is used to straighten the segmented lumen and wall using lumen centerline. In-vivo evaluation included CCTA stenotic and non-stenotic plaques from 41 asymptomatic subjects with 122 plaques of different characteristics against the individual and consensus of expert readers. Results demonstrate that the framework segmentation performed robustly by providing a reliable working platform for accelerated, objective, and reproducible atherosclerotic plaque characterization beyond subjective assessment of stenosis; can be potentially applicable for monitoring response to therapy.
Authors: El-Kalliny MM, Wittig JH Jr, Sheehan TC, Sreekumar V, Inati SK, Zaghloul KA
Journal: Nat Commun. 2019 Jan 14;10(1):203. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-08189-4.
Memories of experiences that occur around the same time are linked together by a shared temporal context, represented by shared patterns of neural activity. However, shared temporal context may be problematic for selective retrieval of specific memories. Here, we examine intracranial EEG (iEEG) in the human temporal lobe as participants perform a verbal paired associates memory task that requires the encoding of distinct word pairs in memory. We find that the rate of change in patterns of low frequency (3-12 Hz) power distributed across the temporal lobe is significantly related to memory performance. We also find that exogenous electrical stimulation affects how quickly these neural representations of temporal context change with time, which directly affects the ability to successfully form memories for distinct items. Our results indicate that the ability to retrieve distinct episodic memories is related to how quickly neural representations of temporal context change over time during encoding.
Authors: Heymann JB, Vijayasarathy C, Huang RK, Dearborn AD, Sieving PA, Steven AC
Journal: J Cell Biol. 2019 Jan 10. pii: jcb.201806148. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201806148. [Epub ahead of print]
Mutations in the retinal protein retinoschisin (RS1) cause progressive loss of vision in young males, a form of macular degeneration called X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS). We previously solved the structure of RS1, a 16-mer composed of paired back-to-back octameric rings. Here, we show by cryo-electron microscopy that RS1 16-mers can assemble into extensive branched networks. We classified the different configurations, finding four types of interaction between the RS1 molecules. The predominant configuration is a linear strand with a wavy appearance. Three less frequent types constitute the branch points of the network. In all cases, the "spikes" around the periphery of the double rings are involved in these interactions. In the linear strand, a loop (usually referred to as spike 1) occurs on both sides of the interface between neighboring molecules. Mutations in this loop suppress secretion, indicating the possibility of intracellular higher-order assembly. These observations suggest that branched networks of RS1 may play a stabilizing role in maintaining the integrity of the retina.
Authors: Tirosh A, Mukherjee S, Lack J, Gara SK, Wang S, Quezado MM, Keutgen XM, Wu X, Cam M, Kumar S, Patel D, Nilubol N, Tyagi MV, Kebebew E
Journal: Cancer. 2019 Jan 8. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31930. [Epub ahead of print]
BACKGROUND: Aberrant methylation is a known cause of cancer initiation and/or progression. There are scant data on the genome-wide methylation pattern of nonfunctioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NFPanNETs) and sporadic and hereditary NFPanNETs.
METHODS: Thirty-three tissue samples were analyzed: they included samples from sporadic (n = 9), von Hippel-Lindau (VHL)-related (n = 10), and multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1)-related NFPanNETs (n = 10) as well as normal islet cells (n = 4) for comparison. Genome-wide CpG methylation profiling was performed with the Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip assay and was analyzed with R-based tools.
RESULTS: In unsupervised hierarchical clustering, sporadic and MEN1-related NFPanNETs clustered together, and the VHL group was in a separate cluster. MEN1-related NFPanNETs had a higher rate of hypermethylated CpG sites in comparison with sporadic and VHL-related tumor groups. Differentially methylated region analysis confirmed the higher rate of hypermethylation in MEN1-related tumors. Moreover, in an integrated analysis of gene expression data for the same tumor samples, downregulated gene expression was found in most genes that were hypermethylated. In a CpG island methylator phenotype analysis, 3 genes were identified and confirmed to have downregulated gene expression: secreted frizzle-related protein 5 (SFRP5) in sporadic NFPanNETs and cell division cycle-associated 7-like (CDCA7L) and RNA binding motif 47 (RBM47) in MEN1-related NFPanNETs.
CONCLUSIONS: MEN1 NFPanNETs have a higher rate of geno me-wide hypermethylation than other NFPanNET subtypes. The similarity between the pathways enriched in a methylation analysis of known genes involved in NFPanNET tumorigenesis suggests a key role for aberrant methylation in the pathogenesis of NFPanNETs.
Authors: Hassan R, Thomas A, Nemunaitis JJ, Patel MR, Bennouna J, Chen FL, Delord JP, Dowlati A, Kochuparambil ST, Taylor MH, Powderly JD, Vaishampayan UN, Verschraegen C, Grote HJ, von Heydebreck A, Chin K, Gulley JL
Journal: JAMA Oncol. 2019 Jan 3. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.5428. [Epub ahead of print]
IMPORTANCE: Patients with malignant mesothelioma whose disease has progressed after platinum and pemetrexed treatment have limited options. Anti-programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) antibodies have antitumor activity in this disease, but little is known about the activity of anti-programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) antibodies in patients with mesothelioma.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy and safety of avelumab in a cohort of patients with previously treated mesothelioma.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Phase 1b open-label study (JAVELIN Solid Tumor) in patients with unresectable mesothelioma that progressed after platinum and pemetrexed treatment, enrolled at 25 sites in 3 countries between September 9, 2014, and July 22, 2015.
INTERVENTIONS: Participants received avelumab, 10 mg/kg, every 2 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxic effects, or withdrawal from the study.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Prespecified end points included confirmed best overall response based on Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors, version 1.1; duration of response; progression-free survival (PFS); overall survival (OS); PD-L1 expression-based analyses; and safety.
RESULTS: Of 53 patients treated with avelumab, the median age was 67 (range, 32-84) years; 32 (60%) were male. As of December 31, 2016, median follow-up was 24.8 (range, 16.8-27.8) months. Twenty patients (38%) had 3 or more previous lines of therapy (median, 2; range, 1-8). The confirmed objective response rate (ORR) was 9% (5 patients; 95% CI, 3.1%-20.7%), with complete response in 1 patient and partial response in 4 patients. Responses were durable (median, 15.2 months; 95% CI, 11.1 to not estimable months) and occurred in patients with PD-L1-positive tumors (3 of 16; ORR, 19%; 95% CI, 4.0%-45.6%) and PD-L1-negative tumors (2 of 27; ORR, 7%; 95% CI, 0.9%-24.3%) based on a 5% or greater PD-L1 cutoff. Disease control rate was 58% (31 patients). Median PFS was 4.1 (95% CI, 1.4-6.2) months, and the 12-month PFS rate was 17.4% (95% CI, 7.7%-30.4%). Median OS was 10.7 (95% CI, 6.4-20.2) months, and the median 12-month OS rate was 43.8% (95% CI, 29.8%-57.0%). Five patients (9%) had a grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse event, and 3 (6%) had a grade 3 or 4 immune-related, treatment-related adverse event. There were no treatment-related deaths.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Avelumab showed durable antitumor activity and disease control with an acceptable safety profile in a heavily pretreated cohort of patients with mesothelioma.
Authors: Lai YT, Wang T, O'Dell S, Louder MK, Schön A, Cheung CSF, Chuang GY, Druz A, Lin B, McKee K, Peng D, Yang Y, Zhang B, Herschhorn A, Sodroski J, Bailer RT, Doria-Rose NA, Mascola JR, Langley DR, Kwong PD
Journal: Nat Commun. 2019 Jan 3;10(1):47. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07851-1.
Diverse entry inhibitors targeting the gp120 subunit of the HIV-1 envelope (Env) trimer have been developed including BMS-626529, also called temsavir, a prodrug version of which is currently in phase III clinical trials. Here we report the characterization of a panel of small-molecule inhibitors including BMS-818251, which we show to be >10-fold more potent than temsavir on a cross-clade panel of 208-HIV-1 strains, as well as the engineering of a crystal lattice to enable structure determination of the interaction between these inhibitors and the HIV-1 Env trimer at higher resolution. By altering crystallization lattice chaperones, we identify a lattice with both improved diffraction and robust co-crystallization of HIV-1 Env trimers from different clades complexed to entry inhibitors with a range of binding affinities. The improved diffraction reveals BMS-818251 to utilize functional groups that interact with gp120 residues from the conserved β20-β21 hairpin to improve potency.
Authors: Pang Y, Gupta G, Jha A, Yue X, Wang H, Huynh TT, Li A, Li L, Baker E, Chew E, Feelders RA, Korpershoek E, Zhuang Z, Yang C, Pacak K
Journal: Cancer. 2019 Jan 15. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31839. [Epub ahead of print]
BACKGROUND: Somatic mutations in hypoxia-inducible factor 2α (HIF2A) are associated with polycythemia-paraganglioma syndrome. Specifically, the classic presentation of female patients with recurrent paragangliomas (PGLs), polycythemia (at birth or in early childhood), and duodenal somatostatinomas has been described. Studies have demonstrated that somatic HIF2A mutations occur as postzygotic events and some to be associated with somatic mosaicism affecting hematopoietic and other tissue precursors. This phenomenon could explain the development of early onset of polycythemia in the absence of erythropoietin-secreting tumors.
METHODS: Correlation analysis was performed between mosaicism of HIF2A mutant patients and clinical presentations.
RESULTS: Somatic HIF2A mutations (p.A530V, p.P531S, and p.D539N) were identified in DNA extracted from PGLs of 3 patients. No somatic mosaicism was detected through deep sequencing of blood genomic DNA. Compared with classic syndrome, both polycythemia and PGL in all 3 patients developed at an advanced age with polycythemia at age 30, 30, and 17 years and PGLs at age 34, 30, and 55 years, respectively. Somatostatinomas were not detected, and 2 patients had ophthalmic findings. The biochemical phenotype in all 3 patients was noradrenergic with 18 F-fluorodopa PET/CT as the most sensitive imaging modality. All patients demonstrated multiplicity, and none developed metastatic disease.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that newer techniques need to be developed to detect somatic mosaicism in patients with this syndrome. Absence of HIF2A mosaicism in patients with somatic HIF2A mutations supports association with late onset of the disease, milder clinical phenotype, and an improved prognosis compared with patients who have HIF2A mosaicism.