Tumorigenicity is a well-documented risk to overcome for pluripotent or multipotent cell applications in regenerative medicine. To address the emerging demand for safe cell sources in tissue regeneration, we established a novel, protein-based reprogramming method that does not require genome integration or oncogene activation to yield multipotent fibromodulin (FMOD)-reprogrammed (FReP) cells from dermal fibroblasts. When compared with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), FReP cells exhibited a superior capability for bone and skeletal muscle regeneration with markedly less tumorigenic risk. Moreover, we showed that the decreased tumorigenicity of FReP cells was directly related to an upregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2B (CDKN2B) expression during the FMOD reprogramming process. Indeed, sustained suppression of CDKN2B resulted in tumorigenic, pluripotent FReP cells that formed teratomas in vivo that were indistinguishable from iPSC-derived teratomas. These results highlight the pivotal role of CDKN2B in cell fate determination and tumorigenic regulation and reveal an alternative pluripotent/multipotent cell reprogramming strategy that solely uses FMOD protein.
Zhong Zheng, Chenshuang Li, Pin Ha, Grace X. Chang, Pu Yang, Xinli Zhang, Jong Kil Kim, Wenlu Jiang, Xiaoxiao Pang, Emily A. Berthiaume, Zane Mills, Christos S. Haveles, Eric Chen, Kang Ting, Chia Soo
The nuclear protein DEK is an endogenous DNA-binding chromatin factor regulating hematopoiesis. DEK is one of only 2 known secreted nuclear chromatin factors, but whether and how extracellular DEK regulates hematopoiesis is not known. We demonstrated that extracellular DEK greatly enhanced ex vivo expansion of cytokine-stimulated human and mouse hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and regulated HSC and hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) numbers in vivo and in vitro as determined both phenotypically (by flow cytometry) and functionally (through transplantation and colony formation assays). Recombinant DEK increased long-term HSC numbers and decreased HPC numbers through a mechanism mediated by the CXC chemokine receptor CXCR2 and heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) (as determined utilizing Cxcr2–/– mice, blocking CXCR2 antibodies, and 3 different HSPG inhibitors) that was associated with enhanced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, AKT, and p38 MAPK. To determine whether extracellular DEK required nuclear function to regulate hematopoiesis, we utilized 2 mutant forms of DEK: one that lacked its nuclear translocation signal and one that lacked DNA-binding ability. Both altered HSC and HPC numbers in vivo or in vitro, suggesting the nuclear function of DEK is not required. Thus, DEK acts as a hematopoietic cytokine, with the potential for clinical applicability.
Maegan L. Capitano, Nirit Mor-Vaknin, Anjan K. Saha, Scott Cooper, Maureen Legendre, Haihong Guo, Rafael Contreras-Galindo, Ferdinand Kappes, Maureen A. Sartor, Christopher T. Lee, Xinxin Huang, David M. Markovitz, Hal E. Broxmeyer
Mobilized peripheral blood has become the primary source of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) for stem cell transplantation, with a five-day course of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) as the most common regimen used for HSPC mobilization. The CXCR4 inhibitor, plerixafor, is a more rapid mobilizer, yet not potent enough when used as a single agent, thus emphasizing the need for faster acting agents with more predictable mobilization responses and fewer side effects. We sought to improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation by developing a new mobilization strategy in mice through combined targeting of the chemokine receptor CXCR2 and the very late antigen 4 (VLA4) integrin. Rapid and synergistic mobilization of HSPCs along with an enhanced recruitment of true HSCs was achieved when a CXCR2 agonist was co-administered in conjunction with a VLA4 inhibitor. Mechanistic studies revealed involvement of CXCR2 expressed on BM stroma in addition to stimulation of the receptor on granulocytes in the regulation of HSPC localization and egress. Given the rapid kinetics and potency of HSPC mobilization provided by the VLA4 inhibitor and CXCR2 agonist combination in mice compared to currently approved HSPC mobilization methods, it represents an exciting potential strategy for clinical development in the future.
Darja Karpova, Michael P. Rettig, Julie Ritchey, Daniel Cancilla, Stephanie Christ, Leah Gehrs, Ezhilarasi Chendamarai, Moses O. Evbuomwan, Matthew Holt, Jingzhu Zhang, Grazia Abou-Ezzi, Hamza Celik, Eliza Wiercinska, Wei Yang, Feng Gao, Linda G. Eissenberg, Richard F. Heier, Stacy D. Arnett, Marvin J. Meyers, Michael J. Prinsen, David W. Griggs, Andreas Trumpp, Peter G. Ruminski, Dwight M. Morrow, Halvard B. Bonig, Daniel C. Link, John F. DiPersio
A resident population of dendritic cells (DCs) has been identified in murine bone marrow, but its contribution to the regulation of hematopoiesis and establishment of the stem cell niche is largely unknown. Here, we show that murine bone marrow DCs are perivascular and have a type 2 conventional DC (cDC2) immunophenotype. RNA expression analysis of sorted bone marrow DCs shows that expression of many chemokines and chemokine receptors is distinct from that observed in splenic cDC2s, suggesting that bone marrow DCs may represent a unique DC population. A similar population of DCs is present in human bone marrow. Ablation of conventional DCs (cDCs) results in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) mobilization that is greater than that seen with ablation of bone marrow macrophages, and cDC ablation also synergizes with G-CSF to mobilize HSPCs. Ablation of cDCs is associated with an expansion of bone marrow endothelial cells and increased vascular permeability. CXCR2 expression in sinusoidal endothelial cells and the expression of two CXCR2 ligands, CXCL1 and CXCL2, in the bone marrow are markedly increased following cDC ablation. Treatment of endothelial cells in vitro with CXCL1 induces increased vascular permeability and HSPC transmigration. Finally, we show that HSPC mobilization after cDC ablation is attenuated in mice lacking CXCR2 expression. Collectively, these data suggest that bone marrow DCs play an important role in regulating HSPC trafficking, in part, through regulation of sinusoidal CXCR2 signaling and vascular permeability.
Jingzhu Zhang, Teerawit Supakorndej, Joseph R. Krambs, Mahil Rao, Grazia Abou-Ezzi, Rachel Y. Ye, Sidan Li, Kathryn Trinkaus, Daniel C. Link
Exosomes, as functional paracrine units of therapeutic cells, can partially reproduce the reparative properties of their parental cells. The constitution of exosomes, as well as their biological activity, largely depends on the cells that secrete them. We isolated exosomes from explant-derived cardiac stromal cells from patients with heart failure (FEXO) or from normal donor hearts (NEXO) and compared their regenerative activities in vitro and in vivo. Patients in the FEXO group exhibited an impaired ability to promote endothelial tube formation and cardiomyocyte proliferation in vitro. Intramyocardial injection of NEXO resulted in structural and functional improvements in a murine model of acute myocardial infarction. In contrast, FEXO therapy exacerbated cardiac function and left ventricular remodeling. microRNA array and PCR analysis revealed dysregulation of miR-21-5p in FEXO. Restoring miR-21-5p expression rescued FEXO’s reparative function, whereas blunting miR-21-5p expression in NEXO diminished its therapeutic benefits. Further mechanistic studies revealed that miR-21-5p augmented Akt kinase activity through the inhibition of phosphatase and tensin homolog. Taken together, the heart failure pathological condition altered the miR cargos of cardiac-derived exosomes and impaired their regenerative activities. miR-21-5p contributes to exosome-mediated heart repair by enhancing angiogenesis and cardiomyocyte survival through the phosphatase and tensin homolog/Akt pathway.
Li Qiao, Shiqi Hu, Suyun Liu, Hui Zhang, Hong Ma, Ke Huang, Zhenhua Li, Teng Su, Adam Vandergriff, Junnan Tang, Tyler Allen, Phuong-Uyen Dinh, Jhon Cores, Qi Yin, Yongjun Li, Ke Cheng
Alveolar epithelium plays a pivotal role in protecting the lungs from inhaled infectious agents. Therefore, the regenerative capacity of the alveolar epithelium is critical for recovery from these insults in order to rebuild the epithelial barrier and restore pulmonary functions. Here, we show that sublethal infection of mice with Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common pathogen of community-acquired pneumonia, led to exclusive damage in lung alveoli, followed by alveolar epithelial regeneration and resolution of lung inflammation. We show that surfactant protein C–expressing (SPC-expressing) alveolar epithelial type II cells (AECIIs) underwent proliferation and differentiation after infection, which contributed to the newly formed alveolar epithelium. This increase in AECII activities was correlated with increased nuclear expression of Yap and Taz, the mediators of the Hippo pathway. Mice that lacked Yap/Taz in AECIIs exhibited prolonged inflammatory responses in the lung and were delayed in alveolar epithelial regeneration during bacterial pneumonia. This impaired alveolar epithelial regeneration was paralleled by a failure to upregulate IκBa, the molecule that terminates NF-κB–mediated inflammatory responses. These results demonstrate that signals governing resolution of lung inflammation were altered in Yap/Taz mutant mice, which prevented the development of a proper regenerative niche, delaying repair and regeneration of alveolar epithelium during bacterial pneumonia.
Ryan LaCanna, Daniela Liccardo, Peggy Zhang, Lauren Tragesser, Yan Wang, Tongtong Cao, Harold A. Chapman, Edward E. Morrisey, Hao Shen, Walter J. Koch, Beata Kosmider, Marla R. Wolfson, Ying Tian
BACKGROUND. The human bone marrow (BM) niche contains a population of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) that provide physical support and regulate hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) homeostasis. β-Thalassemia (BT) is a hereditary disorder characterized by altered hemoglobin beta-chain synthesis amenable to allogeneic HSC transplantation and HSC gene therapy. Iron overload (IO) is a common complication in BT patients affecting several organs. However, data on the BM stromal compartment are scarce. METHODS. MSCs were isolated and characterized from BM aspirates of healthy donors (HDs) and BT patients. The state of IO was assessed and correlated with the presence of primitive MSCs in vitro and in vivo. Hematopoietic supportive capacity of MSCs was evaluated by transwell migration assay and 2D coculture of MSCs with human CD34+ HSCs. In vivo, the ability of MSCs to facilitate HSC engraftment was tested in a xenogenic transplant model, whereas the capacity to sustain human hematopoiesis was evaluated in humanized ossicle models. RESULTS. We report that, despite iron chelation, BT BM contains high levels of iron and ferritin, indicative of iron accumulation in the BM niche. We found a pauperization of the most primitive MSC pool caused by increased ROS production in vitro which impaired MSC stemness properties. We confirmed a reduced frequency of primitive MSCs in vivo in BT patients. We also discovered a weakened antioxidative response and diminished expression of BM niche–associated genes in BT-MSCs. This caused a functional impairment in MSC hematopoietic supportive capacity in vitro and in cotransplantation models. In addition, BT-MSCs failed to form a proper BM niche in humanized ossicle models. CONCLUSION. Our results suggest an impairment in the mesenchymal compartment of BT BM niche and highlight the need for novel strategies to target the niche to reduce IO and oxidative stress before transplantation. FUNDING. This work was supported by the SR-TIGET Core grant from Fondazione Telethon and by Ricerca Corrente.
Stefania Crippa, Valeria Rossella, Annamaria Aprile, Laura Silvestri, Silvia Rivis, Samantha Scaramuzza, Stefania Pirroni, Maria Antonietta Avanzini, Luca Basso-Ricci, Raisa Jofra Hernandez, Marco Zecca, Sarah Marktel, Fabio Ciceri, Alessandro Aiuti, Giuliana Ferrari, Maria Ester Bernardo
The development and function of stem and progenitor cells that produce blood cells are vital in physiology. GATA2 mutations cause GATA-2-deficiency syndrome involving immunodeficiency, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). 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 embryonic 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
We investigated how pathological changes in newborn hippocampal dentate granule cells (DGCs) lead to epilepsy. Using a rabies virus–mediated retrograde tracing system and a designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADD) chemogenetic method, we demonstrated that newborn hippocampal DGCs are required for the formation of epileptic neural circuits and the induction of spontaneous recurrent seizures (SRS). A rabies virus–mediated mapping study revealed that aberrant circuit integration of hippocampal newborn DGCs formed excessive de novo excitatory connections as well as recurrent excitatory loops, allowing the hippocampus to produce, amplify, and propagate excessive recurrent excitatory signals. In epileptic mice, DREADD-mediated–specific suppression of hippocampal newborn DGCs dramatically reduced epileptic spikes and SRS in an inducible and reversible manner. Conversely, specific activation of hippocampal newborn DGCs increased both epileptic spikes and SRS. Our study reveals an essential role for hippocampal newborn DGCs in the formation and function of epileptic neural circuits, providing critical insights into DGCs as a potential therapeutic target for treating epilepsy.
Qi-Gang Zhou, Ashley D. Nemes, Daehoon Lee, Eun Jeoung Ro, Jing Zhang, Amy S. Nowacki, Susan M. Dymecki, Imad M. Najm, Hoonkyo Suh
Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Myelodysplastic Syndromes are associated with disease-initiating stem cells that are not eliminated by conventional therapies. Transcriptomic analysis of stem and progenitor populations in MDS and AML demonstrated overexpression of STAT3 that was validated in an independent cohort. STAT3 overexpression was predictive of a shorter survival and worse clinical features in a large MDS cohort. High STAT3 expression signature in MDS CD34+ cells was similar to known pre-leukemic gene signatures. Functionally, STAT3 inhibition by a clinical, antisense oligonucleotide, AZD9150, led to reduced viability and increased apoptosis in leukemic cell lines. AZD9150 was rapidly incorporated by primary MDS/AML stem and progenitor cells and led to increased hematopoietic differentiation. STAT3 knockdown also impaired leukemic growth in vivo and led to decreased expression of MCL1 and other oncogenic genes in malignant cells. These studies demonstrate that STAT3 is an adverse prognostic factor in MDS/AML and provide a pre-clinical rationale for studies using AZD9150 in these diseases.
Aditi Shastri, Gaurav Choudhary, Margarida Teixeira, Shanisha Gordon-Mitchell, Nandini Ramachandra, Lumie Bernard, Sanchari Bhattacharyya, Robert Lopez, Kith Pradhan, Orsolya Giricz, Goutham Ravipati, Li-Fan Wong, Sally Cole, Tushar D. Bhagat, Jonathan Feld, Yosman Dhar, Matthias Bartenstein, Victor J. Thiruthuvanathan, Amittha Wickrema, B. Hilda Ye, David A. Frank, Andrea Pellagatti, Jacqueline Boultwood, Tianyuan Zhou, Youngsoo Kim, A. Robert MacLeod, Pearlie K. Epling-Burnette, Minwei Ye, Patricia McCoon, Richard Woessner, Ulrich Steidl, Britta Will, Amit K. Verma