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The impairment in microvascular network formation could delay the restoration of blood flow after acute limb ischemia. A high-content screen of a GSK-published kinase inhibitor library identified a set of ROCK inhibitor hits enhancing endothelial network formation. Subsequent kinase activity profiling against a panel of 224 protein kinases showed that two indazole-based ROCK inhibitor hits exhibited high selectivity for ROCK1 and ROCK2 isoforms compared to other ROCK inhibitors. One of the chemical entities, GSK429286, was selected for follow-up studies. We found that GSK429286 was ten times more potent in enhancing endothelial tube formation than Fasudil, a classic ROCK inhibitor. ROCK1 inhibition by RNAi phenocopied the angiogenic phenotype of the GSK429286 compound. Using an organotypic angiogenesis co-culture assay, we showed that GSK429286 formed a dense vascular network with thicker endothelial tubes. Next, mice received either vehicle or GSK429286 (10 mg/kg i.p.) for seven days after hindlimb ischemia induction. As assessed by laser speckle contrast imaging, GSK429286 potentiated blood flow recovery after ischemia induction. At the histological level, we found that GSK429286 significantly increased the size of new microvessels in the regenerating areas of ischemic muscles compared with vehicle-treated ones. Our findings reveal that selective ROCK inhibitors have in vitro pro-angiogenic properties and therapeutic potential to restore blood flow in limb ischemia.
ASPP2 binds to hepatitis C virus NS5A protein via an SH3 domain/PxxP motif-mediated interaction and potentiates infection
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects millions of people worldwide and is a leading cause of liver disease. Despite recent advances in antiviral therapies, viral resistance can limit drug efficacy and understanding the mechanisms that confer viral escape is important. We employ an unbiased interactome analysis to discover host binding partners of the HCV non-structural protein 5A (NS5A), a key player in viral replication and assembly. We identify ASPP2, apoptosis-stimulating protein of p53, as a new host co-factor that binds NS5A via its SH3 domain. Importantly, silencing ASPP2 reduces viral replication and spread. Our study uncovers a previously unknown role for ASPP2 to potentiate HCV RNA replication.
Evaluation of T cell responses to naturally processed variant SARS-CoV-2 spike antigens in individuals following infection or vaccination.
Most existing studies characterizing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific T cell responses are peptide based. This does not allow evaluation of whether tested peptides are processed and presented canonically. In this study, we use recombinant vaccinia virus (rVACV)-mediated expression of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and SARS-CoV-2 infection of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-2-transduced B cell lines to evaluate overall T cell responses in a small cohort of recovered COVID-19 patients and uninfected donors vaccinated with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. We show that rVACV expression of SARS-CoV-2 antigen can be used as an alternative to SARS-CoV-2 infection to evaluate T cell responses to naturally processed spike antigens. In addition, the rVACV system can be used to evaluate the cross-reactivity of memory T cells to variants of concern (VOCs) and to identify epitope escape mutants. Finally, our data show that both natural infection and vaccination could induce multi-functional T cell responses with overall T cell responses remaining despite the identification of escape mutations.
Germline commitment following primordial germ cell (PGC) specification during early human development establishes an epigenetic programme and competence for gametogenesis. Here we follow the progression of nascent PGC-like cells derived from human embryonic stem cells in vitro. We show that switching from BMP signalling for PGC specification to Activin A and retinoic acid resulted in DMRT1 and CDH5 expression, the indicators of migratory PGCs in vivo. Moreover, the induction of DMRT1 and SOX17 in PGC-like cells promoted epigenetic resetting with striking global enrichment of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine and locus-specific loss of 5-methylcytosine at DMRT1 binding sites and the expression of DAZL representing DNA methylation-sensitive genes, a hallmark of the germline commitment programme. We provide insight into the unique role of DMRT1 in germline development for advances in human germ cell biology and in vitro gametogenesis.
The X-linked histone demethylases KDM5C and KDM6A as regulators of T cell-driven autoimmunity in the central nervous system.
T cell-driven autoimmune responses are subject to striking sex-dependent effects. While the contributions of sex hormones are well-understood, those of sex chromosomes are meeting with increased appreciation. Here, we outline what is known about the contribution of sex chromosome-linked factors to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model that recapitulates many of the T cell-driven mechanisms of multiple sclerosis (MS) pathology. Particular attention is paid to the KDM family of histone demethylases, several of which - KDM5C, KDM5D and KDM6A - are sex chromosome encoded. Finally, we provide evidence that functional inhibition of KDM5 molecules can suppress interferon (IFN)γ production from murine male effector T cells, and that an increased ratio of inflammatory Kdm6a to immunomodulatory Kdm5c transcript is observed in T helper 17 (Th17) cells from women with the autoimmune disorder ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Histone lysine demethlyases thus represent intriguing targets for the treatment of T cell-driven autoimmune disorders.
The "epigenetics" concept was first described in 1942. Thus far, chemical modifications on histones, DNA, and RNA have emerged as three important building blocks of epigenetic modifications. Many epigenetic modifications have been intensively studied and found to be involved in most essential biological processes as well as human diseases, including cancer. Precisely and quantitatively mapping over 100 , 17 , and 160  different known types of epigenetic modifications in histone, DNA, and RNA is the key to understanding the role of epigenetic modifications in gene regulation in diverse biological processes. With the rapid development of sequencing technologies, scientists are able to detect specific epigenetic modifications with various quantitative, high-resolution, whole-genome/transcriptome approaches. Here, we summarize recent advances in epigenetic modification sequencing technologies, focusing on major histone, DNA, and RNA modifications in mammalian cells.
Co-incidence of RCC-susceptibility polymorphisms with HIF cis-acting sequences supports a pathway tuning model of cancer
AbstractEmerging evidence suggests that dysregulation of oncogenic pathways requires precise tuning in order for cancer to develop. To test this, we examined the overlap between cis-acting elements of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway and cancer-susceptibility polymorphisms as defined in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In renal cancer, where HIF is constitutively and un-physiologically activated by mutation of the von Hippel-Lindau tumour suppressor, we observed marked excess overlap, which extended to potential susceptibility polymorphisms that are below the conventional threshold applied in GWAS. In contrast, in other cancers where HIF is upregulated by different mechanisms, including micro-environmental hypoxia, we observed no excess in overlap. Our findings support a ‘pathway tuning’ model of cancer, whereby precise modulation of multiple outputs of specific, activated pathways is important in oncogenesis. This implies that selective pressures to modulate such pathways operate during cancer development and should focus attempts to identify their nature and consequences.
Oxygen sensing across kingdoms The ability to sense and respond to changes in oxygen levels is critical for most forms of life. To date, mechanistic studies of this process in mammals have focused on the oxygen-sensitive stability of a transcription factor called hypoxia-inducible factor. Masson et al. discovered an enzymatic oxygen sensor in humans that is functionally identical to plant cysteine oxidases, enzymes that control responses to hypoxia in plants. The human and plant enzymes convert the N-terminal cysteine in substrate proteins to cysteine sulfinic acid, a modification that ultimately targets the proteins for degradation. Oxygen sensing is impaired in many human diseases, and further study of the human enzyme could help in the development of strategies for therapeutic intervention. Science , this issue p. 65