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This cheesy sci-fi adventure began as a radio play, and it still feels like one, as there's lots of voice-over juxtaposed with still, often monochromatic artwork. A member of the Bounty Dog Investigation Team, Yoshioki has been sent to discover the source of mysterious activities on the moon. He's drawn into a baroque story that requires him to destroy the alien Sleeper, whom various characters describe with straight faces as "the Dark Side of the Moon." This evil entity is linked to Yoshioki's tragic past and to the revelation that the moon is an artificial observation satellite. The endless chases, explosions, and gunfights can't disguise the painfully underdeveloped plot. In the epilogue, Yoshioki returns to Earth, wondering who built the moon, the nature of the enemy he defeated, etc.--questions the viewer and, apparently, the writers share. (Rated 17 and older: profanity, nudity, grotesque imagery, graphic violence, violence against women) --Charles Solomon
In this issue, Reichmann et al. utilize transcriptomic analysis of human tuberculosis granulomas isolated by laser capture and a 3D cellular model to identify sphingosine kinase 1 as a potential host therapeutic target. The cover image shows peripheral blood mononuclear cells in tuberculosis-infected microspheres.
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NKTR-255 is a novel polyethylene glycol (PEG)-conjugate of recombinant human IL-15 (rhIL-15) being examined as a potential cancer immunotherapeutic. Since IL-15 responses can be mediated by trans- or cis-presentation via IL-15Rα or soluble IL-15/IL-15Rα complexes, we investigated the role of IL-15Rα in driving NKTR-255 responses using defined naïve and memory ovalbumin-specific CD8 T cells (OT-I) CD8 T and NK cells in mice. NKTR-255 induced a 2.5 and 2.0-fold expansion of CD8 T and NK cells, respectively in WT mice. In adoptive transfer studies, proliferation of naïve and memory Wt OT-I T cells in response to NKTR-255 was not impaired in IL-15Rα−/− mice, suggesting trans-presentation was not utilized by NKTR-255. Interestingly, naïve IL-15Rα−/− OT-I cells had deficient responses to NKTR-255 while memory IL-15Rα−/− OT-I cell responses were partially impaired, suggesting that naive CD8 T cells are more dependent on cis-presentation of NKTR-255 than memory CD8 T cells. In bone marrow chimeras studies, IL-15Rα−/− and WT NK cells present in WT recipients had similar responses to NKTR-255, suggesting that cis-presentation is not utilized by NK cells. NKTR-255 could form soluble complexes with IL-15Rα; binding to murine IL-15Rα generated superagonists that preferentially stimulated NK cells showing that conversion to IL-15Rβ agonist biases the response towards NK cells. These findings highlight the ability of NKTR-255 to utilize IL-15Rα for cis-presentation and act as an IL-15Rαβ agonist on CD8 T cells.
Tanya O. Robinson, Shweta M. Hegde, Allison J. Chang, Achintyan Gangadharan, Sarai Rivas, Loui Madakamutil, Jonathan Zalevsky, Takahiro Miyazaki, Kimberly S. Schluns
The efficacy of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines is high, but breakthrough infections still occur. We compared the SARS-CoV-2 genomes of 76 breakthrough cases after full vaccination with BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech), mRNA-1273 (Moderna), or JNJ-78436735 (Janssen) to unvaccinated controls (February-April 2021) in metropolitan New York, including their phylogenetic relationship, distribution of variants, and full spike mutation profiles. Their median age was 48 years; seven required hospitalization and one died. Most breakthrough infections (57/76) occurred with B.1.1.7 (Alpha) or B.1.526 (Iota). Among the 7 hospitalized cases, 4 were infected with B.1.1.7, including 1 death. Both unmatched and matched statistical analyses considering age, sex, vaccine type, and study month as covariates supported the null hypothesis of equal variant distributions between vaccinated and unvaccinated in chi-squared and McNemar tests (p>0.1) highlighting a high vaccine efficacy against B.1.1.7 and B.1.526. There was no clear association among breakthroughs between type of vaccine received and variant. In the vaccinated group, spike mutations in the N-terminal domain and receptor-binding domain that have been associated with immune evasion were overrepresented. The evolving dynamic of SARS-CoV-2 variants requires broad genomic analyses of breakthrough infections to provide real-life information on immune escape mediated by circulating variants and their spike mutations.
Ralf Duerr, Dacia Dimartino, Christian Marier, Paul Zappile, Guiqing Wang, Jennifer Lighter, Brian Elbel, Andrea B. Troxel, Adriana Heguy
BACKGROUND. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells have emerged as a novel approach to treat malignant tumors. This strategy has also been proposed for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. We have developed a broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb)-derived CAR-T cell therapy which can exerted specific cytotoxic activity against HIV-1-infected cells. METHODS. We conducted an open-label trial of the safety, side-effect profile, pharmacokinetic properties, and antiviral activity of bNAb-derived CAR-T cell therapy in HIV-1-infected individuals who were undergoing analytical interruption of antiretroviral therapy (ART). RESULTS. A total of 14 participants completed only a single administration of bNAb-derived CAR-T cells. CAR-T administration was safe and well tolerated. Six participants discontinued ART, and viremia rebound occurred in all of them, with a 5.3-week median time. Notably, the cell-associated viral RNA and intact proviruses decreased significantly after CAR-T treatment. Analyses of HIV-1 variants before or after CAR-T administration suggested that CAR-T cells exerted pressure on rebound viruses, resulting in a selection of viruses with less diversity and mutations against CAR-T-mediated cytotoxicity. CONCLUSIONS. No safety concerns were identified with adoptive transfer of bNAb-derived CAR-T cells. They reduced viral reservoir. All the rebounds were due to preexisting or emergence of viral escape mutations. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03240328. FUNDING. Ministry of Science and Technology of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province.
Bingfeng Liu, Wanying Zhang, Baijin Xia, Shuliang Jing, Yingying Du, Fan Zou, Rong Li, Lijuan Lu, Shaozhen Chen, Yonghong Li, Qifei Hu, Yingtong Lin, Yiwen Zhang, Zhangping He, Xu Zhang, Xiejie Chen, Tao Peng, Xiaoping Tang, Weiping Cai, Ting Pan, Linghua Li, Hui Zhang
Dementia resulting from small vessel diseases of the brain (SVDs) is an emerging epidemic for which there is no treatment. Hypertension is the major risk factor for SVDs, but how hypertension damages the brain microcirculation is unclear. Here, we show that chronic hypertension in a mouse model progressively disrupts on-demand delivery of blood to metabolically active areas of the brain (functional hyperemia) through diminished activity of the capillary endothelial cell inward-rectifier potassium channel, Kir2.1. Despite similar efficacy in reducing blood pressure, amlodipine, a voltage-dependent calcium-channel blocker, prevented hypertension-related damage to functional hyperemia whereas losartan, an angiotensin II type-1 receptor blocker, did not. We attribute this drug class effect to losartan-induced ‘aldosterone breakthrough’, a phenomenon triggered by pharmacological interruption of the renin-angiotensin pathway leading to elevated plasma aldosterone levels. This hypothesis is supported by the finding that combining losartan with the aldosterone receptor antagonist eplerenone prevented the hypertension-related decline in functional hyperemia. Collectively, these data suggest Kir2.1 as a possible therapeutic target in vascular dementia and indicate that concurrent mineralocorticoid aldosterone receptor blockade may aid in protecting against late-life cognitive decline in hypertensive patients treated with angiotensin II type-1 receptor blockers.
Masayo Koide, Osama F. Harraz, Fabrice Dabertrand, Thomas A. Longden, Hannah R. Ferris, George C. Wellman, David C. Hill-Eubanks, Adam S. Greenstein, Mark Nelson
Decreased skeletal muscle strength and mitochondrial dysfunction are characteristic of diabetes. Action of insulin and IGF-1 through insulin receptor (IR) and IGF-1 receptor (IGF1R) maintain muscle mass via suppression of FoxOs, but whether FoxO activation coordinates atrophy in concert with mitochondrial dysfunction is unknown. We show that mitochondrial respiration and complex-I activity were decreased in streptozotocin (STZ) diabetic muscle, but these defects were reversed following muscle-specific FoxO1/3/4 triple knockout in STZ-FoxO TKO. In the absence of systemic glucose or lipid abnormalities, muscle-specific IR knockout (M-IR-/-) or combined IR/IGF1R knockout (MIGIRKO) impaired mitochondrial respiration, decreased ATP production, and increased ROS. These mitochondrial abnormalities were not present in muscle-specific IR/IGF1R and FoxO1/3/4 quintuple knockout mice (M-QKO). Acute tamoxifen-inducible deletion of IR/IGF1R also decreased muscle pyruvate respiration, complex-I activity, and supercomplex assembly. Although autophagy was increased when IR/IGF1R were deleted in muscle, mitophagy was not increased. Mechanistically, RNA-seq revealed that complex-I core subunits were decreased in STZ-diabetic and MIGIRKO muscle, and these changes were not present with FoxO knockout in STZ-FoxO TKO and M-QKO. Thus, insulin-deficient diabetes or loss of insulin/IGF-1 action in muscle decreases complex-I driven mitochondrial respiration and supercomplex assembly, in part by FoxO-mediated repression of Complex-I subunit expression.
Gourav Bhardwaj, Christie M. Penniman, Jayashree Jena, Pablo A. Suarez Beltran, Collin Foster, Kennedy Poro, Taylor L. Junck, Antentor O. Hinton Jr., Rhonda Souvenir, Jordan D. Fuqua, Pablo E. Morales, Roberto Bravo-Sagua, William I. Sivitz, Vitor A. Lira, E. Dale Abel, Brian T. O'Neill
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
This collection of reviews focuses on the gut-brain axis, highlighting crosstalk between the gastrointestinal tract and the enteric and central nervous systems. While the enteric nervous system can exert independent control over the gut, multi-directional communication with the central nervous system, as well as intestinal epithelial, stromal, immune, and enteroendocrine cells can result in wide-ranging influences on health and disease. The gut microbiome and its metabolites add further complexity to this intricate interactive network. Reviews in this series take a critical approach to describing the role of gut-brain connections in conditions affecting both gut and brain, with the common goal of illuminating the importance of the central and enteric nervous system interface in disease pathogenesis and identifying nodes that offer therapeutic potential.