It has been postulated that during human fetal development, all cells of the lung epithelium derive from embryonic, endodermal, NK2 homeobox 1–expressing (NKX2-1+) precursor cells. However, this hypothesis has not been formally tested owing to an inability to purify or track these progenitors for detailed characterization. Here we have engineered and developmentally differentiated NKX2-1GFP reporter pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) in vitro to generate and isolate human primordial lung progenitors that express NKX2-1 but are initially devoid of differentiated lung lineage markers. After sorting to purity, these primordial lung progenitors exhibited lung epithelial maturation. In the absence of mesenchymal coculture support, this NKX2-1+ population was able to generate epithelial-only spheroids in defined 3D cultures. Alternatively, when recombined with fetal mouse lung mesenchyme, the cells recapitulated epithelial-mesenchymal developing lung interactions. We imaged these progenitors in real time and performed time-series global transcriptomic profiling and single-cell RNA sequencing as they moved through the earliest moments of lung lineage specification. The profiles indicated that evolutionarily conserved, stage-dependent gene signatures of early lung development are expressed in primordial human lung progenitors and revealed a CD47hiCD26lo cell surface phenotype that allows their prospective isolation from untargeted, patient-specific PSCs for further in vitro differentiation and future applications in regenerative medicine.
Finn Hawkins, Philipp Kramer, Anjali Jacob, Ian Driver, Dylan C. Thomas, Katherine B. McCauley, Nicholas Skvir, Ana M. Crane, Anita A. Kurmann, Anthony N. Hollenberg, Sinead Nguyen, Brandon G. Wong, Ahmad S. Khalil, Sarah X.L. Huang, Susan Guttentag, Jason R. Rock, John M. Shannon, Brian R. Davis, Darrell N. Kotton
Pulmonary vascular disease is characterized by remodeling and loss of microvessels and is typically attributed to pathological responses in vascular endothelium or abnormal smooth muscle cell phenotypes. We have challenged this understanding by defining an adult pulmonary mesenchymal progenitor cell (MPC) that regulates both microvascular function and angiogenesis. The current understanding of adult MPCs and their roles in homeostasis versus disease has been limited by a lack of genetic markers with which to lineage label multipotent mesenchyme and trace the differentiation of these MPCs into vascular lineages. Here, we have shown that lineage-labeled lung MPCs expressing the ATP-binding cassette protein ABCG2 (ABCG2+) are pericyte progenitors that participate in microvascular homeostasis as well as adaptive angiogenesis. Activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, either autonomously or downstream of decreased BMP receptor signaling, enhanced ABCG2+ MPC proliferation but suppressed MPC differentiation into a functional pericyte lineage. Thus, enhanced Wnt/β-catenin signaling in ABCG2+ MPCs drives a phenotype of persistent microvascular dysfunction, abnormal angiogenesis, and subsequent exacerbation of bleomycin-induced fibrosis. ABCG2+ MPCs may, therefore, account in part for the aberrant microvessel function and remodeling that are associated with chronic lung diseases.
Christa F. Gaskill, Erica J. Carrier, Jonathan A. Kropski, Nathaniel C. Bloodworth, Swapna Menon, Robert F. Foronjy, M. Mark Taketo, Charles C. Hong, Eric D. Austin, James D. West, Anna L. Means, James E. Loyd, W. David Merryman, Anna R. Hemnes, Stijn De Langhe, Timothy S. Blackwell, Dwight J. Klemm, Susan M. Majka
Germline coding mutations in different telomere-related genes have been linked to autosomal-dominant familial pulmonary fibrosis. Individuals with these inherited mutations demonstrate incomplete penetrance of clinical phenotypes affecting the lung, blood, liver, skin, and other organs. Here, we describe the somatic acquisition of promoter mutations in telomerase reverse transcriptase (
Lindley Maryoung, Yangbo Yue, Ashley Young, Chad A. Newton, Cindy Barba, Nicolai S. C. van Oers, Richard C. Wang, Christine Kim Garcia
Treatment options are limited for severe asthma, and the need for additional therapies remains great. Previously, we demonstrated that integrin αvβ6-deficient mice are protected from airway hyperresponsiveness, due in part to increased expression of the murine ortholog of human chymase. Here, we determined that chymase protects against cytokine-enhanced bronchoconstriction by cleaving fibronectin to impair tension transmission in airway smooth muscle (ASM). Additionally, we identified a pathway that can be therapeutically targeted to mitigate the effects of airway hyperresponsiveness. Administration of chymase to human bronchial rings abrogated IL-13–enhanced contraction, and this effect was not due to alterations in calcium homeostasis or myosin light chain phosphorylation. Rather, chymase cleaved fibronectin, inhibited ASM adhesion, and attenuated focal adhesion phosphorylation. Disruption of integrin ligation with an RGD-containing peptide abrogated IL-13–enhanced contraction, with no further effect from chymase. We identified α5β1 as the primary fibronectin-binding integrin in ASM, and α5β1-specific blockade inhibited focal adhesion phosphorylation and IL-13–enhanced contraction, with no additional effect from chymase. Delivery of an α5β1 inhibitor into murine airways abrogated the exaggerated bronchoconstriction induced by allergen sensitization and challenge. Finally, α5β1 blockade enhanced the effect of the bronchodilator isoproterenol on airway relaxation. Our data identify the α5β1 integrin as a potential therapeutic target to mitigate the severity of airway contraction in asthma.
Aparna Sundaram, Chun Chen, Amin Khalifeh-Soltani, Amha Atakilit, Xin Ren, Wenli Qiu, Hyunil Jo, William DeGrado, Xiaozhu Huang, Dean Sheppard
Increases in eosinophil numbers are associated with infection and allergic diseases, including asthma, but there is also evidence that eosinophils contribute to homeostatic immune processes. In mice, the normal lung contains resident eosinophils (rEos), but their function has not been characterized. Here, we have reported that steady-state pulmonary rEos are IL-5–independent parenchymal Siglec-FintCD62L+CD101lo cells with a ring-shaped nucleus. During house dust mite–induced airway allergy, rEos features remained unchanged, and rEos were accompanied by recruited inflammatory eosinophils (iEos), which were defined as IL-5–dependent peribronchial Siglec-FhiCD62L–CD101hi cells with a segmented nucleus. Gene expression analyses revealed a more regulatory profile for rEos than for iEos, and correspondingly, mice lacking lung rEos showed an increase in Th2 cell responses to inhaled allergens. Such elevation of Th2 responses was linked to the ability of rEos, but not iEos, to inhibit the maturation, and therefore the pro-Th2 function, of allergen-loaded DCs. Finally, we determined that the parenchymal rEos found in nonasthmatic human lungs (Siglec-8+CD62L+IL-3Rlo cells) were phenotypically distinct from the iEos isolated from the sputa of eosinophilic asthmatic patients (Siglec-8+CD62LloIL-3Rhi cells), suggesting that our findings in mice are relevant to humans. In conclusion, our data define lung rEos as a distinct eosinophil subset with key homeostatic functions.
Claire Mesnil, Stéfanie Raulier, Geneviève Paulissen, Xue Xiao, Mark A. Birrell, Dimitri Pirottin, Thibaut Janss, Philipp Starkl, Eve Ramery, Monique Henket, Florence N. Schleich, Marc Radermecker, Kris Thielemans, Laurent Gillet, Marc Thiry, Maria G. Belvisi, Renaud Louis, Christophe Desmet, Thomas Marichal, Fabrice Bureau
Dysregulation of vascular stiffness and cellular metabolism occurs early in pulmonary hypertension (PH). However, the mechanisms by which biophysical properties of the vascular extracellular matrix (ECM) relate to metabolic processes important in PH remain undefined. In this work, we examined cultured pulmonary vascular cells and various types of PH-diseased lung tissue and determined that ECM stiffening resulted in mechanoactivation of the transcriptional coactivators YAP and TAZ (WWTR1). YAP/TAZ activation modulated metabolic enzymes, including glutaminase (GLS1), to coordinate glutaminolysis and glycolysis. Glutaminolysis, an anaplerotic pathway, replenished aspartate for anabolic biosynthesis, which was critical for sustaining proliferation and migration within stiff ECM. In vitro, GLS1 inhibition blocked aspartate production and reprogrammed cellular proliferation pathways, while application of aspartate restored proliferation. In the monocrotaline rat model of PH, pharmacologic modulation of pulmonary vascular stiffness and YAP-dependent mechanotransduction altered glutaminolysis, pulmonary vascular proliferation, and manifestations of PH. Additionally, pharmacologic targeting of GLS1 in this model ameliorated disease progression. Notably, evaluation of simian immunodeficiency virus–infected nonhuman primates and HIV-infected subjects revealed a correlation between YAP/TAZ–GLS activation and PH. These results indicate that ECM stiffening sustains vascular cell growth and migration through YAP/TAZ-dependent glutaminolysis and anaplerosis, and thereby link mechanical stimuli to dysregulated vascular metabolism. Furthermore, this study identifies potential metabolic drug targets for therapeutic development in PH.
Thomas Bertero, William M. Oldham, Katherine A. Cottrill, Sabrina Pisano, Rebecca R. Vanderpool, Qiujun Yu, Jingsi Zhao, Yiyin Tai, Ying Tang, Ying-Yi Zhang, Sofiya Rehman, Masataka Sugahara, Zhi Qi, John Gorcsan III, Sara O. Vargas, Rajan Saggar, Rajeev Saggar, W. Dean Wallace, David J. Ross, Kathleen J. Haley, Aaron B. Waxman, Victoria N. Parikh, Teresa De Marco, Priscilla Y. Hsue, Alison Morris, Marc A. Simon, Karen A. Norris, Cedric Gaggioli, Joseph Loscalzo, Joshua Fessel, Stephen Y. Chan
Progressive tissue fibrosis is a major cause of the morbidity and mortality associated with repeated epithelial injuries and accumulation of myofibroblasts. Successful treatment options are limited by an incomplete understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate myofibroblast accumulation. Here, we employed in vivo lineage tracing and real-time gene expression transgenic reporting methods to analyze the early embryonic transcription factor T-box gene 4 (TBX4), and determined that TBX4-lineage mesenchymal progenitors are the predominant source of myofibroblasts in injured adult lung. In a murine model, ablation of TBX4-expressing cells or disruption of TBX4 signaling attenuated lung fibrosis after bleomycin-induced injury. Furthermore, TBX4 regulated hyaluronan synthase 2 production to enable fibroblast invasion of matrix both in murine models and in fibroblasts from patients with severe pulmonary fibrosis. These data identify TBX4 as a mesenchymal transcription factor that drives accumulation of myofibroblasts and the development of lung fibrosis. Targeting TBX4 and downstream factors that regulate fibroblast invasiveness could lead to therapeutic approaches in lung fibrosis.
Ting Xie, Jiurong Liang, Ningshan Liu, Caijuan Huan, Yanli Zhang, Weijia Liu, Maya Kumar, Rui Xiao, Jeanine D’Armiento, Daniel Metzger, Pierre Chambon, Virginia E. Papaioannou, Barry R. Stripp, Dianhua Jiang, Paul W. Noble
Loss of the growth-suppressive effects of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling has been demonstrated to promote pulmonary arterial endothelial cell dysfunction and induce pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell (PASMC) proliferation, leading to the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). MicroRNAs (miRs) mediate higher order regulation of cellular function through coordinated modulation of mRNA targets; however, miR expression is altered by disease development and drug therapy. Here, we examined treatment-naive patients and experimental models of PAH and identified a reduction in the levels of miR-140-5p. Inhibition of miR-140-5p promoted PASMC proliferation and migration in vitro. In rat models of PAH, nebulized delivery of miR-140-5p mimic prevented the development of PAH and attenuated the progression of established PAH. Network and pathway analysis identified SMAD-specific E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1 (SMURF1) as a key miR-140-5p target and regulator of BMP signaling. Evaluation of human tissue revealed that SMURF1 is increased in patients with PAH. miR-140-5p mimic or SMURF1 knockdown in PASMCs altered BMP signaling, further supporting these factors as regulators of BMP signaling. Finally,
Alexander M.K. Rothman, Nadine D. Arnold, Josephine A. Pickworth, James Iremonger, Loredana Ciuclan, Robert Allen, Sabine Guth-Gundel, Mark Southwood, Nicholas W. Morrell, Matthew Thomas, Sheila E. Francis, David J. Rowlands, Allan Lawrie
The development of pathologic mucus, which is not readily cleared from the airways, is an important contributor to the morbidity and mortality associated with asthma. It is not clear how the major airway mucins MUC5AC and MUC5B are organized within the mucus gel or how this gel contributes to airway obstruction in asthma. Here, we demonstrated that mucus plugs from individuals with fatal asthma are heterogeneous gels with distinct MUC5AC- and MUC5B-containing domains. Stimulation of cultured human bronchial epithelial cells with IL-13, a key mediator in asthma, induced the formation of heterogeneous mucus gels and dramatically impaired mucociliary transport. Impaired transport was not associated with defects in ciliary function but instead was related to tethering of MUC5AC-containing mucus gel domains to mucus-producing cells in the epithelium. Replacement of tethered mucus with untethered mucus restored mucociliary transport. Together, our results indicate that tethering of MUC5AC-containing domains to the epithelium causes mucostasis and likely represents a major cause of mucus plugging in asthma.
Luke R. Bonser, Lorna Zlock, Walter Finkbeiner, David J. Erle
Matthew C. Frise, Hung-Yuan Cheng, Annabel H. Nickol, M. Kate Curtis, Karen A. Pollard, David J. Roberts, Peter J. Ratcliffe, Keith L. Dorrington, Peter A. Robbins