Volume 1, Issue 2 (December 2023) – 3 articles

Cover Story (View full-size image):
TANGO1 is elevated in fibroblasts derived from the lung of a patient with systemic sclerosis. Note the distinct intracellular punctate in the fibroblasts, especially in close proximity to the nucleus. Stress fibers have been stained with phalloidin and the nucleus counterstained blue with Dapi. The image was photographed with an epifluorescence microscope and the fibroblasts magnified 400 times.


17 October 2023

The Severity of Isoproterenol-Induced Myocardial Fibrosis and Related Dysfunction in Mice Is Strain-Dependent

The isoproterenol (or isoprenaline; ISO)-induced model of myocardial injury provides a non-surgical means of establishing features of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in various species, including left ventricular (LV) inflammation, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, vascular rarefaction, fibrosis and related dysfunction. However, when established in mice, the progression and severity of the LV fibrosis that manifests in this model can be affected by the exposure time and/or dosing of ISO applied, and by strain when an equivalent exposure time and dose are administered. In this study, we measured the severity of LV fibrosis by biochemical and histological means in 129sv, C57BL/6J and FVB/N mice exposed to repeated ISO (25 mg/kg for 5 days) administration at 14-days post-injury. At the time-point studied, these strains of mice underwent a ~2-fold, ~0.7-fold and ~0.3-fold increase in LV collagen concentration, respectively, compared to their saline-injected controls; whilst 129sv and C57BL/6J mice underwent a corresponding ~7-fold and ~1-fold increase in picrosirius red-stained interstitial LV collagen deposition, respectively. C57BL/6J mice subjected to higher dosing of ISO (50 or 100 mg/kg for 5 days) underwent a ~1.4–1.6-fold increase in picrosirius red-stained interstitial LV collagen deposition and some LV systolic dysfunction at day-14 post-injury, but the fibrosis in these mice was still less severe than that measured in 129sv mice given a lower dose of ISO. These findings highlight that strain-dependent differences in ISO-induced LV fibrosis severity can impact on evaluating pathological features of DCM and the therapeutic effects of anti-fibrotic drugs/strategies in this model.


28 November 2023

Translational Studies Reveal the Divergent Effects of Simtuzumab Targeting LOXL2 in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

The composition of extracellular matrix (ECM) is altered during pathologic scarring in damaged organs including the lung. One major change in the ECM involves the cross-linking of collagen, which promotes fibroblast to myofibroblast differentiation. We examined the role of lysyl oxidase (LOX)-like 2 in lung progenitors and fibroblasts cultured from normal or IPF lung samples and in a humanized mouse model of IPF using a monoclonal antibody (Simtuzumab). Primary lung fibroblasts from normal donor lungs and IPF lung explants were examined for expression of LOXL2. Targeting LOXL2 with Simtuzumab on normal and IPF fibroblasts was examined both in vitro and in vivo for synthetic, functional, and profibrotic properties. LOXL2 was increased at transcript and protein level in IPF compared with normal lung samples. In a dose-dependent manner, Simtuzumab enhanced differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts. Inhibition of LOXL2 also enhanced fibroblast invasion and accelerated the outgrowth of fibroblasts from dissociated human lung cell preparations. Finally, preventative or delayed delivery of Simtuzumab enhanced lung fibrosis in a humanized mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis. Consistent with its failure in a Phase 2 clinical trial, Simtuzumab exhibited no therapeutic efficacy in translational in vitro and in vivo assays.


21 December 2023

TANGO1 Dances to Export of Procollagen from the Endoplasmic Reticulum

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to Golgi secretory pathway is an elegantly complex process whereby protein cargoes are manufactured, folded, and distributed from the ER to the cisternal layers of the Golgi stack before they are delivered to their final destinations. The export of large bulky cargoes such as procollagen and its trafficking to the Golgi is a sophisticated mechanism requiring TANGO1 (Transport ANd Golgi Organization protein 1. It is also called MIA3 (Melanoma Inhibitory Activity protein 3). TANGO1 has two prominent isoforms, TANGO1-Long and TANGO1-Short, and each isoform has specific functions. On the luminal side, TANGO1-Long has an HSP47 recruitment domain and uses this protein to collect collagen. It can also tether its paralog isoforms cTAGE5 and TALI and along with these proteins enlarges the vesicle to accommodate procollagen. Recent studies show that TANGO1-Long combines retrograde membrane flow with anterograde cargo transport. This complex mechanism is highly activated in fibrosis and promotes the excessive deposition of collagen in the tissues. The therapeutic targeting of TANGO1 may prove successful in the control of fibrotic disorders. This review focuses on TANGO1 and its complex interaction with other procollagen export factors that modulate increased vesicle size to accommodate the export of procollagen.