Volume 1, Issue 1 (March 2024) – 5 articles

Cover Story (View full-size image):
Tissue lymphatic vessels network plays critical roles in immune surveillance and tissue homeostasis in response to pathogen invasion, but how lymphatic system per se is remolded during infection is less understood. Here, we observed that influenza infection induces a significant increase of lymphatic vessel numbers in the lung, accompanied with extensive proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs). Single-cell RNA sequencing illustrated the heterogeneity of LECs, identifying a novel PD-L1+ subpopulation that is present during viral infection but not at steady state. Specific deletion of Pd-l1 in LECs elevated the expansion of lymphatic vessel numbers during viral infection. Together these findings elucidate a dramatic expansion of lung lymphatic network in response to viral infection, and reveal a PD-L1+ LEC subpopulation that potentially modulates lymphatic vessel remolding.  View this manuscript

Editorial

21 November 2023

Article

01 February 2024

Molecular Regulation of Transforming Growth Factor-β1-induced Thioredoxin-interacting Protein Ubiquitination and Proteasomal Degradation in Lung Fibroblasts: Implication in Pulmonary Fibrosis

Thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) plays a critical role in regulation of cellular redox reactions and inflammatory responses by interacting with thioredoxin (TRX) or the inflammasome. The role of TXNIP in lung fibrosis and molecular regulation of its stability have not been well studied. Therefore, here we investigated the molecular regulation of TXNIP stability and its role in TGF-β1-mediated signaling in lung fibroblasts. TXNIP protein levels were significantly decreased in lung tissues from bleomycin-challenged mice. Overexpression of TXNIP attenuated transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-induced phosphorylation of Smad2/3 and fibronectin expression in lung fibroblasts, suggesting that decrease in TXNIP may contribute to the pathogenesis of lung fibrosis. Further, we observed that TGF-β1 lowered TXNIP protein levels, while TXNIP mRNA levels were unaltered by TGF-β1 exposure. TGF-β1 induced TXNIP degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. A serine residue mutant (TNXIP-S308A) was resistant to TGF-β1-induced degradation. Furthermore, downregulation of ubiquitin-specific protease-13 (USP13) promoted the TGF-β1-induced TXNIP ubiquitination and degradation. Mechanistic studies revealed that USP13 targeted and deubiquitinated TXNIP. The results of this study revealed that the decrease of TXNIP in lungs apparently contributes to the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis and that USP13 can target TXNP for deubiquitination and regulate its stability.

Article

19 February 2024

Single Cell Analysis of Lung Lymphatic Endothelial Cells and Lymphatic Responses during Influenza Infection

Tissue lymphatic vessels network plays critical roles in immune surveillance and tissue homeostasis in response to pathogen invasion, but how lymphatic system per se is remolded during infection is less understood. Here, we observed that influenza infection induces a significant increase of lymphatic vessel numbers in the lung, accompanied with extensive proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs). Single-cell RNA sequencing illustrated the heterogeneity of LECs, identifying a novel PD-L1+ subpopulation that is present during viral infection but not at steady state. Specific deletion of Pd-l1 in LECs elevated the expansion of lymphatic vessel numbers during viral infection. Together these findings elucidate a dramatic expansion of lung lymphatic network in response to viral infection, and reveal a PD-L1+ LEC subpopulation that potentially modulates lymphatic vessel remolding.

Article

28 March 2024

Glutamine Metabolism Is Required for Alveolar Macrophage Proliferation

Alveolar macrophages (AMs) are critical for normal lung homeostasis, surfactant metabolism, and host defense against various respiratory pathogens. Despite being terminally differentiated cells, AMs are able to proliferate and self-renew to maintain their compartment without the input of the hematopoietic system in the adulthood during homeostasis. However, the molecular and metabolic mechanisms modulating AM proliferative responses are still incompletely understood. Here we have investigated the metabolic regulation of AM proliferation and self-renewal. Inhibition of glucose uptake or fatty acid oxidation did not significantly impact AM proliferation. Rather, inhibition of the glutamine uptake and/or glutaminase activity impaired AM mitochondrial respiration and cellular proliferation in vitro and in vivo in response to growth factor stimulation. Furthermore, mice with a genetic deletion of glutaminase in macrophages showed decreased proliferation. Our data indicate that glutamine is a critical substrate for fueling mitochondrial metabolism that is required for AM proliferation. Overall, our study is expected to shed light on the AM maintenance and repopulation by glutamine during homeostasis and following acute respiratory viral infection.

Article

31 March 2024

The Asthma Risk Gene, GSDMB, Promotes Mitochondrial DNA-induced ISGs Expression

Released mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in cells activates cGAS-STING pathway, which induces expression of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) and thereby promotes inflammation, as frequently seen in asthmatic airways. However, whether the genetic determinant, Gasdermin B (GSDMB), the most replicated asthma risk gene, regulates this pathway remains unknown. We set out to determine whether and how GSDMB regulates mtDNA-activated cGAS-STING pathway and subsequent ISGs induction in human airway epithelial cells. Using qPCR, ELISA, native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence assays, we evaluated the regulation of GSDMB on cGAS-STING pathway in both BEAS-2B cells and primary normal human bronchial epithelial cells (nHBEs). mtDNA was extracted in plasma samples from human asthmatics and the correlation between mtDNA levels and eosinophil counts was analyzed. GSDMB is significantly associated with RANTES expression in asthmatic nasal epithelial brushing samples from the Genes-environments and Admixture in Latino Americans (GALA) II study. Over-expression of GSDMB promotes DNA-induced IFN and ISGs expression in bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells and nHBEs. Conversely, knockout of GSDMB led to weakened induction of interferon (IFNs) and ISGs in BEAS-2B cells. Mechanistically, GSDMB interacts with the C-terminus of STING, promoting the translocalization of STING to Golgi, leading to the phosphorylation of IRF3 and induction of IFNs and ISGs. mtDNA copy number in serum from asthmatics was significantly correlated with blood eosinophil counts especially in male subjects. GSDMB promotes the activation of mtDNA and poly (dA:dT)-induced activation of cGAS-STING pathway in airway epithelial cells, leading to enhanced induction of ISGs.

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