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Journal of Experimental Medicine, The

During the developmental progression of lymphoid progenitors, antigen receptor loci are assembled from variable (V), diversity (D), and joining (J) gene segments. In precursor B cells, the immunoglobulin heavy...

Fibrillin-1 (FBN1) is a structural component of microfibrils in the extracellular matrix that plays a role in tissue development. Genetic defects in FBN1 are associated with a number of...

One of the most elegant master regulatory cascades in cell biology is the system of small G proteins controlling actin-based structures and coordinating these with cell polarity and cell...

Innate immune receptors for pathogen- and damage-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs and DAMPs) orchestrate inflammatory responses to infection and injury. Secreted by activated immune cells or passively released by damaged cells, HMGB1 is subjected to redox modification that distinctly influences its extracellular functions. Previously, it was unknown how the TLR4 signalosome distinguished between HMGB1 isoforms. Here we demonstrate that the extracellular TLR4 adaptor, myeloid differentiation factor 2 (MD-2), binds specifically to the cytokine-inducing disulfide isoform of HMGB1, to the exclusion of other isoforms. Using MD-2–deficient mice, as well as MD-2 silencing in macrophages, we show a requirement for HMGB1-dependent TLR4 signaling. By screening HMGB1 peptide libraries, we identified a tetramer (FSSE, designated P5779) as a specific MD-2 antagonist preventing MD-2–HMGB1 interaction and TLR4 signaling. P5779 does not interfere with lipopolysaccharide-induced cytokine/chemokine production, thus preserving PAMP-mediated TLR4–MD-2 responses. Furthermore, P5779 can protect mice against hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury, chemical toxicity, and sepsis. These findings reveal a novel mechanism by which innate systems selectively recognize specific HMGB1 isoforms. The results may direct toward strategies aimed at attenuating DAMP-mediated inflammation while preserving antimicrobial immune responsiveness.


Allergic contact dermatitis and its animal model, contact hypersensitivity (CHS), are T cell–mediated inflammatory skin diseases induced by contact allergens. Though numerous cellular and molecular players are known, the mechanism of chemical-induced sensitization remains poorly understood. Here, we identify neutrophils as crucial players in the sensitization phase of CHS. Genetic deficiency of neutrophils caused by myeloid-specific deletion of Mcl-1 or antibody-mediated depletion of neutrophils before sensitization abrogated the CHS response. Neutrophil deficiency reduced contact allergen-induced cytokine production, gelatinase release, and reactive oxygen species production in naive mice. Mast cell deficiency inhibited neutrophil accumulation at the site of sensitization. In turn, neutrophils were required for contact allergen-induced release of further neutrophil-attracting chemokines, migration of DCs to the draining lymph nodes, and priming of allergen-specific T cells. Lymph node cells from mice sensitized in the absence of neutrophils failed to transfer sensitization to naive recipients. Furthermore, no CHS response could be induced when neutrophils were depleted before elicitation or when normally sensitized lymph node cells were transferred to neutrophil-deficient recipients, indicating an additional role for neutrophils in the elicitation phase. Collectively, our data identify neutrophils to be critically involved in both the sensitization and elicitation phase of CHS.


A major function of T helper (Th) 17 cells is to induce the production of factors that activate and mobilize neutrophils. Although Th17 cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and the animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), little attention has been focused on the role of granulocytes in those disorders. We show that neutrophils, as well as monocytes, expand in the bone marrow and accumulate in the circulation before the clinical onset of EAE, in response to systemic up-regulation of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and the ELR+ CXC chemokine CXCL1. Neutrophils comprised a relatively high percentage of leukocytes infiltrating the central nervous system (CNS) early in disease development. G-CSF receptor deficiency and CXCL1 blockade suppressed myeloid cell accumulation in the blood and ameliorated the clinical course of mice that were injected with myelin-reactive Th17 cells. In relapsing MS patients, plasma levels of CXCL5, another ELR+ CXC chemokine, were elevated during acute lesion formation. Systemic expression of CXCL1, CXCL5, and neutrophil elastase correlated with measures of MS lesion burden and clinical disability. Based on these results, we advocate that neutrophil-related molecules be further investigated as novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets in MS.


Aberrant Notch activity is oncogenic in several malignancies, but it is unclear how expression or function of downstream elements in the Notch pathway affects tumor growth. Transcriptional regulation by Notch is dependent on interaction with the DNA-binding transcriptional repressor, RBPJ, and consequent derepression or activation of associated gene promoters. We show here that RBPJ is frequently depleted in human tumors. Depletion of RBPJ in human cancer cell lines xenografted into immunodeficient mice resulted in activation of canonical Notch target genes, and accelerated tumor growth secondary to reduced cell death. Global analysis of activated regions of the genome, as defined by differential acetylation of histone H4 (H4ac), revealed that the cell death pathway was significantly dysregulated in RBPJ-depleted tumors. Analysis of transcription factor binding data identified several transcriptional activators that bind promoters with differential H4ac in RBPJ-depleted cells. Functional studies demonstrated that NF-B and MYC were essential for survival of RBPJ-depleted cells. Thus, loss of RBPJ derepresses target gene promoters, allowing Notch-independent activation by alternate transcription factors that promote tumorigenesis.


The small Rho GTPase Cdc42, known to interact with Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome (WAS) protein, is an important regulator of actin remodeling. Here, we show that genetic ablation of Cdc42 exclusively in the B cell lineage is sufficient to render mice unable to mount antibody responses. Indeed Cdc42-deficient mice are incapable of forming germinal centers or generating plasma B cells upon either viral infection or immunization. Such severe immune deficiency is caused by multiple and profound B cell abnormalities, including early blocks during B cell development; impaired antigen-driven BCR signaling and actin remodeling; defective antigen presentation and in vivo interaction with T cells; and a severe B cell–intrinsic block in plasma cell differentiation. Thus, our study presents a new perspective on Cdc42 as key regulator of B cell physiology.


Fibrillin-1 (FBN1) deficiency-induced systemic sclerosis is attributed to elevation of interleukin-4 (IL4) and TGF-β, but the mechanism underlying FBN1 deficiency–associated osteopenia is not fully understood. We show that bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) from FBN1-deficient (Fbn1+/–) mice exhibit decreased osteogenic differentiation and increased adipogenic differentiation. Mechanistically, this lineage alteration is regulated by IL4/IL4Rα-mediated activation of mTOR signaling to down-regulate RUNX2 and up-regulate PPAR2, respectively, via P70 ribosomal S6 protein kinase (P70S6K). Additionally, we reveal that activation of TGF-β/SMAD3/SP1 signaling results in enhancement of SP1 binding to the IL4Rα promoter to synergistically activate mTOR pathway in Fbn1+/– BMMSCs. Blockage of mTOR signaling by osteoblastic-specific knockout or rapamycin treatment rescues osteopenia phenotype in Fbn1+/– mice by improving osteogenic differentiation of BMMSCs. Collectively, this study identifies a previously unrecognized role of the FBN1/TGF-β/IL4Rα/mTOR cascade in BMMSC lineage selection and provides experimental evidence that rapamycin treatment may provide an anabolic therapy for osteopenia in Fbn1+/– mice.


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are generated via a natural transdifferentiation process known as endothelial to hematopoietic cell transition (EHT). Because of small numbers of embryonal arterial cells undergoing EHT and the paucity of markers to enrich for hemogenic endothelial cells (ECs [HECs]), the genetic program driving HSC emergence is largely unknown. Here, we use a highly sensitive RNAseq method to examine the whole transcriptome of small numbers of enriched aortic HSCs, HECs, and ECs. Gpr56, a G-coupled protein receptor, is one of the most highly up-regulated of the 530 differentially expressed genes. Also, highly up-regulated are hematopoietic transcription factors, including the "heptad" complex of factors. We show that Gpr56 (mouse and human) is a target of the heptad complex and is required for hematopoietic cluster formation during EHT. Our results identify the processes and regulators involved in EHT and reveal the surprising requirement for Gpr56 in generating the first HSCs.


Gene regulation relies on dynamic changes in three-dimensional chromatin conformation, which are shaped by composite regulatory and architectural elements. However, mechanisms that govern such conformational switches within chromosomal domains remain unknown. We identify a novel mechanism by which cis-elements promote long-range interactions, inducing conformational changes critical for diversification of the TCRβ antigen receptor locus (Tcrb). Association between distal Vβ gene segments and the highly expressed DβJβ clusters, termed the recombination center (RC), is independent of enhancer function and recruitment of V(D)J recombinase. Instead, we find that tissue-specific folding of Tcrb relies on two distinct architectural elements located upstream of the RC. The first, a CTCF-containing element, directly tethers distal portions of the Vβ array to the RC. The second element is a chromatin barrier that protects the tether from hyperactive RC chromatin. When the second element is removed, active RC chromatin spreads upstream, forcing the tether to serve as a new barrier. Acquisition of barrier function by the CTCF element disrupts contacts between distal Vβ gene segments and significantly alters Tcrb repertoires. Our findings reveal a separation of function for RC-flanking regions, in which anchors for long-range recombination must be cordoned off from hyperactive RC landscapes by chromatin barriers.


Vol. 211, No. 13, December 15, 2014. Pages 2487–2496.

The authors regret that Hong Jiang was omitted from the author’s list in the original version of this paper. This has been corrected in the html and...


Vol. 182, No. 2, August 1, 1995. Pages 409–418.

The editors regret that in the original version of this article, the second paragraph on page 413 is the incorrect text. The corrected second paragraph appears below:

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