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An engineered S1P chaperone attenuates hypertension and ischemic injury


Endothelial dysfunction, a hallmark of vascular disease, is restored by plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL). However, a generalized increase in HDL abundance is not beneficial, suggesting that specific HDL species mediate protective effects. Apolipoprotein M–containing HDL (ApoM+HDL), which carries the bioactive lipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), promotes endothelial function by activating G protein–coupled S1P receptors. Moreover, HDL-bound S1P is limiting in several inflammatory, metabolic, and vascular diseases. We report the development of a soluble carrier for S1P, ApoM-Fc, which activated S1P receptors in a sustained manner and promoted endothelial function. In contrast, ApoM-Fc did not modulate circulating lymphocyte numbers, suggesting that it specifically activated endothelial S1P receptors. ApoM-Fc administration reduced blood pressure in hypertensive mice, attenuated myocardial damage after ischemia/reperfusion injury, and reduced brain infarct volume in the middle cerebral artery occlusion model of stroke. Our proof-of-concept study suggests that selective and sustained targeting of endothelial S1P receptors by ApoM-Fc could be a viable therapeutic strategy in vascular diseases.

Interleukin-36 cytokines may overcome microbial immune evasion strategies that inhibit interleukin-1 family signaling


Pathogens deploy immune evasion strategies to successfully establish infections within their hosts. Naturally, the host responds by acquiring mechanisms to counter these strategies. There is increasing evidence that the three interleukin-36 (IL-36) cytokines, IL-36α, IL-36β and IL-36, play important roles in host immunity. With a focus on the skin as a target for microbial and viral invasion, the current knowledge of IL-36 functions is reviewed. Furthermore, the hypothesis that the IL-36s have evolved to counteract virulence factors is presented using viruses as an example. The IL-36s are related to IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-18, and IL-33. Numerous viruses affecting the skin have developed immune evasion strategies that neutralize IL-1α, IL-1β, or IL-18 signaling or combinations of these pathways. Through small differences in activation mechanisms and receptor utilization, it is possible that IL-36 signaling may proceed unhindered in the presence of these viral inhibitors. Thus, one physiological function of the IL-36s may be to counteract microbial immune evasion.

New connections: From understanding to targeting S1P1 on endothelial cells


Understanding how the S1P receptor S1P1 is specifically activated in endothelial cells may lead to drugs with fewer side effects.

Papers of note in Science Translational Medicine 9 (402)


This week’s articles describe a way to prevent a major side effect of chemotherapy, paths of endocrine therapy resistance in breast cancer, and a new treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Papers of note in Nature 548 (7666)


This week’s articles describe the consequences of preserving pluripotency in cultured stem cells, how glutamate metabolism in T cells contributes to autoimmune disease, and how inactivating BRAF mutations promote tumor growth.

Papers of note in Science 357 (6351)


This week’s articles describe a second messenger that coordinates CRISPR-Cas immunity in bacteria and show how metabolism mediates protective crosstalk between the gut and resident microbes.

Loss of SPDEF and gain of TGFBI activity after androgen deprivation therapy promote EMT and bone metastasis of prostate cancer


Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) targeting the androgen receptor (AR) is a standard therapeutic regimen for treating prostate cancer. However, most tumors progress to metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer after ADT. We identified the type 1, 2, and 4 collagen–binding protein transforming growth factor–β (TGFβ)–induced protein (TGFBI) as an important factor in the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and malignant progression of prostate cancer. In prostate cancer cell lines, AR signaling stimulated the activity of the transcription factor SPDEF, which repressed the expression of TGFBI. ADT, AR antagonism, or overexpression of TGFBI inhibited the activity of SPDEF and enhanced the proliferation rates of prostate cancer cells. Knockdown of TGFBI suppressed migration and proliferation in cultured cells and reduced prostate tumor growth and brain and bone metastasis in xenograft models, extending the survival of tumor-bearing mice. Analysis of prostate tissue samples collected before and after ADT from the same patients showed that ADT reduced the nuclear abundance of SPDEF and increased the production of TGFBI. Our findings suggest that induction of TGFBI promotes prostate cancer growth and metastasis and can be caused by dysregulation or therapeutic inhibition of AR signaling.