Cross-talk between sterol regulatory pathways and inflammatory pathways has been demonstrated to significantly impact the development of both atherosclerosis and infectious disease. The oxysterol 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) plays multiple roles in lipid biosynthesis and immunity. We recently used a systems biology approach to identify 25HC as an innate immune mediator that had a predicted role in atherosclerosis and we demonstrated a role for 25HC in foam cell formation. Here, we show that this mediator also has several complex roles in the antiviral response. The host response to viruses involves gene regulatory circuits with multiple feedback loops and we show here that 25HC acts as an amplifier of inflammatory signaling in macrophages. We determined that 25HC amplifies inflammatory signaling, at least in part, by mediating the recruitment of the AP-1 components FBJ osteosarcoma oncogene (FOS) and jun proto-oncogene (JUN) to the promoters of a subset of Toll-like receptor-responsive genes. Consistent with previous reports, we found that 25HC inhibits in vitro infection of airway epithelial cells by influenza. Surprisingly, we found that deletion of Ch25h, the gene encoding the enzyme responsible for 25HC production, is protective in a mouse model of influenza infection as a result of decreased inflammatory-induced pathology. Thus, our study demonstrates, for the first time to our knowledge, that in addition to its direct antiviral role, 25HC also regulates transcriptional responses and acts as an amplifier of inflammation via AP-1 and that the resulting alteration in inflammatory response leads to increased tissue damage in mice following infection with influenza.
By December 2013, it was estimated that close to 6 million men had been circumcised in the 14 priority countries for scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), the majority being adolescents (10-19 years). This article discusses why efforts to scale up VMMC should prioritize adolescent men, drawing from new evidence and experiences at the international, country, and service delivery levels. Furthermore, we review the extent to which VMMC programs have reached adolescents, addressed their specific needs, and can be linked to their sexual and reproductive health and other key services.
Given the proven effectiveness of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in preventing the spread of HIV, Tanzania is scaling up VMMC as an HIV prevention strategy. This study will inform policymakers about the potential costs and benefits of scaling up VMMC services in Tanzania.
Inflammation and fibrosis are intertwined in multiple disease processes. We have previously found that over-expression of urokinase plasminogen activator in macrophages induces spontaneous macrophage accumulation and fibrosis specific to the heart in mice. Understanding the relationship between inflammation and fibrosis in the heart is critical to developing therapies for diverse myocardial diseases. Therefore, we sought to determine if uPA induces changes in macrophage function that promote cardiac collagen accumulation.
Precise control of the innate immune response is essential to ensure host defense against infection while avoiding inflammatory disease. Systems-level analyses of Toll-like receptor (TLR)-stimulated macrophages suggested that SHANK-associated RH domain-interacting protein (SHARPIN) might play a role in the TLR pathway. This hypothesis was supported by the observation that macrophages derived from chronic proliferative dermatitis mutation (cpdm) mice, which harbor a spontaneous null mutation in the Sharpin gene, exhibited impaired IL-12 production in response to TLR activation. Systems biology approaches were used to define the SHARPIN-regulated networks. Promoter analysis identified NF-?B and AP-1 as candidate transcription factors downstream of SHARPIN, and network analysis suggested selective attenuation of these pathways. We found that the effects of SHARPIN deficiency on the TLR2-induced transcriptome were strikingly correlated with the effects of the recently described hypomorphic L153P/panr2 point mutation in Ikbkg [NF-?B Essential Modulator (NEMO)], suggesting that SHARPIN and NEMO interact. We confirmed this interaction by co-immunoprecipitation analysis and furthermore found it to be abrogated by panr2. NEMO-dependent signaling was affected by SHARPIN deficiency in a manner similar to the panr2 mutation, including impaired p105 and ERK phosphorylation and p65 nuclear localization. Interestingly, SHARPIN deficiency had no effect on I?B? degradation and on p38 and JNK phosphorylation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that SHARPIN is an essential adaptor downstream of the branch point defined by the panr2 mutation in NEMO.
Data from clinical studies, cell culture, and animal models implicate the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA)/uPA receptor (uPAR)/plasminogen system in the development of atherosclerosis and aneurysms. However, the mechanisms through which uPA/uPAR/plasminogen stimulate these diseases are not yet defined. We used genetically modified, atherosclerosis-prone mice, including mice with macrophage-specific uPA overexpression and mice genetically deficient in uPAR to elucidate mechanisms of uPA/uPAR/plasminogen-accelerated atherosclerosis and aneurysm formation. We found that macrophage-specific uPA overexpression accelerates atherosclerosis and causes aortic root dilation in fat-fed Ldlr(-/-) mice (as we previously reported in Apoe(-/-) mice). Macrophage-expressed uPA accelerates atherosclerosis by stimulation of lesion progression rather than initiation and causes disproportionate lipid accumulation in early lesions. uPA-accelerated atherosclerosis and aortic dilation are largely, if not completely, independent of uPAR. In the absence of uPA overexpression, however, uPAR contributes modestly to both atherosclerosis and aortic dilation. Microarray studies identified S100A8 and S100A9 mRNA as the most highly up-regulated transcripts in uPA-overexpressing macrophages; up-regulation of S100A9 protein in uPA-overexpressing macrophages was confirmed by Western blotting. S100A8/A9, which are atherogenic in mice and are expressed in human atherosclerotic plaques, are also up-regulated in the aortae of mice with uPA-overexpressing macrophages, and macrophage S100A9 mRNA is up-regulated by exposure of wild-type macrophages to medium from uPA-overexpressing macrophages. Macrophage microarray data suggest significant effects of uPA overexpression on cell migration and cell-matrix interactions. Our results confirm in a second animal model that macrophage-expressed uPA stimulates atherosclerosis and aortic dilation. They also reveal uPAR independence of these actions and implicate specific pathways in uPA/Plg-accelerated atherosclerosis and aneurysmal disease.
Histone acetylation (HAc) is associated with open chromatin, and HAc has been shown to facilitate transcription factor (TF) binding in mammalian cells. In the innate immune system context, epigenetic studies strongly implicate HAc in the transcriptional response of activated macrophages. We hypothesized that using data from large-scale sequencing of a HAc chromatin immunoprecipitation assay (ChIP-Seq) would improve the performance of computational prediction of binding locations of TFs mediating the response to a signaling event, namely, macrophage activation.
Atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the vascular system, presents significant challenges to developing effective molecular diagnostics and novel therapies. A systems biology approach integrating data from large-scale measurements (e.g. transcriptomics, proteomics and genomics) is successfully contributing to deciphering regulatory networks underlying the response of many different cellular systems to perturbations. Such a network analysis strategy using pathway information and data from multiple measurement platforms, tissues and species is a promising approach to elucidate the mechanistic underpinnings of complex diseases. Here, we present our views on the contributions that a systems approach can bring to the study of atherosclerosis, propose ways to tackle the complexity of the disease in a systems manner and review recent systems-level studies of the disease.
The Cell Ontology (CL) aims for the representation of in vivo and in vitro cell types from all of biology. The CL is a candidate reference ontology of the OBO Foundry and requires extensive revision to bring it up to current standards for biomedical ontologies, both in its structure and its coverage of various subfields of biology. We have now addressed the specific content of one area of the CL, the section of the ontology dealing with hematopoietic cells. This section has been extensively revised to improve its content and eliminate multiple inheritance in the asserted hierarchy, and the groundwork has been laid for structuring the hematopoietic cell type terms as cross-products incorporating logical definitions built from relationships to external ontologies, such as the Protein Ontology and the Gene Ontology. The methods and improvements to the CL in this area represent a paradigm for improvement of the entire ontology over time.
Fluorescence microscopy is the standard tool for detection and analysis of cellular phenomena. This technique, however, has a number of drawbacks such as the limited number of available fluorescent channels in microscopes, overlapping excitation and emission spectra of the stains, and phototoxicity.
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the accumulation of lipid-loaded macrophages in the arterial wall. We demonstrate that macrophage lipid body formation can be induced by modified lipoproteins or by inflammatory Toll-like receptor agonists. We used an unbiased approach to study the overlap in these pathways to identify regulators that control foam cell formation and atherogenesis. An analysis method integrating epigenomic and transcriptomic datasets with a transcription factor (TF) binding site prediction algorithm suggested that the TF ATF3 may regulate macrophage foam cell formation. Indeed, we found that deletion of this TF results in increased lipid body accumulation, and that ATF3 directly regulates transcription of the gene encoding cholesterol 25-hydroxylase. We further showed that production of 25-hydroxycholesterol (25-HC) promotes macrophage foam cell formation. Finally, deletion of ATF3 in Apoe(-/-) mice led to in vivo increases in foam cell formation, aortic 25-HC levels, and disease progression. These results define a previously unknown role for ATF3 in controlling macrophage lipid metabolism and demonstrate that ATF3 is a key intersection point for lipid metabolic and inflammatory pathways in these cells.
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