Emerging evidence has linked the gut microbiome to human obesity. We performed a metagenome-wide association study and serum metabolomics profiling in a cohort of lean and obese, young, Chinese individuals. We identified obesity-associated gut microbial species linked to changes in circulating metabolites. The abundance of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a glutamate-fermenting commensal, was markedly decreased in obese individuals and was inversely correlated with serum glutamate concentration. Consistently, gavage with B. thetaiotaomicron reduced plasma glutamate concentration and alleviated diet-induced body-weight gain and adiposity in mice. Furthermore, weight-loss intervention by bariatric surgery partially reversed obesity-associated microbial and metabolic alterations in obese individuals, including the decreased abundance of B. thetaiotaomicron and the elevated serum glutamate concentration. Our findings identify previously unknown links between intestinal microbiota alterations, circulating amino acids and obesity, suggesting that it may be possible to intervene in obesity by targeting the gut microbiota.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by SARS-CoV-2 and has spread across the globe. SARS-CoV-2 is a highly infectious virus with no vaccine or antiviral therapy available to control the pandemic; therefore, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms of viral pathogenesis and the host immune responses to SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 is a new member of the betacoronavirus genus like other closely related viruses including SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV have caused serious outbreaks and epidemics in the past eighteen years. Here, we report that one of the interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H), is induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro and in COVID-19-infected patients. CH25H converts cholesterol to 25-hydrocholesterol (25HC) and 25HC shows broad anti-coronavirus activity by blocking membrane fusion. Furthermore, 25HC inhibits USA-WA1/2020 SARS-CoV-2 infection in lung epithelial cells and viral entry in human lung organoids. Mechanistically, 25HC inhibits viral membrane fusion by activating the ER-localized acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) which leads to the depletion of accessible cholesterol from the plasma membrane. Altogether, our results shed light on a potentially broad antiviral mechanism by 25HC through depleting accessible cholesterol on the plasma membrane to suppress virus-cell fusion. Since 25HC is a natural product with no known toxicity at effective concentrations, it provides a potential therapeutic candidate for COVID-19 and emerging viral diseases in the future.
The stem-cell leukemia (SCL, also known as TAL1) gene encodes a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that is essential for the initiation of primitive and definitive hematopoiesis, erythrocyte and megakarocyte differentiation, angiogenesis, and astrocyte development. Here we report that the zebrafish produces, through an alternative promoter site, a novel truncated scl (tal1) isoform, scl-β, which manifests a temporal and spatial expression distinct from the previously described full-length scl-α. Functional analysis reveals that while scl-α and -β are redundant for the initiation of primitive hematopoiesis, these two isoforms exert distinct functions in the regulation of primitive erythroid differentiation and definitive hematopoietic stem cell specification. We further demonstrate that differences in the protein expression levels of scl-α and -β, by regulating their protein stability, are likely to give rise to their distinct functions. Our findings suggest that hematopoietic cells at different levels of hierarchy are likely governed by a gradient of the Scl protein established through temporal and spatial patterns of expression of the different isoforms.
Purpose: To characterize the functional role of SIRT6 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).Experimental Design: The expression of SIRT6 in 60 paired paraffin-embedded HCC tissues and adjacent nontumoral liver tissues was examined by immunohistochemistry. The expression of SIRT6 in 101 paired frozen HCC tissues and adjacent nontumoral liver tissues was analyzed by Western blotting analysis and qPCR. The biologic consequences of overexpression and knockdown of SIRT6 in HCC cell lines were studied in vitro and in vivo.Results: SIRT6 expression was frequently upregulated in clinical HCC samples, and its expression was highly associated with tumor grade (P ¼ 0.02), tumor size (P ¼ 0.02), vascular invasion (P ¼ 0.004), and shorter survival (P ¼ 0.024). Depletion of SIRT6 from multiple liver cancer cell lines inhibited their growth and induced apoptosis in vitro. At the molecular level, we observed that the activation of the BCL2-associated X protein (Bax) signaling pathway, a major pathway that determines cancer cell apoptosis, is regulated by SIRT6 via its deacetylase activity. SIRT6 was recruited to the promoter of Bax, where it deacetylated histone 3 lysine 9 and suppressed its promoter activity. Binding of transcription factors (p53 and E2F-1) to Bax promoter was also generally increased in SIRT6-depleted cells. In mouse xenografts, SIRT6 suppression inhibited tumor growth and induced apoptosis. Finally, there is a negative correlation between SIRT6 and Bax mRNA expressions in human HCC samples.Conclusions: SIRT6 is an important protumorigenic factor in liver carcinogenesis. Thus, the therapeutic targeting of SIRT6 may offer options for HCC treatment.
Adefovir dipivoxil treatment has significantly improved the outcome of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. However, it remains largely unknown how immune system responds to the treatment. Chronic HBV patients were treated with adefovir dipivoxil and examined for serum HBV DNA loads, cytokines, and T helper (Th1) and 2 (Th2) cytokine producing T cells during 104 weeks of the treatment. Th1/Th2 cytokines producing T cells were significantly lower in chronic HBV patients as compared to normal individuals. Adefovir dipivoxil treatment led to the increase of Th1/Th2 cytokines producing T cells and serum cytokine levels in association with the decline of HVB DNA load. In contrast, Th1/Th2 cytokines producing T cells remained lower in one patient detected with adefovir dipivoxil resistant HBV A181T/V mutation. This study has established inverse correlation of the increase of Th1/Th2 immunity and the decline of HBV DNA load in chronic HBV patients during adefovir dipivoxil treatment.
BackgroundThe interleukin-28B gene (IL28B) locus has been associated with host resistance to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and response to PEG-IFN/RBV treatment in western populations. This study was to determine whether this gene variant is also associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV infection, treatment response and IL-28B protein production in Chinese patients.MethodsWe genotyped IL28B genetic variations (rs12980275, rs8103142, rs8099917 and rs12979860) by pyrosequencing DNA samples from cohorts consisting of 529 subjects with persistent HCV infection, 196 subjects who cleared the infection, 171 healthy individuals and 235 chronic HCV patients underwent IFN/RBV treatment. The expression of IL-28B were measured by ELISA and RT-PCR.ResultsWe found that the four IL28B variants were in complete linkage disequilibrium (r2 = 0.97–0.98). The rs12979860 CC genotype was strongly associated with spontaneously HCV clearance and successful IFN/RBV treatment compared to the CT/TT. IL-28B levels in persistent HCV patients were significantly lower than subjects who spontaneously resolved HCV and healthy controls and were also associated with high levels of ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase). IL-28B levels were also significantly lower in individuals carrying T alleles than CC homozygous.ConclusionsThus, the rs12979860-CC variant upstream of IL28B gene is associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV, susceptible to IFN/RBV treatment and increased IL-28B levels in this Chinese population.
f Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major risk factor for liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism of HBV replication remains elusive. SIRT1 is a class III histone deacetylase that is a structure component of the HBV cccDNA minichromosome. In this study, we found by using microarray-based gene expression profiling analysis that SIRT1 was upregulated in HBV-expressing cells. Gene silencing of SIRT1 significantly inhibited HBV DNA replicative intermediates, 3.5-kb mRNA, and core protein levels. In contrast, the overexpression of SIRT1 augmented HBV replication. Furthermore, SIRT1 enhanced the activity of HBV core promoter by targeting transcription factor AP-1. The c-Jun subunit of AP-1 was bound to the HBV core promoter region, as demonstrated by using a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Mutation of AP-1 binding site or knockdown of AP-1 abolished the effect of SIRT1 on HBV replication. Finally, SIRT1 inhibitor sirtinol also suppressed the HBV DNA replicative intermediate, as well as 3.5-kb mRNA. Our study identified a novel host factor, SIRT1, which may facilitate HBV replication in hepatocytes. These data suggest a rationale for the use of SIRT1 inhibitor in the treatment of HBV infection. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a major health problem worldwide despite the availability of an effective prevention vaccine. HBV is a hepatotropic, noncytopathic, 3.2-kb partially double-stranded DNA virus (1). Upon viral entry into a hepatocyte, the capsid dissociates, and the genomic relaxed circular DNA (rcDNA) is converted into a covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) molecule. The cccDNA is found as a viral minichromosome and acts as the major transcriptional template for the virus. Four major RNA species (3.5-, 2.4-, 2.1-, and 0.7-kb viral RNA transcripts) produced from this viral minichromosome are then transported to and translated in the cytoplasm to produce the viral proteins, namely, viral surface proteins, core protein, viral polymerase, and X protein (2).The control of HBV replication is one of the major strategies to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with chronic HBV infection. Thus far, no treatment can completely eliminate the infection in all patients with chronic hepatitis B. The chemotherapeutic treatments (i.e., lamivudine, adefovir, entecavir, and telbivudine) inhibit the HBV replication by targeting the viral DNA polymerase. However, long-term treatment leads to the development of problematic drug-resistant virus. Alpha interferon is also useful for treating HBV infection but has substantial side effects. Therefore, identification and characterization of the viral and host factors responsible for HBV infection will provide valuable information for the development of anti-HBV therapeutics.The sirtuin family (SIRT1 to SIRT7) are mammalian homologues of the yeast silent information regulator 2 (Sir2), which are class III histone deacetylases (HDACs) that utilize NAD ϩ as a cofactor for their functions (3). SIRT1, the most wid...
BackgroundT follicular helper (TFH) cells are a special subpopulation of T helper cells and can regulate humoral immune responses. This study examined whether the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells could be associated with active immunity in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients.Methodology and FindingsThe frequencies of peripheral blood CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells, inducible T cell costimulator (ICOS), and/or programmed death 1 (PD-1) positive CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in immune-active (IA), immune-tolerant (IT) CHB, and healthy controls (HC) were characterized by flow cytometry analysis. The effect of adevofir dipivoxil treatment on the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells, the concentrations of serum IL-2, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-21, ALT, AST, HBsAg, HBsAb, HBeAg, HBeAb and HBV loads in IA patients were determined. The potential association of the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells with clinical measures was analyzed. In addition, the frequency of splenic and liver CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in HBV-transgenic mice was examined. We found that the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in IA patients was significantly higher than that of IT patients and HC, and the percentages of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH in IA patients were positively correlated with AST. Furthermore, the percentages of ICOS+, PD-1+, and ICOS+PD-1+ in CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in CHB patients were significantly higher than that of HC. Treatment with adefovir dipivoxil reduced the frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH, PD-1+CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells and the concentrations of HBsAg and HBeAg, but increased the concentrations of HBsAb, HBeAb, IL-2 and IFN-γ in IA patients. Moreover, the frequency of splenic and liver CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells in HBV-transgenic mice was higher than that of wild-type controls.ConclusionsThese data indicate that CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells may participate in the HBV-related immune responses and that high frequency of CD4+CXCR5+ TFH cells may be a biomarker for the evaluation of active immune stage of CHB patients.
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