Cytokines activate signaling via assembly of cell surface receptors, but it is unclear whether modulation of cytokine-receptor binding parameters can modify biological outcomes. We have engineered IL-6 variants with different affinities to gp130 to investigate how cytokine receptor binding dwell-times influence functional selectivity. Engineered IL-6 variants showed a range of signaling amplitudes and induced biased signaling, with changes in receptor binding dwell-times affecting more profoundly STAT1 than STAT3 phosphorylation. We show that this differential signaling arises from defective translocation of ligand-gp130 complexes to the endosomal compartment and competitive STAT1/STAT3 binding to phospho-tyrosines in gp130, and results in unique patterns of STAT3 binding to chromatin. This leads to a graded gene expression response and differences in ex vivo differentiation of Th17, Th1 and Treg cells. These results provide a molecular understanding of signaling biased by cytokine receptors, and demonstrate that manipulation of signaling thresholds is a useful strategy to decouple cytokine functional pleiotropy.
Sequencing data have been deposited in GEO under accession number code: GSE130810
Kinetics of cytokine receptor trafficking determine signaling and functional selectivityNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE130810.
- Ignacio Moraga Gonzalez
- Jonathan Martinez-Fabregas
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Philippe IH Bastiaens, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Germany
© 2019, Martinez-Fabregas et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Age-associated DNA methylation in blood cells convey information on health status. However, the mechanisms that drive these changes in circulating cells and their relationships to gene regulation are unknown. We identified age-associated DNA methylation sites in six purified blood-borne immune cell types (naive B, naive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, granulocytes, monocytes, and NK cells) collected from healthy individuals interspersed over a wide age range. Of the thousands of age-associated sites, only 350 sites were differentially methylated in the same direction in all cell types and validated in an independent longitudinal cohort. Genes close to age-associated hypomethylated sites were enriched for collagen biosynthesis and complement cascade pathways, while genes close to hypermethylated sites mapped to neuronal pathways. In silico analyses showed that in most cell types, the age-associated hypo- and hypermethylated sites were enriched for ARNT (HIF1β) and REST transcription factor (TF) motifs, respectively, which are both master regulators of hypoxia response. To conclude, despite spatial heterogeneity, there is a commonality in the putative regulatory role with respect to TF motifs and histone modifications at and around these sites. These features suggest that DNA methylation changes in healthy aging may be adaptive responses to fluctuations of oxygen availability.
Infection with Influenza A virus (IAV) causes the well-known symptoms of the flu, including fever, loss of appetite, and excessive sleepiness. These responses, mediated by the brain, will normally disappear once the virus is cleared from the system, but a severe respiratory virus infection may cause long-lasting neurological disturbances. These include encephalitis lethargica and narcolepsy. The mechanisms behind such long lasting changes are unknown. The hypothalamus is a central regulator of the homeostatic response during a viral challenge. To gain insight into the neuronal and non-neuronal molecular changes during an IAV infection, we intranasally infected mice with an H1N1 virus and extracted the brain at different time points. Using single-nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) of the hypothalamus, we identify transcriptional effects in all identified cell populations. The snRNA-seq data showed the most pronounced transcriptional response at 3 days past infection, with a strong downregulation of genes across all cell types. General immune processes were mainly impacted in microglia, the brain resident immune cells, where we found increased numbers of cells expressing pro-inflammatory gene networks. In addition, we found that most neuronal cell populations downregulated genes contributing to the energy homeostasis in mitochondria and protein translation in the cytosol, indicating potential reduced cellular and neuronal activity. This might be a preventive mechanism in neuronal cells to avoid intracellular viral replication and attack by phagocytosing cells. The change of microglia gene activity suggest that this is complemented by a shift in microglia activity to provide increased surveillance of their surroundings.