Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, BIOE-PHD (2021)
Master of Science, Stanford University, BIOE-MS (2017)
Tony Wyss-Coray, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
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Though SARS-CoV-2 primarily targets the respiratory system, patients and survivors can suffer neurological symptoms1-3. Yet, an unbiased understanding of the cellular and molecular processes affected in the brains of COVID-19 patients is still missing. Here, we profile 65,309 single-nucleus transcriptomes from 30 frontal cortex and choroid plexus samples across 14 control (including 1 terminal influenza) and 8 COVID-19 patients. While a systematic analysis yields no molecular traces of SARS-CoV-2 in the brain, we observe broad cellular perturbations which predict that choroid plexus barrier cells sense and relay peripheral inflammation into the brain and show that peripheral T cells infiltrate the parenchyma. We discover COVID-19 disease-associated microglia and astrocyte subpopulations that share features with pathological cell states reported in human neurodegenerative disease4-6. Synaptic signaling of upper-layer excitatory neurons-evolutionarily expanded in humans7 and linked to cognitive function8-are preferentially affected in COVID-19. Across cell types, COVID-19 perturbations overlap with those in chronic brain disorders and reside in genetic variants associated with cognition, schizophrenia, and depression. Our findings and public dataset provide a molecular framework to understand COVID-19 related neurological disease observed now and which may emerge later.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-021-03710-0
View details for PubMedID 34153974
The vascular interfaceof the brain, known as the blood-brain barrier (BBB), is understood to maintain brain function in part via its low transcellular permeability1-3. Yet, recent studies have demonstrated that brain ageing is sensitive to circulatory proteins4,5. Thus, it is unclear whether permeability to individually injected exogenous tracers-as isstandard in BBB studies-fully represents blood-to-brain transport. Here we label hundreds of proteins constituting the mouse blood plasma proteome, and upon their systemic administration, study the BBB with its physiological ligand. We find that plasma proteins readily permeate the healthy brain parenchyma, with transport maintained by BBB-specific transcriptional programmes. Unlike IgG antibody, plasma protein uptake diminishes in the aged brain, driven by an age-related shift in transport from ligand-specific receptor-mediated to non-specific caveolar transcytosis. This age-related shift occurs alongside a specific loss of pericyte coverage. Pharmacological inhibition of the age-upregulated phosphatase ALPL, a predicted negative regulator of transport, enhances brain uptake of therapeutically relevant transferrin, transferrin receptor antibody and plasma. These findings reveal the extent of physiological protein transcytosis to the healthy brain, a mechanism of widespread BBB dysfunction with age and a strategy for enhanced drug delivery.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-020-2453-z
View details for PubMedID 32612231
Brain endothelial cells (BECs) are key constituents of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), protecting the brain from pathogens and restricting access of circulatory factors. Yet, because circulatory proteins have prominent age-related effects on adult neurogenesis, neuroinflammation, and cognitive function in mice, we wondered whether BECs receive and potentially relay signals between the blood and brain. Using single-cell RNA sequencing of hippocampal BECs, we discover that capillary BECs-compared with arterial and venous BECs-undergo the greatest transcriptional changes in normal aging, upregulating innate immunity and oxidative stress response pathways. Short-term infusions of aged plasma into young mice recapitulate key aspects of this aging transcriptome, and remarkably, infusions of young plasma into aged mice exert rejuvenation effects on the capillary transcriptome. Together, these findings suggest that the transcriptional age of BECs is exquisitely sensitive to age-related circulatory cues and pinpoint the BBB itself as a promising therapeutic target to treat brain disease.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.03.012
View details for PubMedID 32234477
Bioorthogonal tools enable cell-type-specific proteomics, a prerequisite to understanding biological processes in multicellular organisms. Here we report two engineered aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases for mammalian bioorthogonal labeling: a tyrosyl ( ScTyrY43G) and a phenylalanyl ( MmPheT413G) tRNA synthetase that incorporate azide-bearing noncanonical amino acids specifically into the nascent proteomes of host cells. Azide-labeled proteins are chemoselectively tagged via azide-alkyne cycloadditions with fluorophores for imaging or affinity resins for mass spectrometric characterization. Both mutant synthetases label human, hamster, and mouse cell line proteins and selectively activate their azido-bearing amino acids over 10-fold above the canonical. ScTyrY43G and MmPheT413G label overlapping but distinct proteomes in human cell lines, with broader proteome coverage upon their coexpression. In mice, ScTyrY43G and MmPheT413G label the melanoma tumor proteome and plasma secretome. This work furnishes new tools for mammalian residue-specific bioorthogonal chemistry, and enables more robust and comprehensive cell-type-specific proteomics in live mammals.
View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.8b03074
View details for Web of Science ID 000435525500001
View details for PubMedID 29775058
Secreted polypeptides are a fundamental axis of intercellular and endocrine communication. However, a global understanding of the composition and dynamics of cellular secretomes in intact mammalian organisms has been lacking. Here, we introduce a proximity biotinylation strategy that enables labeling, detection and enrichment of secreted polypeptides in a cell type-selective manner in mice. We generate a proteomic atlas of hepatocyte, myocyte, pericyte and myeloid cell secretomes by direct purification of biotinylated secreted proteins from blood plasma. Our secretome dataset validates known cell type-protein pairs, reveals secreted polypeptides that distinguish between cell types and identifies new cellular sources for classical plasma proteins. Lastly, we uncover a dynamic and previously undescribed nutrient-dependent reprogramming of the hepatocyte secretome characterized by the increased unconventional secretion of the cytosolic enzyme betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT). This secretome profiling strategy enables dynamic and cell type-specific dissection of the plasma proteome and the secreted polypeptides that mediate intercellular signaling.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41589-020-00698-y
View details for PubMedID 33199915
Alzheimer's disease is an incurable neurodegenerative disorder in which neuroinflammation has a critical function1. However, little is known about the contribution of the adaptive immune response in Alzheimer's disease2. Here, using integrated analyses of multiple cohorts, we identify peripheral and central adaptive immune changes in Alzheimer's disease. First, we performed mass cytometry of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and discovered an immune signature of Alzheimer's disease that consists of increased numbers of CD8+ T effector memory CD45RA+ (TEMRA) cells. In a second cohort, we found that CD8+ TEMRA cells were negatively associated with cognition. Furthermore, single-cell RNA sequencing revealed that T cell receptor (TCR) signalling was enhanced in these cells. Notably, by using several strategies of single-cell TCR sequencing in a third cohort, we discovered clonally expanded CD8+ TEMRA cells in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Finally, we used machine learning, cloning and peptide screens to demonstrate the specificity of clonally expanded TCRs in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer's disease to two separate Epstein-Barr virus antigens. These results reveal an adaptive immune response in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid in Alzheimer's disease and provide evidence of clonal, antigen-experienced T cells patrolling the intrathecal space of brains affected by age-related neurodegeneration.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-019-1895-7
View details for PubMedID 31915375
Ageing is characterized by a progressive loss of physiological integrity, leading to impaired function and increased vulnerability to death1. Despite rapid advances over recent years, many of the molecular and cellular processes that underlie the progressive loss of healthy physiology are poorly understood2. To gain a better insight into these processes, here we generate a single-cell transcriptomic atlas across the lifespan of Mus musculus that includes data from 23 tissues and organs. We found cell-specific changes occurring across multiple cell types and organs, as well as age-related changes in the cellular composition of different organs. Using single-cell transcriptomic data, we assessed cell-type-specific manifestations of different hallmarks of ageing-such as senescence3, genomic instability4 and changes in the immune system2. This transcriptomic atlas-which we denote Tabula Muris Senis, or 'Mouse Ageing Cell Atlas'-provides molecular information about how the most important hallmarks of ageing are reflected in a broad range of tissues and cell types.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-020-2496-1
View details for PubMedID 32669714
Ageing is the single greatest cause of disease and death worldwide, and understanding the associated processes could vastly improve quality of life. Although major categories of ageing damage have been identified-such as altered intercellular communication, loss of proteostasis and eroded mitochondrial function1-these deleterious processes interact with extraordinary complexity within and between organs, and a comprehensive, whole-organism analysis of ageing dynamics has been lacking. Here we performed bulk RNA sequencing of 17 organs and plasma proteomics at 10 ages across the lifespan of Mus musculus, and integrated these findings with data from the accompanying Tabula Muris Senis2-or 'Mouse Ageing Cell Atlas'-which follows on from the original Tabula Muris3. We reveal linear and nonlinear shifts in gene expression during ageing, with the associated genes clustered in consistent trajectory groups with coherent biological functions-including extracellular matrix regulation, unfolded protein binding, mitochondrial function, and inflammatory and immune response. Notably, these gene sets show similar expression across tissues, differing only in the amplitude and the age of onset of expression. Widespread activation of immune cells is especially pronounced, and is first detectable in white adipose depots during middle age. Single-cell RNA sequencing confirms the accumulation of T cells and B cells in adipose tissue-including plasma cells that express immunoglobulin J-which also accrue concurrently across diverse organs. Finally, we show how gene expression shifts in distinct tissues are highly correlated with corresponding protein levels in plasma, thus potentially contributing to the ageing of the systemic circulation. Together, these data demonstrate a similar yet asynchronous inter- and intra-organ progression of ageing, providing a foundation from which to track systemic sources of declining health at old age.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-020-2499-y
View details for PubMedID 32669715
View details for DOI 10.1101/2020.10.22.349415
Microglia maintain homeostasis in the central nervous system through phagocytic clearance of protein aggregates and cellular debris. This function deteriorates during ageing and neurodegenerative disease, concomitant with cognitive decline. However, the mechanisms of impaired microglial homeostatic function and the cognitive effects of restoring this function remain unknown. We combined CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screens with RNAsequencing analysis to discover age-related genetic modifiers of microglial phagocytosis. These screens identified CD22, a canonical Bcell receptor, as a negative regulator of phagocytosis that is upregulated on aged microglia. CD22 mediates the anti-phagocytic effect of alpha2,6-linked sialic acid, and inhibition of CD22 promotes the clearance of myelin debris, amyloid-beta oligomers and alpha-synuclein fibrils in vivo. Long-term central nervous system delivery of an antibody that blocks CD22 function reprograms microglia towards a homeostatic transcriptional state and improves cognitive function in aged mice. These findings elucidate a mechanism of age-related microglial impairment and a strategy to restore homeostasis in the ageing brain.
View details for PubMedID 30944478
An aged circulatory environment can activate microglia, reduce neural precursor cell activity and impair cognition in mice. We hypothesized that brain endothelial cells (BECs) mediate at least some of these effects. We observe that BECs in the aged mouse hippocampus express an inflammatory transcriptional profile with focal upregulation of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM1), a protein that facilitates vascular-immune cell interactions. Concomitantly, levels of the shed, soluble form of VCAM1 are prominently increased in the plasma of aged humans and mice, and their plasma is sufficient to increase VCAM1 expression in cultured BECs and the hippocampi of young mice. Systemic administration of anti-VCAM1 antibody or genetic ablation of Vcam1 in BECs counteracts the detrimental effects of plasma from aged individuals on young brains and reverses aging aspects, including microglial reactivity and cognitive deficits, in the brains of aged mice. Together, these findings establish brain endothelial VCAM1 at the blood-brain barrier as a possible target to treat age-related neurodegeneration.
View details for PubMedID 31086348
The rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant infections is prompting increased interest in phage-based antimicrobials. However, acquisition of resistance by bacteria is a major issue in the successful development of phage therapies. Through natural evolution and structural modeling, we identified host-range-determining regions (HRDRs) in the T3 phage tail fiber protein and developed a high-throughput strategy to genetically engineer these regions through site-directed mutagenesis. Inspired by antibody specificity engineering, this approach generates deep functional diversity while minimizing disruptions to the overall tail fiber structure, resulting in synthetic "phagebodies." We showed that mutating HRDRs yields phagebodies with altered host-ranges, and select phagebodies enable long-term suppression of bacterial growth in vitro, by preventing resistance appearance, and are functional in vivo using a murine model. We anticipate that this approach may facilitate the creation of next-generation antimicrobials that slow resistance development and could be extended to other viral scaffolds for a broad range of applications.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2019.09.015
View details for PubMedID 31585083