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Molecular Medicine 2013

Articles from this Volume

Zheng Liu, Ramalingam Bethunaickan, Ranjit Sahu, Max Brenner, Teresina Laragione, Percio S Gulko and Anne Davidson

Chemokines facilitate the recruitment of inflammatory cells into tissues, contributing to target organ injury in a wide range of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Targeting either single chemokines or chemokine receptors alters the progression of disease in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus with varying degrees of efficacy, but clinical trials in humans have been less successful. Given the redundancy of chemokine–chemokine receptor interactions, targeting of more than one chemokine may be required to inhibit active inflammatory disease. To test the effects of multiple chemokine blockade in inflammation, we generated an adenovirus expressing bovine herpesvirus 1 glycoprotein G (BHV1gG), a viral chemokine antagonist that binds to a wide spectrum of murine and human chemokines, fused to the fragment crystallizable (Fc) portion of murine immunoglobulin (IgG)2a. Administration of the adenovirus significantly inhibited thioglycollate-induced migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes into the peritoneal cavity of BALB/c mice and reduced both clinical severity and articular damage in K/BxN serum transferinduced arthritis. However, treatment with BHV1gG-Ig fusion protein did not prevent monocyte infiltration into the peritoneum in the thioglycollate model and did not prevent renal monocyte infiltration or nephritis in lupus-prone NZB/W mice. These observations suggest that the simultaneous inhibition of multiple chemokines by BHV1gG has the potential to interfere with acute inflammatory responses mediated by polymorphonuclear leukocytes, but is less effective in chronic inflammatory disease mediated by macrophages. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 3, 2013 8:40 AM CDT
Tonyia Eaves-Pyles, Jignesh Patel, Emma Arigi, Yingzi Cong, Anthony Cao, Nisha Garg, Monisha Dhiman, Richard B Pyles, Bernard Arulanandam, Aaron L Miller, Vsevolod L Popov, Lynn Soong, Eric D Carlsen,1 Ciro Coletta, Csaba Szabo, and Igor C. Almeida

Cystatin 9 (CST9) is a member of the type 2 cysteine protease inhibitor family, which has been shown to have immunomodulatory effects that restrain inflammation, but its functions against bacterial infections are unknown. Here, we report that purified human recombinant (r)CST9 protects against the deadly bacterium Francisella tularensis (Ft ) in vitro and in vivo. Macrophages infected with the Ft human pathogen Schu 4 (S4), then given 50 pg of rCST9 exhibited significantly decreased intracellular bacterial replication and increased killing via preventing the escape of S4 from the phagosome. Further, rCST9 induced autophagy in macrophages via the regulation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathways. rCST9 promoted the upregulation of macrophage proteins involved in antiinflammation and antiapoptosis, while restraining proinflammatory-associated proteins. Interestingly, the viability and virulence of S4 also was decreased directly by rCST9. In a mouse model of Ft inhalation, rCST9 significantly decreased organ bacterial burden and improved survival, which was not accompanied by excessive cytokine secretion or subsequent immune cell migration. The current report is the first to show the immunomodulatory and antimicrobial functions of rCST9 against Ft. We hypothesize that the attenuation of inflammation by rCST9 may be exploited for therapeutic purposes during infection. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 28, 2013 9:55 AM CDT
Hogyoung Kim, Zakaria Y Abd Elmageed, Jihang Ju, Amarjit S Naura, Asim B Abdel-Mageed, Shibu Varughese, Dennis Paul, Suresh Alahari, Andrew Catling, Jong G Kim, and A Hamid Boulares

Although a relationship between PDZK1 expression and estrogen receptor (ER)-α stimulation has been suggested, the nature of such a connection and the function of PDZK1 in breast cancer remain unknown. Human tissue microarrays (cancer tissue: 262 cores; normal tissue: 87 cores) and breast cancer cell lines were used to conduct the study. We show that PDZK1 protein expression is tightly correlated with human breast malignancy, is negatively correlated with age and had no significant correlation with ER-α expression levels. PDZK1 exhibited an exclusive epithelial expression with mostly cytosolic subcellular localization. Additionally, 17β-estradiol induced PDZK1 expression above its basal level more than 24 h after treatment in MCF-7 cells. PDZK1 expression was indirectly regulated by ER-α stimulation, requiring insulinlike growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) expression and function. The molecular link between PDZK1 and IGF-1R was supported by a significant correlation between protein and mRNA levels (r = 0.591, p < 0.001, and r = 0.537, p < 0.001, respectively) of the two factors in two different cohorts of human breast cancer tissues. Interestingly, PDZK1 knockdown in MCF-7 cells blocked ER-dependent growth and reduced c-Myc expression, whereas ectopic expression of PDZK1 enhanced cell proliferation in the presence or absence of 17β-estradiol potentially through an increase in c-Myc expression, suggesting that PDZK1 has oncogenic activity. PDKZ1 also appeared to interact with the Src/ER-α/epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) complex, but not with IGF-1R and enhanced EGFR-stimulated MEK/ERK1/2 signaling. Collectively, our results clarify the relationship between ER-α and PDZK1, propose a direct relationship between PDZK1 and IGF-1R, and identify a novel oncogenic activity for PDZK1 in breast cancer. 

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Supplementary data

 
Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 28, 2013 9:44 AM CDT
Yun Liu, Chelsea D Higgins, Cathie M Overstreet, Kanti R Rai, Nicholas Chiorazzi, and Jonathan R Lai


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a clonal disease of a subset of human B lymphocytes. Although the cause of the disease is unknown, its development and evolution appear to be promoted by signals delivered when B-cell receptors (BCRs) engage (auto)antigens. Here, using a peptide phage display library of enhanced size and diverse composition, we examined the binding specificity of a recombinant monoclonal antibody (mAb) constructed with the heavy chain and light chain variable domains of a CLL BCR that does not exhibit somatic mutations. As determined by testing the peptides identified in the selected peptide phage pool, this CLL-associated unmutated mAb bound a diverse set of sequences, some of which clustered in families based on amino acid sequence. Synthesis of these peptides and characterization of binding with the CLL-associated mAb revealed that mAb-peptide interactions were generally specific. Moreover, the mAb-peptide interactions were of lower affinities (micromolar KD), as measured by surface plasmon resonance, than those observed with a CLL mAb containing somatic mutations (nanomolar KD) and with immunoglobulin heavy chain variable (IGHV)-mutated antibodies selected by environmental antigens. This information may be of value in identifying and targeting B lymphocytes expressing specific BCRs in CLL patients and healthy subjects with monoclonal B lymphocytosis. 


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Supplementary data


Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 27, 2013 8:56 AM CDT
Rania Dayoub, Arndt Vogel, Jutta Schuett,3 Madeleine Lupke, Susannah M Spieker, Nadja Kettern, Eberhard Hildt, Michael Melter, and Thomas S Weiss

Liver regeneration can be impaired by permanent oxidative stress and activation of nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2), known to regulate the cellular antioxidant response, and has been shown to improve the process of liver regeneration. A variety of factors regulate hepatic tissue regeneration, among them augmenter of liver regeneration (ALR), attained great attention as being survival factors for the liver with proproliferative and antiapoptotic properties. Here we determined the Nrf2/ antioxidant response element (ARE) regulated expression of ALR and show ALR as a target gene of Nrf2 in vitro and in vivo. The ALR promoter comprises an ARE binding site and, therefore, ALR expression can be induced by ARE-activator tertiary butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) in hepatoma cells and primary human hepatocytes (PHH). Promoter activity and expression of ALR were enhanced after cotransfection of Nrf2 compared with control and dominant negative mutant of Nrf2. Performing partial hepatectomy in livers from Nrf2+/+ mice compared with Nrf2–/– knock-out (KO) mice, we found increased expression of ALR in addition to known antioxidant ARE-regulated genes. Furthermore, we observed increased ALR expression in hepatitis B virus (HBV) compared with hepatitis C virus (HCV) positive hepatoma cells and PHH. Recently, it was demonstrated that HBV infection activates Nrf2 and, now, we add results showing increased ALR expression in liver samples from patients infected with HBV. ALR is regulated by Nrf2, acts as a liver regeneration and antioxidative protein and, therefore, links oxidative stress to hepatic regeneration to ensure survival of damaged cells. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 26, 2013 1:19 PM CDT
Lesley-Ann Sutton, Efterpi Kostareli, Evangelia Stalika,2, Athanasios Tsaftaris, Achilles Anagnostopoulos, Nikos Darzentas, Richard Rosenquist, and Kostas Stamatopoulos

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients assigned to stereotyped subset 4 possess distinctive patterns of intraclonal diversification (ID) within their immunoglobulin (IG) genes. Although highly indicative of an ongoing response to antigen(s), the critical question concerning the precise timing of antigen involvement is unresolved. Hence, we conducted a large-scale longitudinal study of eight subset 4 cases totaling 511 and 398 subcloned IG heavy and kappa sequences. Importantly, we could establish a hierarchical pattern of subclonal evolution, thus revealing which somatic hypermutations were negatively or positively selected. In addition, distinct clusters of subcloned sequences with cluster-specific mutational profiles were observed initially; however, at later time points, the minor cluster had often disappeared and hence not been selected. Despite the high intensity of ID, it was remarkable that certain residues remained essentially unaltered. These novel findings strongly support a role for persistent antigen stimulation in the clonal evolution of CLL subset 4. Online address:

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 23, 2013 11:06 AM CDT
Xiao Wang, Heng-Fu Bu, Wei Zhong, Akihiro Asai, Zhanxiang Zhou, and Xiao-Di Tan

Efferocytosis is a unique phagocytic process for macrophages to remove apoptotic cells in inflammatory loci. This event is maintained by milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8), but attenuated by high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1). Alcohol abuse causes injury and inflammation in multiple tissues. It alters efferocytosis, but precise molecular mechanisms for this effect remain largely unknown. Here, we showed that acute exposure of macrophages to alcohol (25 mmol/L) inhibited MFG-E8 gene expression and impaired efferocytosis. The effect was mimicked by hydrogen peroxide. Moreover, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a potent antioxidant, blocked acute alcohol effect on inhibition of macrophage MFG-E8 gene expression and efferocytosis. In addition, recombinant MFG-E8 rescued the activity of alcohol-treated macrophages in efferocytosis. Together, the data suggest that acute alcohol exposure impairs macrophage efferocytosis via inhibition of MFG-E8 gene expression through a reactive oxygen species dependent mechanism. Alcohol has been found to suppress or exacerbate immune cell activities depending on the length of alcohol exposure. Thus, we further examined the role of chronic alcohol exposure on macrophage efferocytosis. Interestingly, treatment of macrophages with alcohol for seven days in vitro enhanced MFG-E8 gene expression and efferocytosis. However, chronic feeding of mice with alcohol caused increase in HMGB1 levels in serum. Furthermore, HMGB1 diminished efferocytosis by macrophages that were treated chronically with alcohol, suggesting that HMGB1 might attenuate the direct effect of chronic alcohol on macrophage efferocytosis in vivo. Therefore, we speculated that the balance between MFG-E8 and HMGB1 levels determines pathophysiological effects of chronic alcohol exposure on macrophage efferocytosis in vivo

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Supplementary data

Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 14, 2013 4:21 PM CDT

Ilaria Cervellini, Alexander Annenkov, Thomas Brenton, Yuti Chernajovsky, Pietro Ghezzi, and

Manuela Mengozzi


Erythropoietin (EPO) has protective effects in neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases, including in animal models of multiple sclerosis, where EPO decreases disease severity. EPO also promotes neurogenesis and is protective in models of toxic demyelination. In this study, we asked whether EPO could promote neurorepair by also inducing remyelination. In addition, we investigated whether the effect of EPO could be mediated by the classical erythropoietic EPO receptor (EPOR), since it is still questioned if EPOR is functional in nonhematopoietic cells. Using CG4 cells, a line of rat oligodendrocyte precursor cells, we found that EPO increases the expression of myelin genes (myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein [MOG] and myelin basic protein [MBP]). EPO had no effect in wild-type CG4 cells, which do not express EPOR, whereas it increased MOG and MBP expression in cells engineered to overexpress EPOR (CG4-EPOR). This was reflected in a marked increase in MOG protein levels, as detected by Western blot. In these cells, EPO induced by 10-fold the early growth response gene 2 (Egr2 ), which is required for peripheral myelination. However, Egr2 silencing with a siRNA did not reverse the effect of EPO, indicating that EPO acts through other pathways. In conclusion, EPO induces the expression of myelin genes in oligodendrocytes and this effect requires the presence of EPOR. This study demonstrates that EPOR can mediate neuroreparative effects. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 14, 2013 1:44 PM CDT
Eric Kubat, Shilpi Mahajan, Min Liao, Larry Ackerman, Peter T Ohara, Eileen F Grady, and Aditi Bhargava

Although females suffer twice as much as males from stress-related disorders, sex-specific participating and pathogenic cellular stress mechanisms remain uncharacterized. Using corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 2–deficient (Crhr2–/– ) and wild-type (WT) mice, we show that CRF receptor type 2 (CRF2) and its high-affinity ligand, urocortin 1 (Ucn1), are key mediators of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response in a murine model of acute pancreatic inflammation. Ucn1 was expressed de novo in acinar cells of male, but not female WT mice during acute inflammation. Upon insult, acinar Ucn1 induction was markedly attenuated in male but not female Crhr2–/– mice. Crhr2 –/– mice of both sexes show exacerbated acinar cell inflammation and necrosis. Electron microscopy showed mild ER damage in WT male mice and markedly distorted ER structure in Crhr2–/– male mice during pancreatitis. WT and Crhr2–/– female mice showed similarly distorted ER ultrastructure that was less severe than distortion seen in Crhr2–/– male mice. Damage in ER structure was accompanied by increased ubiquitination, peIF2, and mis-targeted localization of vimentin in WT mice that was further exacerbated in Crhr2–/– mice of both sexes during pancreatitis. Exogenous Ucn1 rescued many aspects of histological damage and cellular stress response, including restoration of ER structure in male WT and Crhr2–/– mice, but not in females. Instead, females often showed increased damage. Thus, specific cellular pathways involved in coping and resolution seem to be distinct to each sex. Our results demonstrate the importance of identifying sex-specific pathogenic mechanisms and their value in designing effective therapeutics. 

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Supplemental data

Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jul 23, 2013 1:22 PM CDT
Wei Li, Jianhua Li, Andrew E Sama, and Haichao Wang

The pathogen- and damage-associated molecular patterns (for example, bacterial endotoxin and adenosine 5′-triphosphate [ATP]) activate the double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase R (PKR) to trigger the inflammasome-dependent high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) release. Extracellular ATP contributes to the inflammasome activation through binding to the plasma membrane purinergic P2X7 receptor (P2X7R), triggering the opening of P2X7R channels and the pannexin-1 (panx-1) hemichannels permeable for larger molecules up to 900 daltons. It was previously unknown whether panx-1 channel blockers can abrogate lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced PKR activation and HMGB1 release in innate immune cells. Here we demonstrated that a major gancao (licorice) component (glycyrrhizin, or glycyrrhizic acid) derivative, carbenoxolone (CBX), dose dependently abrogated LPS-induced HMGB1 release in macrophage cultures with an estimated IC50 ≈ 5 μmol/L. In an animal model of polymicrobial sepsis (induced by cecal ligation and puncture [CLP]), repetitive CBX administration beginning 24 h after CLP led to a significant reduction of circulating and peritoneal HMGB1 levels, and promoted a significant increase in animal survival rates. As did P2X7R antagonists (for example, oxidized ATP, oATP), CBX also effectively attenuated LPS-induced P2X7R/panx-1 channel activation (as judged by Lucifer Yellow dye uptake) and PKR phosphorylation in primary peritoneal macrophages. Collectively, these results suggested that CBX blocks LPS-induced HMGB1 release possibly through impairing PKR activation, supporting the involvement of PKR in the regulation of HMGB1 release. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jul 23, 2013 10:53 AM CDT
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