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On February 23, 2018, PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada) will be taken offline permanently. No author manuscripts will be deleted, and the approximately 2,900 manuscripts authored by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-funded researchers currently in the archive will be copied to the National Research Council’s (NRC) Digital Repository over the coming months. These manuscripts along with all other content will also remain publicly searchable on PubMed Central (US) and Europe PubMed Central, meaning such manuscripts will continue to be compliant with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

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1.  Inhibition of Mef2a Enhances Neovascularization via Post-transcriptional Regulation of 14q32 MicroRNAs miR-329 and miR-494 
Improving the efficacy of neovascularization is a promising strategy to restore perfusion of ischemic tissues in patients with peripheral arterial disease. The 14q32 microRNA cluster is highly involved in neovascularization. The Mef2a transcription factor has been shown to induce transcription of the microRNAs within this cluster. We inhibited expression of Mef2a using gene-silencing oligonucleotides (GSOs) in an in vivo hind limb ischemia model. Treatment with GSO-Mef2a clearly improved blood flow recovery within 3 days (44% recovery versus 25% recovery in control) and persisted until 14 days after ischemia induction (80% recovery versus 60% recovery in control). Animals treated with GSO-Mef2a showed increased arteriogenesis and angiogenesis in the relevant muscle tissues. Inhibition of Mef2a decreased expression of 14q32 microRNAs miR-329 (p = 0.026) and miR-494 (trend, p = 0.06), but not of other 14q32 microRNAs, nor of 14q32 microRNA precursors. Because Mef2a did not influence 14q32 microRNA transcription, we hypothesized it functions as an RNA-binding protein that influences processing of 14q32 microRNA miR-329 and miR-494. Mef2A immunoprecipitation followed by RNA isolation and rt/qPCR confirmed direct binding of MEF2A to pri-miR-494, supporting this hypothesis. Our study demonstrates a novel function for Mef2a in post-ischemic neovascularization via post-transcriptional regulation of 14q32 microRNAs miR-329 and miR-494.
Graphical Abstract
doi:10.1016/j.omtn.2017.03.003
PMCID: PMC5415962
MEF2A; miR-329; miR-494; 14q32; neovascularization; arteriogenesis; angiogenesis; posttranscriptional regulation; RNA binding protein; ischemia
2.  31st Annual Meeting and Associated Programs of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC 2016): part one 
Lundqvist, Andreas | van Hoef, Vincent | Zhang, Xiaonan | Wennerberg, Erik | Lorent, Julie | Witt, Kristina | Sanz, Laia Masvidal | Liang, Shuo | Murray, Shannon | Larsson, Ola | Kiessling, Rolf | Mao, Yumeng | Sidhom, John-William | Bessell, Catherine A. | Havel, Jonathan | Schneck, Jonathan | Chan, Timothy A. | Sachsenmeier, Eliot | Woods, David | Berglund, Anders | Ramakrishnan, Rupal | Sodre, Andressa | Weber, Jeffrey | Zappasodi, Roberta | Li, Yanyun | Qi, Jingjing | Wong, Philip | Sirard, Cynthia | Postow, Michael | Newman, Walter | Koon, Henry | Velcheti, Vamsidhar | Callahan, Margaret K. | Wolchok, Jedd D. | Merghoub, Taha | Lum, Lawrence G. | Choi, Minsig | Thakur, Archana | Deol, Abhinav | Dyson, Gregory | Shields, Anthony | Haymaker, Cara | Uemura, Marc | Murthy, Ravi | James, Marihella | Wang, Daqing | Brevard, Julie | Monaghan, Catherine | Swann, Suzanne | Geib, James | Cornfeld, Mark | Chunduru, Srinivas | Agrawal, Sudhir | Yee, Cassian | Wargo, Jennifer | Patel, Sapna P. | Amaria, Rodabe | Tawbi, Hussein | Glitza, Isabella | Woodman, Scott | Hwu, Wen-Jen | Davies, Michael A. | Hwu, Patrick | Overwijk, Willem W. | Bernatchez, Chantale | Diab, Adi | Massarelli, Erminia | Segal, Neil H. | Ribrag, Vincent | Melero, Ignacio | Gangadhar, Tara C. | Urba, Walter | Schadendorf, Dirk | Ferris, Robert L. | Houot, Roch | Morschhauser, Franck | Logan, Theodore | Luke, Jason J. | Sharfman, William | Barlesi, Fabrice | Ott, Patrick A. | Mansi, Laura | Kummar, Shivaani | Salles, Gilles | Carpio, Cecilia | Meier, Roland | Krishnan, Suba | McDonald, Dan | Maurer, Matthew | Gu, Xuemin | Neely, Jaclyn | Suryawanshi, Satyendra | Levy, Ronald | Khushalani, Nikhil | Wu, Jennifer | Zhang, Jinyu | Basher, Fahmin | Rubinstein, Mark | Bucsek, Mark | Qiao, Guanxi | MacDonald, Cameron | Hylander, Bonnie | Repasky, Elizabeth | Chatterjee, Shilpak | Daenthanasanmak, Anusara | Chakraborty, Paramita | Toth, Kyle | Meek, Megan | Garrett-Mayer, Elizabeth | Nishimura, Michael | Paulos, Chrystal | Beeson, Craig | Yu, Xuezhong | Mehrotra, Shikhar | Zhao, Fei | Evans, Kathy | Xiao, Christine | Holtzhausen, Alisha | Hanks, Brent A. | Scharping, Nicole | Menk, Ashley V. | Moreci, Rebecca | Whetstone, Ryan | Dadey, Rebekah | Watkins, Simon | Ferris, Robert | Delgoffe, Greg M. | Peled, Jonathan | Devlin, Sean | Staffas, Anna | Lumish, Melissa | Rodriguez, Kori Porosnicu | Ahr, Katya | Perales, Miguel | Giralt, Sergio | Taur, Ying | Pamer, Eric | van den Brink, Marcel R. M. | Jenq, Robert | Annels, Nicola | Pandha, Hardev | Simpson, Guy | Mostafid, Hugh | Harrington, Kevin | Melcher, Alan | Grose, Mark | Davies, Bronwyn | Au, Gough | Karpathy, Roberta | Shafren, Darren | Ricca, Jacob | Merghoub, Taha | Wolchok, Jedd D. | Zamarin, Dmitriy | Batista, Luciana | Marliot, Florence | Vasaturo, Angela | Carpentier, Sabrina | Poggionovo, Cécile | Frayssinet, Véronique | Fieschi, Jacques | Van den Eynde, Marc | Pagès, Franck | Galon, Jérôme | Hermitte, Fabienne | Smith, Sean G. | Nguyen, Khue | Ravindranathan, Sruthi | Koppolu, Bhanu | Zaharoff, David | Schvartsman, Gustavo | Bassett, Roland | McQuade, Jennifer L. | Haydu, Lauren E. | Davies, Michael A. | Tawbi, Hussein | Glitza, Isabella | Kline, Douglas | Chen, Xiufen | Fosco, Dominick | Kline, Justin | Overacre, Abigail | Chikina, Maria | Brunazzi, Erin | Shayan, Gulidanna | Horne, William | Kolls, Jay | Ferris, Robert L. | Delgoffe, Greg M. | Bruno, Tullia C. | Workman, Creg | Vignali, Dario | Adusumilli, Prasad S. | Ansa-Addo, Ephraim A | Li, Zihai | Gerry, Andrew | Sanderson, Joseph P. | Howe, Karen | Docta, Roslin | Gao, Qian | Bagg, Eleanor A. L. | Tribble, Nicholas | Maroto, Miguel | Betts, Gareth | Bath, Natalie | Melchiori, Luca | Lowther, Daniel E. | Ramachandran, Indu | Kari, Gabor | Basu, Samik | Binder-Scholl, Gwendolyn | Chagin, Karen | Pandite, Lini | Holdich, Tom | Amado, Rafael | Zhang, Hua | Glod, John | Bernstein, Donna | Jakobsen, Bent | Mackall, Crystal | Wong, Ryan | Silk, Jonathan D. | Adams, Katherine | Hamilton, Garth | Bennett, Alan D. | Brett, Sara | Jing, Junping | Quattrini, Adriano | Saini, Manoj | Wiedermann, Guy | Gerry, Andrew | Jakobsen, Bent | Binder-Scholl, Gwendolyn | Brewer, Joanna | Duong, MyLinh | Lu, An | Chang, Peter | Mahendravada, Aruna | Shinners, Nicholas | Slawin, Kevin | Spencer, David M. | Foster, Aaron E. | Bayle, J. Henri | Bergamaschi, Cristina | Ng, Sinnie Sin Man | Nagy, Bethany | Jensen, Shawn | Hu, Xintao | Alicea, Candido | Fox, Bernard | Felber, Barbara | Pavlakis, George | Chacon, Jessica | Yamamoto, Tori | Garrabrant, Thomas | Cortina, Luis | Powell, Daniel J. | Donia, Marco | Kjeldsen, Julie Westerlin | Andersen, Rikke | Westergaard, Marie Christine Wulff | Bianchi, Valentina | Legut, Mateusz | Attaf, Meriem | Dolton, Garry | Szomolay, Barbara | Ott, Sascha | Lyngaa, Rikke | Hadrup, Sine Reker | Sewell, Andrew Kelvin | Svane, Inge Marie | Fan, Aaron | Kumai, Takumi | Celis, Esteban | Frank, Ian | Stramer, Amanda | Blaskovich, Michelle A. | Wardell, Seth | Fardis, Maria | Bender, James | Lotze, Michael T. | Goff, Stephanie L. | Zacharakis, Nikolaos | Assadipour, Yasmine | Prickett, Todd D. | Gartner, Jared J. | Somerville, Robert | Black, Mary | Xu, Hui | Chinnasamy, Harshini | Kriley, Isaac | Lu, Lily | Wunderlich, John | Robbins, Paul F. | Rosenberg, Steven | Feldman, Steven A. | Trebska-McGowan, Kasia | Kriley, Isaac | Malekzadeh, Parisa | Payabyab, Eden | Sherry, Richard | Rosenberg, Steven | Goff, Stephanie L. | Gokuldass, Aishwarya | Blaskovich, Michelle A. | Kopits, Charlene | Rabinovich, Brian | Lotze, Michael T. | Green, Daniel S. | Kamenyeva, Olena | Zoon, Kathryn C. | Annunziata, Christina M. | Hammill, Joanne | Helsen, Christopher | Aarts, Craig | Bramson, Jonathan | Harada, Yui | Yonemitsu, Yoshikazu | Helsen, Christopher | Hammill, Joanne | Mwawasi, Kenneth | Denisova, Galina | Bramson, Jonathan | Giri, Rajanish | Jin, Benjamin | Campbell, Tracy | Draper, Lindsey M. | Stevanovic, Sanja | Yu, Zhiya | Weissbrich, Bianca | Restifo, Nicholas P. | Trimble, Cornelia L. | Rosenberg, Steven | Hinrichs, Christian S. | Tsang, Kwong | Fantini, Massimo | Hodge, James W. | Fujii, Rika | Fernando, Ingrid | Jochems, Caroline | Heery, Christopher | Gulley, James | Soon-Shiong, Patrick | Schlom, Jeffrey | Jing, Weiqing | Gershan, Jill | Blitzer, Grace | Weber, James | McOlash, Laura | Johnson, Bryon D. | Kiany, Simin | Gangxiong, Huang | Kleinerman, Eugenie S. | Klichinsky, Michael | Ruella, Marco | Shestova, Olga | Kenderian, Saad | Kim, Miriam | Scholler, John | June, Carl H. | Gill, Saar | Moogk, Duane | Zhong, Shi | Yu, Zhiya | Liadi, Ivan | Rittase, William | Fang, Victoria | Dougherty, Janna | Perez-Garcia, Arianne | Osman, Iman | Zhu, Cheng | Varadarajan, Navin | Restifo, Nicholas P. | Frey, Alan | Krogsgaard, Michelle | Landi, Daniel | Fousek, Kristen | Mukherjee, Malini | Shree, Ankita | Joseph, Sujith | Bielamowicz, Kevin | Byrd, Tiara | Ahmed, Nabil | Hegde, Meenakshi | Lee, Sylvia | Byrd, David | Thompson, John | Bhatia, Shailender | Tykodi, Scott | Delismon, Judy | Chu, Liz | Abdul-Alim, Siddiq | Ohanian, Arpy | DeVito, Anna Marie | Riddell, Stanley | Margolin, Kim | Magalhaes, Isabelle | Mattsson, Jonas | Uhlin, Michael | Nemoto, Satoshi | Villarroel, Patricio Pérez | Nakagawa, Ryosuke | Mule, James J. | Mailloux, Adam W. | Mata, Melinda | Nguyen, Phuong | Gerken, Claudia | DeRenzo, Christopher | Spencer, David M. | Gottschalk, Stephen | Mathieu, Mélissa | Pelletier, Sandy | Stagg, John | Turcotte, Simon | Minutolo, Nicholas | Sharma, Prannda | Tsourkas, Andrew | Powell, Daniel J. | Mockel-Tenbrinck, Nadine | Mauer, Daniela | Drechsel, Katharina | Barth, Carola | Freese, Katharina | Kolrep, Ulrike | Schult, Silke | Assenmacher, Mario | Kaiser, Andrew | Mullinax, John | Hall, MacLean | Le, Julie | Kodumudi, Krithika | Royster, Erica | Richards, Allison | Gonzalez, Ricardo | Sarnaik, Amod | Pilon-Thomas, Shari | Nielsen, Morten | Krarup-Hansen, Anders | Hovgaard, Dorrit | Petersen, Michael Mørk | Loya, Anand Chainsukh | Junker, Niels | Svane, Inge Marie | Rivas, Charlotte | Parihar, Robin | Gottschalk, Stephen | Rooney, Cliona M. | Qin, Haiying | Nguyen, Sang | Su, Paul | Burk, Chad | Duncan, Brynn | Kim, Bong-Hyun | Kohler, M. Eric | Fry, Terry | Rao, Arjun A. | Teyssier, Noam | Pfeil, Jacob | Sgourakis, Nikolaos | Salama, Sofie | Haussler, David | Richman, Sarah A. | Nunez-Cruz, Selene | Gershenson, Zack | Mourelatos, Zissimos | Barrett, David | Grupp, Stephan | Milone, Michael | Rodriguez-Garcia, Alba | Robinson, Matthew K. | Adams, Gregory P. | Powell, Daniel J. | Santos, João | Havunen, Riikka | Siurala, Mikko | Cervera-Carrascón, Víctor | Parviainen, Suvi | Antilla, Marjukka | Hemminki, Akseli | Sethuraman, Jyothi | Santiago, Laurelis | Chen, Jie Qing | Dai, Zhimin | Wardell, Seth | Bender, James | Lotze, Michael T. | Sha, Huizi | Su, Shu | Ding, Naiqing | Liu, Baorui | Stevanovic, Sanja | Pasetto, Anna | Helman, Sarah R. | Gartner, Jared J. | Prickett, Todd D. | Robbins, Paul F. | Rosenberg, Steven A. | Hinrichs, Christian S. | Bhatia, Shailender | Burgess, Melissa | Zhang, Hui | Lee, Tien | Klingemann, Hans | Soon-Shiong, Patrick | Nghiem, Paul | Kirkwood, John M. | Rossi, John M. | Sherman, Marika | Xue, Allen | Shen, Yueh-wei | Navale, Lynn | Rosenberg, Steven A. | Kochenderfer, James N. | Bot, Adrian | Veerapathran, Anandaraman | Gokuldass, Aishwarya | Stramer, Amanda | Sethuraman, Jyothi | Blaskovich, Michelle A. | Wiener, Doris | Frank, Ian | Santiago, Laurelis | Rabinovich, Brian | Fardis, Maria | Bender, James | Lotze, Michael T. | Waller, Edmund K. | Li, Jian-Ming | Petersen, Christopher | Blazar, Bruce R. | Li, Jingxia | Giver, Cynthia R. | Wang, Ziming | Grossenbacher, Steven K. | Sturgill, Ian | Canter, Robert J. | Murphy, William J. | Zhang, Congcong | Burger, Michael C. | Jennewein, Lukas | Waldmann, Anja | Mittelbronn, Michel | Tonn, Torsten | Steinbach, Joachim P. | Wels, Winfried S. | Williams, Jason B. | Zha, Yuanyuan | Gajewski, Thomas F. | Williams, LaTerrica C. | Krenciute, Giedre | Kalra, Mamta | Louis, Chrystal | Gottschalk, Stephen | Xin, Gang | Schauder, David | Jiang, Aimin | Joshi, Nikhil | Cui, Weiguo | Zeng, Xue | Menk, Ashley V. | Scharping, Nicole | Delgoffe, Greg M. | Zhao, Zeguo | Hamieh, Mohamad | Eyquem, Justin | Gunset, Gertrude | Bander, Neil | Sadelain, Michel | Askmyr, David | Abolhalaj, Milad | Lundberg, Kristina | Greiff, Lennart | Lindstedt, Malin | Angell, Helen K. | Kim, Kyoung-Mee | Kim, Seung-Tae | Kim, Sung | Sharpe, Alan D. | Ogden, Julia | Davenport, Anna | Hodgson, Darren R. | Barrett, Carl | Lee, Jeeyun | Kilgour, Elaine | Hanson, Jodi | Caspell, Richard | Karulin, Alexey | Lehmann, Paul | Ansari, Tameem | Schiller, Annemarie | Sundararaman, Srividya | Lehmann, Paul | Hanson, Jodi | Roen, Diana | Karulin, Alexey | Lehmann, Paul | Ayers, Mark | Levitan, Diane | Arreaza, Gladys | Liu, Fang | Mogg, Robin | Bang, Yung-Jue | O’Neil, Bert | Cristescu, Razvan | Friedlander, Philip | Wassman, Karl | Kyi, Chrisann | Oh, William | Bhardwaj, Nina | Bornschlegl, Svetlana | Gustafson, Michael P. | Gastineau, Dennis A. | Parney, Ian F. | Dietz, Allan B. | Carvajal-Hausdorf, Daniel | Mani, Nikita | Velcheti, Vamsidhar | Schalper, Kurt | Rimm, David | Chang, Serena | Levy, Ronald | Kurland, John | Krishnan, Suba | Ahlers, Christoph Matthias | Jure-Kunkel, Maria | Cohen, Lewis | Maecker, Holden | Kohrt, Holbrook | Chen, Shuming | Crabill, George | Pritchard, Theresa | McMiller, Tracee | Pardoll, Drew | Pan, Fan | Topalian, Suzanne | Danaher, Patrick | Warren, Sarah | Dennis, Lucas | White, Andrew M. | D’Amico, Leonard | Geller, Melissa | Disis, Mary L. | Beechem, Joseph | Odunsi, Kunle | Fling, Steven | Derakhshandeh, Roshanak | Webb, Tonya J. | Dubois, Sigrid | Conlon, Kevin | Bryant, Bonita | Hsu, Jennifer | Beltran, Nancy | Müller, Jürgen | Waldmann, Thomas | Duhen, Rebekka | Duhen, Thomas | Thompson, Lucas | Montler, Ryan | Weinberg, Andrew | Kates, Max | Early, Brandon | Yusko, Erik | Schreiber, Taylor H. | Bivalacqua, Trinity J. | Ayers, Mark | Lunceford, Jared | Nebozhyn, Michael | Murphy, Erin | Loboda, Andrey | Kaufman, David R. | Albright, Andrew | Cheng, Jonathan | Kang, S. Peter | Shankaran, Veena | Piha-Paul, Sarina A. | Yearley, Jennifer | Seiwert, Tanguy | Ribas, Antoni | McClanahan, Terrill K. | Cristescu, Razvan | Mogg, Robin | Ayers, Mark | Albright, Andrew | Murphy, Erin | Yearley, Jennifer | Sher, Xinwei | Liu, Xiao Qiao | Nebozhyn, Michael | Lunceford, Jared | Joe, Andrew | Cheng, Jonathan | Plimack, Elizabeth | Ott, Patrick A. | McClanahan, Terrill K. | Loboda, Andrey | Kaufman, David R. | Forrest-Hay, Alex | Guyre, Cheryl A. | Narumiya, Kohei | Delcommenne, Marc | Hirsch, Heather A. | Deshpande, Amit | Reeves, Jason | Shu, Jenny | Zi, Tong | Michaelson, Jennifer | Law, Debbie | Trehu, Elizabeth | Sathyanaryanan, Sriram | Hodkinson, Brendan P. | Hutnick, Natalie A. | Schaffer, Michael E. | Gormley, Michael | Hulett, Tyler | Jensen, Shawn | Ballesteros-Merino, Carmen | Dubay, Christopher | Afentoulis, Michael | Reddy, Ashok | David, Larry | Fox, Bernard | Jayant, Kumar | Agrawal, Swati | Agrawal, Rajendra | Jeyakumar, Ghayathri | Kim, Seongho | Kim, Heejin | Silski, Cynthia | Suisham, Stacey | Heath, Elisabeth | Vaishampayan, Ulka | Vandeven, Natalie | Viller, Natasja Nielsen | O’Connor, Alison | Chen, Hui | Bossen, Bolette | Sievers, Eric | Uger, Robert | Nghiem, Paul | Johnson, Lisa | Kao, Hsiang-Fong | Hsiao, Chin-Fu | Lai, Shu-Chuan | Wang, Chun-Wei | Ko, Jenq-Yuh | Lou, Pei-Jen | Lee, Tsai-Jan | Liu, Tsang-Wu | Hong, Ruey-Long | Kearney, Staci J. | Black, Joshua C. | Landis, Benjamin J. | Koegler, Sally | Hirsch, Brooke | Gianani, Roberto | Kim, Jeffrey | He, Ming-Xiao | Zhang, Bingqing | Su, Nan | Luo, Yuling | Ma, Xiao-Jun | Park, Emily | Kim, Dae Won | Copploa, Domenico | Kothari, Nishi | doo Chang, Young | Kim, Richard | Kim, Namyong | Lye, Melvin | Wan, Ee | Kim, Namyong | Lye, Melvin | Wan, Ee | Kim, Namyong | Lye, Melvin | Wan, Ee | Knaus, Hanna A. | Berglund, Sofia | Hackl, Hubert | Karp, Judith E. | Gojo, Ivana | Luznik, Leo | Hong, Henoch S. | Koch, Sven D. | Scheel, Birgit | Gnad-Vogt, Ulrike | Kallen, Karl-Josef | Wiegand, Volker | Backert, Linus | Kohlbacher, Oliver | Hoerr, Ingmar | Fotin-Mleczek, Mariola | Billingsley, James M. | Koguchi, Yoshinobu | Conrad, Valerie | Miller, William | Gonzalez, Iliana | Poplonski, Tomasz | Meeuwsen, Tanisha | Howells-Ferreira, Ana | Rattray, Rogan | Campbell, Mary | Bifulco, Carlo | Dubay, Christopher | Bahjat, Keith | Curti, Brendan | Urba, Walter | Vetsika, E-K | Kallergi, G. | Aggouraki, Despoina | Lyristi, Z. | Katsarlinos, P. | Koinis, Filippos | Georgoulias, V. | Kotsakis, Athanasios | Martin, Nathan T. | Aeffner, Famke | Kearney, Staci J. | Black, Joshua C. | Cerkovnik, Logan | Pratte, Luke | Kim, Rebecca | Hirsch, Brooke | Krueger, Joseph | Gianani, Roberto | Martínez-Usatorre, Amaia | Jandus, Camilla | Donda, Alena | Carretero-Iglesia, Laura | Speiser, Daniel E. | Zehn, Dietmar | Rufer, Nathalie | Romero, Pedro | Panda, Anshuman | Mehnert, Janice | Hirshfield, Kim M. | Riedlinger, Greg | Damare, Sherri | Saunders, Tracie | Sokol, Levi | Stein, Mark | Poplin, Elizabeth | Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Lorna | Silk, Ann | Chan, Nancy | Frankel, Melissa | Kane, Michael | Malhotra, Jyoti | Aisner, Joseph | Kaufman, Howard L. | Ali, Siraj | Ross, Jeffrey | White, Eileen | Bhanot, Gyan | Ganesan, Shridar | Monette, Anne | Bergeron, Derek | Amor, Amira Ben | Meunier, Liliane | Caron, Christine | Morou, Antigoni | Kaufmann, Daniel | Liberman, Moishe | Jurisica, Igor | Mes-Masson, Anne-Marie | Hamzaoui, Kamel | Lapointe, Rejean | Mongan, Ann | Ku, Yuan-Chieh | Tom, Warren | Sun, Yongming | Pankov, Alex | Looney, Tim | Au-Young, Janice | Hyland, Fiona | Conroy, Jeff | Morrison, Carl | Glenn, Sean | Burgher, Blake | Ji, He | Gardner, Mark | Mongan, Ann | Omilian, Angela R. | Conroy, Jeff | Bshara, Wiam | Angela, Omilian | Burgher, Blake | Ji, He | Glenn, Sean | Morrison, Carl | Mongan, Ann | Obeid, Joseph M. | Erdag, Gulsun | Smolkin, Mark E. | Deacon, Donna H. | Patterson, James W. | Chen, Lieping | Bullock, Timothy N. | Slingluff, Craig L. | Obeid, Joseph M. | Erdag, Gulsun | Deacon, Donna H. | Slingluff, Craig L. | Bullock, Timothy N. | Loffredo, John T. | Vuyyuru, Raja | Beyer, Sophie | Spires, Vanessa M. | Fox, Maxine | Ehrmann, Jon M. | Taylor, Katrina A. | Korman, Alan J. | Graziano, Robert F. | Page, David | Sanchez, Katherine | Ballesteros-Merino, Carmen | Martel, Maritza | Bifulco, Carlo | Urba, Walter | Fox, Bernard | Patel, Sapna P. | De Macedo, Mariana Petaccia | Qin, Yong | Reuben, Alex | Spencer, Christine | Guindani, Michele | Bassett, Roland | Wargo, Jennifer | Racolta, Adriana | Kelly, Brian | Jones, Tobin | Polaske, Nathan | Theiss, Noah | Robida, Mark | Meridew, Jeffrey | Habensus, Iva | Zhang, Liping | Pestic-Dragovich, Lidija | Tang, Lei | Sullivan, Ryan J. | Logan, Theodore | Khushalani, Nikhil | Margolin, Kim | Koon, Henry | Olencki, Thomas | Hutson, Thomas | Curti, Brendan | Roder, Joanna | Blackmon, Shauna | Roder, Heinrich | Stewart, John | Amin, Asim | Ernstoff, Marc S. | Clark, Joseph I. | Atkins, Michael B. | Kaufman, Howard L. | Sosman, Jeffrey | Weber, Jeffrey | McDermott, David F. | Weber, Jeffrey | Kluger, Harriet | Halaban, Ruth | Snzol, Mario | Roder, Heinrich | Roder, Joanna | Asmellash, Senait | Steingrimsson, Arni | Blackmon, Shauna | Sullivan, Ryan J. | Wang, Chichung | Roman, Kristin | Clement, Amanda | Downing, Sean | Hoyt, Clifford | Harder, Nathalie | Schmidt, Guenter | Schoenmeyer, Ralf | Brieu, Nicolas | Yigitsoy, Mehmet | Madonna, Gabriele | Botti, Gerardo | Grimaldi, Antonio | Ascierto, Paolo A. | Huss, Ralf | Athelogou, Maria | Hessel, Harald | Harder, Nathalie | Buchner, Alexander | Schmidt, Guenter | Stief, Christian | Huss, Ralf | Binnig, Gerd | Kirchner, Thomas | Sellappan, Shankar | Thyparambil, Sheeno | Schwartz, Sarit | Cecchi, Fabiola | Nguyen, Andrew | Vaske, Charles | Hembrough, Todd
Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer  2016;4(Suppl 1):1-106.
doi:10.1186/s40425-016-0172-7
PMCID: PMC5123387
3.  The UNC93B1 tyrosine-based motif regulates trafficking and TLR responses via separate mechanisms 
Sensing of nucleic acids by TLRs is crucial in the host defense against viruses and bacteria. Unc-93 homolog B1 (UNC93B1) regulates the trafficking of nucleic acid sensing TLRs from the ER to endolysosomes, where the TLRs encounter their respective ligands and become activated. Here we show that a carboxy-terminal tyrosine-based sorting motif (Yxx Φ) in UNC93B1 differentially regulates human nucleic acid sensing TLRs in a receptor- and ligand-specific manner. Destruction of the YxxΦ motif abolished TLR7, 8 and 9 activity towards nucleic acids in human B cells and monocytes, whereas TLR8 responses towards small molecules remained intact. The YxxΦ motif in UNC93B1 influenced the subcellular localization of human UNC93B1 via both adapter protein complex 1 (AP1)- and AP2-dependent trafficking pathways. However, loss of AP function was not causal for altered TLR responses, suggesting AP-independent functions of the YxxΦ motif in UNC93B1.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1301886
PMCID: PMC4170058  PMID: 25187660
4.  Role of toll-like receptors in the pathogenesis of dystrophin-deficient skeletal and heart muscle 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(10):2604-2617.
Although the cause of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is known, the specific factors that initiate and perpetuate disease progression are not well understood. We hypothesized that leaky dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscle releases endogenous danger signals (TLR ligands), which bind to Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on muscle and immune cells and activate downstream processes that facilitate degeneration and regeneration in dystrophic skeletal muscle. Here, we demonstrate that dystrophin-deficient mouse muscle cells show increased expression of several cell-surface and endosomal TLRs. In vitro screening identified ssRNA as a relevant endogenous TLR7 ligand. TLR7 activation led to myd88-dependent production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in dystrophin-deficient muscle cells, and cause significant degeneration/regeneration in vivo in mdx mouse muscle. Also, knockout of the central TLR adaptor protein, myd88 in mdx mice significantly improved skeletal and cardiac muscle function. Likewise, proof-of-concept experiments showed that treating young mdx mice with a TLR7/9 antagonist significantly reduced skeletal muscle inflammation and increased muscle force, suggesting that blocking this pathway may have therapeutic potential for DMD.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt656
PMCID: PMC3990161  PMID: 24368419
5.  Immune-Stimulatory Dinucleotide at the 5′-End of Oligodeoxynucleotides Is Critical for TLR9-Mediated Immune Responses 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2013;4(2):302-305.
Oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) containing a CpG or certain synthetic dinucleotides, referred to as immune-stimulatory dinucleotides, induce Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9)-mediated immune responses. Chemical modifications such as 2′-O-methylribonucleotides incorporated adjacent to the immune-stimulatory dinucleotide on the 5′-side abrogate TLR9-mediated immune responses. In this study, we evaluated the effect of the location of immune-stimulatory dinucleotides in ODNs on TLR9-mediated immune responses. We designed and synthesized ODNs with two immune-stimulatory dinucleotides, one placed toward the 5′-end region and the other toward the 3′-end region, incorporated 2′-O-methylribonucleotides selectively preceding the 5′- or 3′-immune-stimulatory dinucleotide or both, and studied TLR9-mediated immune responses of these compounds in cell-based assays and in vivo in mice. These studies showed that an immune-stimulatory dinucleotide located closer to the 5′-end is critical for and dictates TLR9-mediated immune responses. These studies provide insights for the use of ODNs when employed as TLR9 agonists and antagonists or antisense agents.
doi:10.1021/ml300482z
PMCID: PMC4027476  PMID: 24900663
immune stimulation; immune-stimulatory dinucleotide; NF-κB; oligodeoxynucleotides; Toll-like receptor 9
6.  Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of novel antagonist compounds of Toll-like receptors 7, 8 and 9 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(6):3947-3961.
Oligonucleotides containing an immune-stimulatory motif and an immune-regulatory motif act as antagonists of Toll-like receptor (TLR)7 and TLR9. In the present study, we designed and synthesized oligonucleotide-based antagonists of TLR7, 8 and 9 containing a 7-deaza-dG or arabino-G modification in the immune-stimulatory motif and 2′-O-methylribonucleotides as the immune-regulatory motif. We evaluated the biological properties of these novel synthetic oligoribonucleotides as antagonists of TLRs 7, 8 and 9 in murine and human cell-based assays and in vivo in mice and non-human primates. In HEK293, mouse and human cell-based assays, the antagonist compounds inhibited signaling pathways and production of a broad range of cytokines, including tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-12, IL-6, interferon (IFN)-α, IL-1β and interferon gamma-induced protein (IP)-10, mediated by TLR7, 8 and 9. In vivo in mice, the antagonist compounds inhibited TLR7- and TLR9-mediated cytokine induction in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from antagonist compound-treated monkeys secreted lower levels of TLR7-, 8- and 9-mediated cytokines than did PBMCs taken before antagonist administration. The antagonist compounds described herein provide novel agents for the potential treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt078
PMCID: PMC3616729  PMID: 23396449
7.  PKA Knockdown Enhances Cell Killing In Response To Radiation And Androgen Deprivation 
The therapeutic efficacy of Gem®231, a second generation antisense molecule targeted to the RIα subunit of PKARIα (AS-PKA), administered in combination with androgen deprivation (AD) and radiation therapy (RT), was examined in androgen sensitive (LNCaP) and insensitive (PC3) cell lines.
Apoptosis was assayed by Caspase 3+7 activity and AnnexinV binding. AS-PKA significantly increased apoptosis in vitro from RT (both lines), with further increases in LNCaP cells grown in AD medium. In LNCaP cells, AD increased phosphorylated map-kinase (pMAPK), which was reduced by AS-PKA relative to the MM controls. AS-PKA also reduced pMAPK levels in PC3 cells. Cell death was measured by clonogenic survival assays.
In vivo, LNCaP cells were grown orthotopically in nude mice. Tumor kinetics were measured by magnetic resonance imaging and serum prostate-specific antigen. PC3 cells were grown subcutaneously and tumor volume assessed by caliper measurements. In PC3 xenografts, AS-PKA caused a significant increase in tumor doubling time relative to MM controls as a monotherapy or in combination with RT. In orthotopic LNCaP tumors, AS-PKA was ineffective as a monotherapy; however it caused a statistically significant increase in tumor doubling time relative to MM controls when used in combination with AD, with or without RT. PKARIα levels in tumors were quantified via immunohistochemical (IHC) staining and image analysis. IHC measurements in LNCaP cells showed that AS-PKA reduced PKARIα levels in vivo.
We demonstrate for the first time that AS-PKA enhances cell killing androgen sensitive prostate cancer cells to AD±RT and androgen insensitive cells to RT.
doi:10.1002/ijc.25634
PMCID: PMC3391603  PMID: 20960462
Antisense; Protein kinase A; prostate cancer; radiation; androgen deprivation
8.  An In Situ Autologous Tumor Vaccination with Combined Radiation Therapy and TLR9 Agonist Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38111.
Purpose
Recent studies have shown that a new generation of synthetic agonist of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 9 consisting a 3′-3′-attached structure and a dCp7-deaza-dG dinucultodie shows more potent immunostimulatory effects in both mouse and human than conventional CpG oligonucleotides. Radiation therapy (RT) provides a source of tumor antigens that are released from dying, irradiated, tumor cells without causing systemic immunosuppression. We, therefore, examined effect of combining RT with a designer synthetic agonist of TLR9 on anti-tumoral immunity, primary tumor growth retardation and metastases in a murine model of lung cancer.
Methods
Grouped C57BL/6 and congenic B cell deficient mice (B−/−) bearing footpad 3LL tumors were treated with PBS, TLR9 agonist, control oligonucelotide, RT or the combination of RT and TLR9 agonist. Immune phenotype of splenocytes and serum IFN-γ and IL-10 levels were analyzed by FACS and ELISA, 24 h after treatment. Tumor growth, lung metastases and survival rate were monitored and tumor specific antibodies in serum and deposition in tumor tissue were measured by ELISA and immunofluorescence.
Results
TLR9 agonist expanded and activated B cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in wild-type mice and natural killer DCs (NKDCs) in B cell-deficient (B−/−) mice bearing ectopic Lewis lung adenocarcinoma (3LL). Combined RT with TLR9 agonist treatment inhibited 3LL tumor growth in both wild type and B−/− mice. A strong tumor-specific humoral immune response (titer: 1/3200) with deposition of mouse IgG auto-antibodies in tumor tissue were found in wildtype mice, whereas the number of tumor infiltrating NKDCs increased in B−/− mice following RT+ TLR9 agonist therapy. Furthermore, mice receiving combination therapy had fewer lung metastases and a higher survival than single treatment cohorts.
Conclusions
Combination therapy with TLR9 agonist and RT induces systemic anti-tumoral humoral response, augments tumoral infiltration of NKDCs, reduces pulmonary metastases and improves survival in a murine model of 3LL cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038111
PMCID: PMC3364192  PMID: 22666458
9.  TLR9 Agonist Protects Mice from Radiation-Induced Gastrointestinal Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29357.
Purpose
Radiation-induced gastrointestinal syndrome (RIGS) is due to the clonogenic loss of crypt cells and villi depopulation, resulting in disruption of mucosal barrier, bacterial invasion, inflammation and sepsis. Intestinal macrophages could recognize invading bacterial DNA via TLR9 receptors and transmit regenerative signals to the neighboring crypt. We therefore investigated whether systemic administration of designer TLR9 agonist could ameliorate RIGS by activating TLR9.
Methods and Materials
Male C57Bl6 mice were distributed in four experimental cohorts, whole body irradiation (WBI) (8.4–10.4 Gy), TLR9 agonist (1 mg/kg s.c.), 1 h pre- or post-WBI and TLR9 agonist+WBI+iMyd88 (pretreatment with inhibitory peptide against Myd88). Animals were observed for survival and intestine was harvested for histological analysis. BALB/c mice with CT26 colon tumors in abdominal wall were irradiated with 14 Gy single dose of whole abdominal irradiation (AIR) for tumor growth study.
Results
Mice receiving pre-WBI TLR9 agonist demonstrated improvement of survival after 10.4 Gy (p<0.03), 9.4 Gy (p<0.008) and 8.4 Gy (p<0.002) of WBI, compared to untreated or iMyd88-treated controls. Post-WBI TLR9 agonist mitigates up to 8.4 Gy WBI (p<0.01). Histological analysis and xylose absorption test demonstrated significant structural and functional restitution of the intestine in WBI+TLR9 agonist cohorts. Although, AIR reduced tumor growth, all animals died within 12 days from RIGS. TLR9 agonist improved the survival of mice beyond 28 days post-AIR (p<0.008) with significant reduction of tumor growth (p<0.0001).
Conclusions
TLR9 agonist treatment could serve both as a prophylactic or mitigating agent against acute radiation syndrome and also as an adjuvant therapy to increase the therapeutic ratio of abdominal Radiation Therapy for Gastro Intestinal malignancies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029357
PMCID: PMC3251576  PMID: 22238604
10.  Antisense MDM2 Enhances E2F1-Induced Apoptosis and The Combination Sensitizes Androgen Dependent and Independent Prostate Cancer Cells To Radiation 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2008;6(11):1742-1754.
We have previously demonstrated in separate studies that MDM2 knockdown via antisense-MDM2 (AS-MDM2) and E2F1 overexpression via adenoviral-mediated E2F1 (Ad-E2F1) sensitized prostate cancer cells to radiation. Because E2F1 and MDM2 affect apoptosis through both common and independent pathways, we hypothesized that coupling these two treatments would result in increased killing of prostate cancer cells. In this study, the effect of Ad-E2F1 and AS-MDM2 in combination with radiation was investigated in three prostate cancer cell lines: LNCaP; LNCaP-Res (androgen insensitive with functional p53 and androgen receptor [AR]); and PC3 cells (androgen insensitive, p53null and ARnull). A supra-additive radiosensitizing effect was observed in terms of clonogenic inhibition and induction of apoptosis (caspase 3+7 activity) in response to Ad-E2F1 plus AS-MDM2 treatments in all three cell lines. In LNCaP and LNCaP-Res, these combination treatments elevated the levels of phospho-Ser 15-p53 with significant induction of p21waf1/cip1, phospho-γH2AX, PUMA and Bax levels and reduction of AR and bcl-2 expression. Similarly, AR null and p53null PC-3 cells showed elevated levels of Bax and phospho-γH2AX expression. These findings demonstrate that the combination of Ad-E2F1 and AS-MDM2 significantly increases cell death in prostate cancer cells exposed to radiation and that this effect occurs in the presence or absence of AR and p53.
doi:10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-08-0102
PMCID: PMC2763100  PMID: 19010821
Apoptosis; E2F1; AS-MDM2; Prostate; Radiation
11.  ANTISENSE-MDM2 SENSITIZES LNCaP PROSTATE CANCER CELLS TO ANDROGEN DEPRIVATION, RADIATION, AND THE COMBINATION IN VIVO 
Purpose
To test the effects of antisense (AS)-MDM2 alone and with androgen deprivation (AD), radiotherapy (RT), and AD + RT on wild-type LNCaP cells in an orthotopic in vivo model.
Methods
Androgen-sensitive LNCaP cells were grown in the prostates of nude mice. Magnetic resonance imaging–based tumor volume and serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurements were used to assess effects on tumor response. Tumor response was measured by biochemical and tumor volume failure definitions and doubling time estimates from fitted PSA and tumor volume growth curves. Expression of MDM2, p53, p21, and Ki-67 was quantified using immunohistochemical staining and image analysis of formalin-fixed tissue, analogous to methods used clinically.
Results
Antisense-MDM2 significantly inhibited the growth of LNCaP tumors over the mismatch controls. The most significant increase in tumor growth delay and tumor doubling time was from AS-MDM2 + AD + RT, although the effect of AS-MDM2 + AD was substantial. Expression of MDM2 was significantly reduced by AS-MDM2 in the setting of RT.
Conclusions
This is the first in vivo investigation of the effects of AS-MDM2 in an orthotopic model and the first to demonstrate incremental sensitization when added to AD and AD + RT. The results with AD underscore the potential to affect micrometastatic disease, which is probably responsible for treatment failure in 30–40% of men with high-risk disease.
doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.03.047
PMCID: PMC2763094  PMID: 17637390
Antisense-MDM2; Prostate cancer; In vivo tumor model; Radiation; MRI
12.  Antisense MDM2 Enhances the Response of Androgen Insensitive Human Prostate Cancer Cells to Androgen Deprivation In Vitro and In Vivo 
The Prostate  2008;68(6):599-609.
Background
Antisense MDM2 oligonucleotide (AS-MDM2) sensitizes androgen sensitive LNCaP cells to androgen deprivation (AD) in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we investigated the effects of AS-MDM2 combined with AD on androgen resistant LNCaP (LNCaP-Res) and moderately androgen resistant bcl-2 overexpressing LNCaP (LNCaP-BST) cells.
Methods
The LNCaP-Res cell line was generated by culturing LNCaP cells in medium containing charcoal-stripped serum for more than 1 year. Apoptosis was quantified in vitro by Annexin V staining and caspase 3+7 activity. For the in vivo studies, orthotopic tumor growth was monitored by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). AS-MDM2 and the mismatch control were given by i.p. injection at doses of 25 mg/kg per day, 5 days/week for 15 days.
Results
LNCaP-Res cells expressed high levels of androgen receptor (AR) and bcl-2, and displayed no growth inhibition to AD. AS-MDM2 caused significant reductions in MDM2 and AR expression, and increases in p53 and p21 expression in both cell lines. AS-MDM2 + AD resulted in the highest levels of apoptosis in vitro and tumor growth inhibition in vivo in both cell lines; although, these effects were less pronounced in LNCaP-BST cells.
Conclusions
AS-MDM2 + AD enhanced apoptotic cell death in vitro and tumor growth inhibition in vivo in androgen resistant cell lines. The action of AS-MDM2 + AD was influenced somewhat by bcl-2 expression as an isolated change (LNCaP-BST cells), but not when accompanied by other molecular changes associated with androgen insensitivity (LNCaP-Res cells). MDM2 knockdown has promise for the treatment of men with early hormone refractory disease.
doi:10.1002/pros.20731
PMCID: PMC2763092  PMID: 18196567
antisense; MDM2; androgen deprivation; prostate cancer
13.  Impact of Secondary Structure of Toll-Like Receptor 9 Agonists on Interferon Alpha Induction ▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2008;52(12):4320-4325.
Oligodeoxynucleotides containing a CpG motif and double- or multistranded structure-forming sequences act as agonists of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) and induce high levels of interferon alpha (IFN-α) in addition to other Th1-type cytokines. In the present study, we evaluated three highly effective IFN-α-inducing agonists of TLR9 to determine the type of duplex structures formed and the agonist's ability to induce immune responses, including IFN-α induction, in human cell-based assays and in vivo in mice and nonhuman primates. Thermal melting studies showed that two of the agonists evaluated had a single melting transition with similar hyperchromicity in both heating and cooling cycles, suggesting the formation of intermolecular duplexes. A third agonist showed a biphasic melting transition in the heating cycle and a monophasic melting transition with lower hyperchromicity during the cooling cycle, suggesting the formation of both intra- and intermolecular duplexes. All three agonists induced the production of Th1-type cytokines and chemokines, including high levels of IFN-α, in human peripheral blood mononuclear cell and plasmacytoid dendritic cell cultures. Subcutaneous administration of the two intermolecular duplex-forming agonists, but not the intramolecular duplex-forming agonist, induced cytokine secretion in mice. In nonhuman primates, the two agonists that formed intermolecular duplexes induced IFN-α and IP-10 secretion. On the contrary, the agonist that formed an intramolecular duplex induced only low levels of cytokines in nonhuman primates, suggesting that this type of structure formation is less immunostimulatory in vivo than the other structure. Taken together, the present results suggest that oligonucleotide-based agonists of TLR9 that form intermolecular duplexes induce potent immune responses in vivo.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00701-08
PMCID: PMC2592873  PMID: 18852281
14.  Novel oligodeoxynucleotide agonists of TLR9 containing N3-Me-dC or N1-Me-dG modifications 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(11):3231-3238.
Synthetic oligodeoxynucleotides containing unmethylated CpG motifs activate Toll-Like Receptor 9 (TLR9). Our previous studies have shown the role of hydrogen-bond donor and acceptor groups of cytosine and guanine in the CpG motif and identified synthetic immunostimulatory motifs. In the present study to elucidate the significance of N3-position of cytosine and N1-position of guanine in the CpG motif, we substituted C or G of a CpG dinucleotide with N3-Me-cytosine or N1-Me-guanine, respectively, in immunomodulatory oligodeoxynucleotides (IMOs). IMOs containing N-Me-cytosine or N-Me-guanine in C- or G-position, respectively, of the CpG dinucleotide showed activation of HEK293 cells expressing TLR9, but not TLR3, 7 or 8. IMOs containing N-Me-cytosine or N-Me-guanine modification showed activity in mouse spleen cell cultures, in vivo in mice, and in human cell cultures. In addition, IMOs containing N-Me-substitutions reversed antigen-induced Th2 immune responses towards a Th1-type in OVA-sensitized mouse spleen cell cultures. These studies suggest that TLR9 tolerates a methyl group at N1-position of G and a methyl group at N3-position of C may interfere with TLR9 activation to some extent. These are the first studies elucidating the role of N3-position of cytosine and N1-position of guanine in a CpG motif for TLR9 activation and immune stimulation.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkl430
PMCID: PMC1904100  PMID: 16798912
15.  Divergent synthetic nucleotide motif recognition pattern: design and development of potent immunomodulatory oligodeoxyribonucleotide agents with distinct cytokine induction profiles 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(9):2393-2400.
Unmethylated CpG dinucleotides present within certain specific sequence contexts in bacterial and synthetic DNA stimulate innate immune responses and induce cytokine secretion. Recently, we showed that CpG DNAs containing two 5′-ends, immunomers, are more potent in both regards. In this study, we show that an immunomer containing a synthetic CpR motif (R = 2′-deoxy-7-deazaguanosine) is a potent immunostimulatory agent. However, the profile of cytokine induction is different from that with immunomers containing a natural CpG motif. In general, a CpR immunomer induced higher interleukin (IL)-12 and lower IL-6 secretion. Compared with conventional CpG DNAs, both types of immunomers showed a rapid and enhanced activation of the transcription factor NF-κB in J774 cells. NF-κB activation by CpG DNA corresponded to degradation of IκBα in J774 cells. All three immunostimulatory oligonucleotides activated the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway as expected. Immunomers containing CpG and CpR motifs showed potent reversal of the antigen-induced Th2 immune response towards a Th1 type in antigen-sensitized mouse spleen cell cultures. Immunomers containing a CpR motif showed significant antitumor activity in nude mice bearing MCF-7 human breast cancer and U87MG glioblastoma xenografts. These studies suggest the ability for a divergent synthetic nucleotide motif recognition pattern of the receptor involved in the immunostimulatory pathway and the possibility of using synthetic nucleotides to elicit different cytokine response patterns.
PMCID: PMC154229  PMID: 12711684
16.  ‘Immunomers’—novel 3′–3′-linked CpG oligodeoxyribonucleotides as potent immunomodulatory agents 
Nucleic Acids Research  2002;30(20):4460-4469.
Oligodeoxyribonucleotides containing CpG dinucleotides (CpG DNAs) are currently being evaluated as novel immunomodulators in clinical trials. Recently, we showed that an accessible 5′ end is required for immunostimulatory activity and blocking the 5′ end of CpG DNA by conjugation of certain ligands abrogates immunostimulatory activity. Based on these results, we designed and synthesized 3′–3′-linked CpG DNAs that contained two or more identical CpG DNA segments, referred to here as ‘immunomers’. The use of solid support bearing diDMT-glyceryl-linker permitted convenient synthesis of immunomers with both segments synthesized simultaneously, giving better yields and purity. The in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that as a result of accessibility to two 5′ ends for recognition, immunomers show an enhanced immunostimulatory activity compared with linear CpG DNAs. We also studied the suitability of a number of different linkers for attaching the two segments of immunomers. A C3-linker was found to be optimal for joining the two segments of immunomers. Incorporation of multiple linkers between the two segments of immunomers resulted in different cytokine profiles depending on the nature and number of linkers incorporated. Additionally, the length of immunomer also plays a significant role in inducing immune responses. An immunomer containing 11 nt in each segment showed the highest activity and an 11mer linear CpG DNA failed to stimulate an immune response. These results suggest that immunomers have several advantages over conventional linear CpG DNAs for immunomodulatory activity studies.
PMCID: PMC137145  PMID: 12384593
17.  Anti-tumor efficacy of a novel antisense anti-MDM2 mixed-backbone oligonucleotide in human colon cancer models: p53-dependent and p53-independent mechanisms. 
Molecular Medicine  2002;8(4):185-199.
BACKGROUND: The MDM2 oncogene is amplified or overexpressed in many human cancers and MDM2 levels are associated with poor prognosis. MDM2 not only serves as a negative regulator of p53 but also has p53-independent activities. This study investigates the functions of the MDM2 oncogene in colon cancer growth and the potential value of MDM2 as a drug target for cancer therapy, by inhibiting MDM2 expression with an antisense anti-human-MDM2 oligonucleotide. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The selected antisense mixed-backbone oligonucleotide was evaluated for its in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity in human colon cancer models: LS174T cell line containing wild-type p53 and DLD-1 cell line containing mutant p53. The levels of MDM2, p53 and p21 proteins were quantified by Western blot analysis. RESULTS: In vitro antitumor activity was found in both cell lines, resulting from specific inhibition of MDM2 expression. In vivo antitumor activity of the oligonucleotide occurred in a dose-dependent manner in both models and synergistically or additive therapeutic effects of MDM2 inhibition and the cancer chemotherapeutic agents 10-hydroxycamptothecin and 5-fluorouracil were also observed. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that MDM2 have a role in tumor growth through both p53-dependent and p53- independent mechanisms. We speculate that MDM2 inhibitors have a broad spectrum of antitumor activities in human cancers regardless of p53 status. This study should provide a basis for future development of anti-MDM2 antisense oligonucleotides as cancer therapeutic agents used alone or in combination with conventional chemotherapeutics.
PMCID: PMC2039984  PMID: 12149568
18.  Immunostimulatory properties of phosphorothioate CpG DNA containing both 3′–5′- and 2′–5′-internucleotide linkages 
Nucleic Acids Research  2002;30(7):1613-1619.
Synthetic oligodeoxyribonucleotides containing CpG-dinucleotides (CpG DNA) in specific sequence contexts activate the vertebrate immune system. We have examined the effect of 3′-deoxy-2′–5′-ribonucleoside (3′-deoxynucleoside) incorporation into CpG DNA on the immunostimulatory activity. Incorporation of 3′-deoxynucleosides results in the formation of 2′–5′-internucleotide linkages in an otherwise 3′–5′-linked CpG DNA. In studies, both in vitro and in vivo, CpG DNA containing unnatural 3′-deoxynucleoside either within the CpG-dinucleotide or adjacent to the CpG-dinucleotide failed to induce immunostimulatory activity, suggesting that the modification was not recognized by the receptors. Incorporation of the same modification distal to the CpG-dinucleotide in the 5′-flanking sequence potentiated the immunostimulatory activity of the CpG DNA. The same modification when incorporated in the 3′-flanking sequence had an insignificant effect on immunostimulatory activity of CpG DNA. Interestingly, substitution of a 3′-deoxynucleoside in the 5′-flanking sequence distal to the CpG-dinucleotide resulted in increased IL-6 and IL-10 secretion with similar levels of IL-12 compared with parent CpG DNA. The incorporation of the same modification in the 3′-flanking sequence resulted in lower IL-6 and IL-10 secretion with similar levels of IL-12 compared with parent CpG DNA. These results suggest that site-specific incorporation of 3′-deoxynucleotides in CpG DNA modulates immunostimulatory properties.
PMCID: PMC101845  PMID: 11917022
19.  Effect of 2′-O-methyl antisense ORNs on expression of thymidylate synthase in human colon cancer RKO cells 
Nucleic Acids Research  2001;29(2):415-422.
Translation of thymidylate synthase (TS) mRNA is controlled by its own protein end-product TS in a negative autoregulatory manner. Disruption of this regulation results in increased synthesis of TS and may lead to the development of cellular drug resistance to TS-directed anticancer agents. As a strategy to inhibit TS expression, antisense 2′-O-methyl RNA oligoribonucleotides (ORNs) were designed to directly target the 5′ upstream cis-acting regulatory element (nucleotides 80–109) of TS mRNA. A 30 nt ORN, HYB0432, inhibited TS expression in human colon cancer RKO cells in a dose-dependent manner but had no effect on the expression of β-actin, α-tubulin or topoisomerase I. TS expression was unaffected by treatment with control sense or mismatched ORNs. HYB0504, an 18 nt ORN targeting the same core sequence, also repressed expression of TS protein. However, further reduction in oligo size resulted in loss of antisense activity. Following HYB0432 treatment, TS protein levels were reduced by 60% within 6 h and were maximally reduced by 24 h. Expression of p53 protein was inversely related to that of TS, suggesting that p53 expression may be directly linked to intracellular levels of TS. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that TS mRNA was unaffected by HYB0432 treatment. The half-life of TS protein was unchanged after antisense treatment suggesting that the mechanism of action of antisense ORNs is mediated through a process of translational arrest. These findings demonstrate that an antisense ORN targeted at a critical cis-acting element on TS mRNA can specifically inhibit expression of TS protein in RKO cells.
PMCID: PMC29681  PMID: 11139611
20.  Heat shock protein 70 prevents secretagogue-induced cell injury in the pancreas by preventing intracellular trypsinogen activation 
Rodents given a supramaximally stimulating dose of cholecystokinin or its analogue cerulein develop acute pancreatitis with acinar cell injury, pancreatic inflammation, and intrapancreatic digestive enzyme (i.e., trypsinogen) activation. Prior thermal stress is associated with heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) expression and protection against cerulein-induced pancreatitis. However, thermal stress can also induce expression of other HSPs. The current studies were performed using an in vitro system to determine whether HSP70 can actually mediate protection against pancreatitis and, if so, to define the mechanism underlying that protection. We show that in vitro exposure of freshly prepared rat pancreas fragments to a supramaximally stimulating dose of cerulein results in changes similar to those noted in cerulein-induced pancreatitis, i.e., intra-acinar cell trypsinogen activation and acinar cell injury. Short-term culture of the fragments results in HSP70 expression and loss of the pancreatitis-like changes noted after addition of cerulein. The culture-induced enhanced HSP70 expression can be prevented by addition of either the flavonoid antioxidant quercetin or an antisense oligonucleotide to HSP70. Under these latter conditions, addition of a supramaximally stimulating concentration of cerulein results in trypsinogen activation and acinar cell injury. These findings indicate that the protection against cerulein-induced pancreatitis that follows culture-induced (and possibly thermal) stress is mediated by HSP70. They suggest that the HSP acts by preventing trypsinogen activation within acinar cells.
PMCID: PMC314357  PMID: 10880051

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