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1.  The MLL recombinome of acute leukemias in 2017 
Leukemia  2017;32(2):273-284.
Chromosomal rearrangements of the human MLL/KMT2A gene are associated with infant, pediatric, adult and therapy-induced acute leukemias. Here we present the data obtained from 2345 acute leukemia patients. Genomic breakpoints within the MLL gene and the involved translocation partner genes (TPGs) were determined and 11 novel TPGs were identified. Thus, a total of 135 different MLL rearrangements have been identified so far, of which 94 TPGs are now characterized at the molecular level. In all, 35 out of these 94 TPGs occur recurrently, but only 9 specific gene fusions account for more than 90% of all illegitimate recombinations of the MLL gene. We observed an age-dependent breakpoint shift with breakpoints localizing within MLL intron 11 associated with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and younger patients, while breakpoints in MLL intron 9 predominate in AML or older patients. The molecular characterization of MLL breakpoints suggests different etiologies in the different age groups and allows the correlation of functional domains of the MLL gene with clinical outcome. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the MLL recombinome in acute leukemia and demonstrates that the establishment of patient-specific chromosomal fusion sites allows the design of specific PCR primers for minimal residual disease analyses for all patients.
doi:10.1038/leu.2017.213
PMCID: PMC5808070  PMID: 28701730
2.  Transmissible cytotoxicity of multiple myeloma cells by cord blood-derived NK cells is mediated by vesicle trafficking 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2014;22(1):96-107.
Natural killer cells (NK) are important effectors of anti-tumor immunity, activated either by the downregulation of HLA-I molecules on tumor cells and/or the interaction of NK-activating receptors with ligands that are overexpressed on target cells upon tumor transformation (including NKG2D and NKP30). NK kill target cells by the vesicular delivery of cytolytic molecules such as Granzyme-B and Granulysin activating different cell death pathways, which can be Caspase-3 dependent or Caspase-3 independent. Multiple myeloma (MM) remains an incurable neoplastic plasma-cell disorder. However, we previously reported the encouraging observation that cord blood-derived NK (CB-NK), a new source of NK, showed anti-tumor activity in an in vivo murine model of MM and confirmed a correlation between high levels of NKG2D expression by MM cells and increased efficacy of CB-NK in reducing tumor burden. We aimed to characterize the mechanism of CB-NK-mediated cytotoxicity against MM cells. We show a Caspase-3- and Granzyme-B-independent cell death, and we reveal a mechanism of transmissible cell death between cells, which involves lipid–protein vesicle transfer from CB-NK to MM cells. These vesicles are secondarily transferred from recipient MM cells to neighboring MM cells amplifying the initial CB-NK cytotoxicity achieved. This indirect cytotoxicity involves the transfer of NKG2D and NKP30 and leads to lysosomal cell death and decreased levels of reactive oxygen species in MM cells. These findings suggest a novel and unique mechanism of CB-NK cytotoxicity against MM cells and highlight the importance of lipids and lipid transfer in this process. Further, these data provide a rationale for the development of CB-NK-based cellular therapies in the treatment of MM.
doi:10.1038/cdd.2014.120
PMCID: PMC4262774  PMID: 25168239
3.  Human recombinant glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase 1 (GOT1) supplemented with oxaloacetate induces a protective effect after cerebral ischemia 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(1):e992-.
Blood glutamate scavenging is a novel and attractive protecting strategy to reduce the excitotoxic effect of extracellular glutamate released during ischemic brain injury. Glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase 1 (GOT1) activation by means of oxaloacetate administration has been used to reduce the glutamate concentration in the blood. However, the protective effect of the administration of the recombinant GOT1 (rGOT1) enzyme has not been yet addressed in cerebral ischemia. The aim of this study was to analyze the protective effect of an effective dose of oxaloacetate and the human rGOT1 alone and in combination with a non-effective dose of oxaloacetate in an animal model of ischemic stroke. Sixty rats were subjected to a transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Infarct volumes were assessed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) before treatment administration, and 24 h and 7 days after MCAO. Brain glutamate levels were determined by in vivo MR spectroscopy (MRS) during artery occlusion (80 min) and reperfusion (180 min). GOT activity and serum glutamate concentration were analyzed during the occlusion and reperfusion period. Somatosensory test was performed at baseline and 7 days after MCAO. The three treatments tested induced a reduction in serum and brain glutamate levels, resulting in a reduction in infarct volume and sensorimotor deficit. Protective effect of rGOT1 supplemented with oxaloacetate at 7 days persists even when treatment was delayed until at least 2 h after onset of ischemia. In conclusion, our findings indicate that the combination of human rGOT1 with low doses of oxaloacetate seems to be a successful approach for stroke treatment
doi:10.1038/cddis.2013.507
PMCID: PMC4040715  PMID: 24407245
animal model; cerebral ischemia; GOT; glutamate; neuroprotection; oxaloacetate
4.  Mesenchymal stem cells and their use as cell replacement therapy and disease modelling tool 
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from adult somatic tissues may differentiate in vitro and in vivo into multiple mesodermal tissues including bone, cartilage, adipose tissue, tendon, ligament or even muscle. MSCs preferentially home to damaged tissues where they exert their therapeutic potential. A striking feature of the MSCs is their low inherent immunogenicity as they induce little, if any, proliferation of allogeneic lymphocytes and antigen-presenting cells. Instead, MSCs appear to be immunosuppressive in vitro. Their multi-lineage differentiation potential coupled to their immuno-privileged properties is being exploited worldwide for both autologous and allo-geneic cell replacement strategies. Here, we introduce the readers to the biology of MSCs and the mechanisms underlying immune tolerance. We then outline potential cell replacement strategies and clinical applications based on the MSCs immunological properties. Ongoing clinical trials for graft-versus-host-disease, haematopoietic recovery after co-transplantation of MSCs along with haematopoietic stem cells and tissue repair are discussed. Finally, we review the emerging area based on the use of MSCs as a target cell subset for either spontaneous or induced neoplastic transformation and, for modelling non-haematological mesenchymal cancers such as sarcomas.
doi:10.1111/j.1582-4934.2008.00516.x
PMCID: PMC3828873  PMID: 19210755
mesenchymal stem cells; immune tolerance; cell replacement therapies; differentiation; neoplastic cell transformation; clinical trials
5.  The MLL recombinome of acute leukemias in 2013 
Leukemia  2013;27(11):2165-2176.
Chromosomal rearrangements of the human MLL (mixed lineage leukemia) gene are associated with high-risk infant, pediatric, adult and therapy-induced acute leukemias. We used long-distance inverse-polymerase chain reaction to characterize the chromosomal rearrangement of individual acute leukemia patients. We present data of the molecular characterization of 1590 MLL-rearranged biopsy samples obtained from acute leukemia patients. The precise localization of genomic breakpoints within the MLL gene and the involved translocation partner genes (TPGs) were determined and novel TPGs identified. All patients were classified according to their gender (852 females and 745 males), age at diagnosis (558 infant, 416 pediatric and 616 adult leukemia patients) and other clinical criteria. Combined data of our study and recently published data revealed a total of 121 different MLL rearrangements, of which 79 TPGs are now characterized at the molecular level. However, only seven rearrangements seem to be predominantly associated with illegitimate recombinations of the MLL gene (∼90%): AFF1/AF4, MLLT3/AF9, MLLT1/ENL, MLLT10/AF10, ELL, partial tandem duplications (MLL PTDs) and MLLT4/AF6, respectively. The MLL breakpoint distributions for all clinical relevant subtypes (gender, disease type, age at diagnosis, reciprocal, complex and therapy-induced translocations) are presented. Finally, we present the extending network of reciprocal MLL fusions deriving from complex rearrangements.
doi:10.1038/leu.2013.135
PMCID: PMC3826032  PMID: 23628958
MLL; chromosomal translocations; translocation partner genes; acute leukemia; ALL; AML

Results 1-5 (5)