We had previously identified a new family of human endogenous retrovirus-like elements, the HERV-L elements (human endogenous retrovirus with leucine tRNA primer), whose pol gene was most closely related to that of the foamy viruses. HERV-L pol-related sequences were also detected in other mammalian species. The recent cloning of the mouse Fv1 gene (S. Best, P. Le Tissier, G. Towers, and J. P. Stoye, Nature 382:826-829, 1996) has shed light on another HERV-L domain--identified as a gag gene based on its location within the provirus--which was found to be 60% identical, at the nucleotide level, to the Fv1 open reading frame (ORF). We have now cloned the murine homolog of HERV-L which, in contrast to HERV-L, displays fully open reading frames in the gag and pol genes. Its predicted Gag protein shares 43% identity with the Fv1 ORF product. Moreover, the characteristic major homology region of the capsid subdomain can be identified within both proteins, thus strongly emphasizing the gag-like origin of Fv1.
The human germ cell tumor line Tera-1 produces retroviral particles which are encoded by the human endogenous retrovirus family HERV-K(HML-2). We show here, by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR, that HML-2 gag and env RNA transcripts are selectively packaged into Tera-1 retroviral particles, whereas RNAs from cellular housekeeping genes and from other HERV families (HERV-H and HERV-W) are nonselectively copackaged. Assignment of cloned HML-2 gag and env cDNAs from Tera-1 retroviral particles to individual HML-2 loci in the human genome demonstrated that HML-2 RNA transcripts packaged into Tera-1 retroviral particles originate almost exclusively from an HML-2 provirus on chromosome 22q11.21. Based on relative cloning frequencies, this provirus was the most active among a total of eight transcribed HML-2 loci identified in Tera-1 cells. These data suggest that at least one HML-2 element, that is, the HML-2 provirus on 22q11.21, has retained the capacity for packaging RNA into HML-2-encoded retroviral particles. Given its elevated transcriptional activity and the presence of a full-length Gag open reading frame, the 22q11.21 HML-2 provirus may also significantly contribute to Gag protein and thus particle production in Tera-1 cells. Our findings provide important clues to the generation and biological properties of HML-2-encoded particles. In addition, copackaging of non-HML-2 HERV transcripts in HML-2-encoded particles should inform the debate about endogenous retroviral particles putatively encoded by non-HML-2 HERV families that have previously been described for other human diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder, resulting from complex interactions among genetic, genomic and environmental factors. Here we have studied the expression of Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs), non-coding DNA elements with potential regulatory functions, and have tested their possible implication in autism.
The presence of retroviral mRNAs from four HERV families (E, H, K and W), widely implicated in complex diseases, was evaluated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from ASD patients and healthy controls (HCs) by qualitative RT-PCR. We also analyzed the expression of the env sequence from HERV-H, HERV-W and HERV-K families in PBMCs at the time of sampling and after stimulation in culture, in both ASD and HC groups, by quantitative Real-time PCR. Differences between groups were evaluated using statistical methods.
The percentage of HERV-H and HERV-W positive samples was higher among ASD patients compared to HCs, while HERV-K was similarly represented and HERV-E virtually absent in both groups. The quantitative evaluation shows that HERV-H and HERV-W are differentially expressed in the two groups, with HERV-H being more abundantly expressed and, conversely, HERV-W, having lower abundance, in PBMCs from ASDs compared to healthy controls. PMBCs from ASDs also showed an increased potential to up-regulate HERV-H expression upon stimulation in culture, unlike HCs. Furthermore we report a negative correlation between expression levels of HERV-H and age among ASD patients and a statistically significant higher expression in ASD patients with Severe score in Communication and Motor Psychoeducational Profile-3.
Specific HERV families have a distinctive expression profile in ASD patients compared to HCs. We propose that HERV-H expression be explored in larger samples of individuals with autism spectrum in order to determine its utility as a novel biological trait of this complex disorder.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with higher levels of autoantibodies and IL-17. Here, we investigated if ectopic lymphoid follicles and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from RA patients exhibit increased activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), and if increased AID is correlated with serum levels of autoantibodies and IL-17. The results of immunohistochemical staining showed that organized germinal centers were observed in 6 of the 12 RA synovial samples, and AID+ cells were found almost exclusively in the B-cell areas of these follicles. Aggregated but not organized lymphoid follicles were found in only one OA synovial sample without AID+ cells. Significantly higher levels of AID mRNA (Aicda) detected by RT-PCR were found in the PBMCs from RA patients than PBMCs from normal controls (p<0.01). In the PBMCs from RA patients, AID was expressed predominately by the CD10+IgM+CD20+ B-cell population and the percentage of these cells that expressed AID was significantly higher than in normal controls (p < 0.01). Aicda expression in the PBMCs correlated significantly and positively with the serum levels of rheumatoid factor (RF) (p ≤ 0.0001) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) (p = 0.0005). Serum levels of IFN-γ (p = 0.0005) and IL-17 (p = 0.007), but not IL-4, also exhibited positive correlation with the expression of AID. These results suggest that the higher levels of AID expression in B cells of RA patients correlate with, and may be associated with the higher levels of T helper cell cytokines IFN-γ and IL-17, leading to the development of anti-CCP and RF.
An unidentified population of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) express Ras guanine nucleotide releasing protein 4 (RasGRP4). The aim of our study was to identify the cells in human blood that express hRasGRP4, and then to determine if hRasGRP4 was altered in any patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Monocytes and T cells were purified from PBMCs of normal individuals, and were evaluated for their expression of RasGRP4 mRNA/protein. The levels of RasGRP4 transcripts were evaluated in the PBMCs from healthy volunteers and RA patients by real-time quantitative PCR. The nucleotide sequences of RasGRP4 cDNAs were also determined. RasGRP4 protein expression in PBMCs/monocytes was evaluated. Recombinant hRasGRP4 was expressed in mammalian cells.
Circulating CD14+ cells in normal individuals were found to express hRasGRP4. The levels of the hRasGRP4 transcript were significantly higher in the PBMCs of our RA patients relative to healthy individuals. Sequence analysis of hRasGRP4 cDNAs from these PBMCs revealed 10 novel splice variants. Aberrantly spliced hRasGRP4 transcripts were more frequent in the RA patients than in normal individuals. The presence of one of these abnormal splice variants was linked to RA. The levels of hRasGRP4 protein in PBMCs tended to be lower. As expected, the defective transcripts led to altered and/or nonfunctional protein in terms of P44/42 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase activation.
The identification of defective isoforms of hRasGRP4 transcripts in the PBMCs of RA patients raises the possibility that dysregulated expression of hRasGRP4 in developing monocytes plays a pathogenic role in a subset of RA patients.
A human endogenous retrovirus-like element (HERV), flanked by long terminal repeats of 502 and 495 nucleotides is inserted into the human pleiotrophin (PTN) gene upstream of the open reading frame. Based on its Glu-tRNA primer binding site specificity and the location within the PTN gene, we named this element HERV-E.PTN. HERV-E.PTN appears to be a recombined viral element based on its high homology (70 to 86%) in distinct areas to members of two distantly related HERV type C families, HERV-E and retrovirus-like element I (RTVL-I). Furthermore, its pseudogene region is organized from 5′ to 3′ into gag-, pol-, env-, pol-, env-similar sequences. Interestingly, full-length and partial HERV-E.PTN-homologous sequences were found in the human X chromosome, the human hereditary haemochromatosis region, and the BRCA1 pseudogene. Finally, Southern analyses indicate that the HERV-E.PTN element is present in the PTN gene of humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas but not of rhesus monkeys, suggesting that genomic insertion occurred after the separation of monkeys and apes about 25 million years ago.
Human endogenous retrovirus type K (HERV-K) transcripts are upregulated in the plasma of HIV-infected individuals and have been considered as targets for an HIV vaccine. We evaluated cynomolgus macaque endogenous retrovirus (CyERV) mRNA expression by RT-qPCR in PBMCs isolated from a cohort of animals previously utilized in a live attenuated SIV vaccine trial. CyERV env transcript levels decreased following vaccination (control and vaccine groups) and CyERV env and gag mRNA expression was decreased following acute SIV-infection, whereas during chronic SIV infection, CyERV transcript levels were indistinguishable from baseline. Reduced susceptibility to initial SIV infection, as measured by the number of SIV challenges required for infection, was associated with increased CyERV transcript levels in PBMCs. In vitro analysis revealed that SIV infection of purified CD4+ T-cells did not alter CyERV gene expression. This study represents the first evaluation of ERV expression in cynomolgus macaques following SIV infection, in an effort to assess the utility of cynomolgus macaques as an animal model to evaluate ERVs as a target for an HIV/SIV vaccine. This non-human primate model system does not recapitulate what has been observed to date in the plasma of HIV-infected humans suggesting that further investigation at the cellular level is required to elucidate the impact of HIV/SIV infection on endogenous retrovirus expression.
The pathogenic roles of myeloid DAP12-associating lectin-1(MDL-1) and DAP12 in human rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remain unknown. Frequencies of MDL-1-expressing monocytes in 22 active RA patients, 16 inactive RA patients, 12 osteoarthritis (OA) patients and 10 healthy controls (HC) were determined by flow-cytometry analysis. The mRNA expression levels of MDL-1 and DAP12 on PBMCs were evaluated by quantitative PCR, and their protein expression levels in the synovium were examined by immunohistochemistry. Significantly higher median percentages of circulating MDL-1-expressing monocytes were observed in active RA patients (53.6%) compared to inactive RA patients (34.1%), OA patients (27.9%), and HC (21.2%). Levels of MDL-1 and DAP12 gene expression in PBMCs and their protein expression in the synovium were significantly higher in active RA patients than in inactive RA or OA patients. MDL-1 levels were positively correlated with parameters of disease activity, articular damage, and levels of proinflammatory cytokines. MDL-1 activator (Dengue virus type 2 antigen) stimulation on PBMCs resulted in significantly enhanced levels of proinflammatory cytokines in RA patients compared to those in OA patients or HC, indicating that MDL-1 activation is functional. Frequencies of MDL-1-expressing monocytes and levels of MDL-1 and DAP12 gene expression significantly decreased after effective therapy. Concordant overexpression of MDL-1 and DAP12 were correlated with increased production of proinflammatory cytokines in RA patients, suggesting their roles in regulating articular inflammation.
Human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) is the most intact retrovirus in the human genome. However, no single HERV-K provirus in the human genome today appears to be infectious. Since the Gag protein is the central component for the production of retrovirus particles, we investigated the abilities of Gag from two HERV-K proviruses to support production of virus-like particles and viral infectivity. HERV-K113 has full-length open reading frames for all viral proteins, while HERV-K101 has a full-length gag open reading frame and is expressed in human male germ cell tumors. The Gag of HERV-K101 allowed production of viral particles and infectivity, although at lower levels than observed with a consensus sequence Gag. Thus, including HERV-K109, at least two HERV-K proviruses in human genome today have functional Gag proteins. In contrast, HERV-K113 Gag supported only very low levels of particle production, and no infectivity was detectable due to a single amino acid substitution (I516M) near the extreme C terminus of the CA protein within Gag. The sequence of this portion of HERV-K CA showed similarities to that of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and other primate immunodeficiency viruses. The extreme C terminus of CA may be a general determinant of retrovirus particle production. In addition, precise mapping of the defects in HERV-K proviruses as was done here identifies the key polymorphisms that need to be analyzed to assess the possible existence of infectious HERV-K alleles within the human population.
Human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) is the most intact retrovirus in the human genome. There are multiple full-length or near full-length HERV-K proviruses in it. To analyze which HERV-K proviruses give rise to viral transcripts in cancer cell lines and to test whether ionizing radiation can alter the levels of HERV-K transcripts, RT-PCR studies were undertaken using multiple human cancer cell lines. Primers from several positions in the viral genome were used and included pairs designed to cross splice junctions in viral RNAs. In the absence of ionizing radiation, transcripts were detected from multiple HERV-K proviruses in cell lines from human prostate, cervical, head and neck, or breast cancers, and the proviruses from which the transcripts originated varied among the different lines. Only one of 13 cell lines tested (cervical cancer line C33A) failed to show HERV-K transcripts. Spliced RNAs detected included viral RNAs spliced as expected at the conventional viral splice sites, plus several alternatively spliced RNAs. Alternatively spliced transcripts arose from specific proviruses, and were detected in most of the cell lines used. Quantitative RT-PCR was performed to assess the effects of ionizing radiation. These analyses showed that HERV-K transcripts were elevated in four of twelve lines tested, specifically all three prostate cancer lines used and one breast cancer line. The increases were transient, peaking at 24 hours following a single dose of gamma-irradiation that ranged from 2.5 to 20 Gy, and returning to baseline levels by 72 hours. In summary, these studies showed that ionizing radiation can affect the levels of HERV-K transcripts in cells, and these effects vary among different cells. The changes in HERV-K transcript levels might affect multiple biological processes in cells, and future studies of the effects of ionizing radiation on HERV-K are worth pursuing.
Objective: Retrovirus has been suggested as one of agents involved in the development of schizophrenia. In the present study, we examined the role of the human endogenous retrovirus W family (HERV-W) env gene in the etiopathogenesis of recent-onset schizophrenia, using molecular and epidemiological approaches. Methods: Nested RT-PCR was used to detect the messenger RNA (mRNA) of the HERV-w env gene in plasmas. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was employed to detect the viral reverse transcriptase activity in human sera. Human U251 glioma cells were used to study the potential role of the HERV-W env gene in the etiopathogenesis of recent-onset schizophrenia. Results: We identified genes with mRNA sequences homologous to HERV-W env gene from plasmas of 42 out of 118 individuals with recent-onset schizophrenia but not from any of 106 normal persons (P < .01, t test). Quantitative real-time PCR showed a significantly increase in the reverse transcriptase activity in the sera of patients (by 35.59%) compared with controls (by 2.83%) (P < .05, t test). Overexpression of HERV-w env in human U251 glioma cells upregulated brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important schizophrenia-associated gene, neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor type 2 (NTRK2, also called TrkB), and dopamine receptor D3 and increased the phosphorylation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element–binding (CREB) protein. BDNF promoter reporter gene assays showed that the HERV-W env triggers BDNF production in human U251 glioma cells. Using gene knockdown, we found that CREB is required for the expression of BDNF that is regulated by env. Conclusion: Our data revealed that the transcriptional activation of HERV is associated with the development of schizophrenia in some patients and indicated that HERV-W env regulates the expression of schizophrenia-associated genes. This report is the first to elucidate the signaling pathway responsible for the upregulation of HERV-W env–triggered BDNF. Our study provides new evidence for the involvement of HERV-W in the central nervous system, which will benefit the diagnosis and treatment of the devastating schizophrenia and related disorders.
schizophrenia; HERV-W; env; Human U251 glioma cells; DRD3; BDNF; siRNA
Prior studies have suggested an association of human retrovirus 5 with rheumatoid arthritis. The purpose of this study was to determine if human retrovirus-5 proviral DNA is present in synovial tissue and blood specimens from patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, or those without joint disease.
Synovial tissue and whole blood from 75 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 75 patients with osteoarthritis, and 50 patients without a primary arthritis diagnosis were assayed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using primers that amplify a 186-bp fragment of human retrovirus-5 proviral DNA.
A total of 200 tissue specimens, 200 mononuclear cells, and 196 of 200 granulocyte specimens tested negative for human retrovirus-5 proviral DNA. No association between human retrovirus 5 and rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis (P = 0.516) was identified. Granulocyte specimens from 4 patients, 2 with rheumatoid arthritis and 2 with osteoarthritis, yielded a low positive human retrovirus-5 proviral DNA signal (83–1,365 copies of human retrovirus-5 proviral DNA/ml blood).
Contrary to prior reports, we did not find an association between human retrovirus 5 and rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis using a real-time PCR assay. Our findings are consistent with the recent finding that human retrovirus 5 is actually rabbit endogenous retrovirus H.
Human retrovirus-5; Rheumatoid arthritis; Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis(RA) is a common autoimmune disease associated with Th17 cells, but what about the effect of high-mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB1) and the relationship between Th17-associated factors and HMGB1 in RA remains unknown. In the present study, we investigated the mRNA levels of HMGB1, RORγt, and IL-17 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis by quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR), and the concentrations of HMGB1, IL-17, and IL-23 in plasma were detected by ELISA. And then, the effect of HMGB1 on Th17 cells differentiation was analyzed in vitro. Our clinical studies showed that the mRNAs of HMGB1, RORγt, and IL-17 in patients were higher than that in health control (P < 0.05), especially in active RA patients (P < 0.05). The plasma HMGB1, IL-17, and IL-23 in RA patients were also higher than that in health control (P < 0.05); there was a positive correlation between the expression levels of HMGB1 and the amount of CRP, ERS, and RF in plasma. In vitro, the IL-17-produced CD4+T cells were increased with 100 ng/mL rHMGB1 for 12h, which indicated that the increased HMGB1 might contribute to Th17 cells activation in RA patients.
Previous in vivo studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation significantly improves the condition of a number of autoimmune diseases including autoimmune cerebrospinal meningitis, multiple sclerosis, glomerulonephritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
To investigate the immunoregulatory effect of stem cell transplantation, human umbilical cord MSCs were co-cultured with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Orphan nuclear receptor gamma (ROR-γ) mRNA and protein expression was detected with real-time PCR and Western blotting. Interleukin (IL)-17, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) in the cell culture supernatant were measured using a flow cytometric bead capture method.
After 72 hours of co-culture, the mRNA and protein expression levels of ROR-γ in co-cultured PBMCs were decreased compared with that in PBMC of RA patients cultured alone (p < 0.05). Moreover, the decrement was positively related to the disease activity of RA (p < 0.05). Decreased secretion of IL-17, TNF-α and IL-6 were also found in co-culture supernatants of PBMCs from patients with severe and moderate disease activity, but not in supernatant from PBMCs cultured alone. The decreased cytokine expression levels were positively correlated to the concentrations of MSCs. In contrast, PBMCs from healthy controls or patients with mild RA did not show significant differences in ROR-γ expression or cytokine secretion following co-culture with MSCs as compared with those cultured alone.
In vitro co-culture with MSCs down-regulated the inflammatory response of PBMCs from RA patients with severe disease activity, but had no significant effect on PBMCs from healthy controls or patients with mild disease activity, suggesting that the immunoregulatory role of MSCs may associate with the occurrence of inflammatory mediators.
Mesenchymal stem cell; Peripheral blood mononuclear cells; Rheumatoid arthritis; T helper 17 cells
Multiple sclerosis-associated retrovirus (MSRV) RNA sequences have been detected in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and are related to the multi-copy human endogenous retrovirus family type W (HERV-W). Only one HERV-W locus (ERVWE1) codes for a complete HERV-W Env protein (Syncytin-1). Syncytin-1 and the putative MSRV Env protein have been involved in the pathogenesis of MS. The origin of MSRV and its precise relation to HERV-W were hitherto unknown.
By mapping HERV-W env cDNA sequences (n = 332) from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with MS and healthy controls onto individual genomic HERV-W env elements, we identified seven transcribed HERV-W env loci in these cells, including ERVWE1. Transcriptional activity of individual HERV-W env elements did not significantly differ between patients with MS and controls. Remarkably, almost 30% of HERV-W env cDNAs were recombined sequences that most likely arose in vitro between transcripts from different HERV-W env elements. Re-analysis of published MSRV env sequences revealed that all of them can be explained as originating from genomic HERV-W env loci or recombinations among them. In particular, a MSRV env clone previously used for the generation of monoclonal antibody 6A2B2, detecting an antigen in MS brain lesions, appears to be derived from a HERV-W env locus on chromosome Xq22.3. This locus harbors a long open reading frame for an N-terminally truncated HERV-W Env protein.
Our data clarify the origin of MSRV env sequences, have important implications for the status of MSRV, and open the possibility that a protein encoded by a HERV-W env element on chromosome Xq22.3 may be expressed in MS brain lesions.
Bone destruction is a common feature of inflammatory arthritis and is mediated by osteoclasts, the only specialized cells to carry out bone resorption. Aberrant expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa β ligand (RANKL), an inducer of osteoclast differentiation has been linked with bone pathology and the synovial fibroblast in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this manuscript, we challenge the current concept that an increase in RANKL expression governs osteoclastogenesis and bone destruction in autoimmune arthritis.
We isolated human fibroblasts from RA, pyrophosphate arthropathy (PPA) and osteoarthritis (OA) patients and analyzed their RANKL/OPG expression profile and the capacity of their secreted factors to induce osteoclastogenesis. We determined a 10-fold increase of RANKL mRNA and protein in fibroblasts isolated from RA relative to PPA and OA patients. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from healthy volunteers were cultured in the presence of RA, PPA and OA synovial fibroblast conditioned medium. Osteoclast differentiation was assessed by expression of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP), vitronectin receptor (VNR), F-actin ring formation and bone resorption assays. The formation of TRAP+, VNR+ multinucleated cells, capable of F-actin ring formation and lacunar resorption in synovial fibroblast conditioned medium cultures occured in the presence of osteoprotegerin (OPG) a RANKL antagonist. Osteoclasts did not form in these cultures in the absence of macrophage colony stimulating factor (M-CSF).
Our data suggest that the conditioned medium of pure synovial fibroblast cultures contain inflammatory mediators that can induce osteoclast formation in human PBMC independently of RANKL. Moreover inhibition of the TNF or IL-6 pathway was not sufficient to abolish osteoclastogenic signals derived from arthritic synovial fibroblasts. Collectively, our data clearly show that alternate osteoclastogenic pathways exist in inflammatory arthritis and place the synovial fibroblast as a key regulatory cell in bone and joint destruction, which is a hallmark of autoimmune arthritis.
Synovial fibroblast; Arthritis; RANKL; Osteoclast; Rheumatoid arthritis
B cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). High levels of B cell activating factor (BAFF) are detected in autoimmune diseases. BAFF and BAFF receptor (BAFF-R) are expressed in B and T cells of RA synovium. The study was undertaken to identify the NF-κB signal pathway involved in the induction of BAFF-R in human B cells. Immunohistochemical staining of NF-κB p65, NF-κB p50, BAFF, and BAFF-R was performed on sections of synovium from severe and mild RA and osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from control and RA patients and B cells were isolated from controls. BAFF-R was analyzed by flow cytometry, realtime PCR and confocal staining after treatment with NF-κB inhibitors. NF-κB p65, NF-κB p50, BAFF, and BAFF-R were highly expressed in severe RA synovium relative to mild RA synovium or OA synovium. BAFF-R expression was reduced by NF-κB inhibitors in PBMCs and B cells from normal controls. We also showed reduction in expression of BAFF-R via inhibition of the NF-κB pathway in PBMCs of RA patients. BAFF/BAFF-R signaling is an important mechanism of pathogenesis in RA and that BAFF-R reduction by NF-κB blocking therapy is another choice for controlling B cells in autoimmune diseases such as RA.
B-cell activation factor receptor; B-cell activating factor; B-lymphocytes; NF-κB; rheumatoid arthritis
We examined the role of tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) and
its related signaling intermediates leading to
apoptosis/proliferation in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells
(PBMCs) of RA patients. The constitutive expression of mRNA for
TNF-α receptors (TNFR-I and TNFR-II) and the adapter
molecules, such as the TNF receptor-associated death domain
protein (TRADD), Fas-associated death domain protein (FADD),
receptor interacting protein (RIP), and TNF receptor-associated
factor 2 (TRAF-2) were analyzed by reverse transcriptase-PCR
(RT-PCR) in PBMCs from control and RA cases. PBMCs of RA patients
showed a significant increase in TNF-α and TNFR-I expression as compared with that from control subjects along with
significantly increased constitutive expression of TRADD, RIP, and
TRAF-2 mRNA. There was a decrease in expression of FADD in RA
patients, but the difference was not significant as compared to
controls. These data suggested enhanced signaling by the
TNFR-I-TRADD-RIP-TRAF-2 pathway and suppressed signaling by the TNFR-I-TRADD-FADD pathway in PBMCs of
RA patients. However, the regulatory mechanisms for TNF-α induced signaling may not be explained only by these pathways.
Interleukin (IL)-17 is an important factor in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathogenesis. MicroRNA (miRNA)s are a family of non coding RNAs and associated with human diseases including RA. The purpose of this study is to identify the miRNAs in the differentiation of IL-17 producing cells, and analyze their expression pattern in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and synovium from RA patients.
IL-17 producing cells were expanded from CD4+T cell. MiRNA microarray was performed to identify the miRNAs in the differentiation of IL-17 producing cells. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to examine the expression patterns of the identified miRNAs in the PBMC and synovium from RA and osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Double staining combining in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry of IL-17 was performed to analyze the expression pattern of identified miRNA in the synovium.
Six miRNAs, let-7a, miR-26, miR-146a/b, miR-150, and miR-155 were significantly up regulated in the IL-17 producing T cells. The expression of miR-146a and IL-17 was higher than in PBMC in the patients with low score of Larsen grade and short disease duration. MiR-146a intensely expressed in RA synovium in comparison to OA. MiR-146a expressed intensely in the synovium with hyperplasia and high expression of IL-17 from the patients with high disease activity. Double staining revealed that miR-146a expressed in IL-17 expressing cells.
These results indicated that miR-146a was associated with IL-17 expression in the PBMC and synovium in RA patients. There is the possibility that miR-146a participates in the IL-17 expression.
The human genome harbors 25 to 50 proviral copies of the endogenous retrovirus type K (HERV-K), some of which code for the characteristic retroviral proteins Gag, Pol, and Env. For a genome-wide cloning approach of full-length and intact HERV-K proviruses, a human P1 gene library was screened with a gag-specific probe. Both HERV-K type 1 and 2 clones were isolated. Sixteen HERV-K type 2 proviral genomes were characterized by direct coupled in vitro transcription-in vitro translation assays to analyze the coding potential of isolated gag, pol, and env amplicons from individual P1 clones. After determination of long terminal repeat (LTR) sequences and adjacent chromosomal integration sites by inverse PCR techniques, two HERV-K type 2 proviruses displaying long retroviral open reading frames (ORFs) were assigned to chromosomes 7 (C7) and 19 (C19) by using a human-rodent monochromosomal cell hybrid mapping panel. HERV-K(C7) shows an altered (YIDD-to-CIDD) motif in the reverse transcriptase domain. HERV-K(C19) is truncated in the 5′ LTR and harbors a defective protease gene due to a point mutation. Direct amplification of proviral structures from single chromosomes by using chromosomal flanking primers was performed by long PCR for HERV-K(C7) and HERV-K(C19) and for type 1 proviruses HERV-K10 and HERV-K18 from chromosomes 5 and 1, respectively. HERV-K18, in contrast to HERV-K10, bears no intact gag ORF and shows close homology to HERV-K/IDDMK1,222. In transfection experiments, HERV-K(C7) and HERV-K cDNA-based expression vectors yielded the proteins Gag and cORF whereas HERV-K10 vectors yielded Gag alone. The data suggest that the human genome does not contain an entire, intact proviral copy of HERV-K.
Background. Cell signaling via Toll-like receptors (TLRs) leads to synovial inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We aimed to assess effects of TLR2 and TLR4 stimulation on proinflammatory cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with recent-onset RA, osteoarthrosis (OA), and healthy control (HC).
Methods. PBMCs were stimulated with LPS, biglycan and cytokine mix. Cytokines were analyzed in supernatants with ELISA. Expression of toll-like receptors mRNA in leukocytes was analyzed using real-time qPCR.
Results. PBMCs from RA patients spontaneously produced less IL-6 and TNFα than cells from OA and HC subjects.
LPS increased cytokines' production in all groups. In RA patients increase was dramatic (30 to 48-fold and 17 to 31-fold, for respective cytokines) compared to moderate (2 to 8-fold) in other groups. LPS induced 15-HETE generation in PBMCs from RA (mean 251%) and OA patients (mean 43%), although only in OA group, the increase was significant. TLR2 and TLR4 gene expressions decreased in response to cytokine mix, while LPS enhanced TLR2 expression in HC and depressed TLR4 expression in OA patients.
Conclusion. PBMCs from recent-onset RA patients are overresponsive to stimulation with bacterial lipopolysaccharide.
TLR expression is differentially regulated in healthy and arthritic subjects.
Objective: To study interferon γ (IFNγ) production and the expression of T-bet and GATA-3, the transcription factors associated with Th1 and Th2, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis before and during infliximab treatment, so as to distinguish between a disease specific and a disease activity dependent defect.
Methods: Rheumatoid PBMC were obtained at weeks 0 and 6 of infliximab treatment and cultured for seven days with or without interleukin (IL)12 or the combination of IL12 and IL18. IFNγ concentrations in supernatants were determined by ELISA. mRNA expression of IFNγ, IL4, T-bet, and GATA-3 was determined by real time RT-PCR in whole blood at weeks 0 and 22.
Results: A reduction in spontaneous IFNγ production and in the response to Th1 inducing cytokines occurred in rheumatoid PBMC. Reduction of systemic inflammation with infliximab treatment increased IFNγ production in response to IL12 or IL12+IL18. The IFNγ/IL4 expression ratio of rheumatoid blood before treatment was lower than in healthy controls but was increased by infliximab treatment. T-bet expression or T-bet/GATA-3 ratio of rheumatoid blood was less than in controls. The T-bet/GATA-3 ratio was not influenced by infliximab treatment.
Conclusions: Regulation of T-bet and GATA-3 or IFNγ and IL4 expression appeared different. The IFNγ/IL4 ratio might express the blood Th1/Th2 balance better than the T-bet/GATA-3 ratio. Reduced IFNγ production by rheumatoid PBMC and levels of IFNγ and IL4 mRNA expression in blood were linked to disease improvement, indicating an association between this systemic Th1 feature and disease activity.
Background. PERP, p53 apoptosis effector related to PMP-22, is a p53-dependent apoptosis in diverse cell types and has cell type-specific roles in p53-mediated apoptosis. However, its role in PBMCs of RA patients has remained largely unclear. Objectives. The aim of this study was to detect the expression levels of PERP on PBMCs of RA patients and healthy controls and analyze the role of PERP in the pathogenesis of RA. Methods. The mRNA expression levels of PERP and IL-17 were detected by real-time PCR in PBMCs from patients with RA (n = 40) and healthy controls (n = 40). The correlations of PERP expression levels to IL-17 transcripts and disease activity parameters were analyzed. Results. The PERP and IL-17 expression levels in the PBMCs were significantly decreased and increased in comparison of which in healthy controls. The mRNA expression levels of PERP in PBMCs from patients with RA were negatively correlated with IL-17 and disease activity parameters DAS28, RF, CRP, and ESR rather than Anti-CCP and ANA. Conclusions. These results demonstrated that PERP might be involved in the pathogenesis and a potential therapeutic target of RA by regulating the expression of IL-17.
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) have been associated with various neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. Transcripts and proteins of at least three HERV groups, HERV-W, ERV9 and HERV-K(HML-2) have been detected repeatedly in brain samples or cerebrospinal fluid of patients with schizophrenia suggesting that alterations in HERV activity may play a role in etiopathogenesis. Current therapies otherwise include neuroleptics and/or antidepressants that may induce epigenetic alterations and thus influence HERV expression. To investigate the effects of these drugs on HERV transcriptional activity, HERV expression profiles of a broad range of human brain cell lines treated with valproic acid (VPA), haloperidol, risperidone, and clozapine were analyzed using a retrovirus-specific microarray and qRT-PCR. Investigation of 52 HERV subgroups revealed upregulation of several class I and class II HERV elements by VPA in a dose-dependent manner. The strongest effect was observed on HERV-W and ERV9 groups in the human glioblastoma cell lines SK-N-SH and SK-N-MC, respectively. The transcript level of HERV-K(HML-2) elements was not influenced. Transcription of HERV-W, ERV9 and HERV-K(HML-2) taxa was further quantified in postmortem brain samples of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and a healthy control group with regard to their medication. Patients with schizophrenia showed a significantly higher HERV-W transcription associated with VPA treatment. However in case of ERV9, enhanced transcript levels could not be explained solely by VPA treatment, since a slight increase was also found in untreated patients compared to healthy controls. HERV-K(HML-2) elements appeared to be upregulated in some patients with bipolar disorders independent from medication. In conclusion, these results suggest that antipsychotic medication may contribute to increased expression of distinct HERV taxa in patients with neuropsychiatric diseases.
The human endogenous retrovirus type K (HERV-K) family codes for the human teratocarcinoma-derived retrovirus (HTDV) particles. The existence of the envelope protein (ENV) of HERV-K encoded by the subgenomic env mRNA has not yet been demonstrated. To study the genetic requirements for successful expression of ENV, we have constructed a series of recombinant HERV-K env expression vectors for infection and transfection experiments in insect cells and mammalian cells, respectively. Six baculovirus constructs bearing full-length or truncated HERV-K env with or without homologous or heterologous signal peptides were used for infections of insect cells. All recombinant baculoviruses yielded ENV proteins with the expected molecular masses. The full-length 80- to 90-kDa HERV-K ENV protein including the cORF leader sequence was glycosylated in insect cells. In addition, the 14-kDa cORF protein was expressed due to splicing of the full-length env mRNA. The ENV precursor protein is not cleaved to the surface (SU) and transmembrane (TM) glycoproteins; it does not appear on the surface of infected insect cells and is not secreted into the medium. For ENV expression in COS cells, plasmid vectors harboring the cytomegalovirus immediate-early promoter/intron A element and the tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) signal peptide or the homologous HERV-K signal peptide upstream of the env gene were employed. Glycosylated and uncleaved ENV was expressed as in GH teratocarcinoma cells but at higher levels. The heterologous t-PA signal sequence was instrumental for expression of HERV-K ENV on the cell surface. Hence, we have shown for the first time that the HERV-K env gene has the potential to be expressed as a full-length envelope protein with appropriate glycosylation. In addition, our data provide explanations for the lack of infectivity of HERV-K/HTDV particles.