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1.  CD8 T-cells and E-cadherin in host responses against oropharyngeal candidiasis 
Oral Diseases  2011;18(2):153-161.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) is the most common oral infection in HIV+ persons. Previous studies suggest a role for CD8+ T-cells against OPC when CD4+ T-cells are lost, but enhanced susceptibility to infection occurs when CD8+ T-cell migration is inhibited by reduced tissue E-cadherin.
Conduct a longitudinal study of tissue CD8+ T-cells and E-cadherin expression before, during, and after episodes of OPC.
Oral fungal burden was monitored and tissue was evaluated for CD8+ T-cells and E-cadherin over a one-year period in HIV+ persons with a history of, or an acute episode of OPC.
While longitudinal analyses precluded formal interpretations, point prevalence analyses of the dataset revealed that when patients experiencing OPC were successfully treated, tissue E-cadherin expression was similar to patients who had not experienced OPC, and higher numbers of CD8+ T-cells were distributed throughout OPC− tissue under normal expression of E-cadherin.
These results suggest that 1) reduction in tissue E-cadherin expression in OPC+ patients is not permanent, and 2) high numbers of CD8+ T-cells can be distributed throughout OPC− tissue under normal E-cadherin expression. Together these results extend our previous studies and continue to support a role for CD8+ T-cells in host defense against OPC.
PMCID: PMC3252461  PMID: 21958417
oropharyngeal candidiasis; HIV; CD8+ T-cells; E-cadherin
2.  Immunohistochemical Evaluation of T Cells in Oral Lesions from Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Positive Persons with Oropharyngeal Candidiasis  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(2):956-963.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC), caused by Candida albicans, is the most frequent opportunistic fungal infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive persons. Although Th1-type CD4+ T cells are considered important for host defense against mucosal C. albicans infections, there is a paucity of information regarding the presence and/or role of T cells in OPC lesions. In pursuit of this, initial chromophore immunohistochemical studies showed a majority of CD8+ rather than CD4+ cells equally distributed throughout the buccal mucosa of OPC− persons (HIV− or HIV+), irrespective of blood CD4+ cell numbers. In contrast, CD8+ cells in lesions from HIV+ OPC+ persons were in significantly higher numbers and concentrated at the lamina propria-epithelium interface, a considerable distance from the Candida at the outer epithelium. Dual fluorescence and confocal microscopy confirmed that the majority of CD8+, but not CD4+, cells were T cells by the presence or absence, respectively, of CD3 on each cell type. These results suggest that CD8+ T cells may be important for oral host defense against OPC, especially when CD4 cell numbers are reduced, with a potential CD8 cell-specific dysfunction associated with susceptibility to OPC.
PMCID: PMC145388  PMID: 12540578
3.  Characterization of CD8+ T Cells and Microenvironment in Oral Lesions of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Persons with Oropharyngeal Candidiasis  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(6):3659-3667.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC), the most common oral infection in human immunodeficiency virus-positive persons, correlates with reduced blood CD4+ T cells. In those with OPC, CD8+ T cells accumulate at the lamina propria-epithelium interface at a distance from the organism at the outer epithelium. The present study aimed to characterize the tissue-associated CD8+ T cells and tissue microenvironment in both OPC+ and OPC− persons. The results show that the majority of CD8+ T cells possess the αβ T-cell receptor, the thymus-derived αβ CD8 antigen heterodimer, and similar levels of the α4β7, α4β1, and αeβ7 homing receptors. Studies to evaluate the tissue microenvironment showed that in OPC+ persons, the adhesion molecule for T cells to enter mucosa, mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule, is significantly increased, whereas E-cadherin, which allows T cells to migrate through mucosa, is significantly decreased compared to OPC− persons. These results continue to support a role for CD8+ T cells against OPC under conditions of reduced numbers of CD4+T cells, with susceptibility to infection potentially associated with a dysfunction in mucosal CD8+ T-cell migration by reduced tissue-associated E-cadherin.
PMCID: PMC1111879  PMID: 15908395
4.  Characterization of the Immune Status of CD8+ T Cells in Oral Lesions of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Persons with Oropharyngeal Candidiasis 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(6):678-683.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) remains the most common oral infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease. In a high percentage of HIV+ persons with reduced CD4+ T cells, oral lesions with Candida present at the outer epithelium have an accumulation of CD8+ T cells at the epithelium-lamina propria interface associated with reduced expression of the mucosal cell-trafficking adhesion molecule E-cadherin. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the immune status of these CD8+ T cells. Immunohistochemical staining for phenotypic and activation and costimulation markers was performed on frozen biopsy tissue sections from HIV+ OPC+ persons with accumulated CD8+ T cells. CD8+ T cells consisted primarily of central memory cells by virtue of positive CD45RO (memory) and CD27 (central memory) expression. However, concomitant negative expression of CD62L and CCR7 (effector memory) was suggestive of a transitioning memory phenotype within the tissue. Despite this, the cells are considered to be activated on the basis of positive expression of CD69. The CD8+ T cells are not considered to be NK T cells or anti-HIV CD8+ T cells because of negative or low expression of CD161 and vascular cell adhesion molecule, respectively. These results suggest that the accumulated mucosal migratory-challenged CD8+ T cells are otherwise normal memory T cells in an activated state.
PMCID: PMC1489553  PMID: 16760327
5.  Proteomic analysis of oropharyngeal carcinomas reveals novel HPV-associated biological pathways 
Oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPC) can be classified into two equally prevalent sub-types depending on the presence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Patients with HPV-positive (HPV+) OPC represent a unique cohort with a distinct tumor biology and clinical behavior compared to HPV-negative (HPV-) OPC. Genetic studies have demonstrated chromosomal and gene expression changes associated with distinct sub-classes of OPC, although the proteomic consequences of HPV infection are not known. We analyzed sets of 10 HPV+ and 10 HPV− OPCs, and 10 normal adult oral epithelia using a standardized global proteomic analysis platform. This analysis yielded a total of 2,653 confidently identified proteins from which we chose 31 proteins on the basis of expression differences between HPV+, HPV− and normal epithelium for targeted protein quantiation. Analysis of differentially expressed proteins by HPV status revealed enrichment of proteins involved epithelial cell development, keratinization, and extracellular matrix organization in HPV− OPC while enrichment of proteins in DNA initiation and replication and cell cycle control was found for HPV+ OPC. Enrichment analysis for transcription factor targets identified transcription factors E2F1 and E2F4 to be highly expressed in HPV+ OPC. We also found high expression of argininosuccinate synthase 1 (ASS1) in HPV+ OPC suggesting HPV+ OPC is more dependent on conditionally essential amino acid, arginine, and this was confirmed on a OPC-specific tissue microarray. These identified proteomic changes reveal novel driving molecular pathways for HPV+ and HPV− OPC that may be pertinent in therapeutic strategies and outcomes of OPC.
PMCID: PMC3479311  PMID: 22733545
Human papilloma virus; mass spectrometry; oropharyngeal carcinoma
6.  OPC-67683, a Nitro-Dihydro-Imidazooxazole Derivative with Promising Action against Tuberculosis In Vitro and In Mice 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(11):e466.
Tuberculosis (TB) is still a leading cause of death worldwide. Almost a third of the world's population is infected with TB bacilli, and each year approximately 8 million people develop active TB and 2 million die as a result. Today's TB treatment, which dates back to the 1970s, is long and burdensome, requiring at least 6 mo of multidrug chemotherapy. The situation is further compounded by the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and by the infection's lethal synergy with HIV/AIDS. Global health and philanthropic organizations are now pleading for new drug interventions that can address these unmet needs in TB treatment.
Methods and Findings
Here we report OPC-67683, a nitro-dihydro-imidazooxazole derivative that was screened to help combat the unmet needs in TB treatment. The compound is a mycolic acid biosynthesis inhibitor found to be free of mutagenicity and to possess highly potent activity against TB, including MDR-TB, as shown by its exceptionally low minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) range of 0.006–0.024 μg/ml in vitro and highly effective therapeutic activity at low doses in vivo. Additionally, the results of the post-antibiotic effect of OPC-67683 on intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis showed the agent to be highly and dose-dependently active also against intracellular M. tuberculosis H37Rv after a 4-h pulsed exposure, and this activity at a concentration of 0.1 μg/ml was similar to that of the first-line drug rifampicin (RFP) at a concentration of 3 μg/ml. The combination of OPC-67683 with RFP and pyrazinamide (PZA) exhibited a remarkably quicker eradication (by at least 2 mo) of viable TB bacilli in the lung in comparison with the standard regimen consisting of RFP, isoniazid (INH), ethambutol (EB), and PZA. Furthermore, OPC-67683 was not affected by nor did it affect the activity of liver microsome enzymes, suggesting the possibility for OPC-67683 to be used in combination with drugs, including anti-retrovirals, that induce or are metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes.
We concluded that based on these properties OPC-67683 has the potential to be used as a TB drug to help combat the unmet needs in TB treatment.
A nitro-dihydro-imidazooxazole derivative was shown to have the potential for use against tuberculosis.
Editors' Summary
One-third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). Most infected people are healthy—the bacteria can remain latent for years, hidden within cells in the body. However, every year 8 million people develop active TB, a chronic disease that usually affects the lungs, and 2 million people die. For most of the second half of the 20th century, TB was in decline because of the powerful antibiotics that were developed from the 1940s onwards. The standard treatment for TB—four antibiotics that have to be taken several times a week for at least six months to flush out any latent M. tuberculosis bacteria—was introduced in the late 1970s and saved many lives. Recently, however, efforts to eradicate TB have been set back by the HIV/AIDS epidemic—people with damaged immune systems are very susceptible to TB—and the emergence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria.
Why Was This Study Done?
The treatment for TB is long and unpleasant, and patients who develop MDR-TB have to be treated with second-line drugs that are less effective, more expensive, and more toxic. In addition, for people infected with both HIV and TB, some antiretroviral and anti-TB drugs cannot be used at the same time. Many drugs are either activated or removed by enzymes in the liver, so combinations of these two classes of drugs sometimes alter liver function in a way that causes clinical problems. There is, therefore, an urgent need for new, effective anti-TB drugs that attack M. tuberculosis in a different way than do existing drugs. Such drugs should ideally be active against MDR M. tuberculosis, work quickly at low doses, be active against latent bacteria, and have minimal effects on the liver so that they can be used in patients co-infected with HIV. In this study, the researchers investigated a chemical called OPC-67683.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified a compound that inhibited the production of mycolic acid—an essential component of the cell wall of M. tuberculosis—and they tested its ability to kill the organism. They then tested in detail its ability to inhibit bacterial growth in dishes of antibiotic-sensitive and MDR M. tuberculosis and isolates from patients. OPC-67683 inhibited the growth of all these bugs at lower concentrations than the four antibiotics used in the standard TB treatment. It also killed bacteria hidden within human cells as well as or better than these drugs. Next, the researchers treated mice infected with M. tuberculosis with OPC-67683. They found that it reduced the number of bacteria in the lungs of both normal and immunocompromised mice at lower concentrations than the standard drugs. Furthermore, when combined with two of the standard drugs, it reduced the time taken to clear bacteria from the lungs by the standard drug regimen by two months. Finally, the researchers showed that OPC-67683 had no effects on the liver enzymes that metabolize antiretrovirals, and, conversely, that the activity of OPC-67683 was not affected by liver enzymes. Thus, this agent is unlikely to cause clinical problems or lose its efficacy in HIV patients who are receiving antiretroviral drugs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results from laboratory and animal experiments suggest that OPC-67683 could possibly fulfill the criteria for a new anti-TB drug. OPC-67683 is active against MDR-TB. It is also active against intracellular TB, which the authors postulate could be a positive link with the effective treatment of latent TB, and it works quickly in animals when combined with existing anti-TB drugs. Importantly, it also disables M. tuberculosis in a unique way and does not appear to have any major effects on the liver that might stop it from being used in combination with antiretrovirals. All these preclinical characteristics now need to be checked in people—many drugs do well in preclinical studies but fail in patients. These clinical studies need to be expedited given the upsurge in TB, and, write the researchers, OPC-67683 needs to be tested in combination with both conventional drugs and other new drugs so that the best regimen of new drugs for the treatment of TB can be found as soon as possible.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases patient fact sheet on tuberculosis
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on tuberculosis
MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on tuberculosis
NHS Direct Online patient information on tuberculosis from the UK National Health Service
World Health Organization information on the global elimination of tuberculosis
Global Alliance for TB Drug Development information on why new TB drugs are needed
PMCID: PMC1664607  PMID: 17132069
7.  Role of neutrophils in IL-17-dependent immunity to mucosal candidiasis 
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC), caused by the commensal fungus Candida albicans, is an opportunistic infection associated with infancy, AIDS and IL-17-related primary immunodeficiencies. The Th17-associated cytokines IL-23 and IL-17 are crucial for immunity to OPC, but the mechanisms by which they mediate immunity are poorly defined. IL-17RA-deficient humans and mice are strongly susceptible to OPC, with reduced levels of CXC chemokines and concomitantly impaired neutrophil recruitment to the oral mucosa. Paradoxically, humans with isolated neutropenia are typically not susceptible to candidiasis. To determine whether immunity to OPC is mediated via neutrophil recruitment, mice lacking CXCR2 were subjected to OPC, and were found to be highly susceptible, although there was no dissemination of fungi to peripheral organs. To assess whether the entire neutrophil response is IL-17-dependent, IL-17RA−/− and IL-23−/− mice were administered neutrophil-depleting antibodies and subjected to OPC. These mice displayed increased oral fungal burdens compared to IL-17RA−/− or IL-23−/− mice alone, indicating that additional IL-17-independent signals contribute to the neutrophil response. WT mice treated with anti-Gr-1 antibodies exhibited a robust infiltrate of CD11b+Ly-6GlowF4/80− cells to the oral mucosa, but were nonetheless highly susceptible to OPC, indicating that this monocytic influx is insufficient for host defense. Surprisingly, Ly-6G antibody treatment did not induce the same strong susceptibility to OPC in WT mice. Thus, CXCR2+ and Gr-1+ neutrophils play a vital role in host defense against OPC. Moreover, defects in the IL-23/17 axis cause a potent but incomplete deficiency in the neutrophil response to oral candidiasis.
PMCID: PMC3946223  PMID: 24442441
Neutrophils; mucosal candidiasis; IL-17; IL-23; Th17
8.  Th17 cells confer long term adaptive immunity to oral mucosal Candida albicans infections 
Mucosal immunology  2012;6(5):900-910.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) is an opportunistic infection caused by Candida albicans. Despite its prevalence, little is known about C. albicans-specific immunity in the oral mucosa. Vaccines against Candida generate both Th1 and Th17 responses, and considerable evidence implicates IL-17 in immunity to OPC. However, IL-17 is also produced by innate immune cells that are remarkably similar to Th17 cells, expressing the same markers and localizing to similar mucosal sites. To date, the relative contribution(s) of Th1, Th17 and innate IL-17-producing cells in OPC have not been clearly defined. Here, we sought to determine the nature and function of adaptive T cell responses to OPC, using a new recall infection model. Mice subjected to infection and re-challenge with Candida mounted a robust and stable antigen specific IL-17 response in CD4+ but not CD8+ T cells. There was little evidence for Th1 or Th1/Th17 responses. The Th17 response promoted accelerated fungal clearance, and Th17 cells could confer protection in Rag1−/− mice upon adoptive transfer. Surprisingly, CD4 deficiency did not cause OPC, but was instead associated with compensatory IL-17 production by Tc17 and CD4-CD8-CD3+ cells. Therefore, classic CD4+Th17 cells protect from OPC, but can be compensated by other IL-17-producing cells in CD4-deficient hosts.
PMCID: PMC3608691  PMID: 23250275
Candida albicans; IL-17; Th17; adaptive immunity; oral mucosal immunity
9.  Als3 Is a Candida albicans Invasin That Binds to Cadherins and Induces Endocytosis by Host Cells 
PLoS Biology  2007;5(3):e64.
Candida albicans is the most common cause of hematogenously disseminated and oropharyngeal candidiasis. Both of these diseases are characterized by fungal invasion of host cells. Previously, we have found that C. albicans hyphae invade endothelial cells and oral epithelial cells in vitro by inducing their own endocytosis. Therefore, we set out to identify the fungal surface protein and host cell receptors that mediate this process. We found that the C. albicans Als3 is required for the organism to be endocytosed by human umbilical vein endothelial cells and two different human oral epithelial lines. Affinity purification experiments with wild-type and an als3Δ/als3Δ mutant strain of C. albicans demonstrated that Als3 was required for C. albicans to bind to multiple host cell surface proteins, including N-cadherin on endothelial cells and E-cadherin on oral epithelial cells. Furthermore, latex beads coated with the recombinant N-terminal portion of Als3 were endocytosed by Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing human N-cadherin or E-cadherin, whereas control beads coated with bovine serum albumin were not. Molecular modeling of the interactions of the N-terminal region of Als3 with the ectodomains of N-cadherin and E-cadherin indicated that the binding parameters of Als3 to either cadherin are similar to those of cadherin–cadherin binding. Therefore, Als3 is a fungal invasin that mimics host cell cadherins and induces endocytosis by binding to N-cadherin on endothelial cells and E-cadherin on oral epithelial cells. These results uncover the first known fungal invasin and provide evidence that C. albicans Als3 is a molecular mimic of human cadherins.
Author Summary
The fungus Candida albicans is usually a harmless colonizer of human mucosal surfaces. In the mouth, it can cause oropharyngeal candidiasis, also called thrush. In hospitalized and immunocompromised patients, C. albicans can enter the blood stream and be carried throughout the body to cause a disseminated infection, which is associated with a mortality rate of up to 40%. The organism invades the epithelial cell lining of the mouth during oropharyngeal candidiasis and invades the endothelial cell lining of the blood vessels during disseminated candidiasis. We discovered that Als3, a protein expressed on the surface of C. albicans, is required for this invasion process. Cadherins on the surface of human cells normally bind other cadherins for adhesion and signaling; however, we found that Als3 also binds to cadherins on endothelial cells and oral epithelial cells, and this binding induces these host cells to take up the fungus. The structure of Als3 is predicted to be quite similar to that of the two cadherins studied, and the parameters of the binding of Als3 to either cadherin are similar to those of cadherin–cadherin binding. These results suggest that Als3 is a functional and structural mimic of human cadherins, and provide new insights into how C. albicans invades host cells.
Als3 aids the invasion of the fungal pathogenCandida albicans into human host cells by mimicking human cadherins to induce endocytosis.
PMCID: PMC1802757  PMID: 17311474
10.  Cooperative contributions of Interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) and IRF8 to interferon-γ-mediated cytotoxic effects on oligodendroglial progenitor cells 
Administration of exogenous interferon-γ (IFNγ) aggravates the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), whereas interferon-β (IFNβ) is used for treatment of MS patients. We previously demonstrated that IFNγ induces apoptosis of oligodendroglial progenitor cells (OPCs), suggesting that IFNγ is more toxic to OPCs than IFNβ. Thus we hypothesized that a difference in expression profiles between IFNγ-inducible and IFNβ-inducible genes in OPCs would predict the genes responsible for IFNγ-mediated cytotoxic effects on OPCs. We have tested this hypothesis particularly focusing on the interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) well-known transcription factors up-regulated by IFNs.
Highly pure primary rat OPC cultures were treated with IFNγ and IFNβ. Cell death and proliferation were assessed by MTT reduction, caspse-3-like proteinase activity, Annexin-V binding, mitochondrial membrane potential, and BrdU-incorporation. Induction of all nine IRFs was comprehensively compared by quantitative PCR between IFNγ-treated and IFNβ-treated OPCs. IRFs more strongly induced by IFNγ than by IFNβ were selected, and tested for their ability to induce OPC apoptosis by overexpression and by inhibition by dominant-negative proteins or small interference RNA either in the presence or absence of IFNγ.
Unlike IFNγ, IFNβ did not induce apoptosis of OPCs. Among nine IRFs, IRF1 and IRF8 were preferentially up-regulated by IFNγ. In contrast, IRF7 was more robustly induced by IFNβ than by IFNγ. Overexpressed IRF1 elicited apoptosis of OPCs, and a dominant negative IRF1 protein partially protected OPCs from IFNγ-induced apoptosis, indicating a substantial contribution of IRF1 to IFNγ-induced OPC apoptosis. On the other hand, overexpression of IRF8 itself had only marginal proapoptotic effects. However, overexpressed IRF8 enhanced the IFNγ-induced cytotoxicity and the proapoptotic effect of overexpressed IRF1, and down-regulation of IRF8 by siRNA partially but significantly reduced preapoptotic cells after treatment with IFNγ, suggesting that IRF8 cooperatively enhances IFNγ-induced OPC apoptosis.
This study has identified that IRF1 and IRF8 mediate IFNγ-signaling leading to OPC apoptosis. Therapies targeting at these transcription factors and their target genes could reduce IFNγ-induced OPC loss and thereby enhance remyelination in MS patients.
PMCID: PMC3039583  PMID: 21261980
11.  Interleukin-17-Induced Protein Lipocalin 2 Is Dispensable for Immunity to Oral Candidiasis 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(3):1030-1035.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC; thrush) is an opportunistic fungal infection caused by the commensal microbe Candida albicans. Immunity to OPC is strongly dependent on CD4+ T cells, particularly those of the Th17 subset. Interleukin-17 (IL-17) deficiency in mice or humans leads to chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis, but the specific downstream mechanisms of IL-17-mediated host defense remain unclear. Lipocalin 2 (Lcn2; 24p3; neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin [NGAL]) is an antimicrobial host defense factor produced in response to inflammatory cytokines, particularly IL-17. Lcn2 plays a key role in preventing iron acquisition by bacteria that use catecholate-type siderophores, and lipocalin 2−/− mice are highly susceptible to infection by Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The role of Lcn2 in mediating immunity to fungi is poorly defined. Accordingly, in this study, we evaluated the role of Lcn2 in immunity to oral infection with C. albicans. Lcn2 is strongly upregulated following oral infection with C. albicans, and its expression is almost entirely abrogated in mice with defective IL-17 signaling (IL-17RA−/− or Act1−/− mice). However, Lcn2−/− mice were completely resistant to OPC, comparably to wild-type (WT) mice. Moreover, Lcn2 deficiency mediated protection from OPC induced by steroid immunosuppression. Therefore, despite its potent regulation during C. albicans infection, Lcn2 is not required for immunity to mucosal candidiasis.
PMCID: PMC3958007  PMID: 24343647
12.  Defective IL-17- and IL-22-dependent mucosal host response to Candida albicans determines susceptibility to oral candidiasis in mice expressing the HIV-1 transgene 
BMC Immunology  2014;15(1):49.
The tissue-signaling cytokines IL-17 and IL-22 are critical to host defense against oral Candida albicans infection, by their induction of oral antimicrobial peptide expression and recruitment of neutrophils. Mucosal Th17 cells which produce these cytokines are preferentially depleted in HIV-infected patients. Here, we tested the hypothesis that defective IL-17- and IL-22-dependent host responses to C. albicans determine the phenotype of susceptibility to oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) in transgenic (Tg) mice expressing HIV-1.
Naïve CD4+ T-cells and the differentiated Th1, Th2, Th17, Th1Th17 and Treg lineages were all profoundly depleted in cervical lymph nodes (CLNs) of these Tg mice. However, naive CD4+ cells from Tg mice maintained the capacity to differentiate into these lineages in response to polarizing cytokines in vitro. Expression of Il17, Il22, S100a8 and Ccl20 was enhanced in oral mucosal tissue of non-Tg, but not of Tg mice, after oral infection with C. albicans. Treatment of infected Tg mice with the combination of IL-17 and IL-22, but not IL-17 or Il-22 alone, significantly reduced oral burdens of C. albicans and abundance of Candida hyphae in the epithelium of tongues of infected Tg mice, and restored the ability of the Tg mice to up-regulate expression of S100a8 and Ccl20 in response to C. albicans infection.
These findings demonstrate that defective IL-17- and IL-22-dependent induction of innate mucosal immunity to C. albicans is central to the phenotype of susceptibility to OPC in these HIV transgenic mice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12865-014-0049-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4213580  PMID: 25344377
Candida albicans; CD4+ T-cells; Th17; IL-17; IL-22; HIV-1; Transgenic mice
13.  Divergent Targets of Candida albicans Biofilm Regulator Bcr1 In Vitro and In Vivo 
Eukaryotic Cell  2012;11(7):896-904.
Candida albicans is a causative agent of oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC), a biofilm-like infection of the oral mucosa. Biofilm formation depends upon the C. albicans transcription factor Bcr1, and previous studies indicate that Bcr1 is required for OPC in a mouse model of infection. Here we have used a nanoString gene expression measurement platform to elucidate the role of Bcr1 in OPC-related gene expression. We chose for assays a panel of 134 genes that represent a range of morphogenetic and cell cycle functions as well as environmental and stress response pathways. We assayed gene expression in whole infected tongue samples. The results sketch a portrait of C. albicans gene expression in which numerous stress response pathways are activated during OPC. This one set of experiments identifies 64 new genes with significantly altered RNA levels during OPC, thus increasing substantially the number of known genes in this expression class. The bcr1Δ/Δ mutant had a much more limited gene expression defect during OPC infection than previously reported for in vitro growth conditions. Among major functional Bcr1 targets, we observed that ALS3 was Bcr1 dependent in vivo while HWP1 was not. We used null mutants and complemented strains to verify that Bcr1 and Hwp1 are required for OPC infection in this model. The role of Als3 is transient and mild, though significant. Our findings suggest that the versatility of C. albicans as a pathogen may reflect its ability to persist in the face of multiple stresses and underscore that transcriptional circuitry during infection may be distinct from that detailed during in vitro growth.
PMCID: PMC3416506  PMID: 22544909
14.  Identification of Bax-interacting proteins in oligodendrocyte progenitors during glutamate excitotoxicity and perinatal hypoxia–ischemia 
ASN NEURO  2013;5(5):e00131.
OPC (oligodendrocyte progenitor cell) death contributes significantly to the pathology and functional deficits following hypoxic-ischemic injury in the immature brain and to deficits resulting from demyelinating diseases, trauma and degenerative disorders in the adult CNS. Glutamate toxicity is a major cause of oligodendroglial death in diverse CNS disorders, and previous studies have demonstrated that AMPA/kainate receptors require the pro-apoptotic protein Bax in OPCs undergoing apoptosis. The goal of the present study was to define the pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic effectors that regulate Bax in healthy OPCs and after exposure to excess glutamate in vitro and following H–I (hypoxia–ischemia) in the immature rat brain. We show that Bax associates with a truncated form of Bid, a BH3-only domain protein, subsequent to glutamate treatment. Furthermore, glutamate exposure reduces Bax association with the anti-apoptotic Bcl family member, Bcl-xL. Cell fractionation studies demonstrated that both Bax and Bid translocate from the cytoplasm to mitochondria during the early stages of cell death consistent with a role for Bid as an activator, whereas Bcl-xL, which normally complexes with both Bax and Bid, disassociates from these complexes when OPCs are exposed to excess glutamate. Bax remained unactivated in the presence of insulin-like growth factor-1, and the Bcl-xL complexes were protected. Our data similarly demonstrate loss of Bcl-xL–Bax association in white matter following H–I and implicate active Bad in Bax-mediated OPC death. To identify other Bax-binding partners, we used proteomics and identified cofilin as a Bax-associated protein in OPCs. Cofilin and Bax associated in healthy OPCs, whereas the Bax–cofilin association was disrupted during glutamate-induced OPC apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3891358  PMID: 24195677
apoptosis; Bcl-xL; Bid; cofilin; insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I); oligodendrocyte; ACN, acetonitrile; ADF, actin depolymerizing factor; AF488, Alexa Fluor 488; AF546, Alexa Fluor 546; CCA, common carotid artery; CL, contralateral; CNS, central nervous system; DMEM, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium; FBS, fetal bovine serum; FGF-2, fibroblast growth factor-2; H–I, hypoxia–ischemia; IGF, insulin-like growth factor; IL, ipsilateral; IP, immunoprecipitation; MEM, minimal essential media; OPC, oligodendrocyte progenitor cell; PIC, protease inhibitor cocktail; tBid, truncated Bid; VDAC, voltage-dependent anion channel
15.  Impact of Simulated Microgravity on Oligodendrocyte Development: Implications for Central Nervous System Repair 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e76963.
We have recently established a culture system to study the impact of simulated microgravity on oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) development. We subjected mouse and human OPCs to a short exposure of simulated microgravity produced by a 3D-Clinostat robot. Our results demonstrate that rodent and human OPCs display enhanced and sustained proliferation when exposed to simulated microgravity as assessed by several parameters, including a decrease in the cell cycle time. Additionally, OPC migration was examined in vitro using time-lapse imaging of cultured OPCs. Our results indicated that OPCs migrate to a greater extent after stimulated microgravity than in normal conditions, and this enhanced motility was associated with OPC morphological changes. The lack of normal gravity resulted in a significant increase in the migration speed of mouse and human OPCs and we found that the average leading process in migrating bipolar OPCs was significantly longer in microgravity treated cells than in controls, demonstrating that during OPC migration the lack of gravity promotes leading process extension, an essential step in the process of OPC migration. Finally, we tested the effect of simulated microgravity on OPC differentiation. Our data showed that the expression of mature oligodendrocyte markers was significantly delayed in microgravity treated OPCs. Under conditions where OPCs were allowed to progress in the lineage, simulated microgravity decreased the proportion of cells that expressed mature markers, such as CC1 and MBP, with a concomitant increased number of cells that retained immature oligodendrocyte markers such as Sox2 and NG2. Development of methodologies aimed at enhancing the number of OPCs and their ability to progress on the oligodendrocyte lineage is of great value for treatment of demyelinating disorders. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the gravitational modulation of oligodendrocyte intrinsic plasticity to increase their progenies.
PMCID: PMC3850904  PMID: 24324574
16.  Oligomeric procyanidins stimulate innate antiviral immunity in dengue virus infected human PBMCs 
Antiviral research  2011;90(1):80-86.
Oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) have been shown to have antiviral and immunostimulatory effects. OPCs isolated from non-ripe apple peel were tested for capacity to reduce dengue virus (DENV) titers. Similar to published accounts, OPCs exhibited direct antiviral activity. The possibility of enhanced innate immune protection was also tested by measuring and characterizing gene and protein expression induced by OPCs during DENV infection. Treatment of DENV-infected human PBMCs with OPCs decreased viral titers and affected the expression of critical innate antiviral immune products. OPCs enhanced expression of MXI and IFNB transcripts in high MOI DENV infected PBMC cultures, and phosphorylation of STAT2 in response to recombinant type I IFN (IFN I). During low MOI infection, addition of OPCs increased expression of STAT1 transcripts, MHC I and TNFα protein production. Thus, OPCs exhibited innate immune stimulation of cells in DENV-infected cultures and uninfected cells treated with IFN I. While OPCs from a number of sources are known to exhibit antiviral effects, their mechanisms are not precisely defined. The capacity of OPCs to increase sensitivity to IFN I could be broadly applicable to many viral infections and two separate antiviral mechanisms suggest that OPCs may represent a novel, robust antiviral therapy.
PMCID: PMC3076897  PMID: 21371507
procyanidins; dengue; PBMC; interferon; innate
17.  New mechanism of oral immunity to mucosal candidiasis in hyper-IgE syndrome 
Mucosal immunology  2011;4(4):448-455.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC, thrush) is an opportunistic infection caused by the commensal fungus Candida albicans. An understanding of immunity to Candida has recently begun to unfold with the identification of fungal pattern-recognition receptors such as C-type lectin receptors, which trigger protective T-helper (Th)17 responses in the mucosa. Hyper-IgE syndrome (HIES/Job’s syndrome) is a rare congenital immunodeficiency characterized by dominant-negative mutations in signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, which is downstream of the Th17-inductive cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-23, and hence patients with HIES exhibit dramatic Th17 deficits. HIES patients develop oral and mucocutaneous candidiasis, supporting a protective role for Th17 cells in immunity to OPC. However, the Th17-dependent mechanisms of antifungal immunity in OPC are still poorly defined. An often unappreciated aspect of oral immunity is saliva, which is rich in antimicrobial proteins (AMPs) and exerts direct antifungal activity. In this study, we show that HIES patients show significant impairment in salivary AMPs, including β-defensin 2 and Histatins. This tightly correlates with reduced candidacidal activity of saliva and concomitantly elevated colonization with Candida. Moreover, IL-17 induces histatins in cultured salivary gland cells. This is the first demonstration that HIES is associated with defective salivary activity, and provides a mechanism for the severe susceptibility of these patients to OPC.
PMCID: PMC3119375  PMID: 21346738
18.  Th17 cells and IL-17 receptor signaling are essential for mucosal host defense against oral candidiasis 
The commensal fungus Candida albicans causes oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC; thrush) in settings of immunodeficiency. Although disseminated, vaginal, and oral candidiasis are all caused by C. albicans species, host defense against C. albicans varies by anatomical location. T helper 1 (Th1) cells have long been implicated in defense against candidiasis, whereas the role of Th17 cells remains controversial. IL-17 mediates inflammatory pathology in a gastric model of mucosal candidiasis, but is host protective in disseminated disease. Here, we directly compared Th1 and Th17 function in a model of OPC. Th17-deficient (IL-23p19−/−) and IL-17R–deficient (IL-17RA−/−) mice experienced severe OPC, whereas Th1-deficient (IL-12p35−/−) mice showed low fungal burdens and no overt disease. Neutrophil recruitment was impaired in IL-23p19−/− and IL-17RA−/−, but not IL-12−/−, mice, and TCR-αβ cells were more important than TCR-γδ cells. Surprisingly, mice deficient in the Th17 cytokine IL-22 were only mildly susceptible to OPC, indicating that IL-17 rather than IL-22 is vital in defense against oral candidiasis. Gene profiling of oral mucosal tissue showed strong induction of Th17 signature genes, including CXC chemokines and β defensin-3. Saliva from Th17-deficient, but not Th1-deficient, mice exhibited reduced candidacidal activity. Thus, the Th17 lineage, acting largely through IL-17, confers the dominant response to oral candidiasis through neutrophils and antimicrobial factors.
PMCID: PMC2646568  PMID: 19204111
19.  The Adaptor CARD9 Is Required for Adaptive but Not Innate Immunity to Oral Mucosal Candida albicans Infections 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(3):1173-1180.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC [thrush]) is an opportunistic infection caused by the commensal fungus Candida albicans. OPC is common in individuals with HIV/AIDS, infants, patients on chemotherapy, and individuals with congenital immune defects. Immunity to OPC is strongly dependent on the interleukin-23 (IL-23)/IL-17R axis, as mice and humans with defects in IL-17R signaling (IL17F, ACT1, IL-17RA) or in genes that direct Th17 differentiation (STAT3, STAT1, CARD9) are prone to mucocutaneous candidiasis. Conventional Th17 cells are induced in response to C. albicans infection via signals from C-type lectin receptors, which signal through the adaptor CARD9, leading to production of Th17-inducing cytokines such as IL-6, IL-1β, and IL-23. Recent data indicate that IL-17 can also be made by numerous innate cell subsets. These innate “type 17” cells resemble conventional Th17 cells, but they can be activated without need for prior antigen exposure. Because C. albicans is not a commensal organism in rodents and mice are thus naive to this fungus, we had the opportunity to assess the role of CARD9 in innate versus adaptive responses using an OPC infection model. As expected, CARD9−/− mice failed to mount an adaptive Th17 response following oral Candida infection. Surprisingly, however, CARD9−/− mice had preserved innate IL-17-dependent responses to Candida and were almost fully resistant to OPC. Thus, CARD9 is important primarily for adaptive immunity to C. albicans, whereas alternate recognition systems appear to be needed for effective innate responses.
PMCID: PMC3958019  PMID: 24379290
20.  The Role of Candida albicans NOT5 in Virulence Depends upon Diverse Host Factors In Vivo  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(11):7190-7197.
We previously identified Candida albicans Not5p as an immunogenic protein expressed during oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC). In this study, we demonstrate that C. albicans NOT5 reverses the growth defects of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae not5 mutant strain at 37°C, suggesting that the genes share at least some functional equivalence. We implicate C. albicans NOT5 in the pathogenesis of disseminated candidiasis (DC) induced by intravenous infection among neutropenic and nonimmunosuppressed mice, as well as in that of OPC in mice immunosuppressed with corticosteroids. We find no role in virulence, however, among neutropenic and corticosteroid-suppressed mice with DC resulting from gastrointestinal translocation, nor do we implicate the gene in vulvovaginal candidiasis among mice in pseudoestrus. These findings suggest that the role of NOT5 in virulence depends on the specific in vivo environment and is influenced by diverse factors such as tissue site, portal of entry, and the status of host defenses. NOT5 is necessary for normal adherence to colonic and cervical epithelial cells in vitro, demonstrating that such assays cannot fully replicate disease processes in vivo. Lastly, antibody responses against Not5p do not differ in the sera of patients with OPC, patients with DC, and healthy controls, suggesting that the protein is associated with both commensalism and the pathogenesis of disease.
PMCID: PMC1273910  PMID: 16239513
21.  CD8+ T Cells but Not Polymorphonuclear Leukocytes Are Required To Limit Chronic Oral Carriage of Candida albicans in Transgenic Mice Expressing Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1  
Infection and Immunity  2006;74(4):2382-2391.
Candida albicans causes oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) but rarely disseminates to deep organs in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Here, we used a model of OPC in CD4C/HIVMut transgenic (Tg) mice to investigate the role of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) and CD8+ T cells in limiting candidiasis to the mucosa. Numbers of circulating PMNs and their oxidative burst were both augmented in CD4C/HIVMutA Tg mice expressing rev, env, and nef of HIV type 1 (HIV-1), while phagocytosis and killing of C. albicans were largely unimpaired compared to those in non-Tg mice. Depletion of PMNs in these Tg mice did not alter oral or gastrointestinal burdens of C. albicans or cause systemic dissemination. However, oral burdens of C. albicans were increased in CD4C/HIVMutG Tg mice expressing only the nef gene of HIV-1 and bred on a CD8 gene-deficient background (CD8−/−), compared to control or heterozygous CD8+/− CD4C/HIVMutG Tg mice. Thus, CD8+ T cells contribute to the host defense against oral candidiasis in vivo, specifically in the context of nef expression in a subset of immune cells.
PMCID: PMC1418920  PMID: 16552068
22.  Genetic variation of innate immune genes in HIV-infected African patients with or without oropharyngeal candidiasis 
The occurrence of oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) in combination with HIV disease progression is a very common phenomenon. However, not all HIV-infected patients develop OPC, even when they progress to low CD4+ T cell counts. Because T-cell immunity is defective in AIDS, the innate defence mechanisms are likely to have a central role in antifungal immunity in these patients. We investigated whether genetic variations in the innate immune genes DECTIN-1, TLR2, TLR4, TIRAP and CASPASE-12 are associated with the presence of OPC in HIV-infected subjects from East-Africa.
A total of 225 HIV patients were genotyped for several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and this was correlated with the occurrence of OPC in these patients. In addition, primary immune cells obtained from individuals with different genotypes were stimulated with C.albicans and cytokine production was measured.
The analysis revealed that no significant differences in the polymorphism frequencies could be observed, although a tendency towards a protective effect on OPC of the DECTIN-1 I223S SNP was apparent. Furthermore, IFNγ production capacity was markedly lower in cells bearing the DECTIN-1 SNP I223S. It could also be demonstrated that the 223S mutated form of the DECTIN-1 gene exhibits a lower capacity to bind zymosan.
These data demonstrate that common polymorphisms of TLR2, TLR4, TIRAP and CASPASE-12 do not influence susceptibility to OPC in HIV-infected patients in East-Africa but suggest an immunomodulatory effect of the I223S SNP on dectin-1 function and possibly the susceptibility to OPC in HIV patients.
PMCID: PMC3443739  PMID: 20577092
HIV; oropharyngeal candidiasis; dectin-1; TLR2; TLR4; Mal/TIRAP; caspase-12
23.  Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacodynamics of Cyclodextrin Itraconazole in Pediatric Patients with Oropharyngeal Candidiasis 
The safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of cyclodextrin itraconazole (CD-ITRA) oral suspension were investigated in an open sequential dose escalation study with 26 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children and adolescents (5 to 18 years old; mean CD4+-cell count, 128/μl) with oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC). Patients received CD-ITRA at either 2.5 mg/kg of body weight once a day (QD) or 2.5 mg/kg twice a day (BID) for a total of 15 days. Pharmacokinetic sampling was performed after the first dose and for up to 120 h after the last dose, and antifungal efficacy was evaluated by standardized scoring of the oropharynx. Apart from mild to moderate gastrointestinal disturbances in three patients (11.5%), CD-ITRA was well tolerated. Two patients (7.6%) discontinued treatment prematurely due to study drug-related adverse events. After 15 days of treatment, the peak concentration of drug in plasma (Cmax), the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) from 0 to 24 h (AUC0-24), the concentration in plasma at the end of the dosing interval (predose) (Cmin), and the terminal half-life of itraconazole (ITRA) were (means and standard deviations) 0.604 ± 0.53 μg/ml, 6.80 ± 7.4 μg · h/ml, 0.192 ± 0.06 μg/ml, and 56.48 ± 44 h, respectively, for the QD regimen and 1.340 ± 0.75 μg/ml, 23.04 ± 14.5 μg · h/ml, 0.782 ± 0.19 μg/ml, and 104.22 ± 94 h, respectively, for the BID regimen. The mean AUC-based accumulation factors for ITRA on day 15 were 4.14 ± 0.9 and 3.53 ± 0.6, respectively. A comparison of the dose-normalized median AUC of the two dosage regimens revealed a trend toward nonlinear drug disposition (P = 0.05). The mean metabolic ratios (AUC of hydroxyitraconazole/AUC of ITRA) at day 15 were 1.96 ± 0.1 for the QD regimen and 1.29 ± 0.2 for the BID regimen, respectively (P < 0.05). The OPC score (range, 0 to 13) for all 26 patients decreased from a mean of 7.46 ± 0.8 at baseline to 2.8 ± 0.7 at the end of therapy (P < 0.001), demonstrating antifungal efficacy in this setting. The relationships among Cmax, Cmin, AUC0-12, Cmax/MIC, Cmin/MIC, AUC0-12/MIC, time during the dosing interval when the plasma drug concentrations were above the MIC for the infecting isolate, and the residual OPC score at day 15 for the entire study population fit inhibitory effect pharmacodynamic models (r, 0.595 to 0.421; P, <0.01 to <0.05). All patients with fluconazole-resistant isolates responded to treatment with CD-ITRA; however, there was no clear correlation between the MIC of ITRA and response to therapy. In conclusion, CD-ITRA was well tolerated and efficacious for the treatment of OPC in HIV-infected pediatric patients. Pharmacodynamic modeling revealed significant correlations between plasma drug concentrations and antifungal efficacy. Based on this documented safety and efficacy, a dosage of 2.5 mg/kg BID can be recommended for the treatment of OPC in pediatric patients ≥5 years old.
PMCID: PMC127364  PMID: 12121932
24.  Visualisation and Quantification of Intracellular Interactions of Neisseria meningitidis and Human α-actinin by Confocal Imaging 
The Opc protein of Neisseria meningitidis (Nm, meningococcus) is a surface-expressed integral outer membrane protein, which can act as an adhesin and an effective invasin for human epithelial and endothelial cells. We have identified endothelial surface-located integrins as major receptors for Opc, a process which requires Opc to first bind to integrin ligands such as vitronectin and via these to the cell-expressed receptors1. This process leads to bacterial invasion of endothelial cells2. More recently, we observed an interaction of Opc with a 100kDa protein found in whole cell lysates of human cells3. We initially observed this interaction when host cell proteins separated by electrophoresis and blotted on to nitrocellulose were overlaid with Opc-expressing Nm. The interaction was direct and did not involve intermediate molecules. By mass spectrometry, we established the identity of the protein as α-actinin. As no surface expressed α-actinin was found on any of the eight cell lines examined, and as Opc interactions with endothelial cells in the presence of serum lead to bacterial entry into the target cells, we examined the possibility of the two proteins interacting intracellularly. For this, cultured human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMECs) were infected with Opc-expressing Nm for extended periods and the locations of internalised bacteria and α-actinin were examined by confocal microscopy. We observed time-dependent increase in colocalisation of Nm with the cytoskeletal protein, which was considerable after an eight hour period of bacterial internalisation. In addition, the use of quantitative imaging software enabled us to obtain a relative measure of the colocalisation of Nm with α-actinin and other cytoskeletal proteins. Here we present a protocol for visualisation and quantification of the colocalisation of the bacterium with intracellular proteins after bacterial entry into human endothelial cells, although the procedure is also applicable to human epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC3185616  PMID: 21085092
25.  Expression of Proteolipid Protein Gene in Spinal Cord Stem Cells and Early Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells Is Dispensable for Normal Cell Migration and Myelination 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(4):1333-1343.
Plp1 gene expression occurs very early in development, well before the onset of myelination, creating a conundrum with regard to the function of myelin proteolipid protein (PLP), one of the major proteins in compact myelin. Using PLP-EGFP mice to investigate Plp1 promoter activity, we found that, at very early time points, PLP-EGFP was expressed in Sox2+ undifferentiated precursors in the spinal cord ventricular zone (VZ), as well as in the progenitors of both neuronal and glial lineages. As development progressed, most PLP-EGFP-expressing cells gave rise to oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). The expression of PLP-EGFP in the spinal cord was quite dynamic during development. PLP-EGFP was highly expressed as cells delaminated from the VZ. Expression was downregulated as cells moved laterally through the cord, and then robustly upregulated as OPCs differentiated into mature myelinating oligodendrocytes. The presence of PLP-EGFP expression in OPCs raises the question of its role in this migratory population. We crossed PLP-EGFP reporter mice into a Plp1-null background to investigate the role of PLP in early OPC development. In the absence of PLP, normal numbers of OPCs were generated and their distribution throughout the spinal cord was unaffected. However, the orientation and length of OPC processes during migration was abnormal in Plp1-null mice, suggesting that PLP plays a role either in the structural integrity of OPC processes or in their response to extracellular cues that orient process outgrowth.
PMCID: PMC3898293  PMID: 24453324
migration; myelination; oligodendrocyte; OPC; PLP; proteolipid protein

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