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1.  Dietary cholesterol directly induces acute inflammasome-dependent intestinal inflammation 
Nature Communications  2014;5:5864.
Prolonged ingestion of a cholesterol- or saturated fatty acid-enriched diet induces chronic, often systemic, auto-inflammatory responses resulting in significant health problems worldwide. In vivo information regarding the local and direct inflammatory effect of these dietary components in the intestine and, in particular, on the intestinal epithelium is lacking. Here we report that both mice and zebrafish exposed to high-fat (HFDs) or high-cholesterol (HCDs) diets develop acute innate inflammatory responses within hours, reflected in the localized interleukin-1β-dependent accumulation of myeloid cells in the intestine. Acute HCD-induced intestinal inflammation is dependent on cholesterol uptake via Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 and inflammasome activation involving apoptosis-associated Speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain, which leads to Caspase-1 activity in intestinal epithelial cells. Extended exposure to HCD results in localized, inflammation-dependent, functional dysregulation as well as systemic pathologies. Our model suggests that dietary cholesterol initiates intestinal inflammation in epithelial cells.
Chronic consumption of a Western-type diet leads to systemic inflammation of undefined origin, which contributes to metabolic disease. Here Progatzky et al. identify an immediate early step in the process by showing that dietary cholesterol rapidly activates inflammasomes in the gut epithelium.
PMCID: PMC4284652  PMID: 25536194
2.  The CD46 and Jagged1 interaction is critical for human T helper 1 immunity 
Nature immunology  2012;13(12):1213-1221.
CD46 is a complement regulator with important immune-related roles. CD46 functions as a pathogen receptor and is a potent co-stimulator for the induction of interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-secreting T helper 1 (TH1) effector T cells and their subsequent switch into interleukin-10 (IL-10)-producing regulatory T cells. Here, we identify the Notch protein family member Jagged1 as a new physiological ligand for CD46. Further, CD46 regulates Notch receptors and ligands expression during T cell activation and disturbance of the CD46-Notch crosstalk impedes IFN-γ induction and IL-10 switching. Importantly, CD4+ T cells from CD46-deficient patients and patients with hypomorphic Jagged1 mutations (Alagille Syndrome) fail to mount appropriate TH1 responses in vitro and in vivo suggesting that CD46-Jagged1 crosstalk is responsible for the recurrent infections in subpopulations of these patients.
PMCID: PMC3505834  PMID: 23086448
3.  Non-canonical Notch signaling modulates cytokine responses of dendritic cells to inflammatory stimuli1 
Dendritic cell (DC) derived cytokines play a key role in specifying adaptive immune responses tailored to the type of pathogen encountered and the local tissue environment. However, little is known about how DC perceive the local environment. We investigated whether endogenous Notch signaling could affect DC responses to pathogenic stimuli. We demonstrate that concurrent Notch and TLR stimulation results in a unique cytokine profile in mouse bone-marrow derived DC characterized by enhanced IL-10 and IL-2 and reduced IL-12 expression compared to TLR ligation alone. Unexpectedly, modulation of cytokine production occurred through a non-canonical Notch signaling pathway, independent of γ-secretase activity. Modulation required de novo protein synthesis and PI3K, JNK and ERK activity were necessary for enhanced IL-2 expression while modulation of IL-10 only required PI3K activity. Further, we show that this γ-secretase independent Notch pathway can induce PI3K activity. In contrast, expression of the canonical Notch target gene Hes1 was suppressed in DC stimulated with Notch and TLR ligands simultaneously. Thus, our data suggest that Notch acts as an endogenous signal that modulates cytokine expression of DC through a non-canonical pathway and therefore has the potential to tailor the subsequent adaptive immune response in a tissue and/or stage dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC3442230  PMID: 22753939
4.  In vivo fluorescence lifetime optical projection tomography 
Biomedical Optics Express  2011;2(5):1340-1350.
We demonstrate the application of fluorescence lifetime optical projection tomography (FLIM-OPT) to in vivo imaging of lysC:GFP transgenic zebrafish embryos (Danio rerio). This method has been applied to unambiguously distinguish between the fluorescent protein (GFP) signal in myeloid cells from background autofluorescence based on the fluorescence lifetime. The combination of FLIM, an inherently ratiometric method, in conjunction with OPT results in a quantitative 3-D tomographic technique that could be used as a robust method for in vivo biological and pharmaceutical research, for example as a readout of Förster resonance energy transfer based interactions.
PMCID: PMC3087590  PMID: 21559145
(170.3650) Lifetime-based sensing; (170.6900) Three-dimensional microscopy; (170.6920) Time-resolved imaging; (170.6960) Tomography
5.  Independent degeneration of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium in conditional knockout mouse models of choroideremia 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2006;116(2):386-394.
Choroideremia (CHM) is an X-linked degeneration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), photoreceptors, and choroid, caused by loss of function of the CHM/REP1 gene. REP1 is involved in lipid modification (prenylation) of Rab GTPases, key regulators of intracellular vesicular transport and organelle dynamics. To study the pathogenesis of CHM and to develop a model for assessing gene therapy, we have created a conditional mouse knockout of the Chm gene. Heterozygous-null females exhibit characteristic hallmarks of CHM: progressive degeneration of the photoreceptors, patchy depigmentation of the RPE, and Rab prenylation defects. Using tamoxifen-inducible and tissue-specific Cre expression in combination with floxed Chm alleles, we show that CHM pathogenesis involves independently triggered degeneration of photoreceptors and the RPE, associated with different subsets of defective Rabs.
PMCID: PMC1326146  PMID: 16410831
6.  Stable and heritable gene silencing in the malaria vector Anopheles stephensi 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(15):e85.
Heritable RNA interference (RNAi), triggered from stably expressed transgenes with an inverted repeat (IR) configuration, is an important tool for reverse genetic studies. Here we report on the development of stable RNAi in Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes, the major vector of human malaria in Asia. Trans genic mosquitoes stably expressing a RNAi transgene, designed to produce intron-spliced double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) targeting the green fluorescent protein EGFP gene, were crossed to an EGFP-expressing target line. EGFP expression was dramatically reduced at both the protein and RNA levels. The levels of gene silencing depended upon the RNAi gene copy number and its site of integration. These results demonstrate that specific RNAi-mediated knockdown of gene function can be achieved with high efficiency in Anopheles. This will be invaluable to systematically unravel the function of Anopheles genes determining the vectorial capacity of the malaria parasite.
PMCID: PMC169974  PMID: 12888537
7.  P38 and JNK have opposing effects on persistence of in vivo leukocyte migration in zebrafish 
Immunology and Cell Biology  2012;91(1):60-69.
The recruitment and migration of macrophages and neutrophils is an important process during the early stages of the innate immune system in response to acute injury. Transgenic pu.1:EGFP zebrafish permit the acquisition of leukocyte migration trajectories during inflammation. Currently, these high-quality live-imaging data are mainly analysed using general statistics, for example, cell velocity. Here, we present a spatio-temporal analysis of the cell dynamics using transition matrices, which provide information of the type of cell migration. We find evidence that leukocytes exhibit types of migratory behaviour, which differ from previously described random walk processes. Dimethyl sulfoxide treatment decreased the level of persistence at early time points after wounding and ablated temporal dependencies observed in untreated embryos. We then use pharmacological inhibition of p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase mitogen-activated protein kinases to determine their effects on in vivo leukocyte migration patterns and discuss how they modify the characteristics of the cell migration process. In particular, we find that their respective inhibition leads to decreased and increased levels of persistent motion in leukocytes following wounding. This example shows the high level of information content, which can be gained from live-imaging data if appropriate statistical tools are used.
PMCID: PMC3540327  PMID: 23165607
immune signalling; multi-scale analysis; systems biology

Results 1-7 (7)