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1.  The Progression of Cell Death Affects the Rejection of Allogeneic Tumors in Immune-Competent Mice – Implications for Cancer Therapy 
Large amounts of dead and dying cells are produced during cancer therapy and allograft rejection. Depending on the death pathway and stimuli involved, dying cells exhibit diverse features, resulting in defined physiological consequences for the host. It is not fully understood how dying and dead cells modulate the immune response of the host. To address this problem, different death stimuli were studied in B16F10 melanoma cells by regulated inducible transgene expression of the pro-apoptotic active forms of caspase-3 (revCasp-3), Bid (tBid), and the Mycobacterium tuberculosis-necrosis inducing toxin (CpnTCTD). The immune outcome elicited for each death stimulus was assessed by evaluating the allograft rejection of melanoma tumors implanted subcutaneously in BALB/c mice immunized with dying cells. Expression of all proteins efficiently killed cells in vitro (>90%) and displayed distinctive morphological and physiological features as assessed by multiparametric flow cytometry analysis. BALB/c mice immunized with allogeneic dying melanoma cells expressing revCasp-3 or CpnTCTD showed strong rejection of the allogeneic challenge. In contrast, mice immunized with cells dying either after expression of tBid or irradiation with UVB did not, suggesting an immunologically silent cell death. Surprisingly, immunogenic cell death induced by expression of revCasp-3 or CpnTCTD correlated with elevated intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels at the time point of immunization. Conversely, early mitochondrial dysfunction induced by tBid expression or UVB irradiation accounted for the absence of intracellular ROS accumulation at the time point of immunization. Although ROS inhibition in vitro was not sufficient to abrogate the immunogenicity in our allo-immunization model, we suggest that the point of ROS generation and its intracellular accumulation may be an important factor for its role as damage associated molecular pattern in the development of allogeneic responses.
PMCID: PMC4227513  PMID: 25426116
immunogenicity; apoptosis; cancer; ROS; caspase-3; tBid; necrosis; DAMPs
2.  Polymorphisms in the Hsp70 gene locus are genetically associated with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2010;69(11):1983-1989.
Heat shock proteins (Hsps) play a role in the delivery and presentation of antigenic peptides and are thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of multifactorial diseases.
To investigate genes encoding cytosolic Hsp70 proteins for associations of allelic variants with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Case–control studies of two independent Caucasian SLE cohorts were performed. In a haplotype-tagging single-nucleotide polymorphism approach, common variants of HspA1L, HspA1A and HspA1B were genotyped and principal component analyses were performed for the cohort from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). Relative quantification of mRNA was carried out for each Hsp70 gene in healthy controls. Conditional regression analysis was performed to determine if allelic variants in Hsp70 act independently of HLA-DR3.
On analysis of common genetic variants of HspA1L, HspA1A and HspA1B, a haplotype significantly associated with SLE in the Erlangen-SLE cohort was identified, which was confirmed in the OMRF cohort. Depending on the cohorts, OR ranging from 1.43 to 1.88 and 2.64 to 3.16 was observed for individuals heterozygous and homozygous for the associated haplotype, respectively. Patients carrying the risk haplotype or the risk allele more often displayed autoantibodies to Ro and La in both cohorts. In healthy controls bearing this haplotype, the amount of HspA1A mRNA was significantly increased, whereas total Hsp70 protein concentration was not altered.
Allelic variants of the Hsp70 genes are significantly associated with SLE in Caucasians, independently of HLA-DR3, and correlate with the presence of autoantibodies to Ro and La. Hence, the Hsp70 gene locus appears to be involved in SLE pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3002760  PMID: 20498198
3.  Induction of inflammatory and immune responses by HMGB1–nucleosome complexes: implications for the pathogenesis of SLE 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2008;205(13):3007-3018.
Autoantibodies against double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and nucleosomes represent a hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, the mechanisms involved in breaking the immunological tolerance against these poorly immunogenic nuclear components are not fully understood. Impaired phagocytosis of apoptotic cells with consecutive release of nuclear antigens may contribute to the immune pathogenesis. The architectural chromosomal protein and proinflammatory mediator high mobility group box protein 1 (HMGB1) is tightly attached to the chromatin of apoptotic cells. We demonstrate that HMGB1 remains bound to nucleosomes released from late apoptotic cells in vitro. HMGB1–nucleosome complexes were also detected in plasma from SLE patients. HMGB1-containing nucleosomes from apoptotic cells induced secretion of interleukin (IL) 1β, IL-6, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α and expression of costimulatory molecules in macrophages and dendritic cells (DC), respectively. Neither HMGB1-free nucleosomes from viable cells nor nucleosomes from apoptotic cells lacking HMGB1 induced cytokine production or DC activation. HMGB1-containing nucleosomes from apoptotic cells induced anti-dsDNA and antihistone IgG responses in a Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2–dependent manner, whereas nucleosomes from living cells did not. In conclusion, HMGB1–nucleosome complexes activate antigen presenting cells and, thereby, may crucially contribute to the pathogenesis of SLE via breaking the immunological tolerance against nucleosomes/dsDNA.
PMCID: PMC2605236  PMID: 19064698
4.  The rs1143679 (R77H) lupus associated variant of ITGAM (CD11b) impairs complement receptor 3 mediated functions in human monocytes 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;71(12):2028-2034.
The rs1143679 variant of ITGAM, encoding the R77H variant of CD11b (part of complement receptor 3; CR3), is among the strongest genetic susceptibility effects in human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The authors aimed to demonstrate R77H function in ex-vivo human cells.
Monocytes/monocyte-derived macrophages from healthy volunteers homozygous for either wild type (WT) or 77H CD11b were studied. The genotype-specific expression of CD11b, and CD11b activation using conformation-specific antibodies were measured. Genotype-specific differences in iC3b-mediated phagocytosis, adhesion to a range of ligands and the secretion of cytokines following CR3 ligation were studied. The functionality of R77H was confirmed by replicating findings in COS7 cells expressing variant-specific CD11b.
No genotype-specific difference in CD11b expression or in the expression of CD11b activation epitopes was observed. A 31% reduction was observed in the phagocytosis of iC3b opsonised sheep erythrocytes (sRBCiC3b) by 77H cells (p=0.003) and reduced adhesion to a range of ligands: notably a 24% reduction in adhesion to iC3b (p=0.014). In transfected COS7 cells, a 42% reduction was observed in phagocytosis by CD11b (77H)-expressing cells (p=0.004). A significant inhibition was seen in the release of Toll-like receptor 7/8-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines from WT monocytes when CR3 was pre-engaged using sRBCiC3b, but no inhibition in 77H monocytes resulting in a significant difference between genotypes (interleukin (IL)-1β p=0.030; IL-6 p=0.029; tumour necrosis factor alpha p=0.027).
The R77H variant impairs a broad range of CR3 effector functions in human monocytes. This study discusses how perturbation of this pathway may predispose to SLE.
PMCID: PMC3488763  PMID: 22586164

Results 1-4 (4)