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author:("Fang, deyo")
1.  Deleted in Breast Cancer 1 (DBC1) is a Suppressor of B cell Activation by Negatively Regulating Alternative NF-κB Transcriptional Activity 
CD40 and BAFF receptor (BAFFR) signaling plays important roles in B cell proliferation and immunoglobulin production. In this study we found that B cells from mice with deletion of Dbc1 gene (Dbc1−/−) show elevated proliferation, and IgG1 and IgA production upon in vitro CD40 and BAFF, but not BCR and LPS stimulation, indicating that DBC1 inhibits CD40/BAFF-mediated B cell activation in a cell-intrinsic manner. Microarray analysis and Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments reveal that DBC1 inhibits B cell function by selectively suppressing the transcriptional activity of alternative NF-κB members RelB and p52 upon CD40 stimulation. As a result, when immunized with Nitrophenylated-Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin (NP-KLH), Dbc1−/− mice produce significantly increased levels of germinal center B cells, plasma cells, as well as antigen-specific immunoglobulin. Finally, loss of DBC1 in mice leads to higher susceptibility to Experimental Autoimmune Myasthenia Gravis (EAMG). Our study identifies DBC1 as a novel regulator of B cell activation by suppressing the alternative NF-κB pathway.
PMCID: PMC4259264  PMID: 25362179
2.  A Hrd way for MHC-II expression 
Oncotarget  2015;6(26):21767-21768.
PMCID: PMC4673110  PMID: 26312567
Immunology and Microbiology Section; Immune response; Immunity
3.  CD11c-mediated Deletion of Flip Promotes Autoreactivity and Inflammatory Arthritis 
Nature communications  2015;6:7086.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are critical for immune homeostasis. To target DCs, we generated a mouse line with Flip deficiency in cells that express cre under the CD11c-promoter (CD11c-Flip-KO). CD11c-Flip-KO mice spontaneously develop erosive, inflammatory arthritis, resembling rheumatoid arthritis, which is dramatically reduced when these mice are crossed with Rag−/− mice. The CD8α+ DC subset is significantly reduced, along with alterations in NK cells and macrophages. Autoreactive CD4+ T cells and autoantibodies specific for joint tissue are present and arthritis severity correlates with the number of autoreactive CD4+ T cells and plasmablasts in the joint draining lymph nodes. Reduced T regulatory cells (Tregs) inversely correlate with arthritis severity, and the transfer of Tregs ameliorates arthritis. This KO line identifies a model that will permit in depth interrogation of the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, including the role of CD8α+ DCs and other cells of the immune system.
PMCID: PMC4429912  PMID: 25963626
4.  Hrd1-mediated BLIMP-1 ubiquitination promotes dendritic cell MHCII expression for CD4 T cell priming during inflammation 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2014;211(12):2467-2479.
Yang et al. demonstrate that Hrd1 plays an important role in DC induction of CD4 T cell immunity. The underlying mechanism involves the ability of Hrd1 to ubiquitinate and degrade BLIMP-1, thus releasing CIITA from transcriptional repression and promoting MHCII expression. As a consequence, Hrd1−/− DCs protect mice from MOG-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
The ubiquitin pathway plays critical roles in antigen presentation. However, the ubiquitin ligases that regulate MHC gene transcription remain unidentified. We showed that the ubiquitin ligase Hrd1, expression of which is induced by Toll-like receptor (TLR) stimulation, is required for MHC-II but not MHC-I transcription in dendritic cells (DCs). Targeted Hrd1 gene deletion in DCs diminished MHC-II expression. As a consequence, Hrd1-null DCs failed to prime CD4+ T cells without affecting the activation of CD8+ T cells. Hrd1 catalyzed ubiquitination and degradation of the transcriptional suppressor B lymphocyte–induced maturation protein 1 (BLIMP1) to promote MHC-II expression. Genetic suppression of Hrd1 function in DCs protected mice from myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)–induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). We identified Hrd1-mediated BLIMP1 ubiquitination as a previously unknown mechanism in programming DC for CD4+ T cell activation during inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4235642  PMID: 25366967
5.  CD11c-mediated deletion of Flip promotes autoreactivity and inflammatory arthritis 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7086.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are critical for immune homeostasis. To target DCs, we generated a mouse line with Flip deficiency in cells that express cre under the CD11c promoter (CD11c-Flip-KO). CD11c-Flip-KO mice spontaneously develop erosive, inflammatory arthritis, resembling rheumatoid arthritis, which is dramatically reduced when these mice are crossed with Rag−/− mice. The CD8α+ DC subset is significantly reduced, along with alterations in NK cells and macrophages. Autoreactive CD4+ T cells and autoantibodies specific for joint tissue are present, and arthritis severity correlates with the number of autoreactive CD4+ T cells and plasmablasts in the joint-draining lymph nodes. Reduced T regulatory cells (Tregs) inversely correlate with arthritis severity, and the transfer of Tregs ameliorates arthritis. This KO line identifies a model that will permit in depth interrogation of the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, including the role of CD8α+ DCs and other cells of the immune system.
Dendritic cells are critical for initiation of immune responses and for induction of tolerance. Here the authors show that deletion of survival factor c-flip in CD11c-expressing cells subset perturbs CD8a+ dendritic cell, NK and macrophage pools, and leads to development of autoimmune arthritis.
PMCID: PMC4429912  PMID: 25963626
6.  HDAC Inhibitors Restore the Capacity of Aged Mice to Respond to Haloperidol through Modulation of Histone Acetylation 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2014;39(6):1469-1478.
Antipsychotic drugs are widely prescribed to elderly patients for the treatment of a variety of psychopathological conditions, including psychosis and the behavioral disturbances associated with dementia. However, clinical experience suggests that these drugs may be less efficacious in the elderly individuals than in the young. Recent studies suggest that aging may be associated with epigenetic changes and that valproic acid (VPA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, may reverse such changes. However, it is not yet known whether HDAC inhibitors can modulate age-related epigenetic changes that may impact antipsychotic drug action. In this study, we analyzed conditioned avoidance response (CAR) and c-Fos expression patterns to elucidate the effect of HDAC inhibitors VPA and entinostat (MS-275) on behavioral and molecular markers of the effects of haloperidol (HAL) in aged mice. Our results showed that HAL administration failed to suppress the avoidance response during the CAR test, suggesting an age-related decrease in drug efficacy. In addition, HAL-induced c-Fos expression in the nucleus accumbens shell and prefrontal cortex was significantly lower in aged mice as compared with young mice. Pretreatment with VPA and MS-275 significantly improved HAL effects on the CAR test in aged mice. Also, VPA and MS-275 pretreatment restored HAL-induced increases in c-Fos expression in the nucleus accumbens shell and prefrontal cortex of aged mice to levels comparable with those observed in young mice. Lastly, but most importantly, increases in c-Fos expression and HAL efficacy in the CAR test of the HAL+VPA and HAL+MS-275 groups were correlated with elevated histone acetylation at the c-fos promoter region in aged mice. These findings suggest that pretreatment with VPA or MS-275 increases the behavioral and molecular effects of HAL in aged mice and that these effects occur via modulation of age-related histone hypoacetylation in the nucleus accumbens shell and prefrontal cortex.
PMCID: PMC3988551  PMID: 24366052
aging; geriatrics; molecular & cellular neurobiology; pharmacogenetics; pharmacogenomics; schizophrenia; antipsychotics; aging; epigenetics; antipsychotics; valproic acid; haloperidol; entinostat; aging; haloperidol; epigenetics; valproic acid (VPA); entinostat (MS-275); mice
7.  Icariin Induces Synoviolin Expression through NFE2L1 to Protect Neurons from ER Stress-Induced Apoptosis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119955.
By suppressing neuronal apoptosis, Icariin is a potential therapeutic drug for neuronal degenerative diseases. The molecular mechanisms of Icariin anti-apoptotic functions are still largely unclear. In this report, we found that Icariin induces the expression of Synoviolin, an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-anchoring E3 ubiquitin ligase that functions as a suppressor of ER stress-induced apoptosis. The nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 1 (NFE2L1) is responsible for Icariin-mediated Synoviolin gene expression. Mutation of the NFE2L1-binding sites in a distal region of the Synoviolin promoter abolished Icariin-induced Synoviolin promoter activity, and knockdown of NFE2L1 expression prevented Icariin-stimulated Synoviolin expression. More importantly, Icariin protected ER stress-induced apoptosis of PC12 cells in a Synoviolin-dependent manner. Therefore, our study reveals Icariin-induced Synoviolin expression through NFE2L1 as a previously unappreciated molecular mechanism underlying the neuronal protective function of Icariin.
PMCID: PMC4373914  PMID: 25806530
8.  USP10 Antagonizes c-Myc Transcriptional Activation through SIRT6 Stabilization to Suppress Tumor Formation 
Cell reports  2013;5(6):1639-1649.
The reduced protein expression of SIRT6 tumor suppressor is involved in tumorigenesis. The molecular mechanisms underlying SIRT6 protein downregulation in human cancers remain unknown. Using a proteomic approach, we have identified the ubiquitin-specific peptidase USP10, another tumor suppressor, as one of the SIRT6-interacting proteins. USP10 suppresses SIRT6 ubiquitination to protect SIRT6 from proteasomal degradation. USP10 antagonizes the transcriptional activity of the c-Myc oncogene through SIRT6, as well as p53, to inhibit cell cycle progression, cancer cell growth, and tumor formation. To support this conclusion, we detected significant reductions in both USP10 and SIRT6 protein expression in human colon cancers. Our study discovered crosstalk between two tumor-suppressive genes in regulating cell cycle progression and proliferation and showed that dysregulated USP10 function promotes tumorigenesis through SIRT6 degradation.
PMCID: PMC4007576  PMID: 24332849
9.  Tumor protein translationally controlled 1 is a p53 target gene that promotes cell survival 
Cell Cycle  2013;12(14):2321-2328.
Tumor suppressor p53 maintains genome stability by differentially activating target genes that control diverse cellular responses, such as the antioxidant response, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Despite the fact that many p53 downstream genes have been well characterized, novel p53 target genes are continuously being identified. Here, we report that Tpt1 is a direct target gene of p53. We found that p53 upregulates the transcription of Tpt1 and identified a p53-responsive element in the promoter of the mouse Tpt1 gene. Furthermore, p53-dependent induction of Tpt1 was able to reduce oxidative stress, minimize apoptosis, and promote cell survival in response to H2O2 challenge. In addition, a positive correlation between the expression of p53 and Tpt1 only existed in normal lung tissues, not in lung tumors. Such positive correlation was also found in lung cell lines that contain wild-type p53, but not mutated p53. Based on the important role of Tpt1 in cancer development, chemoresistance, and cancer reversion, identification of Tpt1 as a direct target gene of p53 not only adds to the complexity of the p53 network, but may also open up a new avenue for cancer prevention and intervention.
PMCID: PMC3755082  PMID: 24067374
p53; Tpt1; TCTP; cancer
10.  USP15 negatively regulates Nrf2 through deubiquitination of Keap1 
Molecular cell  2013;51(1):68-79.
Nrf2 is a master regulator of the antioxidant response. Under basal conditions Nrf2 is polyubiquitinated by the Keap1-Cul3-E3 ligase and degraded by the 26S-proteasome. In response to Nrf2 inducers there is a switch in polyubiquitination from Nrf2 to Keap1. Currently, regulation of the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway by ubiquitination is largely understood. However, the mechanism responsible for removal of ubiquitin conjugated to Nrf2 or Keap1 remains unknown. Here we report that the deubiquitinating enzyme, USP15, specifically deubiquitinates Keap1, which suppresses the Nrf2 pathway. We demonstrated that deubiquitinated-Keap1 incorporates into the Keap1-Cul3-E3 ligase complex more efficiently, enhancing the complex stability and enzymatic activity. Consequently, there is an increase in Nrf2 protein degradation and a reduction in Nrf2 target gene expression. Furthermore, USP15-siRNA enhances chemoresistance of cells through upregulation of Nrf2. These findings further our understanding of how the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway is regulated, which is imperative in targeting this pathway for chemoprevention or chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3732832  PMID: 23727018
Nrf2; Keap1; USP15; Cul3; ubiquitination; deubiquitination; antioxidant response; chemoresistance
11.  Transgenic expression of survivin compensates for OX40-deficiency in driving Th2 development and allergic inflammation 
European journal of immunology  2013;43(7):10.1002/eji.201243081.
Survivin, an inhibitor of apoptosis family molecule, has been proposed as a crucial intermediate in the signaling pathways leading to T-cell development, proliferation, and expansion. However, the importance of survivin to T-cell-driven inflammatory responses has not been demonstrated. Here, we show that survivin transgenic mice exhibit an increased antigen-driven Th2 lung inflammation and that constitutive expression of survivin reversed the defective lung inflammation even in the absence of OX40 costimulation. We found that OX40-deficient mice were compromised in generating Th2 cells, airway eosinophilia, and IgE responses. In contrast, OX40-deficient/survivin transgenic mice generated normal Th2 responses and exhibited strong lung inflammation. These results suggested that OX40 costimulation crucially engaged survivin during antigen-mediated Th2 responses. These findings also promote the notion that OX40 costimulation regulated allergic responses or lung inflammation by targeting survivin thereby enhancing T-cell proliferation and resulting in more differentiated Th2 cells in the allergic inflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC3876962  PMID: 23616302
costimulation; lung inflammation; murine model; survivin; Th2 cells
12.  The Class III Histone Deacetylase Sirtuin 1 in Immune Suppression and Its Therapeutic Potential in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic debilitating disease of the joints. Both the innate and adaptive immune responses participate in the development and progression of RA. While several therapeutic reagents, such as TNF-α agonists, have been successfully developed for the clinical use in the treatment of RA, more than half of the patients do not respond to anti-TNF therapy. Therefore, new therapeutic reagents are needed. Recent studies have shown that sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-dependent histone deacetylase, is a critical negative regulator of both the innate and adaptive immune response in mice, and its altered functions are likely to be involved in autoimmune diseases. Small molecules that modulate Sirt1 functions are potential therapeutic reagents for autoimmune inflammatory diseases. This review highlights the role of Sirt1 in immune regulation and RA.
PMCID: PMC4007159  PMID: 23876775
Rheumatoid arthritis; Sirt1; Epigenetic
13.  Does Nrf2 Contribute to p53-Mediated Control of Cell Survival and Death? 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2012;17(12):1670-1675.
In response to oxidative stress, the transcription factor Nrf2 is upregulated and controls activation of many genes that work in concert to defend cells from damages and to maintain cellular redox homeostasis. p53 has been regarded as the guardian of the genome through its pro-oxidant and antioxidant functions. Under low levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), “normal” amounts of p53 upregulates expression of antioxidant genes, protecting macromolecules from ROS-induced damage. However, at high levels or extended exposure of ROS, p53 expression is enhanced, activating pro-oxidant genes and resulting in p53-dependent apoptosis. We observed a two-phase Nrf2 expression controlled by p53. (i) The induction phase: when p53 expression is relatively low, p53 enhances the protein level of Nrf2 and its target genes to promote cell survival in a p21-dependent manner. (ii) The repression phase: when p53 expression is high, the Nrf2-mediated survival response is inhibited by p53. Our observation leads to the hypothesis that the p53-mediated biphasic regulation of Nrf2 may be key for the tumor-suppressor function of p53 by coordinating cell survival and death pathways. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 17, 1670–1675.
PMCID: PMC3474188  PMID: 22559194
14.  Resveratrol Inhibits CD4+ T Cell Activation by Enhancing the Expression and Activity of Sirt1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75139.
Resveratrol, a natural polyphenol compound, has broad effects on critical events, including inflammation, oxidation, cancer and aging. However, the function and molecular mechanisms of resveratrol on T cell activation are controversial. In the present study, we found that resveratrol significantly inhibits the activation and cytokine production of T cells in vitro and in vivo. Sirt1 expression was up-regulated in resveratrol-treated T cells. Once Sirt1 was down-regulated in the T cells, the resveratrol-induced inhibition of T cell activation noticeably diminished. The acetylation of c-Jun decreased and its translocation was impeded in the resveratrol-treated T cells. The incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis in the resveratrol-treated mice were considerably reduced.
PMCID: PMC3779207  PMID: 24073240
15.  Regulation of A1 by OX40 Contributes to CD8+ T Cell Survival and Anti-Tumor Activity 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70635.
The TNFR family member OX40 (CD134) is critical for optimal clonal expansion and survival of T cells. However, the intracellular targets of OX40 in CD8 T cells are not fully understood. Here we show that A1, a Bcl-2 family protein, is regulated by OX40 in effector CD8 T cells. In contrast to wild-type T cells, OX40-deficient CD8 T cells failed to maintain A1 expression driven by antigen. Conversely, enforced OX40 stimulation promoted A1 expression. In both situations, the expression of A1 directly correlated with CD8 T cell survival. In addition, exogenous expression of A1 in OX40-deficient CD8 T cells reversed their survival defect in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, forced expression of A1 in CD8 T cells from OX40-deficient mice restored the ability of these T cells to suppress tumor growth in a murine model. These results indicate that OX40 signals regulate CD8 T cell survival at least in part through maintaining expression of the anti-apoptotic molecule A1, and provide new insight into the mechanism by which OX40 may impact anti-tumor immunity.
PMCID: PMC3731243  PMID: 23936461
16.  Sulforaphane prevents pulmonary damage in response to inhaled arsenic by activating the Nrf2-defense response 
Toxicology and applied pharmacology  2012;265(3):292-299.
Exposure to arsenic is associated with an increased risk of lung disease. Novel strategies are needed to reduce the adverse health effects associated with arsenic exposure in the lung. Nrf2, a transcription factor that mediates an adaptive cellular defense response, is effective in detoxifying environmental insults and prevents a broad spectrum of diseases induced by environmental exposure to harmful substances. In this report, we tested whether Nrf2 activation protects mice from arsenic-induced toxicity. We used an in vivo arsenic inhalation model that is highly relevant to low environmental human exposure to arsenic-containing dusts. Two-week exposure to arsenic-containing dust resulted in pathological alterations, oxidative DNA damage, and mild apoptotic cell death in the lung; all of which were blocked by sulforaphane (SF) in an Nrf2-dependent manner. Mechanistically, SF-mediated activation of Nrf2 alleviated inflammatory responses by modulating cytokine production. This study provides strong evidence that dietary intervention targeting Nrf2 activation is a feasible approach to reduce adverse health effects associated with arsenic exposure.
PMCID: PMC3725323  PMID: 22975029
Nrf2; Keap1; Arsenic; Antioxidant response
17.  The Roles of SIRT1 in Cancer 
Genes & Cancer  2013;4(3-4):97-104.
The sirtuin family has emerged as important regulators of diverse physiological and pathological events, including life-span extension, neurodegeneration, age-related disorders, obesity, heart disease, inflammation, and cancer. In mammals, there are 7 members (SIRT1-SIRT7) in the sirtuin family, with the function of SIRT1 being extensively studied in the past decade. SIRT1 can deacetylate histones and a number of nonhistone substrates, which are involved in multiple signaling pathways. Numerous studies have suggested that SIRT1 could act as either a tumor suppressor or tumor promoter depending on its targets in specific signaling pathways or in specific cancers. This review highlights the major pathways regulated by SIRT1 involved in tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3764469  PMID: 24020000
SIRT1; deacetylase; cancer
18.  Nrf2 Is Crucial to Graft Survival in a Rodent Model of Heart Transplantation 
Currently, the sole treatment option for patients with heart failure is transplantation. The battle of prolonging graft survival and modulating innate and adaptive immune responses is still being waged in the clinic and in research labs. The transcription factor Nrf2 controls major cell survival pathways and is central to moderating inflammation and immune responses. In this study the effect of Nrf2 levels in host recipient C57BL/6 mice on Balb/c allogeneic graft survival was examined. Importantly, Nrf2−/− recipient mice could not support the graft for longer than 7.5 days on average, whereas activation of Nrf2 by sulforaphane in Nrf2+/+ hosts prolonged graft survival to 13 days. Several immune cells in the spleen of recipient mice were unchanged; however, CD11b+ macrophages were significantly increased in Nrf2−/− mice. In addition, IL-17 mRNA levels were elevated in grafts transplanted into Nrf2−/− mice. Although Nrf2 appears to play a crucial role in graft survival, the exact mechanism is yet to be fully understood.
PMCID: PMC3603380  PMID: 23533698
19.  Therapeutic Potential of Nrf2 Activators in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Nephropathy 
Diabetes  2011;60(11):3055-3066.
To determine whether dietary compounds targeting NFE2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation can be used to attenuate renal damage and preserve renal function during the course of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic nephropathy.
Diabetes was induced in Nrf2+/+ and Nrf2−/− mice by STZ injection. Sulforaphane (SF) or cinnamic aldehyde (CA) was administered 2 weeks after STZ injection and metabolic indices and renal structure and function were assessed (18 weeks). Markers of diabetes including blood glucose, insulin, polydipsia, polyuria, and weight loss were measured. Pathological alterations and oxidative damage in glomeruli were also determined. Changes in protein expression of the Nrf2 pathway, as well as transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), fibronectin (FN), collagen IV, and p21/WAF1Cip1 (p21) were analyzed. The molecular mechanisms of Nrf2-mediated protection were investigated in an in vitro model using human renal mesangial cells (HRMCs).
SF or CA significantly attenuated common metabolic disorder symptoms associated with diabetes in Nrf2+/+ but not in Nrf2−/− mice, indicating SF and CA function through specific activation of the Nrf2 pathway. Furthermore, SF or CA improved renal performance and minimized pathological alterations in the glomerulus of STZ-Nrf2+/+ mice. Nrf2 activation reduced oxidative damage and suppressed the expression of TGF-β1, extracellular matrix proteins and p21 both in vivo and in HRMCs. In addition, Nrf2 activation reverted p21-mediated growth inhibition and hypertrophy of HRMCs under hyperglycemic conditions.
We provide experimental evidence indicating that dietary compounds targeting Nrf2 activation can be used therapeutically to improve metabolic disorder and relieve renal damage induced by diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3198067  PMID: 22025779
20.  RNA-seq Reveals Novel Transcriptome of Genes and Their Isoforms in Human Pulmonary Microvascular Endothelial Cells Treated with Thrombin 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31229.
The dysregulation of vascular endothelial cells by thrombin has been implicated in the development of a number of pathologic disorders such as inflammatory conditions, cancer, diabetes, coronary heart disease. However, transcriptional regulation of vascular endothelial cells by thrombin is not completely understood. In the present study, Illumina RNA-seq was used to profile the transcriptome in human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC-L) treated with thrombin for 6 h to gain insight into thrombin's direct effects on the endothelial function. Out of 100 million total reads from a paired end sequencing assay, 91–94% of the reads were aligned to over 16,000 genes in the reference human genome. Thrombin upregulated 150 known genes and 480 known isoforms, and downregulated 2,190 known genes and 3,574 known isoforms by at least 2 fold. Of note, thrombin upregulated 1,775 previously unknown isoforms and downregulated 12,202 previously unknown isoforms by at least 2 fold. Many genes displayed isoform specific differential expression levels and different usage of transcriptional start sites after the thrombin treatment. The cross comparisons between our RNA-seq data and those of DNA microarray analysis of either 6 h thrombin treated HUVEC or 5 h TNFα treated HMVEC have provided a significant overlapping list of differentially expressed genes, supporting the robust utility of our dataset. Further in-depth follow-up analysis of the transcriptional regulation reported in this study may shed light on molecular pathogenic mechanisms underlying thrombin mediated endothelial dysfunction in various diseases and provide new leads of potential therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC3281071  PMID: 22359579
21.  c-Abl-Mediated Tyrosine Phosphorylation of the T-bet DNA-Binding Domain Regulates CD4+ T-Cell Differentiation and Allergic Lung Inflammation ▿ 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(16):3445-3456.
The tyrosine kinase c-Abl is required for full activation of T cells, while its role in T-cell differentiation has not been characterized. We report that c-Abl deficiency skews CD4+ T cells to type 2 helper T cell (Th2) differentiation, and c-Abl−/− mice are more susceptible to allergic lung inflammation. c-Abl interacts with and phosphorylates T-bet, a Th1 lineage transcription factor. c-Abl-mediated phosphorylation enhances the transcriptional activation of T-bet. Interestingly, three tyrosine residues within the T-bet DNA-binding domain are the predominant sites of phosphorylation by c-Abl. Mutation of these tyrosine residues inhibits the promoter DNA-binding activity of T-bet. c-Abl regulates Th cell differentiation in a T-bet-dependent manner because genetic deletion of T-bet in CD4+ T cells abolishes c-Abl-deficiency-mediated enhancement of Th2 differentiation. Reintroduction of T-bet-null CD4+ T cells with wild-type T-bet, but not its tyrosine mutant, rescues gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production and inhibits Th2 cytokine production. Therefore, c-Abl catalyzes tyrosine phosphorylation of the DNA-binding domain of T-bet to regulate CD4+ T cell differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3147793  PMID: 21690296
22.  The Protective Role of Nrf2 in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Nephropathy 
Diabetes  2010;59(4):850-860.
Diabetic nephropathy is one of the major causes of renal failure, which is accompanied by the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Nrf2 is the primary transcription factor that controls the antioxidant response essential for maintaining cellular redox homeostasis. Here, we report our findings demonstrating a protective role of Nrf2 against diabetic nephropathy.
We explore the protective role of Nrf2 against diabetic nephropathy using human kidney biopsy tissues from diabetic nephropathy patients, a streptozotocin-induced diabetic nephropathy model in Nrf2−/− mice, and cultured human mesangial cells.
The glomeruli of human diabetic nephropathy patients were under oxidative stress and had elevated Nrf2 levels. In the animal study, Nrf2 was demonstrated to be crucial in ameliorating streptozotocin-induced renal damage. This is evident by Nrf2−/− mice having higher ROS production and suffering from greater oxidative DNA damage and renal injury compared with Nrf2+/+ mice. Mechanistic studies in both in vivo and in vitro systems showed that the Nrf2-mediated protection against diabetic nephropathy is, at least, partially through inhibition of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and reduction of extracellular matrix production. In human renal mesangial cells, high glucose induced ROS production and activated expression of Nrf2 and its downstream genes. Furthermore, activation or overexpression of Nrf2 inhibited the promoter activity of TGF-β1 in a dose-dependent manner, whereas knockdown of Nrf2 by siRNA enhanced TGF-β1 transcription and fibronectin production.
This work clearly indicates a protective role of Nrf2 in diabetic nephropathy, suggesting that dietary or therapeutic activation of Nrf2 could be used as a strategy to prevent or slow down the progression of diabetic nephropathy.
PMCID: PMC2844833  PMID: 20103708
23.  Direct interaction between Nrf2 and p21Cip1/WAF1 upregulates the Nrf2-mediated antioxidant response 
Molecular cell  2009;34(6):663-673.
In response to oxidative stress, Nrf2 and p21 Cip1/WAF1 are both upregulated to protect cells from oxidative damage. Nrf2 is constantly ubiquitinated by a Keap1 dimer that interacts with a weak-binding 29DLG motif and a strong-binding 79ETGE motif in Nrf2, resulting in degradation of Nrf2. Modification of the redox-sensitive cysteine residues on Keap1 disrupts the Keap1-29DLG binding, leading to diminished Nrf2 ubiquitination and activation of the antioxidant response. However, the underlying mechanism by which p21 protects cells from oxidative damage remains unclear. Here, we present molecular and genetic evidence suggesting that the antioxidant function of p21 is mediated through activation of Nrf2 by stabilizing the Nrf2 protein. The 154KRR motif in p21 directly interacts with the 29DLG and 79ETGE motifs in Nrf2, and thus, competes with Keap1 for Nrf2 binding, compromising ubiquitination of Nrf2. Furthermore, the physiological significance of our findings was demonstrated in vivo using p21-deficient mice.
PMCID: PMC2714804  PMID: 19560419
24.  The HECT-Type E3 Ubiquitin Ligase AIP2 Inhibits Activation-Induced T-Cell Death by Catalyzing EGR2 Ubiquitination▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;29(19):5348-5356.
E3 ubiquitin ligases, which target specific molecules for proteolytic destruction, have emerged as key regulators of immune functions. Several E3 ubiquitin ligases, including c-Cbl, Cbl-b, GRAIL, Itch, and Nedd4, have been shown to negatively regulate T-cell activation. Here, we report that the HECT-type E3 ligase AIP2 positively regulates T-cell activation. Ectopic expression of AIP2 in mouse primary T cells enhances their proliferation and interleukin-2 production by suppressing the apoptosis of T cells. AIP2 interacts with and promotes ubiquitin-mediated degradation of EGR2, a zinc finger transcription factor that has been found to regulate Fas ligand (FasL) expression during activation-induced T-cell death. Suppression of AIP2 expression by small RNA interference upregulates EGR2, inhibits EGR2 ubiquitination and FasL expression, and enhances the apoptosis of T cells. Therefore, AIP2 regulates activation-induced T-cell death by suppressing EGR2-mediated FasL expression via the ubiquitin pathway.
PMCID: PMC2747983  PMID: 19651900
25.  The type III histone deacetylase Sirt1 is essential for maintenance of T cell tolerance in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(10):3048-3058.
Although many self-reactive T cells are eliminated by negative selection in the thymus, some of these cells escape into the periphery, where they must be controlled by additional mechanisms. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying peripheral T cell tolerance and its maintenance remain largely undefined. In this study, we report that sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), a type III histone deacetylase, negatively regulates T cell activation and plays a major role in clonal T cell anergy in mice. In vivo, we found that loss of Sirt1 function resulted in abnormally increased T cell activation and a breakdown of CD4+ T cell tolerance. Conversely, upregulation of Sirt1 expression led to T cell anergy, in which the activity of the transcription factor AP-1 was substantially diminished. Furthermore, Sirt1 interacted with and deacetylated c-Jun, yielding an inactive AP-1 factor. In addition, Sirt1-deficient mice were unable to maintain T cell tolerance and developed severe experimental allergic encephalomyelitis as well as spontaneous autoimmunity. These findings provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of T cell activation and anergy, and we suggest that activators of Sirt1 may be useful as therapeutic agents for the treatment and/or prevention of autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC2752073  PMID: 19729833

Results 1-25 (27)