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1.  15 kDa granulysin causes differentiation of monocytes to dendritic cells but lacks cytotoxic activity 
Granulysin is expressed as two isoforms by human cytotoxic cells: a single mRNA gives rise to 15 kDa granulysin, a portion of which is cleaved to a 9 kDa protein. Studies with recombinant 9 kDa granulysin have demonstrated its cytolytic and proinflammatory properties, but much less is known about the biologic function of the 15 kDa isoform. Here we show that the subcellular localization and functions of 9 kDa and 15 kDa granulysin are largely distinct. 9 kDa granulysin is confined to cytolytic granules that are directionally released following target cell recognition. In contrast, 15 kDa granulysin is located in distinct granules that lack perforin and granzyme B and that are released by activated cytolytic cells. While recombinant 9 kDa granulysin is cytolytic against a variety of tumors and microbes, recombinant 15 kDa granulysin is not. The 15 kDa isoform is a potent inducer of monocytic differentiation to dendritic cells, but the 9 kDa isoform is not. In vivo, mice expressing granulysin show markedly improved anti-tumor responses, with increased numbers of activated dendritic cells and cytokine-producing T cells. Thus, the distinct functions of granulysin isoforms have major implications for diagnosis and potential new therapies for human disease.
PMCID: PMC3370151  PMID: 22586033
2.  Expression and purification of 15 kDa granulysin utilizing an insect cell secretion system 
Granulysin is an antimicrobial and proinflammatory protein expressed in activated human T cells and natural killer cells. A single mRNA produces the 15 kDa isoform which is then cleaved at the amino and carboxy termini to produce the 9 kDa isoform. Recombinant 9 kDa granulysin has been studied in detail but little is known about the function of the 15 kDa isoform, and no protocol has been published describing expression and purification of this form. Two commercially available preparations of the recombinant 15 kDa granulysin contain tags that may affect function. Here we describe for the first time a method to produce 15 kDa granulysin as a secreted protein from insect cells. The 15 kDa granulysin is purified using a HiTrap Heparin column and a Resource S column. A typical a yield of purified 15 kDa granulysin is 0.6 mg per liter of insect cell supernatant.
PMCID: PMC2966544  PMID: 20674748
Granulysin; Recombinant protein; Monocytes; Insect cell expression; T-cells; NK-cells
3.  15 kDa Granulysin versus GM-CSF for monocytes differentiation: analogies and differences at the transcriptome level 
Granulysin is an antimicrobial and proinflammatory protein with several isoforms. While the 9 kDa isoform is a well described cytolytic molecule with pro-inflammatory activity, the functions of the 15 kDa isoform is less well understood. Recently it was shown that 15 kDa Granulysin can act as an alarmin that is able to activate monocytes and immature dendritic cells. Granulocyte Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF) is a growth factor widely used in immunotherapy both for in vivo and ex vivo applications, especially for its proliferative effects.
We analyzed gene expression profiles of monocytes cultured with 15 kDa Granulysin or GM-CSF for 4, 12, 24 and 48 hours to unravel both similarities and differences between the effects of these stimulators.
The analysis revealed a common signature induced by both factors at each time point, but over time, a more specific signature for each factor became evident. At all time points, 15 kDa Granulysin induced immune response, chemotaxis and cell adhesion genes. In addition, only 15 kDa Granulsyin induced the activation of pathways related to fundamental dendritic cell functions, such as co-stimulation of T-cell activation and Th1 development. GM-CSF specifically down-regulated genes related to cell cycle arrest and the immune response. More specifically, cytokine production, lymphocyte mediated immunity and humoral immune response were down-regulated at late time points.
This study provides important insights on the effects of a novel agent, 15 kDa granulysin, that holds promise for therapeutic applications aimed at the activation of the immune response.
PMCID: PMC3094223  PMID: 21501511
4.  Minimally invasive percutaneous transpedicular screw fixation: increased accuracy and reduced radiation exposure by means of a novel electromagnetic navigation system 
Acta Neurochirurgica  2010;153(3):589-596.
Minimally invasive percutaneous pedicle screw instrumentation methods may increase the need for intraoperative fluoroscopy, resulting in excessive radiation exposure for the patient, surgeon, and support staff. Electromagnetic field (EMF)-based navigation may aid more accurate placement of percutaneous pedicle screws while reducing fluoroscopic exposure. We compared the accuracy, time of insertion, and radiation exposure of EMF with traditional fluoroscopic percutaneous pedicle screw placement.
Minimally invasive pedicle screw placement in T8 to S1 pedicles of eight fresh-frozen human cadaveric torsos was guided with EMF or standard fluoroscopy. Set-up, insertion, and fluoroscopic times and radiation exposure and accuracy (measured with post-procedural computed tomography) were analyzed in each group.
Sixty-two pedicle screws were placed under fluoroscopic guidance and 60 under EMF guidance. Ideal trajectories were achieved more frequently with EMF over all segments (62.7% vs. 40%; p = 0.01). Greatest EMF accuracy was achieved in the lumbar spine, with significant improvements in both ideal trajectory and reduction of pedicle breaches over fluoroscopically guided placement (64.9% vs. 40%, p = 0.03, and 16.2% vs. 42.5%, p = 0.01, respectively). Fluoroscopy time was reduced 77% with the use of EMF (22 s vs. 5 s per level; p < 0.0001) over all spinal segments. Radiation exposure at the hand and body was reduced 60% (p = 0.058) and 32% (p = 0.073), respectively. Time for insertion did not vary between the two techniques.
Minimally invasive pedicle screw placement with the aid of EMF image guidance reduces fluoroscopy time and increases placement accuracy when compared with traditional fluoroscopic guidance while adding no additional time to the procedure.
PMCID: PMC3040822  PMID: 21153669
Minimally invasive; Electromagnetic field navigation; Pedicle screw; Fluoroscopy; Accuracy
5.  Local and global subaxial cervical spine biomechanics after single-level fusion or cervical arthroplasty 
European Spine Journal  2009;18(10):1520-1527.
An experimental in vitro biomechanical study was conducted on human cadaveric spines to evaluate the motion segment (C4–C5) and global subaxial cervical spine motion after placement of a cervical arthroplasty device (Altia TDI™,Amedica, Salt Lake City, UT) as compared to both the intact spine and a single-level fusion. Six specimens (C2–C7) were tested in flexion/extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation under a ± 1.5 Nm moment with a 100 N axial follower load. Following the intact spine was tested; the cervical arthroplasty device was implanted at C4–C5 and tested. Then, a fusion using lateral mass fixation and an anterior plate was simulated and tested. Stiffness and range of motion (ROM) data were calculated. The ROM of the C4–C5 motion segment with the arthroplasty device was similar to that of the intact spine in flexion/extension and slightly less in lateral bending and rotation, while the fusion construct allowed significantly less motion in all directions. The fusion construct caused broader effects of increasing motion in the remaining segments of the subaxial cervical spine, whereas the TDI did not alter the adjacent and remote motion segments. The fusion construct was also far stiffer in all motion planes than the intact motion segment and the TDI, while the artificial disc treated level was slightly stiffer than the intact segment. The Altia TDI allows for a magnitude of motion similar to that of the intact spine at the treated and adjacent levels in the in vitro setting.
PMCID: PMC2899387  PMID: 19585159
Cervical arthroplasty; Biomechanics; Subaxial spine; Fusion
6.  Modified Pathway To Synthesize Ribulose 1,5-Bisphosphate in Methanogenic Archaea 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(19):6360-6366.
Several sequencing projects unexpectedly uncovered the presence of genes that encode ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO) in anaerobic archaea. RubisCO is the key enzyme of the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) reductive pentose phosphate pathway, a scheme that does not appear to contribute greatly, if at all, to net CO2 assimilation in these organisms. Recombinant forms of the archaeal enzymes do, however, catalyze a bona fide RuBP-dependent CO2 fixation reaction, and it was recently shown that Methanocaldococcus (Methanococcus) jannaschii and other anaerobic archaea synthesize catalytically active RubisCO in vivo. To complete the CBB pathway, there is a need for an enzyme, i.e., phosphoribulokinase (PRK), to catalyze the formation of RuBP, the substrate for the RubisCO reaction. Homology searches, as well as direct enzymatic assays with M. jannaschii, failed to reveal the presence of PRK. The apparent lack of PRK raised the possibility that either there is an alternative pathway to generate RuBP or RubisCO might use an alternative substrate in vivo. In the present study, direct enzymatic assays performed with alternative substrates and extracts of M. jannsachii provided evidence for a previously uncharacterized pathway for RuBP synthesis from 5-phospho-d-ribose-1-pyrophosphate (PRPP) in M. jannaschii and other methanogenic archaea. Proteins and genes involved in the catalytic conversion of PRPP to RuBP were identified in M. jannaschii (Mj0601) and Methanosarcina acetivorans (Ma2851), and recombinant Ma2851 was active in extracts of Escherichia coli. Thus, in this work we identified a novel means to synthesize the CO2 acceptor and substrate for RubisCO in the absence of a detectable kinase, such as PRK. We suggest that the conversion of PRPP to RuBP might be an evolutional link between purine recycling pathways and the CBB scheme.
PMCID: PMC516590  PMID: 15375115
7.  Synthesis of Catalytically Active Form III Ribulose 1,5-Bisphosphate Carboxylase/Oxygenase in Archaea 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(10):3049-3059.
Ribulose 1,5 bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO) catalyzes the biological reduction and assimilation of carbon dioxide gas to organic carbon; it is the key enzyme responsible for the bulk of organic matter found on earth. Until recently it was believed that there are only two forms of RubisCO, form I and form II. However, the recent completion of several genome-sequencing projects uncovered open reading frames resembling RubisCO in the third domain of life, the archaea. Previous work and homology comparisons suggest that these enzymes represent a third form of RubisCO, form III. While earlier work indicated that two structurally distinct recombinant archaeal RubisCO proteins catalyzed bona fide RubisCO reactions, it was not established that the rbcL genes of anaerobic archaea can be transcribed and translated to an active enzyme in the native organisms. In this report, it is shown not only that Methanococcus jannaschii, Archaeoglobus fulgidus, Methanosarcina acetivorans, and Methanosarcina barkeri possess open reading frames with the residues required for catalysis but also that the RubisCO protein from these archaea accumulates in an active form under normal growth conditions. In addition, the form III RubisCO gene (rbcL) from M. acetivorans was shown to complement RubisCO deletion strains of Rhodobacter capsulatus and Rhodobacter sphaeroides under both photoheterotrophic and photoautotrophic growth conditions. These studies thus indicate for the first time that archaeal form III RubisCO functions in a physiologically significant fashion to fix CO2. Furthermore, recombinant M. jannaschii, M. acetivorans, and A. fulgidus RubisCO possess unique properties with respect to quaternary structure, temperature optima, and activity in the presence of molecular oxygen compared to the previously described Thermococcus kodakaraensis and halophile proteins.
PMCID: PMC154057  PMID: 12730164

Results 1-7 (7)