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2.  Phosphoantigen/IL2 Expansion and Differentiation of Vγ2Vδ2 T Cells Increase Resistance to Tuberculosis in Nonhuman Primates 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(8):e1003501.
Dominant Vγ2Vδ2 T-cell subset exist only in primates, and recognize phosphoantigen from selected pathogens including M. tuberculosis(Mtb). In vivo function of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells in tuberculosis remains unknown. We conducted mechanistic studies to determine whether earlier expansion/differentiation of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells during Mtb infection could increase immune resistance to tuberculosis in macaques. Phosphoantigen/IL-2 administration specifically induced major expansion and pulmonary trafficking/accumulation of phosphoantigen-specific Vγ2Vδ2 T cells, significantly reduced Mtb burdens and attenuated tuberculosis lesions in lung tissues compared to saline/BSA or IL-2 controls. Expanded Vγ2Vδ2 T cells differentiated into multifunctional effector subpopulations capable of producing anti-TB cytokines IFNγ, perforin and granulysin, and co-producing perforin/granulysin in lung tissue. Mechanistically, perforin/granulysin-producing Vγ2Vδ2 T cells limited intracellular Mtb growth, and macaque granulysin had Mtb-bactericidal effect, and inhibited intracellular Mtb in presence of perforin. Furthermore, phosphoantigen/IL2-expanded Vγ2Vδ2 T effector cells produced IL-12, and their expansion/differentiation led to enhanced pulmonary responses of peptide-specific CD4+/CD8+ Th1-like cells. These results provide first in vivo evidence implicating that early expansion/differentiation of Vγ2Vδ2 T effector cells during Mtb infection increases resistance to tuberculosis. Thus, data support a rationale for conducting further studies of the γδ T-cell-targeted treatment of established TB, which might ultimately help explore single or adjunctive phosphoantigen expansion of Vγ2Vδ2 T-cell subset as intervention of MDR-tuberculosis or HIV-related tuberculosis.
Author Summary
Tuberculosis(TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis(Mtb), remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. While CD4+/CD8+ T cells are protective, role of γδ T cells in TB and other infections remains unknown in humans. Vγ2Vδ2 T cells exist only in primates, represent a dominant circulating γδ T-cell subpopulation, and recognize phosphoantigen from Mtb and some selected pathogens. Here, we determined whether earlier expansion/differentiation of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells during Mtb infection increased resistance to TB in macaques. Phosphoantigen plus IL-2 administration induced expansion and pulmonary accumulation of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells, significantly reduced Mtb counts and attenuated TB lesions in lung tissues. Expanded Vγ2Vδ2 T cells produced anti-TB cytokines IFNγ, perforin and granulysin, and co-produced perforin and granulysin in lung tissue. Perforin/granulysin-co-producing Vγ2Vδ2 T cells limited intracellular Mtb growth, and macaque granulysin killed Mtb bacteria, and inhibited intracellular Mtb in presence of perforin. Furthermore, expansion of Vγ2Vδ2 T effectors enhanced pulmonary responses of peptide-specific CD4+/CD8+ T cells, which correlated with the ability of Vγ2Vδ2 T effector cells to produce IL-12. These results provide first evidence implicating a protective role of Vγ2Vδ2 T effector cells in TB, supporting a rationale to explore Vγ2Vδ2 T-cell-targeted treatment of drug-resistant TB or HIV-related TB.
PMCID: PMC3744401  PMID: 23966854
3.  Fosmidomycin Uptake into Plasmodium and Babesia-Infected Erythrocytes Is Facilitated by Parasite-Induced New Permeability Pathways 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19334.
Highly charged compounds typically suffer from low membrane permeability and thus are generally regarded as sub-optimal drug candidates. Nonetheless, the highly charged drug fosmidomycin and its more active methyl-derivative FR900098 have proven parasiticidal activity against erythrocytic stages of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Both compounds target the isoprenoid biosynthesis pathway present in bacteria and plastid-bearing organisms, like apicomplexan parasites. Surprisingly, the compounds are inactive against a range of apicomplexans replicating in nucleated cells, including Toxoplasma gondii.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Since non-infected erythrocytes are impermeable for FR90098, we hypothesized that these drugs are taken up only by erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium. We provide evidence that radiolabeled FR900098 accumulates in theses cells as a consequence of parasite-induced new properties of the host cell, which coincide with an increased permeability of the erythrocyte membrane. Babesia divergens, a related parasite that also infects human erythrocytes and is also known to induce an increase in membrane permeability, displays a similar susceptibility and uptake behavior with regard to the drug. In contrast, Toxoplasma gondii-infected cells do apparently not take up the compounds, and the drugs are inactive against the liver stages of Plasmodium berghei, a mouse malaria parasite.
Our findings provide an explanation for the observed differences in activity of fosmidomycin and FR900098 against different Apicomplexa. These results have important implications for future screens aimed at finding new and safe molecular entities active against P. falciparum and related parasites. Our data provide further evidence that parasite-induced new permeability pathways may be exploited as routes for drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3087763  PMID: 21573242
4.  RlmN and Cfr are Radical SAM Enzymes Involved in Methylation of Ribosomal RNA 
Posttranscriptional modifications of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) nucleotides are a common mechanism of modulating the ribosome’s function and conferring bacterial resistance to ribosome-targeting antibiotics. One such modification is methylation of an adenosine nucleotide within the peptidyl transferase center of the ribosome mediated by the indigenous methyltransferase RlmN and its evolutionary-related resistance enzyme Cfr. These methyltransferases catalyze methyl transfer to aromatic carbon atoms of the adenosine within a complex 23S rRNA substrate to form the 2,8-dimethylated product. RlmN and Cfr are members of the Radical SAM superfamily, and contain the characteristic cysteine rich CX3CX2C motif. We demonstrate that both enzymes are capable of accommodating the requisite [4Fe-4S] cluster. S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) is both the methyl donor and the source of a 5′-deoxyadenosyl radical, which activates the substrate for methylation. Detailed analyses of the rRNA requirements show that the enzymes can utilize protein-free 23S rRNA as a substrate, but not the fully-assembled large ribosomal subunit, suggesting that the methylations take place during the assembly of the ribosome. The key recognition elements in the 23S rRNA are helices 90–92 and the adjacent single stranded RNA that encompasses A2503. To our knowledge, this study represents the first in vitro description of a methyl transfer catalyzed by a member of Radical SAM superfamily, and it expands the catalytic repertoire of this diverse enzyme class. Furthermore, by providing information on both the timing of methylation and its substrate requirements, our findings have important implications for the functional consequences of Cfr-mediated modification of rRNA in acquisition of antibiotic resistance.
PMCID: PMC2859901  PMID: 20184321
5.  The Nonmevalonate Pathway of Isoprenoid Biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Is Essential and Transcriptionally Regulated by Dxs ▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(9):2424-2433.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis synthesizes isoprenoids via the nonmevalonate or DOXP pathway. Previous work demonstrated that three enzymes in the pathway (Dxr, IspD, and IspF) are all required for growth in vitro. We demonstrate the essentiality of the key genes dxs1 and gcpE, confirming that the pathway is of central importance and that the second homolog of the synthase (dxs2) cannot compensate for the loss of dxs1. We looked at the effect of overexpression of Dxr, Dxs1, Dxs2, and GcpE on viability and on growth in M. tuberculosis. Overexpression of dxs1 or dxs2 was inhibitory to growth, whereas overexpression of dxr or gcpE was not. Toxicity is likely to be, at least partially, due to depletion of pyruvate from the cells. Overexpression of dxs1 or gcpE resulted in increased flux through the pathway, as measured by accumulation of the metabolite 4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate. We identified the functional translational start site and promoter region for dxr and demonstrated that it is expressed as part of a polycistronic mRNA with gcpE and two other genes. Increased expression of this operon was seen in cells overexpressing Dxs1, indicating that transcriptional control is effected by the first enzyme of the pathway via an unknown regulator.
PMCID: PMC2863480  PMID: 20172995
6.  γδ T Cell Immune Manipulation during Chronic Phase of Simian HIV Infection Confers Immunological Benefits1 
Vγ2Vδ2 T cells, a major human γδ T cell subset, recognize the phosphoantigen (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate (HMBPP) produced by mycobacteria and some opportunistic pathogens, and they contribute to innate/adaptive/homeostatic and anticancer immunity. As initial efforts to explore Vγ2Vδ2 T cell-based therapeutics against HIV/AIDS-associated bacterial/protozoal infections and neoplasms, we investigated whether a well-defined HMBPP/IL-2 therapeutic regimen could overcome HIV-mediated immune suppression to massively expand polyfunctional Vγ2Vδ2 T cells, and whether such activation/expansion could impact AIDS pathogenesis in simian HIV (SHIV)-infected Chinese rhesus macaques. While HMBPP/IL-2 coadministration during acute or chronic phase of SHIV infection induced massive activation/expansion of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells, the consequences of such activation/expansions were different between these two treatment settings. HMBPP/IL-2 cotreatment during acute SHIV infection did not prevent the increases in peak and set-point viral loads or the accelerated disease progression seen with IL-2 treatment alone. In contrast, HMBPP/IL-2 cotreatment during chronic infection did not exacerbate disease, and more importantly it could confer immunological benefits. Surprisingly, although viral antigenic loads were not increased upon HMBPP/IL-2 cotreatment during chronic SHIV infection, HMBPP activation of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells boosted HIV Env-specific Ab titers. Such increases in Abs were sustained for >170 days and were immediately preceded by increased production of IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-4, and IL-10 during peak expansion of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells displaying memory phenotypes, as well as the short-term increased effector function of Vγ2Vδ2 T cells and CD4+ and CD8+ αβ T cells producing antimicrobial cytokines. Thus, HMBPP/Vγ2Vδ2 T cell-based intervention may potentially be useful for combating neoplasms and HMBPP-producing opportunistic pathogens in chronically HIV-infected individuals.
PMCID: PMC2863296  PMID: 19786533
7.  Prolonged (E)-4-Hydroxy-3-Methyl-But-2-Enyl Pyrophosphate-Driven Antimicrobial and Cytotoxic Responses of Pulmonary and Systemic Vγ2Vδ2 T Cells in Macaques1 
Although phosphoantigen-specific Vγ2Vδ2 T cells appear to play a role in antimicrobial and anticancer immunity, mucosal immune responses and effector functions of these γδ T cells during infection or phospholigand treatment remain poorly characterized. In this study, we demonstrate that the microbial phosphoantigen (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate (HMBPP) plus IL-2 treatment of macaques induced a prolonged major expansion of circulating Vγ2Vδ2 T cells that expressed CD8 and produced cytotoxic perforin during their peak expansion. Interestingly, HMBPP-activated Vγ2Vδ2 T cells underwent an extraordinary pulmonary accumulation, which lasted for 3–4 mo, although circulating Vγ2Vδ2 T cells had returned to baseline levels weeks prior. The Vγ2Vδ2 T cells that accumulated in the lung following HMBPP/IL-2 cotreatment displayed an effector memory phenotype, as follows: CCR5+CCR7−CD45RA−CD27+ and were able to re-recognize phosphoantigen and produce copious amounts of IFN-γ up to 15 wk after treatment. Furthermore, the capacity of massively expanded Vγ2Vδ2 T cells to produce cytokines in vivo coincided with an increase in numbers of CD4+ and CD8+ αβ T cells after HMBPP/IL-2 cotreatment as well as substantial perforin expression by CD3+Vγ2− T cells. Thus, the prolonged HMBPP-driven antimicrobial and cytotoxic responses of pulmonary and systemic Vγ2Vδ2 T cells may confer immunotherapeutics against infectious diseases and cancers.
PMCID: PMC2865221  PMID: 18056373
9.  Analysis of the Isoprenoid Biosynthesis Pathways in Listeria monocytogenes Reveals a Role for the Alternative 2-C-Methyl-d-Erythritol 4-Phosphate Pathway in Murine Infection▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(11):5392-5401.
Most bacteria synthesize isoprenoids through one of two essential pathways which provide the basic building block, isopentyl diphosphate (IPP): either the classical mevalonate pathway or the alternative non-mevalonate 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway. However, postgenomic analyses of the Listeria monocytogenes genome revealed that this pathogen possesses the genetic capacity to produce the complete set of enzymes involved in both pathways. The nonpathogenic species Listeria innocua naturally lacks the last two genes (gcpE and lytB) of the MEP pathway, and bioinformatic analyses strongly suggest that the genes have been lost through evolution. In the present study we show that heterologous expression of gcpE and lytB in L. innocua can functionally restore the MEP pathway in this organism and confer on it the ability to induce Vγ9Vδ2 T cells. We have previously confirmed that both pathways are functional in L. monocytogenes and can provide sufficient IPP for normal growth in laboratory media (M. Begley, C. G. Gahan, A. K. Kollas, M. Hintz, C. Hill, H. Jomaa, and M. Eberl, FEBS Lett. 561:99-104, 2004). Here we describe a targeted mutagenesis strategy to create a double pathway mutant in L. monocytogenes which cannot grow in the absence of exogenously provided mevalonate, confirming the requirement for at least one intact pathway for growth. In addition, murine studies revealed that mutants lacking the MEP pathway were impaired in virulence relative to the parent strain during intraperitoneal infection, while mutants lacking the classical mevalonate pathway were not impaired in virulence potential. In vivo bioluminescence imaging also confirmed in vivo expression of the gcpE gene (MEP pathway) during murine infection.
PMCID: PMC2573353  PMID: 18765739
10.  Fosmidomycin plus Clindamycin for Treatment of Pediatric Patients Aged 1 to 14 Years with Plasmodium falciparum Malaria 
Fosmidomycin plus clindamycin was shown to be efficacious in the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in a small cohort of pediatric patients aged 7 to 14 years, but more data, including data on younger children with less antiparasitic immunity, are needed to determine the potential value of this new antimalarial combination. We conducted a single-arm study to improve the precision of efficacy estimates for an oral 3-day fixed-ratio combination of fosmidomycin and clindamycin at 30 and 10 mg/kg of body weight, respectively, every 12 hours for the treatment of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in 51 pediatric outpatients aged 1 to 14 years. Fosmidomycin plus clindamycin was generally well tolerated, but relatively high rates of treatment-associated neutropenia (8/51 [16%]) and falls of hemoglobin concentrations of ≥2 g/dl (7/51 [14%]) are of concern. Asexual parasites and fever were cleared within median periods of 42 h and 38 h, respectively. All patients who could be evaluated were parasitologically and clinically cured by day 14 (49/49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 93 to 100%). The per-protocol, PCR-adjusted day 28 cure rate was 89% (42/47; 95% CI, 77 to 96%). Efficacy appeared to be significantly reduced in children aged 1 to 2 years, with a day 28 cure rate of only 62% for this small subgroup (5/8). The inadequate efficacy in children of <3 years highlights the need for continued systematic studies of the current dosing regimen, which should include randomized trial designs.
PMCID: PMC1538678  PMID: 16870763
11.  Short-Course Regimens of Artesunate-Fosmidomycin in Treatment of Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria 
Fosmidomycin is effective against malaria, but it needs to be given for ≥4 days when used alone. We conducted a study of 50 children with Plasmodium falciparum malaria to evaluate the safety and efficacy of consecutively shortened regimens of artesunate-fosmidomycin (1 to 2 mg/kg of body weight and 30 mg/kg of body weight, respectively; doses given every 12 hours). All dosing regimens were well tolerated. Artesunate-fosmidomycin acted rapidly, resulting in consolidated geometric mean parasite and fever clearance times of 24 h and 15 h, respectively. Treatment regimens of ≥2 days led to cure ratios of 100% by day 14 (39/39; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 91% to 100%). Most importantly, the 3-day regimen achieved 100% cure on day 28 (10/10; 95% CI, 69% to 100%). Treatment with artesunate-fosmidomycin was associated with transient grade I or II neutropenia (absolute neutrophil counts of 750 to 1,200/μl and 400 to 749/μl, respectively) in six or two patients, respectively. Artesunate-fosmidomycin demonstrates the feasibility and potential value of short-course artemisinin-based combination chemotherapy with rapidly eliminated combination partners.
PMCID: PMC1195450  PMID: 16127049
12.  Mycoplasma penetrans Is Capable of Activating Vγ9/Vδ2 T Cells While Other Human Pathogenic Mycoplasmas Fail To Do So  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(8):4881-4883.
While most mycoplasma species appear to have evolutionarily lost the ability to synthesize isoprenoid precursors, Mycoplasma penetrans has retained the nonmevalonate pathway that proceeds via the immunogenic intermediate (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate (HMB-PP). Consequently, this pathogen is capable of stimulating human Vγ9/Vδ2 T cells.
PMCID: PMC470652  PMID: 15271953
13.  Fosmidomycin, a Novel Chemotherapeutic Agent for Malaria 
In previous studies, fosmidomycin has been shown to possess activity against Plasmodium falciparum in vitro and in the mouse model. It has a novel mode of action through inhibition of 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase, an enzyme of the nonmevalonate pathway of isoprenoid biosynthesis, which is absent in humans. In this open-label, uncontrolled trial, the efficacy and safety of fosmidomycin, in an oral dose of 1,200 mg every 8 h for 7 days, were evaluated in the treatment of acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in 20 adult subjects in Gabon and Thailand. Clinical assessments were performed and thick blood smears were evaluated every 8 h until parasite clearance and resolution of symptoms were achieved; assessments continued at weekly intervals thereafter for the duration of the 28-day followup period. All subjects were clinically and parasitologically cured on day 7 (primary end point). Parasite and fever clearance were rapid, with means of 44 and 41 h, respectively. On day 28, seven out of nine subjects (78%) were cured in Gabon and two out of nine subjects (22%) were cured in Thailand. The drug was well tolerated, although mild gastrointestinal side effects were recorded for five subjects. Analysis of hematological and biochemical parameters showed no clinically significant changes throughout the study. Fosmidomycin is an effective and safe antimalarial drug, although its use as a single agent is restricted by the occurrence of recrudescent infections. However, its role in combination therapy should be explored.
PMCID: PMC151759  PMID: 12543685
14.  In Vitro and In Vivo Synergy of Fosmidomycin, a Novel Antimalarial Drug, with Clindamycin 
Fosmidomycin acts through inhibition of 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate (DOXP) reductoisomerase, a key enzyme of the nonmevalonate pathway of isoprenoid biosynthesis. It possesses potent antimalarial activity in vitro and in murine malaria. In a recent clinical study, fosmidomycin was effective and well tolerated in the treatment of patients with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria but resulted in an unacceptably high rate of recrudescence. In order to identify a potential combination partner, the interaction of fosmidomycin with a number of antimalarial drugs in current use was investigated in a series of in vitro experiments. Synergy was observed between fosmidomycin and the lincosamides, lincomycin and clindamycin. The efficacy of a combination of fosmidomycin and clindamycin was subsequently demonstrated in the Plasmodium vinckei mouse model.
PMCID: PMC127394  PMID: 12183243
15.  GcpE Is Involved in the 2-C-Methyl-d-Erythritol 4-Phosphate Pathway of Isoprenoid Biosynthesis in Escherichia coli 
Journal of Bacteriology  2001;183(8):2411-2416.
In a variety of organisms, including plants and several eubacteria, isoprenoids are synthesized by the mevalonate-independent 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway. Although different enzymes of this pathway have been described, the terminal biosynthetic steps of the MEP pathway have not been fully elucidated. In this work, we demonstrate that the gcpE gene of Escherichia coli is involved in this pathway. E. coli cells were genetically engineered to utilize exogenously provided mevalonate for isoprenoid biosynthesis by the mevalonate pathway. These cells were then deleted for the essential gcpE gene and were viable only if the medium was supplemented with mevalonate or the cells were complemented with an episomal copy of gcpE.
PMCID: PMC95155  PMID: 11274098

Results 1-15 (15)