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1.  Predicting HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibody epitope networks using neutralization titers and a novel computational method 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15:77.
Recent efforts in HIV-1 vaccine design have focused on immunogens that evoke potent neutralizing antibody responses to a broad spectrum of viruses circulating worldwide. However, the development of effective vaccines will depend on the identification and characterization of the neutralizing antibodies and their epitopes. We developed bioinformatics methods to predict epitope networks and antigenic determinants using structural information, as well as corresponding genotypes and phenotypes generated by a highly sensitive and reproducible neutralization assay.
282 clonal envelope sequences from a multiclade panel of HIV-1 viruses were tested in viral neutralization assays with an array of broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs: b12, PG9,16, PGT121 - 128, PGT130 - 131, PGT135 - 137, PGT141 - 145, and PGV04). We correlated IC50 titers with the envelope sequences, and used this information to predict antibody epitope networks. Structural patches were defined as amino acid groups based on solvent-accessibility, radius, atomic depth, and interaction networks within 3D envelope models. We applied a boosted algorithm consisting of multiple machine-learning and statistical models to evaluate these patches as possible antibody epitope regions, evidenced by strong correlations with the neutralization response for each antibody.
We identified patch clusters with significant correlation to IC50 titers as sites that impact neutralization sensitivity and therefore are potentially part of the antibody binding sites. Predicted epitope networks were mostly located within the variable loops of the envelope glycoprotein (gp120), particularly in V1/V2. Site-directed mutagenesis experiments involving residues identified as epitope networks across multiple mAbs confirmed association of these residues with loss or gain of neutralization sensitivity.
Computational methods were implemented to rapidly survey protein structures and predict epitope networks associated with response to individual monoclonal antibodies, which resulted in the identification and deeper understanding of immunological hotspots targeted by broadly neutralizing HIV-1 antibodies.
PMCID: PMC3999910  PMID: 24646213
HIV-1 antibody; Thick patch analysis; Bioinformatics algorithms; Boosting algorithm; Machine learning; Neutralization; in-silico epitope mapping; Epitope networks; Structural mapping; Sequence and structure analysis
2.  Differences in Reversion of Resistance Mutations to Wild-Type under Structured Treatment Interruption and Related Increase in Replication Capacity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e14638.
The CPCRA 064 study examined the effect of structured treatment interruption (STI) of up to 4 months followed by salvage treatment in patients failing therapy with multi-drug resistant HIV. We examined the relationship between the reversion rate of major reverse transcriptase (RT) resistance-associated mutations and change in viral replication capacity (RC). The dataset included 90 patients with RC and genotypic data from virus samples collected at 0 (baseline), 2 and 4 months of STI.
Principal Findings
Rapid shift towards wild-type RC was observed during the first 2 months of STI. Median RC increased from 47.5% at baseline to 86.0% at 2 months and to 97.5% at 4 months. Between baseline and 2 months of STI, T215F had the fastest rate of reversion (41%) and the reversion of E44D and T69D was associated with the largest changes in RC. Among the most prevalent RT mutations, M184V had the fastest rate of reversion from baseline to 2 months (40%), and its reversion was associated with the largest increase in RC. Most rates of reversion increased between 2 months and 4 months, but the change in RC was more limited as it was already close to 100%. The highest frequency of concurrent reversion was found for L100I and K103N. Mutagenesis tree models showed that M184V, when present, was overall the first mutation to revert among all the RT mutations reported in the study.
Longitudinal analysis of combined phenotypic and genotypic data during STI showed a large amount of variability in prevalence and reversion rates to wild-type codons among the RT resistance-associated mutations. The rate of reversion of these mutations may depend on the extent of RC increase as well as the co-occurring reversion of other mutations belonging to the same mutational pathway.
PMCID: PMC3031504  PMID: 21297946
3.  Analytical Validation of a Highly Quantitative, Sensitive, Accurate, and Reproducible Assay (HERmark®) for the Measurement of HER2 Total Protein and HER2 Homodimers in FFPE Breast Cancer Tumor Specimens 
We report here the results of the analytical validation of assays that measure HER2 total protein (H2T) and HER2 homodimer (H2D) expression in Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) breast cancer tumors as well as cell line controls. The assays are based on the VeraTag technology platform and are commercially available through a central CAP-accredited clinical reference laboratory. The accuracy of H2T measurements spans a broad dynamic range (2-3 logs) as evaluated by comparison with cross-validating technologies. The measurement of H2T expression demonstrates a sensitivity that is approximately 7–10 times greater than conventional immunohistochemistry (IHC) (HercepTest). The HERmark assay is a quantitative assay that sensitively and reproducibly measures continuous H2T and H2D protein expression levels and therefore may have the potential to stratify patients more accurately with respect to response to HER2-targeted therapies than current methods which rely on semiquantitative protein measurements (IHC) or on indirect assessments of gene amplification (FISH).
PMCID: PMC2990097  PMID: 21151530
4.  Antiretroviral drug susceptibility among drug-naive adults with recent HIV infection in Rakai, Uganda 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;27(7):845-852.
To analyze antiretroviral drug susceptibility in HIV from recently infected adults in Rakai, Uganda, prior to the availability of antiretroviral drug treatment.
Samples obtained at the time of HIV seroconversion (1998–2003) were analyzed using the GeneSeq HIV and PhenoSense HIV assays (Monogram Biosciences, Inc., South San Francisco, California, USA).
Test results were obtained for 104 samples (subtypes: 26A, 1C, 66D, 9A/D, 1C/D, 1 intersubtype recombinant). Mutations used for genotypic surveillance of transmitted antiretroviral drug resistance were identified in six samples: three had nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) surveillance mutations (two had M41L, one had K219R), and three had protease inhibitor surveillance mutations (I47V, F53L, N88D); none had nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) surveillance mutations. Other resistance-associated mutations were identified in some samples. However, none of the samples had a sufficient number of mutations to predict reduced antiretroviral drug susceptibility. Ten (9.6%) of the samples had reduced phenotypic susceptibility to at least one drug (one had partial susceptibility to didanosine, one had nevirapine resistance, and eight had resistance or partial susceptibility to at least one protease inhibitor). Fifty-three (51%) of the samples had hypersusceptibility to at least one drug (seven had zidovudine hypersusceptibility, 28 had NNRTI hypersusceptibility, 34 had protease inhibitor hypersusceptibility). Delavirdine hyper-susceptibility was more frequent in subtype A than D. In subtype D, efavirenz hypersusceptibility was associated with substitutions at codon 11 in HIV-reverse transcriptase.
Phenotyping detected reduced antiretroviral drug susceptibility and hypersusceptibility in HIV from some antiretroviral-naive Ugandan adults that was not predicted by genotyping. Phenotyping may complement genotyping for analysis of antiretroviral drug susceptibility in populations with nonsubtype B HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC2676205  PMID: 19276794
antiretroviral drug; hypersusceptibility; phenotype; resistance; subtype; Uganda
5.  IL-13 and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Have Critical but Distinct Roles in Epithelial Cell Mucin Production 
Overproduction of mucus is a central feature of asthma. The cytokine, IL-13, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and transcription factor, FOXA2, have each been implicated in mucus production, but the mechanistic relationships between these molecules are not yet well understood. To address this, we established a primary normal human bronchial epithelial cell culture system with IL-13–induced mucus production and gene transcript expression changes similar to those seen in vivo in mice. IL-13 did not stimulate release of the EGFR ligand, transforming growth factor (TGF)-α. However, there was constitutive release of TGF-α from normal human bronchial epithelial cells, and inhibition of TGF-α or EGFR reduced both constitutive and IL-13–induced mucin production. Microarray analysis revealed that IL-13 and the EGFR pathway appear to have almost completely independent effects on transcript expression. IL-13 induced a relatively small set of transcripts, including several novel transcripts that might play a role in pathogenesis of allergic airway disease. In contrast, EGFR activity had extensive effects, including altered expression of many transcripts associated with cell metabolism, survival, transcription, and differentiation. One of the few common effects of IL-13 and EGFR signaling was decreased expression of FOXA2, which is known to prevent mucus production. We conclude that the IL-13 and EGFR pathways make critical but quite distinct contributions to gene regulation in airway epithelial cells, and that both pathways affect expression of the key transcription factor, FOXA2, a known regulator of mucus production.
PMCID: PMC1899314  PMID: 16980555
airway epithelium; IL-13; epidermal growth factor receptor; FOXA2; mucus
6.  A Distinctive Alveolar Macrophage Activation State Induced by Cigarette Smoking 
Rationale: Macrophages are believed to play a central role in emphysema based largely on data from mouse models. However, the relevance of these models to smoking-related lung disease in humans is uncertain.
Objectives: We sought to comprehensively characterize the effects of smoking on gene expression in human alveolar macrophages and to compare these with effects seen in transgenic mouse models of emphysema.
Methods: We used DNA microarrays with genomewide coverage to analyze alveolar macrophages from 15 smokers, 15 nonsmokers, and 15 subjects with asthma (disease control). Selected gene expression changes were validated by polymerase chain reaction and ELISA. Expression changes were compared with those identified by microarray analysis of interleukin-13–overexpressing and integrin-β6–deficient mice, which both develop emphysema.
Measurements and Main Results: All 15 smokers shared a common pattern of macrophage gene expression that distinguished them from nonsmokers, a finding not observed in subjects with asthma. We identified 110 genes as differentially expressed in smokers despite using conservative statistical methods. Matrix metalloproteinase 12, a proteinase that plays a critical role in mouse models, was the third most highly induced gene in smokers (ninefold, p < 0.0001). However, most changes in smokers were not reflected in mouse models. One such finding was increased osteopontin expression in smokers (fourfold, p = 0.006), which was confirmed at the protein level and correlated with the degree of airway obstruction.
Conclusions: Smoking induces a remarkably consistent and distinctive pattern of alveolar macrophage activation. These studies identify aspects of mouse models that are directly relevant to human smokers and also reveal novel potential mediators of smoking-related diseases.
PMCID: PMC2718436  PMID: 16166618
gene expression profiling; matrix metalloproteinases; osteopontin; pulmonary emphysema
7.  HOXA3 Modulates Injury-Induced Mobilization and Recruitment of Bone Marrow-Derived Cells 
Stem Cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2009;27(7):1654-1665.
The regulated recruitment and differentiation of multipotent bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) to sites of injury are critical for efficient wound healing. Previously we demonstrated that sustained expression of HOXA3 both accelerated wound healing and promoted angiogenesis in diabetic mice. In this study, we have used green fluorescent protein-positive bone marrow chimeras to investigate the effect of HOXA3 expression on recruitment of BMDCs to wounds. We hypothesized that the enhanced neovascularization induced by HOXA3 is due to enhanced mobilization, recruitment, and/or differentiation of BMDCs. Here we show that diabetic mice treated with HOXA3 displayed a significant increase in both mobilization and recruitment of endothelial progenitor cells compared with control mice. Importantly, we also found that HOXA3-treated mice had significantly fewer inflammatory cells recruited to the wound compared with control mice. Microarray analyses of HOXA3-treated wounds revealed that indeed HOXA3 locally increased expression of genes that selectively promote stem/progenitor cell mobilization and recruitment while also suppressing expression of numerous members of the proinflammatory nuclear factor κB pathway, including myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 and toll-interacting protein. Thus HOXA3 accelerates wound repair by mobilizing endothelial progenitor cells and attenuating the excessive inflammatory response of chronic wounds.
PMCID: PMC2733377  PMID: 19544454
Wound repair; HOXA3; Bone marrow-derived cells; Endothelial progenitor cells; Inflammation; Angiogenesis; Vasculogenesis; GFP chimeras

Results 1-7 (7)