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1.  A putative role for platelet-derived PPARγ in vascular homeostasis demonstrated by anti-PPARγ induction of bleeding, thrombocytopenia and compensatory megakaryocytopoiesis 
Journal of biotechnology  2010;150(3):417-427.
Widely known for its role in adipogenesis and energy metabolism, PPARγ also plays a role in platelet function. To further understand functions of platelet-derived PPARγ, we produced rabbit polyclonal (PoAbs) and mouse monoclonal (MoAbs) antibodies against PPARγ 14mer/19mer peptide-immunogens. Unexpectedly, our work produced two key findings. First, MoAbs but not PoAbs produced against PPARγ peptide-immunogens displayed antigenic crossreactivity with highly conserved PPARα and PPARβ/δ. Similarly, Santa Cruz PoAb sc-7196 was monospecific for PPARγ while MoAb sc-7273 crossreacted with PPARα and PPARβ/δ. Second, immunized rabbits and mice exhibited unusual pathology including cachexia, excessive bleeding, and low platelet counts leading to thrombocytopenia. Spleens from immunized mice were fatty, hemorrhagic and friable. Although passive administration of anti-PPARγ PoAbs failed to induce experimental thrombocytopenia, megakaryocytopoiesis was induced 4–8–fold in mouse spleens. Similarly, marrow megakaryocytopoiesis was enhanced 1.8–4–fold in immunized rabbits. These peptide-immunogens are 100% conserved in human, rabbit and mouse; thus, immune-mediated platelet destruction via crossreactivity with platelet-derived PPARγ likely caused bleeding, thrombocytopenia, and compensatory megakaryocytopoiesis. Such overt pathology would cause significant problems for large-scale production of anti-PPARγ PoAbs. Furthermore, a major pitfall associated with MoAb production against closely related molecules is that monoclonicity does not guarantee monospecificity, an issue worth further scientific scrutiny.
PMCID: PMC2990772  PMID: 20888877
Monoclonal Antibody Production; MAP Technology; Thrombocytopenia; Megakaryocytopoiesis; Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors; Platelets
2.  Role of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma and Its Ligands in the Treatment of Hematological Malignancies 
PPAR Research  2008;2008:834612.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) is a multifunctional transcription factor with important regulatory roles in inflammation, cellular growth, differentiation, and apoptosis. PPARγ is expressed in a variety of immune cells as well as in numerous leukemias and lymphomas. Here, we review recent studies that provide new insights into the mechanisms by which PPARγ ligands influence hematological malignant cell growth, differentiation, and survival. Understanding the diverse properties of PPARγ ligands is crucial for the development of new therapeutic approaches for hematological malignancies.
PMCID: PMC2408681  PMID: 18528522
3.  Modification of Streptococcus mutans Cnm by PgfS Contributes to Adhesion, Endothelial Cell Invasion, and Virulence 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(15):2789-2797.
Expression of the surface protein Cnm has been directly implicated in the ability of certain strains of Streptococcus mutans to bind to collagen and to invade human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC) and in the killing of Galleria mellonella. Sequencing analysis of Cnm+ strains revealed that cnm is located between the core genes SMU.2067 and SMU.2069. Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) analysis showed that cnm is cotranscribed with SMU.2067, encoding a putative glycosyltransferase referred to here as PgfS (protein glycosyltransferase of streptococci). Notably, Cnm contains a threonine-rich domain predicted to undergo O-linked glycosylation. The previously shown abnormal migration pattern of Cnm, the presence of the threonine-rich domain, and the molecular linkage of cnm with pgfS lead us to hypothesize that PgfS modifies Cnm. A ΔpgfS strain showed defects in several traits associated with Cnm expression, including collagen binding, HCAEC invasion, and killing of G. mellonella. Western blot analysis revealed that Cnm from the ΔpgfS mutant migrated at a lower molecular weight than that from the parent strain. In addition, Cnm produced by ΔpgfS was highly susceptible to proteinase K degradation, in contrast to the high-molecular-weight Cnm version found in the parent strain. Lectin-binding analyses confirmed the glycosylated nature of Cnm and strongly suggested the presence of N-acetylglucosamine residues attached to Cnm. Based on these findings, the phenotypes observed in ΔpgfS are most likely associated with defects in Cnm glycosylation that affects protein function, stability, or both. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that Cnm is a glycoprotein and that posttranslational modification mediated by PgfS contributes to the virulence-associated phenotypes linked to Cnm.
PMCID: PMC4135665  PMID: 24837294
4.  The Collagen-Binding Protein Cnm Is Required for Streptococcus mutans Adherence to and Intracellular Invasion of Human Coronary Artery Endothelial Cells ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2011;79(6):2277-2284.
Streptococcus mutans is considered the primary etiologic agent of dental caries, a global health problem that affects 60 to 90% of the population, and a leading causative agent of infective endocarditis. It can be divided into four different serotypes (c, e, f, and k), with serotype c strains being the most common in the oral cavity. In this study, we demonstrate that in addition to OMZ175 and B14, three other strains (NCTC11060, LM7, and OM50E) of the less prevalent serotypes e and f are able to invade primary human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC). Invasive strains were also significantly more virulent than noninvasive strains in the Galleria mellonella (greater wax worm) model of systemic disease. Interestingly, the invasive strains carried an additional gene, cnm, which was previously shown to bind to collagen and laminin in vitro. Inactivation of cnm rendered the organisms unable to invade HCAEC and attenuated their virulence in G. mellonella. Notably, the cnm knockout strains did not adhere to HCAEC as efficiently as the parental strains did, indicating that the loss of the invasion phenotype observed for the mutants was linked to an adhesion defect. Comparisons of the invasive strains and their respective cnm mutants did not support a correlation between biofilm formation and invasion. Thus, Cnm is required for S. mutans invasion of endothelial cells and possibly represents an important virulence factor of S. mutans that may contribute to cardiovascular infections and pathologies.
PMCID: PMC3125845  PMID: 21422186
5.  Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) ligands enhance human B cell antibody production and differentiation 
Protective humoral immune responses critically depend on the optimal differentiation of B cells into antibody secreting cells. Because of the important role of antibodies in fighting infections and in successful vaccination, it is imperative to identify mediators that control B cell differentiation. Activation of B cells through toll-like receptor 9 (TLR-9) by CpG-DNA induces plasma cell differentiation and antibody production. Herein, we examined the role of the PPARγ/RXRα pathway on human B cell differentiation. We demonstrated that activated B cells upregulate their expression of PPARγ. We also show that nanomolar levels of natural (15d-PGJ2) or synthetic (Rosiglitazone) PPARγ ligands enhanced B cell proliferation and significantly stimulated plasma cell differentiation and antibody production. Moreover, the addition of GW9662, a specific PPARγ antagonist, abolished these effects. RXR is the binding partner for PPARγ and is required to produce an active transcriptional complex. The simultaneous addition of nanomolar concentrations of the RXRα ligand (9-cis-RA) and PPARγ ligands to CpG-activated B cells resulted in additive effects on B cell proliferation, plasma cell differentiation and antibody production. Furthermore, PPARγ ligands alone or combined with 9-cis-RA enhanced CpG-induced expression of Cox-2 and the plasma cell transcription factor BLIMP-1. Induction of these important regulators of B cell differentiation provides a possible mechanism for the B cell enhancing effects of PPARγ ligands. These new findings indicate that low doses of PPARγ/RXRα ligands could be used as a new type of adjuvant to stimulate antibody production.
PMCID: PMC2821683  PMID: 19915048
PPARγ; B lymphocytes; antibody production; differentiation; retinoic acid
6.  Epitope Mapping of a Protective Monoclonal Antibody against Pneumocystis carinii with Shared Reactivity to Streptococcus pneumoniae Surface Antigen PspA  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(3):1548-1556.
Pneumocystis carinii is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes pneumonia in the immunocompromised host. A protective monoclonal antibody (MAb) termed 4F11 generated against mouse-derived P. carinii was shown by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) to bind surface antigens of P. carinii derived from multiple host species, including humans. We have identified multiple epitopes recognized by MAb 4F11 in two recombinant mouse P. carinii antigens. The epitopes mapped have similar proline content and positive charge distribution. The consensus 8-mer epitope recognized by MAb 4F11 is K/RPA/RPK/QPA/TP. Immune sera raised against intact mouse P. carinii recognized native antigens affinity purified with MAb 4F11 and a recombinant antigen reactive with MAb 4F11. Database searches for short, nearly exact matches to the mapped MAb 4F11 epitopes identified a bacterial surface antigen, Streptococcus pneumoniae PspA, with a similar proline-rich region. In an IFA, MAb 4F11 detected antigens on the S. pneumoniae surface, and Western blotting identified a protein in S. pneumoniae lysates consistent with the Mr of PspA. A fragment of the S. pneumoniae PspA gene was cloned and sequenced, and the deduced amino acid sequence contained a region with strong similarity to the MAb 4F11 epitopes identified in P. carinii. The PspA recombinant polypeptide was recognized by MAb 4F11 in a Western blot. The ability of MAb 4F11 to recognize similar proline-rich epitopes may explain its ability to recognize P. carinii derived from multiple hosts and will permit testing of the epitopes recognized by this antibody in immunization against P. carinii.
PMCID: PMC356052  PMID: 14977961
7.  Induction of Fibrinogen Expression in the Lung Epithelium during Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(9):4431-4439.
Pneumocystis carinii is an important pulmonary pathogen responsible for morbidity and mortality in patients with AIDS. The acute-phase response (APR), the primary mechanism used by the body to restore homeostasis following infection, is characterized by increased levels of circulating fibrinogen (FBG). Although the liver is the primary site of increased FBG synthesis during the APR, we unexpectedly discovered that FBG is synthesized and secreted by lung alveolar epithelial cells in vitro during an inflammatory stimulus. Therefore, we sought to determine whether lung epithelial cells produce FBG in vivo using animal models of P. carinii pneumonia (PCP). Inflammation was noted by an influx of macrophages to P. carinii-infected alveoli. Northern hybridization revealed that γ-FBG mRNA increased two- to fivefold in P. carinii-infected lung tissue, while RNA in situ hybridization demonstrated increased levels of γ-FBG mRNA in the lung epithelium. Immunoelectron microscopy detected lung epithelial cell-specific production of FBG, suggesting induction of a localized inflammatory response resembling the APR. A systemic APR was confirmed by a two- to fivefold upregulation of the levels of hepatic γ-FBG mRNA in animals with PCP, resulting in a corresponding increase in levels of FBG in plasma. Furthermore, immunoelectron microscopy revealed the presence of FBG at the junction of cell membranes of trophic forms of P. carinii organisms aggregated along the alveolar epithelium. These results implicate FBG in the pathogenesis of PCP in a manner similar to that of the adhesive glycoproteins fibronectin and vitronectin, which are known to participate in intra-alveolar aggregation of organisms and adherence of P. carinii to the lung epithelium.
PMCID: PMC108536  PMID: 9712798
8.  Transcriptional Regulation of Endothelial Cell Tissue Factor Expression during Rickettsia rickettsii Infection: Involvement of the Transcription Factor NF-κB 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(3):1070-1075.
The vascular endothelial cell (EC) is a primary target of infection with Rickettsia rickettsii, the etiologic agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Changes in gene transcription elicited by intracellular infection, including EC expression of the coagulation pathway initiator known as tissue factor (TF), may contribute to the vascular pathology observed during disease. Nuclear run-on analysis of uninfected and infected, cultured human endothelial cells revealed that the rate of TF mRNA transcription is enhanced more than twofold at 3 h following infection, thus coinciding with increased steady-state levels of TF mRNA. TF mRNA remained relatively unstable during infection, with a half-life of 1.6 h. The eukaryotic protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide did not block R. rickettsii-induced increase in TF mRNA levels and actually resulted in its superinduction, thus revealing that de novo synthesis of host cell protein was not prerequisite to this transcriptional response. Involvement of the transcription factor NF-κB in R. rickettsii-induced TF expression was demonstrated by using two unrelated inhibitors of NF-κB activation. The antioxidant pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate and the proteasome inhibitor N-tosyl-l-phenylalanine chloromethyl ketone blocked expression of TF mRNA and activity during infection. This study demonstrates that R. rickettsii infection results in transcriptional activation of the TF gene and that this response involves activation of the transcription factor NF-κB.
PMCID: PMC108017  PMID: 9488397

Results 1-8 (8)