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1.  Characterization of Notch1 Antibodies That Inhibit Signaling of Both Normal and Mutated Notch1 Receptors 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9094.
Notch receptors normally play a key role in guiding a variety of cell fate decisions during development and differentiation of metazoan organisms. On the other hand, dysregulation of Notch1 signaling is associated with many different types of cancer as well as tumor angiogenesis, making Notch1 a potential therapeutic target.
Principal Findings
Here we report the in vitro activities of inhibitory Notch1 monoclonal antibodies derived from cell-based and solid-phase screening of a phage display library. Two classes of antibodies were found, one directed against the EGF-repeat region that encompasses the ligand-binding domain (LBD), and the second directed against the activation switch of the receptor, the Notch negative regulatory region (NRR). The antibodies are selective for Notch1, inhibiting Jag2-dependent signaling by Notch1 but not by Notch 2 and 3 in reporter gene assays, with EC50 values as low as 5±3 nM and 0.13±0.09 nM for the LBD and NRR antibodies, respectively, and fail to recognize Notch4. While more potent, NRR antibodies are incomplete antagonists of Notch1 signaling. The antagonistic activity of LBD, but not NRR, antibodies is strongly dependent on the activating ligand. Both LBD and NRR antibodies bind to Notch1 on human tumor cell lines and inhibit the expression of sentinel Notch target genes, including HES1, HES5, and DTX1. NRR antibodies also strongly inhibit ligand-independent signaling in heterologous cells transiently expressing Notch1 receptors with diverse NRR “class I” point mutations, the most common type of mutation found in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). In contrast, NRR antibodies failed to antagonize Notch1 receptors bearing rare “class II” or “class III” mutations, in which amino acid insertions generate a duplicated or constitutively sensitive metalloprotease cleavage site. Signaling in T-ALL cell lines bearing class I mutations is partially refractory to inhibitory antibodies as compared to cell-penetrating gamma-secretase inhibitors.
Antibodies that compete with Notch1 ligand binding or that bind to the negative regulatory region can act as potent inhibitors of Notch1 signaling. These antibodies may have clinical utility for conditions in which inhibition of signaling by wild-type Notch1 is desired, but are likely to be of limited value for treatment of T-ALLs associated with aberrant Notch1 activation.
PMCID: PMC2817004  PMID: 20161710
2.  Coupling of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Fusion to Virion Maturation: a Novel Role of the gp41 Cytoplasmic Tail 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(7):3429-3435.
Retrovirus particles are not infectious until they undergo proteolytic maturation to form a functional core. Here we report a link between human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) core maturation and the ability of the virus to fuse with target cells. Using a recently developed reporter assay of HIV-1 virus-cell fusion, we show that immature HIV-1 particles are 5- to 10-fold less active for fusion with target cells than are mature virions. The fusion of mature and immature virions was rendered equivalent by truncating the gp41 cytoplasmic domain or by pseudotyping viruses with the glycoprotein of vesicular stomatitis virus. An analysis of a panel of mutants containing mutated cleavage sites indicated that HIV-1 fusion competence is activated by the cleavage of Gag at any site between the MA and NC segments and not as an indirect consequence of an altered core structure. These results suggest a mechanism by which binding of the gp41 cytoplasmic tail to Gag within immature HIV-1 particles inhibits Env conformational changes on the surface of the virion that are required for membrane fusion. This “inside-out” regulation of HIV-1 fusion could play an important role in the virus life cycle by preventing the entry of immature, noninfectious particles.
PMCID: PMC371074  PMID: 15016865
3.  Nef Does Not Affect the Efficiency of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Fusion with Target Cells 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(19):10645-10650.
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) accessory protein Nef stimulates viral infectivity by an unknown mechanism. Recent studies have suggested that Nef may act by regulating the efficiency of virus entry into cells. Here we provide evidence to the contrary. Using a quantitative assay of HIV-1 virus-cell fusion, we observed equivalent rates and extents of fusion of wild-type and Nef-defective HIV-1 particles with MT-4 cells and CD4-expressing HeLa cells. In studies using soluble CD4 (sCD4) to inhibit infection, wild-type and Nef-defective HIV-1 escaped the sCD4 block with similar kinetics. We conclude that Nef acts at a postentry step in infection, probably by facilitating intracellular transport of the HIV-1 ribonucleoprotein complex.
PMCID: PMC228506  PMID: 12970449
4.  Altering Expression Levels of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 gp120-gp41 Affects Efficiency but Not Kinetics of Cell-Cell Fusion 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(7):3522-3533.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) entry into a host cell requires the fusion of virus and cellular membranes that is driven by interaction of the viral envelope glycoproteins gp120 and gp41 (gp120/gp41) with CD4 and a coreceptor, typically either CXCR4 or CCR5. The stoichiometry of gp120/gp41:CD4:CCR5 necessary to initiate membrane fusion is not known. To allow an examination of early events in gp120/gp41-driven membrane fusion, we developed a novel real-time cell-cell fusion assay. Using this assay to study fusion kinetics, we found that altering the cell surface density of gp120/gp41 affected the maximal extent of fusion without dramatically altering fusion kinetics. Collectively, these observations are consistent with the view that gp120/gp41-driven membrane fusion requires the formation of a threshold number of fusion-active intercellular gp120/gp41:CD4:CCR5 complexes. Furthermore, the probability of reaching this threshold is governed, in part, by the surface density of gp120/gp41.
PMCID: PMC136010  PMID: 11884576
5.  CCR5, CXCR4, and CD4 Are Clustered and Closely Apposed on Microvilli of Human Macrophages and T Cells 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(8):3779-3790.
The chemokine receptors CCR5 and CXCR4 act synergistically with CD4 in an ordered multistep mechanism to allow the binding and entry of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). The efficiency of such a coordinated mechanism depends on the spatial distribution of the participating molecules on the cell surface. Immunoelectron microscopy was performed to address the subcellular localization of the chemokine receptors and CD4 at high resolution. Cells were fixed, cryoprocessed, and frozen; 80-nm cryosections were double labeled with combinations of CCR5, CXCR4, and CD4 antibodies and then stained with immunogold. Surprisingly, CCR5, CXCR4, and CD4 were found predominantly on microvilli and appeared to form homogeneous microclusters in all cell types examined, including macrophages and T cells. Further, while mixed microclusters were not observed, homogeneous microclusters of CD4 and the chemokine receptors were frequently separated by distances less than the diameter of an HIV-1 virion. Such distributions are likely to facilitate cooperative interactions with HIV-1 during virus adsorption to and penetration of human leukocytes and have significant implications for development of therapeutically useful inhibitors of the entry process. Although the mechanism underlying clustering is not understood, clusters were observed in small trans-Golgi vesicles, implying that they were organized shortly after synthesis and well before insertion into the cellular membrane. Chemokine receptors normally act as sensors, detecting concentration gradients of their ligands and thus providing directional information for cellular migration during both normal homeostasis and inflammatory responses. Localization of these sensors on the microvilli should enable more precise monitoring of their environment, improving efficiency of the chemotactic process. Moreover, since selectins, some integrins, and actin are also located on or in the microvillus, this organelle has many of the major elements required for chemotaxis.
PMCID: PMC114869  PMID: 11264367

Results 1-5 (5)