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1.  Active PI3K Pathway Causes an Invasive Phenotype Which Can Be Reversed or Promoted by Blocking the Pathway at Divergent Nodes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36402.
The PTEN/PI3K pathway is commonly mutated in cancer and therefore represents an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. To investigate the primary phenotypes mediated by increased pathway signaling in a clean, patient-relevant context, an activating PIK3CA mutation (H1047R) was knocked-in to an endogenous allele of the MCF10A non-tumorigenic human breast epithelial cell line. Introduction of an endogenously mutated PIK3CA allele resulted in a marked epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasive phenotype, compared to isogenic wild-type cells. The invasive phenotype was linked to enhanced PIP3 production via a S6K-IRS positive feedback mechanism. Moreover, potent and selective inhibitors of PI3K were highly effective in reversing this phenotype, which is optimally revealed in 3-dimensional cell culture. In contrast, inhibition of Akt or mTOR exacerbated the invasive phenotype. Our results suggest that invasion is a core phenotype mediated by increased PTEN/PI3K pathway activity and that therapeutic agents targeting different nodes of the PI3K pathway may have dramatic differences in their ability to reverse or promote cancer metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3343052  PMID: 22570710
2.  Functional regulatory T cells produced by inhibiting cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase type 3 prevent allograft rejection 
Science translational medicine  2011;3(83):83ra40.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) manipulated ex vivo have potential as cellular therapeutics in autoimmunity and transplantation. Although it is possible to expand naturally occurring Tregs, an attractive alternative possibility, particularly suited to solid organ and bone marrow transplantation, is the stimulation of total T cell populations with defined allogeneic antigen presenting cells under conditions that lead to the generation or expansion of donor-reactive, adaptive Tregs. Here we demonstrate that stimulation of mouse CD4+ T cells by immature allogeneic dendritic cells (DCs) combined with pharmacological inhibition of phosphodiesterase 3 (PDEi) results in a functional enrichment of Foxp3+ T cells. Without further manipulation or selection, the resultant population delayed skin allograft rejection mediated by polyclonal CD4+ effectors or donor-reactive CD8+ TCR transgenic T cells and inhibited both effector cell proliferation and T cell priming for IFN-γ production. Notably, PDE inhibition also enhanced the enrichment of human Foxp3+ CD4+ T cells driven by allogeneic APC. These cells inhibited T cell proliferation in a standard in vitro mixed lymphocyte assay and importantly, attenuated the development of vasculopathy mediated by autologous PBMC in a functionally relevant humanized mouse transplant model. These data establish a method for the ex vivo generation of graft-reactive, functional mouse and human Tregs that uses a clinically approved agent, making pharmacological PDE inhibition a potential strategy for Treg-based therapies
PMCID: PMC3321352  PMID: 21593400
3.  Exogenous IFN-γ ex vivo shapes the alloreactive T-cell repertoire by inhibition of Th17 responses and generation of functional Foxp3+ regulatory T cells 
European Journal of Immunology  2008;38(9):2512-2527.
Interferon (IFN)-γ was originally characterized as a pro-inflammatory cytokine with T helper type 1-inducing activity, but subsequent work has demonstrated that mice deficient in IFN-γ or IFN-γ receptor show exacerbated inflammatory responses and accelerated allograft rejection, suggesting that IFN-γ also has important immunoregulatory functions. Here, we demonstrate that ex vivo IFN-γ conditioning of CD4 T cells driven by allogeneic immature dendritic cells (DC) results in the emergence of a Foxp3+ regulatory T-cell (Treg)- dominant population that can prevent allograft rejection. The development of this population involves conversion of non-Treg precursors, preferential induction of activation-induced cell death within the non-Treg population and suppression of Th2 and Th17 responses. The suppressive activity of IFN-γ is dependent on the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 and is mediated by induced nitric oxide. These data indicate not only how IFN-γ could be used to shape beneficial immune responses ex vivo for possible cell therapy but also provide some mechanistic insights that may be relevant to exacerbated inflammatory responses noted in several autoimmune and transplant models with IFN-γ deficiency.
PMCID: PMC2988413  PMID: 18792404
Cellular therapy; IFN-γ; Regulatory T cells; Transplant rejection
4.  Induction of transplantation tolerance converts potential effector T cells into graft-protective regulatory T cells 
European Journal of Immunology  2010;41(3):726-738.
Naturally occurring FOXP3+CD4+ Treg have a crucial role in self-tolerance. The ability to generate similar populations against alloantigens offers the possibility of preventing transplant rejection without indefinite global immunosuppression. Exposure of mice to donor alloantigens combined with anti-CD4 antibody induces operational tolerance to cardiac allografts, and generates Treg that prevent skin and islet allograft rejection in adoptive transfer models. If protocols that generate Treg in vivo are to be developed in the clinical setting it will be important to know the origin of the Treg population and the mechanisms responsible for their generation. In this study, we demonstrate that graft-protective Treg arise in vivo both from naturally occurring FOXP3+CD4+ Treg and from non-regulatory FOXP3−CD4+ cells. Importantly, tolerance induction also inhibits CD4+ effector cell priming and T cells from tolerant mice have impaired effector function in vitro. Thus, adaptive tolerance induction shapes the immune response to alloantigen by converting potential effector cells into graft-protective Treg and by expanding alloreactive naturally occurring Treg. In relation to clinical tolerance induction, the data indicate that while the generation of alloreactive Treg may be critical for long-term allograft survival without chronic immunosuppression, successful protocols will also require strategies that target potential effector cells.
PMCID: PMC3175037  PMID: 21243638
Transplantation tolerance; Treg

Results 1-4 (4)