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1.  Cernunnos influences human immunoglobulin class switch recombination and may be associated with B cell lymphomagenesis 
B cells from Cernunnos-deficient patients contain aberrant class switch recombination junctions, and a dominant-negative Cernunnos mutation was detected in a diffuse large B cell lymphoma sample.
Cernunnos is involved in the nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) process during DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. Here, we studied immunoglobulin (Ig) class switch recombination (CSR), a physiological process which relies on proper repair of the DSBs, in B cells from Cernunnos-deficient patients. The pattern of in vivo generated CSR junctions is altered in these cells, with unusually long microhomologies and a lack of direct end-joining. The CSR junctions from Cernunnos-deficient patients largely resemble those from patients lacking DNA ligase IV, Artemis, or ATM, suggesting that these factors are involved in the same end-joining pathway during CSR. By screening 269 mature B cell lymphoma biopsies, we also identified a somatic missense Cernunnos mutation in a diffuse large B cell lymphoma sample. This mutation has a dominant-negative effect on joining of a subset of DNA ends in an in vitro NHEJ assay. Translocations involving both Ig heavy chain loci and clonal-like, dynamic IgA switching activities were observed in this tumor. Collectively, our results suggest a link between defects in the Cernunnos-dependent NHEJ pathway and aberrant CSR or switch translocations during the development of B cell malignancies.
doi:10.1084/jem.20110325
PMCID: PMC3280866  PMID: 22312109
2.  Erratum to: Rhesus macaque MHC class I molecules show differential subcellular localizations 
Immunogenetics  2010;62(6):409-418.
The MHC class I gene family of rhesus macaques is characterised by considerable gene duplications. While a HLA-C-orthologous gene is absent, the Mamu-A and in particular the Mamu-B genes have expanded, giving rise to plastic haplotypes with differential gene content. Although some of the rhesus macaque MHC class I genes are known to be associated with susceptibility/resistance to infectious diseases, the functional significance of duplicated Mamu-A and Mamu-B genes and the expression pattern of their encoded proteins are largely unknown. Here, we present data of the subcellular localization of AcGFP-tagged Mamu-A and Mamu-B molecules. We found strong cell surface and low intracellular expression for Mamu-A1, Mamu-A2 and Mamu-A3-encoded molecules as well as for Mamu-B*01704, Mamu-B*02101, Mamu-B*04801, Mamu-B*06002 and Mamu-B*13401. In contrast, weak cell surface and strong intracellular expression was seen for Mamu-A4*1403, Mamu-B*01202, Mamu-B*02804, Mamu-B*03002, Mamu-B*05704, Mamu-I*010201 and Mamu-I*0121. The different expression patterns were assigned to the antigen-binding α1 and α2 domains, suggesting failure of peptide binding is responsible for retaining ‘intracellular’ Mamu class I molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum. These findings indicate a diverse functional role of the duplicated rhesus macaque MHC class I genes.
doi:10.1007/s00251-010-0447-y
PMCID: PMC3128699  PMID: 20445972
MHC class I; Mamu-A; Mamu-B; Subcellular localization; Macaca mulatta
3.  Rhesus macaque MHC class I molecules show differential subcellular localizations 
Immunogenetics  2010;62(3):149-158.
The MHC class I gene family of rhesus macaques is characterised by considerable gene duplications. While a HLA-C-orthologous gene is absent, the Mamu-A and in particular the Mamu-B genes have expanded, giving rise to plastic haplotypes with differential gene content. Although some of the rhesus macaque MHC class I genes are known to be associated with susceptibility/resistance to infectious diseases, the functional significance of duplicated Mamu-A and Mamu-B genes and the expression pattern of their encoded proteins are largely unknown. Here, we present data of the subcellular localization of AcGFP-tagged Mamu-A and Mamu-B molecules. We found strong cell surface and low intracellular expression for Mamu-A1, Mamu-A2 and Mamu-A3-encoded molecules as well as for Mamu-B*01704, Mamu-B*02101, Mamu-B*04801, Mamu-B*06002 and Mamu-B*13401. In contrast, weak cell surface and strong intracellular expression was seen for Mamu-A4*1403, Mamu-B*01202, Mamu-B*02804, Mamu-B*03002, Mamu-B*05704, Mamu-I*010201 and Mamu-I*0121. The different expression patterns were assigned to the antigen-binding α1 and α2 domains, suggesting failure of peptide binding is responsible for retaining ‘intracellular’ Mamu class I molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum. These findings indicate a diverse functional role of the duplicated rhesus macaque MHC class I genes.
doi:10.1007/s00251-010-0424-5
PMCID: PMC2827799  PMID: 20151120
MHC class I; Mamu-A; Mamu-B; Subcellular localization; Macaca mulatta
4.  A Novel System of Polymorphic and Diverse NK Cell Receptors in Primates 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(10):e1000688.
There are two main classes of natural killer (NK) cell receptors in mammals, the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) and the structurally unrelated killer cell lectin-like receptors (KLR). While KIR represent the most diverse group of NK receptors in all primates studied to date, including humans, apes, and Old and New World monkeys, KLR represent the functional equivalent in rodents. Here, we report a first digression from this rule in lemurs, where the KLR (CD94/NKG2) rather than KIR constitute the most diverse group of NK cell receptors. We demonstrate that natural selection contributed to such diversification in lemurs and particularly targeted KLR residues interacting with the peptide presented by MHC class I ligands. We further show that lemurs lack a strict ortholog or functional equivalent of MHC-E, the ligands of non-polymorphic KLR in “higher” primates. Our data support the existence of a hitherto unknown system of polymorphic and diverse NK cell receptors in primates and of combinatorial diversity as a novel mechanism to increase NK cell receptor repertoire.
Author Summary
Most receptors of natural killer (NK) cells interact with highly polymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules and thereby regulate the activity of NK cells against infected or malignant target cells. Whereas humans, apes, and Old and New World monkeys use the family of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) as highly diverse NK cell receptors, this function is performed in rodents by the diverse family of lectin-like receptors Ly49. When did this functional separation occur in evolution? We followed this by investigating lemurs, primates that are distantly related to humans. We show here that lemurs employ the CD94/NKG2 family as their highly diversified NK cell receptors. The CD94/NKG2 receptors also belong to the lectin-like receptor family, but are rather conserved in “higher” primates and rodents. We could further demonstrate that lemurs have a single Ly49 gene like other primates but lack functional KIR genes of the KIR3DL lineage and show major deviations in their MHC class I genomic organisation. Thus, lemurs have evolved a “third way” of polymorphic and diverse NK cell receptors. In addition, the multiplied lemur CD94/NKG2 receptors can be freely combined, thereby forming diverse receptors. This is, therefore, the first description of some combinatorial diversity of NK cell receptors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000688
PMCID: PMC2757895  PMID: 19834558

Results 1-4 (4)