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1.  Surgical technique for allogeneic uterus transplantation in macaques 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:35989.
No study has reported an animal model of uterus transplantation (UTx) using cynomolgus macaques. We aimed to establish a surgical technique of allogeneic UTx assuming the recovery of a uterus from a deceased donor in cynomolgus macaques. Four allogeneic UTxs were performed in female cynomolgus macaques. Donor surgeries comprised en bloc recovery of organs with iliac vessels on both sides, and/or abdominal aorta/vena cava after sufficient perfusion from one femoral artery or external iliac artery. Before perfusion, 150 mL of whole blood was obtained from the donor for subsequent blood transfusion to the recipient. Four uterine grafts were orthotopically transplanted to recipients. End-to-side anastomosis was performed to the iliac vessels on one side in case 1 and iliac vessels on both sides in case 2; aorto-aorto/cavo-caval anastomosis was performed in cases 3 and 4. Arterial blood flow of the uterine grafts was determined by intraoperative indocyanine green (ICG) angiography. ICG angiography results showed sufficient blood flow to all uterine grafts, and anaemia did not progress. Under appropriate immune suppression, all recipients survived for more than 90 days post-transplantation, without any surgical complications. We describe a surgical technique for allogeneic UTx in cynomolgus macaques.
PMCID: PMC5081522  PMID: 27786258
2.  Production of a Locus- and Allele-Specific Monoclonal Antibody for the Characterization of SLA-1*0401 mRNA and Protein Expression Levels in MHC-Defined Microminipigs 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(10):e0164995.
The class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) presents self-developed peptides to specific T cells to induce cytotoxity against infection. The MHC proteins are encoded by multiple loci that express numerous alleles to preserve the variability of the antigen-presenting ability in each species. The mechanism regulating MHC mRNA and protein expression at each locus is difficult to analyze because of the structural and sequence similarities between alleles. In this study, we examined the correlation between the mRNA and surface protein expression of swine leukocyte antigen (SLA)-1*0401 after the stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by Staphylococcus aureus superantigen toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1). We prepared a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against a domain composed of Y102, L103 and L109 in the α2 domain. The Hp-16.0 haplotype swine possess only SLA-1*0401, which has the mAb epitope, while other haplotypes possess 0 to 3 SLA classical class I loci with the mAb epitopes. When PBMCs from SLA-1*0401 homozygous pigs were stimulated, the SLA-1*0401 mRNA expression level increased until 24 hrs and decreased at 48 hrs. The kinetics of the interferon regulatory transcription factor-1 (IRF-1) mRNA level were similar to those of the SLA-1*0401 mRNA. However, the surface protein expression level continued to increase until 72 hrs. Similar results were observed in the Hp-10.0 pigs with three mAb epitopes. These results suggest that TSST-1 stimulation induced both mRNA and surface protein expression of class I SLA in the swine PBMCs differentially and that the surface protein level was sustained independently of mRNA regulation.
PMCID: PMC5070868  PMID: 27760184
3.  Successful Transplantation of Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells from MHC Homozygote iPSCs in MHC-Matched Models 
Stem Cell Reports  2016;7(4):635-648.
There is an ongoing controversy as to whether major histocompatibility complex (MHC) matching is a solution for allogeneic stem cell transplantation. In the present study, we established retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in MHC homozygote donors. We observed no rejection signs in iPSC-derived RPE allografts of MHC-matched animal models without immunosuppression, whereas there were immune attacks around the graft and retinal tissue damage in MHC-mismatched models. In an immunohistochemical examination of MHC-mismatched allografts, the transplanted RPE sheets/cells were located in the subretinal space, but the RPE exhibited inflammatory and hypertrophic changes, and many inflammatory cells, e.g., Iba1+ cells, MHC class II+ cells, and CD3+ T cells, invaded the graft area. Conversely, these inflammatory cells poorly infiltrated the area around the transplanted retina if MHC-matched allografts were used. Thus, cells derived from MHC homozygous donors could be used to treat retinal diseases in histocompatible recipients.
Graphical Abstract
Image 1
•We established RPE cells from iPSCs in MHC homozygote animals•MHC-mismatching transplantation caused immune attacks of iPS-RPE allografts•MHC-matching transplantation appeared to prevent the attacks of the allografts•T cells responded to allogeneic iPS-RPE, but failed to respond to MHC homozygote RPE
In this article, Takahashi and colleagues show the allogeneic immune response, such as immune rejection, to iPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells by inflammatory cells in vivo. However, the immune reaction does not occur when iPS-RPE cells established from MHC homozygous donors were transplanted.
PMCID: PMC5063629  PMID: 27641649
4.  Rho kinase inhibitor enables cell-based therapy for corneal endothelial dysfunction 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:26113.
The corneal endothelium maintains corneal transparency; consequently, its dysfunction causes severe vision loss. Tissue engineering-based therapy, as an alternative to conventional donor corneal transplantation, is anticipated to provide a less invasive and more effective therapeutic modality. We conducted a preclinical study for cell-based therapy in a primate model and demonstrated regeneration of the corneal endothelium following injection of cultured monkey corneal endothelial cells (MCECs) or human CECs (HCECs), in combination with a Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitor, Y-27632, into the anterior chamber. We also evaluated the safety and efficacy of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-grade HCECs, similar to those planned for use as transplant material for human patients in a clinical trial, and we showed that the corneal endothelium was regenerated without adverse effect. We also showed that CEC engraftment is impaired by limited substrate adhesion, which is due to actomyosin contraction induced by dissociation-induced activation of ROCK/MLC signaling. Inclusion of a ROCK inhibitor improves efficiency of engraftment of CECs and enables cell-based therapy for treating corneal endothelial dysfunction as a clinically relevant therapy.
PMCID: PMC4870691  PMID: 27189516
5.  Pathogenicity of Genetically Similar, H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus Strains in Chicken and the Differences in Sensitivity among Different Chicken Breeds 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(4):e0153649.
Differences in the pathogenicity of genetically closely related H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) were evaluated in White Leghorn chickens. These viruses varied in the clinical symptoms they induced, including lethality, virus shedding, and replication in host tissues. A comparison of the host responses in the lung, brain, and spleen suggested that the differences in viral replication efficiency were related to the host cytokine response at the early phase of infection, especially variations in the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6. Based on these findings, we inoculated the virus that showed the mildest pathogenicity among the five tested, A/pigeon/Thailand/VSMU-7-NPT/2004, into four breeds of Thai indigenous chicken, Phadu-Hung-Dang (PHD), Chee, Dang, and Luang-Hung-Khao (LHK), to explore effects of genetic background on host response. Among these breeds, Chee, Dang, and LHK showed significantly longer survival times than White Leghorns. Virus shedding from dead Thai indigenous chickens was significantly lower than that from White Leghorns. Although polymorphisms were observed in the Mx and MHC class I genes, there was no significant association between the polymorphisms in these loci and resistance to HPAIV.
PMCID: PMC4841636  PMID: 27078641
6.  A wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin adopts a socially and genetically distant neonate 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:23902.
Alloparental behaviour and adoption have been reported in many mammals and birds. Such behaviours are energetically costly, and their causes and functions remain unclear. We observed the adoption behaviour of a wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) near Mikura Island, Japan. A calf was seen with its mother on six observation days. Following the mother’s death, the calf was observed with a sub-adult female on all 18 observation days from May to September 2012. On three days, the calf was observed swimming with this female in the suckling position and milk was seen leaking from the female’s mammary slit. A five-year dataset revealed no significant social or kin relationships between the biological mother and allomother, indicating that kinship and social relationships did not play an important role in the observed adoption.
PMCID: PMC4822121  PMID: 27049937
7.  Cardiomyocytes Derived from MHC-Homozygous Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Exhibit Reduced Allogeneic Immunogenicity in MHC-Matched Non-human Primates 
Stem Cell Reports  2016;6(3):312-320.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can serve as a source of cardiomyocytes (CMs) to treat end-stage heart failure; however, transplantation of genetically dissimilar iPSCs even within species (allogeneic) can induce immune rejection. We hypothesized that this might be limited by matching the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens between the donor and the recipient. We therefore transplanted fluorescence-labeled (GFP) iPSC-CMs donated from a macaque with homozygous MHC haplotypes into the subcutaneous tissue and hearts of macaques having heterozygous MHC haplotypes (MHC-matched; group I) or without identical MHC alleles (group II) in conjunction with immune suppression. Group I displayed a higher GFP intensity and less immune-cell infiltration in the graft than group II. However, MHC-matched transplantation with single or no immune-suppressive drugs still induced a substantial host immune response to the graft. Thus, the immunogenicity of allogeneic iPSC-CMs was reduced by MHC-matched transplantation although a requirement for appropriate immune suppression was retained for successful engraftment.
Graphical Abstract
•Cardiomyocytes from iPSCs can treat heart disease•iPSC-CMs were transplanted into MHC-matched or unmatched cynomolgus macacques•Matched iPSC-CM grafts had better survival and less host rejection immune response•Immunosuppression was still required for successful allogeneic iPSC-CM engraftment
In this article, Sawa and colleagues examined whether transplantation of cardiomyocytes generated from induced pluripotent stem cells could alleviate immune-mediated rejection in major histocompatibility antigen-matched non-human primates. Transplantation of matched tissue prevented allogeneic immune rejection and enhanced engraftment with appropriate immunosuppressants. Thus, banked iPSCs with simple MHC profiles might be useful for regenerative therapy for a variety of pathologies.
PMCID: PMC4788782  PMID: 26905198
8.  Crystal structure of the N-myristoylated lipopeptide-bound MHC class I complex 
Nature Communications  2016;7:10356.
The covalent conjugation of a 14-carbon saturated fatty acid (myristic acid) to the amino-terminal glycine residue is critical for some viral proteins to function. This protein lipidation modification, termed N-myristoylation, is targeted by host cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) that specifically recognize N-myristoylated short peptides; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying lipopeptide antigen (Ag) presentation remain elusive. Here we show that a primate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-encoded protein is capable of binding N-myristoylated 5-mer peptides and presenting them to specific CTLs. A high-resolution X-ray crystallographic analysis of the MHC class I:lipopeptide complex reveals an Ag-binding groove that is elaborately constructed to bind N-myristoylated short peptides rather than prototypic 9-mer peptides. The identification of lipopeptide-specific, MHC class I-restricted CTLs indicates that the widely accepted concept of MHC class I-mediated presentation of long peptides to CTLs may need some modifications to incorporate a novel MHC class I function of lipopeptide Ag presentation.
Lipid antigens have been added to the antigenic repertoire in recent years. Here, the authors have identified Mamu-B*098 as a lipopeptide antigen presenting molecule and using structural and biochemical analysis have shown that it has a different antigen binding pocket to previously analysed proteins.
PMCID: PMC4735555  PMID: 26758274
9.  Evolution and Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Strains with Reduced Susceptibility to Vancomycin and Daptomycin, Based on Determination of the Complete Genome 
We obtained a series of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates, including both daptomycin-susceptible strain TD1 and daptomycin-resistant strain TD4, from a patient. We determined the complete genome sequences of TD1 and TD4 using next-generation sequencing, and only four single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified, one each in capB (E58K), rpoB (H481Y), lytN (I16V), and mprF (V351E). We determined that these four SNPs were sufficient to cause the strains to develop daptomycin, vancomycin, and rifampin resistance.
PMCID: PMC4432144  PMID: 25779584
10.  The impact of next-generation sequencing technologies on HLA research 
Journal of Human Genetics  2015;60(11):665-673.
In the past decade, the development of next-generation sequencing (NGS) has paved the way for whole-genome analysis in individuals. Research on the human leukocyte antigen (HLA), an extensively studied molecule involved in immunity, has benefitted from NGS technologies. The HLA region, a 3.6-Mb segment of the human genome at 6p21, has been associated with more than 100 different diseases, primarily autoimmune diseases. Recently, the HLA region has received much attention because severe adverse effects of various drugs are associated with particular HLA alleles. Owing to the complex nature of the HLA genes, classical direct sequencing methods cannot comprehensively elucidate the genomic makeup of HLA genes. Thus far, several high-throughput HLA-typing methods using NGS have been developed. In HLA research, NGS facilitates complete HLA sequencing and is expected to improve our understanding of the mechanisms through which HLA genes are modulated, including transcription, regulation of gene expression and epigenetics. Most importantly, NGS may also permit the analysis of HLA-omics. In this review, we summarize the impact of NGS on HLA research, with a focus on the potential for clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC4660052  PMID: 26311539
11.  Cost-efficient multiplex PCR for routine genotyping of up to nine classical HLA loci in a single analytical run of multiple samples by next generation sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):318.
HLA genotyping by next generation sequencing (NGS) requires three basic steps, PCR, NGS, and allele assignment. Compared to the conventional methods, such as PCR-sequence specific oligonucleotide primers (SSOP) and -sequence based typing (SBT), PCR-NGS is extremely labor intensive and time consuming. In order to simplify and accelerate the NGS-based HLA genotyping method for multiple DNA samples, we developed and evaluated four multiplex PCR methods for genotyping up to nine classical HLA loci including HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C, HLA-DRB1/3/4/5, HLA-DQB1, and HLA-DPB1.
We developed multiplex PCR methods using newly and previously designed middle ranged PCR primer sets for genotyping different combinations of HLA loci, (1) HLA-DRB1/3/4/5, (2) HLA-DQB1 (3.8 kb to 5.3 kb), (3) HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C, and (4) HLA-DPB1 (4.6 kb to 7.2 kb). The primer sets were designed to genotype polymorphic exons to the field 3 level or 6-digit typing. When we evaluated the PCR method for genotyping all nine HLA loci (9LOCI) using 46 Japanese reference subjects who represented a distribution of more than 99.5% of the HLA alleles at each of the nine HLA loci, all of the 276 alleles genotyped, except for HLA-DRB3/4/5 alleles, were consistent with known alleles assigned by the conventional methods together with relevant locus balance and no excessive allelic imbalance. One multiplex PCR method (9LOCI) was able to provide precise genotyping data even when only 1 ng of genomic DNA was used for the PCR as a sample template.
In this study, we have demonstrated that the multiplex PCR approach for NGS-based HLA genotyping could serve as an alternative routine HLA genotyping method, possibly replacing the conventional methods by providing an accelerated yet robust amplification step. The method also could provide significant merits for clinical applications with its ability to amplify lower quantity of samples and the cost-saving factors.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1514-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4404632  PMID: 25895492
13.  Evidence for lateral gene transfer (LGT) in the evolution of eubacteria-derived small GTPases in plant organelles 
The genomes of free-living bacteria frequently exchange genes via lateral gene transfer (LGT), which has played a major role in bacterial evolution. LGT also played a significant role in the acquisition of genes from non-cyanobacterial bacteria to the lineage of “primary” algae and land plants. Small GTPases are widely distributed among prokaryotes and eukaryotes. In this study, we inferred the evolutionary history of organelle-targeted small GTPases in plants. Arabidopsis thaliana contains at least one ortholog in seven subfamilies of OBG-HflX-like and TrmE-Era-EngA-YihA-Septin-like GTPase superfamilies (together referred to as Era-like GTPases). Subcellular localization analysis of all Era-like GTPases in Arabidopsis revealed that all 30 eubacteria-related GTPases are localized to chloroplasts and/or mitochondria, whereas archaea-related DRG and NOG1 are localized to the cytoplasm and nucleus, respectively, suggesting that chloroplast- and mitochondrion-localized GTPases are derived from the ancestral cyanobacterium and α-proteobacterium, respectively, through endosymbiotic gene transfer (EGT). However, phylogenetic analyses revealed that plant organelle GTPase evolution is rather complex. Among the eubacterium-related GTPases, only four localized to chloroplasts (including one dual targeting GTPase) and two localized to mitochondria were derived from cyanobacteria and α-proteobacteria, respectively. Three other chloroplast-targeted GTPases were related to α-proteobacterial proteins, rather than to cyanobacterial GTPases. Furthermore, we found that four other GTPases showed neither cyanobacterial nor α-proteobacterial affiliation. Instead, these GTPases were closely related to clades from other eubacteria, such as Bacteroides (Era1, EngB-1, and EngB-2) and green non-sulfur bacteria (HflX). This study thus provides novel evidence that LGT significantly contributed to the evolution of organelle-targeted Era-like GTPases in plants.
PMCID: PMC4263083  PMID: 25566271
endosymbiotic gene transfer; genomic analysis; lateral gene transfer; small GTPase; evolution of organelle
14.  Recent advances in the study of chloroplast gene expression and its evolution 
Chloroplasts are semiautonomous organelles which possess their own genome and gene expression system. However, extant chloroplasts contain only limited coding information, and are dependent on a large number of nucleus-encoded proteins. During plant evolution, chloroplasts have lost most of the prokaryotic DNA-binding proteins and transcription regulators that were present in the original endosymbiont. Thus, chloroplasts have a unique hybrid transcription system composed of the remaining prokaryotic components, such as a prokaryotic RNA polymerase as well as nucleus-encoded eukaryotic components. Recent proteomic and transcriptomic analyses have provided insights into chloroplast transcription systems and their evolution. Here, we review chloroplast-specific transcription systems, focusing on the multiple RNA polymerases, eukaryotic transcription regulators in chloroplasts, chloroplast promoters, and the dynamics of chloroplast nucleoids.
PMCID: PMC3933795  PMID: 24611069
chloroplast; transcription; PEP; NEP; pTAC; nucleoid
15.  Light-dependent expression of flg22-induced defense genes in Arabidopsis 
Chloroplasts have been reported to generate retrograde immune signals that activate defense gene expression in the nucleus. However, the roles of light and photosynthesis in plant immunity remain largely elusive. In this study, we evaluated the effects of light on the expression of defense genes induced by flg22, a peptide derived from bacterial flagellins which acts as a potent elicitor in plants. Whole-transcriptome analysis of flg22-treated Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings under light and dark conditions for 30 min revealed that a number of (30%) genes strongly induced by flg22 (>4.0) require light for their rapid expression, whereas flg22-repressed genes include a significant number of genes that are down-regulated by light. Furthermore, light is responsible for the flg22-induced accumulation of salicylic acid (SA), indicating that light is indispensable for basal defense responses in plants. To elucidate the role of photosynthesis in defense, we further examined flg22-induced defense gene expression in the presence of specific inhibitors of photosynthetic electron transport: 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea (DCMU) and 2,5-dibromo-3-methyl-6-isopropyl-benzoquinone (DBMIB). Light-dependent expression of defense genes was largely suppressed by DBMIB, but only partially suppressed by DCMU. These findings suggest that photosynthetic electron flow plays a role in controlling the light-dependent expression of flg22-inducible defense genes.
PMCID: PMC4191550  PMID: 25346742
photosynthesis; flg22; defense gene; DBMIB; DCMU; retrograde signaling; salicylic acid; CAS
16.  Primordial Linkage of β2-Microglobulin to the MHC 
β2-Microglobulin (β2M) is believed to have arisen in a basal jawed vertebrate (gnathostome) and is the essential L chain that associates with most MHC class I molecules. It contains a distinctive molecular structure called a constant-1 Ig superfamily domain, which is shared with other adaptive immune molecules including MHC class I and class II. Despite its structural similarity to class I and class II and its conserved function, β2M is encoded outside the MHC in all examined species from bony fish to mammals, but it is assumed to have translocated from its original location within the MHC early in gnathostome evolution. We screened a nurse shark bacterial artificial chromosome library and isolated clones containing β2M genes. A gene present in the MHC of all other vertebrates (ring3) was found in the bacterial artificial chromosome clone, and the close linkage of ring3 and β2M to MHC class I and class II genes was determined by single-strand conformational polymorphism and allele-specific PCR. This study satisfies the long-held conjecture that β2M was linked to the primordial MHC (Ur MHC); furthermore, the apparent stability of the shark genome may yield other genes predicted to have had a primordial association with the MHC specifically and with immunity in general.
PMCID: PMC3805034  PMID: 21321107
17.  Direct Comparison of Autologous and Allogeneic Transplantation of iPSC-Derived Neural Cells in the Brain of a Nonhuman Primate 
Stem Cell Reports  2013;1(4):283-292.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide the potential for autologous transplantation using cells derived from a patient’s own cells. However, the immunogenicity of iPSCs or their derivatives has been a matter of controversy, and up to now there has been no direct comparison of autologous and allogeneic transplantation in the brains of humans or nonhuman primates. Here, using nonhuman primates, we found that the autologous transplantation of iPSC-derived neurons elicited only a minimal immune response in the brain. In contrast, the allografts caused an acquired immune response with the activation of microglia (IBA-1+/MHC class II+) and the infiltration of leukocytes (CD45+/CD3+). Consequently, a higher number of dopaminergic neurons survived in the autografts. Our results suggest that the autologous transplantation of iPSC-derived neural cells is advantageous for minimizing the immune response in the brain compared with allogeneic grafts.
Graphical Abstract
•iPSC-derived autografts cause only a minimal immune response in the primate brain•Autografts have advantages over allografts even at an immune-privileged site•Dopamine neurons survive even in allografts without immunosuppression
The autologous transplantation of iPSC-derived neurons elicited only a minimal immune response in the brain. In contrast, the allografts caused an acquired immune response with the activation of microglia (IBA-1+/MHC class II+) and the infiltration of leukocytes (CD45+/CD3+). Autologous transplantation is advantageous for minimizing the immune response compared with allogeneic grafts.
PMCID: PMC3849265  PMID: 24319664
18.  Evolutionary Relations of Hexanchiformes Deep-Sea Sharks Elucidated by Whole Mitochondrial Genome Sequences 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:147064.
Hexanchiformes is regarded as a monophyletic taxon, but the morphological and genetic relationships between the five extant species within the order are still uncertain. In this study, we determined the whole mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of seven sharks including representatives of the five Hexanchiformes, one squaliform, and one carcharhiniform and inferred the phylogenetic relationships among those species and 12 other Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes) species for which the complete mitogenome is available. The monophyly of Hexanchiformes and its close relation with all other Squaliformes sharks were strongly supported by likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of 13,749 aligned nucleotides of 13 protein coding genes and two rRNA genes that were derived from the whole mDNA sequences of the 19 species. The phylogeny suggested that Hexanchiformes is in the superorder Squalomorphi, Chlamydoselachus anguineus (frilled shark) is the sister species to all other Hexanchiformes, and the relations within Hexanchiformes are well resolved as Chlamydoselachus, (Notorynchus, (Heptranchias, (Hexanchus griseus, H. nakamurai))). Based on our phylogeny, we discussed evolutionary scenarios of the jaw suspension mechanism and gill slit numbers that are significant features in the sharks.
PMCID: PMC3780621  PMID: 24089661
20.  Immune-Related Gene Expression Profile in Laboratory Common Marmosets Assessed by an Accurate Quantitative Real-Time PCR Using Selected Reference Genes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56296.
The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is considered a novel experimental animal model of non-human primates. However, due to antibody unavailability, immunological and pathological studies have not been adequately conducted in various disease models of common marmoset. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) is a powerful tool to examine gene expression levels. Recent reports have shown that selection of internal reference housekeeping genes are required for accurate normalization of gene expression. To develop a reliable qPCR method in common marmoset, we used geNorm applets to evaluate the expression stability of eight candidate reference genes (GAPDH, ACTB, rRNA, B2M, UBC, HPRT, SDHA and TBP) in various tissues from laboratory common marmosets. geNorm analysis showed that GAPDH, ACTB, SDHA and TBP were generally ranked high in stability followed by UBC. In contrast, HPRT, rRNA and B2M exhibited lower expression stability than other genes in most tissues analyzed. Furthermore, by using the improved qPCR with selected reference genes, we analyzed the expression levels of CD antigens (CD3ε, CD4, CD8α and CD20) and cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12β, IL-13, IFN-γ and TNF-α) in peripheral blood leukocytes and compared them between common marmosets and humans. The expression levels of CD4 and IL-4 were lower in common marmosets than in humans whereas those of IL-10, IL-12β and IFN-γ were higher in the common marmoset. The ratio of Th1-related gene expression level to that of Th2-related genes was inverted in common marmosets. We confirmed the inverted ratio of CD4 to CD8 in common marmosets by flow cytometric analysis. Therefore, the difference in Th1/Th2 balance between common marmosets and humans may affect host defense and/or disease susceptibility, which should be carefully considered when using common marmoset as an experimental model for biomedical research.
PMCID: PMC3581525  PMID: 23451040
21.  Evolutionary aspects of plastid proteins involved in transcription: The transcription of a tiny genome is mediated by a complicated machinery 
Transcription  2012;3(6):290-294.
Chloroplasts in land plants have a small genome consisting of only 100 genes encoding partial sets of proteins for photosynthesis, transcription and translation. Although it has been thought that chloroplast transcription is mediated by a basically cyanobacterium-derived system, due to the endosymbiotic origin of plastids, recent studies suggest the existence of a hybrid transcription machinery containing non-bacterial proteins that have been newly acquired during plant evolution. Here, we highlight chloroplast-specific non-bacterial transcription mechanisms by which land plant chloroplasts have gained novel functions.
PMCID: PMC3630183  PMID: 22889841
chloroplast; nucleoid; PEP; NEP; pTAC
22.  Memory Immune Responses against Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza Virus Induced by a Whole Particle Vaccine in Cynomolgus Monkeys Carrying Mafa-A1*052∶02 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37220.
We made an H1N1 vaccine candidate from a virus library consisting of 144 ( = 16 HA×9 NA) non-pathogenic influenza A viruses and examined its protective effects against a pandemic (2009) H1N1 strain using immunologically naïve cynomolgus macaques to exclude preexisting immunity and to employ a preclinical study since preexisting immunity in humans previously vaccinated or infected with influenza virus might make comparison of vaccine efficacy difficult. Furthermore, macaques carrying a major histocompatibility complex class I molecule, Mafa-A1*052∶02, were used to analyze peptide-specific CD8+ T cell responses. Sera of macaques immunized with an inactivated whole particle formulation without addition of an adjuvant showed higher neutralization titers against the vaccine strain A/Hokkaido/2/1981 (H1N1) than did sera of macaques immunized with a split formulation. Neutralization activities against the pandemic strain A/Narita/1/2009 (H1N1) in sera of macaques immunized twice with the split vaccine reached levels similar to those in sera of macaques immunized once with the whole particle vaccine. After inoculation with the pandemic virus, the virus was detected in nasal samples of unvaccinated macaques for 6 days after infection and for 2.67 days and 5.33 days on average in macaques vaccinated with the whole particle vaccine and the split vaccine, respectively. After the challenge infection, recall neutralizing antibody responses against the pandemic virus and CD8+ T cell responses specific for nucleoprotein peptide NP262-270 bound to Mafa-A1*052∶02 in macaques vaccinated with the whole particle vaccine were observed more promptly or more vigorously than those in macaques vaccinated with the split vaccine. These findings demonstrated that the vaccine derived from our virus library was effective for pandemic virus infection in macaques and that the whole particle vaccine conferred more effective memory and broader cross-reactive immune responses to macaques against pandemic influenza virus infection than did the split vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3356377  PMID: 22623997
23.  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.
PMCID: PMC2757895  PMID: 19834558
24.  Contribution of Mutation, Recombination, and Gene Conversion to Chicken Mhc-B Haplotype Diversity1,2 
The Mhc is a highly conserved gene region especially interesting to geneticists because of the rapid evolution of gene families found within it. High levels of Mhc genetic diversity often exist within populations. The chicken Mhc is the focus of considerable interest because of the strong, reproducible infectious disease associations found with particular Mhc-B haplotypes. Sequence data for Mhc-B haplotypes have been lacking thereby hampering efforts to systematically resolve which genes within the Mhc-B region contribute to well-defined Mhc-B-associated disease responses. To better understand the genetic factors that generate and maintain genomic diversity in the Mhc-B region, we determined the complete genomic sequence for 14 Mhc-B haplotypes across a region of 59 kb that encompasses 14 gene loci ranging from BG1 to BF2. We compared the sequences using alignment, phylo-genetic, and genome profiling methods. We identified gene structural changes, synonymous and non-synonymous polymorphisms, insertions and deletions, and allelic gene rearrangements or exchanges that contribute to haplotype diversity. Mhc-B haplotype diversity appears to be generated by a number of mutational events. We found evidence that some Mhc-B haplotypes are derived by whole- and partial-allelic gene conversion and homologous reciprocal recombination, in addition to nucleotide mutations. These data provide a framework for further analyses of disease associations found among these 14 haplotypes and additional haplotypes segregating and evolving in wild and domesticated populations of chickens.
PMCID: PMC2657362  PMID: 18714011
25.  An isoform of Arabidopsis myosin XI interacts with small GTPases in its C-terminal tail region 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2008;59(13):3523-3531.
Myosin XI, a class of myosins expressed in plants is believed to be responsible for cytoplasmic streaming and the translocation of organelles and vesicles. To gain further insight into the translocation of organelles and vesicles by myosin XI, an isoform of Arabidopsis myosin XI, MYA2, was chosen and its role in peroxisome targeting was examined. Using the yeast two-hybrid screening method, two small GTPases, AtRabD1 and AtRabC2a, were identified as factors that interact with the C-terminal tail region of MYA2. Both recombinant AtRabs tagged with His bound to the recombinant C-terminal tail region of MYA2 tagged with GST in a GTP-dependent manner. Furthermore, AtRabC2a was localized on peroxisomes, when its CFP-tagged form was expressed transiently in protoplasts prepared from Arabidopsis leaf tissue. It is suggested that MYA2 targets the peroxisome through an interaction with AtRabC2a.
PMCID: PMC2561144  PMID: 18703495
AtRabC2a; AtRabD1; myosin XI; MYA2; peroxisome

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