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1.  Natural Killer Dendritic Cells Enhance Immune Responses Elicited by α-Galactosylceramide-Stimulated Natural Killer T Cells 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:460706.
Natural killer dendritic cells (NKDCs) possess potent anti-tumor activity, but the cellular effect of NKDC interactions with other innate immune cells is unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that the interaction of NKDCs and natural killer T (NKT) cells is required for the anti-tumor immune responses that are elicited by α-galactosylceramide (α-GC) in mice. The rapid and strong expression of interferon-γ by NKDCs after α-GC stimulation was dependent on NKT cells. Various NK and DC molecular markers and cytotoxic molecules were up-regulated following α-GC administration. This up-regulation could improve NKDC presentation of tumor antigens and increase cytotoxicity against tumor cells. NKDCs were required for the stimulation of DCs, NK cells, and NKT cells. The strong anti-tumor immune responses elicited by α-GC may be due to the down-regulation of regulatory T cells. Furthermore, the depletion of NKDCs dampened the tumor clearance mediated by α-GC-stimulated NKT cells in vivo. Taken together, these results indicate that complex interactions of innate immune cells might be required to achieve optimal anti-tumor immune responses during the early stages of tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1155/2013/460706
PMCID: PMC3708385  PMID: 23878807
2.  DNA Aptamers against the Receptor Binding Region of Hemagglutinin Prevent Avian Influenza Viral Infection 
Molecules and Cells  2011;32(6):527-533.
The entrance of influenza virus into host cells is facilitated by the attachment of the globular region of viral hemagglutinin to the sialic acid receptors on host cell surfaces. In this study, we have cloned the cDNA fragment encoding the entire globular region (residues 101-257) of hemagglutinin of the H9N2 type avian influenza virus (A/ck/Korea/ ms96/96). The protein segment (denoted as the H9 peptide), which was expressed and purified in E. coli, was used for the immunization of BALB/c mice to obtain the anti-H9 antiserum. To identify specific DNA aptamers with high affinity to H9 peptide, we conducted the SELEX method; 19 aptamers were newly isolated. A random mixture of these aptamers showed an increased level of binding affinity to the H9 peptide. The sequence alignment analysis of these aptamers revealed that 6 aptamers have highly conserved consensus sequences. Among these, aptamer C7 showed the highest similarity to the consensus sequences. Therefore, based on the C7 aptamer, we synthesized a new modified aptamer designated as C7-35M. This new aptamer showed strong binding capability to the viral particles. Furthermore, it could prevent MDCK cells from viral infection by strong binding to the viral particles. These results suggest that our aptamers can recognize the hemagglutinin protein of avian influenza virus and inhibit the binding of the virus to target receptors required for the penetration of host cells.
doi:10.1007/s10059-011-0156-x
PMCID: PMC3887679  PMID: 22058017
anti-viral effect; DNA aptamer; H9N2 avian influenza virus; hemagglutinin
3.  The presence of CD8+ invariant NKT cells in mice 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2009;41(12):866-872.
Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells develop in the thymus upon recognition of CD1d expressed on developing thymocytes. Although CD4 and CD8 coreceptors are not directly involved in the interaction between CD1d and the T cell receptors (TCRs) of iNKT cells, a conspicuous lack of CD8+ iNKT cells in mice raised the question of whether CD8+ iNKT cells are excluded due to negative selection during their thymic development, or if there is no lineage commitment for the development of murine CD8+ iNKT cells. To address this question, we analyzed iNKT cell-specific TCR Vα14+ transgenic mice, where the Vα14 transgene forces the generation of iNKT cells. This allows detailed study of the iNKT cell repertoire. We were able to identify CD8+ iNKT cells which respond to the NKT cell-specific glycolipid ligand α-galactosylceramide. Unlike conventional iNKT cells, CD8+ iNKT cells produce predominantly IFN-γ but not IL-4 upon antigen stimulation. We also confirmed the presence of CD8+ iNKT cells in wild type mice. Our results suggest that CD8+ NKT cells do exist in mice, although their population size is quite small. Their Th1-skewed phenotype might explain why the population size of this subtype needs to be controlled tightly.
doi:10.3858/emm.2009.41.12.092
PMCID: PMC2802682  PMID: 19745607
antigens, CD1d; CD8-positive T-lymphocytes; α-galactosylceramide; mice, transgenic; natural killer T-cells
4.  Dendritic Cells as Danger-Recognizing Biosensors 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2009;9(9):6730-6751.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are antigen presenting cells that are characterized by a potent capacity to initiate immune responses. DCs comprise several subsets with distinct phenotypes. After sensing any danger(s) to the host via their innate immune receptors such as Toll-like receptors, DCs become mature and subsequently present antigens to CD4+ T cells. Since DCs possess the intrinsic capacity to polarize CD4+ helper cells, it is critical to understand the immunological roles of DCs for clinical applications. Here, we review the different DC subsets, their danger-sensing receptors and immunological functions. Furthermore, the cytokine reporter mouse model for studying DC activation is introduced.
doi:10.3390/s90906730
PMCID: PMC3290479  PMID: 22399974
dendritic cells; toll-like receptors; pathogen-associated molecular patterns; Interleukin 12; cytokine reporter mouse model
5.  CD1d deficiency exacerbates inflammatory dermatitis in MRL-lpr/lpr mice 
European journal of immunology  2004;34(6):1723-1732.
Mechanisms responsible for the development of autoimmune skin disease in humans and animal models with lupus remain poorly understood. In this study, we have investigated the role of CD1d, an antigen-presenting molecule known to activate natural killer T cells, in the development of inflammatory dermatitis in lupus-susceptible MRL-lpr/lpr mice. In particular, we have established MRL-lpr/lpr mice carrying a germ-line deletion of the CD1d genes. We demonstrate that CD1d-deficient MRL-lpr/lpr mice, as compared with wild-type littermates, have more frequent and more severe skin disease, with increased local infiltration with mast cells, lymphocytes and dendritic cells, including Langerhans cells. CD1d-deficient MRL-lpr/lpr mice had increased prevalence of CD4+ T cells in the spleen and liver and of TCRαβ+B220+ cells in lymph nodes. Furthermore, CD1d deficiency was associated with decreased T cell production of type 2 cytokines and increased or unchanged type 1 cytokines. These findings indicate a regulatory role of CD1d in inflammatory dermatitis. Understanding the mechanisms by which CD1d deficiency results in splenic T cell expansion and cytokine alterations, with increased dermal infiltration of dendritic cells and lymphocytes in MRL-lpr/lpr mice, will have implications for the pathogenesis of inflammatory skin diseases.
doi:10.1002/eji.200324099
PMCID: PMC2291526  PMID: 15162443
Autoimmunity; CD1d; Dermatitis; Lupus; NKT cells
6.  Anti-tumor immunostimulatory effect of heat-killed tumor cells 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2008;40(1):130-144.
AS a part of our ongoing search for a safe and efficient anti-tumor vaccine, we attempted to determine whether the molecular nature of certain tumor antigens would influence immune responses against tumor cells. As compared with freeze-thawed or formaldehyde-fixed tumor antigens, heat-denatured tumor antigens elicited profound anti-tumor immune responses and greatly inhibited the growth of live tumor cells. The heat-denatured tumor antigens induced a substantial increase in the anti-tumor CTL response in the absence of any adjuvant material. This response appears to be initiated by strong activation of the antigen-presenting cells, which may recognize heat-denatured protein antigens. Upon recognition of the heat-denatured tumor antigens, macrophages and dendritic cells were found to acutely upregulate the expression of co-stimulatory molecules such as B7.2, as well as the secretion of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-12 and TNF-α. The results of this study indicate that heat-denatured tumor extracts might elicit protective anti-tumor adaptive immune responses and also raise the possibility that a safe and efficient adjuvant-free tumor vaccine might be developed in conjunction with a dendritic cell-based tumor vaccine.
doi:10.3858/emm.2008.40.1.130
PMCID: PMC2679326  PMID: 18305406
cancer vaccines; dendritic cells; immunotherapy, active; interleukin 12; mice
7.  Natural Killer T Cell Activation Protects Mice Against Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2001;194(12):1801-1811.
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) serves as a prototypic model for T cell–mediated autoimmunity. Vα14 natural killer T (NKT) cells are a subset of T lymphocytes that recognize glycolipid antigens presented by the nonpolymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I–like protein CD1d. Here, we show that activation of Vα14 NKT cells by the glycosphingolipid α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) protects susceptible mice against EAE. β-GalCer, which binds CD1d but is not recognized by NKT cells, failed to protect mice against EAE. Furthermore, α-GalCer was unable to protect CD1d knockout (KO) mice against EAE, indicating the requirement for an intact CD1d antigen presentation pathway. Protection of disease conferred by α-GalCer correlated with its ability to suppress myelin antigen-specific Th1 responses and/or to promote myelin antigen-specific Th2 cell responses. α-GalCer was unable to protect IL-4 KO and IL-10 KO mice against EAE, indicating a critical role for both of these cytokines. Because recognition of α-GalCer by NKT cells is phylogenetically conserved, our findings have identified NKT cells as novel target cells for treatment of inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system.
PMCID: PMC2193577  PMID: 11748281
CD1d; NKT cells; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; autoimmunity; immunotherapy
8.  NK T Cells Contribute to Expansion of CD8+ T Cells and Amplification of Antiviral Immune Responses to Respiratory Syncytial Virus 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(9):4294-4303.
CD1d-deficient mice have normal numbers of T lymphocytes and natural killer cells but lack Vα14+ natural killer T cells. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) immunopathogenesis was evaluated in 129×C57BL/6, C57BL/6, and BALB/c CD1d−/− mice. CD8+ T lymphocytes were reduced in CD1d−/− mice of all strains, as shown by cell surface staining and major histocompatibility complex class I tetramer analysis, and resulted in strain-specific alterations in illness, viral clearance, and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production. Transient activation of NK T cells in CD1d+/+ mice by α-GalCer resulted in reduced illness and delayed viral clearance. These data suggest that early IFN-γ production and efficient induction of CD8+-T-cell responses during primary RSV infection require CD1d-dependent events. We also tested the ability of α-GalCer as an adjuvant to modulate the type 2 immune responses induced by RSV glycoprotein G or formalin-inactivated RSV immunization. However, immunized CD1-deficient or α-GalCer-treated wild-type mice did not exhibit diminished disease following RSV challenge. Rather, some disease parameters, including cytokine production, eosinophilia, and viral clearance, were increased. These findings indicate that CD1d-dependent NK T cells play a role in expansion of CD8+ T cells and amplification of antiviral responses to RSV.
doi:10.1128/JVI.76.9.4294-4303.2002
PMCID: PMC155085  PMID: 11932395
9.  Immune Privilege 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1999;190(9):1197-1200.
PMCID: PMC2195673  PMID: 10544192
10.  Natural Killer Cells Determine Development of Allergen-induced Eosinophilic Airway Inflammation in Mice  
The earliest contact between antigen and the innate immune system is thought to direct the subsequent antigen-specific T cell response. We hypothesized that cells of the innate immune system, such as natural killer (NK) cells, NK1.1+ T cells (NKT cells), and γ/δ T cells, may regulate the development of allergic airway disease. We demonstrate here that depletion of NK1.1+ cells (NK cells and NKT cells) before immunization inhibits pulmonary eosinophil and CD3+ T cell infiltration as well as increased levels of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-12 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in a murine model of allergic asthma. Moreover, systemic allergen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E and IgG2a levels and the number of IL-4 and interferon γ–producing splenic cells were diminished in mice depleted of NK1.1+ cells before the priming regime. Depletion of NK1.1+ cells during the challenge period only did not influence pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation. CD1d1 mutant mice, deficient in NKT cells but with normal NK cells, developed lung tissue eosinophilia and allergen-specific IgE levels not different from those observed in wild-type mice. Mice deficient in γ/δ T cells showed a mild attenuation of lung tissue eosinophilia in this model. Taken together, these findings suggest a critical role of NK cells, but not of NKT cells, for the development of allergen-induced airway inflammation, and that this effect of NK cells is exerted during the immunization. If translatable to humans, these data suggest that NK cells may be critically important for deciding whether allergic eosinophilic airway disease will develop. These observations are also compatible with a pathogenic role for the increased NK cell activity observed in human asthma.
PMCID: PMC2192913  PMID: 9927517
natural killer cells; NK1.1+ T cells; γ/δ T cells; eosinophils; allergic asthma

Results 1-10 (10)