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1.  Type I Interferons Produced by Resident Renal Cells May Promote End-Organ Disease in Autoantibody-Mediated Glomerulonephritis1 
Increased Type I IFNs or IFN-I have been associated with human systemic lupus erythematosus. Interestingly augmenting or negating IFN-I activity in murine lupus not only modulates systemic autoimmunity, but also impacts lupus nephritis, suggesting that IFN-I may be acting at the level of the end-organ. We find resident renal cells to be a dominant source of IFN-I in an experimental model of autoantibody-induced nephritis. In this model, augmenting IFN-I amplified antibody-triggered nephritis, whereas ablating IFN-I activity ameliorated disease. One mechanism through which increased IFN-I drives immune-mediated nephritis might be operative through increased recruitment of inflammatory monocytes and neutrophils, though this hypothesis needs further validation. Collectively, these studies indicate that an important contribution of IFN-I toward the disease pathology seen in systemic autoimmunity may be exercised at the level of the end-organ.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.0900742
PMCID: PMC2876821  PMID: 19864599
2.  Genomic-Based High Throughput Screening Identifies Small Molecules That Differentially Inhibit the Antiviral and Immunomodulatory Effects of IFN-α 
Molecular Medicine  2008;14(7-8):374-382.
Multiple lines of evidence suggest that inhibition of Type I Interferons, including IFN-α, may provide a therapeutic benefit for autoimmune diseases. Using a chemical genomics approach integrated with cellular and in vivo assays, we screened a small compound library to identify modulators of IFN-α biological effects. A genomic fingerprint was developed from both ex vivo patient genomic information and in vitro gene modulation from IFN-α cell-based stimulation. A high throughput genomic-based screen then was applied to prioritize 268 small molecule inhibitors targeting 41 different intracellular signaling pathways. Active compounds were profiled further for their ability to inhibit the activation and differentiation of human monocytes using disease-related stimuli. Inhibitors targeting NF-κB or Janus Kinase/Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling emerged as “dissociated inhibitors” because they did not modulate IFN-α anti-viral effects against HSV-1 but potently inhibited other immune-related functions. This work describes a novel strategy to identify small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of autoimmune disorders.
doi:10.2119/2008-00028.Chen
PMCID: PMC2376640  PMID: 18475307
3.  CD8 Coreceptor Extinction in Signaled CD4+CD8+ Thymocytes: Coordinate Roles for Both Transcriptional and Posttranscriptional Regulatory Mechanisms in Developing Thymocytes 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(11):3852-3859.
T-cell development in the thymus is characterized by changing expression patterns of CD4 and CD8 coreceptor molecules and by changes in CD4 and CD8 gene transcription. In response to T-cell receptor (TCR) signals, thymocytes progress through developmental transitions, such as conversion of CD4+CD8+ (double-positive [DP]) thymocytes into intermediate CD4+CD8− thymocytes, that appear to require more-rapid changes in coreceptor expression than can be accomplished by transcriptional regulation alone. Consequently, we considered the possibility that TCR stimulation of DP thymocytes not only affects coreceptor gene transcription but also affects coreceptor RNA stability. Indeed, we found that TCR signals in DP thymocytes rapidly destabilized preexisting CD4 and CD8 coreceptor RNAs, resulting in their rapid elimination. Destabilization of coreceptor RNA was shown for CD8α to be dependent on target sequences in the noncoding region of the RNA. TCR signals also differentially affected coreceptor gene transcription in DP thymocytes, terminating CD8α gene transcription but only transiently reducing CD4 gene transcription. Thus, posttranscriptional and transcriptional regulatory mechanisms act coordinately in signaled DP thymocytes to promote the rapid conversion of these cells into intermediate CD4+CD8− thymocytes. We suggest that destabilization of preexisting coreceptor RNAs is a mechanism by which coreceptor expression in developing thymocytes is rapidly altered at critical points in the differentiation of these cells.
PMCID: PMC85715  PMID: 10805728

Results 1-3 (3)