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1.  Oral and Vaginal Epithelial Cell Lines Bind and Transfer Cell-Free Infectious HIV-1 to Permissive Cells but Are Not Productively Infected 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98077.
The majority of HIV-1 infections worldwide are acquired via mucosal surfaces. However, unlike the vaginal mucosa, the issue of whether the oral mucosa can act as a portal of entry for HIV-1 infection remains controversial. To address potential differences with regard to the fate of HIV-1 after exposure to oral and vaginal epithelium, we utilized two epithelial cell lines representative of buccal (TR146) and pharyngeal (FaDu) sites of the oral cavity and compared them with a cell line derived from vaginal epithelium (A431) in order to determine (i) HIV-1 receptor gene and protein expression, (ii) whether HIV-1 genome integration into epithelial cells occurs, (iii) whether productive viral infection ensues, and (iv) whether infectious virus can be transferred to permissive cells. Using flow cytometry to measure captured virus by HIV-1 gp120 protein detection and western blot to detect HIV-1 p24 gag protein, we demonstrate that buccal, pharyngeal and vaginal epithelial cells capture CXCR4- and CCR5-utilising virus, probably via non-canonical receptors. Both oral and vaginal epithelial cells are able to transfer infectious virus to permissive cells either directly through cell-cell attachment or via transcytosis of HIV-1 across epithelial cells. However, HIV-1 integration, as measured by real-time PCR and presence of early gene mRNA transcripts and de novo protein production were not detected in either epithelial cell type. Importantly, both oral and vaginal epithelial cells were able to support integration and productive infection if HIV-1 entered via the endocytic pathway driven by VSV-G. Our data demonstrate that under normal conditions productive HIV-1 infection of epithelial cells leading to progeny virion production is unlikely, but that epithelial cells can act as mediators of systemic viral dissemination through attachment and transfer of HIV-1 to permissive cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098077
PMCID: PMC4032250  PMID: 24857971
2.  Activation of MAPK/c-Fos induced responses in oral epithelial cells is specific to Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis hyphae 
Oral epithelial cells detect the human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans via NF-κB and a bi-phasic mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling response. However, discrimination between C. albicans yeast and hyphal forms is mediated only by the MAPK pathway, which constitutes activation of the MAPK phosphatase MKP1 and the c-Fos transcription factor and is targeted against the hyphal form. Given that C. albicans is not the only Candida species capable of filamentation or causing mucosal infections, we sought to determine whether this MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos mediated response mechanism was activated by other pathogenic Candida species, including C. dubliniensis, C. tropicalis, C. parapsilosis, C. glabrata and C. krusei. Although all Candida species activated the NF-κB signaling pathway, only C. albicans and C. dubliniensis were capable of inducing MKP1 and c-Fos activation, which directly correlated with hypha formation. However, only C. albicans strongly induced cytokine production (G-CSF, GM-CSF, IL-6 and IL-1α) and cell damage. Candida dubliniensis, C. tropicalis and C. parapsilosis were also capable of inducing IL-1α and this correlated with mild cell damage and was dependent upon fungal burdens. Our data demonstrate that activation of the MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos pathway in oral epithelial cells is specific to C. dubliniensis and C. albicans hyphae.
doi:10.1007/s00430-011-0209-y
PMCID: PMC3257392  PMID: 21706283
Candida albicans; Candida dubliniensis; Hypha formation; MAPK; MKP1; c-Fos; NF-κB; Oral epithelium; Innate immunity
3.  MAPK, MKP1 and c-Fos Discriminate Candida albicans Yeast from Hyphae in Epithelial Cells 
Cell host & microbe  2010;8(3):225-235.
SUMMARY
Host mechanisms enabling discrimination between the commensal and pathogenic states of opportunistic pathogens are critical in mucosal defense and homeostasis. Here, we demonstrate that oral epithelial cells orchestrate an innate response to the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans via NF-κB and a bi-phasic MAPK response. Activation of NF-κB and the first MAPK phase, constituting c-Jun activation, is independent of morphology and due to the recognition of fungal cell wall structures. Activation of the second MAPK phase, constituting MKP1 and c-Fos activation, is dependent upon hypha-formation and fungal burdens, and correlates with proinflammatory responses. This MAPK-based discriminatory pathway may provide a mechanism for epithelial tissues to remain quiescent in the presence of low fungal burdens whilst responding specifically and strongly to damage-inducing hyphae when burdens increase. MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos activation may thus comprise a `danger response' pathway in vivo and may be critical in identifying when this normally commensal fungus has become pathogenic.
doi:10.1016/j.chom.2010.08.002
PMCID: PMC2991069  PMID: 20833374
4.  Full length HIV-1 Gag determines protease inhibitor susceptibility within in vitro assays 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(11):1651-1655.
PMCID: PMC2923069  PMID: 20597164
HIV; HAART; protease inhibitors; gag; subtype
5.  A Biphasic Innate Immune MAPK Response Discriminates between the Yeast and Hyphal Forms of Candida albicans in Epithelial Cells 
Cell Host & Microbe  2010;8(3):225-235.
Summary
Discriminating between commensal and pathogenic states of opportunistic pathogens is critical for host mucosal defense and homeostasis. The opportunistic human fungal pathogen Candida albicans is also a constituent of the normal oral flora and grows either as yeasts or hyphae. We demonstrate that oral epithelial cells orchestrate an innate response to C. albicans via NF-κB and a biphasic MAPK response. Activation of NF-κB and the first MAPK phase, constituting c-Jun activation, is independent of morphology and due to fungal cell wall recognition. Activation of the second MAPK phase, constituting MKP1 and c-Fos activation, is dependent upon hypha formation and fungal burdens and correlates with proinflammatory responses. Such biphasic response may allow epithelial tissues to remain quiescent under low fungal burdens while responding specifically and strongly to damage-inducing hyphae when burdens increase. MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos activation may represent a “danger response” pathway that is critical for identifying and responding to the pathogenic switch of commensal microbes.
Highlights
► NF-κB and MAPK control epithelial effector responses against Candida albicans ► c-Jun activation is independent of morphology and due to fungal cell wall recognition ► MAPK/MKP-1/c-Fos pathway activation is dependent on fungal hyphae and burdens ► MAPK discriminatory response may dictate C. albicans mucosal colonization in vivo
doi:10.1016/j.chom.2010.08.002
PMCID: PMC2991069  PMID: 20833374
6.  Gag Determinants of Fitness and Drug Susceptibility in Protease Inhibitor-Resistant Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(18):9094-9101.
Mutations can accumulate in the protease and gag genes of human immunodeficiency virus in patients who fail therapy with protease inhibitor drugs. Mutations within protease, the drug target, have been extensively studied. Mutations in gag have been less well studied, mostly concentrating on cleavage sites. A retroviral vector system has been adapted to study full-length gag, protease, and reverse transcriptase genes from patient-derived viruses. Patient plasma-derived mutant full-length gag, protease, and gag-protease from a multidrug-resistant virus were studied. Mutant protease alone led to a 95% drop in replication capacity that was completely rescued by coexpressing the full-length coevolved mutant gag gene. Cleavage site mutations have been shown to improve the replication capacity of mutated protease. Strikingly, in this study, the matrix region and part of the capsid region from the coevolved mutant gag gene were sufficient to achieve full recovery of replication capacity due to the mutant protease, without cleavage site mutations. The same region of gag from a second, unrelated, multidrug-resistant clinical isolate also rescued the replication capacity of the original mutant protease, suggesting a common mechanism that evolves with resistance to protease inhibitors. Mutant gag alone conferred reduced susceptibility to all protease inhibitors and acted synergistically when linked to mutant protease. The matrix region and partial capsid region of gag sufficient to rescue replication capacity also conferred resistance to protease inhibitors. Thus, the amino terminus of Gag has a previously unidentified and important function in protease inhibitor susceptibility and replication capacity.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02356-08
PMCID: PMC2738216  PMID: 19587031

Results 1-6 (6)