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1.  Regulation of Hemolysin Expression and Virulence of Staphylococcus aureus by a Serine/Threonine Kinase and Phosphatase 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11071.
Exotoxins, including the hemolysins known as the alpha (α) and beta (β) toxins, play an important role in the pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus infections. A random transposon library was screened for S. aureus mutants exhibiting altered hemolysin expression compared to wild type. Transposon insertions in 72 genes resulting in increased or decreased hemolysin expression were identified. Mutations inactivating a putative cyclic di-GMP synthetase and a serine/threonine phosphatase (Stp1) were found to reduce hemolysin expression, and mutations in genes encoding a two component regulator PhoR, LysR family transcriptional regulator, purine biosynthetic enzymes and a serine/threonine kinase (Stk1) increased expression. Transcription of the hla gene encoding α toxin was decreased in a Δstp1 mutant strain and increased in a Δstk1 strain. Microarray analysis of a Δstk1 mutant revealed increased transcription of additional exotoxins. A Δstp1 strain is severely attenuated for virulence in mice and elicits less inflammation and IL-6 production than the Δstk1 strain. In vivo phosphopeptide enrichment and mass spectrometric analysis revealed that threonine phosphorylated peptides corresponding to Stk1, DNA binding histone like protein (HU), serine-aspartate rich fibrinogen/bone sialoprotein binding protein (SdrE) and a hypothetical protein (NWMN_1123) were present in the wild type and not in the Δstk1 mutant. Collectively, these studies suggest that Stk1 mediated phosphorylation of HU, SrdE and NWMN_1123 affects S. aureus gene expression and virulence.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011071
PMCID: PMC2884019  PMID: 20552019
2.  Development of Potential Pharmacodynamic and Diagnostic Markers for Anti-IFN-α Monoclonal Antibody Trials in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
To identify potential pharmacodynamic biomarkers to guide dose selection in clinical trials using anti-interferon-alpha (IFN-α) monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we used an Affymetrix human genome array platform and identified 110 IFN-α/β-inducible transcripts significantly upregulated in whole blood (WB) of 41 SLE patients. The overexpression of these genes was confirmed prospectively in 54 additional SLE patients and allowed for the categorization of the SLE patients into groups of high, moderate, and weak overexpressers of IFN-α/β-inducible genes. This approach could potentially allow for an accurate assessment of drug target neutralization in early trials of anti-IFN-α mAb therapy for SLE. Furthermore, ex vivo stimulation of healthy donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells with SLE patient serum and subsequent neutralization with anti-IFN-α mAb or anti-IFN-α receptor mAb showed that anti-IFN-α mAb has comparable effects of neutralizing the overexpression of type I IFN-inducible genes as that of anti-IFNAR mAb. These results suggest that IFN-α, and not other members of type I IFN family in SLE patients, is mainly responsible for the induction of type I IFN-inducible genes in WB of SLE patients. Taken together, these data strengthen the view of IFN-α as a therapeutic target for SLE.
doi:10.4061/2009/374312
PMCID: PMC2950308  PMID: 20948567
3.  Correction: Type I Interferon: Potential Therapeutic Target for Psoriasis? 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):10.1371/annotation/fbcbcab9-2e87-4ec7-af6e-c6e9e64ad4b3.
doi:10.1371/annotation/fbcbcab9-2e87-4ec7-af6e-c6e9e64ad4b3
PMCID: PMC2665006
4.  Type I Interferon: Potential Therapeutic Target for Psoriasis? 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(7):e2737.
Background
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease characterized by aberrant epidermal differentiation, surface scale formation, and marked cutaneous inflammation. To better understand the pathogenesis of this disease and identify potential mediators, we used whole genome array analysis to profile paired lesional and nonlesional psoriatic skin and skin from healthy donors.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We observed robust overexpression of type I interferon (IFN)–inducible genes and genomic signatures that indicate T cell and dendritic cell infiltration in lesional skin. Up-regulation of mRNAs for IFN-α subtypes was observed in lesional skin compared with nonlesional skin. Enrichment of mature dendritic cells and 2 type I IFN–inducible proteins, STAT1 and ISG15, were observed in the majority of lesional skin biopsies. Concordant overexpression of IFN-γ and TNF-α–inducible gene signatures occurred at the same disease sites.
Conclusions/Significance
Up-regulation of TNF-α and elevation of the TNF-α–inducible gene signature in lesional skin underscore the importance of this cytokine in psoriasis; these data describe a molecular basis for the therapeutic activity of anti–TNF-α agents. Furthermore, these findings implicate type I IFNs in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. Consistent and significant up-regulation of type I IFNs and their associated gene signatures in psoriatic skin suggest that type I IFNs may be potential therapeutic targets in psoriasis treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002737
PMCID: PMC2481274  PMID: 18648529

Results 1-4 (4)