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1.  Human Treg responses allow sustained recombinant adeno-associated virus–mediated transgene expression 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(12):5310-5318.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors have shown promise for the treatment of several diseases; however, immune-mediated elimination of transduced cells has been suggested to limit and account for a loss of efficacy. To determine whether rAAV vector expression can persist long term, we administered rAAV vectors expressing normal, M-type α-1 antitrypsin (M-AAT) to AAT-deficient subjects at various doses by multiple i.m. injections. M-specific AAT expression was observed in all subjects in a dose-dependent manner and was sustained for more than 1 year in the absence of immune suppression. Muscle biopsies at 1 year had sustained AAT expression and a reduction of inflammatory cells compared with 3 month biopsies. Deep sequencing of the TCR Vβ region from muscle biopsies demonstrated a limited number of T cell clones that emerged at 3 months after vector administration and persisted for 1 year. In situ immunophenotyping revealed a substantial Treg population in muscle biopsy samples containing AAT-expressing myofibers. Approximately 10% of all T cells in muscle were natural Tregs, which were activated in response to AAV capsid. These results suggest that i.m. delivery of rAAV type 1–AAT (rAAV1-AAT) induces a T regulatory response that allows ongoing transgene expression and indicates that immunomodulatory treatments may not be necessary for rAAV-mediated gene therapy.
PMCID: PMC3859421  PMID: 24231351
2.  Alpha1-Antitrypsin Deficiency–Related Alleles Z and S and the Risk of Wegener’s Granulomatosis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(12):3760-3767.
Deficiency of α1-antitrypsin (α1AT) may be a determinant of susceptibility to Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG). Several previous, mainly small, case–control studies have shown that 5–27% of patients with WG carried the α1AT deficiency Z allele. It is not clear whether the S allele, the other major α1AT deficiency variant, is associated with WG. This study investigated the relationship of the α1AT deficiency Z and S alleles with the risk of developing WG in a large cohort.
We studied the distribution of the α1AT deficiency alleles Z and S in 433 unrelated Caucasian patients with WG and 421 ethnically matched controls. Genotyping was performed using an allele discrimination assay. Results were compared between cases and controls using exact statistical methods.
Among the patients with WG, the allele carriage frequencies of Z and S were 7.4% and 11.5%, respectively. The frequencies of the 6 possible genotypes differed in a statistically significant manner between cases and controls (P = 0.01). The general genetic 2-parameter codominant model provided the best fit to the data. Compared with the normal MM genotype, the odds ratio (OR) for MZ or MS genotypes was 1.47 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.98–2.22), and the OR for ZZ, SS, or SZ genotypes was 14.58 (95% CI 2.33–∞). ORs of similar direction and magnitude were observed within the restricted cohorts that excluded cases and controls carrying ≥1 Z or ≥1 S allele.
Both Z and S alleles display associations with risk of WG in a codominant genetic pattern. These findings strengthen the evidence of a causal link between α1AT deficiency and susceptibility to WG.
PMCID: PMC3123032  PMID: 20827781
3.  Alveolar Macrophage Dysregulation in Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Type 1 
Rationale: Individuals with Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome type 1 (HPS-1), an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by defective biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles, develop an accelerated form of progressive fibrotic lung disease. The etiology of pulmonary fibrosis associated with HPS-1 is unknown.
Objectives: To investigate the potential pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis in HPS-1, lung cells and proteins from individuals with HPS-1 were studied.
Methods: Forty-one subjects with HPS-1 with and without pulmonary fibrosis were evaluated with pulmonary function tests, high-resolution computed tomography scan, and bronchoscopy. Bronchoalveolar lavage cells and analytes were analyzed.
Measurements and Main Results: Concentrations of total bronchoalveolar lavage cells and alveolar macrophages were significantly higher in epithelial lining fluid from subjects with HPS-1 with and without pulmonary fibrosis compared with healthy research volunteers. Concentrations of cytokines and chemokines (i.e., monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor) in alveolar epithelial lining fluid were significantly higher in subjects with HPS-1 with and without pulmonary fibrosis compared with healthy research volunteers (P < 0.001). In vitro, HPS-1 pulmonary fibrosis alveolar macrophages, which did not express HPS1 mRNA, secreted significantly higher concentrations of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, and regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) protein compared with normal cells (P = 0.001, P = 0.014, and P = 0.011, respectively). Pirfenidone suppressed HPS-1 alveolar macrophage cytokine and chemokine secretion in vitro in a dose-dependent manner.
Conclusions: In HPS-1, alveolar inflammation predominantly involves macrophages and is associated with high lung concentrations of cytokines and chemokines. HPS-1 alveolar macrophages provide a model system in which to study the pathogenesis and treatment of HPS pulmonary fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC2784416  PMID: 19729668
inflammation; cytokines; chemokines; bronchoalveolar lavage; pirfenidone
4.  An Association between RBMX, a Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein, and ARTS-1 Regulates Extracellular TNFR1 Release 
The type I, 55-kDa tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR1) is released to the extracellular space by two mechanisms, the constitutive release of TNFR1 exosome-like vesicles and the inducible proteolytic cleavage of TNFR1 ectodomains. Both pathways appear to be regulated by an interaction between TNFR1 and ARTS-1 (aminopeptidase regulator of TNFR1 shedding). Here, we sought to identify ARTS-1-interacting proteins that modulate TNFR1 release. Co-immunoprecipitation identified an association between ARTS-1 and RBMX (RNA-binding motif gene, X chromosome), a 43-kDa heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein. RNA interference attenuated RBMX expression, which reduced both the constitutive release of TNFR1 exosome-like vesicles and the IL-1β-mediated inducible proteolytic cleavage of soluble TNFR1 ectodomains. Reciprocally, over-expression of RBMX increased TNFR1 exosome-like vesicle release and the IL-1β-mediated inducible shedding of TNFR1 ectodomains. This identifies RBMX as an ARTS-1-associated protein that regulates both the constitutive release of TNFR1 exosome-like vesicles and the inducible proteolytic cleavage of TNFR1 ectodomains.
PMCID: PMC2442711  PMID: 18445477
Cytokine Receptors; Inflammation; Endothelial cells; Cytokines
5.  Circulating TNFR1 Exosome-like Vesicles Partition with the LDL Fraction of Human Plasma 
Extracellular type I tumor necrosis factor receptors (TNFR1) are generated by two mechanisms, proteolytic cleavage of TNFR1 ectodomains and release of full-length TNFR1 in the membranes of exosome-like vesicles. Here, we assessed whether TNFR1 exosome-like vesicles circulate in human blood. Immunoelectron microscopy of human serum demonstrated TNFR1 exosome-like vesicles, with a diameter of 27- to 36-nm, while Western blots of human plasma showed a 48-kDa TNFR1, consistent with a membrane-associated receptor. Gel filtration chromatography revealed that the 48-kDa TNFR1 in human plasma co-segregated with LDL particles by size, but segregated independently by density, demonstrating that they are distinct from LDL particles. Furthermore, the 48-kDa exosome-associated TNFR1 in human plasma contained a reduced content of N-linked carbohydrates as compared to the 55-kDa membrane-associated TNFR1 from human vascular endothelial cells. Thus, a distinct population of TNFR1 exosome-like vesicles circulate in human plasma and may modulate TNF-mediated inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2254504  PMID: 18078813
Cytokine Receptors; Cell Surface Receptors; Human; Cytokines; Inflammation
6.  Identification of ARTS-1 as a novel TNFR1-binding protein that promotes TNFR1 ectodomain shedding 
Proteolytic cleavage of TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) generates soluble receptors that regulate TNF bioactivity. We hypothesized that the mechanism of TNFR1 shedding might involve interactions with regulatory ectoproteins. Using a yeast two-hybrid approach, we identified ARTS-1 (aminopeptidase regulator of TNFR1 shedding) as a type II integral membrane protein that binds to the TNFR1 extracellular domain. In vivo binding of membrane-associated ARTS-1 to TNFR1 was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation experiments using human pulmonary epithelial and umbilical vein endothelial cells. A direct relationship exists between membrane-associated ARTS-1 protein levels and concordant changes in TNFR1 shedding. Cells overexpressing ARTS-1 demonstrated increased TNFR1 shedding and decreased membrane-associated TNFR1, while cells expressing antisense ARTS-1 mRNA demonstrated decreased membrane-associated ARTS-1, decreased TNFR1 shedding, and increased membrane-associated TNFR1. ARTS-1 neither bound to TNFR2 nor altered its shedding, suggesting specificity for TNFR1. Although a recombinant ARTS-1 protein demonstrated selective aminopeptidase activity toward nonpolar amino acids, multiple lines of negative evidence suggest that ARTS-1 does not possess TNFR1 sheddase activity. These data indicate that ARTS-1 is a multifunctional ectoprotein capable of binding to and promoting TNFR1 shedding. We propose that formation of a TNFR1–ARTS-1 molecular complex represents a novel mechanism by which TNFR1 shedding is regulated.
PMCID: PMC150410  PMID: 12189246
7.  Cytosolic, Autocrine Alpha-1 Proteinase Inhibitor (A1PI) Inhibits Caspase-1 and Blocks IL-1β Dependent Cytokine Release in Monocytes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e51078.
Activation state-dependent secretion of alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor (A1PI) by monocytes and macrophages was first reported in 1985. Since then, monocytes and tissue macrophages have emerged as key sentinels of infection and tissue damage via activation of self-assembling pattern recognition receptors (inflammasomes), which trigger inflammation and cell death in a caspase-1 dependent process. These studies examine the relationship between A1PI expression in primary monocytes and monocytic cell lines, and inflammatory cytokine expression in response to inflammasome directed stimuli.
IL-1 β expression was examined in lung macrophages expressing wild type A1PI (A1PI-M) or disease-associated Z isoform A1PI (A1PI-Z). Inflammatory cytokine release was evaluated in THP-1 monocytic cells or THP-1 cells lacking the inflammasome adaptor ASC, transfected with expression vectors encoding A1PI-M or A1PI-Z. A1PI-M was localized within monocytes by immunoprecipitation in hypotonic cell fractions. Cell-free titration of A1PI-M was performed against recombinant active caspase-1 in vitro.
IL-1 β expression was elevated in lung macrophages expressing A1PI-Z. Overexpression of A1PI-M in THP-1 monocytes reduced secretion of IL-1β and TNF-α. In contrast, overexpression of A1PI-Z enhanced IL-1β and TNF- α secretion in an ASC dependent manner. A1PI-Z-enhanced cytokine release was inhibited by a small molecule caspase-1 inhibitor but not by high levels of exogenous wtA1PI. Cytosolic localization of A1PI-M in monocytes was not diminished with microtubule-inhibiting agents. A1PI-M co-localized with caspase-1 in gel-filtered cytoplasmic THP-1 preparations, and was co-immunoprecipitated with caspase 1 from nigericin-stimulated THP-1 cell lysate. Plasma-derived A1PI inhibited recombinant caspase-1 mediated conversion of a peptide substrate in a dose dependent manner.
Our results suggest that monocyte/macrophage-expressed A1PI-M antagonizes IL-1β secretion possibly via caspase-1 inhibition, a function which disease-associated A1PI-Z may lack. Therapeutic approaches which limit inflammasome responses in patients with A1PI deficiency, in combination with A1PI augmentation, may provide additional respiratory tissue-sparing benefits.
PMCID: PMC3511367  PMID: 23226468

Results 1-7 (7)