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1.  Genome-Wide Study of Percent Emphysema on Computed Tomography in the General Population. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Lung/SNP Health Association Resource Study 
Rationale: Pulmonary emphysema overlaps partially with spirometrically defined chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is heritable, with moderately high familial clustering.
Objectives: To complete a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for the percentage of emphysema-like lung on computed tomography in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Lung/SNP Health Association Resource (SHARe) Study, a large, population-based cohort in the United States.
Methods: We determined percent emphysema and upper-lower lobe ratio in emphysema defined by lung regions less than −950 HU on cardiac scans. Genetic analyses were reported combined across four race/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white (n = 2,587), African American (n = 2,510), Hispanic (n = 2,113), and Chinese (n = 704) and stratified by race and ethnicity.
Measurements and Main Results: Among 7,914 participants, we identified regions at genome-wide significance for percent emphysema in or near SNRPF (rs7957346; P = 2.2 × 10−8) and PPT2 (rs10947233; P = 3.2 × 10−8), both of which replicated in an additional 6,023 individuals of European ancestry. Both single-nucleotide polymorphisms were previously implicated as genes influencing lung function, and analyses including lung function revealed independent associations for percent emphysema. Among Hispanics, we identified a genetic locus for upper-lower lobe ratio near the α-mannosidase–related gene MAN2B1 (rs10411619; P = 1.1 × 10−9; minor allele frequency [MAF], 4.4%). Among Chinese, we identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with upper-lower lobe ratio near DHX15 (rs7698250; P = 1.8 × 10−10; MAF, 2.7%) and MGAT5B (rs7221059; P = 2.7 × 10−8; MAF, 2.6%), which acts on α-linked mannose. Among African Americans, a locus near a third α-mannosidase–related gene, MAN1C1 (rs12130495; P = 9.9 × 10−6; MAF, 13.3%) was associated with percent emphysema.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that some genes previously identified as influencing lung function are independently associated with emphysema rather than lung function, and that genes related to α-mannosidase may influence risk of emphysema.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201306-1061OC
PMCID: PMC3977717  PMID: 24383474
emphysema; computed tomography; multiethnic; cohort study; genetic association
2.  Characterising the association of latency with α1-antitrypsin polymerisation using a novel monoclonal antibody 
α1-Antitrypsin is primarily synthesised in the liver, circulates to the lung and protects pulmonary tissues from proteolytic damage. The Z mutant (Glu342Lys) undergoes inactivating conformational change and polymerises. Polymers are retained within the hepatocyte endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in homozygous (PiZZ) individuals, predisposing the individuals to hepatic cirrhosis and emphysema. Latency is an analogous process of inactivating, intra-molecular conformational change and may co-occur with polymerisation. However, the relationship between latency and polymerisation remained unexplored in the absence of a suitable probe. We have developed a novel monoclonal antibody specific for latent α1-antitrypsin and used it in combination with a polymer-specific antibody, to assess the association of both conformers in vitro, in disease and during augmentation therapy. In vitro kinetics analysis showed polymerisation dominated the pathway but latency could be promoted by stabilising monomeric α1-antitrypsin. Polymers were extensively produced in hepatocytes and a cell line expressing Z α1-antitrypsin but the latent protein was not detected despite manipulation of the secretory pathway. However, α1-antitrypsin augmentation therapy contains latent α1-antitrypsin, as did the plasma of 63/274 PiZZ individuals treated with augmentation therapy but 0/264 who were not receiving this medication (p < 10−14). We conclude that latent α1-antitrypsin is a by-product of the polymerisation pathway, that the intracellular folding environment is resistant to formation of the latent conformer but that augmentation therapy introduces latent α1-antitrypsin into the circulation. A suite of monoclonal antibodies and methodologies developed in this study can characterise α1-antitrypsin folding and conformational transitions, and screen methods to improve augmentation therapy.
doi:10.1016/j.biocel.2014.11.005
PMCID: PMC4305080  PMID: 25462157
α1-Antitrypsin; Latency; Polymerisation; Monoclonal antibodies; Augmentation therapy
3.  Longer Telomere Length in COPD Patients with α1-Antitrypsin Deficiency Independent of Lung Function 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95600.
Oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of airway obstruction in α1-antitrypsin deficient patients. This may result in a shortening of telomere length, resulting in cellular senescence. To test whether telomere length differs in α1-antitrypsin deficient patients compared with controls, we measured telomere length in DNA from peripheral blood cells of 217 α1-antitrypsin deficient patients and 217 control COPD patients. We also tested for differences in telomere length between DNA from blood and DNA from lung tissue in a subset of 51 controls. We found that telomere length in the blood was significantly longer in α1-antitrypsin deficient COPD patients compared with control COPD patients (p = 1×10−29). Telomere length was not related to lung function in α1-antitrypsin deficient patients (p = 0.3122) or in COPD controls (p = 0.1430). Although mean telomere length was significantly shorter in the blood when compared with the lungs (p = 0.0078), telomere length was correlated between the two tissue types (p = 0.0122). Our results indicate that telomere length is better preserved in α1-antitrypsin deficient COPD patients than in non-deficient patients. In addition, measurement of telomere length in the blood may be a suitable surrogate for measurement in the lung.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095600
PMCID: PMC3998943  PMID: 24763308
4.  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.
doi:10.1172/JCI70314
PMCID: PMC3859421  PMID: 24231351
5.  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.
Rationale
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051078
PMCID: PMC3511367  PMID: 23226468
6.  Alpha1-Antitrypsin Deficiency–Related Alleles Z and S and the Risk of Wegener’s Granulomatosis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(12):3760-3767.
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1002/art.27742
PMCID: PMC3123032  PMID: 20827781
7.  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.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200901-0023OC
PMCID: PMC2784416  PMID: 19729668
inflammation; cytokines; chemokines; bronchoalveolar lavage; pirfenidone
8.  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.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.04.103
PMCID: PMC2442711  PMID: 18445477
Cytokine Receptors; Inflammation; Endothelial cells; Cytokines
9.  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.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2007.12.011
PMCID: PMC2254504  PMID: 18078813
Cytokine Receptors; Cell Surface Receptors; Human; Cytokines; Inflammation
10.  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.
doi:10.1172/JCI13847
PMCID: PMC150410  PMID: 12189246

Results 1-10 (10)