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1.  Association of Endogenous Anti–Interferon-α Autoantibodies With Decreased Interferon-Pathway and Disease Activity in Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(8):2407-2415.
Numerous observations implicate interferon-α (IFNα) in the pathophysiology of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); however, the potential impact of endogenous anti-IFNα autoantibodies (AIAAs) on IFN-pathway and disease activity is unclear. The aim of this study was to characterize IFN-pathway activity and the serologic and clinical profiles of AIAA-positive patients with SLE.
Sera obtained from patients with SLE (n = 49), patients with rheumatoid arthritis (n = 25), and healthy control subjects (n = 25) were examined for the presence of AIAAs, using a biosensor immunoassay. Serum type I IFN bioactivity and the ability of AIAA-positive sera to neutralize IFNα activity were determined using U937 cells. Levels of IFN-regulated gene expression in peripheral blood were determined by microarray, and serum levels of BAFF, IFN-inducible chemokines, and other autoantibodies were measured using immunoassays.
AIAAs were detected in 27% of the serum samples from patients with SLE, using a biosensor immunoassay. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis identified 2 subgroups of patients, IFNlow and IFNhigh, that differed in the levels of serum type I IFN bioactivity, IFN-regulated gene expression, BAFF, anti-ribosomal P, and anti-chromatin autoantibodies, and in AIAA status. The majority of AIAA-positive patients had significantly lower levels of serum type I IFN bioactivity, reduced downstream IFN-pathway activity, and lower disease activity compared with the IFNhigh patients. AIAA-positive sera were able to effectively neutralize type I IFN activity in vitro.
Patients with SLE commonly harbor AIAAs. AIAA-positive patients have lower levels of serum type I IFN bioactivity and evidence for reduced downstream IFN-pathway and disease activity. AIAAs may influence the clinical course in SLE by blunting the effects produced by IFNα.
PMCID: PMC4028124  PMID: 21506093
2.  DNA Microarray Gene Expression Profile of Marginal Zone versus Follicular B cells and Idiotype Positive Marginal Zone B cells Before and After Immunization with Streptococcus pneumoniae 1 
Marginal Zone (MZ) B cells play an important role in the clearance of blood-borne bacterial infections via rapid T-independent IgM responses. We have previously demonstrated that MZ B cells respond rapidly and robustly to bacterial particulates. To determine the MZ-specific genes that are expressed to allow for this response, MZ and Follicular (FO) B cells were sort-purified and analyzed via DNA microarray analysis. We identified 181 genes that were significantly different between the two B cell populations. 99 genes were more highly expressed in MZ B cells while 82 genes were more highly expressed in FO B cells. To further understand the molecular mechanisms by which MZ B cells respond so rapidly to bacterial challenge, idiotype positive and negative MZ B cells were sort-purified before (0 hour) or after (1 hour) i.v. immunization with heat killed Streptococcus pneumoniae, R36A, and analyzed via DNA microarray analysis. We identified genes specifically up regulated or down regulated at 1 hour following immunization in the idiotype positive MZ B cells. These results give insight into the gene expression pattern in resting MZ vs. FO B cells and the specific regulation of gene expression in antigen-specific MZ B cells following interaction with antigen.
PMCID: PMC3966313  PMID: 18453586
MZ B cell; FO B cell; microarray; cytokine; idiotype
3.  European Population Substructure Correlates with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Endophenotypes in North Americans of European Descent 
Genes and immunity  2009;11(6):515-521.
Previous work has demonstrated that northern and southern European ancestries are associated with specific systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) manifestations. Here, 1855 SLE cases of European descent were genotyped for 4965 single nucleotide polymorphisms and principal components analysis of genotype information was used to define population substructure. The first principal component (PC1) distinguished northern from southern European ancestry, PC2 differentiated eastern from western European ancestry, and PC3 delineated Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. Compared to northern European ancestry, southern European ancestry was associated with autoantibody production (OR=1.40, 95% CI 1.07-1.83) and renal involvement (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.06-1.87), and was protective for discoid rash (OR=0.51, 95% CI 0.32-0.82) and photosensitivity (OR=0.74, 95% CI 0.56-0.97). Both serositis (OR=1.46, 95% CI 1.12-1.89) and autoantibody production (OR=1.38, 95% CI 1.06-1.80) were associated with Western compared to Eastern European ancestry. Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry was protective against neurologic manifestations of SLE (OR=0.62, 95% CI 0.40-0.94). Homogeneous clusters of cases defined by multiple PCs demonstrated stronger phenotypic associations. Genetic ancestry may contribute to the development of SLE endophenotypes and should be accounted for in genetic studies of disease characteristics.
PMCID: PMC3951966  PMID: 19847193
Systemic lupus erythematosus; epidemiology; population substructure; genetics
4.  Multiple polymorphisms in the TNFAIP3 region are independently associated with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Nature genetics  2008;40(9):1062-1064.
The TNFAIP3 (tumor necrosis factor alpha–induced protein 3) gene encodes a ubiquitin editing enzyme, A20, that restricts NF-κB–dependent signaling and prevents inflammation. We show that three independent SNPs in the TNFAIP3 region (rs13192841, rs2230926 and rs6922466) are associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) among individuals of European ancestry. These findings provide critical links between A20 and the etiology of SLE.
PMCID: PMC3897246  PMID: 19165919
5.  European Genetic Ancestry is Associated with a Decreased Risk of Lupus Nephritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(10):10.1002/art.34567.
African Americans, East Asians, and Hispanics with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are more likely to develop renal disease than SLE patients of European descent. We investigated whether European genetic ancestry protects against the development of lupus nephritis and explored genetic and socioeconomic factors that might explain this effect.
This was a cross-sectional study of 1906 adults with SLE. Participants were genotyped for 126 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) informative for ancestry. A subset of participants was also genotyped for 80 SNPs in 14 candidate genes for renal disease in SLE. We used logistic regression to test the association between European ancestry and renal disease. Analyses adjusted for continental ancestries, socioeconomic status, and candidate genes.
Participants (n=1906) had on average 62.4% European, 15.8% African, 11.5% East Asian, 6.5% Amerindian, and 3.8% South Asian ancestry. Among participants, 34% (n=656) had renal disease. A 10% increase in European ancestry was associated with a 15% reduction in the odds of having renal disease after adjustment for disease duration and sex (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.82-0.87, p=1.9 × 10−30). Adjusting for other genetic ancestries, measures of socioeconomic status, or SNPs in genes most associated with renal disease (IRF5 (rs4728142), BLK (rs2736340), STAT4 (rs3024912), ITGAM (rs9937837) and HLA-DRB1*0301 and DRB1*1501, p<0.05) did not substantively alter this relationship.
European ancestry is protective against the development of renal disease in SLE, an effect independent of other genetic ancestries, common risk alleles, and socioeconomic status.
PMCID: PMC3865923  PMID: 23023776
6.  Polymorphism at the TNF superfamily gene TNFSF4 confers susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus 
Nature genetics  2007;40(1):83-89.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multisystem complex autoimmune disease of uncertain etiology (OMIM 152700). Over recent years a genetic component to SLE susceptibility has been established1–3. Recent successes with association studies in SLE have identified genes including IRF5 (refs. 4,5) and FCGR3B6. Two tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily members located within intervals showing genetic linkage with SLE are TNFSF4 (also known as OX40L; 1q25), which is expressed on activated antigen-presenting cells (APCs)7,8 and vascular endothelial cells9, and also its unique receptor, TNFRSF4 (also known as OX40; 1p36), which is primarily expressed on activated CD4+ T cells10. TNFSF4 produces a potent co-stimulatory signal for activated CD4+ T cells after engagement of TNFRSF4 (ref. 11). Using both a family-based and a case-control study design, we show that the upstream region of TNFSF4 contains a single risk haplotype for SLE, which is correlated with increased expression of both cell-surface TNFSF4 and the TNFSF4 transcript. We hypothesize that increased expression of TNFSF4 predisposes to SLE either by quantitatively augmenting T cell–APC interaction or by influencing the functional consequences of T cell activation via TNFRSF4.
PMCID: PMC3705866  PMID: 18059267
7.  The chemokine receptor CXCR7 functions to regulate cardiac valve remodeling 
CXCR7 (RDC1), a G-protein-coupled receptor with conserved motifs characteristic of chemokine receptors, is enriched in endocardial and cushion mesenchymal cells in developing hearts, but its function is unclear. Cxcr7 germline deletion resulted in perinatal lethality with complete penetrance. Mutant embryos exhibited aortic and pulmonary valve stenosis due to semilunar valve thickening, with occasional ventricular septal defects. Semilunar valve mesenchymal cell proliferation increased in mutants from embryonic day 14 onward, but the cell death rate remained unchanged. Cxcr7 mutant valves had increased levels of phosphorylated Smad1/5/8, indicating increased BMP signaling, which may partly explain the thickened valve leaflets. The hyperproliferative phenotype appeared to involve Cxcr7 function in endocardial cells and their mesenchymal derivatives, as Tie2-Cre Cxcr7flox/- mice had semilunar valve stenosis. Thus, CXCR7 is involved in semilunar valve development, possibly by regulating BMP signaling, and may contribute to aortic and pulmonary valve stenosis.
PMCID: PMC3079332  PMID: 21246655
8.  Selective IgA Deficiency in Autoimmune Diseases 
Molecular Medicine  2011;17(11-12):1383-1396.
Selective immunoglobulin A deficiency (IgAD) is the most common primary immunodeficiency in Caucasians. It has previously been suggested to be associated with a variety of concomitant autoimmune diseases. In this review, we present data on the prevalence of IgAD in patients with Graves disease (GD), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), type 1 diabetes (T1D), celiac disease (CD), myasthenia gravis (MG) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on the basis of both our own recent large-scale screening results and literature data. Genetic factors are important for the development of both IgAD and various autoimmune disorders, including GD, SLE, T1D, CD, MG and RA, and a strong association with the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region has been reported. In addition, non-MHC genes, such as interferon-induced helicase 1 (IFIH1) and c-type lectin domain family 16, member A (CLEC16A), are also associated with the development of IgAD and some of the above diseases. This indicates a possible common genetic background. In this review, we present suggestive evidence for a shared genetic predisposition between these disorders.
PMCID: PMC3321806  PMID: 21826374
9.  Association of NCF2, IKZF1, IRF8, IFIH1, and TYK2 with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(10):e1002341.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex trait characterised by the production of a range of auto-antibodies and a diverse set of clinical phenotypes. Currently, ∼8% of the genetic contribution to SLE in Europeans is known, following publication of several moderate-sized genome-wide (GW) association studies, which identified loci with a strong effect (OR>1.3). In order to identify additional genes contributing to SLE susceptibility, we conducted a replication study in a UK dataset (870 cases, 5,551 controls) of 23 variants that showed moderate-risk for lupus in previous studies. Association analysis in the UK dataset and subsequent meta-analysis with the published data identified five SLE susceptibility genes reaching genome-wide levels of significance (Pcomb<5×10−8): NCF2 (Pcomb = 2.87×10−11), IKZF1 (Pcomb = 2.33×10−9), IRF8 (Pcomb = 1.24×10−8), IFIH1 (Pcomb = 1.63×10−8), and TYK2 (Pcomb = 3.88×10−8). Each of the five new loci identified here can be mapped into interferon signalling pathways, which are known to play a key role in the pathogenesis of SLE. These results increase the number of established susceptibility genes for lupus to ∼30 and validate the importance of using large datasets to confirm associations of loci which moderately increase the risk for disease.
Author Summary
Genome-wide association studies have revolutionised our ability to identify common susceptibility alleles for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In complex diseases such as SLE, where many different genes make a modest contribution to disease susceptibility, it is necessary to perform large-scale association studies to combine results from several datasets, to have sufficient power to identify highly significant novel loci (P<5×10−8). Using a large SLE collection of 870 UK SLE cases and 5,551 UK unaffected individuals, we firstly replicated ten moderate-risk alleles (P<0.05) from a US–Swedish study of 3,273 SLE cases and 12,188 healthy controls. Combining our results with the US-Swedish data identified five new loci, which crossed the level for genome-wide significance: NCF2 (neutrophil cytosolic factor 2), IKZF1 (Ikaros family zinc-finger 1), IRF8 (interferon regulatory factor 8), IFIH1 (interferon-induced helicase C domain-containing protein 1), and TYK2 (tyrosine kinase 2). Each of these five genes regulates a different aspect of the immune response and contributes to the production of type-I and type-II interferons. Although further studies will be required to identify the causal alleles within these loci, the confirmation of five new susceptibility genes for lupus makes a significant step forward in our understanding of the genetic contribution to SLE.
PMCID: PMC3203198  PMID: 22046141
10.  Recent advances in the genetics of systemic lupus erythematosus 
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by the production of antinuclear autoantibodies and the inflammatory infiltration of many organ systems. SLE is a complex disorder in which multiple genetic variants, together with environmental and hormonal factors, contribute to disease risk. In this article, we summarize our current understanding of the genetic contribution to SLE in light of recent genome-wide association studies, which have brought the total number of confirmed SLE susceptibility loci to 29. In the second section, we explore the functional implications of these risk loci and, in particular, highlight the role that many of these genes play in the Toll-like receptor and type I interferon signaling pathways. Finally, we discuss the genetic overlap between SLE and other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions as several risk loci are shared among multiple disorders, suggesting common underlying pathogenic mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2897739  PMID: 20441431
genome-wide association studies; pathogenesis; systemic lupus erythematosus; Toll-like receptor signaling; type I interferon signaling
12.  Transmembrane activator and calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor mutations in common variable immunodeficiency: Clinical and immunologic outcomes in heterozygotes 
Mutations in the gene coding for transmembrane activator and calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI) have been identified in common variable immunodeficiency (CVID). Mutations coincided with immunodeficiency in families, suggesting dominant inheritance.
Because most subjects with CVID have no immunodeficient family members and heterozygous mutations predominate, the role of TACI mutations in sporadic CVID is unclear.
TACI was sequenced from the genomic DNA of 176 subjects with CVID and family members. B cells of subjects with or without mutations were examined for binding to the ligand, a proliferation inducing ligand (APRIL), and for proliferation and immunoglobulin production after ligand
Heterozygous TACI mutations were found in 13 subjects (7.3%). Six with mutations (46%) had episodes of autoimmune thrombocytopenia, in contrast with 12% of 163 subjects without mutations; splenomegaly and splenectomy were significantly increased (P = .012; P = .001.) B cells of some had impaired binding of APRIL and on culture with this ligand were defective in proliferation and immunoglobulin production; however, this was not different from B cells of subjects without mutations. Eight first-degree relatives from 5 families had the same mutations but were not immune-deficient, and their B cells produced normal amounts of IgG and IgA after APRIL stimulation.
Mutations in TACI significantly predispose to autoimmunity and lymphoid hyperplasia in CVID, but additional genetic or environmental factors are required to induce immune deficiency.
Clinical implications
Additional causes of this common immune deficiency syndrome remain to be determined.
PMCID: PMC2908504  PMID: 17983875
Common variable immune deficiency; TACI; B cell; IgG; IgA; immune thrombocytopenia purpura; splenectomy
13.  Interferon-Regulated Chemokines as Biomarkers of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity: A Validation Study 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(10):3098-3107.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by unpredictable flares of disease activity and irreversible damage to multiple organ systems. An earlier study showed that SLE patients carrying an interferon gene expression signature in blood have elevated serum levels of interferon (IFN)-regulated chemokines. These chemokines were associated with more severe and active disease and showed promise as SLE disease activity biomarkers. This study was designed to validate IFN regulated chemokines as biomarkers of SLE disease activity in 267 longitudinally-followed SLE patients.
To validate the potential utility of serum chemokine levels as biomarkers for disease activity, we measured serum chemokine levels – CXCL10 (IP-10), CCL2 (MCP-1), and CCL19 (MIP-3B) – in an independent cohort of 267 SLE patients followed longitudinally over one year (1166 total visits).
Serum chemokine levels correlated with current visit lupus activity (p=2×10−10), rising at flare (p=1×10−3) and decreasing as disease remitted (p=1×10−3), and performed better than currently available laboratory tests. Chemokine levels measured at a single baseline visit in patients with SLEDAI ≤4 were predictive of lupus flare over the ensuing year (p=6×10−4).
Monitoring serum chemokine levels in SLE may improve assessment of current disease activity, the prediction of future flare, and overall clinical decision-making.
PMCID: PMC2842939  PMID: 19790071
14.  Genetic Variants Near TNFAIP3 on 6q23 are Associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) 
Nature genetics  2008;40(9):1059-1061.
SLE is an autoimmune disease influenced by genetic and environmental components. We performed a genome-wide association scan (GWAS) and observed novel association evidence with a variant inTNFAIP3(rs5029939, P = 2.89×10−12, OR = 2.29). We also found evidence of two independent signals of association to SLE risk, including one described in Rheumatoid Arthritis. These results establish that genetic variation inTNFAIP3contributes to differential risk for SLE and RA.
PMCID: PMC2772171  PMID: 19165918
15.  STAT4 and the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(10):977-986.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease with a substantial genetic component. Susceptibility to disease has been linked with a region on chromosome 2q.
We tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and around 13 candidate genes within the previously linked chromosome 2q region for association with rheumatoid arthritis. We then performed fine mapping of the STAT1-STAT4 region in a total of 1620 case patients with established rheumatoid arthritis and 2635 controls, all from North America. Implicated SNPs were further tested in an independent case-control series of 1529 patients with early rheumatoid arthritis and 881 controls, all from Sweden, and in a total of 1039 case patients and 1248 controls from three series of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
A SNP haplotype in the third intron of STAT4 was associated with susceptibility to both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. The minor alleles of the haplotype-defining SNPs were present in 27% of chromosomes of patients with established rheumatoid arthritis, as compared with 22% of those of controls (for the SNP rs7574865, P = 2.81×10-7; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.32). The association was replicated in Swedish patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (P = 0.02) and matched controls. The haplotype marked by rs7574865 was strongly associated with lupus, being present on 31% of chromosomes of case patients and 22% of those of controls (P = 1.87×10-9; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.55). Homozygosity of the risk allele, as compared with absence of the allele, was associated with a more than doubled risk for lupus and a 60% increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis.
A haplotype of STAT4 is associated with increased risk for both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, suggesting a shared pathway for these illnesses.
PMCID: PMC2630215  PMID: 17804842
16.  Genome-Wide Association Scan Identifies Candidate Polymorphisms Associated with Differential Response to Anti-TNF Treatment in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Molecular Medicine  2008;14(9-10):575-581.
The prediction of response (or non-response) to anti-TNF treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a pressing clinical problem. We conducted a genome-wide association study using the Illumina HapMap300 SNP chip on 89 RA patients prospectively followed after beginning anti-TNF therapy as part of Autoimmune Biomarkers Collaborative Network (ABCoN [Autoimmune Bio-markers Collaborative Network]) patient cohort. Response to therapy was determined by the change in Disease Activity Score (DAS28) observed after 14 wks. We used a two-part analysis that treated the change in DAS28 as a continuous trait and then incorporated it into a dichotomous trait of “good responder” and “nonresponder” by European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) criteria. We corrected for multiple tests by permutation, and adjusted for potential population stratification using EIGENSTRAT. Multiple single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers showed significant associations near or within loci including: the v-maf musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homolog B (MAFB) gene on chromosome 20; the type I interferon gene IFNk on chromosome 9; and in a locus on chromosome 7 that includes the paraoxonase I (PON1) gene. An SNP in the IL10 promoter (rs1800896) that was previously reported as associated with anti-TNF response was weakly associated with response in this cohort. Replications of these results in independent and larger data sets clearly are required. We provide a reference list of candidate SNPs (P < 0.01) that can be investigated in future pharmacogenomic studies.
PMCID: PMC2443997  PMID: 18615156
17.  An Interferon Signature in the Peripheral Blood of Dermatomyositis Patients is Associated with Disease Activity 
Molecular Medicine  2007;13(1-2):59-68.
Recent studies have shown increased expression of interferon (IFN)-regulated genes in the peripheral blood cells of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. A similar interferon signature has been observed in affected muscle tissue from patients with dermatomyositis (DM), but it has not yet been determined if this signature extends to the peripheral blood in DM. We performed global gene expression profiling of peripheral blood cells from adult and juvenile DM patients and healthy controls. Several interesting groups of genes were differentially expressed in DM, including genes with immune function, and others that function in muscle or are involved in mitochondrial/oxidative phosphorylation. Investigation of type I IFN-regulated transcripts revealed a striking interferon signature present in most DM patients studied. Levels of type I IFN-regulated proteins were also elevated in DM serum samples. Furthermore, both the transcript and serum protein IFN signatures were associated with disease activity. These data suggest that the IFN signature may be a useful marker for DM disease activity, and that sampling peripheral blood may be a more practical alternative to muscle biopsy for measuring this signature.
PMCID: PMC1869622  PMID: 17515957
18.  Microarray Analyses of Peripheral Blood Cells Identifies Unique Gene Expression Signature in Psoriatic Arthritis 
Molecular Medicine  2005;11(1-12):21-29.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic and erosive form of arthritis of unknown cause. We aimed to characterize the PsA phenotype using gene expression profiling and comparing it with healthy control subjects and patients rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Peripheral blood cells (PBCs) of 19 patients with active PsA and 19 age- and sex-matched control subjects were used in the analyses of PsA, with blood samples collected in PaxGene tubes. A significant alteration in the pattern of expression of 313 genes was noted in the PBCs of PsA patients on Affymetrix U133A arrays: 257 genes were expressed at reduced levels in PsA, and 56 genes were expressed at increased levels, compared with controls. Downregulated genes tended to cluster to certain chromosomal regions, including those containing the psoriasis susceptibility loci PSORS1 and PSORS2. Among the genes with the most significantly reduced expression were those involved in downregulation or suppression of innate and acquired immune responses, such as SIGIRR, STAT3, SHP1, IKBKB, IL-11RA, and TCF7, suggesting inappropriate control that favors proin-flammatory responses. Several members of the MAPK signaling pathway and tumor suppressor genes showed reduced expression. Three proinflammatory genes—S100A8, S100A12, and thioredoxin—showed increased expression. Logistic regression and recursive partitioning analysis determined that one gene, nucleoporin 62 kDa, could correctly classify all controls and 94.7% of the PsA patients. Using a dataset of 48 RA samples for comparison, the combination of two genes, MAP3K3 followed by CACNA1S, was enough to correctly classify all RA and PsA patients. Thus, PBC gene expression profiling identified a gene expression signature that differentiated PsA from RA, and PsA from controls. Several novel genes were differentially expressed in PsA and may prove to be diagnostic biomarkers or serve as new targets for the development of therapies.
PMCID: PMC1449519  PMID: 16622521
19.  Visualization of the Genesis and Fate of Isotype-switched B Cells during a Primary Immune Response 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2003;197(12):1677-1687.
The life history of isotype-switched B cells is unclear, in part, because of an inability to detect rare antigen-specific B cells at early times during the immune response. To address this issue, a small population of B cells carrying targeted antibody transgenes capable of class switching was monitored in immunized mice. After contacting helper T cells, the first switched B cells appeared in follicles rather than in the red pulp, as was expected. Later, some of the switched B cells transiently occupied the red pulp and marginal zone, whereas others persisted in germinal centers (GCs). Antigen-experienced IgM B cells were rarely found in GCs, indicating that these cells switched rapidly after entering GCs or did not persist in this environment.
PMCID: PMC2193962  PMID: 12796466
lymphocyte activation; marginal zone; T cells; transgenic mice; germinal centers
20.  Cd5 Maintains Tolerance in Anergic B Cells 
Clonal anergy of autoreactive B cells is a key mechanism regulating tolerance. Here, we show that anergic B cells express significant surface levels of CD5, a molecule normally found on T cells and a subset of B-1 cells. Breeding of the hen egg lysozyme (HEL) transgenic model for B cell anergy onto the CD5 null background resulted in a spontaneous loss of B cell tolerance in vivo. Evidence for this included elevated levels of anti-HEL immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies in the serum of CD5−/− mice transgenic for both an HEL-specific B cell receptor (BCR) and soluble lysozyme. “Anergic” B cells lacking CD5 also showed enhanced proliferative responses in vitro and elevated intracellular Ca2+ levels at rest and after IgM cross-linking. These data support the hypothesis that CD5 negatively regulates Ig receptor signaling in anergic B cells and functions to inhibit autoimmune B cell responses.
PMCID: PMC2195862  PMID: 10704468
CD5; hen egg lysozyme; B cell; anergy; signal transduction
21.  Relaxed Negative Selection in Germinal Centers and Impaired Affinity Maturation in bcl-xL Transgenic Mice 
The role of apoptosis in affinity maturation was investigated by determining the affinity of (4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl)acetyl (NP)-specific antibody-forming cells (AFCs) and serum antibody in transgenic mice that overexpress a suppressor of apoptosis, Bcl-xL, in the B cell compartment. Although transgenic animals briefly expressed higher numbers of splenic AFCs after immunization, the bcl-xL transgene did not increase the number or size of germinal centers (GCs), alter the levels of serum antibody, or change the frequency of NP-specific, long-lived AFCs. Nonetheless, the bcl-xL transgene product, in addition to endogenous Bcl-xL, reduced apoptosis in GC B cells and resulted in the expansion of B lymphocytes bearing VDJ rearrangements that are usually rare in primary anti-NP responses. Long-lived AFCs bearing these noncanonical rearrangements were frequent in the bone marrow and secreted immunoglobulin G1 antibodies with low affinity for NP. The abundance of noncanonical cells lowered the average affinity of long-lived AFCs and serum antibody, demonstrating that Bcl-xL and apoptosis influence clonal selection/maintenance for affinity maturation.
PMCID: PMC2195593  PMID: 10430628
Bcl-xL; apoptosis; affinity maturation; germinal center; clonal selection
22.  Transgene Expression of bcl-xL Permits Anti-immunoglobulin (Ig)–induced Proliferation in xid B Cells  
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1998;187(7):1081-1091.
Mutations in the tyrosine kinase, Btk, result in a mild immunodeficiency in mice (xid). While B lymphocytes from xid mice do not proliferate to anti-immunoglobulin (Ig), we show here induction of the complete complement of cell cycle regulatory molecules, though the level of induction is about half that detected in normal B cells. Cell cycle analysis reveals that anti-Ig stimulated xid B cells enter S phase, but fail to complete the cell cycle, exhibiting a high rate of apoptosis. This correlated with a decreased ability to induce the anti-apoptosis regulatory protein, Bcl-xL. Ectopic expression of Bcl-xL in xid B cells permitted anti-Ig induced cell cycle progression demonstrating dual requirements for induction of anti-apoptotic proteins plus cell cycle regulatory proteins during antigen receptor mediated proliferation. Furthermore, our results link one of the immunodeficient traits caused by mutant Btk with the failure to properly regulate Bcl-xL.
PMCID: PMC2212200  PMID: 9529324
23.  Two Novel Routes of Transporter Associated with Antigen Processing (TAP)-independent Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I Antigen Processing  
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1997;186(7):1087-1098.
Jaw1 is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) resident protein representative of a class of proteins post translationally inserted into membranes via a type II membrane anchor (cytosolic NH2 domain, lumenal COOH domain) in a translocon-independent manner. We found that Jaw1 can efficiently deliver a COOH-terminal antigenic peptide to class I molecules in transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP)-deficient cells or cells in which TAP is inactivated by the ICP47 protein. Peptide delivery mediated by Jaw1 to class I molecules was equal or better than that mediated by the adenovirus E3/19K glycoprotein signal sequence, and was sufficient to enable cytofluorographic detection of newly recruited thermostabile class I molecules at the surface of TAP-deficient cells. Deletion of the transmembrane region retargeted Jaw1 from the ER to the cytosol, and severely, although incompletely, abrogated its TAP-independent peptide carrier activity. Use of different protease inhibitors revealed the involvement of a nonproteasomal protease in the TAP-independent activity of cytosolic Jaw1. These findings demonstrate two novel TAP-independent routes of antigen processing; one based on highly efficient peptide liberation from the COOH terminus of membrane proteins in the ER, the other on delivery of a cytosolic protein to the ER by an unknown route.
PMCID: PMC2199067  PMID: 9314557
24.  Heritability and Genome-wide Association Study To Assess Genetic Differences Between Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration Subtypes  
Ophthalmology  2012;119(9):1874-1885.
To investigate whether the two subtypes of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and geographic atrophy (GA), segregate separately in families and to identify which genetic variants are associated with these two subtypes.
Sibling correlation study and genome-wide association study (GWAS)
For the sibling correlation study, we included 209 sibling pairs with advanced AMD. For the GWAS, we included 2594 participants with advanced AMD subtypes and 4134 controls. Replication cohorts included 5383 advanced AMD participants and 15,240 controls.
Participants had AMD grade assigned based on fundus photography and/or examination. To determine heritability of advanced AMD subtypes, we performed a sibling correlation study. For the GWAS, we conducted genome-wide genotyping and imputed 6,036,699 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs). We then analyzed SNPs with a generalized linear model controlling for genotyping platform and genetic ancestry. The most significant associations were evaluated in independent cohorts.
Main Outcome Measures
Concordance of advanced AMD subtypes in sibling pairs and associations between SNPs with GA and CNV advanced AMD subtypes.
The difference between the observed and expected proportion of siblings concordant for the same subtype of advanced AMD was different to a statistically significant degree (P=4.2 x 10−5) meaning that siblings of probands with CNV or GA are more likely to develop CNV or GA, respectively. In the analysis comparing participants with CNV to those with GA, we observed a statistically significant association at the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus [rs10490924, odds ratio (OR)=1.47, P=4.3 ×10−9] which was confirmed in the replication samples (OR=1.38, P=7.4 x 10−14 for combined discovery and replication analysis).
Whether a patient with AMD develops CNV vs. GA is determined in part by genetic variation. In this large GWAS meta-analysis and replication analysis, the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus confers increased risk for both advanced AMD subtypes but imparts greater risk for CNV than for GA. This locus explains a small proportion of the excess sibling correlation for advanced AMD subtype. Other loci were detected with suggestive associations which differ for advanced AMD subtypes and deserve follow-up in additional studies.
PMCID: PMC3899891  PMID: 22705344
25.  Genes identified in Asian SLE GWASs are also associated with SLE in Caucasian populations 
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) conducted in Asian populations have identified novel risk loci for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Here, we genotyped 10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in eight such loci and investigated their disease associations in three independent Caucasian SLE case–control cohorts recruited from Sweden, Finland and the United States. The disease associations of the SNPs in ETS1, IKZF1, LRRC18-WDFY4, RASGRP3, SLC15A4, TNIP1 and 16p11.2 were replicated, whereas no solid evidence of association was observed for the 7q11.23 locus in the Caucasian cohorts. SLC15A4 was significantly associated with renal involvement in SLE. The association of TNIP1 was more pronounced in SLE patients with renal and immunological disorder, which is corroborated by two previous studies in Asian cohorts. The effects of all the associated SNPs, either conferring risk for or being protective against SLE, were in the same direction in Caucasians and Asians. The magnitudes of the allelic effects for most of the SNPs were also comparable across different ethnic groups. On the contrary, remarkable differences in allele frequencies between Caucasian and Asian populations were observed for all associated SNPs. In conclusion, most of the novel SLE risk loci identified by GWASs in Asian populations were also associated with SLE in Caucasian populations. We observed both similarities and differences with respect to the effect sizes and risk allele frequencies across ethnicities.
PMCID: PMC3746253  PMID: 23249952
systemic lupus erythematosus; genetic-association study; Asian; Caucasian

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