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1.  CollagenVI-Cre mice: A new tool to target stromal cells in secondary lymphoid organs 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:33027.
Stromal cells in secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) are non-hematopoietic cells involved in the regulation of adaptive immune responses. Three major stromal populations have been identified in adult SLOs: fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs), follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) and marginal reticular cells (MRCs). The properties of these individual populations are not clearly defined, mainly due to the lack of appropriate genetic tools, especially for MRCs. Here, we analyzed stromal cell targeting in SLOs from a transgenic mouse strain that expresses Cre recombinase under the CollagenVI promoter, using lineage tracing approaches. We show that these mice target specifically MRCs and FDCs, but not FRCs in Peyer’s patches and isolated lymphoid follicles in the intestine. In contrast, stromal cells in lymph nodes and the spleen do not express the transgene, which renders ColVI-cre mice ideal for the specific targeting of stromal cells in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). This funding further supports the hypothesis of organ-specific stromal precursors in SLOs. Interestingly, in all tissues analyzed, there was also high specificity for perivascular cells, which have been proposed to act as FDC precursors. Taken together, ColVI-Cre mice are a useful new tool for the dissection of MRC- and FDC-specific functions and plasticity in the GALT.
PMCID: PMC5015111  PMID: 27604178
2.  IKKβ in intestinal mesenchymal cells promotes initiation of colitis-associated cancer 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2015;212(13):2235-2251.
Koliaraki et al. report that IKKβ deletion in ColVI-expressing intestinal mesenchymal cells protects mice against inflammation-induced intestinal carcinogenesis. In contrast, a companion study by Pallangyo et al. shows that deletion of IKKβ by the Col1a2CreER promoter in intestinal fibroblasts leads to increased colitis-induced tumorigenesis. The two studies suggest that targeting IKKβ in different fibroblast populations by using different promoters might have opposite outcomes in intestinal cancer.
The importance of mesenchymal cells in inflammation and/or neoplastic transformation is well recognized, but their role in the initiation of these processes, particularly in the intestine, remains elusive. Using mouse models of colorectal cancer, we show that IKKβ in intestinal mesenchymal cells (IMCs) is critically involved in colitis-associated, but not spontaneous tumorigenesis. We further demonstrate that IMC-specific IKKβ is involved in the initiation of colitis-associated cancer (CAC), as in its absence mice develop reduced immune cell infiltration, epithelial cell proliferation, and dysplasia at the early stages of the disease. At the molecular level, these effects are associated with decreased early production of proinflammatory and protumorigenic mediators, including IL-6, and reduced STAT3 activation. Ex vivo IKKβ-deficient IMCs show defective responses to innate immune stimuli such as LPS, as shown by decreased NF-κB signaling and reduced expression of important NF-κB target genes. Collectively, our results reveal a hitherto unknown role of mesenchymal IKKβ in driving inflammation and enabling carcinogenesis in the intestine.
PMCID: PMC4683996  PMID: 26621453
3.  Inferring active regulatory networks from gene expression data using a combination of prior knowledge and enrichment analysis 
BMC Bioinformatics  2016;17(Suppl 5):181.
Under both physiological and pathological conditions gene expression programs are shaped through the interplay of regulatory proteins and their gene targets, interactions between which form intricate gene regulatory networks (GRN). While the assessment of genome-wide expression for the complete set of genes at a given condition has become rather straight-forward and is performed routinely, we are still far from being able to infer the topology of gene regulation simply by analyzing its “descendant” expression profile. In this work we are trying to overcome the existing limitations for the inference and study of such regulatory networks. We are combining our approach with state-of-the-art gene set enrichment analyses in order to create a tool, called Regulatory Network Enrichment Analysis (RNEA) that will prioritize regulatory and functional characteristics of a genome-wide expression experiment.
RNEA combines prior knowledge, originating from manual literature curation and small-scale experimental data, to construct a reference network of interactions and then uses enrichment analysis coupled with a two-level hierarchical parsing of the network, to infer the most relevant subnetwork for a given experimental setting. It is implemented as an R package, currently supporting human and mouse datasets and was herein tested on one test case for each of the two organisms. In both cases, RNEA’s gene set enrichment analysis was comparable to state-of-the-art methodologies. Moreover, through its distinguishing feature of regulatory subnetwork reconstruction, RNEA was able to define the key transcriptional regulators for the studied systems as supported from the literature.
RNEA constitutes a novel computational approach to obtain regulatory interactions directly from a genome-wide expression profile. Its simple implementation, with minimal requirements from the user is coupled with easy-to-parse enrichment lists and a subnetwork file that may be readily visualized to reveal the most important components of the regulatory hierarchy. The combination of prior information and novel concept of a hierarchical reconstruction of regulatory interactions makes RNEA a very useful tool for a first-level interpretation of gene expression profiles.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12859-016-1040-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4905609  PMID: 27295045
Transcriptional regulation; Gene regulatory network; Gene set enrichment analysis
4.  Innate myeloid cell TNFR1 mediates first line defence against primary Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:22454.
TNF is crucial for controlling Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and understanding how will help immunomodulating the host response. Here we assessed the contribution of TNFR1 pathway from innate myeloid versus T cells. We first established the prominent role of TNFR1 in haematopoietic cells for controlling M. tuberculosis in TNFR1 KO chimera mice. Further, absence of TNFR1 specifically on myeloid cells (M-TNFR1 KO) recapitulated the uncontrolled M. tuberculosis infection seen in fully TNFR1 deficient mice, with increased bacterial burden, exacerbated lung inflammation, and rapid death. Pulmonary IL-12p40 over-expression was attributed to a prominent CD11b+ Gr1high cell population in infected M-TNFR1 KO mice. By contrast, absence of TNFR1 on T-cells did not compromise the control of M. tuberculosis infection over 6-months. Thus, the protective TNF/TNFR1 pathway essential for controlling primary M. tuberculosis infection depends on innate macrophage and neutrophil myeloid cells, while TNFR1 pathway in T cells is dispensable.
PMCID: PMC4773807  PMID: 26931771
5.  Inflammation-induced formation of fat-associated lymphoid clusters 
Nature immunology  2015;16(8):819-828.
Fat-associated lymphoid clusters (FALCs) are a recently discovered type of lymphoid tissue associated with visceral fat. Here we show that distribution of FALCs was heterogeneous with the pericardium containing large numbers of these clusters. FALCs contributed to the retention of B-1 B cells in the peritoneal cavity through high expression of the chemokine CXCL13 and supported B cell proliferation and germinal center differentiation during peritoneal immune challenges. FALC formation was induced by inflammation, which triggered recruitment of myeloid cells that express tumor necrosis factor (TNF) necessary for TNF receptor-signaling in stromal cells. CD1d-restricted Natural killer T (NKT) cells were likewise required for inducible formation of FALCs. Thus, FALCs support and coordinate innate B and T cell activation during serosal immune responses.
PMCID: PMC4512620  PMID: 26147686
Basic research in cardiology  2009;104(3):228-237.
Although the adaptive immune system is thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of viral myocarditis, the role of the innate immune system has not been well defined. To address this deficiency, we employed a unique line of mice that harbor a genomic “knock in” of a mutated TNF gene lacking the AU rich element (TNFΔARE/ΔARE) that is critical for TNF mRNA stability and translation, in order to examine the contribution of the innate immune system in encephalomyocarditis-induced myocarditis (EMCV). Heterozygous mice (TNFΔARE/+) were infected with 500 plaque-forming units of EMCV. TNFΔARE/+mice had a significantly higher 14-day mortality and myocardial inflammation when compared to littermate control mice. Virologic studies showed that the viral load at 14 days was significantly lower in the hearts of TNFΔARE/+ mice. TNFΔARE/+ mice had an exaggerated proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine response in the heart following EMCV infection. Modulation of the innate immune response in TNFΔARE/+ mice by the late administration of prednisolone resulted in a significant improvement in survival and decreased cardiac inflammation, whereas early administration of prednisolone resulted in a blunted innate response and increased mortality in littermate control mice. Viewed together, these data suggest that the duration and degree of activation of the innate immune system plays a critical role in determining host outcomes in experimental viral myocarditis.
PMCID: PMC4541794  PMID: 19159057
myocardial inflammation; innate immunity; cytokines
7.  TNFα-dependent development of lymphoid tissue in the absence of RORγt+ Lymphoid Tissue Inducer cells 
Mucosal immunology  2013;7(3):602-614.
Lymphoid tissue often forms within sites of chronic inflammation. Here we report that expression of the proinflammatory cytokine TNFa drives development of lymphoid tissue in the intestine. Formation of this ectopic lymphoid tissue was not dependent on the presence of canonical RORgt+ lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) cells, because animals expressing increased levels of TNFα but lacking RORgt+ LTi cells (TNF/Rorc(gt)−/− mice) developed lymphoid tissue in inflamed areas. Unexpectedly, such animals developed several lymph nodes that were structurally and functionally similar to those of wild type animals. TNFα production by F4/80+ myeloid cells present within the anlagen was important for activation of stromal cells during the late stages of embryogenesis and for the activation of an organogenic program that allowed development of lymph nodes. Our results show that lymphoid tissue organogenesis can occur in the absence of LTi cells and suggest that interactions between TNFα-expressing myeloid cells and stromal cells have an important role in secondary lymphoid organ formation.
PMCID: PMC4264842  PMID: 24129162
8.  Regulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by TPL-2 kinase 
TPL-2 expression is required for efficient polarization of naïve T cells to Th1 effector cells in vitro, and for Th1-mediated immune responses. In the present study, we investigated the potential role of TPL-2 in Th17 cells. TPL-2 was found to be dispensable for Th17 cell differentiation in vitro, and for the initial priming of Th17 cells in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a Th17 cell-mediated disease model for multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, TPL-2-deficient mice were protected from EAE, which correlated with reduced immune cell infiltration, demyelination and axonal damage in the CNS. Adoptive transfer experiments demonstrated that there was no T cell-intrinsic function for TPL-2 in EAE, and that TPL-2 signaling was not required in radiation-sensitive hematopoietic cells. Rather, TPL-2 signaling in radiation-resistant stromal cells promoted the effector phase of the disease. Importantly, using a newly generated mouse strain expressing a kinase-inactive form of TPL-2, we demonstrated that stimulation of EAE was dependent on TPL-2’s catalytic activity, and not its adaptor function to stabilize the associated ubiquitin-binding protein ABIN-2. Our data therefore raise the possibility that small molecule inhibitors of TPL-2 may be beneficial in multiple sclerosis therapy.
PMCID: PMC3979668  PMID: 24639351
9.  A Splicing Mutation in the Novel Mitochondrial Protein DNAJC11 Causes Motor Neuron Pathology Associated with Cristae Disorganization, and Lymphoid Abnormalities in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104237.
Mitochondrial structure and function is emerging as a major contributor to neuromuscular disease, highlighting the need for the complete elucidation of the underlying molecular and pathophysiological mechanisms. Following a forward genetics approach with N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU)-mediated random mutagenesis, we identified a novel mouse model of autosomal recessive neuromuscular disease caused by a splice-site hypomorphic mutation in a novel gene of unknown function, DnaJC11. Recent findings have demonstrated that DNAJC11 protein co-immunoprecipitates with proteins of the mitochondrial contact site (MICOS) complex involved in the formation of mitochondrial cristae and cristae junctions. Homozygous mutant mice developed locomotion defects, muscle weakness, spasticity, limb tremor, leucopenia, thymic and splenic hypoplasia, general wasting and early lethality. Neuropathological analysis showed severe vacuolation of the motor neurons in the spinal cord, originating from dilatations of the endoplasmic reticulum and notably from mitochondria that had lost their proper inner membrane organization. The causal role of the identified mutation in DnaJC11 was verified in rescue experiments by overexpressing the human ortholog. The full length 63 kDa isoform of human DNAJC11 was shown to localize in the periphery of the mitochondrial outer membrane whereas putative additional isoforms displayed differential submitochondrial localization. Moreover, we showed that DNAJC11 is assembled in a high molecular weight complex, similarly to mitofilin and that downregulation of mitofilin or SAM50 affected the levels of DNAJC11 in HeLa cells. Our findings provide the first mouse mutant for a putative MICOS protein and establish a link between DNAJC11 and neuromuscular diseases.
PMCID: PMC4128653  PMID: 25111180
10.  Fetal Exposure to Maternal Inflammation Does Not Affect Postnatal Development of Genetically-Driven Ileitis and Colitis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98237.
Background: Chronic inflammatory disorders have been increasing in incidence over the past decades following geographical patterns of industrialization. Fetal exposure to maternal inflammation may alter organ functions and the offspring's disease risk. We studied the development of genetically-driven ileitis and colitis in response to maternal inflammation using mouse models.
Methods: Disease susceptible (TnfΔARE/+ and IL10−/−) and disease-free (Tnf+/+ and IL10−/+) offspring were raised in inflamed and non-inflamed dams. Ileal, caecal and colonic pathology was evaluated in the offspring at 8 or 12 weeks of age. Ly6G-positive cells in inflamed sections from the distal ileum and distal colon were analysed by immunofluorescence microscopy. Gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines was measured in whole tissue specimens by quantitative PCR. Microarray analyses were performed on laser microdissected intestinal epithelium. Caecal bacterial communities were assessed by Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons.
Results: Disease severity, the number of infiltrated neutrophils as well as Tnf and Il12p40 mRNA expression were independent of maternal inflammation in the offspring of mouse models for ileitis (TnfΔARE/+) and colitis (IL10−/−). Although TNF-driven maternal inflammation regulated 2,174 (wild type) and 3,345 (TnfΔARE/+) genes in the fetal epithelium, prenatal gene expression patterns were completely overwritten after birth. In addition, co-housing experiments revealed no change in phylogenetic diversity of the offspring's caecal microbiota in response to maternal inflammation. This is independent of the offspring's genotype before and after the onset of tissue pathology.
Conclusions: Disease risk and activity in mouse models of chronic ileitis and colitis was independent of the fetal exposure to maternal inflammation. Likewise, maternal inflammation did not alter the diversity and composition of offspring's caecal microbiota, clearly demonstrating that changes of the gene expression program in the fetal gut epithelium were not relevant for the development of chronic inflammatory disorders in the gut.
PMCID: PMC4029898  PMID: 24849654
11.  Safe TNF-based antitumor therapy following p55TNFR reduction in intestinal epithelium 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(6):2590-2603.
TNF has remarkable antitumor activities; however, therapeutic applications have not been possible because of the systemic and lethal proinflammatory effects induced by TNF. Both the antitumor and inflammatory effects of TNF are mediated by the TNF receptor p55 (p55TNFR) (encoded by the Tnfrsf1a gene). The antitumor effect stems from an induction of cell death in tumor endothelium, but the cell type that initiates the lethal inflammatory cascade has been unclear. Using conditional Tnfrsf1a knockout or reactivation mice, we found that the expression level of p55TNFR in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) is a crucial determinant in TNF-induced lethal inflammation. Remarkably, tumor endothelium and IECs exhibited differential sensitivities to TNF when p55TNFR levels were reduced. Tumor-bearing Tnfrsf1a+/– or IEC-specific p55TNFR-deficient mice showed resistance to TNF-induced lethality, while the tumor endothelium remained fully responsive to TNF-induced apoptosis and tumors regressed. We demonstrate proof of principle for clinical application of this approach using neutralizing anti-human p55TNFR antibodies in human TNFRSF1A knockin mice. Our results uncover an important cellular basis of TNF toxicity and reveal that IEC-specific or systemic reduction of p55TNFR mitigates TNF toxicity without loss of antitumor efficacy.
PMCID: PMC3668821  PMID: 23676465
12.  Autotaxin expression from synovial fibroblasts is essential for the pathogenesis of modeled arthritis 
Synovial fibroblasts from patients and mice with arthritis express autotaxin, and ablation of autotaxin in fibroblasts ameliorates disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a destructive arthropathy characterized by chronic synovial inflammation that imposes a substantial socioeconomic burden. Under the influence of the proinflammatory milieu, synovial fibroblasts (SFs), the main effector cells in disease pathogenesis, become activated and hyperplastic, releasing proinflammatory factors and tissue-remodeling enzymes. This study shows that activated arthritic SFs from human patients and animal models express significant quantities of autotaxin (ATX; ENPP2), a lysophospholipase D that catalyzes the conversion of lysophosphatidylcholine to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). ATX expression from SFs was induced by TNF, and LPA induced SF activation and effector functions in synergy with TNF. Conditional genetic ablation of ATX in mesenchymal cells, including SFs, resulted in disease attenuation in animal models of arthritis, establishing the ATX/LPA axis as a novel player in chronic inflammation and the pathogenesis of arthritis and a promising therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3348105  PMID: 22493518
13.  Tpl2 regulates intestinal myofibroblast HGF release to suppress colitis-associated tumorigenesis 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(11):4231-4242.
The tumor microenvironment plays a significant role in colitis-associated cancer (CAC). Intestinal myofibroblasts (IMFs) are cells in the intestinal lamina propria secreting factors that are known to modulate carcinogenesis; however, the physiological role of IMFs and signaling pathways influencing CAC have remained unknown. Tumor progression locus 2 (Tpl2) is a MAPK that regulates inflammatory and oncogenic pathways. In this study we addressed the role of Tpl2 in CAC using complete and tissue-specific ablation of Tpl2 in mutant mice. Tpl2-deficient mice did not exhibit significant differences in inflammatory burdens following azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) administration compared with wild-type mice; however, the mutant mice developed significantly increased numbers and sizes of tumors, associated with enhanced epithelial proliferation and decreased apoptosis. Cell-specific ablation of Tpl2 in IMFs, but not in intestinal epithelial or myeloid cells, conferred a similar susceptibility to adenocarcinoma formation. Tpl2-deficient IMFs upregulated HGF production and became less sensitive to the negative regulation of HGF by TGF-β3. In vivo inhibition of HGF-mediated c-Met activation blocked early, enhanced colon dysplasia in Tpl2-deficient mice, indicating that Tpl2 normally suppresses the HGF/c-Met pathway. These findings establish a mesenchyme-specific role for Tpl2 in the regulation of HGF production and suppression of epithelial tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3484449  PMID: 23064365
14.  Correction: Myeloid Takl Acts as a Negative Regulator of the LPS Response and Mediates Resistance to Endotoxemia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):10.1371/annotation/74add513-eb1d-4fa1-ae2e-c3d2e7e735a0.
PMCID: PMC3463619
15.  Membrane-Bound TNF Induces Protective Immune Responses to M. bovis BCG Infection: Regulation of memTNF and TNF Receptors Comparing Two memTNF Molecules 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e31469.
Several activities of the transmembrane form of TNF (memTNF) in immune responses to intracellular bacterial infection have been shown to be different from those exerted by soluble TNF. Evidence is based largely on studies in transgenic mice expressing memTNF, but precise cellular mechanisms are not well defined and the importance of TNF receptor regulation is unknown. In addition, memTNF activities are defined for a particular modification of the extracellular domain of TNF but a direct comparison of different mutant memTNF molecules has not been done in vivo.
To understand the activities of memTNF we compared two commonly used mouse strains lacking soluble TNF but possessing functional and normally regulated membrane-bound TNF knockin (memTNF KI) for their capacity to generate cell-mediated immune responses and resistance to M. bovis BCG infection, and to regulate TNF receptors.
Principal Findings
M. bovis BCG infection resulted in similar bacterial loads in one strain of memTNF KI (memTNFΔ1–9,K11E) and in wild-type mice, in contrast, the other strain of memTNF KI mice (memTNFΔ1–12) showed higher sensitivity to infection with high mortality (75%), greater bacterial load and massive lung pathology. The pattern of cytokines/chemokines, inflammatory cells, pulmonary NF-κB phosphorylation, antigen-dependent IFN-γ response, and splenic iNOS was impaired in M. bovis BCG-infected memTNFΔ1–12 KI mice. Macrophages expressing TNFR2 were reduced but soluble TNFRs were higher in memTNFΔ1–12 KI mice during the infection. In vitro, M. bovis BCG-induced NF-κB activation and cytokines were also decreased in memTNFΔ1–12 KI bone marrow-derived macrophages.
Our data show that two memTNF molecules exerted very different activities upon M. bovis BCG infection resulting in protection or not to bacterial infection. These results suggest a regulatory mechanism of memTNF and TNF receptors being critical in the outcome of the infection and highlight the role of cell-bound and soluble TNFR2 in memTNF-mediated anti-microbial mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3364241  PMID: 22666310
16.  Correction: Myeloid Takl Acts as a Negative Regulator of the LPS Response and Mediates Resistance to Endotoxemia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):10.1371/annotation/ea1a4c80-8dfd-496a-a273-d74c1fd6e069.
PMCID: PMC3319575
17.  Myeloid Takl Acts as a Negative Regulator of the LPS Response and Mediates Resistance to Endotoxemia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31550.
TGFβ-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), a member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAP3K) family, is considered a key intermediate in a multitude of innate immune signaling pathways. Yet, the specific role of TAK1 in the myeloid compartment during inflammatory challenges has not been revealed. To address this question, we generated myeloid-specific kinase-dead TAK1 mutant mice. TAK1 deficiency in macrophages results in impaired NF-κB and JNK activation upon stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Moreover, TAK1-deficient macrophages and neutrophils show an enhanced inflammatory cytokine profile in response to LPS stimulation. Myeloid-specific TAK1 deficiency in mice leads to increased levels of circulating IL-1β, TNF and reduced IL-10 after LPS challenge and sensitizes them to LPS-induced endotoxemia. These results highlight an antiinflammatory role for myeloid TAK1, which is essential for balanced innate immune responses and host survival during endotoxemia.
PMCID: PMC3279403  PMID: 22348103
20.  Electrocardiographic and Electrophysiologic Characteristics of Ventricular Extrasystoles Arising from the Aortomitral Continuity 
Left ventricular outflow tract arrhythmias originating from the aortomitral continuity, the left coronary cusp, the superior basal septum, and the epicardial left ventricular summit display common electrocardiographic and electrophysiological features, probably due to the close proximity of those locations. Catheter ablation of these arrhythmias can be challenging. The case of a 68-year-old male with frequent premature ventricular extrasystoles arising from the aortomitral continuity of the basal left ventricle is described. The electrocardiographic and electrophysiologic characteristics of this arrhythmia are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3103894  PMID: 21637720
21.  Attenuation of TNF-driven murine ileitis by intestinal expression of the viral immunomodulator CrmD 
Mucosal immunology  2010;3(6):633-644.
Tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) is a key pathogenic factor in Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. TNFΔARE mice express high levels of TNFα and present Crohn’s-like ileitis and arthritis. Alterations in the chemokine network could underline the TNF-driven ileitis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of TNF and chemokines in ileitis using ectromelia virus CrmD, a protein that binds TNFα and a limited number of chemokines. We generated transgenic mice expressing CrmD in intestinal epithelial cells (vCrmD mice) and crossed them with the TNFΔARE mice to test whether CrmD could affect TNF-driven inflammatory processes. During homeostasis, only the number of B cells in the lamina propria was reduced by CrmD expression. Interestingly, CrmD expression in the intestine markedly attenuated the inflammatory infiltrates in the ileum of TNFΔARE mice, but did not affect development of arthritis. Our results suggest that CrmD affects development of ileitis by locally affecting both TNF and chemokine function in the ileum.
PMCID: PMC2979317  PMID: 20664576
Intestine; TNF; leukocyte; CrmD; poxvirus; Crohn’s disease
22.  Mouse Resource Browser—a database of mouse databases 
The laboratory mouse has become the organism of choice for discovering gene function and unravelling pathogenetic mechanisms of human diseases through the application of various functional genomic approaches. The resulting deluge of data has led to the deployment of numerous online resources and the concomitant need for formalized experimental descriptions, data standardization, database interoperability and integration, a need that has yet to be met. We present here the Mouse Resource Browser (MRB), a database of mouse databases that indexes 217 publicly available mouse resources under 22 categories and uses a standardised database description framework (the CASIMIR DDF) to provide information on their controlled vocabularies (ontologies and minimum information standards), and technical information on programmatic access and data availability. Focusing on interoperability and integration, MRB offers automatic generation of downloadable and re-distributable SOAP application-programming interfaces for resources that provide direct database access. MRB aims to provide useful information to both bench scientists, who can easily navigate and find all mouse related resources in one place, and bioinformaticians, who will be provided with interoperable resources containing data which can be mined and integrated.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC2911845  PMID: 20627861
23.  Cutting Edge: A Critical Role of B and T Lymphocyte Attenuator in Peripheral T Cell Tolerance Induction1 
T cell activation and tolerance are delicately regulated by costimulatory molecules. Although B and T lymphocyte attenuator (BTLA) has been shown as a negative regulator for T cell activation, its role in peripheral T cell tolerance induction in vivo has not been addressed. In this study, we generated a novel strain of BTLA-deficient mice and used three different models to characterize the function of BTLA in controlling T cell tolerance. In an oral tolerance model, BTLA-deficient mice were found resistant to the induction of T cell tolerance to an oral Ag. Moreover, compared with wild-type OT-II cells, BTLA−/− OT-II cells were less susceptible to tolerance induction by a high-dose OVA peptide administered i.v. Finally, BTLA−/− OT-I cells caused auto-immune diabetes in RIP-mOVA recipient mice. Our results thus demonstrate an important role for BTLA in the induction of peripheral tolerance of both CD4+and CD8+ T cells in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2767106  PMID: 19342624
24.  Protective role of membrane tumour necrosis factor in the host’s resistance to mycobacterial infection 
Immunology  2008;125(4):522-534.
Tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) plays a critical role in the recruitment and activation of mononuclear cells in mycobacterial infection. The role of membrane TNF, in host resistance against Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG), was tested in knock-in mice in which the endogenous TNF was replaced by a non-cleavable and regulated allele (Δ1–12, TNFtm/tm). While 100% of mice with complete TNF deficiency (TNF−/−) succumbed to infection, 50% of TNFtm/tm mice were able to control M. bovis BCG infection and survived the experimental period. Membrane expressed TNF allowed a substantial recruitment of activated T cells and macrophages with granuloma formation and expression of bactericidal inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Using virulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection we confirm that membrane TNF conferred partial protection. Infection in TNFtm/tm double transgenic mice with TNF-R1 or TNF-R2 suggest protection is mediated through TNF-R2 signalling. Therefore, the data suggest that membrane-expressed TNF plays a critical role in host defence to mycobacterial infection and may partially substitute for soluble TNF.
PMCID: PMC2612548  PMID: 18544042
BCG; granuloma; H37Rv; membrane Δ1-12 TNF; Mycobacterium; T-cell recruitment; TNF-deficiency
25.  Myeloid heme oxygenase–1 regulates innate immunity and autoimmunity by modulating IFN-β production 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(5):1167-1179.
Heme oxygenase–1 (HO-1) is a key cytoprotective, antioxidant, and antiinflammatory molecule. The pathophysiological functions of HO-1 have been associated with its enzymatic activities in heme catabolism. We have examined the immune functions of HO-1 by its conditional ablation in myeloid cells (HO-1M-KO mice). We demonstrate that myeloid HO-1 is required for the activation of interferon (IFN) regulatory factor (IRF) 3 after Toll-like receptor 3 or 4 stimulation, or viral infection. HO-1–deficient macrophages show reduced expression of IFN-β and of primary IRF3 target genes encoding RANTES, IP-10 and MCP-1. In the presence of polyI:C, myeloid HO-1 knockout mice infected with Listeria monocytogenes, a model dependent on IFN-β production, showed enhanced bacterial clearance and survival, whereas control mice succumbed to infection. Moreover, after induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, mice with myeloid-specific HO-1 deficiency developed a higher incidence and an exacerbated, nonremitting clinical disease correlating with persistent activation of antigen-presenting cells, enhanced infiltration of Th17 cells, and a nonregressing myelin-specific T cell reactivity. Notably, these defects were rectified by exogenous administration of IFN-β, confirming that HO-1 functions directly upstream of this critical immune pathway. These results uncover a novel direct function for myeloid HO-1 in the regulation of IFN-β production, establishing HO-1 as a critical early mediator of the innate immune response.
PMCID: PMC2715044  PMID: 19398754

Results 1-25 (54)