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1.  Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting proteins direct T cell–mediated cytolysis of latently HIV-infected cells 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  null;125(11):4077-4090.
Enhancement of HIV-specific immunity is likely required to eliminate latent HIV infection. Here, we have developed an immunotherapeutic modality aimed to improve T cell–mediated clearance of HIV-1–infected cells. Specifically, we employed Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART) proteins, which are bispecific, antibody-based molecules that can bind 2 distinct cell-surface molecules simultaneously. We designed DARTs with a monovalent HIV-1 envelope-binding (Env-binding) arm that was derived from broadly binding, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity–mediating antibodies known to bind to HIV-infected target cells coupled to a monovalent CD3 binding arm designed to engage cytolytic effector T cells (referred to as HIVxCD3 DARTs). Thus, these DARTs redirected polyclonal T cells to specifically engage with and kill Env-expressing cells, including CD4+ T cells infected with different HIV-1 subtypes, thereby obviating the requirement for HIV-specific immunity. Using lymphocytes from patients on suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART), we demonstrated that DARTs mediate CD8+ T cell clearance of CD4+ T cells that are superinfected with the HIV-1 strain JR-CSF or infected with autologous reservoir viruses isolated from HIV-infected–patient resting CD4+ T cells. Moreover, DARTs mediated CD8+ T cell clearance of HIV from resting CD4+ T cell cultures following induction of latent virus expression. Combined with HIV latency reversing agents, HIVxCD3 DARTs have the potential to be effective immunotherapeutic agents to clear latent HIV-1 reservoirs in HIV-infected individuals.
PMCID: PMC4639974  PMID: 26413868
2.  Structural Analysis of the UBA Domain of X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein Reveals Different Surfaces for Ubiquitin-Binding and Self-Association 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28511.
Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) belong to a pivotal antiapoptotic protein family that plays a crucial role in tumorigenesis, cancer progression, chemoresistance and poor patient-survival. X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) is a prominent member of IAPs attracting intense research because it has been demonstrated to be a physiological inhibitor of caspases and apoptosis. Recently, an evolutionarily conserved ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domain was identified in XIAP and a number of RING domain-bearing IAPs. This has placed the IAPs in the group of ubiquitin binding proteins. Here, we explore the three-dimensional structure of the XIAP UBA domain (XIAP-UBA) and how it interacts with mono-ubiquitin and diubiquitin conjugates.
Principal Findings
The solution structure of the XIAP-UBA domain was determined by NMR spectroscopy. XIAP-UBA adopts a typical UBA domain fold of three tightly packed α-helices but with an additional N-terminal 310 helix. The XIAP-UBA binds mono-ubiquitin as well as Lys48-linked and linear-linked diubiquitins at low-micromolar affinities. NMR analysis of the XIAP-UBA–ubiquitin interaction reveals that it involves the classical hydrophobic patches surrounding Ile44 of ubiquitin and the conserved MGF/LV motif surfaces on XIAP-UBA. Furthermore, dimerization of XIAP-UBA was observed. Mapping of the self-association surface of XIAP-UBA reveals that the dimerization interface is formed by residues in the N-terminal 310 helix, helix α1 and helix α2, separate from the ubiquitin-binding surface.
Our results provide the first structural information of XIAP-UBA and map its interaction with mono-ubiquitin, Lys48-linked and linear-linked diubiquitins. The notion that XIAP-UBA uses different surfaces for ubiquitin-binding and self-association provides a plausible model to explain the reported selectivity of XIAP in binding polyubiquitin chains with different linkages.
PMCID: PMC3240630  PMID: 22194841
3.  Anti-tumor activity and toxicokinetics analysis of MGAH22, an anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody with enhanced Fcγ receptor binding properties 
Breast Cancer Research : BCR  2011;13(6):R123.
Response to trastuzumab in metastatic breast cancer correlates with expression of the high binding variant (158V) of the activating Fcγ receptor IIIA (CD16A). We engineered MGAH22, a chimeric anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody with specificity and affinity similar to trastuzumab, with an Fc domain engineered for increased binding to both alleles of human CD16A.
MGAH22 was compared to an identical anti-HER2 mAb except for a wild type Fc domain. Antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) assays were performed with HER2-expressing cancer cells as targets and human PBMC or purified NK cells as effectors. Xenograft studies were conducted in mice with wild type murine FcγRs; in mice lacking murine CD16; or in mice lacking murine CD16 but transgenic for human CD16A-158F, the low-binding variant. The latter model reproduces the differential binding between wild type and the Fc-optimized mAb for human CD16A. The JIMT-1 human breast tumor line, derived from a patient that progressed on trastuzumab therapy, was used in these studies. Single and repeat dose toxicology studies with MGAH22 administered intravenously at high dose were conducted in cynomolgus monkeys.
The optimized Fc domain confers enhanced ADCC against all HER2-positive tumor cells tested, including cells resistant to trastuzumab's anti-proliferative activity or expressing low HER2 levels. The greatest improvement occurs with effector cells isolated from donors homozygous or heterozygous for CD16A-158F, the low-binding allele. MGAH22 demonstrates increased activity against HER2-expressing tumors in mice transgenic for human CD16A-158F. In single and repeat-dose toxicology studies in cynomolgus monkeys, a species with a HER2 expression pattern comparable to that in humans and Fcγ receptors that exhibit enhanced binding to the optimized Fc domain, MGAH22 was well tolerated at all doses tested (15-150 mg/kg) and exhibited pharmacokinetic parameters similar to that of other anti-HER2 antibodies. Induction of cytokine release by MGAH22 in vivo or in vitro was similar to that induced by the corresponding wild type mAb or trastuzumab.
The data support the clinical development of MGAH22, which may have utility in patients with low HER2 expressing tumors or carrying the CD16A low-binding allele.
PMCID: PMC3326565  PMID: 22129105
4.  Backbone and side-chain 1H, 13C and 15N assignments of the ubiquitin-associated domain of human X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein 
Biomolecular Nmr Assignments  2009;4(1):13-15.
X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), a leading member of the family of inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins, is considered as the most potent and versatile inhibitor of caspases and apoptosis. It has been reported that XIAP is frequently overexpressed in cancer and its expression level is implicated in contributing to tumorigenesis, disease progression, chemoresistance and poor patient-survival. Therefore, XIAP is one of the leading targets in drug development for cancer therapy. Recently, based on bioinformatics study, a previously unrecognized but evolutionarily conserved ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domain in IAPs was identified. The UBA domain is found to be essential for the oncogenic potential of IAP, to maintain endothelial cell survival and to protect cells from TNF-α-induced apoptosis. Moreover, the UBA domain is required for XIAP to activate NF-κB. In the present study, we report the near complete resonance assignments of the UBA domain-containing region of human XIAP protein. Secondary structure prediction based on chemical shift index (CSI) analysis reveals that the protein is predominately α-helical, which is consistent with the structures of known UBA proteins.
PMCID: PMC2946540  PMID: 19916060
Ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domain; X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein (XIAP); NMR spectroscopy; Resonance assignment
5.  Telomerase Is Involved in IL-7-Mediated Differential Survival of Naive and Memory CD4+ T Cells1 
IL-7 plays an essential role in T cell maintenance and survival. The survival effect of IL-7 is thought to be mediated through regulation of Bcl2 family proteins. After a comparative analysis of IL-7-induced growth and cell death of human naive and memory CD4+ T cells, we observed that more memory CD4+ T cells underwent cell division and proceeded to apoptosis than naive cells in response to IL-7. However, IL-7-induced expressions of Bcl2 family members (Bcl2, Bcl-xL, Bax, and Bad) were similar between naive and memory cells. Instead, we found that IL-7 induced higher levels of telomerase activity in naive cells than in memory cells, and the levels of IL-7-induced telomerase activity had a significant inverse correlation with cell death in CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, we showed that reducing expression of telomerase reverse transcriptase and telomerase activity significantly increased cell death of IL-7-cultured CD4+ T cells. Together, these findings demonstrate that telomerase is involved in IL-7-mediated differential survival of naive and memory CD4+ T cells.
PMCID: PMC2367009  PMID: 18322183
6.  Mammalian Sir2 Homolog SIRT3 Regulates Global Mitochondrial Lysine Acetylation▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(24):8807-8814.
Homologs of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sir2 protein, sirtuins, promote longevity in many organisms. Studies of the sirtuin SIRT3 have so far been limited to cell culture systems. Here, we investigate the localization and function of SIRT3 in vivo. We show that endogenous mouse SIRT3 is a soluble mitochondrial protein. To address the function and relevance of SIRT3 in the regulation of energy metabolism, we generated and phenotypically characterized SIRT3 knockout mice. SIRT3-deficient animals exhibit striking mitochondrial protein hyperacetylation, suggesting that SIRT3 is a major mitochondrial deacetylase. In contrast, no mitochondrial hyperacetylation was detectable in mice lacking the two other mitochondrial sirtuins, SIRT4 and SIRT5. Surprisingly, despite this biochemical phenotype, SIRT3-deficient mice are metabolically unremarkable under basal conditions and show normal adaptive thermogenesis, a process previously suggested to involve SIRT3. Overall, our results extend the recent finding of lysine acetylation of mitochondrial proteins and demonstrate that SIRT3 has evolved to control reversible lysine acetylation in this organelle.
PMCID: PMC2169418  PMID: 17923681
7.  Accelerated Telomere Erosion Is Associated with a Declining Immune Function of Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Disease Patients1 
Caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients endure chronic stress associated with a decline of immune function. To assess the psychological and immunological changes of caregivers, we compared depressive symptoms, PBMC composition, in vitro activation-induced proliferation and cytokine production, and telomere length and telomerase activity of 82 individuals (41 caregivers and 41 age- and gender-matched controls). We found depressive symptoms were significantly higher in caregivers than in controls (p < 0.001). Correspondingly, caregivers had significantly lower T cell proliferation but higher production of immune-regulatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-10) than controls in response to stimulation in vitro. We examined the impact of these changes on cellular replicative lifespan and found that caregivers had significantly shorter telomere lengths in PBMC than controls (6.2 and 6.4 kb, respectively, p < 0.05) with similar shortening in isolated T cells and monocytes and that this telomere attrition in caregivers was not due to an increase of shorter telomere possessing T cell subsets in PBMC. Finally, we showed that basal telomerase activity in PBMC and T cells was significantly higher in caregivers than in controls (p < 0.0001), pointing to an unsuccessful attempt of cells to compensate the excessive loss of telomeres in caregivers. These findings demonstrate that chronic stress is associated with altered T cell function and accelerated immune cell aging as suggested by excessive telomere loss.
PMCID: PMC2262924  PMID: 17785865
8.  Krüppel-Like Factor 4 Regulates B Cell Number and Activation-Induced B Cell Proliferation1 
Krüppel-like factor 4 (Klf4) is a transcription factor and functions in regulating cell differentiation, cell growth, and cell cycle. Although Klf4 is expressed in lymphocytes, its function in lymphocytes is unknown. In this study, we report that the levels of Klf4 expression were low in pro-B cells and continuously increased in pre-B and in mature B cells. Upon activation, Klf4 was rapidly decreased in mature B cells after 2 h of activation. A modest decrease in numbers of pre-B cells in bone marrow and mature B cells in spleen was observed in Klf4-deficient mice. In the absence of Klf4, fewer B cells entered the S phase of the cell cycle and completed cell division in response to the engagement of BCR and/or CD40 in vitro. Furthermore, the delay in entering the cell cycle is associated with decreased expression of cyclin D2 in B cells that lack Klf4 expression. We then demonstrated that Klf4 directly bound to the promoter of cyclin D2 and regulated its expression. These findings demonstrate that Klf4 regulates B cell number and activation-induced B cell proliferation through directly acting on the promoter of cyclin D2.
PMCID: PMC2262926  PMID: 17878366

Results 1-8 (8)