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2.  In Vitro Evolution of Allergy Vaccine Candidates, with Maintained Structure, but Reduced B Cell and T Cell Activation Capacity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24558.
Allergy and asthma to cat (Felis domesticus) affects about 10% of the population in affluent countries. Immediate allergic symptoms are primarily mediated via IgE antibodies binding to B cell epitopes, whereas late phase inflammatory reactions are mediated via activated T cell recognition of allergen-specific T cell epitopes. Allergen-specific immunotherapy relieves symptoms and is the only treatment inducing a long-lasting protection by induction of protective immune responses. The aim of this study was to produce an allergy vaccine designed with the combined features of attenuated T cell activation, reduced anaphylactic properties, retained molecular integrity and induction of efficient IgE blocking IgG antibodies for safer and efficacious treatment of patients with allergy and asthma to cat. The template gene coding for rFel d 1 was used to introduce random mutations, which was subsequently expressed in large phage libraries. Despite accumulated mutations by up to 7 rounds of iterative error-prone PCR and biopanning, surface topology and structure was essentially maintained using IgE-antibodies from cat allergic patients for phage enrichment. Four candidates were isolated, displaying similar or lower IgE binding, reduced anaphylactic activity as measured by their capacity to induce basophil degranulation and, importantly, a significantly lower T cell reactivity in lymphoproliferative assays compared to the original rFel d 1. In addition, all mutants showed ability to induce blocking antibodies in immunized mice.The approach presented here provides a straightforward procedure to generate a novel type of allergy vaccines for safer and efficacious treatment of allergic patients.
PMCID: PMC3172221  PMID: 21931754
3.  Migration of antibody secreting cells towards CXCL12 depends on the isotype that forms the BCR 
European journal of immunology  2008;38(11):3167-3177.
Truncation of the cytoplasmic tail of membrane-bound IgE in vivo results in lower serum IgE levels, decreased numbers of IgE-secreting plasma cells and the abrogation of specific secondary immune responses. Here we present mouse strain KN1 that expresses a chimeric ε-γ1 BCR, consisting of the extracellular domains of the ε gene and the trans-membrane and cytoplasmic domains of the γ1 gene. Thus, differences in the IgE immune response of KN1 mice reflect the influence of the “γ1-mediated signalling” of mIgE bearing B cells. KN1 mice show an increased serum IgE level, resulting from an elevated number of IgE-secreting cells. Although the primary IgE immune response in KN1 mice is inconspicuous, the secondary response is far more robust. Most strikingly, IgE-antibody secreting cells with “γ1-signalling history” migrate more efficiently towards the chemokine CXCL12, which guides plasmablasts to plasma cell niches, than IgE-antibody secreting cells with WT “ε-signalling history”. We conclude that IgE plasmablasts have an intrinsic, lower chance to contribute to the long-lived plasma cell pool than IgG1 plasmablasts.
PMCID: PMC2967815  PMID: 18925577
B cells; Chemokines; Immunoglobulins; Knockout mice; Memory cells
4.  Targeting the Extracellular Membrane-Proximal Domain of Membrane-Bound IgE by Passive Immunization Blocks IgE Synthesis In Vivo1 
The classical allergic reaction starts seconds or minutes after Ag contact and is committed by Abs produced by a special subset of B lymphocytes. These Abs belong to the IgE subclass and are responsible for Type I hyperreactivity reactions. Treatment of allergic diseases with humanized anti-IgE Abs leads primarily to a decrease of serum IgE levels. As a consequence, the number of high-affinity IgE receptors on mast cells and basophils decreases, leading to a lower excitability of the effector cells. The biological mechanism behind anti-IgE therapy remains partly speculative; however, it is likely that these Abs also interact with membrane IgE (mIgE) on B cells and possibly interfere with IgE production. In the present work, we raised a mouse mAb directed exclusively against the extracellular membrane-proximal domain of mIgE. The interaction between the monoclonal anti-mIgE Ab and mIgE induces receptor-mediated apoptosis in vitro. Passive immunization experiments lead to a block of newly synthesized specific IgEs during a parallel application of recombinant Bet v1a, the major birch pollen allergen. The decrease of allergen-specific serum IgE might be related to tolerance-inducing mechanisms stopping mIgE-displaying B cells in their proliferation and differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2959155  PMID: 18390733
5.  Display of E. coli Alkaline Phosphatase pIII or pVIII Fusions on Phagemid Surfaces Reveals Monovalent Decoration with Active Molecules 
Active alkaline phosphatase of Escherichia coli (PhoA, EC was displayed via the leucine zipper element of the Jun-Fos heterodimer on the surface of filamentous phage and the kinetic parameters Km and kcat were determined. The phoA gene was cloned downstream of fos while jun was inserted upstream of pIII or pVIII, alternatively, in the pJuFo phagemid vector. Both fusion genes are regulated by independent lacZ promoters. PhoA displayed on the phagemid pIII surface exhibited a Km of 11.2 µM with 4-nitrophenyl phosphate as substrate, which is consistent with data published for soluble PhoA. Based on these data we calculated the decoration of pJuFo phagemid with PhoA using the minor and major coat proteins pIII and pVIII as fusion partners under variable inducing conditions. We found that, even if the promoters are fully induced at a concentration of 1000 µM IPTG, the phagemids display maximally one copy of PhoA-Fos-Jun-coat protein fusion, irrespective of whether the protein is presented via pIII or pVIII. However, since PhoA is displayed in a native-like fashion, as deduced from the kinetic parameters of the enzymatic reaction, the pJuFo technology provides a versatile tool for the functional screening of complex cDNA libraries displayed on the phagemids' surface.
PMCID: PMC2570559  PMID: 18949073
6.  GATA3-Driven Th2 Responses Inhibit TGF-β1–Induced FOXP3 Expression and the Formation of Regulatory T Cells 
PLoS Biology  2007;5(12):e329.
Transcription factors act in concert to induce lineage commitment towards Th1, Th2, or T regulatory (Treg) cells, and their counter-regulatory mechanisms were shown to be critical for polarization between Th1 and Th2 phenotypes. FOXP3 is an essential transcription factor for natural, thymus-derived (nTreg) and inducible Treg (iTreg) commitment; however, the mechanisms regulating its expression are as yet unknown. We describe a mechanism controlling iTreg polarization, which is overruled by the Th2 differentiation pathway. We demonstrated that interleukin 4 (IL-4) present at the time of T cell priming inhibits FOXP3. This inhibitory mechanism was also confirmed in Th2 cells and in T cells of transgenic mice overexpressing GATA-3 in T cells, which are shown to be deficient in transforming growth factor (TGF)-β–mediated FOXP3 induction. This inhibition is mediated by direct binding of GATA3 to the FOXP3 promoter, which represses its transactivation process. Therefore, this study provides a new understanding of tolerance development, controlled by a type 2 immune response. IL-4 treatment in mice reduces iTreg cell frequency, highlighting that therapeutic approaches that target IL-4 or GATA3 might provide new preventive strategies facilitating tolerance induction particularly in Th2-mediated diseases, such as allergy.
Author Summary
Specific immune responses against foreign or autologous antigens are driven by specialized epitope-specific T cells, whose numbers expand upon recognition of antigen found on professional antigen-presenting cells. The subsequent maturation process involves the differentiation of certain T cell phenotypes such as pro-inflammatory cells (Th1, Th2, Th17) or regulatory T (Treg) cells, which serve to keep the immune response in check. The current study focuses on the role of two key transcription factors—FOXP3 and GATA3—in controlling the commitment of these cells. We demonstrate that the Th2 cytokine IL-4 inhibits the induction of FOXP3 and thus inhibits the generation of inducible Treg cells. We show that IL-4–induced GATA3 mediates FOXP3 inhibition by directly binding to a GATA element in the FOXP3 promoter. We hypothesize that therapeutic agents aimed at neutralizing IL-4 could be a novel strategy to facilitate inducible Treg cell generation and thus promotion of tolerance in allergies and other Th2-dominated diseases.
It is shown that Th2 responses prevent the generation of inducible Tregs. This is mediated by IL-4 induction of GATA3, which binds directly to and represses the FOXP3 promoter. This mechanism is likely to be relevant in the induction of immunotolerance, particularly in allergic diseases.
PMCID: PMC2222968  PMID: 18162042
7.  Identification of Borrelia burgdorferi Ribosomal Protein L25 by the Phage Surface Display Method and Evaluation of the Protein's Value for Serodiagnosis 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(10):3778-3780.
The phage surface display technique was used to identify Borrelia burgdorferi antigens. By affinity selection with immunoglobulin G from pooled sera of six Lyme borreliosis (LB) patients, the ribosomal protein L25 was identified. The diagnostic value of L25 was investigated by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, using sera from 80 LB patients and 75 controls, and the use of the protein resulted in a specificity of 99% and a 23% sensitivity, which qualify L25 as a useful antigen when combined with others.
PMCID: PMC1594769  PMID: 17021109
8.  Immune Responses in Healthy and Allergic Individuals Are Characterized by a Fine Balance between Allergen-specific T Regulatory 1 and T Helper 2 Cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2004;199(11):1567-1575.
The mechanisms by which immune responses to nonpathogenic environmental antigens lead to either allergy or nonharmful immunity are unknown. Single allergen-specific T cells constitute a very small fraction of the whole CD4+ T cell repertoire and can be isolated from the peripheral blood of humans according to their cytokine profile. Freshly purified interferon-γ–, interleukin (IL)-4–, and IL-10–producing allergen-specific CD4+ T cells display characteristics of T helper cell (Th)1-, Th2-, and T regulatory (Tr)1–like cells, respectively. Tr1 cells consistently represent the dominant subset specific for common environmental allergens in healthy individuals; in contrast, there is a high frequency of allergen-specific IL-4–secreting T cells in allergic individuals. Tr1 cells use multiple suppressive mechanisms, IL-10 and TGF-β as secreted cytokines, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 and programmed death 1 as surface molecules. Healthy and allergic individuals exhibit all three allergen-specific subsets in different proportions, indicating that a change in the dominant subset may lead to allergy development or recovery. Accordingly, blocking the suppressor activity of Tr1 cells or increasing Th2 cell frequency enhances allergen-specific Th2 cell activation ex vivo. These results indicate that the balance between allergen-specific Tr1 cells and Th2 cells may be decisive in the development of allergy.
PMCID: PMC2211782  PMID: 15173208
peripheral tolerance; allergens; suppression; interleukins; immune regulation
9.  Conidial Hydrophobins of Aspergillus fumigatus 
The surface of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia, the first structure recognized by the host immune system, is covered by rodlets. We report that this outer cell wall layer contains two hydrophobins, RodAp and RodBp, which are found as highly insoluble complexes. The RODA gene was previously characterized, and ΔrodA conidia do not display a rodlet layer (N. Thau, M. Monod, B. Crestani, C. Rolland, G. Tronchin, J. P. Latgé, and S. Paris, Infect. Immun. 62:4380-4388, 1994). The RODB gene was cloned and disrupted. RodBp was highly homologous to RodAp and different from DewAp of A. nidulans. ΔrodB conidia had a rodlet layer similar to that of the wild-type conidia. Therefore, unlike RodAp, RodBp is not required for rodlet formation. The surface of ΔrodA conidia is granular; in contrast, an amorphous layer is present at the surface of the conidia of the ΔrodA ΔrodB double mutant. These data show that RodBp plays a role in the structure of the conidial cell wall. Moreover, rodletless mutants are more sensitive to killing by alveolar macrophages, suggesting that RodAp or the rodlet structure is involved in the resistance to host cells.
PMCID: PMC150101  PMID: 12620846
10.  Phage Display Based Cloning of Proteins Interacting with the Cytoplasmic Tail of Membrane Immunoglobulins 
Developmental Immunology  2002;9(3):127-134.
The reduced quantity and quality of serum immunoglobulins (sIgs) in mutant mice expressing truncated cytoplasmic tails of IgE and IgG1 indicate an active role for the cytoplasmic domains of mIgG1 and mIgE. We used phage display technology to identify candidate proteins able to interact with the cytoplasmic tail of mIgE. Using a murine cDNA B cell library displayed on the surface of phage as prey and the 28 amino acid long cytoplasmic tail of IgE as bait, we isolated phage encoding the murine hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1). Surface plasmon resonance analysis measurements confirmed affinity of HPK1 to the mIgE cytoplasmic tail and revealed association to other immunoglobulin isotypes as well. Immunoprecipitation experiments, using lysates from two B cell lines expressing nitrophenyl (NP) specific mIgE molecules showed co-precipitation of IgE and HPK1. The interaction of HPK1 with the cytoplasmic domains of membrane immunoglobulins indicate an active role of the tails as part of an isotype specific signal transduction, independent from the Igα/Igβ heterodimers, and may represent a missing link to upstream regulatory elements of HPK1 activation.
PMCID: PMC2276102  PMID: 12885153
11.  Humoral and Cell-mediated Autoimmune Reactions to Human Acidic Ribosomal P2 Protein in Individuals Sensitized to Aspergillus fumigatus P2 Protein  
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1999;189(9):1507-1512.
A panel of cDNAs encoding allergenic proteins was isolated from an Aspergillus fumigatus cDNA library displayed on the surface of filamentous phage. Solid phase–immobilized serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) from A. fumigatus–allergic individuals was used to enrich phage displaying IgE-binding molecules. One of the cDNAs encoded a 11.1-kD protein that was identified as acidic ribosomal phosphoprotein type 2 (P2 protein). The allergen, formally termed rAsp f 8, shares >62% sequence identity and >84% sequence homology to corresponding eukaryotic P2 proteins, including human P2 protein. The sequences encoding human and fungal P2 protein were subcloned, expressed in Escherichia coli as His6-tagged fusion proteins, and purified by Ni2+–chelate affinity chromatography. Both recombinant P2 proteins were recognized by IgE antibodies from allergic individuals sensitized to the A. fumigatus P2 protein and elicited strong type 1–specific skin reactions in these individuals. Moreover, human and fungal P2 proteins induced proliferative responses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of A. fumigatus– allergic subjects sensitized to the fungal P2 protein. These data provide strong evidence for in vitro and in vivo humoral and cell-mediated autoreactivity to human P2 protein in patients suffering from chronic A. fumigatus allergy.
PMCID: PMC2193053  PMID: 10224291
phage display; cDNA libraries; IgE; allergens; autoimmunity
12.  Dog saliva – an important source of dog allergens 
Allergy  2013;68(5):585-592.
Allergy to dog (Canis familiaris) is a worldwide common cause of asthma and allergic rhinitis. However, dander extract in routine diagnostics is not an optimal predictor of IgE-mediated dog allergy. Our objective was to evaluate saliva as an allergen source for improved diagnostics of allergy to dog.
IgE-binding proteins in dog saliva and dander extract were analysed by immunoblot and mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) using pooled or individual sera from dog-allergic patients (n = 13). Sera from 59 patients IgE positive to dander and 55 patients IgE negative to dander but with symptoms to dog were analysed for IgE against saliva and dander by ELISA. Basophil stimulation with dog saliva and dander extract was measured by flow cytometry among three dog-allergic patients. Additionally, IgE-binding protein profiles of saliva from different breeds were investigated by immunoblot.
Greater number and diversity of IgE-binding proteins was found in saliva compared to dander extract and varied among dog breeds. In saliva, Can f 1, 2, 3 and 6 were identified but also four new saliva allergen candidates. The majority of the 59 dog dander–positive sera (n = 44) were IgE positive to dog saliva. Among patients IgE negative to dander, but with symptoms to dog, 20% were IgE positive to saliva. The biological activity of saliva was confirmed by basophil degranulation.
Dog saliva is an allergen source for improved diagnostics of dog allergy. The IgE-binding protein profile of saliva from different dogs varies.
PMCID: PMC3652036  PMID: 23464525
allergen; Canis familiaris; diagnosis; dog allergy; saliva

Results 1-12 (12)