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1.  Chitinase 3-like 1 Regulates Cellular and Tissue Responses via IL-13 Receptor α2 
Cell reports  2013;4(4):830-841.
Members of the 18 glycosyl hydrolase (GH 18) gene family have been conserved over species and time and are dysregulated in inflammatory, infectious, remodeling, and neoplastic disorders. This is particularly striking for the prototypic chitinase-like protein chitinase 3-like 1 (Chi3l1), which plays a critical role in antipathogen responses where it augments bacterial killing while stimulating disease tolerance by controlling cell death, inflammation, and remodeling. However, receptors that mediate the effects of GH 18 moieties have not been defined. Here, we demonstrate that Chi3l1 binds to interleukin-13 receptor α2 (IL-13Rα2) and that Chi3l1, IL-13Rα2, and IL-13 are in a multimeric complex. We also demonstrate that Chi3l1 activates macrophage mitogen-activated protein kinase, protein kinase B/AKT, and Wnt/β-catenin signaling and regulates oxidant injury, apoptosis, pyroptosis, inflammasome activation, antibacterial responses, melanoma metastasis, and TGF-β1 production via IL-13Rα2-dependent mechanisms. Thus, IL-13Rα2 is a GH 18 receptor that plays a critical role in Chi3l1 effector responses.
PMCID: PMC3988532  PMID: 23972995
2.  Short Palate, Lung, and Nasal Epithelial Clone–1 Is a Tightly Regulated Airway Sensor in Innate and Adaptive Immunity 
Short palate, lung, and nasal epithelial clone–1 (SPLUNC1) is a protein abundantly expressed by the respiratory epithelium of the proximal lower respiratory tract, a site of great environmental exposure. Previous studies showed that SPLUNC1 exerts antimicrobial effects, regulates airway surface liquid and mucociliary clearance, and suppresses allergic airway inflammation. We studied SPLUNC1 to gain insights into its role in host defense. In the lower respiratory tract, concentrations of SPLUNC1 are high under basal conditions. In models of pneumonia caused by common respiratory pathogens, and in Th1-induced and Th2-induced airway inflammation, SPLUNC1 secretion is markedly reduced. Pathogen-associated molecular patterns and IFN-γ act directly on airway epithelial cells to inhibit SPLUNC1 mRNA expression. Thus, SPLUNC1 is quickly suppressed during infection, in response to an insult on the epithelial surface. These experiments highlight the finely tuned fluctuations of SPLUNC1 in response to exposures in the respiratory tract, and suggest that the loss of SPLUNC1 is a crucial feature of host defense across air-breathing animal species.
PMCID: PMC3727874  PMID: 23470624
SPLUNC1; inflammation; innate; immunity; mucosa
3.  Lung Cancer: Epidemiology, Etiology, and Prevention 
Clinics in chest medicine  2011;32(4):10.1016/j.ccm.2011.09.001.
PMCID: PMC3864624  PMID: 22054876
Lung cancer; Tobacco smoking; Epidemiology; Carcinogens
4.  Role of Chitin and Chitinase/Chitinase-Like Proteins in Inflammation, Tissue Remodeling, and Injury 
Annual review of physiology  2011;73:10.1146/annurev-physiol-012110-142250.
The 18 glycosyl hydrolase family of chitinases is an ancient gene family that is widely expressed from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. In mammals, despite the absence of endogenous chitin, a number of chitinases and chitinase-like proteins (C/CLPs) have been identified. However, their roles have only recently begun to be elucidated. Acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase) inhibits chitin-induced innate inflammation; augments chitin-free, allergen-induced Th2 inflammation; and mediates effector functions of IL-13. The CLPs BRP-39/YKL-40 (also termed chitinase 3-like 1) inhibit oxidant-induced lung injury, augments adaptive Th2 immunity, regulates apoptosis, stimulates alternative macrophage activation, and contributes to fibrosis and wound healing. In accord with these findings, levels of YKL-40 in the lung and serum are increased in asthma and other inflammatory and remodeling disorders and often correlate with disease severity. Our understanding of the roles of C/CLPs in inflammation, tissue remodeling, and tissue injury in health and disease is reviewed below.
PMCID: PMC3864643  PMID: 21054166
asthma; fibrosis; BRP-39/YKL-40; AMCase; chitotriosidase
5.  Chitinase-like Proteins in Lung Injury, Repair, and Metastasis 
This report explains how our studies of asthma and Th2 inflammation led us to investigate the roles of chitinase-like proteins (CLPs) in lung injury and repair and puts forth an overall hypothesis that can explain the roles that these moieties play in biology and a hypothesis regarding the ways that dysregulated CLP expression may contribute to the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases. We test this hypothesis by assessing the contributions of the CLP breast regression protein (BRP)-39 in the pathogenesis of malignant melanoma metastasis to the lung.
PMCID: PMC3359113  PMID: 22550243
BRP-39/YKL-40; inflammation; injury; repair; metastasis
6.  RIG-like Helicase Innate Immunity Inhibits Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Tissue Responses via a Type I IFN–dependent Mechanism 
Rationale: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) regulates vascular, inflammatory, remodeling, and cell death responses. It plays a critical role in normal pulmonary physiology, and VEGF excess and deficiency have been implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respectively. Although viruses are an important cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations and innate responses play an important role in these exacerbations, the effects of antiviral responses on VEGF homeostasis have not been evaluated.
Objectives: We hypothesized that antiviral innate immunity regulates VEGF tissue responses.
Methods: We compared the effects of transgenic VEGF165 in mice treated with viral pathogen–associated molecular pattern polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], mice treated with live virus, and control mice.
Measurements and Main Results: Transgenic VEGF stimulated angiogenesis, edema, inflammation, and mucin accumulation. Each of these was abrogated by poly(I:C). These inhibitory effects were dose dependent, noted when poly(I:C) was administered before and after transgene activation, and mediated by a Toll-like receptor-3–independent and RIG-like helicase (RLH)– and type I IFN receptor–dependent pathway. VEGF stimulated the expression of VEGF receptor-1 and poly(I:C) inhibited this stimulation. Poly(I:C) also inhibited the ability of VEGF to activate extracellular signal–regulated kinase-1, Akt, focal adhesion kinase, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and aeroallergen-induced adaptive helper T-cell type 2 inflammation. Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus also inhibited VEGF-induced angiogenesis.
Conclusions: These studies demonstrate that poly(I:C) and respiratory viruses inhibit VEGF-induced tissue responses and adaptive helper T-cell type 2 inflammation and highlight the importance of a RLH- and type I IFN receptor–dependent pathway(s) in these regulatory events. They define a novel link between VEGF and antiviral and RLH innate immune responses and a novel pathway that regulates pulmonary VEGF activity.
PMCID: PMC3114061  PMID: 21278304
RIG-like helicase; mitochondrial antiviral signaling molecule; influenza virus; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
7.  Cigarette smoke selectively enhances viral PAMP– and virus-induced pulmonary innate immune and remodeling responses in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2008;118(8):2771-2784.
Viral infections have more severe consequences in patients who have been exposed to cigarette smoke (CS) than in those not exposed to CS. For example, in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), viruses cause more severe disease exacerbation, heightened inflammation, and accelerated loss of lung function compared with other causes of disease exacerbation. Symptomatology and mortality in influenza-infected smokers is also enhanced. To test the hypothesis that these outcomes are caused by CS-induced alterations in innate immunity, we defined the effects of CS on pathogen-associated molecular pattern–induced (PAMP-induced) pulmonary inflammation and remodeling in mice. CS was found to enhance parenchymal and airway inflammation and apoptosis induced by the viral PAMP poly(I:C). CS and poly(I:C) also induced accelerated emphysema and airway fibrosis. The effects of a combination of CS and poly(I:C) were associated with early induction of type I IFN and IL-18, later induction of IL-12/IL-23 p40 and IFN-γ, and the activation of double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) and eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF2α). Further analysis using mice lacking specific proteins indicated a role for TLR3-dependent and -independent pathways as well as a pathway or pathways that are dependent on mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS), IL-18Rα, IFN-γ, and PKR. Importantly, CS enhanced the effects of influenza but not other agonists of innate immunity in a similar fashion. These studies demonstrate that CS selectively augments the airway and alveolar inflammatory and remodeling responses induced in the murine lung by viral PAMPs and viruses.
PMCID: PMC2483678  PMID: 18654661
8.  Amino Acids in the Basic Domain of Epstein-Barr Virus ZEBRA Protein Play Distinct Roles in DNA Binding, Activation of Early Lytic Gene Expression, and Promotion of Viral DNA Replication 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(18):9115-9133.
The ZEBRA protein of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) drives the viral lytic cycle cascade. The capacity of ZEBRA to recognize specific DNA sequences resides in amino acids 178 to 194, a region in which 9 of 17 residues are either lysine or arginine. To define the basic domain residues essential for activity, a series of 46 single-amino-acid-substitution mutants were examined for their ability to bind ZIIIB DNA, a high-affinity ZEBRA binding site, and for their capacity to activate early and late EBV lytic cycle gene expression. DNA binding was obligatory for the protein to activate the lytic cascade. Nineteen mutants that failed to bind DNA were unable to disrupt latency. A single acidic replacement of a basic amino acid destroyed DNA binding and the biologic activity of the protein. Four mutants that bound weakly to DNA were defective at stimulating the expression of Rta, the essential first target of ZEBRA in lytic cycle activation. Four amino acids, R183, A185, C189, and R190, are likely to contact ZIIIB DNA specifically, since alanine or valine substitutions at these positions drastically weakened or eliminated DNA binding. Twenty-three mutants were proficient in binding to ZIIIB DNA. Some DNA binding-proficient mutants were refractory to supershift by BZ-1 monoclonal antibody (epitope amino acids 214 to 230), likely as the result of the increased solubility of the mutants. Mutants competent to bind DNA could be separated into four functional groups: the wild-type group (eight mutants), a group defective at activating Rta (five mutants, all with mutations at the S186 site), a group defective at activating EA-D (three mutants with the R179A, S186T, and K192A mutations), and a group specifically defective at activating late gene expression (seven mutants). Three late mutants, with a Y180A, Y180E, or K188A mutation, were defective at stimulating EBV DNA replication. This catalogue of point mutants reveals that basic domain amino acids play distinct functions in binding to DNA, in activating Rta, in stimulating early lytic gene expression, and in promoting viral DNA replication and viral late gene expression. These results are discussed in relationship to the recently solved crystal structure of ZEBRA bound to an AP-1 site.
PMCID: PMC1563939  PMID: 16940523
9.  N-linked Glycosylation Is Required for Optimal Function of Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus–encoded, but Not Cellular, Interleukin 6 
Kaposi's sarcoma–associated herpesvirus interleukin-6 (vIL-6) is a structural and functional homologue of the human cytokine IL-6 (hIL-6). hIL-6 and vIL-6 exhibit similar biological functions and both act via the gp130 receptor subunit to activate the Janus tyrosine kinase (JAK)1 and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)1/3 pathway. Here we show that vIL-6 is N-linked glycosylated at N78 and N89 and demonstrate that N-linked glycosylation at site N89 of vIL-6 markedly enhances binding to gp130, signaling through the JAK1-STAT1/3 pathway and functions in a cytokine-dependent cell proliferation bioassay. Although hIL-6 is also N-glycosylated at N73 and multiply O-glycosylated, neither N-linked nor O-linked glycosylation is necessary for IL-6 receptor α–dependent binding to gp130 or signaling through JAK1-STAT1/3. As distinct from vIL-6, unglycosylated hIL-6 is as potent as glycosylated hIL-6 in stimulating B cell proliferation. These findings highlight distinct functional roles of N-linked glycosylation in viral and cellular IL-6.
PMCID: PMC2211829  PMID: 14970177
IL-6; viral proteins; glycosylation; KSHV; cytokine

Results 1-9 (9)