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1.  SHP-1 As a Critical Regulator of Mycoplasma pneumoniae-Induced Inflammation in Human Asthmatic Airway Epithelial Cells 
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)  2012;188(7):10.4049/jimmunol.1100573.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease in which airway epithelial cells are the first line of defense against exposure of the airway to infectious agents. Src homology protein (SHP)-1, a protein tyrosine phosphatase, is a negative regulator of signaling pathways that are critical to the development of asthma and host defense. We hypothesize that SHP-1 function is defective in asthma, contributing to the increased inflammatory response induced by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a pathogen known to exacerbate asthma. M. pneumoniae significantly activated SHP-1 in airway epithelial cells collected from nonasthmatic subjects by bronchoscopy with airway brushing but not in cells from asthmatic subjects. In asthmatic airway epithelial cells, M. pneumoniae induced significant PI3K/Akt phosphorylation, NF-κB activation, and IL-8 production compared with nonasthmatic cells, which were reversed by SHP-1 overexpression. Conversely, SHP-1 knockdown significantly increased IL-8 production and PI3K/Akt and NF-κB activation in the setting of M. pneumoniae infection in nonasthmatic cells, but it did not exacerbate these three parameters already activated in asthmatic cells. Thus, SHP-1 plays a critical role in abrogating M. pneumoniae-induced IL-8 production in non-asthmatic airway epithelial cells through inhibition of PI3K/Akt and NF-κB activity, but it is defective in asthma, resulting in an enhanced inflammatory response to infection.
PMCID: PMC3880785  PMID: 22371396
2.  Mechanisms of Siglec-F-Induced Eosinophil Apoptosis: A Role for Caspases but Not for SHP-1, Src Kinases, NADPH Oxidase or Reactive Oxygen 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e68143.
Siglec-F and Siglec-8 are functional paralog proapoptotic cell surface receptors expressed on mouse and human eosinophils, respectively. Whereas Siglec-8 mediated death involves caspases and/or reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and mitochondrial injury, very little is known about Siglec-F-mediated signaling and apoptosis. Therefore the objective of the current experiments was to better define apoptosis pathways mediated by Siglec-F and Siglec-8. Given that Siglec-F-induced apoptosis is much less robust than Siglec-8-induced apoptosis, we hypothesized that mechanisms involved in cell death via these receptors would differ.
Consequences of engagement of Siglec-F on mouse eosinophils were studied by measuring ROS production, and by performing apoptosis assays using eosinophils from normal, hypereosinophilic, NADPH oxidase-deficient, src homology domain-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase (SHP)-1-deficient, and Lyn kinase-deficient mice. Inhibitors of caspase and Src family kinase activity were also used.
Engagement of Siglec-F induced mouse eosinophil apoptosis that was modest in magnitude and dependent on caspase activity. There was no detectable ROS generation, or any role for ROS, NADPH oxidase, SHP-1, or Src family kinases in this apoptotic process.
These data suggest that Siglec-F-mediated apoptosis is different in both magnitude and mechanisms when compared to published data on Siglec-8-mediated human eosinophil apoptosis. One likely implication of this work is that models targeting Siglec-F in vivo in mice may not provide identical mechanistic predictions for consequences of Siglec-8 targeting in vivo in humans.
PMCID: PMC3695997  PMID: 23840825
3.  SHP-1 Regulation of Mast Cell Function in Allergic Inflammation and Anaphylaxis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55763.
Allergic inflammation and severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) are important in allergen induced diseases. Bacterial products such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) are ubiquitous and can facilitate allergen induced Th2 immune responses. Phosphatase SHP-1 is critical in regulating immunological homeostasis and in allergen induced Th2 immune responses in the lung. However, the mechanisms underlying the initiation of allergic inflammation and allergen induced anaphylaxis are still not completely elucidated and it is unclear whether SHP-1 plays any role in LPS-induced airway inflammation and in allergen-induced anaphylaxis. In this study we tested the hypothesis that phosphatase SHP-1 plays an important role in allergic inflammation and anaphylaxis and determined whether its effects are through regulation of mast cell functions. SHP-1 deficient (mev/+ and mev/mev) and mast cell deficient (KitW-sh) mice were examined in their responses to LPS airway stimulation and to ovalbumin (OVA) allergen induced systemic anaphylaxis. Compared to wild type mice, mev/+ mice had significantly enhanced LPS induced airway inflammation and OVA induced anaphylactic responses, including hypothermia and clinical symptoms. These changes were mast cell dependent as KitW-sh mice had reduced responses whereas adoptive transfer of mast cells restored the responses. However, T and B cells were not involved and macrophages did not play a significant role in LPS induced airway inflammation. Interestingly, basophil differentiation from SHP-1 deficient bone marrow cells was significantly reduced. These findings provided evidence that through regulation of mast cell functions SHP-1 plays a critical role as a negative regulator in allergic inflammation and in allergen induced anaphylaxis. In addition, SHP-1 seems to be required for normal basophil development.
PMCID: PMC3563592  PMID: 23390550
4.  Dose-dependent effects of small-molecule antagonists on the genomic landscape of androgen receptor binding 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:355.
The androgen receptor plays a critical role throughout the progression of prostate cancer and is an important drug target for this disease. While chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-Seq) is becoming an essential tool for studying transcription and chromatin modification factors, it has rarely been employed in the context of drug discovery.
Here we report changes in the genome-wide AR binding landscape due to dose-dependent inhibition by drug-like small molecules using ChIP-Seq. Integration of sequence analysis, transcriptome profiling, cell viability assays and xenograft tumor growth inhibition studies enabled us to establish a direct cistrome-activity relationship for two novel potent AR antagonists. By selectively occupying the strongest binding sites, AR signaling remains active even when androgen levels are low, as is characteristic of first-line androgen ablation therapy. Coupled cistrome and transcriptome profiling upon small molecule antagonism led to the identification of a core set of AR direct effector genes that are most likely to mediate the activities of targeted agents: unbiased pathway mapping revealed that AR is a key modulator of steroid metabolism by forming a tightly controlled feedback loop with other nuclear receptor family members and this oncogenic effect can be relieved by antagonist treatment. Furthermore, we found that AR also has an extensive role in negative gene regulation, with estrogen (related) receptor likely mediating its function as a transcriptional repressor.
Our study provides a global and dynamic view of AR’s regulatory program upon antagonism, which may serve as a molecular basis for deciphering and developing AR therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3507642  PMID: 22849360
Androgen receptor; ChIP-Seq; Prostate cancer; AR antagonist; Molecular profiling
5.  Epicutaneous Exposure to Staphylococcal Superantigen Enterotoxin B Enhances Allergic Lung Inflammation via an IL-17A Dependent Mechanism 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e39032.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the initial step of the atopic march: the progression from AD to allergic rhinitis and asthma. There is a close association between skin barrier abnormalities and the development of AD and the atopic march. One of cardinal features of AD is that the lesional skin of the majority of AD patients is chronically colonized with Staphylococcus aureus with half isolates producing superantigen enterotoxin B (SEB). Although diverse roles of SEB in the pathogenesis and severity of AD have been recognized, whether SEB contributes to the dermal inflammation that drives lung inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) has not been examined. Here we show a novel role of S. aureus superantigen SEB in augmenting allergen ovalbumin (Ova) induced atopic march through an IL-17A dependent mechanism. When mice epicutaneously (EC) sensitized with allergen Ova, addition of topical SEB led to not only augmented systemic Th2 responses but also a markedly exaggerated systemic Th17/IL-17 immune environment. The ability of SEB in enhancing Th17/IL-17 was mediated through stimulating lymphocytes in spleen and draining lymph nodes to promote IL-6 production. Epicutaneous sensitization of mice with a combination of Ova and SEB significantly enhanced Ova-induced AHR and granulocytic lung inflammation than Ova allergen alone. When IL-17A was deleted genetically, the effects of SEB on augmenting lung inflammation and AHR were markedly diminished. These findings suggest that chronic heavy colonization of enterotoxin producing S. aureus in the skin of patients with atopic dermatitis may have an important role in the development of atopic march via an IL-17A dependent mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3407176  PMID: 22848348
6.  IL-13 Induces Skin Fibrosis in Atopic Dermatitis by Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin 
Skin fibrotic remodeling is a major feature in human atopic dermatitis (AD). Inflammation and tissue fibrosis are common consequences of Th2 responses. Elevated IL-13 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) have been found in the AD skin lesions. Fibrocytes can be recruited to inflamed tissues to promote wound healing and fibrosis. Dermal transgenic expression of IL-13 causes an AD-like phenotype with fibrosis and increased TSLP. However, the role of TSLP in fibrotic remodeling is unknown. In this study, we investigated the role of TSLP and fibrocytes in the generation of IL-13–induced skin fibrosis. In AD lesion, cessation of IL-13 transgene expression resulted in reduced skin inflammation but with no effect on further progression of fibrosis. This was accompanied by markedly increased CD34+/procollagen 1+ fibrocytes. Furthermore, fibrocytes express TSLP receptor (TSLPR), and TSLP directly promotes PBMC-derived fibrocytes to produce collagen. Neutralization of TSLP or genetic deletion of TSLPR in IL-13 transgenic mice resulted in a significant reduction in fibrocytes and in skin fibrosis. Furthermore, reduction of fibrosis by depletion of TSLP was independent of IL-13. Interestingly, the number of fibrocytes was highly increased in the skin samples of AD patients. These data indicate that the progression of skin fibrosis in IL-13–induced AD occurs via TSLP/TSLPR-dependent but IL-13–independent novel mechanisms by promoting fibrocyte functions.
PMCID: PMC3399513  PMID: 21576506
7.  Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Is a Key Mediator in the Development of T Cell Priming and Its Polarization to Type 1 and Type 17 T Helper Cells in the Airways 
Chronic inflammatory airway diseases including asthma are characterized by immune dysfunction to inhaled allergens. Our previous studies demonstrated that T cell priming to inhaled allergens requires LPS, which is ubiquitously present in household dust allergens. In this study, we evaluated the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the development of T cell priming and its polarization to Th1 or Th17 cells when exposed to LPS-contaminated allergens. An asthma mouse model was induced by airway sensitization with LPS-contaminated allergens and then challenged with allergens alone. Therapeutic intervention was performed during allergen sensitization. The present study showed that lung inflammation induced by sensitization with LPS-contaminated allergens was decreased in mice with homozygous disruption of the IL-17 gene; in addition, allergen-specific Th17 immune response was abolished in IL-6 knockout mice. Meanwhile, in vivo production of VEGF was up-regulated by airway exposure of LPS. In addition, airway sensitization of allergen plus recombinant VEGF induced both type 1 and type 17 Th cell (Th1 and Th17) responses. Th1 and Th17 responses induced by airway sensitization with LPS-contaminated allergens were blocked by treatment with a pan-VEGF receptor (VEGFR; VEGFR-1 plus VEGFR-2) inhibitor during sensitization. These effects were accompanied by inhibition of the production of Th1 and Th17 polarizing cytokines, IL-12p70 and IL-6, respectively. These findings indicate that VEGF produced by LPS plays a key role in activation of naive T cells and subsequent polarization to Th1 and Th17 cells.
PMCID: PMC3385973  PMID: 19786548
8.  Spontaneous Eosinophilic Nasal Inflammation in a Genetically-Mutant Mouse: Comparative Study with an Allergic Inflammation Model 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35114.
Eosinophilic inflammation is a hallmark of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. To model this disease process experimentally, nasal sensitization of mice with ovalbumin or aspergillus has been described. Here, we describe a genetically mutant mouse that develops robust spontaneous nasal eosinophilic inflammation. These mice lack the enzyme SHP-1 that down-regulates the IL-4Rα/stat6 signaling pathway. We compared nasal inflammation and inflammatory mediators in SHP-1 deficient mice (mev) and an ovalbumin-induced nasal allergy model.
A novel technique of trans-pharyngeal nasal lavage was developed to obtain samples of inflammatory cells from the nasal passages of allergic and mev mice. Total and differential cell counts were performed on cytospin preparations. Expression of tissue mRNA for IL-4, IL-13, and mouse beta-defensin-1 (MBD-1) was determined by quantitative PCR. Eotaxin in the lavage fluid was assessed by ELISA.
Allergic and mev mice had increased total cells and eosinophils compared with controls. Expression of IL-4 was similarly increased in both allergic and mev mice, but expression of IL-13 and eotaxin was significantly greater in the allergic mice than mev mice. Eotaxin was significantly up-regulated in both allergic rhinitis and mev mice. In both models of eosinophilic inflammation, down-regulation of the innate immune marker MBD-1 was observed.
The mev mice display spontaneous chronic nasal eosinophilic inflammation with potential utility for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps research. The eosinophilic infiltrate is more robust in the mev mice than allergic mice, but Th2 cytokine expression is not as pronounced. Decreased MBD-1 expression in both models supports the concept that Th2-cytokines down-regulate sinonasal innate immunity in humans, and suggests a role for mouse models in investigating the interaction between adaptive and innate immunity in the sinonasal mucosa.
PMCID: PMC3324406  PMID: 22509389
9.  Cbl-b Regulates Airway Mucosal Tolerance to Aeroallergen 
As an E3 ubiquitin ligase and a molecular adaptor, Cbl-b controls the activation threshold of the antigen receptor and negatively regulates CD28 co-stimulation, functioning as an intrinsic mediator of T cell anergy that maintains tolerance. However, the role of Cbl-b in the airway immune response to aeroallergens is unclear.
To determine the contribution of Cbl-b in tolerance to aeroallergens, we examined ovalbumin (OVA)-induced lung inflammation in Cbl-b deficient mice.
Cbl-b-/- mice and wildtype (WT) C57BL/6 mice were sensitized and challenged with OVA intranasally, a procedure normally tolerated by WT mice. We analyzed lung histology, BAL total cell counts and differential, cytokines and chemokines in the airway, and cytokine response by lymphocytes after re-stimulation by OVA antigen.
Compared with WT mice, OVA challenged Cbl-b-/- mice showed significantly increased neutrophilic and eosinophilic infiltration in the lung and mucus hyperplasia. The serum levels of IgG2a and IgG1, but not IgE, were increased. The levels of inflammatory mediators IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IP-10, MCP-1, MIP-1α, Eotaxin, and RANTES, but not IL-17A or IL-6, were elevated in the airway of Cbl-b-/- mice. Lymphocytes from Cbl-b-/-mice released increased amount of IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-13, and IP-10 in response to OVA re-stimulation. However, no significant changes were noted in the CD4+CD25+ Treg cell populations in the lung tissues after OVA stimulation and there was no difference between WT and Cbl-b-/- mice.
These results demonstrate that Cbl-b deficiency leads to a breakdown of tolerance to OVA allergen in the murine airways, probably through increased activation of T effector cells, indicating that Cbl-b is a critical factor in maintaining lung homeostasis upon environmental exposure to aeroallergens.
PMCID: PMC2994994  PMID: 20738317
Cbl-b; Ubiquitin E3 Ligase; Aeroallergen; Allergic inflammation; Asthma
10.  Characterization of Expression of Glycan Ligands for Siglec-F in Normal Mouse Lungs 
Sialic acid–binding immunoglobulin-like lectin (Siglec)–F, an inhibitory receptor on mouse eosinophils, preferentially recognizes the glycan ligand 6′-sulfated sialyl Lewis X, but little is known about the requirements for its lung expression. RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry were used to detect and localize the sulfotransferase keratin sulfate galactose 6-O sulfotransferase (KSGal6ST, also known as carbohydrate sulfotransferase 1; gene name, Chst1) that is putatively required for 6′-sulfated Sialyl Lewis X synthesis. RT-PCR detected the greatest constitutive expression of Chst1 in lung, liver, and spleen tissue. Immunohistochemistry localized the expression of KSGal6ST in lung tissue primarily to airway epithelium. Siglec-F–Ig fusion protein selectively bound in a similar pattern, and was unaffected in lung tissue treated with methanol or deficient in Type 2 α2,3 sialyltransferase (St3gal2), but was eliminated by proteinase K or sialidase, and was absent in tissue deficient in the Type 3 α2,3 sialyltransferase (St3gal3). Binding of the Siglec-F–Ig fusion protein was similar in pattern to, and completely blocked by, a plant lectin recognizing α2,3-linked sialic acid. Thus, α2,3-linked sialic acid–containing glycoprotein Siglec-F ligands and the enzymes required for their synthesis are constitutively expressed in murine lungs, especially by airway epithelium. St3gal3, but not St3gal2, is required for constitutive Siglec-F ligand synthesis. The survival of eosinophils entering the lung may be shortened by encountering these Siglec-F sialoside ligands.
PMCID: PMC3049235  PMID: 20395633
eosinophil; sialyltransferase; lung epithelium; sialic acid; glycan ligand
11.  c-Abl-Mediated Tyrosine Phosphorylation of the T-bet DNA-Binding Domain Regulates CD4+ T-Cell Differentiation and Allergic Lung Inflammation ▿ 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(16):3445-3456.
The tyrosine kinase c-Abl is required for full activation of T cells, while its role in T-cell differentiation has not been characterized. We report that c-Abl deficiency skews CD4+ T cells to type 2 helper T cell (Th2) differentiation, and c-Abl−/− mice are more susceptible to allergic lung inflammation. c-Abl interacts with and phosphorylates T-bet, a Th1 lineage transcription factor. c-Abl-mediated phosphorylation enhances the transcriptional activation of T-bet. Interestingly, three tyrosine residues within the T-bet DNA-binding domain are the predominant sites of phosphorylation by c-Abl. Mutation of these tyrosine residues inhibits the promoter DNA-binding activity of T-bet. c-Abl regulates Th cell differentiation in a T-bet-dependent manner because genetic deletion of T-bet in CD4+ T cells abolishes c-Abl-deficiency-mediated enhancement of Th2 differentiation. Reintroduction of T-bet-null CD4+ T cells with wild-type T-bet, but not its tyrosine mutant, rescues gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production and inhibits Th2 cytokine production. Therefore, c-Abl catalyzes tyrosine phosphorylation of the DNA-binding domain of T-bet to regulate CD4+ T cell differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3147793  PMID: 21690296
12.  The Role of TSLP in IL-13-Induced Atopic March 
Scientific Reports  2011;1:23.
Although atopic dermatitis (AD) is the initial step of the “atopic march”, a progression from AD to asthma, the underlying mechanism remains unknown. Selective expression of IL-13 in the skin of mice caused an AD phenotype resembling human AD, and the disorder was associated with enhanced production of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) in the AD skin with a systemic Th2 immunity. Here we show that IL-13 transgenic mice with AD had significantly enhanced lung inflammation, mucus hypersecretion, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) when sensitized and challenged by allergen. In addition, the level of TSLP was significantly higher in acute AD than in chronic AD. Furthermore, elimination of TSLP signaling significantly diminished the allergic asthma responses, immune cell production of Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-13), and serum IgE. These studies indicate that IL-13 induces AD and atopic march via a TSLP dependent mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3251897  PMID: 22355542
13.  Tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1 in allergic and anaphylactic inflammation 
Immunologic research  2010;47(1-3):3-13.
Protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1 is an essential regulatory molecule in many different signaling pathways. The biological importance of SHP-1 is underscored by the motheaten mutant mouse strains with immunological disorders involving multiple organs and by the close association of aberrant SHP-1 expression with several human diseases. Recent studies provided some compelling evidence that supports a role of SHP-1 in regulating mast cell development and function and also in regulating type 2 allergic inflammatory responses in both innate and adaptive immune responses. In this article, we summarize the recent advancement of our understanding of this interesting phosphatase in the important area of allergic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2954886  PMID: 20077161
Phosphatase; Mast cells; Th2 cytokines; Allergic inflammatory response; Allergy; Asthma
14.  Protective effects of basic fibroblast growth factor in the development of emphysema induced by interferon-γ 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2011;43(4):169-178.
Recent clinical evidence indicates that the non-eosinophilic subtype of severe asthma is characterized by fixed airway obstruction, which may be related to emphysema. Transgenic studies have demonstrated that high levels of IFN-γ in the airways induce emphysema. Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), which is the downstream mediator of TGF-β, is important in wound healing. We investigated the role of FGF2 in IFN-γ-induced emphysema and the therapeutic effects of recombinant FGF2 in the prevention of emphysema in a severe non-eosinophilic asthma model. To evaluate the role of FGF2 in IFN-γ-induced emphysema, lung targeted IFN-γ transgenic mice were cross-bred with FGF2-deficient mice. A severe non-eosinophilic asthma model was generated by airway application of LPS-containing allergens twice a week for 4 weeks. To evaluate protective effects of FGF2, recombinant FGF2 (10 µg) was injected subcutaneously during allergen challenge in the severe asthma model. We found that non-eosinophilic inflammation and emphysema induced by transgenic overexpression of IFN-γ in the airways were aggravated by the absence of FGF2. Airway challenge with LPS-containing allergens induced more inflammation in mice sensitized with LPS-containing allergens compared to challenge with allergens alone. In addition, LPS-induced lung inflammation and emphysema depended on IFN-γ but not on IL-13. Interestingly, emphysema in the severe asthma model was significantly inhibited by treatment with recombinant FGF2 during allergen challenge, whereas lung inflammation was unaffected. Therefore, our present data suggest that FGF2 may help protect against IFN-γ-induced emphysema, and that recombinant FGF2 may help lessen the severity of emphysema.
PMCID: PMC3085735  PMID: 21297377
asthma; emphysema; fibroblast growth factor 2; interferon-γ; pulmonary eosinophilia
15.  The Atopic March: Progression from Atopic Dermatitis to Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma 
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is an inflammatory disease characterized by pruritic skin lesions. The pathogenesis of AD may include disrupted epidermal barrier function, immunodysregulation, and IgE-mediated sensitization to food and environmental allergens. AD is also part of a process called the atopic march, a progression from AD to allergic rhinitis and asthma. This has been supported by multiple cross-sectional and longitudinal studies and experimental data. Research on the mechanisms of AD has been centered on the adaptive immune system with an emphasis on the T-helper 1 (Th1)-Th2 paradigm. Recently, the conceptual focus has largely shifted to include a primary defect in the epithelial barrier as an initial event in AD providing a significant insight into the disease initiation and pointing to a complex secondary interplay of environmental and immunological sequelae with barrier disruption. Further understanding of AD will help the development of more effective treatment for AD and ultimately, preventative algorithms for the atopic march. In this review we highlight recent advances in our understanding of the pathogenesis of AD and the atopic march.
PMCID: PMC3062798  PMID: 21461244
Eczema; atopic dermatitis; allergic rhinitis; asthma; atopic march
16.  Synaptic Neurotransmission Depression in Ventral Tegmental Dopamine Neurons and Cannabinoid-Associated Addictive Learning 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15634.
Drug addiction is an association of compulsive drug use with long-term associative learning/memory. Multiple forms of learning/memory are primarily subserved by activity- or experience-dependent synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD). Recent studies suggest LTP expression in locally activated glutamate synapses onto dopamine neurons (local Glu-DA synapses) of the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) following a single or chronic exposure to many drugs of abuse, whereas a single exposure to cannabinoid did not significantly affect synaptic plasticity at these synapses. It is unknown whether chronic exposure of cannabis (marijuana or cannabinoids), the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide, induce LTP or LTD at these synapses. More importantly, whether such alterations in VTA synaptic plasticity causatively contribute to drug addictive behavior has not previously been addressed. Here we show in rats that chronic cannabinoid exposure activates VTA cannabinoid CB1 receptors to induce transient neurotransmission depression at VTA local Glu-DA synapses through activation of NMDA receptors and subsequent endocytosis of AMPA receptor GluR2 subunits. A GluR2-derived peptide blocks cannabinoid-induced VTA synaptic depression and conditioned place preference, i.e., learning to associate drug exposure with environmental cues. These data not only provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, that NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic depression at VTA dopamine circuitry requires GluR2 endocytosis, but also suggest an essential contribution of such synaptic depression to cannabinoid-associated addictive learning, in addition to pointing to novel pharmacological strategies for the treatment of cannabis addiction.
PMCID: PMC3004941  PMID: 21187978
17.  Role of SHIP-1 in the Adaptive Immune Responses to Aeroallergen in the Airway 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e14174.
Th2-dominated inflammatory response in the airway is an integral component in the pathogenesis of allergic asthma. Accumulating evidence supports the notion that the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway is involved in the process. We previously reported that SHIP-1, a negative regulator of the PI3K pathway, is essential in maintaining lung immunohomeostasis, potentially through regulation of innate immune cells. However, the function of SHIP-1 in adaptive immune response in the lung has not been defined. We sought to determine the role of SHIP-1 in adaptive immunity in response to aeroallergen stimulation in the airway.
Methodology/Principal Findings
SHIP-1 knockout (SHIP-1−/−) mice on BALB/c background were immunized with ovalbumin (OVA) plus aluminum hydroxide, a strong Th2-inducing immunization, and challenged with OVA. Airway and lung inflammation, immunoglobulin response, Th2 cytokine production and lymphocyte response were analyzed and compared with wild type mice. Even though there was mild spontaneous inflammation in the lung at baseline, SHIP-1−/− mice showed altered responses, including less cell infiltration around the airways but more in the parenchyma, less mucus production, decreased Th2 cytokine production, and diminished serum OVA-specific IgE, IgG1, but not IgG2a. Naïve and OVA sensitized SHIP-1−/− T cells produced a lower amount of IL-4. In vitro differentiated SHIP-1−/− Th2 cells produced less IL-4 compared to wild type Th2 cells upon T cell receptor stimulation.
These findings indicate that, in contrast to its role as a negative regulator in the innate immune cells, SHIP-1 acts as a positive regulator in Th2 cells in the adaptive immune response to aeroallergen. Thus any potential manipulation of SHIP-1 activity should be adjusted according to the specific immune response.
PMCID: PMC2994819  PMID: 21151496
18.  IL-12-STAT4-IFN-γ axis is a key downstream pathway in the development of IL-13-mediated asthma phenotypes in a Th2 type asthma model 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2010;42(8):533-546.
IL-4 and IL-13 are closely related cytokines that are produced by Th2 cells. However, IL-4 and IL-13 have different effects on the development of asthma phenotypes. Here, we evaluated downstream molecular mechanisms involved in the development of Th2 type asthma phenotypes. A murine model of Th2 asthma was used that involved intraperitoneal sensitization with an allergen (ovalbumin) plus alum and then challenge with ovalbumin alone. Asthma phenotypes, including airway-hyperresponsiveness (AHR), lung inflammation, and immunologic parameters were evaluated after allergen challenge in mice deficient in candidate genes. The present study showed that methacholine AHR and lung inflammation developed in allergen-challenged IL-4-deficient mice but not in allergen-challenged IL-13-deficient mice. In addition, the production of OVA-specific IgG2a and IFN-γ-inducible protein (IP)-10 was also impaired in the absence of IL-13, but not of IL-4. Lung-targeted IFN-γ over-expression in the airways enhanced methacholine AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation; in addition, these asthma phenotypes were impaired in allergen-challenged IFN-γ-deficient mice. Moreover, AHR, non-eosinophilic inflammation, and IFN-γ expression were impaired in allergen-challenged IL-12Rβ2- and STAT4-deficient mice; however, AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation were not impaired in allergen-challenged IL-4Rα-deficient mice, and these phenomena were accompanied by the enhanced expression of IL-12 and IFN-γ. The present data suggest that IL-13-mediated asthma phenotypes, such as AHR and non-eosinophilic inflammation, in the Th2 type asthma are dependent on the IL-12-STAT4-IFN-γ axis, and that these asthma phenotypes are independent of IL-4Ralpha-mediated signaling.
PMCID: PMC2928926  PMID: 20592486
asthma; interferon-γ; interleukin-12; interleukin-13; respiratory hypersensitivity; Th2 cells
19.  Genome-Wide Mapping Indicates That p73 and p63 Co-Occupy Target Sites and Have Similar DNA-Binding Profiles In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11572.
The p53 homologs, p63 and p73, share ∼85% amino acid identity in their DNA-binding domains, but they have distinct biological functions.
Principal Findings
Using chromatin immunoprecipitation and high-resolution tiling arrays covering the human genome, we identify p73 DNA binding sites on a genome-wide level in ME180 human cervical carcinoma cells. Strikingly, the p73 binding profile is indistinguishable from the previously described binding profile for p63 in the same cells. Moreover, the p73∶p63 binding ratio is similar at all genomic loci tested, suggesting that there are few, if any, targets that are specific for one of these factors. As assayed by sequential chromatin immunoprecipitation, p63 and p73 co-occupy DNA target sites in vivo, suggesting that p63 and p73 bind primarily as heterotetrameric complexes in ME180 cells.
The observation that p63 and p73 associate with the same genomic targets suggest that their distinct biological functions are due to cell-type specific expression and/or protein domains that involve functions other than DNA binding.
PMCID: PMC2904373  PMID: 20644729
20.  The Effects of Overexpression of Histamine Releasing Factor (HRF) in a Transgenic Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11077.
Asthma is a disease that affects all ages, races and ethnic groups. Its incidence is increasing both in Westernized countries and underdeveloped countries. It involves inflammation, genetics and environment and therefore, proteins that exacerbate the asthmatic, allergic phenotype are important. Our laboratory purified and cloned a histamine releasing factor (HRF) that was a complete stimulus for histamine and IL-4 secretion from a subpopulation of allergic donors' basophils. Throughout the course of studying HRF, it was uncovered that HRF enhances or primes histamine release and IL-13 production from all anti-IgE antibody stimulated basophils. In order to further delineate the biology of HRF, we generated a mouse model.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We constructed an inducible transgenic mouse model with HRF targeted to lung epithelial cells, via the Clara cells. In antigen naïve mice, overproduction of HRF yielded increases in BAL macrophages and statistical increases in mRNA levels for MCP-1 in the HRF transgenic mice compared to littermate controls. In addition to demonstrating intracellular HRF in the lung epithelial cells, we have also been able to document HRF's presence extracellularly in the BAL fluid of these transgenic mice. Furthermore, in the OVA challenged model, we show that HRF exacerbates the allergic, asthmatic responses. We found statistically significant increases in serum and BAL IgE, IL-4 protein and eosinophils in transgenic mice compared to controls.
This mouse model demonstrates that HRF expression enhances allergic, asthmatic inflammation and can now be used as a tool to further dissect the biology of HRF.
PMCID: PMC2884026  PMID: 20552026
21.  A Critical Role of SHP-1 in Regulation of Type 2 Inflammation in the Lung 
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. Type 2 T helper (Th) cell–dominated inflammation in the lung is a hallmark of asthma. Src homology 2 domain–containing protein tyrosine phosphatase (SHP)-1 is a negative regulator in the signaling pathways of many growth factor and cytokine receptors. However, a direct role of SHP-1 in the IL-4/IL-13 signaling pathway has not been established. In this study, we sought to define the function of SHP-1 in the lung by characterizing the pulmonary inflammation of viable motheaten (mev) mice, and to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved. Pulmonary histology, physiology, and cytokine expression of mev mice were analyzed to define the nature of the inflammation, and the gene-deletion approach was used to identify critical molecules involved. In mev mice, we observed spontaneous Th2-like inflammatory responses in the lung, including eosinophilia, mucus metaplasia, airway epithelial hypertrophy, pulmonary fibrosis, and increased airway resistance and airway hyperresponsiveness. The pulmonary phenotype was accompanied by up-regulation of Th2 cytokines and chemokines. Selective deletion of IL-13 or signal transducer and activator of transcription 6, key genes in the Th2 signaling pathway, significantly reduced, but did not completely eliminate, the inflammation in the lung. These findings suggest that SHP-1 plays a critical role in regulating the IL-4/IL-13 signaling pathway and in maintaining lung homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC2677436  PMID: 18952567
Src homology 2 domain–containing protein tyrosine phosphatase-1; protein tyrosine phosphatase; motheaten mouse; type 2 T helper cell inflammation; lung
22.  T cell factor 1 initiates the T helper type 2 fate by inducing the transcription factor GATA-3 and repressing interferon-γ 
Nature immunology  2009;10(9):992-999.
The differentiation of activated CD4+ T cells into the T helper type 1 (TH1) or TH2 fate is regulated by cytokines and the transcription factors T-bet and GATA-3. Whereas interleukin 12 (IL-12) produced by antigen-presenting cells initiates the TH1 fate, signals that initiate the TH2 fate are not completely characterized. Here we show that early GATA-3 expression, required for TH2 differentiation, was induced by T cell factor 1 (TCF-1) and its cofactor β-catenin, mainly from the proximal Gata3 promoter upstream of exon 1b. This activity was induced after T cell antigen receptor (TCR) stimulation and was independent of IL-4 receptor signaling through the transcription factor STAT6. Furthermore, TCF-1 blocked TH1 fate by negatively regulating interferon-γ (IFN-γ) expression independently of β-catenin. Thus, TCF-1 initiates TH2 differentiation of activated CD4+ T cells by promoting GATA-3 expression and suppressing IFN-γ expression.
PMCID: PMC2824257  PMID: 19648923
23.  Hyperoxia causes angiopoietin 2–mediated acute lung injury and necrotic cell death 
Nature medicine  2006;12(11):1286-1293.
The angiogenic growth factor angiopoietin 2 (Ang2) destabilizes blood vessels, enhances vascular leak and induces vascular regression and endothelial cell apoptosis. We considered that Ang2 might be important in hyperoxic acute lung injury (ALI). Here we have characterized the responses in lungs induced by hyperoxia in wild-type and Ang2–/– mice or those given either recombinant Ang2 or short interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted to Ang2. During hyperoxia Ang2 expression is induced in lung epithelial cells, while hyperoxia-induced oxidant injury, cell death, inflammation, permeability alterations and mortality are ameliorated in Ang2–/– and siRNA-treated mice. Hyperoxia induces and activates the extrinsic and mitochondrial cell death pathways and activates initiator and effector caspases through Ang2-dependent pathways in vivo. Ang2 increases inflammation and cell death during hyperoxia in vivo and stimulates epithelial necrosis in hyperoxia in vitro. Ang2 in plasma and alveolar edema fluid is increased in adults with ALI and pulmonary edema. Tracheal Ang2 is also increased in neonates that develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Ang2 is thus a mediator of epithelial necrosis with an important role in hyperoxic ALI and pulmonary edema.
PMCID: PMC2768268  PMID: 17086189
24.  Tyrosine Phosphatase SHP-1 in Oxidative Stress and Development of Allergic Airway Inflammation 
Oxidative stress has been implicated in allergic responses. SHP-1 is a target of oxidants and has been reported as a negative regulator in a mouse model of asthma. We investigated the effect of oxidative stress on the development of allergic airway inflammation in heterozygous viable motheaten (mev/+) mice deficient of SHP-1. Wild-type (WT) and mev/+ mice were compared in this study. Human alveolar epithelial cells (A549) transfected with mutant SHP-1 gene were used to evaluate the role of SHP-1 in lung epithelial cells. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and Paraquat were used in vitro and in vivo, respectively. We also investigated whether mev/+ mice can break immune tolerance when exposed to aeroallergen intranasally. Compared with WT mice, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells and splenocytes from mev/+ mice showed a different response to oxidant stress. This includes a significant enhancement of intracellular reactive oxygen species and STAT6 phosphorylation in vitro and increased CCL20, decreased IL-10, and increased number of dendritic cells in BAL fluid in vivo. Mutant SHP-1-transfected epithelial cells secreted higher levels of CCL20 and RANTES after exposure to oxidative stress. Furthermore, break of immune tolerance, as development of allergic airway inflammation, was observed in mev/+ mice after allergen exposure, which was suppressed by antioxidant N-acetylcystein. These data suggest that SHP-1 plays an important role in regulating oxidative stress. Thus, increased intracellular oxidative stress and lack of SHP-1 in the presence of T helper cell type 2–prone cellular activation may lead to the development of allergic airway inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2551702  PMID: 18441283
SHP-1; oxidative stress; allergen; asthma; immune tolerance
25.  Regulation of inflammatory responses by IL-17F 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2008;205(5):1063-1075.
Although interleukin (IL) 17 has been extensively characterized, the function of IL-17F, which has an expression pattern regulated similarly to IL-17, is poorly understood. We show that like IL-17, IL-17F regulates proinflammatory gene expression in vitro, and this requires IL-17 receptor A, tumor necrosis factor receptor–associated factor 6, and Act1. In vivo, overexpression of IL-17F in lung epithelium led to infiltration of lymphocytes and macrophages and mucus hyperplasia, similar to observations made in IL-17 transgenic mice. To further understand the function of IL-17F, we generated and analyzed mice deficient in IL-17F or IL-17. IL-17, but not IL-17F, was required for the initiation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Mice deficient in IL-17F, but not IL-17, had defective airway neutrophilia in response to allergen challenge. Moreover, in an asthma model, although IL-17 deficiency reduced T helper type 2 responses, IL-17F–deficient mice displayed enhanced type 2 cytokine production and eosinophil function. In addition, IL-17F deficiency resulted in reduced colitis caused by dextran sulfate sodium, whereas IL-17 knockout mice developed more severe disease. Our results thus demonstrate that IL-17F is an important regulator of inflammatory responses that seems to function differently than IL-17 in immune responses and diseases.
PMCID: PMC2373839  PMID: 18411338

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