The purpose of this study was to further characterize cell growth-inhibitory effects of a recently identified androgen receptor (AR) signaling inhibitor 6-amino-2-[2-(4-tert-butyl-pnenoxy)-ethylsulfanyl]-1H-pyrimidin-4-one (DL3)5 and antiandrogen bicalutamide (Bic). DL3 was more potent than Bic in induction of G1 arrest and reduction of G1-related cell cycle protein expression in AR-positive LNCaP cells. DL3, but not Bic, moderately inhibited growth of AR-negative PC-3 cells independent of G1 arrest. The data indicated that DL3 inhibit cell growth in both AR-dependent and -independent manners and is potentially a potent therapeutic agent for the management of advanced human prostate cancer.
androgen receptor; antagonist; prostate cancer; cell cycle
Heat shock protein (hsp) 70-1 (hsp70-1) is overexpressed in human prostate cancer cells and may play important roles in prostate cancer resistance to conventional therapies. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether androgen receptor (AR) and its signaling regulate hsp70-1 expression. Several lines of AR-positive (LNCaP, LAPC-4, and 22Rv1) and -negative (PC-3, DU145, WPE1-NB14 and WPE1-NB-26) human prostatic cells were used in the study. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) enhanced hsp70-1 expression in LNCaP cells. Expression of hsp70-1 in LNCaP cells was downregulated by the anti-androgens bicalutamide (Bic), and flutamide (Flut), and a newly identified AR signaling antagonist DL3. The downregulation of hsp70-1 by DL3 was also observed in LAPC-4 and 22Rv1 cells, but not in the four lines of AR-negative cells examined. Expression of hsp70-1 was also reduced by DL3 in PC-3 cells engineered with AR. On the other hand, knocking down AR in LNCaP cells by siRNA moderately reduced hsp70-1 level and abolished effects of DL3 on hsp70-1 expression. DL3 reduced hsp70-1 mRNA synthesis in cells and its in vitro gene transcription but did not significantly alter the stabilities of hsp70-1 mRNA and protein. Chromatin-immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay showed that AR bound to the promoter region of HSPA1B gene, which was reduced in cells treated with DL3 or Bic. These data suggest that AR and its signaling regulate hsp70-1 expression in prostate cancer cells and that HSPA1B could be an AR target gene.
androgen receptor; heat shock protein 70-1; antagonist; prostate cancer
Our previous study revealed that Vav3 oncogene is overexpressed in human prostate cancer, activates androgen receptor (AR), and stimulates growth in prostate cancer cells. The purpose of this study is to further determine the potential role of Vav3 in prostate cancer development in genetically engineered mouse model. We generated Vav3 transgenic mice by targeted overexpression of a constitutive active Vav3 in the prostatic epithelium. We found that overexpression of Vav3 led to development of mouse prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and prostate cancer at the age of as early as 3 months. The AR signaling axis and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt signaling were elevated in the prostate glands of Vav3 transgenic mice. In addition to prostate cancer, Vav3 transgenic mice developed significant nonbacterial chronic prostatitis in the prostate gland with notable infiltration of lymphomononuclear cells (monocytes, lymphocytes, and plasma cells), which was associated with elevated incidence of prostate cancer. DNA microarray and signaling pathway analysis revealed that the top diseases and disorders were inflammatory diseases and cancer of the prostate gland in Vav3 transgenic mice. In vitro analysis showed that overexpression of Vav3 in prostate cancer cells enhanced nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activity, implicating an underlying mechanism of innate inflammatory response induced by elevated Vav3 activity. These data showed that Vav3 overexpression in the prostate epithelium enhanced both the AR signaling axis and NF-κB–mediated pathway, which potentially contributed to the development of nonbacterial prostatitis and prostate cancer.
The xanthophyll cycle (Xc), which involves violaxanthin de-epoxidase (VDE) and the zeaxanthin epoxidase (ZEP), is one of the most rapid and efficient responses of plant and algae to high irradiance. High light intensity can activate VDE to convert violaxanthin (Vx) to zeaxanthin (Zx) via antheraxanthin (Ax). However, it remains unclear whether VDE remains active under low light or dark conditions when there is no significant accumulation of Ax and Zx, and if so, how the ΔpH required for activation of VDE is built. In this study, we used salicylaldoxime (SA) to inhibit ZEP activity in the intertidal macro-algae Ulva sp. (Ulvales, Chlorophyta) and then characterized VDE under low light and dark conditions with various metabolic inhibitors. With inhibition of ZEP by SA, VDE remained active under low light and dark conditions, as indicated by large accumulations of Ax and Zx at the expense of Vx. When PSII-mediated linear electron transport systems were completely inhibited by SA and DCMU, alternative electron transport systems (i.e., cyclic electron transport and chlororespiration) could maintain VDE activity. Furthermore, accumulations of Ax and Zx decreased significantly when SA, DCMU, or DBMIB together with an inhibitor of chlororespiration (i.e., propyl gallate (PG)) were applied to Ulva sp. This result suggests that chlororespiration not only participates in the build-up of the necessary ΔpH, but that it also possibly influences VDE activity indirectly by diminishing the oxygen level in the chloroplast.
To investigate whether low doses of exogenous interferon (IFN)-γ attenuate airway inflammation, and the underlying mechanisms, in asthma. C57BL/6 mice (n=42), after intraperitoneal ovalbumin (OVA) sensitization on day 0 and day 12, were challenged with OVA aerosol for 6 consecutive days. Different doses of IFN-γ were then administered intraperitoneally 5 min before each inhalation during OVA challenge. Airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammatory cells, cytokine profiles, and Fas/FasL expression on CD4+ T cells were evaluated in an asthma model. The effect of various IFN-γ doses on Fas/FasL expression and CD4+ T cell apoptosis were assessed in vitro. We demonstrated that low doses of IFN-γ reduced pulmonary infiltration of inflammatory cells, Th2 cytokine production, and goblet cells hyperplasia (P<0.05), while high doses of endogenous IFN-γ had almost no effect. We also found that low doses of IFN-γ relocated Fas/FasL to the CD4+ T cell surface in the asthma model (P<0.05) and increased FasL-induced apoptosis in vitro (P<0.05). Furthermore, treatment with MFL-3, an anti-FasL antibody, partially abolished the anti- inflammatory properties of IFN-γ in the airway rather than affecting the Th1/Th2 balance. This research has revealed an alternative mechanism in asthma that involves low doses of IFN-γ, which attenuate airway inflammation through enhancing Fas/FasL-induced CD4+ T cell apoptosis.
Previously, we have shown that DNA prime-protein boost is effective in eliciting neutralizing antibodies (NAb) against randomly selected HIV-1 isolates. Given the genetic diversity of HIV-1 viruses and the unique predominant subtypes in different geographic regions, it is critical to test the DNA prime-protein boost approach against circulating viral isolates in key HIV endemic areas. In the current study, the same DNA prime-protein boost vaccine was used as in previous studies to investigate the induction of NAb responses against HIV-1 clade BC, a major subtype circulating in China. A codon optimized gp120-BC DNA vaccine, based on the consensus envelope (Env) antigen sequence of clade BC, was constructed and a stable CHO cell line expressing the same consensus BC gp120 protein was produced. The immunogenicity of this consensus gp120-BC was examined in New Zealand White rabbits by either DNA prime-protein boost or protein alone vaccination approaches. High levels of Env-specific antibody responses were elicited by both approaches. However, DNA prime-protein boost but not the protein alone immune sera contained significant levels of NAb against pseudotyped viruses expressing HIV-1 BC Env antigens. Furthermore, high frequencies of CD4 binding site-targeted antibodies were found in the DNA prime- protein boost rabbit sera indicating that the positive NAb may be the result of antibodies against conformationally sensitive epitopes on HIV-1 Env. The findings support that DNA prime-protein boost was effective in eliciting NAb against a key HIV-1 virus subtype in China. This result may lead to the development of regional HIV vaccines through this approach.
DNA vaccine; prime-boost; HIV-1; subtype BC; neutralizing antibody
Recent studies have reported that founder viruses play unique roles in establishing HIV-1 infection. Understanding the biological and immunological features of envelope glycoproteins (Env) from such viruses may facilitate the development of effective vaccines against HIV-1. In this report, we evaluated the immunogenicity of gp120 immunogens from two pairs of clade B and two pairs of clade C mother-to-child transmitted (MTCT) HIV-1 variants that had various levels of sensitivity to broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies. Individual gp120 DNA and protein vaccines were produced from each of the eight MTCT Env antigens included in the current study. Rabbits were immunized with these gp120 immunogens by the DNA prime-protein boost approach. High level Env-specific antibody responses were elicited by all MTCT gp120 immunogens. However, their abilities to elicit neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses differed and those from relatively neutralization-resistant variants tended to be more effective in eliciting broader NAb. Results of this pilot study indicated that not all MTCT Env proteins have the same potential to elicit NAb. Understanding the mechanism(s) behind such variation may provide useful information in formulating the next generation of HIV vaccines.
HIV-1; mother-to-child transmission; immunogenicity; antibody; DNA-protein boost vaccination
The normal intrauterine fluid environment is essential for embryo implantation. In hydrosalpinx patients, the implantation and pregnancy rates are markedly decreased after IVF–embryo transfer, while salpingectomy could significantly improve the pregnancy rates. The leakage of hydrosalpinx fluid into the endometrial cavity was supposed to be the major cause for impaired fertility. However, the underlying mechanisms of hydrosalpinx fluids on implantation and ongoing pregnancy were not fully understood and remain controversial regarding its toxicity. In present study, by infusing different volume of non-toxic fluid (0.9% saline) into uterine lumen before embryo implantation in mice (Day4 08:30), we found that while the embryos were not “flushed out” from the uteri, the timing of implantation was deferred and normal intrauterine distribution (embryo spacing) was disrupted. The abnormal implantation at early pregnancy further lead to embryo growth retardation, miscarriage and increased pregnancy loss, which is similar to the adverse effects observed in hydrosalpinx patients undergoing IVF-ET. We further examined uterine receptivity related gene expression reported to be involved in human hydrosalpinx (Lif, Hoxa10, Integrin α(v) and β(3)). The results showed that expression of integrin α(v) and β(3) were increased in the fluid infused mouse uteri, implicating a compensatory effect to cope with the excessive fluid environment. Our data suggested that the adverse effects of excessive non-toxic luminal fluid on pregnancy are primarily due to the mechanical interference for normal timing and location of embryo apposition, which might be the major cause of decreased implantation rate in IVF-ET patients with hydrosalpinx.
Entry of HIV-1 into target cells requires binding of the viral envelope glycoprotein (Env) to cellular receptors and subsequent conformational changes that culminates in fusion of viral and target cell membranes. Recent structural information has revealed that these conformational transitions are regulated by three conserved but potentially flexible layers stacked between the receptor-binding domain (gp120) and the fusion arm (gp41) of Env. We hypothesized that artificial insertion of a covalent bond will ‘snap’ Env into a conformation that is less mobile and stably expose conserved sites. Therefore, we analyzed the interface between these gp120 layers (layers 1, 2 and 3) and identified residues that may form disulfide bonds when substituted with cysteines. We subsequently probed the structures of the resultant mutant gp120 proteins by assaying their binding to a variety of ligands using Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) assay. We found that a single disulfide bond strategically inserted between the highly conserved layers 1 and 2 (C65-C115) is able to ‘lock’ gp120 in a CD4 receptor bound conformation (in the absence of CD4), as indicated by the lower dissociation constant (Kd) for the CD4-induced (CD4i) epitope binding 17b antibody. When disulfide-stabilized monomeric (gp120) and trimeric (gp140) Envs were used to immunize rabbits, they were found to elicit a higher proportion of antibodies directed against both CD4i and CD4 binding site epitopes than the wild-type proteins. These results demonstrate that structure-guided stabilization of inter-layer interactions within HIV-1 Env can be used to expose conserved epitopes and potentially overcome the sequence diversity of these molecules.
Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) candidates of the H7 subtype, A/Netherlands/219/03 (H7N7, NL03 ca) and A/chicken/British Columbia/CN-6/2004 (H7N3, BC04 ca), were evaluated for their receptor binding specificity and immunogenicity in ferrets. The BC04 ca virus exhibited α2,3-SA and α2,6-SA dual receptor binding preference while the NL03 ca virus preferentially bound to α2,3-SA. Substitution of the Q226 and G228 (Q-G) by the L226 and S228 (L-S) residues in the HA improved binding to α2,6-SA for NL03 ca. The vaccine viruses with L-S retained the attenuation phenotype. NL03 L-S ca replicated more efficiently than the original NL03 ca virus in the upper respiratory tract of ferrets, and induced higher levels of humoral and cellular immune responses. Prior vaccination with seasonal LAIV reduced H7-specific antibody responses, but did not reduce the H7N7 vaccine mediated protection against a heterologous H7N3 BC04 wt virus infection in ferrets. In addition, the H7N3 and H7N7 vaccine immunized ferret sera cross reacted with the newly emerged H7N9 virus. These data, in combination with the safety data from previously conducted Phase 1 studies, suggest that these vaccines may have a role in responding to the threat posed by the H7N9 virus.
Recent progress toward an HIV vaccine highlights both the potential of vaccines to end the AIDS pandemic and the need to boost efficacy by incorporating additional vaccine strategies. Although many aspects of the immune response can contribute to vaccine efficacy, the key factors have not been defined fully yet. A particular area that may yield new insights is anti-glycan immune responses, such as those against the glycan shield that HIV uses to evade the immune system. In this study, we used glycan microarray technology to evaluate anti-glycan antibody responses induced by SIV vaccination and infection in a non-human primate model of HIV infection. This comprehensive profiling of circulating anti-glycan antibodies found changes in anti-glycan antibody levels after both vaccination with the Ad5hr-SIV vaccine and SIV infection. Notably, SIV infection produced generalized declines in anti-glycan IgM antibodies in a number of animals. Additionally, some infected animals generated antibodies to the Tn antigen, which is a cryptic tumor-associated antigen exposed by premature termination of O-linked glycans; however, the Ad5hr-SIV vaccine did not induce anti-Tn IgG antibodies. Overall, this study demonstrates the potential contributions that glycan microarrays can make for HIV vaccine development.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type -1 (HIV-1), the causative agent of AIDS in humans, is one of the most catastrophic pandemics to affect human health care in the latter 20th century. The best hope of controlling this pandemic is the development of a successful prophylactic vaccine. However, to date, this goal has proven to be exceptionally elusive. The recent failure of an experimental AIDS vaccine in a phase IIb study named the STEP trial, intended to solely elicit cell mediated immune responses against HIV-1, has highlighted the need for a balanced immune response consisting of not only cellular immunity but also a broad and potent antibody response which can prevent the infection of HIV-1. This article will review the efforts being made up to this point to elicit such antibody responses, especially with regards to the use of a DNA prime-protein boost regimen which has been proven to be a highly effective platform for the induction of neutralizing antibodies in both animal and early phase human studies.
In our recent studies exploring the biophysical characteristics of resistant cell lipids, and the role they play in drug transport, we demonstrated the difference of drug-resistant breast cancer cells from drug-sensitive cells in lipid composition and biophysical properties, suggesting that cancer cells acquire a drug-resistant phenotype through the alteration of lipid synthesis to inhibit intracellular drug transport to protect from cytotoxic effect. In cancer cells, epigenetic changes (e.g., DNA hypermethylation) are essential to maintain this drug-resistant phenotype. Thus, altered lipid synthesis may be linked to epigenetic mechanisms of drug resistance. We hypothesize that reversing DNA hypermethylation in resistant cells with an epigenetic drug could alter lipid synthesis, changing the cell membrane’s biophysical properties to facilitate drug delivery to overcome drug resistance. Herein we show that treating drug-resistant breast cancer cells (MCF-7/ADR) with the epigenetic drug, 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (decitabine), significantly alters cell lipid composition and biophysical properties, causing the resistant cells to acquire biophysical characteristics similar to those of sensitive cell (MCF-7) lipids. Following decitabine treatment, resistant cells demonstrated increased sphingomyelinase activity, resulting in a decreased sphingomyelin level that influenced lipid domain structures, increased membrane fluidity, and reduced P-glycoprotein expression. Changes in the biophysical characteristics of resistant cell lipids facilitated doxorubicin transport and restored endocytic function for drug delivery with a lipid-encapsulated form of doxorubicin, enhancing the drug efficacy. In conclusion, we have established a new mechanism for efficacy of an epigenetic drug, mediated through changes in lipid composition and biophysical properties, in reversing cancer drug resistance.
Cancer cell membrane; Sphingomyelin; Drug resistance; Membrane rigidity; P-glycoprotein; Cancer therapy; Epigenetic
In recent years, heterologous prime-boost vaccines have been demonstrated to be an effective strategy for generating protective immunity, consisting of both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses against a variety of pathogens including HIV-1. Previous reports of preclinical and clinical studies have shown the enhanced immunogenicity of viral vector or DNA vaccination followed by heterologous protein boost, compared to using either prime or boost components alone. With such approaches, the selection of an adjuvant for inclusion in the protein boost component is expected to impact the immunogenicity and safety of a vaccine. In this study, we examined in a mouse model the serum cytokine and chemokine profiles for several candidate adjuvants: QS-21, Al(OH)3, monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) and ISCOMATRIX™ adjuvant, in the context of a previously tested pentavalent HIV-1 Env DNA prime-protein boost formulation, DP6-001. Our data revealed that the candidate adjuvants in the context of the DP6-001 formulation are characterized by unique serum cytokine and chemokine profiles. Such information will provide valuable guidance in the selection of an adjuvant for future AIDS vaccine development, with the ultimate goal of enhancing immunogenicity while minimizing reactogenicity associated with the use of an adjuvant. More significantly, results reported here will add to the knowledge on how to include an adjuvant in the context of a heterologous prime-protein boost vaccination strategy in general.
Increasing evidence indicates that neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) reside in many regions of the central nervous system (CNS), including the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricle, subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus, cortex, striatum, and spinal cord. Using a murine model of cortical infarction, we recently demonstrated that the leptomeninges (pia mater), which cover the entire cortex, also exhibit NSPC activity in response to ischemia. Pial-ischemia-induced NSPCs expressed NSPC markers such as nestin, formed neurosphere-like cell clusters with self-renewal activity, and differentiated into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes, although they were not identical to previously reported NSPCs, such as SVZ astrocytes, ependymal cells, oligodendrocyte precursor cells, and reactive astrocytes. In this study, we showed that leptomeningeal cells in the poststroke brain express the immature neuronal marker doublecortin as well as nestin. We also showed that these cells can migrate into the poststroke cortex. Thus, the leptomeninges may participate in CNS repair in response to brain injury.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is the third endogenous signaling gasotransmitter, following nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. It is physiologically generated by cystathionine-γ-lyase, cystathionine-β-synthase, and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase. H2S has been gaining increasing attention as an important endogenous signaling molecule because of its significant effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Substantial evidence shows that H2S is involved in aging by inhibiting free-radical reactions, activating SIRT1, and probably interacting with the age-related gene Klotho. Moreover, H2S has been shown to have therapeutic potential in age-associated diseases. This article provides an overview of the physiological functions and effects of H2S in aging and age-associated diseases, and proposes the potential health and therapeutic benefits of H2S.
An effective vaccine usually requires more than one time immunization in the form of prime-boost. Traditionally the same vaccines are given multiple times as homologous boosts. New findings suggested that prime-boost can be done with different types of vaccines containing the same antigens. In many cases such heterologous prime-boost can be more immunogenic than homologous prime-boost. Heterologous prime-boost represents a new way of immunization and will stimulate better understanding on the immunological basis of vaccines.
An optimally effective AIDS vaccine would likely require the induction of both neutralizing antibody and cell-mediated immune responses, which has proven difficult to obtain in previous clinical trials. Here we report on the induction of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1)-specific immune responses in healthy adult volunteers that received the multi-gene, polyvalent, DNA prime–protein boost HIV-1 vaccine formulation, DP6-001, in a Phase I clinical trial. Robust cross-subtype HIV-1-specific T cell responses were detected in IFN-γ ELISPOT assays. Furthermore, we detected high titer serum antibody responses that recognized a wide range of primary HIV-1 Env antigens and also neutralized pseudotyped viruses that express the primary Env antigens from multiple HIV-1 subtypes. These findings demonstrate that the DNA prime–protein boost approach is an effective immunization method to elicit both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in humans, and that a polyvalent Env formulation could generate broad immune responses against HIV-1 viruses with diverse genetic backgrounds.
HIV-1; DNA vaccine; Recombinant protein vaccine; Phase I clinical trial; Prime–boost
A major hurdle in the development of a global HIV-1 vaccine is viral diversity. For close to three decades, HIV vaccine development has focused on either the induction of T cell immune responses or antibody responses, and only rarely on both components. After the failure of the STEP trial, the scientific community concluded that a T cell-based vaccine would likely not be protective if the T cell immune responses were elicited against only a few dominant epitopes. Similarly, for vaccines focusing on antibody responses, one of the main criticisms after VaxGen’s failed Phase III trials was on the limited antigen breadth included in the two formulations used. The successes of polyvalent vaccine approaches against other antigenically variable pathogens encourage implementation of the same approach for the design of HIV-1 vaccines. A review of the existing HIV-1 vaccination approaches based on the polyvalent principle is included here to provide a historical perspective for the current effort of developing a polyvalent HIV-1 vaccine. Results summarized in this review provide a clear indication that the polyvalent approach is a viable one for the future development of an effective HIV vaccine.
HIV-1; vaccine; subtypes; neutralizing antibodies; cytotoxic T lymphocytes; polyvalent vaccine
Biodefense vaccines are developed against a diverse group of pathogens. Vaccines were developed for some of these pathogens a long time ago but they are facing new challenges to move beyond the old manufacturing technologies. New vaccines to be developed against other pathogens have to determine whether to follow traditional vaccination strategies or to seek new approaches. Advances in basic immunology and recombinant DNA technology have fundamentally transformed the process of formulating a vaccine concept, optimizing protective antigens, and selecting the most effective vaccine delivery approach for candidate biodefense vaccines.
Our previous study showed that prostate cancer cells overexpress and secrete secretory phospholipases A2 group IIa (sPLA2-IIa) and plasma sPLA2-IIa was elevated in prostate cancer patients. The current study further explored the underlying mechanism of sPLA2-IIa overexpression and the potential role of sPLA2-IIa as a prostate cancer biomarker.
Plasma and tissue specimens from prostate cancer patients were analyzed for sPLA2-IIa levels. Regulation of sPLA2-IIa expression by Heregulin-α was determined by western blot and reporter assay.
We found that Heregulin-α enhanced expression of the sPLA2-IIa gene via the HER2/HER3-elicited pathway. The EGFR/HER2 dual inhibitor Lapatinib and the NF-kB inhibitor Bortezomib inhibited sPLA2-IIa expression induced by Heregulin-α. Heregulin-α upregulated expression of the sPLA2-IIa gene at the transcriptional level. We further confirmed that plasma sPLA2-IIa secreted by mouse bearing human prostate cancer xenografts reached detectable plasma concentrations. A Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis of patient plasma specimens revealed that high levels of plasma sPLA2-IIa, with the optimum cutoff value of 2.0 ng/ml, were significantly associated with high Gleason score (8~10) relative to intermediate Gleason score (6~7) prostate cancers and advanced relative to indolent cancers. The area under the ROC curve (AUC) was 0.73 and 0.74, respectively.
We found that Heregulin-α, in addition to EGF, contributes to sPLA2-IIa overexpression in prostate cancer cells. Our findings support the notion that high levels of plasma sPLA2-IIa may serve as a poor prognostic biomarker capable of distinguishing aggressive from indolent prostate cancers, which may improve decision making and optimize patient management.
plasma cancer biomarker; indolent and aggressive prostate cancer; poor prognosis; HER/HER2-elicited pathway; Heregulin-α; HER3
We examined genotoxic signaling and cell fate decisions in response to a potent DNA-protein crosslinker formaldehyde (FA). DNA-protein crosslinks (DPC) are poorly understood lesions produced by bifunctional carcinogens and several cancer drugs. FA-treated human cells showed a rapid activation of ATR kinase that preferentially targeted the p53 transcription factor at low doses and CHK1 kinase at more severe damage, producing bell-shaped and sublinear responses, respectively. CHK1 phosphorylation was transient, and its loss was accompanied by increased p53 accumulation and Ser15 phosphorylation. Activation of p53 was insensitive to inhibition of mismatch repair and nucleotide and base excision repair, excluding the role of small DNA adducts in this response. The p53-targeted signaling was transcription-independent, absent in quiescent cells and specific to S-phase in cycling populations. Unlike other S-phase stressors, FA-activated p53 was functional transcriptionally, promoted apoptosis in lung epithelial cells and caused senescence in normal lung fibroblasts. FA did not induce ATR, RAD1 or RPA foci, and p53 phosphorylation was TopBP1-independent, indicating a noncanonical mode of ATR activation. Replication arrest by FA caused a dissociation of ATR from a chromatin-loaded MCM helicase but no PCNA monoubiquitination associated with stalled polymerases. These results suggest that unlike typical DNA adducts that stall DNA polymerases, replication inhibition by bulkier DPC largely results from blocking upstream MCM helicase, which prevents accumulation of ssDNA. Overall, our findings indicate that S-phase-specific, TopBP1-independent activation of the ATR-p53 axis is a critical stress response to FA-DPC, which has implications for understanding of FA carcinogenesis.
ATR; DNA-protein crosslink; apoptosis; cancer; formaldehyde; p53; senescence
HIV-1 R5 viruses vary extensively in their capacity to infect macrophages. R5 viruses that confer efficient infection of macrophages are able to exploit low levels of CD4 for infection and predominate in brain tissue, where macrophages are a major target for infection. HIV-1 R5 founder viruses that are transmitted were reported to be non-macrophage-tropic. Here, we investigated the sensitivities of macrophage-tropic and non-macrophage-tropic R5 envelopes to neutralizing antibodies. We observed striking differences in the sensitivities of Env+ pseudovirions to soluble CD4 (sCD4) and to neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that target the CD4 binding site. Macrophage-tropic R5 Envs were sensitive to sCD4, while non-macrophage-tropic Envs were significantly more resistant. In contrast, all Envs were sensitive to VRC01 regardless of tropism, while MAb b12 conferred an intermediate neutralization pattern where all the macrophage-tropic and about half of the non-macrophage-tropic Envs were sensitive. CD4, b12, and VRC01 share binding specificities on the outer domain of gp120. However, these antibodies differ in their ability to induce conformational changes on the trimeric envelope and in specificity for residues on the V1V2 loop stem and β20-21 junction that are targets for CD4 in recruiting the bridging sheet. These distinct specificities of CD4, b12, and VRC01 likely explain the observed differences in Env sensitivity to inhibition by these reagents and provide an insight into the envelope mechanisms that control macrophage tropism. We present a model where the efficiency of bridging-sheet recruitment by CD4 is a major determinant of HIV-1 R5 envelope sensitivity to soluble CD4 and macrophage tropism.
Poxvirus vector Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA) expressing HIV-1 Env, Gag, Pol and Nef antigens from clade B (termed MVA-B) is a promising HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate, as confirmed from results obtained in a prophylactic phase I clinical trial in humans. To improve the immunogenicity elicited by MVA-B, we have generated and characterized the innate immune sensing and the in vivo immunogenicity profile of a vector with a double deletion in two vaccinia virus (VACV) genes (C6L and K7R) coding for inhibitors of interferon (IFN) signaling pathways. The innate immune signals elicited by MVA-B deletion mutants (MVA-B ΔC6L and MVA-B ΔC6L/K7R) in human macrophages and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs) showed an up-regulation of the expression of IFN-β, IFN-α/β-inducible genes, TNF-α, and other cytokines and chemokines. A DNA prime/MVA boost immunization protocol in mice revealed that these MVA-B deletion mutants were able to improve the magnitude and quality of HIV-1-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell adaptive and memory immune responses, which were mostly mediated by CD8+ T cells of an effector phenotype, with MVA-B ΔC6L/K7R being the most immunogenic virus recombinant. CD4+ T cell responses were mainly directed against Env, while GPN-specific CD8+ T cell responses were induced preferentially by the MVA-B deletion mutants. Furthermore, antibody levels to Env in the memory phase were slightly enhanced by the MVA-B deletion mutants compared to the parental MVA-B. These findings revealed that double deletion of VACV genes that act blocking intracellularly the IFN signaling pathway confers an immunological benefit, inducing innate immune responses and increases in the magnitude, quality and durability of the HIV-1-specific T cell immune responses. Our observations highlighted the immunomodulatory role of the VACV genes C6L and K7R, and that targeting common pathways, like IRF3/IFN-β signaling, could be a general strategy to improve the immunogenicity of poxvirus-based vaccine candidates.
The sequences of the 16S rRNA genes extracted from fecal samples provide insights into the dynamics of fecal microflora. This potentially gives valuable etiological information for patients whose conditions have been ascribed to unknown pathogens, which cannot be accomplished using routine culture methods. We studied 33 children with diarrhea who were admitted to the Children’s Hospital in Shanxi Province during 2006.
Nineteen of 33 children with diarrhea could not be etiologically diagnosed by routine culture and polymerase chain reaction methods. Eleven of 19 children with diarrhea of unknown etiology had Streptococcus as the most dominant fecal bacterial genus at admission. Eight of nine children whom three consecutive fecal samples were collected had Streptococcus as the dominant fecal bacterial genus, including three in the Streptococcus bovis group and three Streptococcus sp., which was reduced during and after recovery. We isolated strains that were possibly from the S. bovis group from feces sampled at admission, which were then identified as Streptococcus lutetiensis from one child and Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus from two children. We sequenced the genome of S. lutetiensis and identified five antibiotic islands, two pathogenicity islands, and five unique genomic islands. The identified virulence genes included hemolytic toxin cylZ of Streptococcus agalactiae and sortase associated with colonization of pathogenic streptococci.
We identified S. lutetiensis and S. gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus from children with diarrhea of unknown etiology, and found pathogenic islands and virulence genes in the genome of S. lutetiensis.
Microbial communities; 16S rRNA gene analysis; Streptococcus lutetiensis; Genome analysis; Pathogenic island