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1.  Commensal Bacteria Regulate Thymic Aire Expression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105904.
Commensal bacteria in gastrointestinal tracts are reported to function as an environmental factor to regulate intestinal inflammation and immune responses. However, it remains largely unknown whether such bacterial function exerts any effect on other immune organs distant from the intestine. In this study, the influence of commensal bacteria in the thymus, where T cell lineages develop into mature type to form proper repertoires, was investigated using germ-free (GF) mice and Nod1-deficient mice lacking an intracellular recognition receptor for certain bacterial components, in which a commensal bacterial effect is predicted to be less. In both mice, there was no significant difference in the numbers and subset ratios of thymocytes. Interestingly, however, autoimmune regulator (Aire) expression in thymic epithelial cells (TECs), main components of the thymic microenvironment, was decreased in comparison to specific pathogen-free (SPF) mice and Nod1 wild-type (WT) mice, respectively. In vitro analysis using a fetal thymus organ culture (FTOC) system showed that Aire expression in TECs was increased in the presence of a bacterial component or a bacterial product. These results suggest that through their products, commensal bacteria have the potential to have some effect on epithelial cells of the thymus in tissues distant from the intestine where they are originally harbored.
PMCID: PMC4144919  PMID: 25157574
2.  Development and Characterization of cDNA Resources for the Common Marmoset: One of the Experimental Primate Models 
The common marmoset is a new world monkey, which has become a valuable experimental animal for biomedical research. This study developed cDNA libraries for the common marmoset from five different tissues. A total of 290 426 high-quality EST sequences were obtained, where 251 587 sequences (86.5%) had homology (1E−100) with the Refseqs of six different primate species, including human and marmoset. In parallel, 270 673 sequences (93.2%) were aligned to the human genome. When 247 090 sequences were assembled into 17 232 contigs, most of the sequences (218 857 or 15 089 contigs) were located in exonic regions, indicating that these genes are expressed in human and marmoset. The other 5578 sequences (or 808 contigs) mapping to the human genome were not located in exonic regions, suggesting that they are not expressed in human. Furthermore, a different set of 118 potential coding sequences were not similar to any Refseqs in any species, and, thus, may represent unknown genes. The cDNA libraries developed in this study are available through RIKEN Bio Resource Center. A Web server for the marmoset cDNAs is available at, where each marmoset EST sequence has been annotated by reference to the human genome. These new libraries will be a useful genetic resource to facilitate research in the common marmoset.
PMCID: PMC3686431  PMID: 23543116
common marmoset; cDNA; gene resource
3.  Delta-like 4 is indispensable in thymic environment specific for T cell development 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2008;205(11):2507-2513.
The thymic microenvironment is required for T cell development in vivo. However, in vitro studies have shown that when hematopoietic progenitors acquire Notch signaling via Delta-like (Dll)1 or Dll4, they differentiate into the T cell lineage in the absence of a thymic microenvironment. It is not clear, however, whether the thymus supports T cell development specifically by providing Notch signaling. To address this issue, we generated mice with a loxP-flanked allele of Dll4 and induced gene deletion specifically in thymic epithelial cells (TECs). In the thymus of mutant mice, the expression of Dll4 was abrogated on the epithelium, and the proportion of hematopoietic cells bearing the intracellular fragment of Notch1 (ICN1) was markedly decreased. Corresponding to this, CD4 CD8 double-positive or single-positive T cells were not detected in the thymus. Further analysis showed that the double-negative cell fraction was lacking T cell progenitors. The enforced expression of ICN1 in hematopoietic progenitors restored thymic T cell differentiation, even when the TECs were deficient in Dll4. These results indicate that the thymus-specific environment for determining T cell fate indispensably requires Dll4 expression to induce Notch signaling in the thymic immigrant cells.
PMCID: PMC2571926  PMID: 18824583
4.  The Runx1 Transcription Factor Inhibits the Differentiation of Naive CD4+ T Cells into the Th2 Lineage by Repressing GATA3 Expression 
Differentiation of naive CD4+ T cells into helper T (Th) cells is controlled by a combination of several transcriptional factors. In this study, we examined the functional role of the Runx1 transcription factor in Th cell differentiation. Naive T cells from transgenic mice expressing a dominant interfering form of Runx1 exhibited enhanced interleukin 4 production and efficient Th2 differentiation. In contrast, transduction of Runx1 into wild-type T cells caused a complete attenuation of Th2 differentiation and was accompanied by the cessation of GATA3 expression. Furthermore, endogenous expression of Runx1 in naive T cells declined after T cell receptor stimulation, at the same time that expression of GATA3 increased. We conclude that Runx1 plays a novel role as a negative regulator of GATA3 expression, thereby inhibiting the Th2 cell differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2196077  PMID: 12835475
GATA3; Runx1; Th2; T lymphocytes; transcription factor
5.  Distinct Role of Antigen-Specific T Helper Type 1 (Th1) and Th2 Cells in Tumor Eradication in Vivo 
The role of T helper type 1 (Th1) and Th2 cells in tumor immunity was investigated using Th cells induced from ovalbumin (OVA)-specific T cell receptor transgenic mice. Although Th1 cells exhibited stronger cytotoxicity than Th2 cells, both cell types completely eradicated tumors when transferred into mice bearing A20 tumor cells transfected with the OVA gene (A20-OVA). Th1 cells eradicated the tumor mass by inducing cellular immunity, whereas Th2 cells destroyed the tumor by inducing tumor necrosis. Both Th1 and Th2 cells required CD8+ T cells to eliminate tumors, and neither of these cells were able to completely eliminate A20-OVA tumors from T and B cell–deficient RAG2−/− mice. Mice cured from tumors by Th1 and Th2 cell therapy rejected A20-OVA upon rechallenge, but CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes were induced only from spleen cells prepared from cured mice by Th1 cell therapy. Moreover, we demonstrated that Th1 and Th2 cells used distinct adhesion mechanisms during tumor eradication: the leukocyte function-associated antigen (LFA)-1–dependent cell–cell adhesion step was essential for Th1 cell therapy, but not for Th2 cell therapy. These findings demonstrated for the first time the distinct role of antigen-specific Th1 and Th2 cells during eradication of established tumors in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2195611  PMID: 10477547
Th1; Th2; tumor; adoptive immunotherapy; cytokine
6.  Interleukin 7 Transgenic Mice Develop Chronic Colitis with Decreased Interleukin 7 Protein Accumulation in the Colonic Mucosa  
We have demonstrated that intestinal epithelial cells produce interleukin 7 (IL-7), and IL-7 serves as a potent regulatory factor for proliferation of intestinal mucosal lymphocytes expressing functional IL-7 receptor. To clarify the mechanism by which locally produced IL-7 regulates the mucosal lymphocytes, we investigated IL-7 transgenic mice. Here we report that transgenic mice expressing murine IL-7 cDNA driver by the SRα promoter developed chronic colitis in concert with the expression of SRα/IL-7 transgene in the colonic mucosa. IL-7 transgenic but not littermate mice developed chronic colitis at 4–12 wk of age, with histopathological similarity to ulcerative colitis in humans. Southern blot hybridization and competitive PCR demonstrated that the expression of IL-7 messenger RNA was increased in the colonic mucosal lymphocytes but not in the colonic epithelial cells. IL-7 protein accumulation was decreased in the goblet cell–depleted colonic epithelium in the transgenic mice. Immunohistochemical and cytokine production analysis showed that lymphoid infiltrates in the lamina propria were dominated by T helper cell type 1 CD4+ T cells. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that CD4+ intraepithelial T cells were increased, but T cell receptor γ/δ T cells and CD8α/α cells were not increased in the area of chronic inflammation. Increased IL-7 receptor expression in mucosal lymphocytes was demonstrated in the transgenic mice. These findings suggest that chronic inflammation in the colonic mucosa may be mediated by dysregulation of colonic epithelial cell–derived IL-7, and this murine model of chronic colitis may contribute to the understanding of the pathogenesis of human inflammatory bowel disease.
PMCID: PMC2212121  PMID: 9449719

Results 1-7 (7)