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author:("meles, Daniel")
1.  Unexpected impairment of TNF-α-induced maturation of human dendritic cells in vitro by IL-4 
An efficient strategy for programing dendritic cells (DCs) for cancer immunotherapy is the optimization of their maturation so that they can efficiently stimulate cancer-specific T cell responses. Interleukin (IL)-4 has appeared as an essential cytokine, widely used in vitro with granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) to differentiate monocytes into immature DCs (iDC) and to prevent macrophage formation. Conflicting data have been published regarding the effect of IL-4 on functional DC maturation. To further understand IL-4’s effects on DC maturation and function in vitro, we choose the most commonly used maturation factor tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α.
Human monocyte-derived iDC were treated for 48 h with GM-CSF and TNF-α in the presence (IL-4+-DC) or absence (IL-4−-DC) of IL-4 and functions of both DC populations were compared.
On mixed lymphocyte reaction assay, IL-4+-DC were less potent than IL-4−-DC at inducing the proliferation of allogeneic CD4+ T cells and the proportion of activated T cells expressing CD69 and/or CD25 was smaller. Interleukin-4 reduced the cell-surface expression of TNF-α-induced DC maturation markers CD83, CD86, HLA-DR and CD25 and generated a heterogeneous population of DCs. IL-4+-DC secreted less IL-12 and more IL-10 than IL-4−-DC following activation by soluble CD40L, and IL-4+-DC-activated T cells secreted lesser amounts of T helper (Th) 1 cytokines (IL-2 and interferon-γ). Importantly, IL-4 impaired the in vitro migratory capacity of DCs in response to CCL21 and CCL19 chemokines. This effect was related to reduced expression of CCR7 at both mRNA and protein levels.
Interleukin-4 used with GM-CSF and TNF-α during the maturation of DCs in vitro impaired DC functions and disturbed the maturation effect of TNF-α. Finally, our study reinforces the view that the quality of the DC maturation stimulus, which regulates DC migration and cytokine production, may be a decisive feature of the immunogenicity of DCs.
PMCID: PMC4832484  PMID: 27080531
Dendritic cell; Maturation; Migration; Immune function; Immunotherapy
2.  Mir-34a Mimics Are Potential Therapeutic Agents for p53-Mutated and Chemo-Resistant Brain Tumour Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108514.
Chemotherapeutic drug resistance and relapse remains a major challenge for paediatric (medulloblastoma) and adult (glioblastoma) brain tumour treatment. Medulloblastoma tumours and cell lines with mutations in the p53 signalling pathway have been shown to be specifically insensitive to DNA damaging agents. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential of triggering cell death in p53 mutated medulloblastoma cells by a direct activation of pro-death signalling downstream of p53 activation. Since non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) have the ability to fine tune the expression of a variety of target genes, orchestrating multiple downstream effects, we hypothesised that triggering the expression of a p53 target miRNA could induce cell death in chemo-resistant cells. Treatment with etoposide, increased miR-34a levels in a p53-dependent fashion and the level of miR-34a transcription was correlated with the cell sensitivity to etoposide. miR-34a activity was validated by measuring the expression levels of one of its well described target: the NADH dependent sirtuin1 (SIRT1). Whilst drugs directly targeting SIRT1, were potent to trigger cell death at high concentrations only, introduction of synthetic miR-34a mimics was able to induce cell death in p53 mutated medulloblastoma and glioblastoma cell lines. Our results show that the need of a functional p53 signaling pathway can be bypassed by direct activation of miR-34a in brain tumour cells.
PMCID: PMC4177398  PMID: 25250818
3.  Inhibition of Macroautophagy Triggers Apoptosis† 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(3):1025-1040.
Mammalian cells were observed to die under conditions in which nutrients were depleted and, simultaneously, macroautophagy was inhibited either genetically (by a small interfering RNA targeting Atg5, Atg6/Beclin 1-1, Atg10, or Atg12) or pharmacologically (by 3-methyladenine, hydroxychloroquine, bafilomycin A1, or monensin). Cell death occurred through apoptosis (type 1 cell death), since it was reduced by stabilization of mitochondrial membranes (with Bcl-2 or vMIA, a cytomegalovirus-derived gene) or by caspase inhibition. Under conditions in which the fusion between lysosomes and autophagosomes was inhibited, the formation of autophagic vacuoles was enhanced at a preapoptotic stage, as indicated by accumulation of LC3-II protein, ultrastructural studies, and an increase in the acidic vacuolar compartment. Cells exhibiting a morphology reminiscent of (autophagic) type 2 cell death, however, recovered, and only cells with a disrupted mitochondrial transmembrane potential were beyond the point of no return and inexorably died even under optimal culture conditions. All together, these data indicate that autophagy may be cytoprotective, at least under conditions of nutrient depletion, and point to an important cross talk between type 1 and type 2 cell death pathways.
PMCID: PMC543994  PMID: 15657430

Results 1-3 (3)