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1.  Rapid mobilization of hematopoietic progenitors by AMD3100 and catecholamines is mediated by CXCR4-dependent SDF-1 release from bone marrow stromal cells 
Leukemia  2011;25(8):1286-1296.
Steady-state egress of hematopoietic progenitor cells can be rapidly amplified by mobilizing agents such as AMD3100, the mechanism, however, is poorly understood. We report that AMD3100 increased the homeostatic release of the chemokine SDF-1 to the circulation in mice and non-human primates. Neutralizing antibodies against CXCR4 or SDF-1 inhibited both steady-state and AMD3100-induced SDF-1 release and reduced egress of murine progenitor cells over mature leukocytes. Intra-bone injection of biotinylated SDF-1 also enhanced release of this chemokine and murine progenitor cell mobilization. AMD3100 directly induced SDF-1 release from CXCR4+ human bone marrow osteoblasts and endothelial cells and activated uPA in a CXCR4/JNK-dependent manner. Additionally, ROS inhibition reduced AMD3100-induced SDF-1 release, activation of circulating uPA and mobilization of progenitor cells. Norepinephrine treatment, mimicking acute stress, rapidly increased SDF-1 release and progenitor cell mobilization, while β2-adrenergic antagonist inhibited both steady-state and AMD3100-induced SDF-1 release and progenitor cell mobilization in mice. In conclusion, this study reveals that SDF-1 release from bone marrow stromal cells to the circulation emerges as a pivotal mechanism essential for steady state egress and rapid mobilization of hematopoietic progenitor cells, but not mature leukocytes.
PMCID: PMC4175714  PMID: 21494253
Rapid mobilization; AMD3100; catecholamines; uPA; SDF-1/CXCR4; hematopoietic progenitor cells
2.  Mechanism of Resistance to S138A Substituted Enfuvirtide and its Application to Peptide Design 
T-20 (enfuvirtide) resistance is caused by the N43D primary resistance mutation at its presumed binding site at the N-terminal heptad repeat (N-HR) of gp41, accompanied by the S138A secondary mutation at the C-terminal HR of gp41 (C-HR). We have discovered that modifying T-20 to include S138A (T-20S138A) allows it to efficiently block wild-type and T20-resistant viruses, by a mechanism that involves improved binding of T-20S138A to the N-HR that contains the N43D primary mutation. To determine how HIV-1 in turn escapes T-20S138A we used a dose escalation method to select T-20S138A-resistant HIV-1 starting with either wild-type (HIV-1WT) or T-20-resistant (HIV-1N43D/S138A) virus. We found that when starting with WT background, I37N and L44M emerged in the N-HR of gp41, and N126K in the C-HR. However, when starting with HIV-1N43D/S138A, L33S and I69L emerged in N-HR, and E137K in C-HR. T-20S138A-resistant recombinant HIV-1 showed cross-resistance to other T-20 derivatives, but not to C34 derivatives, suggesting that T-20S138A suppressed HIV-1 replication by a similar mechanism to T-20. Furthermore, E137K enhanced viral replication kinetics and restored binding affinity with N-HR containing N43D, indicating that it acts as a secondary, compensatory mutation. We therefore introduced E137K into T-20S138A (T-20E137K/S138A) and revealed that T-20E137K/S138A moderately suppressed replication of T-20S138A-resistant HIV-1. T-20E137K/S138A retained activity to HIV-1 without L33S, which seems to be a key mutation for T-20 derivatives. Our data demonstrate that secondary mutations can be consistently used for the design of peptide inhibitors that block replication of HIV resistant to fusion inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4136414  PMID: 23357451
resistance; HIV-1; gp41; T-20; mutation; fusion inhibitor
3.  HIV-1 Resistance Mechanism to an Electrostatically Constrained Peptide Fusion Inhibitor That Is Active against T-20-Resistant Strains 
T-20EK is a novel fusion inhibitor designed to have enhanced α-helicity over T-20 (enfuvirtide) through engineered electrostatic interactions between glutamic acid (E) and lysine (K) substitutions. T-20EK efficiently suppresses wild-type and T-20-resistant variants. Here, we selected T-20EK-resistant variants. A combination of L33S and N43K substitutions in gp41 were required for high resistance to T-20EK. While these substitutions also caused resistance to T-20, they did not cause cross-resistance to other known fusion inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3719727  PMID: 23689710
4.  Effects of Full-Length Kisspeptin Administration on Follicular Development in Japanese Black Beef Cows 
Kisspeptin is a key molecule that stimulates gonadotropin secretion via release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). In the present study, our aim was to investigate whether kisspeptin has stimulatory effects on follicular development via GnRH/gonadotropin secretion in cows. Japanese Black beef cows were intravenously injected with full-length bovine kisspeptin [Kp-53 (0.2 or 2 nmol/kg)] or vehicle 5 days after they exhibited standing estrus (Day 0). In cows injected with Kp-53 at 2 nmol/kg, the follicular sizes of the first dominant follicles increased on Day 6 and thereafter. Ovulation of the first dominant follicle occurred in 1 out of 4 cows treated with Kp-53 at 2 nmol/kg. Injection of Kp-53 at 2 nmol/kg increased the concentration of plasma luteinizing hormone (LH) but not follicle-stimulating hormone, over a 4-h period following injection in all cows. The present study suggests that administration of full-length kisspeptin causes LH secretion, which is sustained for a few hours, and it is capable of stimulating follicular development and/or ovulation.
PMCID: PMC3934150  PMID: 24107742
Cattle; Follicular development; Gonadotropin; Kisspeptin; Ovulation
5.  Chronic Peripheral Administration of Kappa-Opioid Receptor Antagonist Advances Puberty Onset Associated with Acceleration of Pulsatile Luteinizing Hormone Secretion in Female Rats 
Puberty in mammals is timed by an increase in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion. Previous studies have shown involvement of the two neuropeptides, kisspeptin and neurokinin B (NKB), in controlling puberty onset. Little is known about the role of the other key neuropeptide, dynorphin, in controlling puberty onset, although these three neuropeptides colocalize in the arcuate kisspeptin neurons. The arcuate kisspeptin neuron, which is also referred to as the KNDy neuron, has recently been considered to play a role as an intrinsic source of the GnRH pulse generator. The present study aimed to determine if attenuation of inhibitory dynorphin-kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) signaling triggers the initiation of puberty in normal developing female rats. The present study also determined if stimulatory NKB-neurokinin 3 receptor (NK3R) signaling advances puberty onset. Female Wistar-Imamichi rats were weaned and intraperitoneally implanted with osmotic minipumps filled with nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI), a KOR antagonist, or senktide, a NK3R agonist, at 20 days of age. Fourteen days of intraperitoneal infusion of nor-BNI or senktide advanced puberty onset, manifested as vaginal opening and the first vaginal estrus in female rats. Frequent blood sampling showed that nor-BNI significantly increased luteinizing hormone (LH) pulse frequency at 29 days of age compared with vehicle-treated controls. Senktide tended to increase this frequency, but its effect was not statistically significant. The present results suggest that the inhibitory input of dynorphin-KOR signaling plays a role in the prepubertal restraint of GnRH/LH secretion in normal developing female rats and that attenuation of dynorphin-KOR signaling and increase in NKB-NK3R signaling trigger the onset of puberty in female rats.
PMCID: PMC3934117  PMID: 23877505
GPR54; Metastin; Sexual maturation
6.  Synthesis and in vitro evaluation of a bimodal CXCR4 antagonistic peptide 
Bioconjugate chemistry  2011;22(5):859-864.
The antagonistic Ac-TZ14011 peptide, which binds the CXCR4 receptor, has been labeled with a multifunctional single-attachment-point, MSAP, reagent to obtain a peptide derivative for multimodal imaging. The imaging label contained a DTPA chelate and a fluorescent dye with Cy5.5 spectral properties. Flow cytometry and confocal microscopy showed specific receptor binding of the multimodal peptide, regardless of the presence of indium in the chelate.
PMCID: PMC3711080  PMID: 21480671
7.  Potent CXCR4 Antagonists Containing Amidine Type Peptide Bond Isosteres 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2011;2(6):477-480.
A series of FC131 [cyclo(-d-Tyr-Arg-Arg-Nal-Gly-)] analogues containing amidine type peptide bond isosteres were synthesized as selective CXC chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) antagonists. An isosteric amidine substructure was constructed by a macrocyclization process using nitrile oxide-mediated C−N bond formation. All of the amidine-containing FC131 analogues exhibited potent SDF-1 binding inhibition to CXCR4. The Nal-Gly-substituted analogue was characterized as one of the most potent cyclic pentapeptide-based CXCR4 antagonists reported to date. The improved activity against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type-1 X4 strains suggested that addition of another basic amidine group to the peptide backbone effectively increases the selective binding of the peptides to CXCR4 receptor.
PMCID: PMC4018133  PMID: 24900333
Amidine; chemokine; CXCR4 antagonist; FC131; nitrile oxide; peptidomimetics
8.  HIV-1 gp120 enhances outward potassium current via CXCR4 and cAMP-dependent PKA signaling in cultured rat microglia 
Glia  2011;59(6):997-1007.
Microglia are critical cells in mediating the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative disorders such as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. We hypothesize that HIV-1 glycoprotein 120 (gp120) activates microglia by enhancing outward K+ currents, resulting in microglia secretion of neurotoxins and consequent neuronal dysfunction and death. To test this hypothesis, we studied the effects of gp120 on outward K+ current in cultured rat microglia. Application of gp120 enhanced outward K+ current in a dose-dependent manner, which was blocked by voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channel blockers. Western blot analysis revealed that gp120 produced an elevated expression of Kv channel proteins. Examination of activation and inactivation of outward K+ currents showed that gp120 shifted membrane potentials for activation and steady-state inactivation. The gp120-associated enhancement of outward K+ current was blocked by a CXCR4 receptor antagonist T140 or by a specific protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor H89, suggesting the involvement of chemokine receptor CXCR4 and PKA in gp120-mediated enhancement of outward K+ current. Biological significance of gp120-induced enhancement of microglia outward K+ current was demonstrated by experimental results showing the neurotoxic activity of gp120-stimulated microglia, evaluated by TUNEL staining and MTT assay, was significantly attenuated by Kv channel blockers. Taken together, these results suggest that gp120 induces microglia neurotoxic activity by enhancing microglia outward K+ current and that microglia Kv channels may function as a potential target for the development of therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC3077451  PMID: 21438014
Chemokine receptors; Voltage-gated K+ channel; Neuronal apoptosis; Neurodegeneration
9.  Stromal Cell-Derived Factor 1 Regulates the Actin Organization of Chondrocytes and Chondrocyte Hypertrophy 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37163.
Stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1/CXCL12/PBSF) plays important roles in the biological and physiological functions of haematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells. This chemokine regulates the formation of multiple organ systems during embryogenesis. However, its roles in skeletal development remain unclear. Here we investigated the roles of SDF-1 in chondrocyte differentiation. We demonstrated that SDF-1 protein was expressed at pre-hypertrophic and hypertrophic chondrocytes in the newly formed endochondral callus of rib fracture as well as in the growth plate of normal mouse tibia by immunohistochemical analysis. Using SDF-1−/− mouse embryo, we histologically showed that the total length of the whole humeri of SDF-1−/− mice was significantly shorter than that of wild-type mice, which was contributed mainly by shorter hypertrophic and calcified zones in SDF-1−/− mice. Actin cytoskeleton of hypertrophic chondrocytes in SDF-1−/− mouse humeri showed less F-actin and rounder shape than that of wild-type mice. Primary chondrocytes from SDF-1−/− mice showed the enhanced formation of philopodia and loss of F-actin. The administration of SDF-1 to primary chondrocytes of wild-type mice and SDF-1−/− mice promoted the formation of actin stress fibers. Organ culture of embryonic metatarsals from SDF-1−/− mice showed the growth delay, which was recovered by an exogenous administration of SDF-1. mRNA expression of type X collagen in metatarsals and in primary chondrocytes of SDF-1−/− mouse embryo was down-regulated while the administration of SDF-1 to metatarsals recovered. These data suggests that SDF-1 regulates the actin organization and stimulates bone growth by mediating chondrocyte hypertrophy.
PMCID: PMC3356379  PMID: 22623989
10.  Activation of Neuropeptide FF Receptors by Kisspeptin Receptor Ligands 
Kisspeptin is a member of the RFamide neuropeptide family that is implicated in gonadotropin secretion. Because kisspeptin-GPR54 signaling is implicated in the neuroendocrine regulation of reproduction, GPR54 ligands represent promising therapeutic agents against endocrine secretion disorders. In the present study, the selectivity profiles of GPR54 agonist peptides were investigated for several GPCRs, including RFamide receptors. Kisspeptin-10 exhibited potent binding and activation of neuropeptide FF receptors (NPFFR1 and NPFFR2). In contrast, short peptide agonists bound with much lower affinity to NPFFRs while showing relatively high selectivity toward GPR54. The possible localization of secondary kisspeptin targets was also demonstrated by variation in the levels of GnRH release from the median eminence and the type of GPR54 agonists used. Negligible affinity of the reported NPFFR ligands to GPR54 was observed and indicates the unidirectional cross-reactivity between both ligands.
PMCID: PMC4018085  PMID: 24900254
Neuropeptide FF receptors; kisspeptin; GPR54; NPFFR1, NPFFR2
11.  Non-invasive longitudinal imaging of tumor progression using an 111indium labeled CXCR4 peptide antagonist 
The chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) is a biomarker that is over-expressed in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Hence, CXCR4-targeted (molecular) imaging approaches may have diagnostic value in such a challenging, premalignant lesion. The indium labeled CXCR4 peptide-antagonist, 111In-DTPA-Ac-TZ14011, was used to visualize CXCR4-expression in a mammary intraepithelial neoplastic outgrowth (MIN-O) mouse tumor model resembling human DCIS. MIN-O lesion development was longitudinally monitored using SPET/CT and tracer uptake was compared to uptake in control lesions. Expression of CXCR4 was validated using immunohistochemistry and flow cytometric analysis. The uptake of 111In-DTPA-Ac-TZ14011 was related to tumor angiogenesis using 111In-cDTPA-[RGDfK]. Twenty-four hours after tracer injection, MIN-O lesions could be discriminated from low CXCR4-expressing control tumors, while the degree of angiogenesis based on the αvβ3 integrin expression in both tumor types was similar. The uptake of 111In-DTPA-Ac-TZ14011 in early MIN-O lesions was significantly lower than in larger intermediate and late-stage lesions, two-and-a-half-times (p=0.03) and seven-times (p=0.002), respectively. Intermediate and late stage lesions show a higher degree of membranous CXCR4-staining at immunohistochemistry and flow cytometric analysis. From this study we can conclude that 111In-DTPA-Ac-TZ14011 can be used to visualize the CXCR4-expression in MIN-O lesions longitudinally.
PMCID: PMC3478110  PMID: 23133805
Chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4); ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS); single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT); mouse model; tumor progression; longitudinal imaging
12.  The increase in surface CXCR4 expression on lung extravascular neutrophils and its effects on neutrophils during endotoxin-induced lung injury 
Inflammatory stimuli, such as a microbes or lipopolysaccharides, induce a rapid release of neutrophils from the bone marrow and promote neutrophil migration into inflamed sites to promote host defense. However, an excess accumulation and retention of neutrophils in inflamed tissue can cause severe tissue injuries in the later stages of inflammation. Recent studies have reported that both CXCL12 levels in injured lungs and its receptor, CXCR4, on accumulated neutrophils in injured lungs, increased; furthermore, these studies showed that the CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling pathway participated in neutrophil accumulation in the later stages of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced lung injury. However, the mechanisms underlying this increase in surface CXCR4 expression in neutrophils remain unclear. In this study, we found that surface CXCR4 expression increased in extravascular, but not intravascular, neutrophils in the lungs of LPS-induced lung injury model mice. Furthermore, ex vivo studies revealed that CXCL12 acted not only as a chemoattractant, but also as a suppressor of cell death for the lung neutrophils expressing CXCR4. Sulfatide, one of the native ligands for L-selectin, induced the increase of surface CXCR4 expression on isolated circulating neutrophils, suggesting that the activation of L-selectin may be involved in the increase in surface CXCR4. Our findings show that surface CXCR4 levels on neutrophils increase after extravasation into injured lungs, possibly through the activation of L-selectin. The CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling pathway plays an important role in the modulation of neutrophil activity during acute lung injury, not only by promoting chemotaxis but also by suppressing cell death.
PMCID: PMC4002449  PMID: 21460863
CXCL12; CXCR4; lipopolysaccharides; lung injury; neutrophils
13.  The Aggregation Inhibitor Peptide QBP1 as a Therapeutic Molecule for the Polyglutamine Neurodegenerative Diseases 
Journal of Amino Acids  2011;2011:265084.
Misfolding and abnormal aggregation of proteins in the brain are implicated in the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and the polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases. In the polyQ diseases, an abnormally expanded polyQ stretch triggers misfolding and aggregation of the disease-causing proteins, eventually resulting in neurodegeneration. In this paper, we introduce our therapeutic strategy against the polyQ diseases using polyQ binding peptide 1 (QBP1), a peptide that we identified by phage display screening. We showed that QBP1 specifically binds to the expanded polyQ stretch and inhibits its misfolding and aggregation, resulting in suppression of neurodegeneration in cell culture and animal models of the polyQ diseases. We further demonstrated the potential of protein transduction domains (PTDs) for in vivo delivery of QBP1. We hope that in the near future, chemical analogues of aggregation inhibitor peptides including QBP1 will be developed against protein misfolding-associated neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC3268222  PMID: 22312459
14.  Chemokine Receptor CXCR4 as a Therapeutic Target for Neuroectodermal Tumors 
Seminars in cancer biology  2008;19(2):123-134.
Chemokines (chemotactic cytokines) are a family of proteins associated with the trafficking and activation of leukocytes and other cell types in immune surveillance and inflammatory response. Besides their roles in the immune system, they play pleiotropic roles in tumor initiation, promotion, and progression. Chemokines can be classified into four subfamilies of chemokines, CXC, CC, C, or CX3C, based on their number and spacing of conserved cysteine residues near the N-terminus. This CXC subfamily can be further subclassified into two groups, depending on the presence or absence of a tripeptide motif glutamic acid–leucine–arginine (ELR) in the N-terminal domain. ELR-CXCL12, which binds to CXCR4 has been frequently implicated in various cancers. Over the past several years, studies have increasingly shown that the CXCR4/CXCL12 axis plays critical roles in tumor progression, such as invasion, angiogenesis, survival, homing to metastatic sites. This review focuses on involvement of CXCR4/CXCL12 interaction in neuroectodermal cancers and their therapeutic potentials. As an attractive therapeutic target of CXCR4/CXCL12 axis for cancer chemotherapy, development history and application of CXCR4 antagonists are described.
PMCID: PMC3091135  PMID: 19084067
chemokine; chemokine receptor; CXCR4; CXCL12; SDF-1
15.  A potent chemotherapeutic strategy in prostate cancer: S-(methoxytrityl)-ℒ-cysteine, a novel Eg5 inhibitor 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2011;13(2):236-241.
Docetaxel-based combination chemotherapy remains the predominant treatment for castration-resistant prostate cancer. However, taxane-related drug resistance and neurotoxicity have prompted us to develop substitute treatment strategies. Eg5 (kinesin spindle protein), which is crucial for bipolar spindle formation and duplicated chromosome separation during the early phase of mitosis, has emerged as an attractive target for cancer chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to investigate the anticancer efficacy of S-(methoxytrityl)-ℒ-cysteine (S(MeO)TLC), a novel Eg5 inhibitor in prostate cancer. Eg5 expression was examined in human prostate cancer cell lines and tissue microarrays were constructed from clinical specimens. Antiproliferative activity of S(MeO)TLC in prostate cancer cells was assessed by a cell viability assay. The anticancer effect and inhibitory mechanism of S(MeO)TLC in prostate cancer cells was further explored by Hoechst staining, flow cytometry and immunofluorescence. In addition, the antitumor effect of S(MeO)TLC on subcutaneous xenograft models was assessed. Eg5 expression was identified in PC3, DU145 and LNCaP cells. More than half of prostate cancer clinical specimens displayed Eg5 expression. S(MeO)TLC exhibited more powerful anticancer activity in prostate cancer cells compared with the other four Eg5 inhibitors tested. S(MeO)TLC induced cell death after arresting dividing cells at mitosis with distinct monopolar spindle formation. S(MeO)TLC exhibited its significant inhibitory activity (P<0.05) on subcutaneous xenograft models also through induction of mitotic arrest. We conclude that Eg5 is a good target for prostate cancer chemotherapy, and S(MeO)TLC is a potent promising anticancer agent in prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3739206  PMID: 21297652
Eg5 protein; prostate cancer; S-(methoxytrityl)-ℒ-cysteine
16.  SC29EK, a Peptide Fusion Inhibitor with Enhanced α-Helicity, Inhibits Replication of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Mutants Resistant to Enfuvirtide ▿  
Peptides derived from the α-helical domains of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 (HIV-1) gp41 inhibit HIV-1 fusion to the cell membrane. Enfuvirtide (T-20) is a peptide-based drug that targets the step of HIV fusion, and as such, it effectively suppresses the replication of HIV-1 strains that are either wild type or resistant to multiple reverse transcriptase and/or protease inhibitors. However, HIV-1 variants with T-20 resistance have emerged; therefore, the development of new and potent inhibitors is urgently needed. We have developed a novel HIV fusion inhibitor, SC34EK, which is a gp41-derived 34-amino-acid peptide with glutamate (E) and lysine (K) substitutions on its solvent-accessible site that stabilize its α-helicity. Importantly, SC34EK effectively inhibits the replication of T-20-resistant HIV-1 strains as well as wild-type HIV-1. In this report, we introduce SC29EK, a 29-amino-acid peptide that is a shorter variant of SC34EK. SC29EK blocked the replication of T-20-resistant HIV-1 strains and maintained antiviral activity even in the presence of high serum concentrations (up to 50%). Circular dichroism analysis revealed that the α-helicity of SC29EK was well maintained, while that of the parental peptide, C29, which showed moderate and reduced inhibition of wild-type and T-20-resistant HIV-1 strains, was lower. Our results show that the α-helicity in a peptide-based fusion inhibitor is a key factor for activity and enables the design of short peptide inhibitors with improved pharmacological properties.
PMCID: PMC2650564  PMID: 19114674
17.  Prognostic value of metastin expression in human pancreatic cancer 
KiSS-1 was identified as a metastasis-suppressing gene in melanoma cells. The KiSS-1 gene product (metastin) was isolated from human placenta as the ligand of GPR54, a G-protein-coupled receptor. The role of metastin and GPR54 in tumor progression is not fully understood.
We investigated the clinical significance of metastin and GPR54 expression in pancreatic cancer. We evaluated immunohistochemical expression of metastin and GPR54 in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tissues obtained from 53 consecutive patients who underwent resection between July 2003 and May 2007 at Kyoto University Hospital. In 23 consecutive patients, the plasma metastin level was measured before surgery by enzyme immunoassay.
Strong immunohistochemical expression of metastin was detected in 13 tumors (24.5%), while strong expression of GPR54 was detected in 30 tumors (56.6%). Tumors that were negative for both metastin and GPR54 expression were significantly larger than tumors that were positive for either metastin or GPR54 (p = 0.047). Recurrence was less frequent in patients who had metastin-positive tumors compared with those who had metastin-negative tumors (38.5% versus 70.0%, p = 0.04). Strong expression of metastin and GPR54 was significantly correlated with longer survival (p = 0.02). Metastin expression by pancreatic cancer was an independent prognostic factor for longer survival (hazard ratio, 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.1–4.7; p = 0.03), and the patients with a high plasma metastin level (n = 6) did not die after surgical resection.
Strong expression of metastin and GPR54 by pancreatic cancer is associated with longer survival. Metastin expression is an independent prognostic factor for the survival of pancreatic cancer patients. The plasma metastin level could become a noninvasive prognostic factor for the assessment of pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC2639538  PMID: 19154616
18.  Potent Synergistic Anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Effects Using Combinations of the CCR5 Inhibitor Aplaviroc with Other Anti-HIV Drugs▿  
Aplaviroc (AVC), an experimental CCR5 inhibitor, potently blocks in vitro the infection of R5-tropic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (R5-HIV-1) at subnanomolar 50% inhibitory concentrations. Although maraviroc is presently clinically available, further studies are required to determine the role of CCR5 inhibitors in combinations with other drugs. Here we determined anti-HIV-1 activity using combinations of AVC with various anti-HIV-1 agents, including four U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, two CCR5 inhibitors (TAK779 and SCH-C) and two CXCR4 inhibitors (AMD3100 and TE14011). Combination effects were defined as synergistic or antagonistic when the activity of drug A combined with B was statistically greater or less, respectively, than the additive effects of drugs A and A combined and drugs B and B combined by using the Combo method, described in this paper, which provides (i) a flexible choice of interaction models and (ii) the use of nonparametric statistical methods. Synergistic effects against R5-HIV-1Ba-L and a 50:50 mixture of R5-HIV-1Ba-L and X4-HIV-1ERS104pre (HIV-1Ba-L/104pre) were seen when AVC was combined with zidovudine, nevirapine, indinavir, or enfuvirtide. Mild synergism and additivity were observed when AVC was combined with TAK779 and SCH-C, respectively. We also observed more potent synergism against HIV-1Ba-L/104pre when AVC was combined with AMD3100 or TE14011. The data demonstrate a tendency toward greater synergism with AVC plus either of the two CXCR4 inhibitors compared to the synergism obtained with combinations of AVC and other drugs, suggesting that the development of effective CXCR4 inhibitors may be important for increasing the efficacies of CCR5 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC2415794  PMID: 18378711
19.  Heptad Repeat-Derived Peptides Block Protease-Mediated Direct Entry from the Cell Surface of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus but Not Entry via the Endosomal Pathway▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;82(1):588-592.
The peptides derived from the heptad repeat (HRP) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SCoV) spike protein (sHRPs) are known to inhibit SCoV infection, yet their efficacies are fairly low. Recently our research showed that some proteases facilitated SCoV's direct entry from the cell surface, resulting in a more efficient infection than the previously known infection via endosomal entry. To compare the inhibitory effect of the sHRP in each pathway, we selected two sHRPs, which showed a strong inhibitory effect on the interaction of two heptad repeats in a rapid and virus-free in vitro assay system. We found that they efficiently inhibited SCoV infection of the protease-mediated cell surface pathway but had little effect on the endosomal pathway. This finding suggests that sHRPs may effectively prevent infection in the lungs, where SCoV infection could be enhanced by proteases produced in this organ. This is the first observation that HRP exhibits different effects on virus that takes the endosomal pathway and virus that enters directly from the cell surface.
PMCID: PMC2224400  PMID: 17942557
20.  Exploratory Studies on Development of the Chemokine Receptor CXCR4 Antagonists Toward Downsizing 
Seven transmembrane (7TM) G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) families are important targets for drug discovery, and specific antagonists for GPCR can accelerate research in the field of medicinal chemistry. The chemokine receptor CXCR4 is a GPCR that possesses a unique ligand CXCL12/stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1). The interaction between CXCL12 and CXCR4 is essential for the migration of progenitor cells during embryonic development of the cardiovascular, hemopoietic and central nervous systems, and also involved in several intractable disease processes, including HIV infection, cancer cell metastasis, progression of acute and chronic leukemias, rheumatoid arthritis and pulmonary fibrosis. Thus, CXCR4 may be an important therapeutic target in all of these diseases, and various CXCR4 antagonists have been proposed as potential drugs. Fourteen-mer peptides, T140 and its analogs, and downsized cyclic pentapeptides have been developed by us as potent CXCR4 antagonists. This article describes the development of a number of specific CXCR4 antagonists in our laboratory, including downsizing.
PMCID: PMC2746577  PMID: 19787093
cancer metastasis; chemokine receptor; CXCR4 antagonist; downsizing; HIV infection; rheumatoid arthritis
21.  Mutations Conferring Resistance to Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Fusion Inhibitors Are Restricted by gp41 and Rev-Responsive Element Functions 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(2):764-770.
One of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) envelope proteins, gp41, plays a key role in HIV fusion. A gp41-derived peptide, T-20, efficiently inhibits HIV fusion and is currently approved for treatment of HIV-infected individuals. Although resistant variants have been reported, the mechanism of the resistance remains to be defined. To elucidate the mechanism in detail, we generated variants resistant to C34, a peptide derived from the gp41 carboxyl terminus heptad repeat (C-HR) in vitro. The resistant variants had a 5-amino-acid deletion in gp120 and a total of seven amino acid substitutions in gp41. Binding assays revealed that an I37K substitution in the N-terminal heptad repeat (N-HR) impaired the binding of C34, whereas an N126K substitution in the C-HR enhanced the binding to mutated N-HR, indicating that both mutations were directly involved in resistance. On the other hand, substitutions for A30 and D36 seemed to be secondary mutations, located complementary to each other in the Rev-responsive element (RRE), and were mutated simultaneously to maintain the secondary structure of the RRE that was impaired by the mutations at I37. Thus, HIV acquired resistance to C34 by mutations in N-HR, which directly interacted with C34. However, since this region also encoded the RRE, additional mutations were required to maintain viral replication. These results suggest that HIV fusion is one of the attractive targets for HIV chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC538534  PMID: 15613304
23.  Unique Monoclonal Antibody Recognizing the Third Extracellular Loop of CXCR4 Induces Lymphocyte Agglutination and Enhances Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Mediated Syncytium Formation and Productive Infection 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(23):11534-11543.
To increase insight into the structural basis of CXCR4 utilization in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, a new generation of three monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) was developed in WKA rats. The A80 MAb, which binds an epitope in the third extracellular loop (ECL3) of CXCR4, has unique biologic properties that provide novel insights into CXCR4 function. This agent enhanced syncytium formation in activated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) infected with X4 or R5 and CEM cells infected with X4 HIV-1 strains. Exposure to A80 increased the productive infection of activated CD4+ T cells and CEM cells with R5 and X4 viruses, respectively. This antibody uniquely induced agglutination of PBMC and CEM cells but did not activate calcium mobilization. Agglutination induced by A80 was inhibited by stromal cell-derived factor 1, T22, and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate but was not significantly altered by pretreatment of cells with pertussis toxin, wortmannin, or MAbs to LFA-1, ICAM-1, ICAM-2, and ICAM-3. The binding of the A145 and A120 MAbs was mapped to the N-terminal extracellular domain and a conformational epitope involving ECL1 and ECL2, respectively. Both of these MAbs inhibited HIV-1 infection and lacked the novel properties of A80. These results suggest a new role for CXCR4 in homologous lymphocyte adhesion that is ligand independent and in HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC114740  PMID: 11689635
24.  Induction of the chemokine stromal-derived factor-1 following DNA damage improves human stem cell function 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2000;106(11):1331-1339.
The chemokine stromal-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) controls many aspects of stem cell function. Details of its regulation and sites of production are currently unknown. We report that in the bone marrow, SDF-1 is produced mainly by immature osteoblasts and endothelial cells. Conditioning with DNA-damaging agents (ionizing irradiation, cyclophosphamide, and 5-fluorouracil) caused an increase in SDF-1 expression and in CXCR4-dependent homing and repopulation by human stem cells transplanted into NOD/SCID mice. Our findings suggest that immature osteoblasts and endothelial cells control stem cell homing, retention, and repopulation by secreting SDF-1, which also participates in host defense responses to DNA damage.
PMCID: PMC381461  PMID: 11104786
25.  Inhibitory Mechanism of the CXCR4 Antagonist T22 against Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(9):7489-7496.
We recently reported that a cationic peptide, T22 ([Tyr5,12, Lys7]-polyphemusin II), specifically inhibits human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection mediated by CXCR4 (T. Murakami et al., J. Exp. Med. 186:1389–1393, 1997). Here we demonstrate that T22 effectively inhibits replication of T-tropic HIV-1, including primary isolates, but not of non-T-tropic strains. By using a panel of chimeric viruses between T- and M-tropic HIV-1 strains, viral determinants for T22 susceptibility were mapped to the V3 loop region of gp120. T22 bound to CXCR4 and interfered with stromal-cell-derived factor-1α–CXCR4 interactions in a competitive manner. Blocking of anti-CXCR4 monoclonal antibodies by T22 suggested that the peptide interacts with the N terminus and two of the extracellular loops of CXCR4. Furthermore, the inhibition of cell-cell fusion in cells expressing CXCR4/CXCR2 chimeric receptors suggested that determinants for sensitivity of CXCR4 to T22 include the three extracellular loops of the coreceptor.
PMCID: PMC104275  PMID: 10438838

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