Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-15 (15)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
1.  MicroRNA-Containing T-Regulatory-Cell-Derived Exosomes Suppress Pathogenic T Helper 1 Cells 
Immunity  2014;41(1):89-103.
Foxp3+ T regulatory (Treg) cells prevent inflammatory disease but the mechanistic basis of suppression is not understood completely. Gene silencing by RNA interference can act in a cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous manner, providing mechanisms of intercellular regulation. Here, we demonstrate that non-cell-autonomous gene silencing, mediated by miRNA-containing exosomes, is a mechanism employed by Treg cells to suppress T-cell-mediated disease. Treg cells transferred microRNAs (miRNA) to various immune cells, including T helper 1 (Th1) cells, suppressing Th1 cell proliferation and cytokine secretion. Use of Dicer-deficient or Rab27a and Rab27b double-deficient Treg cells to disrupt miRNA biogenesis or the exosomal pathway, respectively, established a requirement for miRNAs and exosomes for Treg-cell-mediated suppression. Transcriptional analysis and miRNA inhibitor studies showed that exosome-mediated transfer of Let-7d from Treg cell to Th1 cells contributed to suppression and prevention of systemic disease. These studies reveal a mechanism of Treg-cell-mediated suppression mediated by miRNA-containing exosomes.
•Foxp3+ Treg-cell-derived exosomes contain distinct miRNAs•miRNAs and the exosomal pathway are required for proficient Treg cell function•Treg-cell-derived exosomes suppress Th1 cells in a Let-7d-dependent manner
The mechanisms through which T regulatory (Treg) cells prevent inflammation are not fully understood. Okoye et al. show that Treg cells release exosomes that transfer miRNAs to target T helper cells and suppress T-cell-mediated disease.
PMCID: PMC4104030  PMID: 25035954
2.  Retinal gene therapy in patients with choroideremia: initial findings from a phase 1/2 clinical trial 
Lancet  2014;383(9923):1129-1137.
Choroideremia is an X-linked recessive disease that leads to blindness due to mutations in the CHM gene, which encodes the Rab escort protein 1 (REP1). We assessed the effects of retinal gene therapy with an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector encoding REP1 (AAV.REP1) in patients with this disease.
In a multicentre clinical trial, six male patients (aged 35–63 years) with choroideremia were administered AAV.REP1 (0·6–1·0×1010 genome particles, subfoveal injection). Visual function tests included best corrected visual acuity, microperimetry, and retinal sensitivity tests for comparison of baseline values with 6 months after surgery. This study is registered with, number NCT01461213.
Despite undergoing retinal detachment, which normally reduces vision, two patients with advanced choroideremia who had low baseline best corrected visual acuity gained 21 letters and 11 letters (more than two and four lines of vision). Four other patients with near normal best corrected visual acuity at baseline recovered to within one to three letters. Mean gain in visual acuity overall was 3·8 letters (SE 4·1). Maximal sensitivity measured with dark-adapted microperimetry increased in the treated eyes from 23·0 dB (SE 1·1) at baseline to 25·3 dB (1·3) after treatment (increase 2·3 dB [95% CI 0·8–3·8]). In all patients, over the 6 months, the increase in retinal sensitivity in the treated eyes (mean 1·7 [SE 1·0]) was correlated with the vector dose administered per mm2 of surviving retina (r=0·82, p=0·04). By contrast, small non-significant reductions (p>0·05) were noted in the control eyes in both maximal sensitivity (–0·8 dB [1·5]) and mean sensitivity (–1·6 dB [0·9]). One patient in whom the vector was not administered to the fovea re-established variable eccentric fixation that included the ectopic island of surviving retinal pigment epithelium that had been exposed to vector.
The initial results of this retinal gene therapy trial are consistent with improved rod and cone function that overcome any negative effects of retinal detachment. These findings lend support to further assessment of gene therapy in the treatment of choroideremia and other diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, for which intervention should ideally be applied before the onset of retinal thinning.
UK Department of Health and Wellcome Trust.
PMCID: PMC4171740  PMID: 24439297
3.  Functional expression of Rab escort protein 1 following AAV2-mediated gene delivery in the retina of choroideremia mice and human cells ex vivo 
Choroideremia (CHM) is an X-linked retinal degeneration of photoreceptors, the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and choroid caused by loss of function mutations in the CHM/REP1 gene that encodes Rab escort protein 1. As a slowly progressing monogenic retinal degeneration with a clearly identifiable phenotype and a reliable diagnosis, CHM is an ideal candidate for gene therapy. We developed a serotype 2 adeno-associated viral vector AAV2/2-CBA-REP1, which expresses REP1 under control of CMV-enhanced chicken β-actin promoter (CBA) augmented by a Woodchuck hepatitis virus post-transcriptional regulatory element. We show that the AAV2/2-CBA-REP1 vector provides strong and functional transgene expression in the D17 dog osteosarcoma cell line, CHM patient fibroblasts and CHM mouse RPE cells in vitro and in vivo. The ability to transduce human photoreceptors highly effectively with this expression cassette was confirmed in AAV2/2-CBA-GFP transduced human retinal explants ex vivo. Electroretinogram (ERG) analysis of AAV2/2-CBA-REP1 and AAV2/2-CBA-GFP-injected wild-type mouse eyes did not show toxic effects resulting from REP1 overexpression. Subretinal injections of AAV2/2-CBA-REP1 into CHM mouse retinas led to a significant increase in a- and b-wave of ERG responses in comparison to sham-injected eyes confirming that AAV2/2-CBA-REP1 is a promising vector suitable for choroideremia gene therapy in human clinical trials.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00109-013-1006-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3695676  PMID: 23756766
Rab escort protein 1; Gene therapy; Choroideremia; Rab GTPase; Retinitis pigmentosa; AAV
4.  Correction: Conditional Ablation of the Choroideremia Gene Causes Age-Related Changes in Mouse Retinal Pigment Epithelium 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):10.1371/annotation/83a88285-e6a0-41fb-ae67-4315c21e5090.
PMCID: PMC3654017
5.  Conditional Ablation of the Choroideremia Gene Causes Age-Related Changes in Mouse Retinal Pigment Epithelium 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57769.
The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a pigmented monolayer of cells lying between the photoreceptors and a layer of fenestrated capillaries, the choriocapillaris. Choroideremia (CHM) is an X-linked progressive degeneration of these three layers caused by the loss of function of Rab Escort protein-1 (REP1). REP1 is involved in the prenylation of Rab proteins, key regulators of membrane trafficking. To study the pathological consequences of chronic disruption of membrane traffic in the RPE we used a cell type-specific knock-out mouse model of the disease, where the Chm/Rep1 gene is deleted only in pigmented cells (ChmFlox, Tyr-Cre+). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to quantitate the melanosome distribution in the RPE and immunofluorescent staining of rhodopsin was used to quantitate phagocytosed rod outer segments in retinal sections. The ultrastructure of the RPE and Bruch’s membrane at different ages was characterised by TEM to analyse age-related changes occurring as a result of defects in membrane traffic pathways. Chm/Rep1 gene knockout in RPE cells resulted in reduced numbers of melanosomes in the apical processes and delayed phagosome degradation. In addition, the RPE accumulated pathological changes at 5–6 months of age similar to those observed in 2-year old controls. These included the intracellular accumulation of lipofuscin-containing deposits, disorganised basal infoldings and the extracellular accumulation of basal laminar and basal linear deposits. The phenotype of the ChmFlox, Tyr-Cre+ mice suggests that loss of the Chm/Rep1 gene causes premature accumulation of features of aging in the RPE. Furthermore, the striking similarities between the present observations and some of the phenotypes reported in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) suggest that membrane traffic defects may contribute to the pathogenesis of AMD.
PMCID: PMC3584022  PMID: 23460904
6.  Rab27a-mediated protease release regulates neutrophil recruitment by allowing uropod detachment 
Journal of Cell Science  2012;125(7):1652-1656.
Neutrophil migration is vital for immunity and precedes effector functions such as pathogen killing. Here, we report that this process is regulated by the Rab27a GTPase, a protein known to control granule exocytosis. Rab27a-deficient (Rab27a KO) neutrophils exhibit migration defects in vitro and in vivo, and live-cell microscopy suggests that delayed uropod detachment causes the migratory defect. Surface expression of CD11b, a key adhesion molecule, is increased in chemokine-stimulated Rab27a KO neutrophils compared with the control, suggesting a turnover delay caused by a defect in elastase secretion from azurophilic granules at the rear of bone marrow polymorphonuclear leukocytes (BM-PMNs). We suggest that Rab27a-dependent protease secretion regulates neutrophil migration through proteolysis-dependent de-adhesion of uropods, a mechanism that could be conserved in cell migration and invasion.
PMCID: PMC3346826  PMID: 22375060
Rab27a; Chemotaxis; Cell migration; Neutrophil; Uropod
7.  Loss of Rab27 function results in abnormal lung epithelium structure in mice 
Rab27 small GTPases regulate secretion and movement of lysosome-related organelles such as T cell cytolytic granules and platelet-dense granules. Previous studies indicated that Rab27a and Rab27b are expressed in the murine lung suggesting that they regulate secretory processes in the lung. Consistent with those studies, we found that Rab27a and Rab27b are expressed in cell types that contain secretory granules: alveolar epithelial type II (AEII) and Clara cells. We then used Rab27a/Rab27b double knockout (DKO) mice to examine the functional consequence of loss of Rab27 proteins in the murine lung. Light and electron microscopy revealed a number of morphological changes in lungs from DKO mice when compared with those in control animals. In aged DKO mice we observed atrophy of the bronchiolar and alveolar epithelium with reduction of cells numbers, thinning of the bronchiolar epithelium and alveolar walls, and enlargement of alveolar airspaces. In these samples we also observed increased numbers of activated foamy alveolar macrophages and granulocyte containing infiltrates together with reduction in the numbers of Clara cells and AEII cells compared with control. At the ultrastructural level we observed accumulation of cytoplasmic membranes and vesicles in Clara cells. Meanwhile, AEII cells in DKO accumulated large mature lamellar bodies and lacked immature/precursor lamellar bodies. We hypothesize that the morphological changes observed at the ultrastructural level in DKO samples result from secretory defects in AEII and Clara cells and that over time these defects lead to atrophy of the epithelium.
PMCID: PMC3063958  PMID: 21160031
Rab27 proteins; intracellular transport; alveolar epithelium type II cell; Clara cell
8.  Rab27a and Rab27b Regulate Neutrophil Azurophilic Granule Exocytosis and NADPH oxidase Activity by Independent Mechanisms 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2009;11(4):533-547.
Neutrophils rely on exocytosis to mobilize receptors and adhesion molecules and to release microbicidal factors. This process should be strictly regulated because uncontrolled release of toxic proteins would be injurious to the host. In vivo studies showed that the small GTPase Rab27a regulates azurophilic granule exocytosis. Using mouse neutrophils deficient in Rab27a (Rab27aash/ash), Rab27b (Rab27b knockout) or both (Rab27a/b double KO), we investigated the role of the Rab27 isoforms in neutrophils. We found that both Rab27a and Rab27b deficiencies impaired azurophilic granule exocytosis. Rab27aash/ash neutrophils showed upregulation of Rab27b expression which did not compensate for the secretory defects observed in Rab27a-deficient cells suggesting that Rab27 isoforms play independent roles in neutrophil exocytosis. Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy analysis showed that Rab27aash/ash and Rab27b knockout neutrophils have a decreased number of azurophilic granules near the plasma membrane. The effect was exacerbated in Rab27a/b double KO neutrophils. Rab27-deficient neutrophils, showed impaired activation of the NADPH oxidase at the plasma membrane although intraphagosomal ROS production was not affected. Exocytosis of secretory vesicles in Rab27-deficient neutrophils was functional, suggesting that Rab27 GTPases selectively control the exocytosis of neutrophil granules.
PMCID: PMC2937183  PMID: 20028487
9.  Retinal Pigment Epithelium Defects Accelerate Photoreceptor Degeneration in Cell Type–Specific Knockout Mouse Models of Choroideremia 
In this study, the authors provide insight into the pathogenesis of choroideremia, which is caused by the disruption of intracellular vesicular transport. They also touch on other issues, such as the photoreceptor-RPE relationship and aging of the RPE.
Choroideremia (CHM) is a progressive X-linked degeneration of three ocular layers (photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium, and choroid), with a complex and still largely unclear pathogenesis. To investigate the pathophysiology of CHM, the authors engineered mice with a cell type–specific Chm/Rep1 knockout (KO).
A mouse line carrying a conditional allele ChmFlox was crossed with the transgenic line IRBP-Cre to achieve Chm KO, specifically in the photoreceptor layer, and Tyr-Cre to produce Chm KO, specifically in the retinal pigment epithelial and other pigmented cells. ChmFlox, Tyr-Cre+ and ChmFlox, IRBP-Cre+ mice were mated to produce mice with Chm KO in both layers. All mouse lines were studied by histology, electron microscopy, electroretinography (ERG), scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO), and biochemical methods.
In ChmFlox, IRBP-Cre+ mice the authors observed the progressive degeneration of photoreceptors in the presence of normal retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). ChmFlox, Tyr-Cre+ mice exhibited coat color dilution and pigment abnormalities of the RPE in the presence of an intact outer nuclear layer. In 6- to 8-month-old ChmFlox, Tyr-Cre+, IRBP-Cre+ mice, the degeneration of photoreceptors was accelerated compared with ChmFlox, IRBP-Cre+ mice but became leveled with age, such that it was comparable at 12 to 14 months. Detailed ERG and SLO analysis supported the histopathologic findings.
Defects in photoreceptors and RPE can arise because of intrinsic defects caused cell autonomously by the Chm KO. However, when both photoreceptors and RPE are diseased, the dynamics of the degenerative process are altered. Photoreceptor functional deficit and cell death manifest much earlier, suggesting that the diseased RPE accelerates photoreceptor degeneration.
PMCID: PMC3066613  PMID: 20445111
10.  Rab27b Regulates Mast Cell Granule Dynamics and Secretion 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2007;8(7):883-892.
The Rab GTPase family regulates membrane domain organization and vesicular transport pathways. Recent studies indicate that one member of the family, Rab27a, regulates transport of lysosome-related organelles in specialized cells, such as melanosomes and lytic granules. Very little is known about the related isoform, Rab27b. Here we used genetically modified mice to study the involvement of the Rab27 proteins in mast cells, which play key roles in allergic responses. Both Rab27a and Rab27b isoforms are expressed in bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMC) and localize to secretory granules. Nevertheless, secretory defects as measured by β-hexosaminidase release in vitro and passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in vivo were found only in Rab27b and double Rab27 knockout (KO) mice. Immunofluorescence studies suggest that a subset of Rab27b and double Rab27-deficient BMMCs exhibit mild clustering of granules. Quantitative analysis of live-cell time-lapse imaging revealed that BMMCs derived from double Rab27 KO mice showed almost 10-fold increase in granules exhibiting fast movement (>1.5 μm/s), which could be disrupted by nocodazole. These results suggest that Rab27 proteins, particularly Rab27b, play a crucial role in mast cell degranulation and that their action regulates the transition from microtubule to actin-based motility.
PMCID: PMC2063611  PMID: 17587407
mast cell; organelle motility; Rab27; secretion
11.  Independent degeneration of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium in conditional knockout mouse models of choroideremia 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2006;116(2):386-394.
Choroideremia (CHM) is an X-linked degeneration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), photoreceptors, and choroid, caused by loss of function of the CHM/REP1 gene. REP1 is involved in lipid modification (prenylation) of Rab GTPases, key regulators of intracellular vesicular transport and organelle dynamics. To study the pathogenesis of CHM and to develop a model for assessing gene therapy, we have created a conditional mouse knockout of the Chm gene. Heterozygous-null females exhibit characteristic hallmarks of CHM: progressive degeneration of the photoreceptors, patchy depigmentation of the RPE, and Rab prenylation defects. Using tamoxifen-inducible and tissue-specific Cre expression in combination with floxed Chm alleles, we show that CHM pathogenesis involves independently triggered degeneration of photoreceptors and the RPE, associated with different subsets of defective Rabs.
PMCID: PMC1326146  PMID: 16410831
12.  A General Role for Rab27a in Secretory CellsD⃞V⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(1):332-344.
Vesicular transport is a complex multistep process regulated by distinct Rab GTPases. Here, we show for the first time that an EGFP-Rab fusion protein is fully functional in a mammalian organism. We constructed a PAC-based transgenic mouse, which expresses EGFP-Rab27a under the control of endogenous Rab27a promoter. The EGFP-Rab27a transgene was fully functional and rescued the two major defects of the ashen Rab27a knockout mouse. We achieved cell-specific expression of EGFP-Rab27a, which faithfully followed the pattern of expression of endogenous Rab27a. We found that Rab27a is expressed in an exceptionally broad range of specialized secretory cells, including exocrine (particularly in mucin- and zymogen-secreting cells), endocrine, ovarian, and hematopoietic cells, most of which undergo regulated exocytosis. We suggest that Rab27a acts in concert with Rab3 proteins in most regulated secretory events. The present strategy represents one way in which the complex pattern of expression and function of proteins involved in specialized cell types may be unraveled.
PMCID: PMC307551  PMID: 14617806
14.  Functional redundancy of Rab27 proteins and the pathogenesis of Griscelli syndrome 
Griscelli syndrome (GS) patients and the corresponding mouse model ashen exhibit defects mainly in two types of lysosome-related organelles, melanosomes in melanocytes and lytic granules in CTLs. This disease is caused by loss-of-function mutations in RAB27A, which encodes 1 of the 60 known Rab GTPases, critical regulators of vesicular transport. Here we present evidence that Rab27a function can be compensated by a closely related protein, Rab27b. Rab27b is expressed in platelets and other tissues but not in melanocytes or CTLs. Morphological and functional tests in platelets derived from ashen mice are all within normal limits. Both Rab27a and Rab27b are found associated with the limiting membrane of platelet-dense granules and to a lesser degree with α-granules. Ubiquitous transgenic expression of Rab27a or Rab27b rescues ashen coat color, and melanocytes derived from transgenic mice exhibit widespread peripheral distribution of melanosomes instead of the perinuclear clumping observed in ashen melanocytes. Finally, transient expression in ashen melanocytes of Rab27a or Rab27b, but not other Rab’s, restores peripheral distribution of melanosomes. Our data suggest that Rab27b is functionally redundant with Rab27a and that the pathogenesis of GS is determined by the relative expression of Rab27a and Rab27b in specialized cell types.
PMCID: PMC151050  PMID: 12122117
15.  Chromosomal mapping, gene structure and characterization of the human and murine RAB27B gene 
BMC Genetics  2001;2:2.
Rab GTPases are regulators of intracellular membrane traffic. The Rab27 subfamily consists of Rab27a and Rab27b. Rab27a has been recently implicated in Griscelli Disease, a disease combining partial albinism with severe immunodeficiency. Rab27a plays a key role in the function of lysosomal-like organelles such as melanosomes in melanocytes and lytic granules in cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Little is known about Rab27b.
The human RAB27B gene is organised in six exons, spanning about 69 kb in the chromosome 18q21.1 region. Exon 1 is non-coding and is separated from the others by 49 kb of DNA and exon 6 contains a long 3' untranslated sequence (6.4 kb). The mouse Rab27b cDNA shows 95% identity with the human cDNA at the protein level and maps to mouse chromosome 18. The mouse mRNA was detected in stomach, large intestine, spleen and eye by RT-PCR, and in heart, brain, spleen and kidney by Northern blot. Transient over-expression of EGF-Rab27b fusion protein in cultured melanocytes revealed that Rab27b is associated with melanosomes, as observed for EGF-Rab27a.
Our results indicate that the Rab27 subfamily of Ras-like GTPases is highly conserved in mammals. There is high degree of conservation in sequence and gene structure between RAB27A and RAB27B genes. Exogenous expression of Rab27b in melanocytes results in melanosomal association as observed for Rab27a, suggesting the two Rab27 proteins are functional homologues. As with RAB27A in Griscelli Disease, RAB27B may be also associated with human disease mapping to chromosome 18.
PMCID: PMC29082  PMID: 11178108

Results 1-15 (15)