The Thai Phase III clinical trial (RV144) showed modest efficacy in preventing HIV-1 acquisition. Plasma collected from HIV-1-uninfected trial participants completing all injections with ALVAC-HIV (vCP1521) prime and AIDSVAX B/E boost were tested for antibody responses against HIV-1 gp120 envelope (Env). Peptide microarray analysis from six HIV-1 subtypes and group M consensus showed that vaccination induced antibody responses to the second variable (V2) loop of gp120 of multiple subtypes. We further evaluated V2 responses by ELISA and surface plasmon resonance using cyclic (Cyc) and linear V2 loop peptides. Thirty-one of 32 vaccine recipients tested (97%) had antibody responses against Cyc V2 at 2 weeks postimmunization with a reciprocal geometric mean titer (GMT) of 1100 (range: 200–3200). The frequency of detecting plasma V2 antibodies declined to 19% at 28 weeks post-last injection (GMT: 110, range: 100–200). Antibody responses targeted the mid-region of the V2 loop that contains conserved epitopes and has the amino acid sequence KQKVHALFYKLDIVPI (HXB2 Numbering sequence 169–184). Valine at position 172 was critical for antibody binding. The frequency of V3 responses at 2 weeks postimmunization was modest (18/32, 56%) with a GMT of 185 (range: 100–800). In contrast, naturally infected HIV-1 individuals had a lower frequency of antibody responses to V2 (10/20, 50%; p=0.003) and a higher frequency of responses to V3 (19/20, 95%), with GMTs of 400 (range: 100–3200) and 3570 (range: 200–12,800), respectively. RV144 vaccination induced antibodies that targeted a region of the V2 loop that contains conserved epitopes. Early HIV-1 transmission events involve V2 loop interactions, raising the possibility that anti-V2 antibodies in RV144 may have contributed to viral inhibition.
Neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies to linear epitopes on HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins have potential to mediate antiviral effector functions that could be beneficial to vaccine-induced protection. Here, plasma IgG responses were assessed in three HIV-1 gp120 vaccine efficacy trials (RV144, Vax003, Vax004) and in HIV-1-infected individuals by using arrays of overlapping peptides spanning the entire consensus gp160 of all major genetic subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) of the virus. In RV144, where 31.2% efficacy against HIV-1 infection was seen, dominant responses targeted the C1, V2, V3 and C5 regions of gp120. An analysis of RV144 case-control samples showed that IgG to V2 CRF01_AE significantly inversely correlated with infection risk (OR= 0.54, p=0.0042), as did the response to other V2 subtypes (OR=0.60-0.63, p=0.016-0.025). The response to V3 CRF01_AE also inversely correlated with infection risk but only in vaccine recipients who had lower levels of other antibodies, especially Env-specific plasma IgA (OR=0.49, p=0.007) and neutralizing antibodies (OR=0.5, p=0.008). Responses to C1 and C5 showed no significant correlation with infection risk. In Vax003 and Vax004, where no significant protection was seen, serum IgG responses targeted the same epitopes as in RV144 with the exception of an additional C1 reactivity in Vax003 and infrequent V2 reactivity in Vax004. In HIV-1 infected subjects, dominant responses targeted the V3 and C5 regions of gp120, as well as the immunodominant domain, heptad repeat 1 (HR-1) and membrane proximal external region (MPER) of gp41. These results highlight the presence of several dominant linear B cell epitopes on the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins. They also generate the hypothesis that IgG to linear epitopes in the V2 and V3 regions of gp120 are part of a complex interplay of immune responses that contributed to protection in RV144.
The detailed examination of the antibody repertoire from RV144 provides a unique template for understanding potentially protective antibody functions. Some potential immune correlates of protection were untested in the correlates analyses due to inherent assay limitations, as well as the need to keep the correlates analysis focused on a limited number of endpoints to achieve statistical power. In an RV144 pilot study, we determined that RV144 vaccination elicited antibodies that could bind infectious virions (including the vaccine strains HIV-1 CM244 and HIV-1 MN and an HIV-1 strain expressing transmitted/founder Env, B.WITO.c). Among vaccinees with the highest IgG binding antibody profile, the majority (78%) captured the infectious vaccine strain virus (CM244), while a smaller proportion of vaccinees (26%) captured HIV-1 transmitted/founder Env virus. We demonstrated that vaccine-elicited HIV-1 gp120 antibodies of multiple specificities (V3, V2, conformational C1, and gp120 conformational) mediated capture of infectious virions. Although capture of infectious HIV-1 correlated with other humoral immune responses, the extent of variation between these humoral responses and virion capture indicates that virion capture antibodies occupy unique immunological space.
Autophagy is a fundamental cell biological process that confers stress tolerance, limits damage, and sustains viability under adverse conditions. Defective autophagy is associated with diverse diseases. The study aimed to investigate the relationship between UNC51-like kinase 1 (ULK1) expression and clinicopathological characteristics as well as survival in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Expression levels of ULK1 in 55 paired HCC and paracancerous tissues were examined using immunohistochemistry. Although not statistically significant, the expression of ULK1 in adjacent peritumoural tissue was lower than those in HCC tissues (P = 0.113). Expression level of ULK1 was significantly associated with tumor size (P = 0.015) after adjusted for age, sex, histologic grade, cirrhosis and TNM. Survival analysis showed that patients with high ULK1 expression had worse survival time than those with low ULK1 expression (hazard rate = 2.684, 95% CI 1.029–7.006, P = 0.044). The findings of the present study provide evidence that ULK1 represents a potential novel prognostic biomarker for HCC patients and may play an important role during the progression of HCC.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; autophagy; UNC51-like kinase 1; survival; biomarker
The RV144 clinical trial of a prime/boost immunizing regimen using recombinant canary pox (ALVAC-HIV) and two gp120 proteins (AIDSVAX B and E) was previously shown to have a 31.2% efficacy rate. Plasma specimens from vaccine and placebo recipients were used in an extensive set of assays to identify correlates of HIV-1 infection risk. Of six primary variables that were studied, only one displayed a significant inverse correlation with risk of infection: the antibody (Ab) response to a fusion protein containing the V1 and V2 regions of gp120 (gp70-V1V2). This finding prompted a thorough examination of the results generated with the complete panel of 13 assays measuring various V2 Abs in the stored plasma used in the initial pilot studies and those used in the subsequent case-control study. The studies revealed that the ALVAC-HIV/AIDSVAX vaccine induced V2-specific Abs that cross-react with multiple HIV-1 subgroups and recognize both conformational and linear epitopes. The conformational epitope was present on gp70-V1V2, while the predominant linear V2 epitope mapped to residues 165–178, immediately N-terminal to the putative α4β7 binding motif in the mid-loop region of V2. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated to compare the risk of infection with data from 12 V2 assays, and in 11 of these, the ORs were ≤1, reaching statistical significance for two of the variables: Ab responses to gp70-V1V2 and to overlapping V2 linear peptides. It remains to be determined whether anti-V2 Ab responses were directly responsible for the reduced infection rate in RV144 and whether anti-V2 Abs will prove to be important with other candidate HIV vaccines that show efficacy, however, the results support continued dissection of Ab responses to the V2 region which may illuminate mechanisms of protection from HIV-1 infection and may facilitate the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine.
In the RV144 trial, the estimated efficacy of a vaccine regimen against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) was 31.2%. We performed a case–control analysis to identify antibody and cellular immune correlates of infection risk.
In pilot studies conducted with RV144 blood samples, 17 antibody or cellular assays met prespecified criteria, of which 6 were chosen for primary analysis to determine the roles of T-cell, IgG antibody, and IgA antibody responses in the modulation of infection risk. Assays were performed on samples from 41 vaccinees who became infected and 205 uninfected vaccinees, obtained 2 weeks after final immunization, to evaluate whether immune-response variables predicted HIV-1 infection through 42 months of follow-up.
Of six primary variables, two correlated significantly with infection risk: the binding of IgG antibodies to variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2) of HIV-1 envelope proteins (Env) correlated inversely with the rate of HIV-1 infection (estimated odds ratio, 0.57 per 1-SD increase; P = 0.02; q = 0.08), and the binding of plasma IgA antibodies to Env correlated directly with the rate of infection (estimated odds ratio, 1.54 per 1-SD increase; P = 0.03; q = 0.08). Neither low levels of V1V2 antibodies nor high levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies were associated with higher rates of infection than were found in the placebo group. Secondary analyses suggested that Env-specific IgA antibodies may mitigate the effects of potentially protective antibodies.
This immune-correlates study generated the hypotheses that V1V2 antibodies may have contributed to protection against HIV-1 infection, whereas high levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies may have mitigated the effects of protective antibodies. Vaccines that are designed to induce higher levels of V1V2 antibodies and lower levels of Env-specific IgA antibodies than are induced by the RV144 vaccine may have improved efficacy against HIV-1 infection.
Cancer cell invasion and metastasis are the most important adverse prognostic factors for pancreatic cancer. Identification of biomarkers associated with outcome of pancreatic cancer may provide new approaches and targets for anticancer therapy. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between the expression of RhoT1, Smad4 and p16 and metastasis and survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. The analysis showed that the high cytoplasmic expression levels of RhoT1, Smad4 and p16 in pancreatic cancer tissues had significantly negative correlation with lymph node metastasis (LNM) (P = 0.017, P = 0.032, P = 0.042, respectively). However, no significant association was observed between perineural invasion (PNI) and the expression of above three proteins (all P>0.05). Additionally, the survival analysis showed that the low expression levels of RhoT1 and Smad4 were significantly associated with worse survival (P = 0.034, P = 0.047, respectively). In conclusion, these results indicated that the low-expression levels of RhoT1 and Smad4 were significantly associated with LNM and shorter survival. RhoT1 may be considered as a potential novel marker for predicting the outcome in patients with pancreatic cancer.
The tumorigenesis of pancreatic cancer is thought to be a complex process. Investigation of the molecular mechanism of pancreatic cancer and exploring the specific markers for early diagnosis and specific targets of therapy is a key point to prevent and treat pancreatic cancer effectively and to improve their prognosis. In this study, expression profiles experiment was performed using Agilent human whole genomic oligonucleotide microarrays with 41,000 genes. Differentially expressed genes related with pancreatic cancer were screened, and analyzed further by GO term analysis and KEGG Pathway analysis. Our results showed that there were 1276 differentially expressed genes associated with pancreatic cancer. 691 genes were up regulated and 585 were down regulated in pancreatic cancer group. The present study confirmed that the occurrence of pancreatic cancer was involved in multiple-gene interaction. In addition, our study found that pancreatic cancer was related to an activation of the mTOR signaling pathway and renal cell carcinoma pathway.
Pancreatic cancer; microarray; gene expression profile; signaling pathway
Generation of potent anti-HIV antibody responses in mucosal compartments is a potential requirement of a transmission-blocking HIV vaccine. HIV-specific, functional antibody responses are present in breast milk, and these mucosal antibody responses may play a role in protection of the majority of HIV-exposed, breastfeeding infants. Therefore, characterization of HIV-specific antibodies produced by B cells in milk could guide the development of vaccines that elicit protective mucosal antibody responses.
We isolated B cells from colostrum of an HIV-infected lactating woman with a detectable neutralization response in milk and recombinantly produced and characterized the resulting HIV-1 Envelope (Env)-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).
The identified HIV-1 Env-specific colostrum mAbs, CH07 and CH08, represent two of the first mucosally-derived anti-HIV antibodies yet to be reported. Colostrum mAb CH07 is a highly-autoreactive, weakly-neutralizing gp140-specific mAb that binds to linear epitopes in the gp120 C5 region and gp41 fusion domain. In contrast, colostrum mAb CH08 is a nonpolyreactive CD4-inducible (CD4i) gp120-specific mAb with moderate breadth of neutralization.
These novel HIV-neutralizing mAbs isolated from a mucosal compartment provide insight into the ability of mucosal B cell populations to produce functional anti-HIV antibodies that may contribute to protection against virus acquisition at mucosal surfaces.
A small proportion of HIV-infected individuals generate a neutralizing antibody (NAb) response of exceptional magnitude and breadth. A detailed analysis of the critical epitopes targeted by broadly neutralizing antibodies should help to define optimal targets for vaccine design. HIV-1-infected subjects with potent cross-reactive serum neutralizing antibodies were identified by assaying sera from 308 subjects against a multiclade panel of 12 “tier 2” viruses (4 each of subtypes A, B, and C). Various neutralizing epitope specificities were determined for the top 9 neutralizers, including clade A-, clade B-, clade C-, and clade A/C-infected donors, by using a comprehensive set of assays. In some subjects, neutralization breadth was mediated by two or more antibody specificities. Although antibodies to the gp41 membrane-proximal external region (MPER) were identified in some subjects, the subjects with the greatest neutralization breadth targeted gp120 epitopes, including the CD4 binding site, a glycan-containing quaternary epitope formed by the V2 and V3 loops, or an outer domain epitope containing a glycan at residue N332. The broadly reactive HIV-1 neutralization observed in some subjects is mediated by antibodies targeting several conserved regions on the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein.
The genes encoding broadly HIV-1-neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are highly divergent from their germ line counterparts. We have hypothesized that such high levels of somatic hypermutation could pose a challenge for elicitation of the broadly neutralizing (bn) Abs and that identification of less somatically mutated bn Abs may help in the design of effective vaccine immunogens. In a quest for such bn Abs, phage- and yeast-displayed antibody libraries, constructed using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from a patient with bn serum containing Abs targeting the epitope of the bn MAb 2F5, were panned against peptides containing the 2F5 epitope and against the HIV-1 gp140JR-FL. Two MAbs (m66 and m66.6) were identified; the more mutated variant (m66.6) exhibited higher HIV-1-neutralizing activity than m66, although it was weaker than 2F5 in a TZM-bl cell assay. Binding of both MAbs to gp41 alanine substitution mutant peptides required the DKW664–666 core of the 2F5 epitope and two additional upstream residues (L660,663). The MAbs have long (21-residue) heavy-chain third complementarity-determining regions (CDR-H3s), and m66.6 (but not m66) exhibited polyspecific reactivity to self- and non-self-antigens. Both m66 and m66.6 are significantly less divergent from their germ line Ab counterparts than 2F5—they have a total of 11 and 18 amino acid changes, respectively, from the closest VH and Vκ germ line gene products compared to 25 for 2F5. These new MAbs could help explore the complex maturation pathways involved in broad neutralization and its relationship with auto- and polyreactivity and may aid design of vaccine immunogens and development of therapeutics against HIV-1 infection.
To investigate the expression of the human PIWI subfamily proteins in gastric cancer and their potential roles in the occurrence, development and prognosis of gastric cancer.
Methods and patients
Expression of the PIWI proteins were assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in tissue microarrays (TMA), containing paired tumor tissue and adjacent non-cancer tissue from 182 patients who had undergone surgery in hospital for histologically proven gastric cancer (GC). Prognostic value and correlation with other clinicopathologic factors were evaluated in two classifications.
The expression of PIWIL1-4 was significantly higher in tumor tissue than that in adjacent tissue; A significant correlation was observed between the higher expression of PIWI protein with the T stage, lymph node metastasis and clinical TNM (cTNM); Survival analysis by Kaplan-Meier survival curve and log-rank test demonstrated that elevated PIWIL1 and PIWIL2 expression in cancer tissue predicted poorer overall survival (OS) compared with group in lower expression (36.5% VS 67.6%; 37.4% VS 54.2%; respectively). Notably, multivariate analyses by Cox’s proportional hazard model revealed that expression of PIWIL1 was an independent prognostic factor in gastric cancer.
The PIWI subfamily protein is an absolutely key molecular factor along with the tumor occurrence and development. And the PIWI protein could act as a potential biomarker for prognosis evaluation of gastric cancer.
Argonaute protein; tissue microarray; Immunohistochemistry; gastric cancer
Lymph node metastasis (LNM) and perineural invasion (PNI) are regarded as two important prognostic factors in pancreatic cancer. The aim of this study was to identify the LNM-associated and PNI-associated markers in pancreatic cancer. We have constructed a formalin-fixed paraffin embedded pancreatic tissue microarrays containing 324 cylindrical tissue cores of human pancreatic cancer and its paracancerous nonmalignant pancreatic specimens (NMPs) from 162 patients. Among those patients, there were 83 of 162 with PNI, and 65 of 162 with LNM. The protein products of 2 genes encompassing a variety of functional classes, such as oncogenes (c-Myc), apoptosis (Fas), were analyzed by immunohistochemistry on the tissue microarray. There was marked increase in cancer tissues cytoplasmic c-Myc expression level in pancreatic cancer compared with the NMPs (P < 0.0001). Additionally, the expression level of c-Myc was also significant increase in pancreatic cancer with PNI compared with cancer without PNI (P < 0.01). In contrast, cytoplasmic Fas, low expressed in pancreatic cancer (P < 0.0001) was negatively correlated with PNI (P < 0.05). Logistic regression analysis showed that the c-Myc expression in the cancer tissues cytoplasm acted as a potential and independently predictive factor for PNI. However, there were no significant association between the expression of these two genes and LNM (P > 0.05). This study for the first time described expression levels of c-Myc and Fas played an important role in PNI of pancreatic cancer. Combined detection can be used as predictive factors, especially c-Myc.
Pancreatic cancer; perineural invasion; c-Myc; Fas; tissue microarrays
Genetic variations influence treatment outcomes in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Detection of pharmacogenetic markers associated with treatment response may enable doctor to plan more precise and effective treatment tailoring to individual cancer patients.
A novel oligonucleotide microarray was developed to genotype 13 variations (DPYD*2, DPYD*5, DPYD*9, TYMS 6 bp Ins/Del, UGT1A1*6, UGT1A1*27, UGT1A1*28, GSTP1 Ile105Val, XRCC1 Arg399Gln, MTHFR C677T, MDR1 C3435T/A, MDR1 G2677A/T and ERCC1 C118T). The accuracy of genotypes obtained by microarray was assessed by independent sequencing. 73 patients first diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) were treated with FOLFOX4 chemotherapy.
All genotypes were successfully called by microarray, and were consistent with those identified by independent sequencing except two TYMS 6 bp Ins/Del genotypes. Patients with CT or TT genotype exhibited a higher probability of response to treatment than those with CC genotype. No other SNP was found to be associated with treatment response. Furthermore, these SNPs showed no associations with gastrointestinal, hematological or neurological toxicity.
ERCC1 C118T may be a predictive marker of treatment response to 5-FU/platinum chemotherapy for CRC. The microarray can significantly facilitate the process of detecting genetic variations and may help doctor plan more effective medication for individual cancer patient.
Single nucleotide polymorphism; 5-FU; platinum; drug response; ERCC1; molecular biomarker
Despite months of mucosal virus exposure, the majority of breastfed infants born to HIV-infected mothers do not become infected, raising the possibility that immune factors in milk inhibit mucosal transmission of HIV. HIV Envelope (Env)-specific antibodies are present in the milk of HIV-infected mothers, but little is known about their virus-specific functions. In this study, HIV Env-specific antibody binding, autologous and heterologous virus neutralization, and antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) responses were measured in the milk and plasma of 41 HIV-infected lactating women. Although IgA is the predominant antibody isotype in milk, HIV Env-specific IgG responses were higher in magnitude than HIV Env-specific IgA responses in milk. The concentrations of anti-HIV gp120 IgG in milk and plasma were directly correlated (r = 0.75; P < 0.0001), yet the response in milk was 2 logarithm units lower than in plasma. Similarly, heterologous virus neutralization (r = 0.39; P = 0.010) and ADCC activity (r = 0.64; P < 0.0001) in milk were directly correlated with that in the systemic compartment but were 2 log units lower in magnitude. Autologous neutralization was rarely detected in milk. Milk heterologous virus neutralization titers correlated with HIV gp120 Env-binding IgG responses but not with IgA responses (r = 0.71 and P < 0.0001, and r = 0.17 and P = 0.30). Moreover, IgGs purified from milk and plasma had equal neutralizing potencies against a tier 1 virus (r = 0.65; P < 0.0001), whereas only 1 out of 35 tested non-IgG milk fractions had detectable neutralization. These results suggest that plasma-derived IgG antibodies mediate the majority of the low-level HIV neutralization and ADCC activity in breast milk.
A component to the problem of inducing broad neutralizing HIV-1 gp41 membrane proximal external region (MPER) antibodies is the need to focus the antibody response to the transiently exposed MPER pre-hairpin intermediate neutralization epitope. Here we describe a HIV-1 envelope (Env) gp140 oligomer prime followed by MPER peptide-liposomes boost strategy for eliciting serum antibody responses in rhesus macaques that bind to a gp41 fusion intermediate protein. This Env-liposome immunization strategy induced antibodies to the 2F5 neutralizing epitope 664DKW residues, and these antibodies preferentially bound to a gp41 fusion intermediate construct as well as to MPER scaffolds stabilized in the 2F5-bound conformation. However, no serum lipid binding activity was observed nor was serum neutralizing activity for HIV-1 pseudoviruses present. Nonetheless, the Env-liposome prime-boost immunization strategy induced antibodies that recognized a gp41 fusion intermediate protein and was successful in focusing the antibody response to the desired epitope.
A macroscopic evaporating water droplet with suspended particles on a solid surface will form a ring-like structure at the pinned contact line due to induced capillary flow. As the droplet size shrinks, the competition between the time scales of the liquid evaporation and the particle movement may influence the resulting ring formation. When the liquid evaporates much faster than the particle movement, coffee ring formation may cease. Here, we experimentally show that there exists a lower limit of droplet size, Dc, for the successful formation of a coffee ring structure. When the particle concentration is above a threshold value, Dc can be estimated by considering the collective effects of the liquid evaporation and the particle diffusive motion within the droplet. For suspended particles of size ~100 nm, the minimum diameter of the coffee ring structure is found to be ~10 µm.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) DNA vaccine approaches that included a vif-deleted FIV provirus (FIV-pPPRΔvif) and feline cytokine expression plasmids were tested for immunogenicity and efficacy by immunization of specific pathogen free cats. Vaccine protocols included FIV-pPPRΔvif plasmid alone; a combination of FIV-pPPRΔvif DNA and feline granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α expression plasmids; or a combination of FIV-pPPRΔvif and feline interleukin (IL)-15 plasmids. Cats immunized with FIV-pPPRΔvif, GM-CSF and TNF-α plasmids demonstrated an increased frequency of FIV-specific T cell proliferation responses compared to other vaccine groups. Immunization with FIV-pPPRΔvif and IL-15 plasmids was distinguished from other vaccine protocols by the induction of antiviral antibodies. Suppression of virus loads was not observed for any of the FIV-pPPRΔvif DNA vaccine protocols after challenge with the FIV-PPR isolate. However, prior immunization with FIV-pPPRΔvif, GM-CSF, and TNF-α plasmids resulted in preservation of CD4 T cell functions, including mitogen-induced cytokine expression and antigen-specific proliferation upon infection with FIV. These findings justify further examination of cytokine combinations as adjuvants for lentiviral DNA vaccines.
FIV; DNA vaccine; cytokine adjuvants
The broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) 2F5 and 4E10, both targeting the highly conserved human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope membrane proximal external region (MPER), are among the MAbs with the broadest heterologous neutralizing activity and are of considerable interest for HIV-1 vaccine development. We have identified serum antibodies from an HIV-infected subject that both were broadly neutralizing and specifically targeted MPER epitopes that overlap the 2F5 epitope. These MPER-specific antibodies were made 15 to 20 months following transmission and concomitantly with the development of autoantibodies. Our findings suggest that multiple events (i.e., genetic predisposition and HIV-1 immune dysregulation) may be required for induction of broadly reactive gp41 MPER antibodies in natural infection.