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1.  Response to Detection and analysis of unusual features in the structural model and structure-factor data of a birch pollen allergen  
A response to the article by Rupp (2012), Acta Cryst. F68, 366–376.
The authors of J. Immunol. 184, 725–735 respond to the article by Rupp (2012), Acta Cryst. F68, 366–376.
PMCID: PMC3325801  PMID: 22505401
response; protein structure; Bet V 1 birch pollen allergen
2.  Antigen Aggregation Decides the Fate of the Allergic Immune Response 
Previously, defined naturally occurring isoforms of allergenic proteins were classified as hypoallergens and therefore suggested as an agent for immunotherapy in the future. In this paper, we report for the first time the molecular background of hypoallergenicity by comparing the immunological behavior of hyperallergenic Betula verrucosa major Ag 1a (Bet v 1a) and hypoallergenic Bet v 1d, two isoforms of the major birch pollen allergen Betula verrucosa 1. Despite their cross-reactivity, Bet v 1a and Bet v 1d differ in their capacity to induce protective Ab responses in BALB/c mice. Both isoforms induced similar specific IgE levels, but only Bet v 1d expressed relevant titers of serum IgGs and IgAs. Interestingly, hypoallergenic Bet v 1d activated dendritic cells more efficiently, followed by the production of increased amounts of Th1- as well as Th2-type cytokines. Surprisingly, compared with Bet v 1a, Bet v 1d-immunized mice showed a decreased proliferation of regulatory T cells. Crystallographic studies and dynamic light scattering revealed that Bet v 1d demonstrated a high tendency to form disulfide-linked aggregates due to a serine to cysteine exchange at residue 113. We conclude that aggregation of Bet v 1d triggers the establishment of a protective Ab titer and supports a rationale for Bet v 1d being a promising candidate for specific immunotherapy of birch pollen allergy.
PMCID: PMC2968749  PMID: 19995902
3.  Migration of antibody secreting cells towards CXCL12 depends on the isotype that forms the BCR 
European journal of immunology  2008;38(11):3167-3177.
Truncation of the cytoplasmic tail of membrane-bound IgE in vivo results in lower serum IgE levels, decreased numbers of IgE-secreting plasma cells and the abrogation of specific secondary immune responses. Here we present mouse strain KN1 that expresses a chimeric ε-γ1 BCR, consisting of the extracellular domains of the ε gene and the trans-membrane and cytoplasmic domains of the γ1 gene. Thus, differences in the IgE immune response of KN1 mice reflect the influence of the “γ1-mediated signalling” of mIgE bearing B cells. KN1 mice show an increased serum IgE level, resulting from an elevated number of IgE-secreting cells. Although the primary IgE immune response in KN1 mice is inconspicuous, the secondary response is far more robust. Most strikingly, IgE-antibody secreting cells with “γ1-signalling history” migrate more efficiently towards the chemokine CXCL12, which guides plasmablasts to plasma cell niches, than IgE-antibody secreting cells with WT “ε-signalling history”. We conclude that IgE plasmablasts have an intrinsic, lower chance to contribute to the long-lived plasma cell pool than IgG1 plasmablasts.
PMCID: PMC2967815  PMID: 18925577
B cells; Chemokines; Immunoglobulins; Knockout mice; Memory cells
4.  Targeting the Extracellular Membrane-Proximal Domain of Membrane-Bound IgE by Passive Immunization Blocks IgE Synthesis In Vivo1 
The classical allergic reaction starts seconds or minutes after Ag contact and is committed by Abs produced by a special subset of B lymphocytes. These Abs belong to the IgE subclass and are responsible for Type I hyperreactivity reactions. Treatment of allergic diseases with humanized anti-IgE Abs leads primarily to a decrease of serum IgE levels. As a consequence, the number of high-affinity IgE receptors on mast cells and basophils decreases, leading to a lower excitability of the effector cells. The biological mechanism behind anti-IgE therapy remains partly speculative; however, it is likely that these Abs also interact with membrane IgE (mIgE) on B cells and possibly interfere with IgE production. In the present work, we raised a mouse mAb directed exclusively against the extracellular membrane-proximal domain of mIgE. The interaction between the monoclonal anti-mIgE Ab and mIgE induces receptor-mediated apoptosis in vitro. Passive immunization experiments lead to a block of newly synthesized specific IgEs during a parallel application of recombinant Bet v1a, the major birch pollen allergen. The decrease of allergen-specific serum IgE might be related to tolerance-inducing mechanisms stopping mIgE-displaying B cells in their proliferation and differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2959155  PMID: 18390733
5.  HPK1 Associates with SKAP-HOM to Negatively Regulate Rap1-Mediated B-Lymphocyte Adhesion 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e12468.
Hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1) is a Ste20-related serine/threonine kinase activated by a range of environmental stimuli including genotoxic stress, growth factors, inflammatory cytokines and antigen receptor triggering. Being inducibly recruited to membrane-proximal signalling scaffolds to regulate NFAT, AP-1 and NFκB-mediated gene transcription in T-cells, the function of HPK1 in B-cells to date remains rather ill-defined.
Methodology/Principal Findings
By using two loss of function models, we show that HPK1 displays a novel function in regulating B-cell integrin activity. Wehi 231 lymphoma cells lacking HPK1 after shRNA mediated knockdown exhibit increased basic activation levels of Ras-related protein 1 (Rap1), accompanied by a severe lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) dependent homotypic aggregation and increased adhesion to intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1). The observed phenotype of enhanced integrin activity is caused downstream of Src, by a signalling module independent of PI3K and PLC, involving HPK1, SKAP55 homologue (SKAP-HOM) and Rap1-GTP-interacting adaptor molecule (RIAM). This alters actin dynamics and renders focal adhesion kinase (FAK) constitutively phosphorylated. Bone marrow and splenic B-cell development of HPK1−/− mice are largely unaffected, except age-related tendencies for increased splenic cellularity and BCR downregulation. In addition, naïve splenic knockout B-cells appear hyperresponsive to a range of stimuli applied ex vivo as recently demonstrated by others for T-cells.
We therefore conclude that HPK1 exhibits a dual function in B-cells by negatively regulating integrin activity and controlling cellular activation, which makes it an interesting candidate to study in pathological settings like autoimmunity and cancer.
PMCID: PMC2931690  PMID: 20824186
6.  Phage Display Based Cloning of Proteins Interacting with the Cytoplasmic Tail of Membrane Immunoglobulins 
Developmental Immunology  2002;9(3):127-134.
The reduced quantity and quality of serum immunoglobulins (sIgs) in mutant mice expressing truncated cytoplasmic tails of IgE and IgG1 indicate an active role for the cytoplasmic domains of mIgG1 and mIgE. We used phage display technology to identify candidate proteins able to interact with the cytoplasmic tail of mIgE. Using a murine cDNA B cell library displayed on the surface of phage as prey and the 28 amino acid long cytoplasmic tail of IgE as bait, we isolated phage encoding the murine hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1). Surface plasmon resonance analysis measurements confirmed affinity of HPK1 to the mIgE cytoplasmic tail and revealed association to other immunoglobulin isotypes as well. Immunoprecipitation experiments, using lysates from two B cell lines expressing nitrophenyl (NP) specific mIgE molecules showed co-precipitation of IgE and HPK1. The interaction of HPK1 with the cytoplasmic domains of membrane immunoglobulins indicate an active role of the tails as part of an isotype specific signal transduction, independent from the Igα/Igβ heterodimers, and may represent a missing link to upstream regulatory elements of HPK1 activation.
PMCID: PMC2276102  PMID: 12885153
7.  Humoral and Cell-mediated Autoimmune Reactions to Human Acidic Ribosomal P2 Protein in Individuals Sensitized to Aspergillus fumigatus P2 Protein  
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1999;189(9):1507-1512.
A panel of cDNAs encoding allergenic proteins was isolated from an Aspergillus fumigatus cDNA library displayed on the surface of filamentous phage. Solid phase–immobilized serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) from A. fumigatus–allergic individuals was used to enrich phage displaying IgE-binding molecules. One of the cDNAs encoded a 11.1-kD protein that was identified as acidic ribosomal phosphoprotein type 2 (P2 protein). The allergen, formally termed rAsp f 8, shares >62% sequence identity and >84% sequence homology to corresponding eukaryotic P2 proteins, including human P2 protein. The sequences encoding human and fungal P2 protein were subcloned, expressed in Escherichia coli as His6-tagged fusion proteins, and purified by Ni2+–chelate affinity chromatography. Both recombinant P2 proteins were recognized by IgE antibodies from allergic individuals sensitized to the A. fumigatus P2 protein and elicited strong type 1–specific skin reactions in these individuals. Moreover, human and fungal P2 proteins induced proliferative responses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of A. fumigatus– allergic subjects sensitized to the fungal P2 protein. These data provide strong evidence for in vitro and in vivo humoral and cell-mediated autoreactivity to human P2 protein in patients suffering from chronic A. fumigatus allergy.
PMCID: PMC2193053  PMID: 10224291
phage display; cDNA libraries; IgE; allergens; autoimmunity

Results 1-7 (7)