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1.  α4β1 Integrin Mediates the Recruitment of Immature Dendritic Cells across the Blood-Brain Barrier during Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis 
Dendritic cells (DCs) within the CNS are recognized to play an important role in the effector phase and propagation of the immune response in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model for multiple sclerosis. However, the mechanisms regulating DC trafficking into the CNS still need to be characterized. In this study, we show by performing intravital fluorescence videomicroscopy of the inflamed spinal cord white-matter microvasculature in SJL mice with EAE that immature, and to a lesser extent, LPS-matured, bone marrow-derived DCs efficiently interact with the CNS endothelium by rolling, capturing, and firm adhesion. Immature but not LPS-matured DCs efficiently migrated across the wall of inflamed parenchymal microvessels into the CNS. Blocking α4 integrins interfered with the adhesion but not the rolling or capturing of immature and LPS-matured DCs to the CNS microvascular endothelium, inhibiting their migration across the vascular wall. Functional absence of β1 integrins but not of β7 integrins or α4β7 integrin similarly reduced the adhesion of immature DCs to the CNS microvascular endothelium, demonstrating that α4β1 but not α4β7 integrin mediates this step of immature DCs interaction with the inflamed blood-brain barrier during EAE. Our study shows that during EAE, especially immature DCs migrate into the CNS, where they may be crucial for the perpetuation of the CNS-targeted autoimmune response. Thus therapeutic targeting of α4 integrins affects DC trafficking into the CNS and may therefore lead to the resolution of the CNS autoimmune inflammation by reducing the number of CNS professional APCs.
PMCID: PMC3999618  PMID: 20483748
2.  Phase II Trial of Cetuximab and Conformal Radiotherapy Only in Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer with Concurrent Tissue Sampling Feasibility Study1 
Translational Oncology  2014;7(1):55-64.
BACKGROUND: Preclinical data have indicated the anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) agent cetuximab (Erbitux) as a radiosensitizer in pancreatic cancer, but this has not been specifically addressed in a clinical study. We report the results of an original study initiated in 2007, where cetuximab was tested with radiotherapy (RT) alone in locally advanced pancreatic cancer in a phase II trial (PACER). METHODS: Patients (n = 21) received cetuximab loading dose (400 mg/m2) and weekly dose (250 mg/m2) during RT (50.4 Gy in 28 fractions). Toxicity and disease response end point data were prospectively assessed. A feasibility study of on-trial patient blood and skin sampling was incorporated. RESULTS: Treatment was well tolerated, and toxicity was low; most patients (71%) experienced acute toxicities of grade 2 or less. Six months posttreatment, stable local disease was achieved in 90% of evaluable patients, but only 33% were free from metastatic progression. Median overall survival was 7.5 months, and actuarial survival was 33% at 1 year and 11% at 3 years, reflecting swift metastatic progression in some patients but good long-term control of localized disease in others. High-grade acneiform rash (P = .0027), posttreatment stable disease (P = .0059), and pretreatment cancer antigen 19.9 (CA19.9) level (P = .0042) associated with extended survival. Patient skin and blood samples yielded sufficient RNA and good quality protein, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that cetuximab inhibits EGFR-mediated radioresistance to achieve excellent local control with minimal toxicity but does not sufficiently control metastatic progression in all patients. Translational studies of patient tissue samples may yield molecular information that may enable individual treatment response prediction.
PMCID: PMC3998695  PMID: 24772208
9.  Proteomic identification of immunodominant chlamydial antigens in a mouse model 
Journal of proteomics  2012;77:176-186.
Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted pathogen in the world. To identify new vaccine candidates a protein microarray was constructed by expressing the open reading frames (ORFs) from Chlamydia mouse pneumonitis (MoPn). C57BL/6, C3H/HeN and BALB/c mice were immunized either intranasally or intravaginally with live MoPn elementary bodies (EB). Two additional groups were immunized by the intramuscular plus subcutaneous routes with UV-treated EB, using CpG and Montanide as adjuvants to favor a Th1 response, or Alum, to elicit a Th2 response. Serum samples collected from the three strains of mice were tested in the microarray. The array included the expression of 909 proteins from the 921 ORFs of the MoPn genome and plasmid. A total of 530 ORFs were recognized by at least one serum sample. Of these, 36 reacted with sera from the three strains of mice immunized with live EB. These antigens included proteins that were previously described as immunogenic such as MOMP and HSP60. In addition, we uncovered new immunogens, including 11 hypothetical proteins. In summary, we have identified new immunodominant chlamydial proteins that can be tested for their ability to induce protection in animal models and subsequently in humans.
PMCID: PMC3575745  PMID: 22959960
Chlamydia; Antigens; Microarrays; Vaccine; Mouse model
10.  Vaccination with the Recombinant Major Outer Membrane Protein Elicits Antibodies to the Constant Domains and Induces Cross-Serovar Protection against Intranasal Challenge with Chlamydia trachomatis 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(5):1741-1750.
To determine the ability of the major outer membrane protein (MOMP) to elicit cross-serovar protection, groups of mice were immunized by the intramuscular (i.m.) and subcutaneous (s.c.) routes with recombinant MOMP (rMOMP) from Chlamydia trachomatis serovars D (UW-3/Cx), E (Bour), or F (IC-Cal-3) or Chlamydia muridarum strain Nigg II using CpG-1826 and Montanide ISA 720 VG as adjuvants. Negative-control groups were immunized i.m. and s.c. with Neisseria gonorrhoeae recombinant porin B (Ng-rPorB) or i.n. with Eagle's minimal essential medium (MEM-0). Following vaccination, the mice developed antibodies not only against the homologous serovar but also against heterologous serovars. The rMOMP-vaccinated animals also mounted cell-mediated immune responses as assessed by a lymphoproliferative assay. Four weeks after the last immunization, mice were challenged i.n. with 104 inclusion-forming units (IFU) of C. muridarum. The mice were weighed for 10 days and euthanized, and the number of IFU in their lungs was determined. At 10 days postinfection (p.i.), mice immunized with the rMOMP of C. muridarum or C. trachomatis D, E, or F had lost 4%, 6%, 8%, and 8% of their initial body weight, respectively, significantly different from the negative-control groups (Ng-rPorB, 13%; MEM-0, 19%; P < 0.05). The median number of IFU recovered from the lungs of mice immunized with C. muridarum rMOMP was 0.13 × 106. The median number of IFU recovered from mice immunized with rMOMP from serovars D, E, and F were 0.38 × 106, 7.56 × 106, and 11.94 × 106 IFU, respectively. All the rMOMP-immunized animals had significantly less IFU than the Ng-rPorB (40 × 106)- or MEM-0 (70 × 106)-immunized mice (P < 0.05). In conclusion, vaccination with rMOMP can elicit protection against homologous and heterologous Chlamydia serovars.
PMCID: PMC3648024  PMID: 23478318
11.  Mechanisms of Dendritic Cell Trafficking Across the Blood–brain Barrier 
Although the central nervous system (CNS) is considered to be an immunoprivileged site, it is susceptible to a host of autoimmune as well as neuroinflammatory disorders owing to recruitment of immune cells across the blood–brain barrier into perivascular and parenchymal spaces. Dendritic cells (DCs), which are involved in both primary and secondary immune responses, are the most potent immune cells in terms of antigen uptake and processing as well as presentation to T cells. In light of the emerging importance of DC traficking into the CNS, these cells represent good candidates for targeted immunotherapy against various neuroinflammatory diseases. This review focuses on potential physiological events and receptor interactions between DCs and the microvascular endothelial cells of the brain as they transmigrate into the CNS during degeneration and injury. A clear understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in DC migration may advance the development of new therapies that manipulate these mechanistic properties via pharmacologic intervention. Furthermore, therapeutic validation should be in concurrence with the molecular imaging techniques that can detect migration of these cells in vivo. Since the use of noninvasive methods to image migration of DCs into CNS has barely been explored, we highlighted potential molecular imaging techniques to achieve this goal. Overall, information provided will bring this important leukocyte population to the forefront as key players in the immune cascade in the light of the emerging contribution of DCs to CNS health and disease.
PMCID: PMC3276728  PMID: 21822588
Dendritic cell trafficking; Lectins and integrins; Blood–brain barrier; Molecular imaging; Neuroinflammation; Microvascular endothelial cells
12.  Induction of protective immunity by vaccination against Chlamydia trachomatis using the major outer membrane protein adjuvanted with CpG oligodeoxynucleotide coupled to the nontoxic B subunit of cholera toxin 
Vaccine  2009;27(44):6239-6246.
The present study was undertaken to test the efficacy of immunization with the native major outer membrane protein (nMOMP) of C. trachomatis mouse pneumonitis (MoPn) serovar in combination with a novel immunostimulatory adjuvant consisting of CpG oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) linked to the nontoxic B subunit of cholera toxin (CTB-CpG) to elicit a protective immune response to C. trachomatis. High levels of Chlamydia specific IgG antibodies were detected in the sera from BALB/c mice immunized intramuscularly and subcutaneously (i.m.+s.c.) with the nMOMP/CTB-CpG vaccine or with nMOMP adjuvanted with a mixture of CT and CpG ODN (CT + CpG). Further, these immunization schemes gave rise to significant T-cell mediated Chlamydia-specific immune responses. No Chlamydia-specific humoral or cell-mediated immune responses were detected in the control mice vaccinated with ovalbumin together with either CTB-CpG or CT + CpG. Following an intranasal challenge with C. trachomatis the groups of mice immunized with nMOMP plus CTB-CpG, CT + CpG or live C. trachomatis were found to be protected based on their change in body weight and lung weight as well as number of inclusion forming unit recovered from the lungs, as compared with control groups immunized with ovalbumin plus either adjuvants. Interestingly, IFN-γ-producing CD4+, but not CD8+, T-cells showed a significant correlation with the outcomes of the challenge. In conclusion, nMOMP in combination with the novel adjuvant CTB-CpG elicited a significant antigen specific antibody and cell-mediated immune responses as well as protection against a pulmonary challenge with C. trachomatis.
PMCID: PMC3566636  PMID: 19686693
Chlamydia trachomatis; vaccine; CTB-CpG adjuvant
13.  Dendritic cell CNS recruitment correlates with disease severity in EAE via CCL2 chemotaxis at the blood–brain barrier through paracellular transmigration and ERK activation 
Transmigration of circulating dendritic cells (DCs) into the central nervous system (CNS) across the blood–brain barrier (BBB) has not thus far been investigated. An increase in immune cell infiltration across the BBB, uncontrolled activation and antigen presentation are influenced by chemokines. Chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) is a potent chemoattractant known to be secreted by the BBB but has not been implicated in the recruitment of DCs specifically at the BBB.
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) was induced in C57BL/6 mice by injection of MOG35–55 peptide and pertussis toxin intraperitoneally. Animals with increasing degree of EAE score were sacrificed and subjected to near-infrared and fluorescence imaging analysis to detect and localize the accumulation of CD11c+-labeled DCs with respect to CCL2 expression. To further characterize the direct effect of CCL2 in DC trafficking at the BBB, we utilized an in vitro BBB model consisting of human brain microvascular endothelial cells to compare migratory patterns of monocyte-derived dendritic cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Further, this model was used to image transmigration using fluorescence microcopy and to assess specific molecular signaling pathways involved in transmigration.
Near-infrared imaging of DC transmigration correlated with the severity of inflammation during EAE. Ex vivo histology confirmed the presence of CCL2 in EAE lesions, with DCs emerging from perivascular spaces. DCs exhibited more efficient transmigration than T cells in BBB model studies. These observations correlated with transwell imaging, which indicated a paracellular versus transcellular pattern of migration by DCs and T cells. Moreover, at the molecular level, CCL2 seems to facilitate DC transmigration in an ERK1/2-dependent manner.
CNS recruitment of DCs correlates with disease severity in EAE via CCL2 chemotaxis and paracellular transmigration across the BBB, which is facilitated by ERK activation. Overall, these comprehensive studies provide a state-of-the-art view of DCs within the CNS, elucidate their path across the BBB, and highlight potential mechanisms involved in CCL2-mediated DC trafficking.
PMCID: PMC3533869  PMID: 23102113
MCP-1; Chemokine ligand 2; Dendritic cell central nervous system trafficking; Blood–brain barrier; Near-infrared fluorescence imaging; Neuroinflammation; Brain microvascular endothelial cells
14.  Investigation of Plasma Biomarkers in HIV-1/HCV Mono- and Coinfected Individuals by Multiplex iTRAQ Quantitative Proteomics 
The analysis of plasma samples from HIV-1/HCV mono- and coinfected individuals by quantitative proteomics is an efficient strategy to investigate changes in protein abundances and to characterize the proteins that are the effectors of cellular functions involved in viral pathogenesis. In this study, the infected and healthy plasma samples (in triplicate) were treated with ProteoMiner beads to equalize protein concentrations and subjected to 4-plex iTRAQ labeling and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis. A total of 70 proteins were identified with high confidence in the triplicate analysis of plasma proteins and 65% of the proteins were found to be common among the three replicates. Apolipoproteins and complement proteins are the two major classes of proteins that exhibited differential regulation. The results of quantitative analysis revealed that APOA2, APOC2, APOE, C3, HRG proteins were upregulated in the plasma of all the three HIV-1 mono-, HCV mono-, and coinfected patient samples compared to healthy control samples. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) of the upregulated proteins revealed that they are implicated in the hepatic lipid metabolism, inflammation, and acute-phase response signaling pathways. Thus, we identified several differentially regulated proteins in HIV-1/HCV mono and coinfected plasma samples that may be potential biomarkers for liver disease.
PMCID: PMC3243494  PMID: 21978398
15.  Unique and differential protein signatures within the mononuclear cells of HIV-1 and HCV mono-infected and co-infected patients 
Clinical proteomics  2012;9(1):11.
Pathogenesis of liver damage in patients with HIV and HCV co-infection is complex and multifactorial. Although global awareness regarding HIV-1/HCV co-infection is increasing little is known about the pathophysiology that mediates the rapid progression to hepatic disease in the co-infected individuals.
In this study, we investigated the proteome profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV-1 mono-, HCV mono-, and HIV-1/HCV co-infected patients. The results of high-resolution 2D gel electrophoresis and PD quest software quantitative analysis revealed that several proteins were differentially expressed in HIV-1, HCV, and HIV-1/HCV co-infection. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and Mascot database matching (LC-MS/MS analysis) successfully identified 29 unique and differentially expressed proteins. These included cytoskeletal proteins (tropomyosin, gelsolin, DYPLSL3, DYPLSL4 and profilin-1), chaperones and co-chaperones (HSP90-beta and stress-induced phosphoprotein), metabolic and pre-apoptotic proteins (guanosine triphosphate [GTP]-binding nuclear protein Ran, the detoxifying enzyme glutathione S-transferase (GST) and Rho GDP-dissociation inhibitor (Rho-GDI), proteins involved in cell prosurvival mechanism, and those involved in matrix synthesis (collagen binding protein 2 [CBP2]). The six most significant and relevant proteins were further validated in a group of mono- and co-infected patients (n = 20) at the transcriptional levels.
The specific pro- and anti- apoptotic protein signatures revealed in this study could facilitate the understanding of apoptotic and protective immune-mediated mechanisms underlying HIV-1 and HCV co-infection and their implications on liver disease progression in co-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3582525  PMID: 22958358
HIV-1; HCV; HIV-1/HCV; 2D-GE; Mass spectrometry; Pro- and anti-apoptotic fingerprinting; Proteomics
16.  A TLR2 agonist is a more effective adjuvant for a Chlamydia major outer membrane protein vaccine than ligands to other TLR and NOD receptors 
Vaccine  2011;29(38):6641-6649.
Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial pathogen in the World and there is an urgent need for a vaccine to prevent these infections. To determine what type of adjuvant can better enhance the immunogenicity of a Chlamydia vaccine, we formulated the recombinant major outer membrane protein (Ct-rMOMP) with several ligands for Toll-like receptor (TLR) and the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD) including Pam2CSK4 (TLR2/TLR6), Poly (I:C) (TLR3), monophosphoryl lipid A (TLR4), flagellin (TLR5), imiquimod R837 (TLR7), imidazoquinoline R848 (TRL7/8), CpG-1826 (TLR9), M-Tri-DAP (NOD1/NOD2) and muramyldipeptide (NOD2). Groups of female BALB/c mice were immunized intramuscularly (i.m.) three times with the Ct-rMOMP and each one of those adjuvants. Four weeks after the last immunization the mice were challenged intranasally (i.n.) with 104 C. trachomatis mouse pneumonitis (MoPn) inclusion forming units (IFU). As negative antigen controls mice were immunized with the Neisseria gonorrhoeae recombinant porin B (Ng-rPorB) and the same adjuvants. As a positive vaccine control mice were inoculated i.n. with 104 IFU of MoPn. The humoral and cell mediated immune responses were determined the day before the challenge. Following the challenge the mice were weighed daily and, at 10 days post-challenge (p.c.), they were euthanized, their lungs weighted and the number of IFU in the lungs counted. As determined by the IgG2a/IgG1 ratio in the sera, mice immunized with Ct-rMOMP + Pam2CSK4 showed a strong Th2 biased humoral immune response. Furthermore, these mice develop a robust cellular immune response with high Chlamydia-specific T cell proliferation and levels of IFN-γ production. In addition, based on changes in body weight, weight of the lungs and number of IFU recovered from the lungs, the mice immunized with Ct-rMOMP + Pam2CSK4, were better protected against the i.n. challenge than any group of mice immunized with Ct-rMOMP and the other adjuvants. In conclusion, Pam2CSK4 should be evaluated as a candidate adjuvant for a C. trachomatis vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3156873  PMID: 21742006
Chlamydia trachomatis; vaccine; mice; immunization; Toll-like receptors; Pam2CSK4
17.  HTLV-1 Infection and Its Associated Diseases 
PMCID: PMC3504284  PMID: 23198149
18.  HTLV-1 Tax Mediated Downregulation of miRNAs Associated with Chromatin Remodeling Factors in T Cells with Stably Integrated Viral Promoter 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34490.
RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural cellular mechanism to silence gene expression and is predominantly mediated by microRNAs (miRNAs) that target messenger RNA. Viruses can manipulate the cellular processes necessary for their replication by targeting the host RNAi machinery. This study explores the effect of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) transactivating protein Tax on the RNAi pathway in the context of a chromosomally integrated viral long terminal repeat (LTR) using a CD4+ T-cell line, Jurkat. Transcription factor profiling of the HTLV-1 LTR stably integrated T-cell clone transfected with Tax demonstrates increased activation of substrates and factors associated with chromatin remodeling complexes. Using a miRNA microarray and bioinformatics experimental approach, Tax was also shown to downregulate the expression of miRNAs associated with the translational regulation of factors required for chromatin remodeling. These observations were validated with selected miRNAs and an HTLV-1 infected T cells line, MT-2. miR-149 and miR-873 were found to be capable of directly targeting p300 and p/CAF, chromatin remodeling factors known to play critical role in HTLV-1 pathogenesis. Overall, these results are first in line establishing HTLV-1/Tax-miRNA-chromatin concept and open new avenues toward understanding retroviral latency and/or replication in a given cell type.
PMCID: PMC3319589  PMID: 22496815
19.  Cotranscriptional Chromatin Remodeling by Small RNA Species: An HTLV-1 Perspective 
Cell type specificity of human T cell leukemia virus 1 has been proposed as a possible reason for differential viral outcome in primary target cells versus secondary. Through chromatin remodeling, the HTLV-1 transactivator protein Tax interacts with cellular factors at the chromosomally integrated viral promoter to activate downstream genes and control viral transcription. RNA interference is the host innate defense mechanism mediated by short RNA species (siRNA or miRNA) that regulate gene expression. There exists a close collaborative functioning of cellular transcription factors with miRNA in order to regulate the expression of a number of eukaryotic genes including those involved in suppression of cell growth, induction of apoptosis, as well as repressing viral replication and propagation. In addition, it has been suggested that retroviral latency is influenced by chromatin alterations brought about by miRNA. Since Tax requires the assembly of transcriptional cofactors to carry out viral gene expression, there might be a close association between miRNA influencing chromatin alterations and Tax-mediated LTR activation. Herein we explore the possible interplay between HTLV-1 infection and miRNA pathways resulting in chromatin reorganization as one of the mechanisms determining HTLV-1 cell specificity and viral fate in different cell types.
PMCID: PMC3504244  PMID: 23213554
20.  Training Experimental Biologists in Bioinformatics 
Advances in Bioinformatics  2012;2012:672749.
Bioinformatics, for its very nature, is devoted to a set of targets that constantly evolve. Training is probably the best response to the constant need for the acquisition of bioinformatics skills. It is interesting to assess the effects of training in the different sets of researchers that make use of it. While training bench experimentalists in the life sciences, we have observed instances of changes in their attitudes in research that, if well exploited, can have beneficial impacts in the dialogue with professional bioinformaticians and influence the conduction of the research itself.
PMCID: PMC3286881  PMID: 22400026
21.  Murine FLT3 Ligand-Derived Dendritic Cell-Mediated Early Immune Responses Are Critical to Controlling Cell-Free Human T Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Infection 
Human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is associated with two immunologically distinct diseases: HTLV-1–associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis and adult T cell leukemia. We observed previously that depletion of dendritic cells (DCs) in CD11c-diphtheria toxin receptor transgenic mice followed by infection with cell-free virus led to greater proviral and Tax mRNA loads and diminished cellular immune response compared with mice infected with cell-associated virus. To understand the significance of these in vivo results and explore the host–pathogen interaction between DCs and cell-free HTLV-1, we used FLT3 ligand-cultured mouse bone marrow-derived DCs (FL-DCs) and chimeric HTLV-1. Phenotypically, the FL-DCs upregulated expression of surface markers (CD80, CD86, and MHC class II) on infection; however, the level of MHC class I remained unchanged. We performed kinetic studies to understand viral entry, proviral integration, and expression of the viral protein Tax. Multiplex cytokine profiling revealed production of an array of proinflammatory cytokines and type 1 IFN (IFN-α) by FL-DCs treated with virus. Virus-matured FL-DCs stimulated proliferation of autologous CD3+ T cells as shown by intracellular nuclear Ki67 staining and produced IFN-γ when cultured with infected FL-DCs. Gene expression studies using type 1 IFN-specific and DC-specific arrays revealed upregulation of IFN-stimulated genes, most cytokines, and transcription factors, but a distinct downregulation of many chemokines. Overall, these results highlight the critical early responses generated by FL-DCs on challenge with cell-free chimeric HTLV-1.
PMCID: PMC3224812  PMID: 21115731
22.  Photoaffinity Labeling of High Affinity Nicotinic Acid Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate (NAADP)-Binding Proteins in Sea Urchin Egg*♦ 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2011;287(4):2308-2315.
Background: Nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP) regulates calcium release from internal acidic stores via two-pore channels (TPCs).
Results: A novel photosensitive probe (5-azido-NAADP) identified high affinity NAADP binding sites that interact with, but are distinct from, TPCs.
Conclusion: High affinity NAADP-binding proteins complex with TPCs.
Significance: This work provides new mechanistic insights into how NAADP regulates calcium release via TPCs.
Nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP) is a messenger that regulates calcium release from intracellular acidic stores. Recent studies have identified two-pore channels (TPCs) as endolysosomal channels that are regulated by NAADP; however, the nature of the NAADP receptor binding site is unknown. To further study NAADP binding sites, we have synthesized and characterized [32P-5-azido]nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate ([32P-5N3]NAADP) as a photoaffinity probe. Photolysis of sea urchin egg homogenates preincubated with [32P-5N3]NAADP resulted in specific labeling of 45-, 40-, and 30-kDa proteins, which was prevented by inclusion of nanomolar concentrations of unlabeled NAADP or 5N3-NAADP, but not by micromolar concentrations of structurally related nucleotides such as NAD, nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide, nicotinamide mononucleotide, nicotinic acid, or nicotinamide. [32P-5N3]NAADP binding was saturable and displayed high affinity (Kd ∼10 nm) in both binding and photolabeling experiments. [32P-5N3]NAADP photolabeling was irreversible in a high K+ buffer, a hallmark feature of NAADP binding in the egg system. The proteins photolabeled by [32P-5N3]NAADP have molecular masses smaller than the sea urchin TPCs, and antibodies to TPCs do not detect any immunoreactivity that comigrates with either the 45-kDa or the 40-kDa photolabeled proteins. Interestingly, antibodies to TPC1 and TPC3 were able to immunoprecipitate a small fraction of the 45- and 40-kDa photolabeled proteins, suggesting that these proteins associate with TPCs. These data suggest that high affinity NAADP binding sites are distinct from TPCs.
PMCID: PMC3268392  PMID: 22117077
Calcium Intracellular Release; Calcium Signaling; NAADP; Nucleoside Nucleotide Analogs; Photoaffinity Labeling; Two-pore Channels
23.  A Novel High-Throughput Screening Assay to Identify Inhibitors of HIV-1 gp120 Protein Interaction with DC-SIGN 
The 2010 UNAIDS report states that approximately 34 million people are living with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), despite highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Despite being effective, ARV therapy has many disadvantages including a cost trajectory unsustainable for economically challenged countries, serious side effects, and the development of drug-resistant strains. Several measures are under way to develop alternatives for ARV therapy, particularly for the control of early HIV-1 infection, but lack of efficient drug targets and assays hinders the search of potential ARV molecules. The dendritic cells present in the mucosal tissue, together with CD4+ T lymphocytes and macrophages, are among the first cells to encounter HIV-1. The dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3-grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN) molecule plays a crucial role in binding HIV-1 through high affinity interaction with viral envelope glycoprotein gp120. DC-SIGN, a mannose-binding C-type lectin expressed on cells in the mucosal tissue of the rectum, uterus and cervix, facilitates early HIV-1 infection after sexual transmission. In this study we report a novel target-specific high-throughput screening (HTS) assay capable of quantifying the binding as well as the inhibition of DC-SIGN and gp120. The specificity of the assay was determined through competitive inhibition while optimization occurred for DMSO tolerance (0.5%), Z’ factor (0.51), signal-to-noise ratio (3.26), and coefficient of variation (5.1%). For assay validation previously recognized antagonists of DC-SIGN/gp120 binding were tested to detect inhibition demonstrating the suitability of the assay for future HTS screen of potential inhibitors that block the binding between DC-SIGN and gp120 which may prevent early HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC3217269  PMID: 22102941
DC-SIGN; gp120; High-throughput screening assay
24.  Nicotinic Acid Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate Analogs Containing Substituted Nicotinic Acid: Effect of Modification on Ca2+ Release 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(21):7599-7612.
Analogs of nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP) with substitution at either the 4- or the 5-position position of the nicotinic acid moiety have been synthesized from NADP enzymatically using Aplysia californica ADP-ribosyl cyclase or mammalian NAD glycohydrolase. Substitution at the 4-position of the nicotinic acid resulted in the loss of agonist potency for release of Ca2+-ions from sea urchin egg homogenates and in potency for competition ligand binding assays using [32P]NAADP. In contrast, several 5-substituted NAADP derivatives showed high potency for binding and full agonist activity for Ca2+ release. 5-Azido-NAADP was shown to release calcium from sea urchin egg homogenates at low concentration and to compete with [32P]NAADP in a competition ligand binding assay with an IC50 of 18 nM, indicating that this compound might be a potential photoprobe useful for specific labeling and identification of the NAADP receptor.
PMCID: PMC3060082  PMID: 20942470
25.  Enhancement of the protective efficacy of a Chlamydia trachomatis recombinant vaccine by combining systemic and mucosal routes for immunization 
Vaccine  2010;28(48):7659-7666.
Chlamydia trachomatis causes respiratory and sexually transmitted infections. Here, we tested a vaccine formulated with the recombinant major outer membrane protein from C. trachomatis mouse pneumonitis (CT-MoPn) for its ability to protect mice against an intranasal (i.n.) challenge. The adjuvants CpG and Montanide were used for systemic routes, intramuscular (i.m.) and subcutaneous (s.c.), and cholera toxin for mucosal routes, sublingual (s.l.) and colonic (c.l.). Mucosal immunizations were performed either alone or in combination with systemic routes. Mice inoculated i.n. with 104 inclusion-forming units (IFU) of CT-MoPn served as a positive control and the Neisseria gonorrhoeae recombinant porin B (Ng-rPorB) as the negative antigen control. Immunized animals were challenged i.n. with 104 IFU of CT-MoPn. Following immunization the combination groups showed high chlamydial serum IgG titers (s.l.+i.m.+s.c. 25,600; c.l+i.m.+s.c. 102,400) and the IgG2a/IgG1 ratios indicated a Th1 response. Following the i.n. challenge the s.l./i.m.+s.c. group showed the best protection as demonstrated by an increase in body weight of 0.3% over the 10 day course of infection. A statistically significant difference was found when compared with the Ng-rPorB immunized animals that had lost 20% of their original body weight (P < 0.05). In addition, the repeated measures ANOVA test showed significant difference in body weight change for the combined immunized groups versus their mucosal counterparts and also the systemic immunized group. A statistically significant difference (P < 0.05) was also observed in the median number of IFUs recovered from the lungs when the s.l.+i.m.+s.c. (2.8 × 106 ) and c.l.+i.m.+s.c. (3.4 × 106) groups where compared to their respective mucosal only groups (s.l.: 61.9 × 106 and c.l: 136.2 × 106) and the control Ng-rPorB immunized mice (198.2 × 106) (P < 0.05). In conclusion, a combined systemic plus mucosal vaccination provides better protection against a respiratory challenge with C. trachomatis than either systemic or mucosal immunizations alone.
PMCID: PMC2981640  PMID: 20875490
Chlamydia trachomatis; recombinant major outer membrane proteins; systemic and mucosal immunization; mice; respiratory infections; vaccine

Results 1-25 (45)