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1.  An HSV-based library screen identifies PP1α as a negative TRPV1 regulator with analgesic activity in models of pain 
Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) is a pronociceptive cation channel involved in persistent inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) vector expression of TRPV1 causes cell death in the presence of capsaicin, thereby completely blocking virus replication. Here we describe a selection system for negative regulators of TRPV1 based on rescue of virus replication. HSV-based coexpression of TRPV1 and a PC12 cell-derived cDNA library identified protein phosphatase 1α (PP1α) as a negative regulator of TRPV1, mimicking the activity of “poreless” (PL), a dominant-negative mutant of TRPV1. Vectors expressing PP1α or PL reduced thermal sensitivity following virus injection into rat footpads, but failed to reduce the nocifensive responses to menthol/icilin-activated cold pain or formalin, demonstrating that the activity identified in vitro is functional in vivo with a degree of specificity. This system should prove powerful for identifying other cellular factors that can inhibit ion channel activity.
PMCID: PMC4916946  PMID: 27382601
2.  Novel Mutations in gB and gH Circumvent the Requirement for Known gD Receptors in Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Entry and Cell-to-Cell Spread 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(3):1430-1442.
Both entry and cell-to-cell spread of herpes simplex virus (HSV) involve a cascade of cooperative interactions among the essential glycoproteins D, B, and H/L (gD, gB, and gH/gL, respectively) initiated by the binding of gD to a cognate HSV entry receptor. We previously reported that a variant (D285N/A549T) of glycoprotein B (gB:NT) enabled primary virus entry into cells that were devoid of typical HSV entry receptors. Here, we compared the activities of the gB:NT variant with those of a newly selected variant of glycoprotein H (gH:KV) and a frequently coselected gB variant (gB:S668N). In combination, gH:KV and gB:S668N enabled primary virus entry into cells that lacked established HSV entry receptors as efficiently as did gB:NT, but separately, each variant enabled only limited entry. Remarkably, gH:KV uniquely facilitated secondary virus spread between cells that lacked canonical entry receptors. Transient expression of the four essential entry glycoproteins revealed that gH:KV, but not gB:NT, induced fusion between cells lacking the standard receptors. Because the involvement of gD remained essential for virus spread and cell fusion, we propose that gH:KV mimics a transition state of gH that responds efficiently to weak signals from gD to reach the active state. Computational modeling of the structures of wild-type gH and gH:KV revealed relatively subtle differences that may have accounted for our experimental findings. Our study shows that (i) the dependence of HSV-1 entry and spread on specific gD receptors can be reduced by sequence changes in the downstream effectors gB and gH, and (ii) the relative roles of gB and gH are different in entry and spread.
PMCID: PMC3554156  PMID: 23152509
3.  Inhibition of Indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in Glioblastoma Cells by Oncolytic Herpes Simplex Virus 
Advances in Virology  2012;2012:815465.
Successful oncolytic virus treatment of malignant glioblastoma multiforme depends on widespread tumor-specific lytic virus replication and escape from mitigating innate immune responses to infection. Here we characterize a new HSV vector, JD0G, that is deleted for ICP0 and the joint sequences separating the unique long and short elements of the viral genome. We observed that JD0G replication was enhanced in certain glioblastoma cell lines compared to HEL cells, suggesting that a vector backbone deleted for ICP0 may be useful for treatment of glioblastoma. The innate immune response to virus infection can potentially impede oncolytic vector replication in human tumors. Indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is expressed in response to interferon γ (IFNγ) and has been linked to both antiviral functions and to the immune escape of tumor cells. We observed that IFNγ treatment of human glioblastoma cells induced the expression of IDO and that this expression was quelled by infection with both wild-type and JD0G viruses. The role of IDO in inhibiting virus replication and the connection of this protein to the escape of tumor cells from immune surveillance suggest that IDO downregulation by HSV infection may enhance the oncolytic activity of vectors such as JD0G.
PMCID: PMC3424635  PMID: 22924042
4.  Design and application of oncolytic HSV vectors for glioblastoma therapy 
Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the most common human brain tumors. The tumor is generally highly infiltrative, making it extremely difficult to treat by surgical resection or radiotherapy. This feature contributes to recurrence and a very poor prognosis. Few anticancer drugs have been shown to alter rapid tumor growth and none are ultimately effective. Oncolytic vectors have been employed as a treatment alternative based on the ability to tailor virus replication to tumor cells. The human neurotropic herpes simplex virus (HSV) is especially attractive for development of oncolytic vectors (oHSV) because this virus is highly infectious, replicates rapidly and can be readily modified to achieve vector attenuation in normal brain tissue. Tumor specificity can be achieved by deleting viral genes that are only required for virus replication in normal cells and permit mutant virus replication selectively in tumor cells. The anti-tumor activity of oHSV can be enhanced by arming the vector with genes that either activate chemotherapeutic drugs within the tumor tissue or promote anti-tumor immunity. In this review, we describe current designs of oHSV and the experience thus far with their potential utility for glioblastoma therapy. In addition, we discuss the impediments to vector effectiveness and describe our view of future developments in vector improvement.
PMCID: PMC3219506  PMID: 19344302
gene therapy; glioblastoma; HSV oncolytic vector
5.  Conserved features of imprinted differentially methylated domains 
Gene  2007;399(1):33-45.
Genomic imprinting is a conserved epigenetic phenomenon in eutherian mammals, with regards both to the genes that are imprinted and the mechanism underlying the expression of just one of the parental alleles. Epigenetic modifications of alleles of imprinted genes are established during oogenesis and spermatogenesis, and these modifications are then inherited. Differentially methylated domains (DMDs) of imprinted genes are the genomic sites of these inherited epigenetic imprints. We previously showed that CpG-rich imperfect tandem direct repeats within three different mouse DMDs (Snurf/Snrpn, Kcnq1 and Igf2r), each with a unique sequence, play a central role in maintaining the differential methylation. This finding implicates repeat-related DNA structure, not sequence, in the imprinting mechanism. To better define the important features of this signal, we compared sequences of these three DMD tandem repeats among mammalian species. All DMD repeats contain short indirect repeats, many of which are organized into larger unit repeats. Even though the larger repeat units undergo deletion and addition during evolution (most likely through unequal crossovers during meiosis), the size of DMD tandem repeated regions has remained remarkably stable during mammalian evolution. Moreover, all three DMD tandem repeats have a high-CpG content, an ordered arrangement of CpG dinucleotides, and similar predicted secondary structures. These observations suggest that a structural feature or features of these DMD tandem repeats is the conserved DMD imprinting signal.
PMCID: PMC2729497  PMID: 17544602
genomic imprinting; tandem repeats; primate; DNA methylation; CpG islands
6.  Preimplantation expression of the somatic form of Dnmt1 suggests a role in the inheritance of genomic imprints 
Identical DNA methylation differences between maternal and paternal alleles in gametes and adults suggest that the inheritance of genomic imprints is strictly due to the embryonic maintenance of DNA methylation. Such maintenance would occur in association with every cycle of DNA replication, including those of preimplantation embryos.
The expression of the somatic form of the Dnmt1 cytosine methyltransferase (Dnmt1s) was examined in cleavage-stage preimplantation mouse embryos. Low concentrations of Dnmt1s are found in 1-, 2-, 4-, and 8-cell embryos, as well as in morulae and blastocysts. Dnmt1s is present in the cytoplasm at all stages, and in the nuclei of all stages except the 1-cell, pronuclear-stage embryo. The related oocyte-derived Dnmt1o protein is also present in nuclei of 8-cell embryos, along with embryo-synthesized Dnmt1s. Dnmt1s protein expressed in 1-cell and 2-cell embryos is derived from the oocyte, whereas the embryo synthesizes its own Dnmt1s from the 2-cell stage onward.
These observations suggest that Dnmt1s provides maintenance methyltransferase activity for the inheritance of methylation imprints in the early mouse embryo. Moreover, the ability of Dnmt1o and Dnmt1s proteins synthesized at the same time to substitute for one another's maintenance function, but the lack of functional interchange between oocyte- and embryo-synthesized Dnmt1 proteins, suggests that the developmental source is the critical determinant of Dnmt1 function during preimplantation development.
PMCID: PMC2266903  PMID: 18221528
7.  Specific Differentially Methylated Domain Sequences Direct the Maintenance of Methylation at Imprinted Genes▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(22):8347-8356.
Landmark features of imprinted genes are differentially methylated domains (DMDs), in which one parental allele is methylated on CpG dinucleotides and the opposite allele is unmethylated. Genetic experiments in the mouse have shown that DMDs are required for the parent-specific expression of linked clusters of imprinted genes. To understand the mechanism whereby the differential methylation is established and maintained, we analyzed a series of transgenes containing DMD sequences and showed that imperfect tandem repeats from DMDs associated with the Snurf/Snrpn, Kcnq1, and Igf2r gene clusters govern transgene imprinting. For the Igf2r DMD the minimal imprinting signal is two unit copies of the tandem repeat. This imprinted transgene behaves identically to endogenous imprinted genes in Dnmt1o and Dnmt3L mutant mouse backgrounds. The primary function of the imprinting signal within the transgene DMD is to maintain, during embryogenesis and a critical period of genomic reprogramming, parent-specific DNA methylation states established in the germ line. This work advances our understanding of the imprinting mechanism by defining a genomic signal that dependably perpetuates an epigenetic state during postzygotic development.
PMCID: PMC1636798  PMID: 16954379
8.  Shared Role for Differentially Methylated Domains of Imprinted Genes 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(7):2089-2098.
For most imprinted genes, a difference in expression between the maternal and paternal alleles is associated with a corresponding difference in DNA methylation that is localized to a differentially methylated domain (DMD). Removal of a gene's DMD leads to a loss of imprinting. These observations suggest that DMDs have a determinative role in genomic imprinting. To examine this possibility, we introduced sequences from the DMDs of the imprinted Igf2r, H19, and Snrpn genes into a nonimprinted derivative of the normally imprinted RSVIgmyc transgene, created by excising its own DMD. Hybrid transgenes with sequences from the Igf2r DMD2 were consistently imprinted, with the maternal allele being more methylated than the paternal allele. Only the repeated sequences within DMD2 were required for imprinting these transgenes. Hybrid transgenes containing H19 and Snrpn DMD sequences and ones containing sequences from the long terminal repeat of a murine intracisternal A particle retrotransposon were not imprinted. The Igf2r hybrid transgenes are comprised entirely of mouse genomic DNA and behave as endogenous imprinted genes in inbred wild-type and mutant mouse strains. These types of hybrid transgenes can be used to elucidate the functions of DMD sequences in genomic imprinting.
PMCID: PMC133683  PMID: 11884597

Results 1-8 (8)