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1.  The Epstein-Barr virus microRNA BART11-5p targets the early B-cell transcription factor EBF1 
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous B-cell trophic herpesvirus associated with a variety of histologically diverse B-cell lymphomas, each associated with specific viral-latency gene expression programs. Initial infection drives resting B-cells to differentiate via an atypical germinal centre reaction into memory B-cells, where the virus resides in a latent state. The mechanisms that underpin this process have yet to be fully elucidated. EBV expresses more than 40 microRNAs (miRNAs). The alternatively spliced BamHI A rightward transcripts (BARTs) are the template for two large miRNA clusters (BARTs A and B), that comprise the majority of all known EBV-miRNAs. Although BART-miRNAs are abundantly expressed in all latency programs, few BART-miRNA targets have been identified and their function is poorly understood. The early B-cell factor 1 (EBF1) was identified using bioinformaticss analysis as a novel target of EBV-miRNA BART11-5p, encoded by BART cluster B. EBF1 is an important B-cell transcription factor that regulates many B-cell specific genes including Pax5, BCR and CD40 and is critical for germinal centre formation. Using luciferase reporter assays and a series of BART-constructs, we confirmed silencing via the EBF1 3’ untranslated region (UTR) and identified the target site as 2137-2159 bp after the stop codon. Results were confirmed following transfection of a BART11-5p mimic, which was able to silence via the predicted target site. Our findings highlight a potential role of BART-miRNAs in the regulation of B-cell differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3755520  PMID: 23997984
EBV; microRNA; BamHI A rightward transcripts; early B-cell transcription factor; B-cell
2.  Epstein-Barr virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the elderly expresses EBNA3A with conserved CD8+ T-cell epitopes 
Post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD) arise in the immunosuppressed and are frequently Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) associated. The most common PTLD histological sub-type is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (EBV+DLBCL-PTLD). Restoration of EBV-specific T-cell immunity can induce EBV+DLBCL-PTLD regression. The most frequent B-cell lymphoma in the immunocompetent is also DLBCL. ‘EBV-positive DLBCL of the elderly’ (EBV+DLBCL) is a rare but well-recognized DLBCL entity that occurs in the overtly immunocompetent, that has an adverse outcome relative to EBV-negative DLBCL. Unlike PTLD (which is classified as viral latency III), literature suggests EBV+DLBCL is typically latency II, i.e. expression is limited to the immuno-subdominant EBNA1, LMP1 and LMP2 EBV-proteins. If correct, this would be a major impediment for T-cell immunotherapeutic strategies. Unexpectedly we observed EBV+DLBCL-PTLD and EBV+DLBCL both shared features consistent with type III EBV-latency, including expression of the immuno-dominant EBNA3A protein. Extensive analysis showed frequent polymorphisms in EB-NA1 and LMP1 functionally defined CD8+ T-cell epitope encoding regions, whereas EBNA3A polymorphisms were very rare making this an attractive immunotherapy target. As with EBV+DLBCL-PTLD, the antigen presenting machinery within lymphomatous nodes was intact. EBV+DLBCL express EBNA3A suggesting it is amenable to immunotherapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC3301425  PMID: 22432076
Epstein-Barr virus; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; EBNA3A; T-cell; epitope; immunotherapy; posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disorder
3.  Molecular mechanisms influencing NK cell development: implications for NK cell malignancies 
Natural Killer (NK) cells are important effector cells in both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Although they were identified almost 40 years ago, our understanding of how and where NK cells develop is rudimentary. In particular, we have only a limited understanding of the signaling pathways that need to be activated to cause NK cell commitment and maturation. Knowledge of this process is important as disruptions can lead to the development of highly aggressive NK cell malignancies. In this review, we discuss the known molecular mechanisms that trigger NK cell commitment, prompt them to mature and finally allow them to become functional killers. Known disruptions in this developmental process, and how they may contribute to malignancy, are also addressed.
PMCID: PMC3301417  PMID: 22432064
Animal; human; Natural Killer cell; transcription factors; cytokines; cell differentiation; lymphopoiesis; gene expression regulation; lymphoma
4.  A new frontier in haematology – combining pharmacokinetic with pharmacodynamic factors to improve choice and dose of drug 
The issue of tailored dosing adjusted according to a range of patient-specific factors other than bodyweight or body surface area is of large and increasing clinical and financial concern. Even if it is known that dosing alterations are likely to be required for parameters such as body composition, gender and pharmacogenetics, the amount of dosing change is unknown. Thus, pharmacokinetically guided dosing is making a resurgence, particularly in areas of medicine where there are cost constraints or safety issues, such as in haematology medications. However, the evidence to support the behaviour is minimal, particularly when long-term outcomes are considered. In haematology, there are particular issues around efficacy, toxicity and overall cost. Newer targeted agents, such as the monoclonal antibody rituximab and the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib, whilst clearly being highly effective, are dosed on a milligram per square metre (rituximab) or fixed dose basis (imatinib), regardless of body composition, tumour aspects or comorbidity. This review questions this practice and raises important clinical issues; specifically, the clinical potential for combined pharmacokinetically and pharmacodynamically guided dosing of new targeted agents in haematological malignancies. This pharmacokinetically and pharmacodynamically guided dosing is an emerging area of clinical pharmacology, driven predominantly by toxicity, efficacy and cost issues, but also because reasonable outcomes are being noted with more appropriately dosed older medications adjusted for patient-specific factors. Clinical trials to investigate the optimization of rituximab dose scheduling are required.
PMCID: PMC4137820  PMID: 24433338
haematology; imatinib; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics; rituximab
5.  In silico analyses reveal common cellular pathways affected by loss of heterozygosity (LOH) events in the lymphomagenesis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):390.
The analysis of cellular networks and pathways involved in oncogenesis has increased our knowledge about the pathogenic mechanisms that underlie tumour biology and has unmasked new molecular targets that may lead to the design of better anti-cancer therapies. Recently, using a high resolution loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis, we identified a number of potential tumour suppressor genes (TSGs) within common LOH regions across cases suffering from two of the most common forms of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), Follicular Lymphoma (FL) and Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL). From these studies LOH of the protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type J (PTPRJ) gene was identified as a common event in the lymphomagenesis of these B-cell lymphomas. The present study aimed to determine the cellular pathways affected by the inactivation of these TSGs including PTPRJ in FL and DLBCL tumourigenesis.
Pathway analytical approaches identified that candidate TSGs located within common LOH regions participate within cellular pathways, which may play a crucial role in FL and DLBCL lymphomagenesis (i.e., metabolic pathways). These analyses also identified genes within the interactome of PTPRJ (i.e. PTPN11 and B2M) that when inactivated in NHL may play an important role in tumourigenesis. We also detected genes that are differentially expressed in cases with and without LOH of PTPRJ, such as NFATC3 (nuclear factor of activated T-cells, cytoplasmic, calcineurin-dependent 3). Moreover, upregulation of the VEGF, MAPK and ERBB signalling pathways was also observed in NHL cases with LOH of PTPRJ, indicating that LOH-driving events causing inactivation of PTPRJ, apart from possibly inducing a constitutive activation of these pathways by reduction or abrogation of its dephosphorylation activity, may also induce upregulation of these pathways when inactivated. This finding implicates these pathways in the lymphomagenesis and progression of FL and DLBCL.
The evidence obtained in this research supports findings suggesting that FL and DLBCL share common pathogenic mechanisms. Also, it indicates that PTPRJ can play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of these B-cell tumours and suggests that activation of PTPRJ might be an interesting novel chemotherapeutic target for the treatment of these B-cell tumours.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-390) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4041994  PMID: 24885312
LOH; PTPRJ; Interactome; Pathway analysis; NHL
6.  Fcγ-Receptor IIIA Polymorphism p.158F Has No Negative Predictive Impact on Rituximab Therapy with and without Sequential Chemotherapy in CD20-Positive Posttransplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder 
Journal of Immunology Research  2014;2014:264723.
We retrospectively analyzed the p.V158F polymorphism of Fcγ-receptor IIIA (FCGR3A, CD16) in patients with PTLD treated with rituximab monotherapy. Previous reports had indicated that the lower affinity F allele affects rituximab-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and is linked to inferior outcome of rituximab monotherapy in B cell malignancies. 25 patients with PTLD after solid organ transplantation were included in this analysis. They had received 4 weekly doses of rituximab as part of two clinical trials, which had a rituximab monotherapy induction regimen in common. 16/25 patients received further treatment with CHOP-21 after rituximab monotherapy (PTLD-1, NCT01458548). The FCGR3A status was correlated to the response after 4 cycles of rituximab monotherapy. Response to rituximab monotherapy was not affected by F carrier status. This is in contrast to previous findings in B cell malignancies where investigators found a predictive impact of FCGR3A status on outcome to rituximab monotherapy. One explanation for this finding could be that ADCC is impaired in transplant recipients receiving immunosuppression. These results suggest that carrying a FCRG3A F allele does not negatively affect rituximab therapy in immunosuppressed patients.
PMCID: PMC3987796  PMID: 24741582
7.  EBNA3B-deficient EBV promotes B cell lymphomagenesis in humanized mice and is found in human tumors 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(4):1487-1502.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) persistently infects more than 90% of the human population and is etiologically linked to several B cell malignancies, including Burkitt lymphoma (BL), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), and diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Despite its growth transforming properties, most immune-competent individuals control EBV infection throughout their lives. EBV encodes various oncogenes, and of the 6 latency-associated EBV-encoded nuclear antigens, only EBNA3B is completely dispensable for B cell transformation in vitro. Here, we report that infection with EBV lacking EBNA3B leads to aggressive, immune-evading monomorphic DLBCL-like tumors in NOD/SCID/γc–/– mice with reconstituted human immune system components. Infection with EBNA3B-knockout EBV (EBNA3BKO) induced expansion of EBV-specific T cells that failed to infiltrate the tumors. EBNA3BKO-infected B cells expanded more rapidly and secreted less T cell–chemoattractant CXCL10, reducing T cell recruitment in vitro and T cell–mediated killing in vivo. B cell lines from 2 EBV-positive human lymphomas encoding truncated EBNA3B exhibited gene expression profiles and phenotypic characteristics similar to those of tumor-derived lines from the humanized mice, including reduced CXCL10 secretion. Screening EBV-positive DLBCL, HL, and BL human samples identified additional EBNA3B mutations. Thus, EBNA3B is a virus-encoded tumor suppressor whose inactivation promotes immune evasion and virus-driven lymphomagenesis.
PMCID: PMC3314448  PMID: 22406538
8.  High dose methotrexate and extended hours high-flux hemodialysis for the treatment of primary central nervous system lymphoma in a patient with end stage renal disease 
This report discusses the case of a 52 year old female with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder, confined to the central nervous system, which was managed with high dose methotrexate (HDMTX) in the context of end stage renal disease. The patient received two doses of HDMTX followed by extended hours high-flux hemodialysis, plasma methotrexate concentration monitoring and leucovorin rescue. The hemodialysis technique used was effective in clearing plasma methotrexate and allowed delivery of HDMTX to achieve complete remission with limited and reversible direct methotrexate-related toxicity. Dialysis-dependent renal failure does not preclude the use of HDMTX when required for curative therapy of malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3301441  PMID: 22432089
High dose methotrexate; end stage renal disease; dialysis; primary central nervous system lymphoma; post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder

Results 1-8 (8)