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1.  Tumor-infiltrating DCs suppress nucleic acid–mediated innate immune responses through interactions between the receptor TIM-3 and the alarmin HMGB1 
Nature immunology  2012;13(9):832-842.
The mechanisms by which tumor microenvironments modulate nucleic acid–mediated innate immunity remain unknown. Here we identify the receptor TIM-3 as key in circumventing the stimulatory effects of nucleic acids in tumor immunity. Tumor-associated dendritic cells (DCs) in mouse tumors and patients with cancer had high expression of TIM-3. DC-derived TIM-3 suppressed innate immune responses through the recognition of nucleic acids by Toll-like receptors and cytosolic sensors via a galectin-9-independent mechanism. In contrast, TIM-3 interacted with the alarmin HMGB1 to interfere with the recruitment of nucleic acids into DC endosomes and attenuated the therapeutic efficacy of DNA vaccination and chemotherapy by diminishing the immunogenicity of nucleic acids released from dying tumor cells. Our findings define a mechanism whereby tumor microenvironments suppress antitumor immunity mediated by nucleic acids.
PMCID: PMC3622453  PMID: 22842346
2.  Regulation of cancer stem cell activities by tumor-associated macrophages 
Recent studies revealed that tumor-associated macrophages play a decisive role in the regulation of tumor progression by manipulating tumor oncogenesis, angiogenesis and immune functions within tumor microenvironments. However, the role of cancer stem cells in the tumorigenic activities of tumor-associated macrophages during the course of transformation and treatment remains largely unknown. Recent studies have clarified the functional aspects of tumor-associated macrophages in the regulation of the tumorigenic activities and anticancer drug responsiveness of cancer stem cells through complex networks formed by distinct sets of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors. In this article we discuss recent advances and future perspectives regarding the molecular interplay between cancer stem cells and tumor-associated macrophages and provide future perspective about the therapeutic implication against treatment-resistant variants of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3433107  PMID: 22957305
Cancer stem cells; tumor associated macrophages; tumor microenvironments; MFG-E8; IL-6; TIM-3; M-CSF
3.  MFG-E8 Regulates the Immunogenic Potential of Dendritic Cells Primed with Necrotic Cell-Mediated Inflammatory Signals 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39607.
Dendritic cells (DC) manipulate tissue homeostasis by recognizing dying cells and controlling immune functions. However, the precise mechanisms by which DC recognize different types of dying cells and devise distinct immunologic consequences remain largely obscure. Herein, we demonstrate that Milk-fat globule-EGF VIII (MFG-E8) is a critical mediator controlling DC immunogenicity in inflammatory microenvironments. MFG-E8 restrains DC-mediated uptake and recognition of necrotic cells. The MFG-E8-mediated suppression of necrotic cell uptake by DC resulted in the decreased proinflammatory cytokines production and activated signal components such as STAT3 and A20, which are critical to maintain tolerogenic properties of DC. Furthermore, the DC-derived MFG-E8 negatively regulates the cross-priming and effector functions of antigen-specific T cells upon recognition of necrotic cells. MFG-E8 deficiency enhances an ability of necrotic cell-primed DC to stimulate antitumor immune responses against established tumors. Our findings define what we believe to a novel mechanism whereby MFG-E8 regulates the immunogenicity of DC by modulating the modes of recognition of dying cells. Manipulating MFG-E8 levels in DC may serve as a useful strategy for controlling inflammatory microenvironments caused by various pathological conditions including cancer and autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC3382463  PMID: 22761839
4.  The Diagnostic Value of the Interstitial Biomarkers KL-6 and SP-D for the Degree of Fibrosis in Combined Pulmonary Fibrosis and Emphysema 
Pulmonary Medicine  2012;2012:492960.
The combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema (CPFE) was reported first in 1990, but it has been comparatively underestimated until recently. Although the diagnostic findings of both emphysematous and fibrotic regions are detectable by high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the chest, the degree of progressive fibrosis, which increases with emphysematous lesions, is difficult to evaluate. In this study, we hypothesized that the biomarkers for pulmonary fibrosis, surfactant protein D (SP-D), and KL-6 would serve as good indicators of fibrotic lesions in CPFE. We recruited 46 patients who had been diagnosed in our hospital with both emphysema and fibrosis by their CT scan image from April 2003 to March 2008. The correlation among their pulmonary function tests, composite physiologic index (CPI), and the serum levels of SP-D and KL-6 was evaluated. We found a correlation between KL-6 and %VC, %TLC, or CPI and between SP-D and %VC or CPI. Interestingly, the combined product of KL-6 and SP-D (KL-6xSP-D) was found to highly correlate with %VC and %TLC or CPI. These results show that both KL-6 and SP-D, and especially the product of SP-D and KL-6, are good indicators of the presence of fibrotic lesions in the lungs of CPFE patients.
PMCID: PMC3316999  PMID: 22530118
5.  A Normal Range of KL-6/MUC1 Independent of Elevated SP-D Indicates a Better Prognosis in the Patients with Honeycombing on High-Resolution Computed Tomography 
Pulmonary Medicine  2010;2011:806014.
Both SP-D and KL-6/MUC1 are established biomarkers of the interstitial pneumonias, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), but the causes and clinical outcomes based on their independent effects are not known. Eleven asymptomatic patients, detected with honeycombing on high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT), were compared with 17 other IPF outpatients having slight respiratory symptoms and honeycombing as well. Although SP-D was increased in both groups, KL-6 was significantly higher in the symptomatic IPF group. When the patients (n = 11) having both biomarkers elevated were compared with the other patients (n = 6) with only SP-D elevated, the distribution of fibrotic lesions with honeycombing on HRCT was larger and the survival time was shorter in the patients having both biomarkers elevated. Immunohistochemical analysis also differentiated these biomarkers in the lung. These results suggest both a cause and the prognostic value of dissociation of these biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3101794  PMID: 21637370
6.  The Human Cytomegalovirus UL76 Gene Regulates the Level of Expression of the UL77 Gene 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11901.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) can be reactivated under immunosuppressive conditions causing several fatal pneumonitis, hepatitis, retinitis, and gastrointestinal diseases. HCMV also causes deafness and mental retardation in neonates when primary infection has occurred during pregnancy. In the genome of HCMV at least 194 known open reading frames (ORFs) have been predicted, and approximately one-quarter, or 41 ORFs, are required for viral replication in cell culture. In contrast, the majority of the predicted ORFs are nonessential for viral replication in cell culture. However, it is also possible that these ORFs are required for the efficient viral replication in the host. The UL77 gene of HCMV is essential for viral replication and has a role in viral DNA packaging. The function of the upstream UL76 gene in the HCMV-infected cells is not understood. UL76 and UL77 are cistons on the same viral mRNA and a conventional 5′ mRNA for UL77 has not been detected. The vast majority of eukaryotic mRNAs are monocistronic, i.e., they encode only a single protein.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To determine whether the UL76 ORF affects UL77 gene expression, we mutated UL76 by ORF frame-shifts, stop codons or deletion of the viral gene. The effect on UL77 protein expression was determined by either transfection of expression plasmids or infection with recombinant viruses. Mutation of UL76 ORF significantly increased the level of UL77 protein expression. However, deletion of UL76 upstream of the UL77 ORF had only marginal effects on viral growth.
While UL76 is not essential for viral replication, the UL76 ORF is involved in regulation of the level of UL77 protein expression in a manner dependent on the translation re-initiation. UL76 may fine-tune the UL77 expression for the efficient viral replication in the HCMV- infected cells.
PMCID: PMC2912765  PMID: 20689582

Results 1-6 (6)