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1.  The PIKE Homolog Centaurin gamma Regulates Developmental Timing in Drosophila 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97332.
Phosphoinositide-3-kinase enhancer (PIKE) proteins encoded by the PIKE/CENTG1 gene are members of the gamma subgroup of the Centaurin superfamily of small GTPases. They are characterized by their chimeric protein domain architecture consisting of a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain, a GTPase-activating (GAP) domain, Ankyrin repeats as well as an intrinsic GTPase domain. In mammals, three PIKE isoforms with variations in protein structure and subcellular localization are encoded by the PIKE locus. PIKE inactivation in mice results in a broad range of defects, including neuronal cell death during brain development and misregulation of mammary gland development. PIKE -/- mutant mice are smaller, contain less white adipose tissue, and show insulin resistance due to misregulation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and insulin receptor/Akt signaling. here, we have studied the role of PIKE proteins in metabolic regulation in the fly. We show that the Drosophila PIKE homolog, ceng1A, encodes functional GTPases whose internal GAP domains catalyze their GTPase activity. To elucidate the biological function of ceng1A in flies, we introduced a deletion in the ceng1A gene by homologous recombination that removes all predicted functional PIKE domains. We found that homozygous ceng1A mutant animals survive to adulthood. In contrast to PIKE -/- mouse mutants, genetic ablation of Drosophila ceng1A does not result in growth defects or weight reduction. Although metabolic pathways such as insulin signaling, sensitivity towards starvation and mobilization of lipids under high fed conditions are not perturbed in ceng1A mutants, homozygous ceng1A mutants show a prolonged development in second instar larval stage, leading to a late onset of pupariation. In line with these results we found that expression of ecdysone inducible genes is reduced in ceng1A mutants. Together, we propose a novel role for Drosophila Ceng1A in regulating ecdysone signaling-dependent second to third instar larval transition.
PMCID: PMC4028201  PMID: 24845618
2.  Dendritic Cell Depletion and Repopulation in the Lung after Irradiation and Bone Marrow Transplantation in Mice 
Dendritic cells (DCs) are essential for innate and adaptive immunity, but are purported to exhibit variable radiosensitivity in response to irradiation in various bone marrow transplantation (BMT) protocols. To address this controversy, we analyzed the magnitude of depletion and repopulation of both lung CD11bpos DC and CD103pos DC subsets in response to irradiation and BMT in a murine model. In our study, CD45.2pos donor bone marrow cells were transplanted into irradiated CD45.1pos recipient mice to examine the depletion of recipient DC subsets and the repopulation of donor DC subsets. We observed an apoptosis-mediated and necrosis-mediated depletion (> 90%) of the recipient CD103pos DC subset, and only a 50–60% depletion of recipient CD11bpos DCs from lung parenchymal tissue on Days 3 and 5, whereas recipient alveolar and lung macrophages were much less radiosensitive, showing an approximately 50% depletion by Days 14–21 after treatment. A repopulation of lung tissue with donor DC subsets had occurred by Days 10 and 28 for CD11bpos DCs and CD103pos DCs, whereas alveolar and lung macrophages were repopulated by 6 and 10 weeks after treatment. Furthermore, the infection of mice with Streptococcus pneumoniae further accelerated the turnover of lung DCs and lung macrophage subsets. Our data illustrate the vulnerability of lung CD103pos DCs and CD11bpos DCs to irradiation, and indicate that an accelerated turnover of lung DC subsets occurs, relative to pulmonary and lung macrophages. Our findings may have important implications in the development of adjuvant immune-stimulatory protocols that could reduce the risk of opportunistic infections in patients undergoing BMT.
PMCID: PMC3361352  PMID: 21177980
dendritic cell; macrophage; pneumonia; Streptococcus pneumoniae; CD103
3.  Cathepsin G and Neutrophil Elastase Play Critical and Nonredundant Roles in Lung-Protective Immunity against Streptococcus pneumoniae in Mice ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2011;79(12):4893-4901.
Neutrophil serine proteases cathepsin G (CG), neutrophil elastase (NE), and proteinase 3 (PR3) have recently been shown to contribute to killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae in vitro. However, their relevance in lung-protective immunity against different serotypes of S. pneumoniae in vivo has not been determined so far. Here, we examined the effect of CG and CG/NE deficiency on the lung host defense against S. pneumoniae in mice. Despite similar neutrophil recruitment, both CG knockout (KO) mice and CG/NE double-KO mice infected with focal pneumonia-inducing serotype 19 S. pneumoniae demonstrated a severely impaired bacterial clearance, which was accompanied by lack of CG and NE but not PR3 proteolytic activity in recruited neutrophils, as determined using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) substrates. Moreover, both CG and CG/NE KO mice but not wild-type mice responded with increased lung permeability to infection with S. pneumoniae, resulting in severe respiratory distress and progressive mortality. Both neutrophil depletion and ablation of hematopoietic CG/NE in bone marrow chimeras abolished intra-alveolar CG and NE immunoreactivity and led to bacterial outgrowth in the lungs of mice, thereby identifying recruited neutrophils as the primary cellular source of intra-alveolar CG and NE. This is the first study showing a contribution of neutrophil-derived neutral serine proteases CG and NE to lung-protective immunity against focal pneumonia-inducing serotype 19 S. pneumoniae in mice. These data may be important for the development of novel intervention strategies to improve lung-protective immune mechanisms in critically ill patients suffering from severe pneumococcal pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC3232647  PMID: 21911460
4.  Importance of CXC Chemokine Receptor 2 in Alveolar Neutrophil and Exudate Macrophage Recruitment in Response to Pneumococcal Lung Infection▿  
Infection and Immunity  2010;78(6):2620-2630.
Sustained neutrophilic infiltration is known to contribute to organ damage, such as acute lung injury. CXC chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2) is the major receptor regulating inflammatory neutrophil recruitment in acute and chronic inflamed tissues. Whether or not the abundant neutrophil recruitment observed in severe pneumonia is essential for protective immunity against Streptococcus pneumoniae infections is incompletely defined. Here we show that CXCR2 deficiency severely perturbs the recruitment of both neutrophils and exudate macrophages associated with a massive bacterial outgrowth in distal airspaces after infection with S. pneumoniae, resulting in 100% mortality in knockout (KO) mice within 3 days. Moreover, irradiated wild-type mice reconstituted with increasing amounts of CXCR2 KO bone marrow (10, 25, 50, and 75% KO) have correspondingly decreased numbers of both neutrophils and exudate macrophages, which is associated with a stepwise increase in bacterial burden and a reciprocal stepwise decrease in survival in S. pneumoniae-induced pulmonary infection. Finally, application of the CXCR2 antagonist SB-225002 resulted in decreased alveolar neutrophil and exudate macrophage recruitment in mice along with increased lung bacterial loads after infection with S. pneumoniae. Together, these data show that CXC chemokine receptor 2 serves a previously unrecognized nonredundant role in the regulation of both neutrophil and exudate macrophage recruitment to the lung in response to S. pneumoniae infection. In addition, we demonstrate that a threshold level of 10 to 25% of reduced neutrophil recruitment is sufficient to cause increased mortality in mice infected with S. pneumoniae.
PMCID: PMC2876546  PMID: 20368349
5.  Prominent Actin Fiber Arrays in Drosophila Tendon Cells Represent Architectural Elements Different from Stress Fibers 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(10):4287-4297.
Tendon cells are specialized cells of the insect epidermis that connect basally attached muscle tips to the cuticle on their apical surface via prominent arrays of microtubules. Tendon cells of Drosophila have become a useful genetic model system to address questions with relevance to cell and developmental biology. Here, we use light, confocal, and electron microscopy to present a refined model of the subcellular organization of tendon cells. We show that prominent arrays of F-actin exist in tendon cells that fully overlap with the microtubule arrays, and that type II myosin accumulates in the same area. The F-actin arrays in tendon cells seem to represent a new kind of actin structure, clearly distinct from stress fibers. They are highly resistant to F-actin–destabilizing drugs, to the application of myosin blockers, and to loss of integrin, Rho1, or mechanical force. They seem to represent an important architectural element of tendon cells, because they maintain a connection between apical and basal surfaces even when microtubule arrays of tendon cells are dysfunctional. Features reported here and elsewhere for tendon cells are reminiscent of the structural and molecular features of support cells in the inner ear of vertebrates, and they might have potential translational value.
PMCID: PMC2555930  PMID: 18667532

Results 1-5 (5)