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1.  Suppressed rate of carcinogenesis and decreases in tumour volume and lung metastasis in CXCL14/BRAK transgenic mice 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:9083.
Cancer progression involves carcinogenesis, an increase in tumour size, and metastasis. Here, we investigated the effect of overexpressed CXC chemokine ligand 14 (CXCL14) on these processes by using CXCL14/BRAK (CXCL14) transgenic (Tg) mice. The rate of AOM/DSS-induced colorectal carcinogenesis in these mice was significantly lower compared with that for isogenic wild type C57BL/6 (Wt) mice. When tumour cells were injected into these mice, the size of the tumours that developed and the number of metastatic nodules in the lungs of the animals were always significantly lower in the Tg mice than in the Wt ones. Injection of anti-asialo-GM1 antibodies to the mice before and after injection of tumour cells attenuated the suppressing effects of CXCL14 on the tumor growth and metastasis, suggesting that NK cell activity played an important role during CXCL14-mediated suppression of tumour growth and metastasis. The importance of NK cells on the metastasis was also supported when CXCL14 was expressed in B16 melanoma cells. Further, the survival rates after tumour cell injection were significantly increased for the Tg mice. As these Tg mice showed no obvious abnormality, we propose that CXCL14 to be a promising molecular target for cancer suppression/prevention.
PMCID: PMC4357995  PMID: 25765541
2.  Phase I clinical study of multiple epitope peptide vaccine combined with chemoradiation therapy in esophageal cancer patients 
Chemoradiation therapy (CRT) has been widely used for unresectable esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) patients. However, many patients develop local recurrence after CRT. In this study, we hypothesized that the immunotherapy by peptide vaccine may be effective for the eradication of minimal residual cancer cells after CRT. This study was conducted as a phase I clinical trial of multiple-peptide vaccine therapy combined with CRT on patients with unresectable ESCC.
Patients and methods
HLA-A*2402 positive 11 unresectable chemo-naïve ESCC patients were treated by HLA-A*2402-restricted multi-peptide vaccine combined with CRT. The peptide vaccine included the 5 peptides as follows; TTK protein kinase (TTK), up-regulated lung cancer 10 (URLC10), insulin-like growth factor–II mRNA binding protein 3 (KOC1), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) and 2 (VEGFR2). CRT consisted of radiotherapy (60 Gy) with concurrent cisplatin (40 mg/m2) and 5-fluorouracil (400 mg/m2). Peptide vaccines mixed with incomplete Freund’s adjuvant were injected subcutaneously once a week on at least 8 occasions combined with CRT.
Vaccination with CRT therapy was well-tolerated, and no severe adverse effects were observed. In the case of grade 3 toxicities, leucopenia, neutropenia, anemia and thrombocutopenia occurred in 54.5%, 27.3%, 27.3% and 9.1% of patients, respectively. Grade 1 local skin reactions in the injection sites of vaccination were observed in 81.8% of patients. The expressions of HLA class I, URLC10, TTK, KOC1, VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 antigens were observed in the tumor tissues of all patients. All patients showed peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes responses in at least one of the 5 kinds of peptide antigens during the vaccination. Six cases of complete response (CR) and 5 cases of progressive disease (PD) were observed after the 8th vaccination. The 4 CR patients who continued the peptide vaccination experienced long consistent CR for 2.0, 2.9 4.5 and 4.6 years.
A combination therapy of multi-peptide vaccine with CRT can successfully be performed with satisfactory levels of safety, and application of this combination therapy may be an effective treatment for patients with unresectable ESCC.
Trial registration, number NCT00632333.
PMCID: PMC4234129  PMID: 24708624
Cancer vaccine; Chemoradiation therapy; Esophageal cancer; CTL; Phase I clinical trial
3.  A phase I study of combination vaccine treatment of five therapeutic epitope-peptides for metastatic colorectal cancer; safety, immunological response, and clinical outcome 
To evaluate the safety of combination vaccine treatment of multiple peptides, phase I clinical trial was conducted for patients with advanced colorectal cancer using five novel HLA-A*2402-restricted peptides, three peptides derived from oncoantigens, ring finger protein 43 (RNF43), 34 kDa-translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOMM34), and insulin-like growth factor–II mRNA binding protein 3 (KOC1), and the remaining two from angiogenesis factors, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) and VEGFR2.
Eighteen HLA- A*2402-positive colorectal cancer patients who had failed to standard therapy were enrolled in this study. 0.5 mg, 1.0 mg or 3.0 mg each of the peptides was mixed with incomplete Freund’s adjuvant and then subcutaneously injected at five separated sites once a week. We also examined possible effect of a single site injection of “the cocktail of 5 peptides” on the immunological responses. ELISPOT assay was performed before and after vaccinations in the schedule of every 4 weeks.
The vaccine treatment using multiple peptides was well tolerated without any severe treatment-associated systemic adverse events. Dose-dependent induction of peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes was observed. The single injection of “peptides cocktail” did not diminish the immunological responses. Regarding the clinical outcome, one patient achieved complete response and 6 patients revealed stable disease for 4 to 7 months. The median overall survival time (MST) was 13.5 months. Patients, in which we detected induction of cytotoxic T lymphocytes specific to 3 or more peptides, revealed significantly better prognosis (MST; 27.8 months) than those with poorer immune responses (MST; 3.7 months) (p = 0.032).
Our cancer vaccine treatment using multiple peptides is a promising approach for advanced colorectal cancer with the minimum risk of systemic adverse reactions.
Clinical trial registration
UMIN-CTR number UMIN000004948.
PMCID: PMC4007571  PMID: 24612787
Peptide vaccine; Peptide cocktail; Colorectal cancer; Phase I study
4.  Phase I clinical trial of multiple-peptide vaccination for patients with advanced biliary tract cancer 
The prognosis of patients with advanced biliary tract cancer (BTC) is extremely poor and only a few standard treatments are available for this condition. We performed a phase I trial to investigate the safety, immune response and anti-tumor effect of vaccination with three peptides derived from cancer-testis antigens.
This study was conducted as a phase I trial. Nine patients with advanced BTC who had unresectable tumors and were refractory to standard chemotherapy were enrolled. Three HLA-A*2402 restricted epitope peptides-cell division cycle associated 1 (CDCA1), cadherin 3 (CDH3) and kinesin family member 20A (KIF20A)-were administered subcutaneously, and the adverse events and immune response were assessed. The clinical effects observed were the tumor response, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).
The three-peptide vaccination was well-tolerated up to a dose of 3 mg per peptide (9 mg total). No grade 3 or 4 adverse events were observed after vaccination. Peptide-specific T cell immune responses were observed in all patients and stable disease was observed in 5 of 9 patients. The median PFS and OS were 3.4 and 9.7 months. The Grade 2 injection site reaction and continuous vaccination after PD judgment appeared to be prognostic of OS.
Multiple-peptide vaccination was well tolerated and induced peptide-specific T-cell responses.
Trial registration
This study was registered with the University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR000003229).
PMCID: PMC4015445  PMID: 24606884
Cancer vaccine; Peptide vaccine; Immunotherapy; Biliary tract cancer
5.  Identification of an HLA-A2-Restricted Epitope Peptide Derived from Hypoxia-Inducible Protein 2 (HIG2) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85267.
We herein report the identification of an HLA-A2 supertype-restricted epitope peptide derived from hypoxia-inducible protein 2 (HIG2), which is known to be a diagnostic marker and a potential therapeutic target for renal cell carcinoma. Among several candidate peptides predicted by the HLA-binding prediction algorithm, HIG2-9-4 peptide (VLNLYLLGV) was able to effectively induce peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). The established HIG2-9-4 peptide-specific CTL clone produced interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in response to HIG2-9-4 peptide-pulsed HLA-A*02:01-positive cells, as well as to cells in which HLA-A*02:01 and HIG2 were exogenously introduced. Moreover, the HIG2-9-4 peptide-specific CTL clone exerted cytotoxic activity against HIG2-expressing HLA-A*02:01-positive renal cancer cells, thus suggesting that the HIG2-9-4 peptide is naturally presented on HLA-A*02:01 of HIG-2-expressing cancer cells and is recognized by CTLs. Furthermore, we found that the HIG2-9-4 peptide could also induce CTLs under HLA-A*02:06 restriction. Taken together, these findings indicate that the HIG2-9-4 peptide is a novel HLA-A2 supertype-restricted epitope peptide that could be useful for peptide-based immunotherapy against cancer cells with HIG2 expression.
PMCID: PMC3885709  PMID: 24416375
6.  Phase I/II clinical trial using HLA-A24-restricted peptide vaccine derived from KIF20A for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer 
We previously developed an immunotherapy treatment utilizing a cancer vaccine reagent KIF20A-66 in order to treat pancreatic cancer. KIF20A-66 is HLA-A24-restricted epitope peptide derived from KIF20A, a member of kinesin super family protein 20A that is significantly transactivated in pancreatic cancer. In this report, we further demonstrated non-randomized, open-label, single centered phase I/II clinical trial of immunotherapy using the KIF20A-66 peptide for the patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.
Vaccination was performed to the patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, in whom gemcitabine-based therapy had failed. In phase I study, KIF20A-66 peptide was subcutaneously injected weekly in a dose-escalation manner (doses of 1.0 and 3.0 mg/body, 6 patients/1 cohort). After safety was assessed, phase II study was conducted using 3.0 mg of KIF20A-66 peptide.
KIF20A-66 peptide vaccination was well tolerated in the doses we examined and tumor responses after 1 month of the treatment were evaluated. Among 29 patients who completed one course of the treatment at least, stable disease (SD) was found in 21 cases, while progressive disease (PD) was found in 8 cases, indicating that the disease control rate was 72%. Objective tumor shrinkage was observed in 8 cases, including 1 case of complete response (CR). The median survival time (MST) and progression free survival time (PFS) were 142 days and 56 days, respectively. These results clearly demonstrate that overall survival of the patients was significantly prolonged, compared to the historical controls of 9 cases with unmatched HLA in the same hospital (MST: 83 days), as well as 81 cases in our and other hospitals (MST: 63 days).
The patients vaccinated with KIF20A-66 peptide had better prognosis than the control group with best supportive care (BSC). Thus, we concluded that KIF20A-66 vaccination is significantly effective as an immunotherapy against advanced pancreatic cancer. KIF20A-66 peptide was well tolerable in the dose of either 1.0 mg or 3.0 mg/body, and effectively induced peptide-specific response of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL). Further clinical study using this peptide is a promising approach for advanced pancreatic cancer to achieve high potential benefit for better prognosis.
Clinical trial registration
UMIN-CTR, number UMIN000004919
PMCID: PMC4225607  PMID: 24237633
KIF20A; Peptide vaccine; Pancreatic cancer
7.  Immunological responses to a multi-peptide vaccine targeting cancer-testis antigens and VEGFRs in advanced pancreatic cancer patients 
Oncoimmunology  2013;2(11):e27010.
The prognosis of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer is extremely poor and there are only a few standard treatments. Here, we report the results of a Phase I clinical trial to investigate the safety, immunostimulatory effects, and antineoplastic activity of a multi-target vaccine composed of four distinct peptides derived from cancer-testis (CT) antigens and vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFRs). Nine patients with unresectable, advanced pancreatic cancer who were refractory to standard chemotherapy were enrolled. Each patient was vaccinated with HLA-A*2402-restricted peptides derived from the CT antigens kinesin family member 20A (KIF20A) and cell division cycle-associated 1 (CDCA1) as well as from VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 subcutaneously once a week, and disease progression was evaluated up to 6 mo later. Adverse events were assessed using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v. 3.0. Immunological responses were monitored by ELISPOT assays and flow cytometry based on peptide-specific dextramers. The clinical outcomes that were measured were tumor response, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). In general, the multi-peptide vaccine was well-tolerated, and no grade 3 or 4 adverse events were observed upon vaccination. Peptide-specific T-cell responses were detected in all 9 patients, and clinical benefits were observed in four of them. Median PFS and OS were 90 and 207 d, respectively. The elicitation of multiple and robust peptide-specific T-cell responses as well as the status of host lymphocytes may be useful prognostic factors among patients with advanced pancreatic cancer treated with peptide-based anticancer vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3906430  PMID: 24498547
cancer-testis antigens; clinical trial; immunotherapy; multi-target vaccine; pancreatic cancer; peptide; VEGFR
8.  Multiple therapeutic peptide vaccines consisting of combined novel cancer testis antigens and anti-angiogenic peptides for patients with non-small cell lung cancer 
Vaccine treatment using multiple peptides derived from multiple proteins is considered to be a promising option for cancer immune therapy, but scientific evidence supporting the therapeutic efficacy of multiple peptides is limited.
We conducted phase I trials using a mixture of multiple therapeutic peptide vaccines to evaluate their safety, immunogenicity and clinical response in patients with advanced/recurrent NSCLC. We administered two different combinations of four HLA-A24-restricted peptides. Two were peptides derived from vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) and 2 (VEGFR2), and the third was a peptide derived from up-regulated lung cancer 10 (URLC10, which is also called lymphocyte antigen 6 complex locus K [LY6K]). The fourth peptide used was derived from TTK protein kinase (TTK) or cell division associated 1 (CDCA1). Vaccines were administered weekly by subcutaneous injection into the axillary region of patients with montanide ISA-51 incomplete Freund’s adjuvant, until the disease was judged to have progressed or patients requested to be withdrawn from the trial. Immunological responses were primarily evaluated using an IFN-gamma ELiSPOT assay.
Vaccinations were well tolerated with no severe treatment-associated adverse events except for the reactions that occurred at the injection sites. Peptide-specific T cell responses against at least one peptide were observed in 13 of the 15 patients enrolled. Although no patient exhibited complete or partial responses, seven patients (47%) had stable disease for at least 2 months. The median overall survival time was 398 days, and the 1- and 2-year survival rates were 58.3% and 32.8%, respectively.
Peptide vaccine therapy using a mixture of four novel peptides was found to be safe, and is expected to induce strong specific T cell responses.
Trial registration
These studies were registered with NCT00633724 and NCT00874588.
PMCID: PMC3639131  PMID: 23578144
Cancer vaccine; Multiple peptides; Prognosis; Non-small cell lung cancer
9.  Local Effects of Regulatory T Cells in MUC1 Transgenic Mice Potentiate Growth of MUC1 Expressing Tumor Cells In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44770.
MUC1 transgenic (MUC1.Tg) mice have widely been used as model recipients of cancer immunotherapy with MUC1. Although MUC1.Tg mice have previously been shown to be immunologically tolerant to MUC1, the involvement of regulatory T (Treg) cells in this phenotype remains unclear. Here, we showed that numbers of Treg cells in MUC1-expressing tumors were greater in MUC1.Tg mice than in control C57BL/6 (B6) mice, and that the growth of tumor cells expressing MUC1, but not that of control cells, in MUC1. Tg mice was faster than in B6 mice. The MUC1.Tg mice appeared to develop MUC1-specific peripheral tolerance, as transferred MUC1-specific T cells were unable to function in MUC1.Tg mice but were functional in control B6 mice. The suppressive function of CD4+CD25high cells from MUC1.Tg mice was more potent than that of cells from control B6 mice when Treg cell activity against MUC1-specific T cells was compared in vitro. Therefore, the enhanced growth of MUC1-expressing tumor cells in MUC1.Tg mice is likely due to the presence of MUC1-specific Treg cells.
PMCID: PMC3444443  PMID: 23028615
10.  Decrease of Peripheral and Intestinal NKG2A-Positive T Cells in Patients with Ulcerative Colitis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44113.
To investigate the role of inhibitory natural killer receptors (iNKRs) in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), we analyzed the expression of NKG2A, one of the iNKRs, on T cells in a mouse colitis model and human IBD. During the active phase of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced mouse colitis, the frequency of NKG2A+ T cells was significantly decreased in the peripheral blood, and increased in the intestine, suggesting the mobilization of this T cell subset to the sites of inflammation. Administration of anti-NKG2A antibody increased the number of inflammatory foci in DSS-induced colitis, suggesting the involvement of NKG2A+ T cells in this colitis model. In ulcerative colitis (UC) patients, the frequency of peripheral blood NKG2A+ T cells was significantly decreased, compared with Crohn's disease (CD) patients and healthy controls, regardless of clinical conditions such as treatment modalities and disease activity. Notably, in sharp contrast to the DSS-induced mouse colitis model, the frequency of NKG2A+ cells among intestinal T cells was also decreased in UC patients. These results suggest that inadequate local infiltration of NKG2A+ T cells may be involved in the pathogenesis of UC.
PMCID: PMC3435414  PMID: 22970169
11.  Factors responsible for deep-sowing tolerance in wheat seedlings: varietal differences in cell proliferation and the co-ordinated synchronization of epidermal cell expansion and cortical cell division for the gibberellin-mediated elongation of first internodes 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(3):439-447.
Background and Aims
A wheat cultivar, Triticum aestivum ‘Hong Mang Mai’, shows tolerance to deep-sowing conditions by extreme elongation of the first internode, likely mediated by the gibberellin (GA) response. To understand factors involved in the response of this deep-sowing-tolerant cultivar, cell expansion and division that confer elongation on the first internodes of wheat seedlings were investigated.
The lengths and numbers of epidermal and cortical cells of the first internodes in three wheat cultivars were measured. These parameters were compared in wheat seedlings treated with gibberellin A3 (GA3) or an inhibitor of GA biosynthesis, uniconazole.
Key Results
The varietal differences in the elongation of the first internodes were due to differences in cell numbers resulting from the different abilities of cell division, but not cell expansion. In seedlings treated with GA3, the first internode of ‘Hong Mang Mai’ was 2-fold longer than the control. The GA-stimulated elongation of the first internodes was attributed to 2-fold increases in the number of cortical cells and length of epidermal cells. The different GA-responses observed in these two tissues were also detected in other cultivars, although the response was much lower than that noted in ‘Hong Mang Mai’. The seedlings treated with uniconazole exhibited reduced numbers of cortical cells and reduced lengths of epidermal cells, with both of these effects being more pronounced in ‘Hong Mang Mai’.
The deep-sowing-tolerant cultivar ‘Hong Mang Mai’ is able to elongate the first internode to a greater degree due to enhanced cell division and a heightened response to GA. In addition, cell expansion in the epidermis and cell division in the cortex are synchronized for the elongation of the first internodes. In response to GA, this well-co-ordinated synchronization yields the rapid elongation of the first internodes in wheat seedlings.
PMCID: PMC3158689  PMID: 21791455
Cell expansion; cell division; deep-sowing tolerance; first internode elongation; gibberellin (GA); ‘Hong Mang Mai’; Triticum aestivum; wheat
12.  Multicenter, phase II clinical trial of cancer vaccination for advanced esophageal cancer with three peptides derived from novel cancer-testis antigens 
Since a phase I clinical trial using three HLA-A24-binding peptides from TTK protein kinase (TTK), lymphocyte antigen-6 complex locus K (LY6K), and insulin-like growth factor-II mRNA binding protein-3 (IMP3) had been shown to be promising for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), we further performed a multicenter, non-randomized phase II clinical trial.
Patients and methods
Sixty ESCC patients were enrolled to evaluate OS, PFS, immunological response employing ELISPOT and pentamer assays. Each of the three peptides was administered with IFA weekly. All patients received the vaccination without knowing an HLA-A type, and the HLA types were key-opened at the analysis point. Hence, the endpoints were set to evaluate differences between HLA-A*2402-positive (24(+)) and -negative (24(−)) groups.
The OS in the 24 (+) group (n = 35) tended to be better than that in the 24(−) group (n = 25) (MST 4.6 vs. 2.6 month, respectively, p = 0.121), although the difference was not statistically significant. However, the PFS in the 24(+) group was significantly better than that in the 24(−) group (p = 0.032). In the 24(+) group, ELISPOT assay indicated that the LY6K-, TTK-, and IMP3-specific CTL responses were observed after the vaccination in 63%, 45%, and 60% of the 24(+) group, respectively. The patients having LY6K-, TTK-, and IMP3-specific CTL responses revealed the better OS than those not having CTL induction, respectively. The patients showing the CTL induction for multiple peptides have better clinical responses.
The immune response induced by the vaccination could make the prognosis better for advanced ESCC patients.
Trial registration, number NCT00995358
PMCID: PMC3403921  PMID: 22776426
Cancer vaccine; Esophageal cancer; Phase II clinical trial; CTL; Peptide vaccine
13.  Identification of HLA-A24-Restricted Novel T Cell Epitope Peptides Derived from P-Cadherin and Kinesin Family Member 20A 
We here identified human leukocyte antigen-(HLA-)A∗2402-restricted epitope peptides from Cadherin 3, type 1, P-cadherin (CDH3) and kinesin family member 20A (KIF20A) that were found to be specifically expressed in cancer cells through genome-wide expression profile analysis. CDH3-10-807 peptide and KIF20A-10-66 peptide successfully induced specific CTL clones, and these selectively responded to COS7 cells expressing both HLA-A∗2402 and respective protein while did not respond to parental cells or COS7 cells expressing either HLA-A∗2402 or respective protein. Furthermore, CTL clones responded to cancer cells that endogenously express HLA-A∗2402 and respective protein, suggesting that CDH3-10-807 peptide and KIF20A-10-66 peptide are naturally presented on HLA-A∗2402 molecule of human cancer cells. Our results demonstrated that CDH3-10-807 peptide and KIF20A-10-66 peptide are novel HLA-A24-restricted tumor-associated antigens and would be applicable for CTL-inducing cancer therapies.
PMCID: PMC3388625  PMID: 22778556
14.  Accurate evaluation and verification of varietal ranking for flooding tolerance at the seedling stage in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) 
Breeding Science  2012;62(1):3-10.
Soil flooding or waterlogging is a major abiotic stress in upland crops. In barley, there have been several reported studies of selection for flooding-tolerant genotypes, but it is difficult to obtain varietal rankings that are consistent among researchers. Our objectives were to establish experimental conditions that could be applied by other research groups and to verify the varietal ranking conducted in an earlier study. We conducted greenhouse experiments on 14 barley varieties. At the 2.5-leaf stage, they were flooded with 0% or 0.1% soluble starch solution (mimicking reducing conditions). At 13 to 15 days after the start of treatment, the degree of leaf injury and the shoot dry weight ratio (treatment:control) were recorded. Reliable and highly repeatable results were obtained for the criterion of leaf injury under reducing conditions, whereas shoot dry weight ratio was unstable. The varieties OUJ820 and OUA301 were highly tolerant, whereas OUA002 and OUJ247 were sensitive; these results matched those of the earlier study. The experimental conditions that we developed here may be useful for selection testing and genetic analysis of flooding tolerance in other laboratories.
PMCID: PMC3405954  PMID: 23136508
barley; flooding; genetic resources; soil reduction; variation; waterlogging
15.  Involvement of Reactive Oxygen Species in Sonodynamically Induced Apoptosis Using a Novel Porphyrin Derivative 
Theranostics  2012;2(9):880-888.
In this study, we investigated the induction of apoptosis by ultrasound in the presence of the novel porphyrin derivative DCPH-P-Na(I). HL-60 cells were exposed to ultrasound for up to 3 min in the presence and absence of DCPH-P-Na(I), and the induction of apoptosis was examined by analyzing cell morphology, DNA fragmentation, and caspase-3 activity. Reactive oxygen species were measured by means of ESR and spin trapping technique. Cells treated with 8 μM DCPH-P-Na(I) and ultrasound clearly showed membrane blebbing and cell shrinkage, whereas significant morphologic changes were not observed in cells exposed to either ultrasound or DCPH-P-Na(I) alone. Also, DNA ladder formation and caspase-3 activation were observed in cells treated with both ultrasound and DCPH-P-Na(I) but not in cells treated with ultrasound or DCPH-P-Na(I) alone. In addition, the combination of DCPH-P-Na(I) and the same acoustical arrangement of ultrasound substantially enhanced nitroxide generation by the cells. Sonodynamically induced apoptosis, caspase-3 activation, and nitroxide generation were significantly suppressed by histidine. These results indicate that the combination of ultrasound and DCPH-P-Na(I) induced apoptosis in HL-60 cells. The significant reduction in sonodynamically induced apoptosis, nitroxide generation, and caspase-3 activation by histidine suggests active species such as singlet oxygen are important in the sonodynamic induction of apoptosis. These experimental results support the possibility of sonodynamic treatment for cancer using the induction of apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3475214  PMID: 23082100
Apoptosis; Sonodynamic therapy; Ultrasound; DCPH-P-Na(I); HL-60 cells, Reactive Oxygen, Caspase-3.
16.  Duplicate polyphenol oxidase genes on barley chromosome 2H and their functional differentiation in the phenol reaction of spikes and grains 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2010;61(14):3983-3993.
Polyphenol oxidases (PPOs) are copper-containing metalloenzymes encoded in the nucleus and transported into the plastids. Reportedly, PPOs cause time-dependent discoloration (browning) of end-products of wheat and barley, which impairs their appearance quality. For this study, two barley PPO homologues were amplified using PCR with a primer pair designed in the copper binding domains of the wheat PPO genes. The full-lengths of the respective PPO genes were cloned using a BAC library, inverse-PCR, and 3′-RACE. Linkage analysis showed that the polymorphisms in PPO1 and PPO2 co-segregated with the phenol reaction phenotype of awns. Subsequent RT-PCR experiments showed that PPO1 was expressed in hulls and awns, and that PPO2 was expressed in the caryopses. Allelic variation of PPO1 and PPO2 was analysed in 51 barley accessions with the negative phenol reaction of awns. In PPO1, amino acid substitutions of five types affecting functionally important motif(s) or C-terminal region(s) were identified in 40 of the 51 accessions tested. In PPO2, only one mutant allele with a precocious stop codon resulting from an 8 bp insertion in the first exon was found in three of the 51 accessions tested. These observations demonstrate that PPO1 is the major determinant controlling the phenol reaction of awns. Comparisons of PPO1 single mutants and the PPO1PPO2 double mutant indicate that PPO2 controls the phenol reaction in the crease on the ventral side of caryopses. An insertion of a hAT-family transposon in the promoter region of PPO2 may be responsible for different expression patterns of the duplicate PPO genes in barley.
PMCID: PMC2935872  PMID: 20616156
Gene duplication; grasses; Hordeum vulgare; mutant; phenol reaction; PPO
17.  NKG2A inhibits iNKT cell activation in hepatic injury1 
Activation of invariant NKT (iNKT) cells in the liver is generally regarded as the critical step for concanavallin A (Con A)-induced hepatitis, and the role of NK cell receptors for iNKT cell activation is still controversial. Here we show that blockade of the NKG2A-mediated inhibitory signal with antagonistic anti-NKG2A/C/E mAb (20d5) aggravated Con A-induced hepatitis in wild-type, Fas ligand (FasL)-mutant gld, and IL-4-deficient mice even with NK cell- and CD8 T cell-depletion, but not in perforin-, IFN-γ-, or IFN-γ- and perforin-deficient mice. Consistently, 20d5 pre-treatment augmented serum IFN-γ levels and perforin-dependent cytotoxicity of liver mononuclear cells following Con A injection, but not their FasL/Fas-dependent cytotoxicity. However, blockade of NKG2A-mediated signals during the cytotoxicity effector phase did not augment cytotoxic activity. Activated iNKT cells promptly disappeared after Con A injection, while NK1− iNKT cells, that preferentially expressed CD94/NKG2A, predominantly remained in the liver. Pre-treatment with 20d5 appeared to facilitate disappearance of iNKT cell, particularly NK1− iNKT cells. Moreover, Con A-induced and α-galactosylceramide-induced hepatic injury was very severe in CD94/NKG2A-deficient DBA/2J mice compared with CD94/NKG2A-intact DBA/2JJcl mice. Overall, these results indicated that NKG2A-mediated signal negatively regulates iNKT cell activation and hepatic injury.
PMCID: PMC2841747  PMID: 19109156
Rodent; Natural Killer cells; Cell activation
18.  Treating Metastatic Solid Tumors With Bortezomib and a Tumor Necrosis Factor–Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand Receptor Agonist Antibody 
Resistance of tumors to cell death signals poses a complex clinical problem. We explored the therapeutic potential and in vivo toxicity of a combination of bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, and MD5-1, a tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptor (DR5) agonist monoclonal antibody, in mouse carcinomas.
Mice bearing Renca-FLAG (renal) or 4T1 (mammary) tumors were treated with bortezomib and/or MD5-1 and examined for lung metastases (Renca-FLAG: n = 93; 4T1: n = 40) or monitored for survival (Renca-FLAG: n = 143). Toxicity was assessed by histopathology and hematology. Viability and apoptotic signaling in Renca-FLAG and 4T1 cells treated with bortezomib alone or in combination with TRAIL were analyzed using 3-[4,5-dimethyiazol-2-yl-5]-[3-carboxymethyloxyphenyl]-2-[4-sulfophenyl]-2H tetrazolium assay and by measuring mitochondrial membrane depolarization and caspase-8 and caspase-3 activation. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Bortezomib (20 nM) sensitized Renca-FLAG and 4T1 cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis (mean percent decrease in numbers of viable cells, bortezomib + TRAIL vs TRAIL: Renca-FLAG, 95% vs 34%, difference = 61%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 52% to 69%, P < .001; 4T1, 85% vs 20%, difference = 65%, 95% CI = 62% to 69%, P < .001). Sensitization involved activation of caspase-8 and caspase-3 but not mitochondrial membrane depolarization, suggesting an amplified signaling of the extrinsic cell death pathway. Treatment with bortezomib and MD5-1 reduced lung metastases in mice carrying Renca and 4T1 tumors (mean number of metastases, bortezomib + MD5-1 vs MD5-1: Renca-FLAG, 1 vs 8, difference = 7, 95% CI = 5 to 9, P < .001; 4T1, 1 vs 12, difference = 11, 95% CI = 9 to 12, P < .001) and increased median survival of mice bearing Renca-FLAG tumors (bortezomib + MD5-1 vs bortezomib + control isotype antibody: 22 of 30 [73%] were still alive at day 180 vs median survival of 42 days [95% CI = 41 to 44 days, P < .001]) in the absence of obvious toxicity.
Bortezomib combined with DR5 agonist monoclonal antibody may be a useful treatment for metastatic solid tumors.
PMCID: PMC2753966  PMID: 18445820
19.  Development of 5006 Full-Length CDNAs in Barley: A Tool for Accessing Cereal Genomics Resources 
A collection of 5006 full-length (FL) cDNA sequences was developed in barley. Fifteen mRNA samples from various organs and treatments were pooled to develop a cDNA library using the CAP trapper method. More than 60% of the clones were confirmed to have complete coding sequences, based on comparison with rice amino acid and UniProt sequences. Blastn homologies (E<1E-5) to rice genes and Arabidopsis genes were 89 and 47%, respectively. Of the 5028 possible amino acid sequences derived from the 5006 FLcDNAs, 4032 (80.2%) were classified into 1678 GreenPhyl multigenic families. There were 555 cDNAs showing low homology to both rice and Arabidopsis. Gene ontology annotation by InterProScan indicated that many of these cDNAs (71%) have no known molecular functions and may be unique to barley. The cDNAs showed high homology to Barley 1 GeneChip oligo probes (81%) and the wheat gene index (84%). The high homology between FLcDNAs (27%) and mapped barley expressed sequence tag enabled assigning linkage map positions to 151–233 FLcDNAs on each of the seven barley chromosomes. These comprehensive barley FLcDNAs provide strong platform to connect pre-existing genomic and genetic resources and accelerate gene identification and genome analysis in barley and related species.
PMCID: PMC2671202  PMID: 19150987
full-length cDNA; Hordeum vulgare; mRNA; gene ontology
20.  Immunomodulating Activity of Agaricus brasiliensis KA21 in Mice and in Human Volunteers 
We performed studies on murine models and human volunteers to examine the immunoenhancing effects of the naturally outdoor-cultivated fruit body of Agaricus brasiliensis KA21 (i.e. Agaricus blazei). Antitumor, leukocyte-enhancing, hepatopathy-alleviating and endotoxin shock-alleviating effects were found in mice. In the human study, percentage body fat, percentage visceral fat, blood cholesterol level and blood glucose level were decreased, and natural killer cell activity was increased. Taken together, the results strongly suggest that the A. brasiliensis fruit body is useful as a health-promoting food.
PMCID: PMC2396466  PMID: 18604247
A. brasiliensis; clinical research; cold water extract; NK activity;  outdoor-cultivated; safety
21.  Ancestry of American Polyploid Hordeum Species with the I Genome Inferred from 5S and 18S–25S rDNA 
Annals of Botany  2005;96(1):23-33.
• Background and Aims The genus Hordeum exists at three ploidy levels (2x, 4x and 6x) and presents excellent material for investigating the patterns of polyploid evolution in plants. Here the aim was to clarify the ancestry of American polyploid species with the I genome.
• Methods Chromosomal locations of 5S and 18S–25S ribosomal RNA genes were determined by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). In both polyploid and diploid species, variation in 18S–25S rDNA repeated sequences was analysed by the RFLP technique.
• Key Results Six American tetraploid species were divided into two types that differed in the number of rDNA sites and RFLP profiles. Four hexaploid species were similar in number and location of both types of rDNA sites, but the RFLP profiles of 18S–25S rDNA revealed one species, H. arizonicum, with a different ancestry.
• Conclusions Five American perennial tetraploid species appear to be alloploids having the genomes of an Asian diploid H. roshevitzii and an American diploid species. The North American annual tetraploid H. depressum is probably a segmental alloploid combining the two closely related genomes of American diploid species. A hexaploid species, H. arizonicum, involves a diploid species, H. pusillum, in its ancestry; both species share the annual growth habit and are distributed in North America. Polymorphisms of rDNA sites detected by FISH and RFLP analyses provide useful information to infer the phylogenetic relationships of I-genome Hordeum species because of their highly conserved nature during polyploid evolution.
PMCID: PMC4246806  PMID: 15829509
Chromosome; FISH; genome; Hordeum; in situ hybridization; karyotype evolution; phylogeny; RFLP; ribosomal genes; wild barley
22.  Induction of Tumor-specific T Cell Immunity by Anti-DR5 Antibody Therapy 
Because tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) preferentially induces apoptosis in tumor cells and plays a critical role in tumor surveillance, its receptor is an attractive target for antibody-mediated tumor therapy. Here we report that a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against the mouse TRAIL receptor, DR5, exhibited potent antitumor effects against TRAIL-sensitive tumor cells in vivo by recruiting Fc receptor–expressing innate immune cells, with no apparent systemic toxicity. Administration of the agonistic anti-DR5 mAb also significantly inhibited experimental and spontaneous tumor metastases. Notably, the anti-DR5 mAb-mediated tumor rejection by innate immune cells efficiently evoked tumor-specific T cell immunity that could also eradicate TRAIL-resistant variants. These results suggested that the antibody-based therapy targeting DR5 is an efficient strategy not only to eliminate TRAIL-sensitive tumor cells, but also to induce tumor-specific T cell memory that affords a long-term protection from tumor recurrence.
PMCID: PMC2211825  PMID: 14769851
apoptosis; macrophage; NK cells; CTL; TRAIL
23.  CAM and NK Cells 
It is believed that tumor development, outgrowth and metastasis are under the surveillance of the immune system. Although both innate and acquired immune systems play roles, innate immunity is the spearhead against tumors. Recent studies have revealed the critical role of natural killer (NK) cells in immune surveillance and that NK cell activity is considerably influenced by various agents, such as environmental factors, stress, foods and drugs. Some of these NK cell stimulants have been used in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) since ancient times. Therefore, the value of CAM should be re-evaluated from this point of view. In this review, we overview the intimate correlation between NK cell functions and CAM agents, and discuss possible underlying mechanisms mediating this. In particular, neuro-immune crosstalk and receptors for CAM agents are the most important and interesting candidates for such mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC442116  PMID: 15257322
β-glucan; lectin; NK cell receptor; nerve-immune crosstalk; tumor
24.  Nonredundant Roles for CD1d-restricted Natural Killer T Cells and Conventional CD4+ T Cells in the Induction of Immunoglobulin E Antibodies in Response to Interleukin 18 Treatment of Mice 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2003;197(8):997-1005.
Interleukin (IL)-18 synergizes with IL-12 to promote T helper cell (Th)1 responses. Somewhat paradoxically, IL-18 administration alone strongly induces immunoglobulin (Ig)E production and allergic inflammation, indicating a role for IL-18 in the generation of Th2 responses. The ability of IL-18 to induce IgE is dependent on CD4+ T cells, IL-4, and signal transducer and activator of transcription (stat)6. Here, we show that IL-18 fails to induce IgE both in CD1d−/− mice that lack natural killer T (NKT) cells and in class II−/− mice that lack conventional CD4+ T cells. However, class II−/− mice reconstituted with conventional CD4+ T cells show the capacity to produce IgE in response to IL-18. NKT cells express high levels of IL-18 receptor (R)α chain and produce significant amounts of IL-4, IL-9, and IL-13, and induce CD40 ligand expression in response to IL-2 and IL-18 stimulation in vitro. In contrast, conventional CD4+ T cells express low levels of IL-18Rα and poorly respond to IL-2 and IL-18. Nevertheless, conventional CD4+ T cells are essential for B cell IgE responses after the administration of IL-18. These findings indicate that NKT cells might be the major source of IL-4 in response to IL-18 administration and that conventional CD4+ T cells demonstrate their helper function in the presence of NKT cells.
PMCID: PMC2193873  PMID: 12695491
IL-18R; CD4+ NK1.1+ T cells; Th2 cytokines; CD40 ligand; allergy
25.  Activation of Natural Killer T Cells by α-Galactosylceramide Impairs DNA Vaccine-Induced Protective Immunity against Trypanosoma cruzi  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(3):1234-1241.
Innate immunity as a first defense is indispensable for host survival against infectious agents. We examined the roles of natural killer (NK) T cells in defense against Trypanosoma cruzi infection. The T. cruzi parasitemia and survival of CD1d-deficient mice exhibited no differences compared to wild-type littermates. NK T-cell activation induced by administering α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) to T. cruzi-infected mice significantly changed the parasitemia only in the late phase of infection and slightly improved survival when mice were infected intraperitoneally. The combined usage of α-GalCer and benznidazole, a commercially available drug for Chagas' disease, did not enhance the therapeutic efficacy of benznidazole. These results suggest that NK T cells do not play a pivotal role in resistance to T. cruzi infection. In addition, we found that the coadministration of α-GalCer with DNA vaccine impaired the induction of epitope-specific CD8+ T cells and undermined the DNA vaccine-induced protective immunity against T. cruzi. Our results, in contrast to previous reports demonstrating the protective roles of NK T cells against other infectious agents, suggest that these cells might even exhibit adverse effects on vaccine-mediated protective immunity.
PMCID: PMC148846  PMID: 12595437

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