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author:("Im, Sin-heog")
1.  Cinnamon extract suppresses experimental colitis through modulation of antigen-presenting cells 
AIM: To investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of cinnamon extract and elucidate its mechanisms for targeting the function of antigen presenting cells.
METHODS: Cinnamon extract was used to treat murine macrophage cell line (Raw 264.7), mouse primary antigen-presenting cells (APCs, MHCII+) and CD11c+ dendritic cells to analyze the effects of cinnamon extract on APC function. The mechanisms of action of cinnamon extract on APCs were investigated by analyzing cytokine production, and expression of MHC antigens and co-stimulatory molecules by quantitative real-time PCR and flow cytometry. In addition, the effect of cinnamon extract on antigen presentation capacity and APC-dependent T-cell differentiation were analyzed by [H3]-thymidine incorporation and cytokine analysis, respectively. To confirm the anti-inflammatory effects of cinnamon extract in vivo, cinnamon or PBS was orally administered to mice for 20 d followed by induction of experimental colitis with 2,4,6 trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid. The protective effects of cinnamon extract against experimental colitis were measured by checking clinical symptoms, histological analysis and cytokine expression profiles in inflamed tissue.
RESULTS: Treatment with cinnamon extract inhibited maturation of MHCII+ APCs or CD11c+ dendritic cells (DCs) by suppressing expression of co-stimulatory molecules (B7.1, B7.2, ICOS-L), MHCII and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. Cinnamon extract induced regulatory DCs (rDCs) that produce low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-12, interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α] while expressing high levels of immunoregulatory cytokines (IL-10 and transforming growth factor-β). In addition, rDCs generated by cinnamon extract inhibited APC-dependent T-cell proliferation, and converted CD4+ T cells into IL-10high CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, oral administration of cinnamon extract inhibited development and progression of intestinal colitis by inhibiting expression of COX-2 and pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IFN-γ and TNF-α), while enhancing IL-10 levels.
CONCLUSION: Our study suggests the potential of cinnamon extract as an anti-inflammatory agent by targeting the generation of regulatory APCs and IL-10+ regulatory T cells.
PMCID: PMC3057159  PMID: 21451725
Cinnamon extract; Inflammation; CD4 antigen; Antigen presenting cells; Cyclooxygenase-2; Tumor necrosis factor-α; Interleukin-10; Inflammatory bowel disease
2.  Salmonella typhimurium Suppresses Tumor Growth via the Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Interleukin-1β 
Theranostics  2015;5(12):1328-1342.
Although strains of attenuated Salmonella typhimurium and wild-type Escherichia coli show similar tumor-targeting capacities, only S. typhimurium significantly suppresses tumor growth in mice. The aim of the present study was to examine bacteria-mediated immune responses by conducting comparative analyses of the cytokine profiles and immune cell populations within tumor tissues colonized by E. coli or attenuated Salmonellae. CT26 tumor-bearing mice were treated with two different bacterial strains: S. typhimurium defective in ppGpp synthesis (ΔppGpp Salmonellae) or wild-type E. coli MG1655. Cytokine profiles and immune cell populations in tumor tissue colonized by these two bacterial strains were examined at two time points based on the pattern of tumor growth after ΔppGpp Salmonellae treatment: 1) when tumor growth was suppressed ('suppression stage') and 2) when they began to re-grow ('re-growing stage'). The levels of IL-1β and TNF-α were markedly increased in tumors colonized by ΔppGpp Salmonellae. This increase was associated with tumor regression; the levels of both IL-1β and TNF-α returned to normal level when the tumors started to re-grow. To identify the immune cells primarily responsible for Salmonellae-mediated tumor suppression, we examined the major cell types that produce IL-1β and TNF-α. We found that macrophages and dendritic cells were the main producers of TNF-α and IL-1β. Inhibiting IL-1β production in Salmonellae-treated mice restored tumor growth, whereas tumor growth was suppressed for longer by local administration of recombinant IL-1β or TNF-α in conjunction with Salmonella therapy. These findings suggested that IL-1β and TNF-α play important roles in Salmonella-mediated cancer therapy. A better understanding of host immune responses in Salmonella therapy may increase the success of a given drug, particularly when various strategies are combined with bacteriotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4615736  PMID: 26516371
Bacteria-mediated cancer therapy; Salmonella typhimurium; E. coli; IL-1β; TNF-α; dendritic cells
3.  Epigenetic Regulation of Cytokine Gene Expression in T Lymphocytes 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2009;50(3):322-330.
The developmental program of T helper and regulatory T cell lineage commitment is governed by both genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. The principal events, signaling pathways and the lineage determining factors involved have been extensively studied in the past ten years. Recent studies have elucidated the important role of chromatin remodeling and epigenetic changes for proper regulation of gene expression of lineage-specific cytokines. These include DNA methylation and histone modifications in epigenomic reprogramming during T helper cell development and effector T cell functions. This review discusses the basic epigenetic mechanisms and the role of transcription factors for the differential cytokine gene regulation in the T helper lymphocyte subsets.
PMCID: PMC2703752  PMID: 19568591
Epigenetics; cytokine; T lymphocytes; gene regulation
4.  Cisplatin induces tolerogenic dendritic cells in response to TLR agonists via the abundant production of IL-10, thereby promoting Th2- and Tr1-biased T-cell immunity  
Oncotarget  2016;7(23):33765-33782.
Although many advantageous roles of cisplatin (cis-diamminedichloroplatinum (II), CDDP) have been reported in cancer therapy, the immunomodulatory roles of cisplatin in the phenotypic and functional alterations of dendritic cells (DCs) are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the effect of cisplatin on the functionality of DCs and the changes in signaling pathways activated upon toll-like receptor (TLR) stimulation. Cisplatin-treated DCs down-regulated the expression of cell surface molecules (CD80, CD86, MHC class I and II) and up-regulated endocytic capacity in a dose-dependent manner. Upon stimulation with various TLR agonists, cisplatin-treated DCs showed markedly increased IL-10 production through activation of the p38 MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways without altering the levels of TNF-α and IL-12p70, indicating the cisplatin-mediated induction of tolerogenic DCs. This effect was dependent on the production of IL-10 from DCs, as neither DCs isolated from IL-10−/− mice nor IL-10-neutralized DCs generated tolerogenic DCs. Interestingly, DCs that were co-treated with cisplatin and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exhibited a decreased immunostimulatory capacity for inducing the proliferation of Th1- and Th17-type T cells; instead, these DCs contributed to Th2-type T cell immunity. Furthermore, in vitro and in vivo investigations revealed a unique T cell population, IL-10-producing CD3+CD4+LAG-3+CD49b+CD25−Foxp3− Tr1 cells, that was significantly increased without altering the Foxp3+ regulatory T cell population. Taken together, our results suggest that cisplatin induces immune-suppressive tolerogenic DCs in TLR agonist-induced inflammatory conditions via abundant IL-10 production, thereby skewing Th cell differentiation towards Th2 and Tr1 cells. This relationship may provide cancer cells with an opportunity to evade the immune system.
PMCID: PMC5085117  PMID: 27172902
cisplatin; tolerogenic dendritic cells; toll-like receptor; IL-10; Tr1 polarization; Immunology and Microbiology Section; Immune response; Immunity
5.  Transcription factor NFAT1 controls allergic contact hypersensitivity through regulation of activation induced cell death program 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:19453.
Allergic contact hypersensitivity (CHS) is an inflammatory skin disease mediated by allergen specific T cells. In this study, we investigated the role of transcription factor NFAT1 in the pathogenesis of contact hypersensitivity. NFAT1 knock out (KO) mice spontaneously developed CHS-like skin inflammation in old age. Healthy young NFAT1 KO mice displayed enhanced susceptibility to hapten-induced CHS. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from NFAT1 KO mice displayed hyper-activated properties and produced significantly enhanced levels of inflammatory T helper 1(Th1)/Th17 type cytokines. NFAT1 KO T cells were more resistant to activation induced cell death (AICD), and regulatory T cells derived from these mice showed a partial defect in their suppressor activity. NFAT1 KO T cells displayed a reduced expression of apoptosis associated BCL-2/BH3 family members. Ectopic expression of NFAT1 restored the AICD defect in NFAT1 KO T cells and increased AICD in normal T cells. Recipient Rag2−/− mice transferred with NFAT1 KO T cells showed more severe CHS sensitivity due to a defect in activation induced hapten-reactive T cell apoptosis. Collectively, our results suggest the NFAT1 plays a pivotal role as a genetic switch in CD4+/CD8+ T cell tolerance by regulating AICD process in the T cell mediated skin inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4726067  PMID: 26777750
6.  TAGLN2 regulates T cell activation by stabilizing the actin cytoskeleton at the immunological synapse 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2015;209(1):143-162.
TAGLN2 stabilizes cortical F-actin and thereby maintains F-actin contents at the immunological synapse, which allows T cell activation following T cell receptor stimulation.
The formation of an immunological synapse (IS) requires tight regulation of actin dynamics by many actin polymerizing/depolymerizing proteins. However, the significance of actin stabilization at the IS remains largely unknown. In this paper, we identify a novel function of TAGLN2—an actin-binding protein predominantly expressed in T cells—in stabilizing cortical F-actin, thereby maintaining F-actin contents at the IS and acquiring LFA-1 (leukocyte function-associated antigen-1) activation after T cell receptor stimulation. TAGLN2 blocks actin depolymerization and competes with cofilin both in vitro and in vivo. Knockout of TAGLN2 (TAGLN2−/−) reduced F-actin content and destabilized F-actin ring formation, resulting in decreased cell adhesion and spreading. TAGLN2−/− T cells displayed weakened cytokine production and cytotoxic effector function. These findings reveal a novel function of TAGLN2 in enhancing T cell responses by controlling actin stability at the IS.
PMCID: PMC4395477  PMID: 25869671
7.  Role of Blimp-1 in programing Th effector cells into IL-10 producers 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2014;211(9):1807-1819.
The transcriptional regulator Blimp-1 is absolutely required for IL-10 production in Th1 cells and limits inflammatory effector T cell responses downstream of IL-12 and IL-27.
Secretion of the immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin (IL) 10 by effector T cells is an essential mechanism of self-limitation during infection. However, the transcriptional regulation of IL-10 expression in proinflammatory T helper (Th) 1 cells is insufficiently understood. We report a crucial role for the transcriptional regulator Blimp-1, induced by IL-12 in a STAT4-dependent manner, in controlling IL-10 expression in Th1 cells. Blimp-1 deficiency led to excessive inflammation during Toxoplasma gondii infection with increased mortality. IL-10 production from Th1 cells was strictly dependent on Blimp-1 but was further enhanced by the synergistic function of c-Maf, a transcriptional regulator of IL-10 induced by multiple factors, such as the Notch pathway. We found Blimp-1 expression, which was also broadly induced by IL-27 in effector T cells, to be antagonized by transforming growth factor (TGF) β. While effectively blocking IL-10 production from Th1 cells, TGF-β shifted IL-10 regulation from a Blimp-1–dependent to a Blimp-1–independent pathway in IL-27–induced Tr1 (T regulatory 1) cells. Our findings further illustrate how IL-10 regulation in Th cells relies on several transcriptional programs that integrate various signals from the environment to fine-tune expression of this critical immunosuppressive cytokine.
PMCID: PMC4144744  PMID: 25073792
8.  Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-2α Is an Essential Catabolic Regulator of Inflammatory Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(6):e1001881.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-2α (HIF-2α) is sufficient to cause experimental rheumatoid arthritis and acts to regulate the functions of fibroblast-like cells from tissue surrounding joints, independent of HIF-1α.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disorder that manifests as chronic inflammation and joint tissue destruction. However, the etiology and pathogenesis of RA have not been fully elucidated. Here, we explored the role of the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), HIF-1α (encoded by HIF1A) and HIF-2α (encoded by EPAS1). HIF-2α was markedly up-regulated in the intimal lining of RA synovium, whereas HIF-1α was detected in a few cells in the sublining and deep layer of RA synovium. Overexpression of HIF-2α in joint tissues caused an RA-like phenotype, whereas HIF-1α did not affect joint architecture. Moreover, a HIF-2α deficiency in mice blunted the development of experimental RA. HIF-2α was expressed mainly in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) of RA synovium and regulated their proliferation, expression of RANKL (receptor activator of nuclear factor–κB ligand) and various catabolic factors, and osteoclastogenic potential. Moreover, HIF-2α–dependent up-regulation of interleukin (IL)-6 in FLS stimulated differentiation of TH17 cells—crucial effectors of RA pathogenesis. Additionally, in the absence of IL-6 (Il6−/− mice), overexpression of HIF-2α in joint tissues did not cause an RA phenotype. Thus, our results collectively suggest that HIF-2α plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of RA by regulating FLS functions, independent of HIF-1α.
Author Summary
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic inflammation in joint tissues leading to destruction of cartilage and bone. Despite some therapeutic advances, the etiology of RA pathogenesis is not yet clear, and effective treatment of RA remains a significant, unmet medical need. Hypoxia is a prominent feature of inflamed tissue within RA-affected joints, and earlier work has implicated limited involvement of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 α. We explored the role of a second HIF family member, HIF-2α, in RA pathogenesis. We showed that HIF-2α is markedly increased in the tissue lining the RA-affected joints. Notably and in contrast to HIF-1α, when overexpressed in normal mouse joint tissues, HIF-2α is sufficient to cause RA-like symptoms. Conversely, an HIF-2α deficiency blocks the development of experimental arthritis in mice. We discovered further that HIF-2α regulates RA pathogenesis by modulating various RA-associated functions of joint-specific fibroblast-like cells, including proliferation, expression of cytokines, chemokines, and matrix-degrading enzymes, and bone-remodeling potential. HIF-2α also increases the ability of these cells to promote interleukin-6–dependent differentiation of TH17 cells, a known effector of RA pathogenesis. We thus show that HIF-1α and HIF-2α have distinct roles and act via different mechanisms in RA pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4051611  PMID: 24914685
9.  Modulation of experimental atopic dermatitis by topical application of Gami-Cheongyeul-Sodok-Eum 
Gami-Cheongyeul-Sodok-Eum (GCSE), an herbal formula of traditional Korean medicine, comprises nine herb components. GCSE has various biological activities such as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities. However, it is still unclear whether GCSE has any immunomodulatory effect on atopic dermatitis (AD).
GCSE was treated to primary B cells and CD4+ T cells isolated from atopic mice to compare its inhibitory effects on IgE secretion and cytokine expression. Experimental AD was established by alternative treatment of 2, 4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) and house dust mite extract to the ears of BALB/c mice. GCSE was topically applied to ears of atopic mice every day for 3 weeks. AD progression was analyzed by measuring ear thickness, serum IgE level, histological examination of ear tissue by H&E staining and cytokine profile of CD4+ T cells and CD19+ B cells by real time PCR and ELISA.
Treatment of GCSE significantly reduced IgE production and expression of AD associated pathogenic cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, IL-17, TNF-α, and IFN-γ by lymphocytes isolated from AD-induced mice. Topical application of GCSE on the ears of AD-induced mice significantly reduced ear thickness, clinical score and lymphocytes infiltration to ears as compared to control group. GCSE treatment also reduced serum IgE level and the levels of major pathogenic cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13 and IL-17. In addition, GCSE treatment significantly increased Foxp3 expression level.
The protective effect of GCSE in experimental AD is mediated by inhibition of IgE production, by reduction in the levels of pathogenic cytokines and by induction of Foxp3, all of which are suggesting the beneficial effect of GCSE on modulating atopic dermatitis.
PMCID: PMC3832229  PMID: 24499290
Atopic dermatitis; Herbal medicine; GCSE (Gami-Cheongyeul-Sodok-Eum); Th1 & Th2 cells; B cells; IgE and Cytokines
10.  The Kinase PDK1 Is Essential for B-Cell Receptor Mediated Survival Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55378.
Phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) plays an important role in integrating the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) and CD28 signals to achieve efficient NF-κB activation. PDK1 is also an important regulator of T cell development, mediating pre-TCR induced proliferation signals. However, the role of PDK1 in B cell antigen receptor (BCR) signaling and B cell development remains largely unknown. In this study we provide genetic evidence supporting the role of PDK1 in B cell survival. We found PDK1 is required for BCR mediated survival in resting B cells, likely through regulation of Foxo activation. PDK1-dependent signaling to NF-κB is not crucial to resting B cell viability. However, PDK1 is necessary for triggering NF-κB during B cell activation and is required for activated B cell survival. Together these studies demonstrate that PDK1 is essential for BCR-induced signal transduction to Foxo and NF-κB and is indispensable for both resting and activated B cell survival.
PMCID: PMC3564844  PMID: 23393571
11.  Prophylactic Effect of Probiotics on the Development of Experimental Autoimmune Myasthenia Gravis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52119.
Probiotics are live bacteria that confer health benefits to the host physiology. Although protective role of probiotics have been reported in diverse diseases, no information is available whether probiotics can modulate neuromuscular immune disorders. We have recently demonstrated that IRT5 probiotics, a mixture of 5 probiotics, could suppress diverse experimental disorders in mice model. In this study we further investigated whether IRT5 probiotics could modulate the progression of experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG). Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a T cell dependent antibody mediated autoimmune disorder in which acetylcholine receptor (AChR) at the neuromuscular junction is the major auto-antigen. Oral administration of IRT5 probiotics significantly reduced clinical symptoms of EAMG such as weight loss, body trembling and grip strength. Prophylactic effect of IRT5 probiotics on EMAG is mediated by down-regulation of effector function of AChR-reactive T cells and B cells. Administration of IRT5 probiotics decreased AChR-reactive lymphocyte proliferation, anti-AChR reactive IgG levels and inflammatory cytokine levels such as IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-17. Down-regulation of inflammatory mediators in AChR-reactive lymphocytes by IRT5 probiotics is mediated by the generation of regulatory dendritic cells (rDCs) that express increased levels of IL-10, TGF-β, arginase 1 and aldh1a2. Furthermore, DCs isolated from IRT5 probiotics-fed group effectively converted CD4+ T cells into CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells compared with control DCs. Our data suggest that IRT5 probiotics could be applicable to modulate antibody mediated autoimmune diseases including myasthenia gravis.
PMCID: PMC3527378  PMID: 23284891
12.  Immunomodulatory effect of water soluble extract separated from mycelium of Phellinus linteus on experimental atopic dermatitis 
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is becoming a popular treatment for modulating diverse immune disorders. Phellinus linteus (P. linteus) as one of the CAMs has been used to modulate cancers, inflammation and allergic activities. However, little evidence has been shown about its underlying mechanism of action by which it exerts a beneficial role in dermatological disease in vivo. In this study, we examined the immunomodulatory effects of P. linteus on experimental atopic dermatitis (AD) and elucidated its action mechanism.
The immunomodulatory effect of total extract of P. linteus on IgE production by human myeloma U266B1 cells was measured by ELISA. To further identify the effective components, P. linteus was fractionated into methanol soluble, water soluble and boiling water soluble extracts. Each extract was treated to U266B1 cells and primary B cells to compare their inhibitory effects on IgE secretion. To test the in vivo efficacy, experimental atopic dermatitis (AD) was established by alternative treatment of DNCB and house dust mite extract into BALB/c mice. Water soluble extract of P. linteus (WA) or ceramide as a positive control were topically applied to ears of atopic mouse every day for 2 weeks and progression of the disease was estimated by the following criteria: (a) ear thickness, clinical score, (b) serum total IgE, IgG and mite specific IgE level by ELSIA, (c) histological examination of ear tissue by H&E staining and (d) cytokine profile of total ear cells and CD4+ T cells by real time PCR and ELSIA.
Treatment of total extracts of P. linteus to U266B1 inhibited IgE secretion. Among the diverse extracts of P. linteus, water soluble extract of P. linteus (WA) significantly reduced the IgE production in primary B cells and B cell line U266B1. Moreover, treatment of WA reduced AD symptoms such as ear swelling, erythema, and dryness and decreased recruitment of lymphocyte into the inflamed site. Interestingly WA treatment significantly reduced IgE level without affecting IgG levels and also down-regulated the levels of pathogenic cytokines (IL-4, IL-13, IL-12 and IFN-γ) and chemokines (CCL17 and CCL22) involved in AD development.
Our study indicates that protective effect of water soluble extract of P. linteus in atopic dermatitis is mediated by inhibiting IgE production and expression of AD associated pathogenic cytokines as well as chemokines, suggesting the beneficial effect of P. linteus to modulate allergic skin disease.
PMCID: PMC3479073  PMID: 22988890
13.  Immune Disorders and Its Correlation with Gut Microbiome 
Immune Network  2012;12(4):129-138.
Allergic disorders such as atopic dermatitis and asthma are common hyper-immune disorders in industrialized countries. Along with genetic association, environmental factors and gut microbiota have been suggested as major triggering factors for the development of atopic dermatitis. Numerous studies support the association of hygiene hypothesis in allergic immune disorders that a lack of early childhood exposure to diverse microorganism increases susceptibility to allergic diseases. Among the symbiotic microorganisms (e.g. gut flora or probiotics), probiotics confer health benefits through multiple action mechanisms including modification of immune response in gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). Although many human clinical trials and mouse studies demonstrated the beneficial effects of probiotics in diverse immune disorders, this effect is strain specific and needs to apply specific probiotics for specific allergic diseases. Herein, we briefly review the diverse functions and regulation mechanisms of probiotics in diverse disorders.
PMCID: PMC3467411  PMID: 23091436
Hygiene hypothesis; Intestinal microflora; Gut-Associated lymphoid tissue; Probiotics; Atopic dermatitis
14.  Looping Mediated Interaction between the Promoter and 3′ UTR Regulates Type II Collagen Expression in Chondrocytes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40828.
Type II collagen is the major component of articular cartilage and is mainly synthesized by chondrocytes. Repeated sub-culturing of primary chondrocytes leads to reduction of type II collagen gene (Col2a1) expression, which mimics the process of chondrocyte dedifferentiation. Although the functional importance of Col2a1 expression has been extensively investigated, mechanism of transcriptional regulation during chondrocyte dedifferentiation is still unclear. In this study, we have investigated the crosstalk between cis-acting DNA element and transcription factor on Col2a1 expression in primary chondrocytes. Bioinformatic analysis revealed the potential regulatory regions in the Col2a1 genomic locus. Among them, promoter and 3′ untranslated region (UTR) showed highly accessible chromatin architecture with enriched recruitment of active chromatin markers in primary chondrocytes. 3′ UTR has a potent enhancer function which recruits Lef1 (Lymphoid enhancer binding factor 1) transcription factor, leading to juxtaposition of the 3′ UTR with the promoter through gene looping resulting in up-regulation of Col2a1 gene transcription. Knock-down of endogenous Lef1 level significantly reduced the gene looping and subsequently down-regulated Col2a1 expression. However, these regulatory loci become inaccessible due to condensed chromatin architecture as chondrocytes dedifferentiate which was accompanied by a reduction of gene looping and down-regulation of Col2a1 expression. Our results indicate that Lef1 mediated looping between promoter and 3′ UTR under the permissive chromatin architecture upregulates Col2a1 expression in primary chondrocytes.
PMCID: PMC3397959  PMID: 22815835
15.  IGSF4 is a novel TCR ζ-chain–interacting protein that enhances TCR-mediated signaling 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2011;208(12):2545-2560.
The expression of cell surface molecule, IGSF4, on human and mouse T cells associate with the TCR ζ-chain and colocalizes to the c-SMAC to enhance cytokine production and adhesion to APCs.
Immunoglobulin superfamily member 4 (IGSF4) is a known ligand of CRTAM, a receptor expressed in activated NKT and CD8+ T cells, but its function in T cell immunity has not been elucidated. In this study, we show that IGSF4 directly interacts with the T cell receptor (TCR) ζ-chain and enhances TCR signaling by enhancing ζ-chain phosphorylation. Ectopic overexpression of IGSF4 enhances TCR-mediated T cell activation. In contrast, IGSF4 knockdown shows a dramatic decrease in markers associated with T cell activation compared with those in control small interfering RNA. The transmembrane domain is essential for TCR ζ-chain association and clustering to the immunological synapse, and the ectodomain is associated with T cell interaction with antigen-presenting cells (APCs). IGSF4-deficient mice have impaired TCR-mediated thymocyte selection and maturation. Furthermore, these mice reveal attenuated effector T cell functions accompanied by defective TCR signaling. Collectively, the results indicate that IGSF4 plays a central role in T cell functioning by dual independent mechanisms, control of TCR signaling and control of T cell–APC interaction.
PMCID: PMC3256964  PMID: 22084409
16.  Molecular Mechanisms Governing IL-24 Gene Expression 
Immune Network  2012;12(1):1-7.
Interleukin-24 (IL-24) belongs to the IL-10 family of cytokines and is well known for its tumor suppressor activity. This cytokine is released by both immune and nonimmune cells and acts on non-hematopoietic tissues such as skin, lung and reproductive tissues. Apart from its ubiquitous tumor suppressor function, IL-24 is also known to be involved in the immunopathology of autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although the cellular sources and functions of IL-24 are being increasingly investigated, the molecular mechanisms of IL-24 gene expression at the levels of signal transduction, epigenetics and transcription factor binding are still unclear. Understanding the specific molecular events that regulate the production of IL-24 will help to answer the remaining questions that are important for the design of new strategies of immune intervention involving IL-24. Herein, we briefly review the signaling pathways and transcription factors that facilitate, induce, or repress production of this cytokine along with the cellular sources and functions of IL-24.
PMCID: PMC3329598  PMID: 22536164
IL-24; Chromatin remodeling; Epigenetics; Transcription factor; Gene regulation
17.  Enhanced Chromatin Accessibility and Recruitment of JUNB Mediate the Sustained IL-4 Expression in NFAT1 Deficient T Helper 2 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22042.
Nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) is a family of transcription factors composed of five proteins. Among them, NFAT1 is a predominant NFAT protein in CD4+ T cells. NFAT1 positively regulates transcription of a large number of inducible cytokine genes including IL-2, IL-4, IL-5 and other cytokines. However, disruption of NFAT1 results in an unexpected increase of IL-4. In this study, we have investigated the role of NFAT1 in regulation of IL-4 gene expression in T helper 2 cells (Th2) from an epigenetic viewpoint. NFAT1 deficient Th2 cells showed a sustained IL-4 expression while wild type (WT) cells reduced its expression. We tested whether epigenetic maintenance and changes in the chromatin architecture of IL-4 promoter locus play a role in differential IL-4 transcription between in WT and NFAT1 deficient Th2 cells. Compared with WT, NFAT1 deficient CD4+ Th2 cells exhibited enhanced chromatin accessibility with permissive histone modification and DNA demethylation in the IL-4 promoter region. Transcription factors bound to IL-4 promoter region in the absence of NFAT1 were identified by Micro-LC/LC-MS/MS analysis. Among the candidates, preferential recruitment of JUNB to the IL-4 promoter was confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis. Overexpression of JUNB together with SATB1 synergistically upregulated IL-4 promoter activity, while knockdown JUNB significantly reduced IL-4 expression. Our results suggest that the prolonged IL-4 expression in NFAT1 deficient Th2 cells is mediated by preferential binding of JUNB/SATB1 to the IL-4 promoter with permissive chromatin architecture.
PMCID: PMC3143129  PMID: 21799768
18.  Abalone visceral extract inhibit tumor growth and metastasis by modulating Cox-2 levels and CD8+ T cell activity 
Abalone has long been used as a valuable food source in East Asian countries. Although the nutritional importance of abalone has been reported through in vitro and in vivo studies, there is little evidence about the potential anti-tumor effects of abalone visceral extract. The aim of the present study is to examine anti-tumor efficacy of abalone visceral extract and to elucidate its working mechanism.
In the present study, we used breast cancer model using BALB/c mouse-derived 4T1 mammary carcinoma and investigated the effect of abalone visceral extract on tumor development. Inhibitory effect against tumor metastasis was assessed by histopathology of lungs. Cox-2 productions by primary and secondary tumor were measured by real-time RT-PCR and immunoblotting (IB). Proliferation assay based on [3H]-thymidine incorporation and measurement of cytokines and effector molecules by RT-PCR were used to confirm tumor suppression efficacy of abalone visceral extract by modulating cytolytic CD8+ T cells. The cytotoxicity of CD8+ T cell was compared by JAM test.
Oral administration of abalone visceral extract reduced tumor growth (tumor volume and weight) and showed reduced metastasis as confirmed by decreased level of splenomegaly (spleen size and weight) and histological analysis of the lung metastasis (gross analysis and histological staining). Reduced expression of Cox-2 (mRNA and protein) from primary tumor and metastasized lung was also detected. In addition, treatment of abalone visceral extract increased anti-tumor activities of CD8+ T cells by increasing the proliferation capacity and their cytolytic activity.
Our results suggest that abalone visceral extract has anti-tumor effects by suppressing tumor growth and lung metastasis through decreasing Cox-2 expression level as well as promoting proliferation and cytolytic function of CD8+ T cells.
PMCID: PMC2972231  PMID: 20961430
19.  Cinnamon extract induces tumor cell death through inhibition of NFκB and AP1 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:392.
Cinnamomum cassia bark is the outer skin of an evergreen tall tree belonging to the family Lauraceae containing several active components such as essential oils (cinnamic aldehyde and cinnamyl aldehyde), tannin, mucus and carbohydrate. They have various biological functions including anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammation, anti-diabetic and anti-tumor activity. Previously, we have reported that anti-cancer effect of cinnamon extracts is associated with modulation of angiogenesis and effector function of CD8+ T cells. In this study, we further identified that anti-tumor effect of cinnamon extracts is also link with enhanced pro-apoptotic activity by inhibiting the activities NFκB and AP1 in mouse melanoma model.
Water soluble cinnamon extract was obtained and quality of cinnamon extract was evaluated by HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) analysis. In this study, we tested anti-tumor activity and elucidated action mechanism of cinnamon extract using various types of tumor cell lines including lymphoma, melanoma, cervix cancer and colorectal cancer in vitro and in vivo mouse melanoma model.
Cinnamon extract strongly inhibited tumor cell proliferation in vitro and induced active cell death of tumor cells by up-regulating pro-apoptotic molecules while inhibiting NFκB and AP1 activity and their target genes such as Bcl-2, BcL-xL and survivin. Oral administration of cinnamon extract in melanoma transplantation model significantly inhibited tumor growth with the same mechanism of action observed in vitro.
Our study suggests that anti-tumor effect of cinnamon extracts is directly linked with enhanced pro-apoptotic activity and inhibition of NFκB and AP1 activities and their target genes in vitro and in vivo mouse melanoma model. Hence, further elucidation of active components of cinnamon extract could lead to development of potent anti-tumor agent or complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of diverse cancers.
PMCID: PMC2920880  PMID: 20653974
20.  Suppression of ongoing experimental myasthenia by oral treatment with an acetylcholine receptor recombinant fragment 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1999;104(12):1723-1730.
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder in which the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) is the major autoantigen. In an attempt to develop an antigen-specific therapy for MG, we administered a nonmyasthenogenic recombinant fragment of AChR orally to rats. This fragment, corresponding to the extracellular domain of the human AChR α-subunit (Hα1-205), protected rats from subsequently induced experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG) and suppressed ongoing EAMG when treatment was initiated during either the acute or chronic phases of disease. Prevention and suppression of EAMG were accompanied by a significant decrease in AChR-specific humoral and cellular responses. The underlying mechanism for the Hα1-205–induced oral tolerance seems to be active suppression, mediated by a shift from a T-helper 1 (Th1) to a Th2/Th3 response. This shift was assessed by changes in the cytokine profile, a deviation of anti-AChR IgG isotypes from IgG2 to IgG1, and a suppressed AChR-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity response. Our results in experimental myasthenia suggest that oral administration of AChR-specific recombinant fragments may be considered for antigen-specific immunotherapy of myasthenia gravis.
J. Clin. Invest. 104:1723–1730 (1999).
PMCID: PMC409886  PMID: 10606626

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