Chronic psychological stress has been shown to adversely impact immune system functions and compromise host defenses against various infections. However, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Recent studies have demonstrated that myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) play an important role in regulating immunity. It is of interest to explore whether or not chronic psychological stress plays immunosuppressive functions partially by inducing MDSCs accumulation. In this work, we report that chronic psychological stress led to the accumulation of CD11b+Gr1+ cells in the bone marrow of BALB/c mice. Repeated β-agonist infusion showed no such effect. However, β-adrenergic blockade, but not glucocorticoids blockade, partially reversed the accumulation of CD11b+Gr1+ cells under the condition of chronic psychological stress, suggesting catecholamines collaborate with other factors to induce the accumulation. Further exploration indicates that cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2)-prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) loop might act downstream to induce the accumulation. A majority of the accumulated CD11b+Gr1+ cells were Ly6G+Ly6Clow immature neutrophils, which inhibited cytokine release of macrophages as well as T cell responsiveness. Moreover, the accumulated CD11b+Gr1+ cells under the condition of chronic psychological stress expressed multiple inhibitory molecules. Taken together, our data demonstrate for the first time that chronic psychological stress induces MDSCs accumulation in mice, which can contribute to immunosuppression.
It is well known that complement system C5a is excessively activated during the onset of sepsis. However, it is unclear whether C5a can regulate dentritic cells (DCs) to stimulate adaptive immune cells such as Th1 and Th17 in sepsis.
Sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). CLP-induced sepsis was treated with anti-C5a or IL-12. IL-12+DC, IFNγ+Th1, and IL-17+Th17 cells were analyzed by flow cytometry. IL-12 was measured by ELISA.
Our studies here showed that C5a induced IL-12+DC cell migration from the peritoneal cavity to peripheral blood and lymph nodes. Furthermore, IL-12+DC cells induced the expansion of pathogenic IFNγ+Th1 and IL-17+Th17 cells in peripheral blood and lymph nodes. Moreover, IL-12, secreted by DC cells in the peritoneal cavity, is an important factor that prevents the development of sepsis.
Our data suggests that C5a regulates IL-12+DC cell migration to induce pathogenic Th1 and Th17 cells in sepsis.
Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) is a key factor for the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), whose function is known to be mediated by TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) or 2. However, the precise role of the two receptors in IBD remains poorly understood. Herein, acute colitis was induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) instillation in TNFR1 or 2−/− mice. TNFR1 ablation led to exacerbation of signs of colitis, including more weight loss, increased mortality, colon shortening and oedema, severe intestinal damage, and higher levels of myeloperoxidase compared to wild-type counterparts. While, TNFR2 deficiency had opposite effects. This discrepancy was reflected by alteration of proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine production in the colons. Importantly, TNFR1 ablation rendered enhanced apoptosis of colonic epithelial cells and TNFR2 deficiency conferred pro-apoptotic effects of lamina propria (LP)-immune cells, as shown by the decreased ratio of Bcl-2/Bax and enhanced nuclear factor (NF)-κB activity.
As a member of the TNF superfamily, TRAIL could induce human tumor cell apoptosis through its cognate death receptors DR4 or DR5, which can induce formation of the death inducing signaling complex (DISC) and activation of the membrane proximal caspases (caspase-8 or caspase-10) and mitochondrial pathway. Some monoclonal antibodies against DR4 or DR5 have been reported to have anti-tumor activity.
In this study, we reported a novel mouse anti-human DR5 monoclonal antibody, named as LaDR5, which could compete with TRAIL to bind DR5 and induce the apoptosis of Jurkat cells in the absence of second cross-linking in vitro. Using computer-guided molecular modeling method, the 3-D structure of LaDR5 Fv fragment was constructed. According to the crystal structure of DR5, the 3-D complex structure of DR5 and LaDR5 was modeled using molecular docking method. Based on distance geometry method and intermolecular hydrogen bonding analysis, the key functional domain in DR5 was predicted and the DR5 mutants were designed. And then, three mutants of DR5 was expressed in prokaryotic system and purified by affinity chromatograph to determine the epitope of DR5 identified by LaDR5, which was consistent with the theoretical results of computer-aided analysis.
Our results demonstrated the specific epitope located in DR5 that plays a crucial role in antibody binding and even antineoplastic bioactivity. Meanwhile, revealed structural features of DR5 may be important to design or screen novel drugs agonist DR5.
TRAIL; Death receptor 5; Monoclonal antibody; Apoptosis; Breast cancer
HER2 plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of many cancers and is linked to poor prognosis or cancer metastases. Monoclonal antibodies, such as Herceptin against HER2-overexpressing cancers, have showed satisfactory clinical therapeutic effect. However, they have difficulty to surmount obstacles to enter cells or blood–brain barrier.
In this study, a cell-penetrating peptide Arg9 was linked to the C-terminus of anti-HER2 single chain antibody (MIL5scFv). Flow cytometry, confocal microscopy and electron microscopy analysis all revealed that Arg9 peptide facilitated the penetration of MIL5scFv into HER2-negative cell line NIH3T3 and orientate in mitochondria. More interestingly, Western blot assay showed the potential enhanced bioactivity of MIL5scFv-Arg9 in HER2+ cell line SKOV3, indicating that Arg9 could help large molecules (e.g. antibody) to penetrate into cells and therefore enhance its anti-neoplastic function.
Our work represented an attractive by preliminary strategy to enhance the therapeutic effect of existing antibodies by entering cells easier, or more desirable, surmounting the physical barriers, especially in hard-to-reach cancers such as brain metastases cases.
HER2; Single chain antibody; Translocation
MKK7 works as a cytoplasmic anchoring protein for JNK1 in various cell lines but exhibits aberrant nuclear entry in Jurkat cells, which leads to resistance to Fas-mediated apoptosis.
The c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) plays a context-dependent role in tumorigenesis. Stress-induced redistribution of JNK from the cytoplasm to the nucleus has been demonstrated as essential for stress-induced cell death. However, accumulation of basal JNK activity in the nucleus has frequently been seen in tumor cells. Our previous report revealed aberrant nuclear entry of JNK protein in Jurkat human leukemic T-cells even without JNK hyperactivation. Because inhibition of JNK activity, especially JNK1 activity, in Jurkat cells results in augmented Fas-mediated apoptosis, it is possible that aberrant subcellular localization of JNK, especially the JNK1 isoform, contributes to the resistance to Fas-mediated apoptosis. Here we report that MKK7 works as a cytoplasmic anchoring protein for JNK1 in various types of cells, including human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) T-cells, but exhibits aberrant nuclear entry in Jurkat cells. Ectopic expression of a JNK1 mutant defective of nuclear entry or a nuclear JNK inhibitor leads to impaired UV-induced apoptosis in both PBMC T- and Jurkat cells. The same treatment shows no effect on Fas-mediated apoptosis of PBMC T-cells but sensitizes Jurkat cells to Fas-mediated apoptosis. Taken together, our work suggests that aberrant subcellular organization of the JNK pathway might render certain tumor cells resistant to Fas-mediated apoptosis.
Stress, anxiety and depression can cause complex physiological and neuroendocrine changes, resulting in increased level of stress related hormone catecholamine, which may constitute a primary mechanism by which physiological factors impact gene expression in tumors. In the present study, we investigated the effects of catecholamine stimulation on MMP-7 expression in gastric cancer cells and elucidated the molecular mechanisms of the up-regulation of MMP-7 level by catecholamine through an adrenergic signaling pathway.
Increased MMP-7 expression was identified at both mRNA and protein levels in the gastric cancer cells in response to isoproterenol stimulation. β2-AR antigonist effectively abrogated isoproterenol-induced MMP-7 expression. The activation of STAT3 and AP-1 was prominently induced by isoproterenol stimulation and AP-1 displayed a greater efficacy than STAT3 in isoproterenol-induced MMP-7 expression. Mutagenesis of three STAT3 binding sites in MMP-7 promoter failed to repress the transactivation of MMP-7 promoter and silencing STAT3 expression was not effective in preventing isoproterenol-induced MMP-7 expression. However, isoproterenol-induced MMP-7 promoter activities were completely disappeared when the AP-1 site was mutated. STAT3 and c-Jun could physically interact and bind to the AP-1 site, implicating that the interplay of both transcriptional factors on the AP-1 site is responsible for isoproterenol-stimulated MMP-7 expression in gastric cancer cells. The expression of MMP-7 in gastric cancer tissues was found to be at the site where β2-AR was overexpressed and the levels of MMP-7 and β2-AR were the highest in the metastatic locus of gastric cancer.
Up-regulation of MMP-7 expression through β2-AR-mediated signaling pathway is involved in invasion and metastasis of gastric cancer.
Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is a major inflammatory mediator that exhibits actions leading to tissue destruction and hampering recovery from damage. At present, two antibodies against human TNF-α (hTNF-α) are available, which are widely used for the clinic treatment of certain inflammatory diseases. This work was undertaken to identify a novel functional epitope of hTNF-α. We performed screening peptide library against anti-hTNF-α antibodies, ELISA and competitive ELISA to obtain the epitope of hTNF-α. The key residues of the epitope were identified by means of combinatorial alanine scanning and site-specific mutagenesis. The N terminus (80–91 aa) of hTNF-α proved to be a novel epitope (YG1). The two amino acids of YG1, proline and valine, were identified as the key residues, which were important for hTNF-α biological function. Furthermore, the function of the epitope was addressed on an animal model of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). CIA could be suppressed in an animal model by prevaccination with the derivative peptides of YG1. The antibodies of YG1 could also inhibit the cytotoxicity of hTNF-α. These results demonstrate that YG1 is a novel epitope associated with the biological function of hTNF-α and the antibodies against YG1 can inhibit the development of CIA in animal model, so it would be a potential target of new therapeutic antibodies.
The cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling pathway has been reported to either promote or suppress cell death, in a cell context-dependent manner. Our previous study has shown that the induction of dynein light chain (DLC) by cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) is required for cAMP-mediated inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38 activation in fibroblasts, which leads to suppression of NF-κB activity and promotion of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)-induced cell death. However, it remains unknown whether this regulation is also applicable to fibroblastoma cells.
Intracellular cAMP was determined in L929 fibroblastoma cells after treatment of the cells with various cAMP elevation agents. Effects of cAMP in the presence or absence of the RNA synthesis inhibitor actinomycin D or small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against CREB on TNF-α-induced cell death in L929 cells were measured by propidium iodide (PI) staining and subsequent flow cytomety. The activation of p38 and c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK), another member of MAPK superfamily, was analyzed by immunoblotting. JNK selective inhibitor D-JNKi1 and p38 selective inhibitor SB203580 were included to examine the roles of JNK and p38 in this process. The expression of DLC or other mediators of cAMP was analyzed by immunoblotting. After ectopic expression of DLC with a transfection marker GFP, effects of cAMP on TNF-α-induced cell death in GFP+ cells were measured by PI staining and subsequent flow cytomety.
Elevation of cAMP suppressed TNF-α-induced necrotic cell death in L929 fibroblastoma cells via CREB-mediated transcription. The pro-survival role of cAMP was associated with selective unresponsiveness of L929 cells to the inhibition of p38 activation by cAMP, even though cAMP significantly inhibited the activation of JNK under the same conditions. Further exploration revealed that the induction of DLC, the major mediator of p38 inhibition by cAMP, was impaired in L929 cells. Enforced inhibition of p38 activation by using p38 specific inhibitor or ectopic expression of DLC reversed the protection of L929 cells by cAMP from TNF-α-induced cell death.
These data suggest that the lack of a pro-apoptotic pathway in tumor cells leads to a net survival effect of cAMP.
CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell (Treg)-based immunotherapy is considered a promising regimen for controlling the progression of autoimmune diabetes. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the therapeutic effects of Tregs in response to the antigenic epitope stimulation depend on the structural properties of the epitopes used.
Splenic lymphocytes from nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice were stimulated with different glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)-derived epitopes for 7–10 days and the frequency and function of Tregs was analyzed. We found that, although all expanded Tregs showed suppressive functions in vitro, only p524 (GAD524–538)-expanded CD4+CD25+ T cells inhibited diabetes development in the co-transfer models, while p509 (GAD509–528)- or p530 (GAD530–543)-expanded CD4+CD25+ T cells had no such effects. Using computer-guided molecular modeling and docking methods, the differences in structural characteristics of these epitopes and the interaction mode (including binding energy and identified domains in the epitopes) between the above-mentioned epitopes and MHC class II I-Ag7 were analyzed. The theoretical results showed that the epitope p524, which induced protective Tregs, possessed negative surface-electrostatic potential and bound two chains of MHC class II I-Ag7, while the epitopes p509 and p530 which had no such ability exhibited positive surface-electrostatic potential and bound one chain of I-Ag7. Furthermore, p524 bound to I-Ag7 more stably than p509 and p530. Of importance, we hypothesized and subsequently confirmed experimentally that the epitope (GAD570–585, p570), which displayed similar characteristics to p524, was a protective epitope by showing that p570-expanded CD4+CD25+ T cells suppressed the onset of diabetes in NOD mice.
These data suggest that molecular modeling-based structural analysis of epitopes may be an instrumental tool for prediction of protective epitopes to expand functional Tregs.
In this article, a panel of ssDNA aptamers specific to Staphylococcus aureus was obtained by a whole bacterium-based SELEX procedure and applied to probing S. aureus. After several rounds of selection with S. aureus as the target and Streptococcus and S. epidermidis as counter targets, the highly enriched oligonucleic acid pool was sequenced and then grouped under different families on the basis of the homology of the primary sequence and the similarity of the secondary structure. Eleven sequences from different families were selected for further characterization by confocal imaging and flow cytometry analysis. Results showed that five aptamers demonstrated high specificity and affinity to S. aureus individually. The five aptamers recognize different molecular targets by competitive experiment. Combining these five aptamers had a much better effect than the individual aptamer in the recognition of different S. aureus strains. In addition, the combined aptamers can probe single S. aureus in pyogenic fluids. Our work demonstrates that a set of aptamers specific to one bacterium can be used in combination for the identification of the bacterium instead of a single aptamer.
c-Jun/AP-1 has been linked to invasive properties of aggressive breast cancer. Recently, it has been reported that overexpression of c-Jun in breast cancer cell line MCF-7 resulted in increased AP-1 activity, motility and invasiveness of the cells in vitro and tumor formation in nude mice. However, the role of c-Jun in metastasis of human breast cancer in vivo is currently unknown.
To further investigate the direct involvement of c-Jun in tumorigenesis and metastasis, in the present study, the effects of c-Jun overexpression were studied in both in vitro and in nude mice.
Ectopic overexpression of c-Jun promoted the growth of MCF-7 cells and resulted in a significant increase in the percentage of cells in S phase and increased motility and invasiveness. Introduction of c-Jun gene alone into weakly invasive MCF-7 cells resulted in the transfected cells capable of metastasizing to the nude mouse liver following tail vein injection.
The present study confirms that overexpression of c-Jun contributes to a more invasive phenotype in MCF-7 cells. It indicates an interesting relationship between c-Jun expression and increased property of adhesion, migration and in vivo liver metastasis of MCF-7/c-Jun cells. The results provide further evidence that c-Jun is involved in the metastasis of breast cancer. The finding also opens an opportunity for development of anti-c-Jun strategies in breast cancer therapy.
RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful tool in the study of gene function. We added poly(A) tails to the 3′ ends of siRNA antisense strands by in vitro transcription, and investigated the silencing effects of poly (A)-tailed siRNAs on enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) and red fluorescence protein (RFP) genes. The results of this study showed that siRNAs with single-stranded 3′-poly(A) tails at antisense strands had noticeably stronger silencing effect on exogenous reporter genes than their corresponding parental forms. The enhanced silencing effect appears to be related to the length of poly(A) but was non siRNA sequence-specific. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that weakly-activated PKR and reduced stability of mRNAs of exogenous reporter genes in vivo may be the possible mechanisms of this non-specific enhanced silencing effect. Our findings are likely to be of value in designing siRNAs with enhanced activity.
siRNA; poly(A) tail; non-specific; enhanced gene silencing
Recently, growing evidence suggests the involvement of PI 3-K/Akt in IL-6-dependent survival and proliferative responses in several types of cells. However, whether PI 3-K/Akt plays the same role in IL-6-dependent growth of 7TD1 mouse-mouse B cell hybridoma is not known.
We investigated the activation status of Akt in 7TD1 cells induced by IL-6. With PI 3-K specific inhibitor wortmannin, we also investigated the biological roles of Akt activation in 7TD1 cells.
IL-6 stimulated phosphorylation of Akt in a dose- and time-dependent manner in 7TD1 cells. Wortmannin significantly reduced IL-6-induced phosphorylation of Akt and IL-6-dependent growth of 7TD1 cells. Furthermore, wortmannin blocked IL-6-induced up-regulation of XIAP, but not Bcl-2 in 7TD1 cells.
The data suggest that IL-6-induced PI 3-K/Akt activation is essential for the optimal growth of 7TD1 cells through up-regulation of anti-apoptosis proteins such as XIAP.
IL-6; PI 3-K/Akt; 7TD1 cells; XIAP
Despite IFNα has been used extensively in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), there are also several reports suggesting that IFNα may aggravate isease in some MM patients. That means the effect of IFNα on the growth of myeloma cells in vivo may be different. In this study, we selected two human myeloma cell lines that vary remarkably in response to IFNα and focused on elucidating the mechanism of differential IFNα responsiveness.
Sko-007 is a myeloma cell line whose growth is arrested by IFNα; however, IFNα promoted the proliferation of the other myeloma cell line U266. We observed that the growth-stimulation effect of IFNα on U266 cells did not result from up-regulation of the IL-6 receptors on cell surface; while IFNα treatment on Sko-007 cells significantly reduced gp130 expression. Moreover, the transcription factors STAT3 and STAT1, which are involved in the JAK/STAT signal transduction pathway, can be activated in both IFNα-stimulated and -inhibited myeloma cell lines; while the activation of the protein kinase ERK, which is involved in the Ras/MAPK signal transduction pathway, can be down-regulated in IFNα-arrested Sko-007 cells and up-regulated in IFNα-stimulated U266 cells. In addition, both IFNα-induced growth-stimulation effect and the up-regulated activation of ERK in U266 cells were efficiently inhibited by PD98059, the specific inhibitor of MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK).
Myeloma cells responsiveness to IFNα is heterogeneous and the activation state of ERK in the Ras/MAPK signalling pathway mainly contributed to this difference.
IFNα; myeloma; ERK; STAT