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1.  Glycerol-3-Phosphate Acyltransferases Gat1p and Gat2p Are Microsomal Phosphoproteins with Differential Contributions to Polarized Cell Growth▿ †  
Eukaryotic Cell  2009;8(8):1184-1196.
Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) catalyzes the initial step in the synthesis of all glycerolipids. It is the committed and rate-limiting step and is redundant in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mammals, and plants. GPAT controls the formation of lipid intermediates that serve not only as precursors of more-complex lipids but also as intracellular signaling molecules. Saccharomyces cerevisiae possesses two GPATs, encoded by the GAT1 and GAT2 genes. Metabolic analysis of yeast lacking either GAT1 or GAT2 indicated partitioning of the two main branches of phospholipid synthesis at the initial and rate-limiting GPAT step. We are particularly interested in identifying molecular determinants mediating lipid metabolic pathway partitioning; therefore, as a starting point, we have performed a detailed study of Gat1p and Gat2p cellular localization. We have compared Gat1p and Gat2p localization by fluorescence microscopy and subcellular fractionation using equilibrium density gradients. Our results indicate Gat1p and Gat2p overlap mostly in their localization and are in fact microsomal GPATs, localized to both perinuclear and cortical endoplasmic reticula in actively proliferating cells. A more detailed analysis suggests a differential enrichment of Gat1p and Gat2p in distinct ER fractions. Furthermore, overexpression of these enzymes in the absence of endogenous GPATs induces proliferation of distinct ER arrays, differentially affecting cortical ER morphology and polarized cell growth. In addition, our studies also uncovered a dynamic posttranslational regulation of Gat1p and Gat2p and a compensation mechanism through phosphorylation that responds to a cellular GPAT imbalance.
PMCID: PMC2725570  PMID: 19525420
2.  Peptide immunotherapy in allergic asthma generates IL-10–dependent immunological tolerance associated with linked epitope suppression 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(7):1535-1547.
Treatment of patients with allergic asthma using low doses of peptides containing T cell epitopes from Fel d 1, the major cat allergen, reduces allergic sensitization and improves surrogate markers of disease. Here, we demonstrate a key immunological mechanism, linked epitope suppression, associated with this therapeutic effect. Treatment with selected epitopes from a single allergen resulted in suppression of responses to other (“linked”) epitopes within the same molecule. This phenomenon was induced after peptide immunotherapy in human asthmatic subjects and in a novel HLA-DR1 transgenic mouse model of asthma. Tracking of allergen-specific T cells using DR1 tetramers determined that suppression was associated with the induction of interleukin (IL)-10+ T cells that were more abundant than T cells specific for the single-treatment peptide and was reversed by anti–IL-10 receptor administration. Resolution of airway pathophysiology in this model was associated with reduced recruitment, proliferation, and effector function of allergen-specific Th2 cells. Our results provide, for the first time, in vivo evidence of linked epitope suppression and IL-10 induction in both human allergic disease and a mouse model designed to closely mimic peptide therapy in humans.
PMCID: PMC2715096  PMID: 19528258
3.  Role of breast regression protein 39 (BRP-39)/chitinase 3-like-1 in Th2 and IL-13–induced tissue responses and apoptosis 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(5):1149-1166.
Mouse breast regression protein 39 (BRP-39; Chi3l1) and its human homologue YKL-40 are chitinase-like proteins that lack chitinase activity. Although YKL-40 is expressed in exaggerated quantities and correlates with disease activity in asthma and many other disorders, the biological properties of BRP-39/YKL-40 have only been rudimentarily defined. We describe the generation and characterization of BRP-39−/− mice, YKL-40 transgenic mice, and mice that lack BRP-39 and produce YKL-40 only in their pulmonary epithelium. Studies of these mice demonstrated that BRP-39−/− animals have markedly diminished antigen-induced Th2 responses and that epithelial YKL-40 rescues the Th2 responses in these animals. The ability of interleukin13 to induce tissue inflammation and fibrosis was also markedly diminished in the absence of BRP-39. Mechanistic investigations demonstrated that BRP-39 and YKL-40 play an essential role in antigen sensitization and immunoglobulin E induction, stimulate dendritic cell accumulation and activation, and induce alternative macrophage activation. These proteins also inhibit inflammatory cell apoptosis/cell death while inhibiting Fas expression, activating protein kinase B/AKT, and inducing Faim 3. These studies establish novel regulatory roles for BRP-39/YKL-40 in the initiation and effector phases of Th2 inflammation and remodeling and suggest that these proteins are therapeutic targets in Th2- and macrophage-mediated disorders.
PMCID: PMC2715037  PMID: 19414556
4.  Resolution of Allergic Inflammation and Airway Hyperreactivity Is Dependent upon Disruption of the T1/ST2–IL-33 Pathway 
Rationale: Although there have been numerous studies on the development of allergen-induced inflammation, the mechanisms leading to resolution of inflammation remain poorly understood. This represents an important consideration because failure to resolve allergen driven inflammation potentially leads to irreversible airway remodeling, characteristic of chronic asthma.
Objectives: We investigated the resolution of allergic inflammation and identified the factors responsible.
Methods: BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were sensitized to ovalbumin and challenged through the airways to induce allergic inflammation. Mice were analyzed at 24 hours and 7 days after the final challenge.
Measurements and Main Results: Airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and increased mucus production were present 7 days after the cessation of allergen challenge in BALB/c mice. Persisting AHR correlated with the continued presence of Th2 cells but not eosinophils in the lungs. The role of Th2 cells in maintaining AHR was confirmed using blocking antibodies against T1/ST2, IL-4, and IL-13 during the resolution period. Moreover, AHR in the “Th1 type” C57BL/6 mouse strain was resolved 1 week after allergen challenge, concomitant with clearance of Th2 cells from the lung. Expression of the T1/ST2 ligand, IL-33, also correlated with maintenance of AHR.
Conclusions: We have used blockade of Th2 function and strain differences to show for the first time that resolution of allergic inflammation and AHR may be dependent on the T1/ST2-IL-33 pathway and the presence of Th2 cells, suggesting they are necessary not only for the development of an allergic response but also for its maintenance.
PMCID: PMC2675564  PMID: 19179489
Th2 cells; IL-13; IL-4

Results 1-4 (4)