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1.  Thymus-derived glucocorticoids are insufficient for normal thymus homeostasis in the adult mouse 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:24.
It is unclear if thymus-derived glucocorticoids reach sufficient local concentrations to support normal thymus homeostasis, or if adrenal-derived glucocorticoids from the circulation are required. Modern approaches to this issue (transgenic mice that under or over express glucocorticoid receptor in the thymus) have yielded irreconcilably contradictory results, suggesting fundamental problems with one or more the transgenic mouse strains used. In the present study, a more direct approach was used, in which mice were adrenalectomized with or without restoration of circulating corticosterone using timed release pellets. Reversal of the increased number of thymocytes caused by adrenalectomy following restoration of physiological corticosterone concentrations would indicate that corticosterone is the major adrenal product involved in thymic homeostasis.
A clear relationship was observed between systemic corticosterone concentration, thymus cell number, and percentage of apoptotic thymocytes. Physiological concentrations of corticosterone in adrenalectomized mice restored thymus cell number to normal values and revealed differential sensitivity of thymocyte subpopulations to physiological and stress-inducible corticosterone concentrations.
This indicates that thymus-derived glucocorticoids are not sufficient to maintain normal levels of death by neglect in the thymus, but that apoptosis and possibly other mechanisms induced by physiological, non stress-induced levels of adrenal-derived corticosterone are responsible for keeping the total number of thymocytes within the normal range.
PMCID: PMC534100  PMID: 15522118
2.  Generation of competent bone marrow-derived antigen presenting cells from the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:23.
Human infections with Sin Nombre virus (SNV) and related New World hantaviruses often lead to hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), a sometimes fatal illness. Lungs of patients who die from HCPS exhibit cytokine-producing mononuclear infiltrates and pronounced pulmonary inflammation. Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are the principal natural hosts of SNV, in which the virus establishes life-long persistence without conspicuous pathology. Little is known about the mechanisms SNV employs to evade the immune response of deer mice, and experimental examination of this question has been difficult because of a lack of methodologies for examining such responses during infection. One such deficiency is our inability to characterize T cell responses because susceptible syngeneic deer mice are not available.
To solve this problem, we have developed an in vitro method of expanding and generating competent antigen presenting cells (APC) from deer mouse bone marrow using commercially-available house mouse (Mus musculus) granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor. These cells are capable of processing and presenting soluble protein to antigen-specific autologous helper T cells in vitro. Inclusion of antigen-specific deer mouse antibody augments T cell stimulation, presumably through Fc receptor-mediated endocytosis.
The use of these APC has allowed us to dramatically expand deer mouse helper T cells in culture and should permit extensive characterization of T cell epitopes. Considering the evolutionary divergence between deer mice and house mice, it is probable that this method will be useful to other investigators using unconventional models of rodent-borne diseases.
PMCID: PMC524361  PMID: 15458574
3.  Characterization and phylogenetic epitope mapping of CD38 ADPR cyclase in the cynomolgus macaque 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:21.
The CD38 transmembrane glycoprotein is an ADP-ribosyl cyclase that moonlights as a receptor in cells of the immune system. Both functions are independently implicated in numerous areas related to human health. This study originated from an inherent interest in studying CD38 in the cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis), a species closely related to humans that also represents a cogent animal model for the biomedical analysis of CD38.
A cDNA was isolated from cynomolgus macaque peripheral blood leukocytes and is predicted to encode a type II membrane protein of 301 amino acids with 92% identity to human CD38. Both RT-PCR-mediated cDNA cloning and genomic DNA PCR surveying were possible with heterologous human CD38 primers, demonstrating the striking conservation of CD38 in these primates. Transfection of the cDNA coincided with: (i) surface expression of cynomolgus macaque CD38 by immunofluorescence; (ii) detection of ~42 and 84 kDa proteins by Western blot and (iii) the appearance of ecto-enzymatic activity. Monoclonal antibodies were raised against the cynomolgus CD38 ectodomain and were either species-specific or cross-reactive with human CD38, in which case they were directed against a common disulfide-requiring conformational epitope that was mapped to the C-terminal disulfide loop.
This multi-faceted characterization of CD38 from cynomolgus macaque demonstrates its high genetic and biochemical similarities with human CD38 while the immunological comparison adds new insights into the dominant epitopes of the primate CD38 ectodomain. These results open new prospects for the biomedical and pharmacological investigations of this receptor-enzyme.
PMCID: PMC524171  PMID: 15383153
4.  MAPK-dependent regulation of IL-1- and β-adrenoreceptor-induced inflammatory cytokine production from mast cells: Implications for the stress response 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:22.
Catecholamines, such as epinephrine, are elaborated in stress responses, and mediate vasoconstriction to cause elevation in systemic vascular resistance and blood pressure. Our previous study has shown that IL-1 can induce mast cells to produce proinflammatory cytokines which are involved in atherogenesis. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of epinephrine on IL-1-induced proatherogenic cytokine production from mast cells.
Two ml of HMC-1 (0.75 × 106 cells/ml) were cultured with epinephrine (1 × 10-5 M) in the presence or absence of IL-1β (10 ng/ml) for 24 hrs. HMC-1 cultured alone produced none to trace amounts of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-13. IL-1β significantly induced production of these cytokines in HMC-1, while epinephrine alone did not. However, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-13 production induced by IL-1β were significantly enhanced by addition of epinephrine. The enhancing effect appears to involve NF-κB and p38 MAPK pathways. Flow cytometry showed the presence of β1 and β2 adrenoreceptors on resting mast cells. The enhancing effect of proatherogenic cytokine production by epinephrine was down regulated by the β1 and β2 adrenoceptor antagonist, propranolol, but not by the β1 adrenoceptor antagonist, atenolol, suggesting the effect involved β2 adrenoceptors. The enhancing effect of epinephrine on proatherogenic cytokine production was also down regulated by the immunosuppressive drug, dexamethasone.
These results not only confirm that an acute phase cytokine, IL-1β, regulates mast cell function, but also show that epinephrine up regulates the IL-1β induction of proatherogenic cytokines in mast cells. These data provide a novel role for epinephrine, a stress hormone, in inflammation and atherogenesis.
PMCID: PMC521685  PMID: 15383152
5.  Distinct gene expression profiles in different B-cell compartments in human peripheral lymphoid organs 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:20.
There are three major B-cell compartments in peripheral lymphoid organs: the germinal center (GC), the mantle zone (MNZ) and the marginal zone (MGZ). Unique sets of B-cells reside in these compartments, and they have specific functional roles in humoral immune response. MNZ B cells are naïve cells in a quiescent state and may participate in GC reactions upon proper stimulation. The adult splenic MGZ contains mostly memory B cells and is also known to provide a rapid response to particulate antigens. The GC B-cells proliferate rapidly and undergo selection and affinity maturation. The B-cell maturational process is accompanied by changes in the expression of cell-surface and intracellular proteins and requires signals from the specialized microenvironments.
We performed laser microdissection of the three compartments for gene expression profiling by cDNA microarray. The transcriptional program of the GC was dominated by upregulation of genes associated with proliferation and DNA repair or recombination. The MNZ and MGZ showed increased expression of genes promoting cellular quiescence. The three compartments also revealed distinct repertoires of apoptosis-associated genes, chemokines and chemokine receptors. The MNZ and GC showed upregulation of CCL20 and CCL18 respectively. The MGZ was characterized by high expression of many chemokines genes e.g. CXCL12, CCL3, CCL14 and IFN-associated genes, consistent with its role in rapid response to infections. A stromal signature was identified including genes associated with macrophages or with synthesis of extracellular matrix and genes that influenced lymphocyte migration and survival. Differentially expressed genes that did not belong to the above categories include the well characterized BCL6 and CD10 and many others whose function is not known.
Transcriptional profiling of B-cell compartments has identified groups of genes involved in critical molecular and cellular events that affect proliferation, survival migration, and differentiation of the cells. The gene expression study of normal B-cell compartments may additionally contribute to our understanding of the molecular abnormalities of the corresponding lymphoid tumors.
PMCID: PMC535350  PMID: 15369600
6.  Exonuclease activity and P nucleotide addition in the generation of the expressed immunoglobulin repertoire 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:19.
Immunoglobulin rearrangement involves random and imprecise processes that act to both create and constrain diversity. Two such processes are the loss of nucleotides through the action of unknown exonuclease(s) and the addition of P nucleotides. The study of such processes has been compromised by difficulties in reliably aligning immunoglobulin genes and in the partitioning of nucleotides between segment ends, and between N and P nucleotides.
A dataset of 294 human IgM sequences was created and partitioned with the aid of a probabilistic model. Non-random removal of nucleotides is seen between the three IGH gene types with the IGHV gene averaging removals of 1.2 nucleotides compared to 4.7 for the other gene ends (p < 0.001). Individual IGHV, IGHD and IGHJ gene subgroups also display statistical differences in the level of nucleotide loss. For example, within the IGHJ group, IGHJ3 has average removals of 1.3 nucleotides compared to 6.4 nucleotides for IGHJ6 genes (p < 0.002). Analysis of putative P nucleotides within the IgM and pooled datasets revealed only a single putative P nucleotide motif (GTT at the 3' D-REGION end) to occur at a frequency significantly higher then would be expected from random N nucleotide addition.
The loss of nucleotides due to the action of exonucleases is not random, but is influenced by the nucleotide composition of the genes. P nucleotides do not make a significant contribution to diversity of immunoglobulin sequences. Although palindromic sequences are present in 10% of immunologlobulin rearrangements, most of the 'palindromic' nucleotides are likely to have been inserted into the junction during the process of N nucleotide addition. P nucleotides can only be stated with confidence to contribute to diversity of less than 1% of sequences. Any attempt to identify P nucleotides in immunoglobulins is therefore likely to introduce errors into the partitioning of such sequences.
PMCID: PMC517710  PMID: 15345030
7.  In situ transduction of stromal cells and thymocytes upon intrathymic injection of lentiviral vectors 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:18.
The thymus is the primary site for T-cell development and induction of self-tolerance. Previous approaches towards manipulation of T-cell differentiation have used intrathymic injection of antigens, as proteins, cells or adenoviruses, leading to transient expression of the foreign protein. Lentiviral vectors, due to their unique ability to integrate into the genome of quiescent cells, may be best suited for long-term expression of a transgene in the thymus.
Young adult mice were injected in the thymus with lentiviral vectors expressing eGFP or the hemaglutinin of the Influenza virus under the control of the ubiquitous phospho glycerate kinase promoter. Thymi were examined 5 to 90 days thereafter directly under a UV-light microscope and by flow cytometry. Intrathymic injection of lentiviral vectors predominantly results in infection of stromal cells that could be detected for at least 3 months. Importantly, hemaglutinin expression by thymic stromal cells mediated negative selection of thymocytes expressing the cognate T-cell receptor. In addition and despite the low multiplicity of infection, transduced thymocytes were also detected, even 30 days after injection.
Our results demonstrate that intrathymic delivery of a lentiviral vector is an efficient means for stable expression of a foreign gene in the thymus. This new method of gene delivery may prove useful for induction of tolerance to a specific antigen and for gene therapy of severe combined immunodeficiencies.
PMCID: PMC516029  PMID: 15318949
8.  Identification of genes differentially expressed in T cells following stimulation with the chemokines CXCL12 and CXCL10 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:17.
Chemokines are involved in many biological activities ranging from leukocyte differentiation to neuronal morphogenesis. Despite numerous reports describing chemokine function, little is known about the molecular changes induced by cytokines.
We have isolated and identified by differential display analysis 182 differentially expressed cDNAs from CXCR3-transfected Jurkat T cells following treatment with CXCL12 or CXCL10. These chemokine-modulated genes were further verified using quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analysis.
One hundred and forty-six of the cDNAs were successfully cloned, sequenced, and identified by BLAST. Following removal of redundant and non-informative clones, seventeen mRNAs were found to be differentially expressed post treatment with either chemokine ligand with several representing known genes with established functions. Twenty-one genes were upregulated in these transfected Jurkat cells following both CXCL12 and CXCL10, four genes displayed a discordant response and seven genes were downregulated upon treatment with either chemokine. Identified genes include geminin (GEM), thioredoxin (TXN), DEAD/H box polypeptide 1 (DDX1), growth hormone inducible transmembrane protein (GHITM), and transcription elongation regulator 1 (TCERG1). Subsequent analysis of several of these genes using semi-quantitative PCR and western blot analysis confirmed their differential expression post ligand treatment.
Together, these results provide insight into chemokine-induced gene activation and identify potentially novel functions for known genes in chemokine biology.
PMCID: PMC514893  PMID: 15296517
9.  P2 receptor mRNA expression profiles in human lymphocytes, monocytes and CD34+ stem and progenitor cells 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:16.
Extracellular nucleotides (ATP, ADP, UTP and UDP) exert a wide range of biological effects in blood cells mediated by multiple ionotropic P2X receptors and G protein-coupled P2Y receptors. Although pharmacological experiments have suggested the presence of several P2 receptor subtypes on monocytes and lymphocytes, some results are contradictory. Few physiological functions have been firmly established to a specific receptor subtype, partly because of a lack of truly selective agonists and antagonists. This stimulated us to investigate the expression of P2X and P2Y receptors in human lymphocytes and monocytes with a newly established quantitative mRNA assay for P2 receptors. In addition, we describe for the first time the expression of P2 receptors in CD34+ stem and progenitor cells implicating a potential role of P2 receptors in hematopoietic lineage and progenitor/stem cell function.
Using a quantitative mRNA assay, we assessed the hypothesis that there are specific P2 receptor profiles in inflammatory cells. The P2X4 receptor had the highest expression in lymphocytes and monocytes. Among the P2Y receptors, P2Y12 and P2Y2 had highest expression in lymphocytes, while the P2Y2 and P2Y13 had highest expression in monocytes. Several P2 receptors were expressed (P2Y2, P2Y1, P2Y12, P2Y13, P2Y11, P2X1, P2X4) in CD34+ stem and progenitor cells.
The most interesting findings were the high mRNA expression of P2Y12 receptors in lymphocytes potentially explaining the anti-inflammatory effects of clopidogrel, P2Y13 receptors in monocytes and a previously unrecognised expression of P2X4 in lymphocytes and monocytes. In addition, for the first time P2 receptor mRNA expression patterns was studied in CD34+ stem and progenitor cells. Several P2 receptors were expressed (P2Y2, P2Y1, P2Y12, P2Y13, P2Y11, P2X1, P2X4), indicating a role in differentiation and proliferation. Thus, it is possible that specific antibodies to P2 receptors could be used to identify progenitors for monocytes, lymphocytes and megakaryocytes.
PMCID: PMC509419  PMID: 15291969
P2 receptor; real-time PCR; lymphocytes; monocytes; CD34+ cells; hematopoietic stem cells
10.  Age-associated alterations in CXCL1 chemokine expression by murine B cells 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:15.
The CXCL1 chemokines, macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2) and cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (KC), have been shown to play a role in a number of pathophysiological disease states including endotoxin-induced inflammation and bacterial meningitis. While the expression of these chemokines has been identified in a variety of cell types in the mouse, little is known about their expression with murine B-lymphocytes.
Here, we demonstrate that highly purified murine splenic B cells are capable of expressing both MIP-2 and KC protein and mRNA upon activation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) but not in response to anti-μ and anti-CD40 in combination with interleukin-4 (IL-4) stimulation. Moreover, these chemokines are expressed at higher levels in B cells derived from young (4 m) compared to old (24–29 m) mice. Upon fractionation into distinct B-cell subsets, we found that the expression of MIP-2 and KC by aged follicular (FO) B cells is significantly decreased when compared to the same cells from younger mice, while only MIP-2 production was found to be diminished in aged marginal zone (MZ) B cells. Interestingly, MIP-2 and KC production by newly formed (NF) B cells did not significantly differ with age. Moreover, the potential relevance of these findings is supported by the poor ability of LPS-activated aged B cells to specifically mediate CXCL1-dependent leukocyte recruitment when compared to younger B cells.
Overall, the decreased expression of CXCL1 chemokines by aged B cells in response to LPS may have potential implications on the secondary recruitment of leukocytes to sites of microbial infections and inflammation possibly contributing to the increased susceptibility of older subjects to pathogen challenge.
PMCID: PMC509242  PMID: 15274748
Chemokines; Aging; Lymphocytes; B cells; immunodeficiency; CXCL1
11.  Infection-dependent phenotypes in MHC-congenic mice are not due to MHC: can we trust congenic animals? 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:14.
Congenic strains of mice are assumed to differ only at a single gene or region of the genome. These mice have great importance in evaluating the function of genes. However, their utility depends on the maintenance of this true congenic nature. Although, accumulating evidence suggests that congenic strains suffer genetic divergence that could compromise interpretation of experimental results, this problem is usually ignored. During coinfection studies with Salmonella typhimurium and Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) in major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-congenic mice, we conducted the proper F2 controls and discovered significant differences between these F2 animals and MHC-genotype-matched P0 and F1 animals in weight gain and pathogen load. To systematically evaluate the apparent non-MHC differences in these mice, we infected all three generations (P0, F1 and F2) for 5 MHC genotypes (b/b, b/q and q/q as well as d/d, d/q, and q/q) with Salmonella and TMEV.
Infected P0 MHC q/q congenic homozygotes lost significantly more weight (p = 0.02) and had significantly higher Salmonella (p < 0.01) and TMEV (p = 0.02) titers than the infected F2 q/q homozygotes. Neither weight nor pathogen load differences were present in sham-infected controls.
These data suggest that these strains differ for genes other than those in the MHC congenic region. The most likely explanation is that deleterious recessive mutations affecting response to infection have accumulated in the more than 40 years that this B10.Q-H-2q MHC-congenic strain has been separated from its B10-H-2b parental strain. During typical experiments with congenic strains, the phenotypes of these accumulated mutations will be falsely ascribed to the congenic gene(s). This problem likely affects any strains separated for appreciable time and while usually ignored, can be avoided with the use of F2 segregants.
PMCID: PMC481063  PMID: 15245582
12.  Differential gene expression by integrin β7+ and β7- memory T helper cells 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:13.
The cell adhesion molecule integrin α4β7 helps direct the migration of blood lymphocytes to the intestine and associated lymphoid tissues. We hypothesized that β7+ and β7- blood memory T helper cells differ in their expression of genes that play a role in the adhesion or migration of T cells.
RNA was prepared from β7+ and β7- CD4+ CD45RA- blood T cells from nine normal human subjects and analyzed using oligonucleotide microarrays. Of 21357 genes represented on the arrays, 16 were more highly expressed in β7+ cells and 18 were more highly expressed in β7- cells (≥1.5 fold difference and adjusted P < 0.05). Several of the differentially expressed transcripts encode proteins with established or putative roles in lymphocyte adhesion and chemotaxis, including the chemokine receptors CCR9 and CCR10, the integrin α4 subunit, L-selectin, KLRB1 (CD161), NT5E (CD73), LGALS1 and LGALS2 (galectin-1 and -2), and RGS1. Flow cytometry was used to determine whether differences in levels of transcripts encoding cell surface proteins were associated with differential expression of those proteins. Using this approach, we found that surface expression of KLRB1, LAIR1, and NT5E proteins was higher on β7+ memory/effector T cells than on β7- cells.
Memory/effector T cells that express integrin β7 have a distinct pattern of expression of a set of gene transcripts. Several of these molecules can affect cell adhesion or chemotaxis and are therefore likely to modulate the complex multistep process that regulates trafficking of CD4+ memory T cell subsets with different homing behaviors.
PMCID: PMC476736  PMID: 15236665
13.  Fluorescent derivatization of a protease antigen to track antigen uptake and processing in human cell lines 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:12.
We have devised a simple and efficient fluorescence-based method to track antigen uptake and processing in human B lymphoblastoid cells (B-LCL). Fluorescein labelled subtilisin was used to optimize antigen uptake conditions and identify processed peptides from human cell lines.
Fluorescein labelled subtilisin conjugates had 0.06 to 2 moles of fluorescein per subtilisin molecule. High performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry (NanoESI-LC/MS/MS) analysis identified fluorescein conjugated to K141, K256, and the N terminus. Conjugates retained antigenic specificity to subtilisin specific antibodies and could be processed by whole cell extracts into low molecular weight fragments at pH 5.2. Maximal antigen uptake and processing occurred when PMSF (phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride) inhibited subtilisin conjugate was incubated with cells at 100–200 μg/ml for 16 to 24 hr. Once optimal uptake conditions were established, processed subtilisin peptides were isolated and identified from human cell lines.
Our studies show that FITC-conjugation provides an efficient tool to track the uptake and processing of this protease antigen and to facilitate identification of processed antigenic peptides from human cell lines.
PMCID: PMC459215  PMID: 15222895
14.  Cloning and functional characterisation of avian transcription factor E2A 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:11.
During B lymphocyte development the E2A gene is a critical regulator of cell proliferation and differentiation. With regards to the immunoglobulin genes the E2A proteins contribute to the regulation of gene rearrangement, expression and class switch recombination. We are now using the chicken cell line DT40 as a model system to further analyse the function of E2A.
Here we report the cloning and functional analysis of the transcription factor E2A from chicken. Using RACE PCR on the chicken lymphoma cell line DT40 we have isolated full-length clones for the two E2A splice variants E12 and E47. Sequence conservation between the human and chicken proteins is extensive: the basic-helix-loop-helix DNA binding domain of human and chicken E47 and E12 are 93% and 92% identical, respectively. In addition high levels of conservation are seen in activation domain I, the potential NLS and the ubiquitin ligase interaction domain. E2A is expressed in a variety of tissues in chicken, with higher levels of expression in organs rich in immune cells. We demonstrate that chicken E12 and E47 proteins are strong transcriptional activators whose function depends on the presence of activation domain I. As in mammals, the dominant negative proteins Id1 and Id3 can inhibit the function of chicken E47.
The potential for homologous recombination in DT40 allows the genetic dissection of biochemical pathways in somatic cells. With the cloning of avian E2A and the recent description of an in vitro somatic hypermutation assay in this cell line, it should now be possible to dissect the potential role of E2A in the regulation of somatic hypermutation and gene conversion.
PMCID: PMC446191  PMID: 15196311
15.  NF-κB p50 facilitates neutrophil accumulation during LPS-induced pulmonary inflammation 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:10.
Transcription factors have distinct functions in regulating immune responses. During Escherichia coli pneumonia, deficiency of NF-κB p50 increases gene expression and neutrophil recruitment, suggesting that p50 normally limits these innate immune responses. p50-deficient mice were used to determine how p50 regulates responses to a simpler, non-viable bacterial stimulus in the lungs, E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS).
In contrast to previous results with living E. coli, neutrophil accumulation elicited by E. coli LPS in the lungs was decreased by p50 deficiency, to approximately 30% of wild type levels. Heat-killed E. coli induced neutrophil accumulation which was not decreased by p50 deficiency, demonstrating that bacterial growth and metabolism were not responsible for the different responses to bacteria and LPS. p50 deficiency increased the LPS-induced expression of κB-regulated genes essential to neutrophil recruitment, including KC, MIP-2, ICAM-1, and TNF-α suggesting that p50 normally limited this gene expression and that decreased neutrophil recruitment did not result from insufficient expression of these genes. Neutrophils were responsive to the chemokine KC in the peripheral blood of p50-deficient mice with or without LPS-induced pulmonary inflammation. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), previously demonstrated to decrease LPS-induced neutrophil recruitment in the lungs, was increased by p50 deficiency, but LPS-induced neutrophil recruitment was decreased by p50 deficiency even in IL-6 deficient mice.
p50 makes essential contributions to neutrophil accumulation elicited by LPS in the lungs. This p50-dependent pathway for neutrophil accumulation can be overcome by bacterial products other than LPS and does not require IL-6.
PMCID: PMC449706  PMID: 15189567
16.  Expression and functional effects of Eph receptor tyrosine kinase A family members on Langerhans like dendritic cells 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:9.
The Eph receptors are the largest receptor tyrosine kinase family. Several family members are expressed in hematopoietic cells. Previously, the expression of a member of this family, EphA2, was identified on dendritic like cells in tonsils. We therefore specifically examined the expression of EphA2 on in vitro generated dendritic cells.
In this study, expression of the EphA2 receptor was identified on in vitro generated Langerhans like dendritic cells compared to in vitro generated dendritic cells. We show that ligand induced engagement of the EphA2 receptor leads to receptor autophosphorylation indicating a functional receptor signaling pathway in these cells. We also observe phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of distinct proteins following ligand activation of EphA receptors. In co-stimulation assays, receptor-ligand interaction reduces the capacity of the Langerhans like dendritic cells to stimulate resting CD4+ T cells.
Engagement of EphA receptor tyrosine kinases on Langerhans like dendritic cells induces signaling as shown by tyrosine phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of distinct proteins. Furthermore this engagement renders the cells less capable of stimulating CD4+ T cells.
PMCID: PMC443508  PMID: 15176971
17.  Diversity and repertoire of IgW and IgM VH families in the newborn nurse shark 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:8.
Adult cartilaginous fish express three immunoglobulin (Ig) isotypes, IgM, IgNAR and IgW. Newborn nurse sharks, Ginglymostoma cirratum, produce 19S (multimeric) IgM and monomeric/dimeric IgM1gj, a germline-joined, IgM-related VH, and very low amounts of 7S (monomeric) IgM and IgNAR proteins. Newborn IgNAR VH mRNAs are diverse in the complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) with non-templated nucleotide (N-region) addition, which suggests that, unlike in many other vertebrates, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) expressed at birth is functional. IgW is present in the lungfish, a bony fish sharing a common ancestor with sharks 460 million years ago, implying that the IgW VH family is as old as the IgM VH family. This nurse shark study examined the IgM and IgW VH repertoire from birth through adult life, and analyzed the phylogenetic relationships of these gene families.
IgM and IgW VH cDNA clones isolated from newborn nurse shark primary and secondary lymphoid tissues had highly diverse and unique CDR3 with N-region addition and VDJ gene rearrangement, implicating functional TdT and RAG gene activity. Despite the clear presence of N-region additions, newborn CDR3 were significantly shorter than those of adults. The IgM clones are all included in a conventional VH family that can be classified into five discrete groups, none of which is orthologous to IgM VH genes in other elasmobranchs. In addition, a novel divergent VH family was orthologous to a published monotypic VH horn shark family. IgW VH genes have diverged sufficiently to form three families. IgM and IgW VH serine codons using the potential somatic hypermutation hotspot sequence occur mainly in VH framework 1 (FR1) and CDR1. Phylogenetic analysis of cartilaginous fish and lungfish IgM and IgW demonstrated they form two major ancient gene groups; furthermore, these VH genes generally diversify (duplicate and diverge) within a species.
As in ratfish, sandbar and horn sharks, most nurse shark IgM VH genes are from one family with multiple, heterogeneous loci. Their IgW VH genes have diversified, forming at least three families. The neonatal shark Ig VH CDR3 repertoire, diversified via N-region addition, is shorter than the adult VDJ junction, suggesting one means of postnatal repertoire diversification is expression of longer CDR3 junctions.
PMCID: PMC420240  PMID: 15132758
18.  Up-regulation of the chemokine CCL21 in the skin of subjects exposed to irritants 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:7.
Expression of murine CCL21 by dermal lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC) has been demonstrated to be one of the most important steps in Langerhans cell emigration from skin. Previously, our group and others have found that this chemokine is up-regulated in different human inflammatory skin diseases mediated by diverse specific immune responses. This study was carried out to investigate the involvement of CCL21 in human skin after challenge with irritant agents responsible for inducing Irritant Contact Dermatitis (ICD).
Eleven normal individuals were challenged with different chemical or physical irritants. Two patients with Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) were also challenged with the relevant antigen in order to have a positive control for CCL21 expression. Macroscopic as well as microscopic responses were evaluated. We observed typical ICD responses with mostly mononuclear cells in perivascular areas, but a predominance of polymorphonuclear cells away from the inflamed blood vessels and in the epidermis at 24 hours. Immunohistochemical studies showed up-regulation of CCL21 by lymphatic endothelial cells in all the biopsies taken from ICD and ACD lesions compared to normal skin. Kinetic study at 10, 48, 96 and 168 hours after contact with a classical irritant (sodium lauryl sulphate) showed that the expression of CCL21 was increased in lymphatic vessels at 10 hours, peaked at 48 hours, and then gradually declined. There was a strong correlation between CCL21 expression and the macroscopic response (r = 0.69; p = 0.0008), but not between CCL21 and the number of infiltrating cells in the lesions.
These results provide new evidence for the role of CCL21 in inflammatory processes. Since the up-regulation of this chemokine was observed in ICD and ACD, it is tempting to speculate that this mechanism operates independently of the type of dermal insult, facilitating the emigration of CCR7+ cells.
PMCID: PMC419342  PMID: 15109401
19.  Changes in IgE- and Antigen-dependent histamine-release in peripheral blood of Schistosoma mansoni-infected Ugandan fishermen after treatment with praziquantel 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:6.
Parasite-specific IgE levels correlate with human resistance to reinfection with Schistosoma spp. after chemotherapy. Although the role of eosinophils in schistosomiasis has been the focus of a great deal of important research, the involvement of other Fcε receptor-bearing cells, such as mast cells and basophils, has not been investigated in relation to human immunity to schistosomes. Chemotherapy with praziquantel (PZQ) kills schistosomes living in an in vivo blood environment rich in IgE, eosinophils and basophils. This releases parasite Ags that have the potential to cross-link cell-bound IgE. However, systemic hypersensitivity reactions are not induced by treatment. Here, we describe the effects of schistosomiasis, and its treatment, on human basophil function by following changes in total cellular histamine and in vitro histamine-release induced by schistosome Ags or anti-IgE, in blood samples from infected Ugandan fishermen, who are continuously exposed to S. mansoni infection, before and 1-day and 21-days after PZQ treatment.
There was a significant increase in the total cellular histamine in blood samples at 1-day post-treatment, followed by a very significant further increase by 21-days post-treatment. In vitro histamine-release induced by S. mansoni egg (SEA) or worm (SWA) Ags or anti-IgE antibody, was significantly reduced 1-day post-treatment. The degree of this reduction correlated with pre-treatment infection intensity. Twenty-1-days post-treatment, SEA-induced histamine-release was still significantly lower than at pretreatment. Histamine-release was not correlated to plasma concentrations of total or parasite-specific IgE, nor to specific IgG4 plasma concentrations.
The biology of human blood basophils is modulated by S. mansoni infection and praziquantel treatment. Infection intensity-dependent suppression of basophil histamine-release, histamine-dependent resistance to infection, and similarities with allergen desensitisation are discussed as possible explanations of these observations.
PMCID: PMC419341  PMID: 15102330
20.  Endothelial cells present antigens in vivo 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:5.
Immune recognition of vascular endothelial cells (EC) has been implicated in allograft rejection, protection against pathogens, and lymphocyte recruitment. However, EC pervade nearly all tissues and predominate in none, complicating any direct test of immune recognition. Here, we examined antigen presentation by EC in vivo by testing immune responses against E. coli β-galactosidase (β-gal) in two lines of transgenic mice that express β-gal exclusively in their EC. TIE2-lacZ mice express β-gal in all EC and VWF-lacZ mice express β-gal in heart and brain microvascular EC.
Transgenic and congenic wild type FVB mice immunized with β-gal expression vector DNA or β-gal protein generated high titer, high affinity antisera containing comparable levels of antigen-specific IgG1 and IgG2a isotypes, suggesting equivalent activation of T helper cell subsets. The immunized transgenic mice remained healthy, their EC continued to express β-gal, and their blood vessels showed no histological abnormalities. In response to β-gal in vitro, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from immunized transgenic and FVB mice proliferated, expressed CD25, and secreted IFN-γ. Infection with recombinant vaccinia virus encoding β-gal raised equivalent responses in transgenic and FVB mice. Hearts transplanted from transgenic mice into FVB mice continued to beat and the graft EC continued to express β-gal. These results suggested immunological ignorance of the transgene encoded EC protein. However, skin transplanted from TIE2-lacZ onto FVB mice lost β-gal+ EC and the hosts developed β-gal-specific antisera, demonstrating activation of host immune effector mechanisms. In contrast, skin grafted from TIE2-lacZ onto VWF-lacZ mice retained β-gal+ EC and no antisera developed, suggesting a tolerant host immune system.
Resting, β-gal+ EC in transgenic mice tolerize specific lymphocytes that would otherwise respond against β-gal expressed by EC within transplanted skin. We conclude that EC effectively present intracellular "self" proteins to the immune system. However, antigen presentation by EC does not delete or anergize a large population of specific lymphocytes that respond to the same protein following conventional immunization with protein or expression vector DNA. These results clearly demonstrate striking context sensitivity in the immune recognition of EC, a subtlety that must be better understood in order to treat immune diseases and complications involving the vasculature.
PMCID: PMC394319  PMID: 15113397
22.  Rat pro-inflammatory cytokine and cytokine related mRNA quantification by real-time polymerase chain reaction using SYBR green 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:3.
Cytokine mRNA quantification is widely used to investigate cytokine profiles, particularly in small samples. Real-time polymerase chain reaction is currently the most reliable method of quantifying low-level transcripts such as cytokine and cytokine receptor mRNAs. This accurate technique allows the quantification of a larger pattern of cytokines than quantification at the protein level, which is limited to a smaller number of proteins.
Although fluorogenic probes are considered more sensitive than fluorescent dyes, we have developed SYBR Green real-time RT-PCR protocols to assay pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL1a, IL1b and IL6, TNFa), cytokine receptors (IL1-r1, IL1-r2, IL6-r, TNF-r2) and related molecules (IL1-RA, SOCS3) mRNA in rats. This method enables normalisation against several housekeeping genes (beta-actin, GAPDH, CypA, HPRT) dependent on the specific experimental treatments and tissues using either standard curve, or comparative CT quantification method. PCR efficiency and sensitivity allow the assessment of; i) basal mRNA levels in many tissues and even decreases in mRNA levels, ii) mRNA levels from very small samples.
Real-time RT-PCR is currently the best way to investigate cytokine networks. The investigations should be completed by the analysis of genes regulated by cytokines or involved in cytokine signalling, providing indirect information on cytokine protein expression.
PMCID: PMC373448  PMID: 15040812
23.  Quantitative differences in lipid raft components between murine CD4+ and CD8+ T cells 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:2.
Lipid rafts have been shown to play a role in T cell maturation, activation as well as in the formation of immunological synapses in CD4+ helper and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. However, the differential expression of lipid raft components between CD4+ and CD8+ T cells is still poorly defined. To examine this question, we analyzed the expression of GM1 in T cells from young and aged mice as well as the expression of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked protein Thy-1 and cholesterol in murine CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subpopulations.
We found that CD4+CD8- and CD8+CD4- thymocytes at different stages of maturation display distinct GM1 surface expression. This phenomenon did not change with progressive aging, as these findings were consistent over the lifespan of the mouse. In the periphery, CD8+ T cells express significantly higher levels of GM1 than CD4+ T cells. In addition, we observed that GM1 levels increase over aging on CD8+ T cells but not in CD4+ T cells. We also verified that naïve (CD44lo) and memory (CD44hi) CD8+ T cells as well as naïve and memory CD4+ T cells express similar levels of GM1 on their surface. Furthermore, we found that CD8+ T cells express higher levels of the GPI-anchored cell surface protein Thy-1 associated with lipid raft domains as compared to CD4+ T cells. Finally, we observed higher levels of total cellular cholesterol in CD8+ T cells than CD4+ T cells.
These results demonstrate heterogeneity of lipid raft components between CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in young and aged mice. Such differences in lipid raft composition may contribute to the differential CD4 and CD8 molecule signaling pathways as well as possibly to the effector responses mediated by these T cell subsets following TCR activation.
PMCID: PMC343273  PMID: 15005797
24.  Cloning and characterization of deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) cytokine and chemokine cDNAs 
BMC Immunology  2004;5:1.
Sin Nombre virus (SNV) establishes a persistent infection in the deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus. A strong antibody response occurs in response to SNV infection, but the role of the innate immune response is unclear. To address this issue, we have initiated an effort to identify and characterize deer mouse cytokine and chemokine genes. Such cytokines and chemokines are involved in various aspects of immunity, including the transition from innate to adaptive responses, type I and type II responses, recruitment of leukocytes to sites of infection, and production of mature cells from bone marrow progenitors.
We established a colony of SNV antibody-negative deer mice and cloned 11 cytokine and chemokine partial cDNA sequences using directed PCR. Most of the deer mouse sequences were highly conserved with orthologous sequences from other rodent species and functional domains were identified in each putative polypeptide.
The availability of these sequences will allow the examination of the role of these cytokines in deer mouse responses to infection with Sin Nombre virus.
PMCID: PMC331403  PMID: 14720307

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