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1.  Performance of plate-based cytokine flow cytometry with automated data analysis 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:9.
Background
Cytokine flow cytometry (CFC) provides a multiparameter alternative to ELISPOT assays for rapid quantitation of antigen-specific T cells. To increase the throughput of CFC assays, we have optimized methods for stimulating, staining, and acquiring whole blood or PBMC samples in 96-well or 24-well plates.
Results
We have developed a protocol for whole blood stimulation and processing in deep-well 24- or 96-well plates, and fresh or cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) stimulation and processing in conventional 96-well round-bottom plates. Samples from both HIV-1-seronegative and HIV-1-seropositive donors were tested. We show that the percent response, staining intensity, and cell recovery are comparable to stimulation and processing in tubes using traditional methods. We also show the equivalence of automated gating templates to manual gating for CFC data analysis.
Conclusion
When combined with flow cytometry analysis using an automated plate loader and an automated analysis algorithm, these plate-based methods provide a higher throughput platform for CFC, as well as reducing operator-induced variability. These factors will be important for processing the numbers of samples required in large clinical trials, and for epitope mapping of patient responses.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-4-9
PMCID: PMC200973  PMID: 12952557
2.  Interferon-α/β receptor-mediated selective induction of a gene cluster by CpG oligodeoxynucleotide 2006 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:8.
Background
Oligodeoxynucleotides containing unmethylated CpG motifs (CpG ODN) are known to exert a strong adjuvant effect on Th1 immune responses. Although several genes have been reported, no comprehensive study of the gene expression profiles in human cells after stimulation with CpG ODN has been reported.
Results
This study was designed to identify a CpG-inducible gene cluster that potentially predicts for the molecular mechanisms of clinical efficacy of CpG ODN, by determining mRNA expression in human PBMC after stimulation with CpG ODN. PBMCs were obtained from the peripheral blood of healthy volunteers and cultured in the presence or absence of CpG ODN 2006 for up to 24 hours. The mRNA expression profile was evaluated using a high-density oligonucleotide probe array, GeneChip®. Using hierarchical clustering-analysis, out of a total of 10,000 genes we identified a cluster containing 77 genes as having been up-regulated by CpG ODN. This cluster was further divided into two sub-clusters by means of time-kinetics. (1) Inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and GM-CSF were up-regulated predominantly 3 to 6 hours after stimulation with CpG ODN, presumably through activation of a transcription factor, NF-κB. (2) Interferon (IFN)-inducible anti-viral proteins, including IFIT1, OAS1 and Mx1, and Th1 chemoattractant IP-10, were up-regulated predominantly 6 to 24 hours after stimulation. Blocking with mAb against IFN-α/β receptor strongly inhibited the induction of these IFN-inducible genes by CpG ODN.
Conclusion
This study provides new information regarding the possible immunomodulatory effects of CpG ODN in vivo via an IFN-α/β receptor-mediated paracrine pathway.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-4-8
PMCID: PMC183869  PMID: 12887736
3.  Characterisation of RT1-E2, a multigenic family of highly conserved rat non-classical MHC class I molecules initially identified in cells from immunoprivileged sites 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:7.
Background
So-called "immunoprivileged sites" are tissues or organs where slow allograft rejection correlates with low levels of expression of MHC class I molecules. Whilst classical class I molecules are recognised by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), some MHC class I molecules are called "non-classical" because they exhibit low polymorphism and are not widely expressed. These last years, several studies have shown that these can play different, more specialised roles than their classical counterparts. In the course of efforts to characterise MHC class I expression in rat cells obtained from immunoprivileged sites such as the central nervous system or the placenta, a new family of non-classical MHC class I molecules, which we have named RT1-E2, has been uncovered.
Results
Members of the RT1-E2 family are all highly homologous to one another, and the number of RT1-E2 loci varies from one to four per MHC haplotype among the six rat strains studied so far, with some loci predicted to give rise to soluble molecules. The RT1n MHC haplotype (found in BN rats) carries a single RT1-E2 locus, which lies in the RT1-C/E region of the MHC and displays the typical exon-intron organisation and promoter features seen in other rat MHC class I genes. We present evidence that: i) RT1-E2 molecules can be detected at the surface of transfected mouse L cells and simian COS-7 cells, albeit at low levels; ii) their transport to the cell surface is dependent on a functional TAP transporter. In L cells, their transport is also hindered by protease inhibitors, brefeldin A and monensin.
Conclusions
These findings suggest that RT1-E2 molecules probably associate with ligands of peptidic nature. The high homology between the RT1-E2 molecules isolated from divergent rat MHC haplotypes is particularly striking at the level of their extra-cellular portions. Compared to other class I molecules, this suggests that RT1-E2 molecules may associate with well defined sets of ligands. Several characteristics point to a certain similarity to the mouse H2-Qa2 and human HLA-G molecules.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-4-7
PMCID: PMC183868  PMID: 12837137
4.  Detection in chick embryo of fetoproteins not recognized by the dam's immune system and of soluble alloantigens. Presumptive teratogenic and abortogenic capacity of their specific IgY 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:6.
Background
The aim of this work was to detect antigens, non-self to the dam, potentially present in chick embryo prior to organogenesis with a view to establishing the consequences of their neutralization on chick development. To this end, hens were immunized with the extract from embryos incubated for 53 h. Their eggs were either used to isolate immunoglobulins for dot and blot tests or incubated for variable lengths of time.
Results
Immunoblot tests, using adsorbed primary and secondary antibodies against paternal serum, revealed the presence of at least four antigens of 32, 34, 70 and 200 kDa that can be classified as soluble alloantigens. The same antibodies against chick embryo extracts (between 53 h and 9) showed at least five aged antigens of 34, 52, 90, 200 and 250 kDa, not detected in cock serum, that can thus be considered as soluble, foreign to the immunized hens and transitory antigens. The abnormalities observed included arrested development and fetal death, as well as minor functional damage in the few chicks that were born alive. The ratio of abnormal to normal embryos was 2.85 in the experimental group and 0.43 in the control group. With regard to congenital anomalies it must be said that of the 81 eggs incubated only four chicks were born alive, and of these, only one had a healthy birth and subsequent growth. The other three showed a transitory ataxia and one of them presented adult lumbar scoliosis and asymmetric pelvis.
Conclusions
The problem of recurrent spontaneous abortions is revisited in the light of these results. Some recent data suggest that soluble alloantigens may be candidates for a new etiological entity in recurrent spontaneous abortions. They can also be the cause of some congenital anomalies. The soluble, foreign, transitory antigens may have a similar effect although there is no supportive data in the literature.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-4-6
PMCID: PMC166278  PMID: 12831405
Soluble alloantigens. Soluble foreign transitory antigens. Teratogenic antibodies. Abortogenic antibodies; RSA; Recurrent spontaneous abortion. Malformations. Congenital anomalies.
5.  Genetic control of the innate immune response 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:5.
Background
Susceptibility to infectious diseases is directed, in part, by the interaction between the invading pathogen and host macrophages. This study examines the influence of genetic background on host-pathogen interactions, by assessing the transcriptional responses of macrophages from five inbred mouse strains to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a major determinant of responses to gram-negative microorganisms.
Results
The mouse strains examined varied greatly in the number, amplitude and rate of induction of genes expressed in response to LPS. The response was attenuated in the C3H/HeJlpsd strain, which has a mutation in the LPS receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). Variation between mouse strains allowed clustering into early (C57Bl/6J and DBA/2J) and delayed (BALB/c and C3H/ARC) transcriptional phenotypes. There was no clear correlation between gene induction patterns and variation at the Bcg locus (Slc11A1) or propensity to bias Th1 versus Th2 T cell activation responses.
Conclusion
Macrophages from each strain responded to LPS with unique gene expression profiles. The variation apparent between genetic backgrounds provides insights into the breadth of possible inflammatory responses, and paradoxically, this divergence was used to identify a common transcriptional program that responds to TLR4 signalling, irrespective of genetic background. Our data indicates that many additional genetic loci control the nature and the extent of transcriptional responses promoted by a single pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP), such as LPS.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-4-5
PMCID: PMC194878  PMID: 12826024
6.  Expression of the UL16 glycoprotein of Human Cytomegalovirus protects the virus-infected cell from attack by natural killer cells 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:4.
Background
Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has acquired through evolution a number of genes to try to evade immune recognition of the virus-infected cell. Many of these mechanisms act to inhibit the MHC class I antigen presentation pathway, but any virus-infected cell which has down-regulated cell surface expression of MHC class I proteins, to avoid CTL attack, would be expected to become susceptible to lysis by Natural Killer cells. Surprisingly, however, HCMV infected fibroblasts were found to be resistant to NK cell mediated cytotoxicity. Expression of the UL16 glycoprotein could represent one mechanism to help the virus to escape from NK cell attack, as it has been shown to bind, in vitro, some of the ligands for NKG2D, the NK cell activating receptor. Here, we explored the role of UL16, in the context of a viral infection, by comparing the susceptibility to NK lysis of cells infected with HCMV and cells infected with a UL16 deletion mutant of this virus.
Results
Cells infected with the UL16 knockout virus were killed at substantially higher levels than cells infected with the wild-type virus. This increased killing could be correlated with a UL16-dependent reduction in surface expression of ligands for the NK cell activating receptor NKG2D.
Conclusions
Expression of the UL16 glycoprotein was associated with protection of HCMV-infected cells from NK cell attack. This observation could be correlated with the downregulation of cell surface expression of NKG2D ligands. These data represent a first step towards understanding the mechanism(s) of action of the UL16 protein.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-4-4
PMCID: PMC153537  PMID: 12694635
7.  Modulation of neutrophil function by the tripeptide feG 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:3.
Background
Neutrophils are critical in the defense against potentially harmful microorganisms, but their excessive and inappropriate activation can contribute significantly to tissue damage and a worsening pathology. Through the release of endocrine factors submandibular glands contribute to achieving a balance in neutrophil function by modulating the state of activation and migratory potential of circulating neutrophils. A putative hormonal candidate for these effects on neutrophils was identified as a heptapeptide named submandibular gland peptide T (SGP-T; sequence = TDIFEGG). Since the tripeptide FEG, derived from SGP-T, and its D-amino acid analogue feG had similar inhibitory effects on inflammatory reactions, we investigated the effects of feG on human and rat neutrophil function.
Results
With human neutrophils feG had no discernible effect on oxidative burst or phagocytosis, but in picomolar amounts it reduced PAF-induced neutrophil movement and adhesion, and the binding of CD11b by 34% and that of CD16b close to control values. In the rat feG (10-11M) reduced the binding of CD11b and CD16 antibodies to PAF-stimulated circulating neutrophils by 35% and 43%, respectively, and at 100 micrograms/kilograms intraperitoneally feG reduced neutrophil in vivo migration by 40%. With ovalbumin-sensitized rats that were challenged with antigen, feG inhibited binding of antibodies against CD16b but not CD11b, on peritoneal leukocytes.
Conclusions
The inhibitory effect of feG on neutrophil movement may be mediated by alterations in the co-stimulatory molecules CD11b and CD16.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-4-3
PMCID: PMC152650  PMID: 12659660
8.  Severe anaphylactic reactions to glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) self peptides in NOD mice that spontaneously develop autoimmune type 1 diabetes mellitus 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:2.
Background
Insulin dependent (i.e., "type 1") diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is considered to be a T cell mediated disease in which TH1 and Tc autoreactive cells attack the pancreatic islets. Among the beta-cell antigens implicated in T1DM, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) 65 appears to play a key role in the development of T1DM in humans as well as in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, the experimental model for this disease. It has been shown that shifting the immune response to this antigen from TH1 towards TH2, via the administration of GAD65 peptides to young NOD mice, can suppress the progression to overt T1DM. Accordingly, various protocols of "peptide immunotherapy" of T1DM are under investigation. However, in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), another autoimmune TH1 mediated disease that mimics human multiple sclerosis, anaphylactic shock can occur when the mice are challenged with certain myelin self peptides that initially were administered with adjuvant to induce the disease.
Results
Here we show that NOD mice, that spontaneously develop T1DM, can develop fatal anaphylactic reactions upon challenge with preparations of immunodominant GAD65 self peptides after immunization with these peptides to modify the development of T1DM.
Conclusions
These findings document severe anaphylaxis to self peptide preparations used in an attempt to devise immunotherapy for a spontaneous autoimmune disease. Taken together with the findings in EAE, these results suggest that peptide therapies designed to induce a TH1 to TH2 shift carry a risk for the development of anaphylactic reactivity to the therapeutic peptides.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-4-2
PMCID: PMC153530  PMID: 12597780
9.  Human CD81 directly enhances Th1 and Th2 cell activation, but preferentially induces proliferation of Th2 cells upon long-term stimulation 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:1.
Background
CD81, a cell-surface protein of the tetraspanin superfamily, has been shown to costimulate T cell activation in murine T cells, and is involved in development of Th2 immune responses in mice.
Results
Here it is shown that stimulation of CD81 on human T cells can enhance T cell activation by antigen or superantigen, causing an increase in the early activation marker CD69, and increasing the number of cytokine-producing and proliferating T cells. Interestingly, CD81 costimulates cytokine production by T cells producing both Th1 and Th2 cytokines. Although human CD81 is highly expressed on non-T as well as T cells, CD81 costimulation appears to act directly on T cells. Pre-incubation of purified T cells with anti-CD81 antibody is sufficient to increase T cell activation, while pre-incubation of non-T cells is not. However, long-term polyclonal stimulation of T cells by anti-CD3 antibody, in the presence of CD81 costimulation, biases T cells towards the production of IL-4 and not IFNγ. This is accomplished by a preferential proliferation of IL-4-producing cells.
Conclusion
Thus, signalling through CD81 on T cells costimulates both Th1 and Th2 cells, but increases the number of Th2 cells during long-term activation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-4-1
PMCID: PMC151668  PMID: 12597781

Results 1-9 (9)