During complement activation the C3 protein is cleaved, and C3 activation fragments are covalently fixed to tissues. Tissue-bound C3 fragments are a durable biomarker of tissue inflammation, and these fragments have been exploited as addressable binding ligands for targeted therapeutics and diagnostic agents. We have generated cross-reactive murine monoclonal antibodies against human and mouse C3d, the final C3 degradation fragment generated during complement activation. We developed 3 monoclonal antibodies (3d8b, 3d9a, and 3d29) that preferentially bind to the iC3b, C3dg, and C3d fragments in solution, but do not bind to intact C3 or C3b. The same 3 clones also bind to tissue-bound C3 activation fragments when injected systemically. Using mouse models of renal and ocular disease, we confirmed that, following systemic injection, the antibodies accumulated at sites of C3 fragment deposition within the glomerulus, the renal tubulointerstitium, and the posterior pole of the eye. To detect antibodies bound within the eye, we used optical imaging and observed accumulation of the antibodies within retinal lesions in a model of choroidal neovascularization (CNV). Our results demonstrate that imaging methods that use these antibodies may provide a sensitive means of detecting and monitoring complement activation–associated tissue inflammation.
Joshua M. Thurman, Liudmila Kulik, Heather Orth, Maria Wong, Brandon Renner, Siranush A. Sargsyan, Lynne M. Mitchell, Dennis E. Hourcade, Jonathan P. Hannan, James M. Kovacs, Beth Coughlin, Alex S. Woodell, Matthew C. Pickering, Bärbel Rohrer, V. Michael Holers
Muscular dystrophies are a class of disorders that cause progressive muscle wasting. A major hurdle for discovering treatments for the muscular dystrophies is a lack of reliable assays to monitor disease progression in animal models. We have developed a novel mouse model to assess disease activity noninvasively in mice with muscular dystrophies. These mice express an inducible luciferase reporter gene in muscle stem cells. In dystrophic mice, muscle stem cells activate and proliferate in response to muscle degeneration, resulting in an increase in the level of luciferase expression, which can be monitored by noninvasive, bioluminescence imaging. We applied this noninvasive imaging to assess disease activity in a mouse model of the human disease limb girdle muscular dystrophy 2B (LGMD2B), caused by a mutation in the dysferlin gene. We monitored the natural history and disease progression in these dysferlin-deficient mice up to 18 months of age and were able to detect disease activity prior to the appearance of any overt disease manifestation by histopathological analyses. Disease activity was reflected by changes in luciferase activity over time, and disease burden was reflected by cumulative luciferase activity, which paralleled disease progression as determined by histopathological analysis. The ability to monitor disease activity noninvasively in mouse models of muscular dystrophy will be invaluable for the assessment of disease progression and the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.
Katie K. Maguire, Leland Lim, Sedona Speedy, Thomas A. Rando
CD8+ T cells (TCD8) confer protective immunity against many infectious diseases, suggesting that microbial TCD8 determinants are promising vaccine targets. Nevertheless, current T cell antigen identification approaches do not discern which epitopes drive protective immunity during active infection — information that is critical for the rational design of TCD8-targeted vaccines. We employed a proteomics-based approach for large-scale discovery of naturally processed determinants derived from a complex pathogen, vaccinia virus (VACV), that are presented by the most frequent representatives of four major HLA class I supertypes. Immunologic characterization revealed that many previously unidentified VACV determinants were recognized by smallpox-vaccinated human peripheral blood cells in a variegated manner. Many such determinants were recognized by HLA class I–transgenic mouse immune TCD8 too and elicited protective TCD8 immunity against lethal intranasal VACV infection. Notably, efficient processing and stable presentation of immune determinants as well as the availability of naive TCD8 precursors were sufficient to drive a multifunctional, protective TCD8 response. Our approach uses fundamental insights into T cell epitope processing and presentation to define targets of protective TCD8 immunity within human pathogens that have complex proteomes, suggesting that this approach has general applicability in vaccine sciences.
Pavlo Gilchuk, Charles T. Spencer, Stephanie B. Conant, Timothy Hill, Jennifer J. Gray, Xinnan Niu, Mu Zheng, John J. Erickson, Kelli L. Boyd, K. Jill McAfee, Carla Oseroff, Sine R. Hadrup, Jack R. Bennink, William Hildebrand, Kathryn M. Edwards, James E. Crowe Jr., John V. Williams, Søren Buus, Alessandro Sette, Ton N.M. Schumacher, Andrew J. Link, Sebastian Joyce
Spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) transplantation has been shown to restore fertility in several species and may have application for treating some cases of male infertility (e.g., secondary to gonadotoxic therapy for cancer). To ensure safety of this fertility preservation strategy, methods are needed to isolate and enrich SSCs from human testis cell suspensions and also remove malignant contamination. We used flow cytometry to characterize cell surface antigen expression on human testicular cells and leukemic cells (MOLT-4 and TF-1a). We demonstrated via FACS that EpCAM is expressed by human spermatogonia but not MOLT-4 cells. In contrast, HLA-ABC and CD49e marked >95% of MOLT-4 cells but were not expressed on human spermatogonia. A multiparameter sort of MOLT-4–contaminated human testicular cell suspensions was performed to isolate EpCAM+/HLA-ABC–/CD49e– (putative spermatogonia) and EpCAM–/HLA-ABC+/CD49e+ (putative MOLT-4) cell fractions. The EpCAM+/HLA-ABC–/CD49e– fraction was enriched for spermatogonial colonizing activity and did not form tumors following human-to–nude mouse xenotransplantation. The EpCAM–/HLA-ABC+/CD49e+ fraction produced tumors following xenotransplantation. This approach could be generalized with slight modification to also remove contaminating TF-1a leukemia cells. Thus, FACS provides a method to isolate and enrich human spermatogonia and remove malignant contamination by exploiting differences in cell surface antigen expression.
Serena L. Dovey, Hanna Valli, Brian P. Hermann, Meena Sukhwani, Julia Donohue, Carlos A. Castro, Tianjiao Chu, Joseph S. Sanfilippo, Kyle E. Orwig
The glymphatic system is a recently defined brain-wide paravascular pathway for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and interstitial fluid (ISF) exchange that facilitates efficient clearance of solutes and waste from the brain. CSF enters the brain along para-arterial channels to exchange with ISF, which is in turn cleared from the brain along para-venous pathways. Because soluble amyloid β clearance depends on glymphatic pathway function, we proposed that failure of this clearance system contributes to amyloid plaque deposition and Alzheimer’s disease progression. Here we provide proof of concept that glymphatic pathway function can be measured using a clinically relevant imaging technique. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI was used to visualize CSF-ISF exchange across the rat brain following intrathecal paramagnetic contrast agent administration. Key features of glymphatic pathway function were confirmed, including visualization of para-arterial CSF influx and molecular size-dependent CSF-ISF exchange. Whole-brain imaging allowed the identification of two key influx nodes at the pituitary and pineal gland recesses, while dynamic MRI permitted the definition of simple kinetic parameters to characterize glymphatic CSF-ISF exchange and solute clearance from the brain. We propose that this MRI approach may provide the basis for a wholly new strategy to evaluate Alzheimer’s disease susceptibility and progression in the live human brain.
Jeffrey J. Iliff, Hedok Lee, Mei Yu, Tian Feng, Jean Logan, Maiken Nedergaard, Helene Benveniste
Uniparental parthenotes are considered an unwanted byproduct of in vitro fertilization. In utero parthenote development is severely compromised by defective organogenesis and in particular by defective cardiogenesis. Although developmentally compromised, apparently pluripotent stem cells can be derived from parthenogenetic blastocysts. Here we hypothesized that nonembryonic parthenogenetic stem cells (PSCs) can be directed toward the cardiac lineage and applied to tissue-engineered heart repair. We first confirmed similar fundamental properties in murine PSCs and embryonic stem cells (ESCs), despite notable differences in genetic (allelic variability) and epigenetic (differential imprinting) characteristics. Haploidentity of major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs) in PSCs is particularly attractive for allogeneic cell-based therapies. Accordingly, we confirmed acceptance of PSCs in MHC-matched allotransplantation. Cardiomyocyte derivation from PSCs and ESCs was equally effective. The use of cardiomyocyte-restricted GFP enabled cell sorting and documentation of advanced structural and functional maturation in vitro and in vivo. This included seamless electrical integration of PSC-derived cardiomyocytes into recipient myocardium. Finally, we enriched cardiomyocytes to facilitate engineering of force-generating myocardium and demonstrated the utility of this technique in enhancing regional myocardial function after myocardial infarction. Collectively, our data demonstrate pluripotency, with unrestricted cardiogenicity in PSCs, and introduce this unique cell type as an attractive source for tissue-engineered heart repair.
Michael Didié, Peter Christalla, Michael Rubart, Vijayakumar Muppala, Stephan Döker, Bernhard Unsöld, Ali El-Armouche, Thomas Rau, Thomas Eschenhagen, Alexander P. Schwoerer, Heimo Ehmke, Udo Schumacher, Sigrid Fuchs, Claudia Lange, Alexander Becker, Wen Tao, John A. Scherschel, Mark H. Soonpaa, Tao Yang, Qiong Lin, Martin Zenke, Dong-Wook Han, Hans R. Schöler, Cornelia Rudolph, Doris Steinemann, Brigitte Schlegelberger, Steve Kattman, Alec Witty, Gordon Keller, Loren J. Field, Wolfram-Hubertus Zimmermann
Autoreactive T cells can infiltrate the CNS to cause disorders such as multiple sclerosis. In order to visualize T cell activation in the CNS, we introduced a truncated fluorescent derivative of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) as a real-time T cell activation indicator. In experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a rat model of multiple sclerosis, we tracked T cells interacting with structures of the vascular blood-brain barrier (BBB). 2-photon imaging documented the cytoplasmic-nuclear translocation of fluorescent NFAT, indicative of calcium-dependent activation of the T cells in the perivascular space, but not within the vascular lumen. The activation was related to contacts with the local antigen-presenting phagocytes and was noted only in T cells with a high pathogenic potential. T cell activation implied the presentation of an autoantigen, as the weakly pathogenic T cells, which remained silent in the untreated hosts, were activated upon instillation of exogenous autoantigen. Activation did not cogently signal long-lasting arrest, as individual T cells were able to sequentially contact fresh APCs. We propose that the presentation of local autoantigen by BBB-associated APCs provides stimuli that guide autoimmune T cells to the CNS destination, enabling them to attack the target tissue.
Marija Pesic, Ingo Bartholomäus, Nikolaos I. Kyratsous, Vigo Heissmeyer, Hartmut Wekerle, Naoto Kawakami
Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by radiosensitivity, genomic instability, and predisposition to cancer. A-T is caused by biallelic mutations in the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (
Andrea Prodosmo, Andrea De Amicis, Cecilia Nisticò, Mario Gabriele, Giuliana Di Rocco, Laura Monteonofrio, Maria Piane, Enrico Cundari, Luciana Chessa, Silvia Soddu
Osteoclasts are bone resorbing, multinucleate cells that differentiate from mononuclear macrophage/monocyte-lineage hematopoietic precursor cells. Although previous studies have revealed important molecular signals, how the bone resorptive functions of such cells are controlled in vivo remains less well characterized. Here, we visualized fluorescently labeled mature osteoclasts in intact mouse bone tissues using intravital multiphoton microscopy. Within this mature population, we observed cells with distinct motility behaviors and function, with the relative proportion of static – bone resorptive (R) to moving – nonresorptive (N) varying in accordance with the pathophysiological conditions of the bone. We also found that rapid application of the osteoclast-activation factor RANKL converted many N osteoclasts to R, suggesting a novel point of action in RANKL-mediated control of mature osteoclast function. Furthermore, we showed that Th17 cells, a subset of RANKL-expressing CD4+ T cells, could induce rapid N-to-R conversion of mature osteoclasts via cell-cell contact. These findings provide new insights into the activities of mature osteoclasts in situ and identify actions of RANKL-expressing Th17 cells in inflammatory bone destruction.
Junichi Kikuta, Yoh Wada, Toshiyuki Kowada, Ze Wang, Ge-Hong Sun-Wada, Issei Nishiyama, Shin Mizukami, Nobuhiko Maiya, Hisataka Yasuda, Atsushi Kumanogoh, Kazuya Kikuchi, Ronald N. Germain, Masaru Ishii
Understanding the spatiotemporal changes of cellular and molecular events within an organism is crucial to elucidate the complex immune processes involved in infections, autoimmune disorders, transplantation, and neoplastic transformation and metastasis. Here we introduce a novel multicolor light sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) approach for deciphering immune processes in large tissue specimens on a single-cell level in 3 dimensions. We combined and optimized antibody penetration, tissue clearing, and triple-color illumination to create a method for analyzing intact mouse and human tissues. This approach allowed us to successfully quantify changes in expression patterns of mucosal vascular addressin cell adhesion molecule–1 (MAdCAM-1) and T cell responses in Peyer’s patches following stimulation of the immune system. In addition, we employed LSFM to map individual T cell subsets after hematopoietic cell transplantation and detected rare cellular events. Thus, we present a versatile imaging technology that should be highly beneficial in biomedical research.
Christian Brede, Mike Friedrich, Ana-Laura Jordán-Garrote, Simone S. Riedel, Carina A. Bäuerlein, Katrin G. Heinze, Tobias Bopp, Stephan Schulz, Anja Mottok, Carolin Kiesel, Katharina Mattenheimer, Miriam Ritz, Viktoria von Krosigk, Andreas Rosenwald, Hermann Einsele, Robert S. Negrin, Gregory S. Harms, Andreas Beilhack