Primary human keratinocytes are useful for studying the pathogenesis of many different diseases of the cutaneous and mucosal epithelia. In addition, they can form organotypic tissue equivalents in culture that can be used as epidermal autografts for wound repair as well as for the delivery of gene therapy. However, primary keratinocytes have a finite lifespan in culture that limits their proliferative capacity and clinical use. Here, we report that treatment of primary keratinocytes (originating from 3 different anatomical sites) with Y-27632, a Rho kinase inhibitor, greatly increased their proliferative capacity and resulted in efficient immortalization without detectable cell crisis. More importantly, the immortalized cells displayed characteristics typical of primary keratinocytes; they had a normal karyotype and an intact DNA damage response and were able to differentiate into a stratified epithelium. This is the first example to our knowledge of a defined chemical compound mediating efficient cell immortalization, and this finding could have wide-ranging and profound investigational and medical applications.
Sandra Chapman, Xuefeng Liu, Craig Meyers, Richard Schlegel, Alison A. McBride
NKT cells demonstrate antitumor activity when activated to produce Th1 cytokines by DCs loaded with α-galactosylceramide, the prototypic NKT cell–activating glycolipid antigen. However, most patients do not have sufficient numbers of NKT cells to induce an effective immune response in this context, indicating a need for a source of NKT cells that could be used to supplement the endogenous cell population. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold tremendous potential for cell-replacement therapy, but whether it is possible to generate functionally competent NKT cells from iPSCs has not been rigorously assessed. In this study, we successfully derived iPSCs both from embryonic fibroblasts from mice harboring functional NKT cell–specific rearranged T cell receptor loci in the germline and from splenic NKT cells from WT adult mice. These iPSCs could be differentiated into NKT cells in vitro and secreted large amounts of the Th1 cytokine IFN-γ. Importantly, iPSC-derived NKT cells recapitulated the known adjuvant effects of natural NKT cells and suppressed tumor growth in vivo. These studies demonstrate the feasibility of expanding functionally competent NKT cells via an iPSC phase, an approach that may be adapted for NKT cell–targeted therapy in humans.
Hiroshi Watarai, Shin-ichiro Fujii, Daisuke Yamada, Andrei Rybouchkin, Sakura Sakata, Yuko Nagata, Midori Iida-Kobayashi, Etsuko Sekine-Kondo, Kanako Shimizu, Yohei Shozaki, Jafar Sharif, Masashi Matsuda, Shinobu Mochiduki, Takanori Hasegawa, Genta Kitahara, Takaho A. Endo, Tetsuro Toyoda, Osamu Ohara, Ken-ichi Harigaya, Haruhiko Koseki, Masaru Taniguchi
Identifying the antigens that have the potential to trigger endogenous antitumor responses in an individual cancer patient is likely to enhance the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy, but current methodologies do not efficiently identify such antigens. This study describes what we believe to be a new method of comprehensively identifying candidate tissue antigens that spontaneously cause T cell responses in disease situations. We used the newly developed automated, two-dimensional chromatography system PF2D to fractionate the proteome of human tumor tissues and tested protein fractions for recognition by preexisting tumor-specific CD4+ Th cells and CTLs. Applying this method using mice transgenic for a TCR that recognizes an OVA peptide presented by MHC class I, we demonstrated efficient separation, processing, and cross-presentation to CD8+ T cells by DCs of OVA expressed by the OVA-transfected mouse lymphoma RMA-OVA. Applying this method to human tumor tissues, we identified MUC1 and EGFR as tumor-associated antigens selectively recognized by T cells in patients with head and neck cancer. Finally, in an exemplary patient with a malignant brain tumor, we detected CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses against two novel antigens, transthyretin and calgranulin B/S100A9, which were expressed in tumor and endothelial cells. The immunogenicity of these antigens was confirmed in 4 of 10 other brain tumor patients. This fast and inexpensive method therefore appears suitable for identifying candidate T cell antigens in various disease situations, such as autoimmune and malignant diseases, without being restricted to expression by a certain cell type or HLA allele.
Philipp Beckhove, Rolf Warta, Britt Lemke, Diana Stoycheva, Frank Momburg, Martina Schnölzer, Uwe Warnken, Hubertus Schmitz-Winnenthal, Rezvan Ahmadi, Gerhard Dyckhoff, Mariana Bucur, Simone Jünger, Thomas Schueler, Volker Lennerz, Thomas Woelfel, Andreas Unterberg, Christel Herold-Mende
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activates the receptor tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) with high potency and specificity, promoting neuronal survival, differentiation, and synaptic function. Correlations between altered BDNF expression and/or function and mechanism(s) underlying numerous neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer disease and traumatic brain injury, suggest that TrkB agonists might have therapeutic potential. Using in silico screening with a BDNF loop–domain pharmacophore, followed by low-throughput in vitro screening in mouse fetal hippocampal neurons, we have efficiently identified small molecules with nanomolar neurotrophic activity specific to TrkB versus other Trk family members. Neurotrophic activity was dependent on TrkB and its downstream targets, although compound-induced signaling activation kinetics differed from those triggered by BDNF. A selected prototype compound demonstrated binding specificity to the extracellular domain of TrkB. In in vitro models of neurodegenerative disease, it prevented neuronal degeneration with efficacy equal to that of BDNF, and when administered in vivo, it caused hippocampal and striatal TrkB activation in mice and improved motor learning after traumatic brain injury in rats. These studies demonstrate the utility of loop modeling in drug discovery and reveal what we believe to be the first reported small molecules derived from a targeted BDNF domain that specifically activate TrkB.We propose that these compounds constitute a novel group of tools for the study of TrkB signaling and may provide leads for developing new therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative diseases.
Stephen M. Massa, Tao Yang, Youmei Xie, Jian Shi, Mehmet Bilgen, Jeffrey N. Joyce, Dean Nehama, Jayakumar Rajadas, Frank M. Longo
A paucity of versatile small animal models of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been an impediment to both furthering understanding of virus biology and testing antiviral therapies. We recently described a regulatable system for repopulating the liver of immunodeficient mice (specifically mice lacking fumaryl acetoacetate hydrolase [Fah], recombination activating gene 2 [Rag2], and the γ-chain of the receptor for IL-2 [Il-2rγ]) with human hepatocytes. Here we have shown that a high transplantation dose (3 × 106 to 5 × 106 human hepatocytes/mouse) generates a higher rate of liver chimerism than was previously obtained in these mice, up to 95% human hepatocyte chimerism. Mice with a high level of human liver chimerism propagated both HBV and HCV, and the HCV-infected mice were responsive to antiviral treatment. This human liver chimeric mouse model will expand the experimental possibilities for studying HBV and HCV infection, and possibly other human hepatotropic pathogens, and prove useful for antiviral drug testing.
Karl-Dimiter Bissig, Stefan F. Wieland, Phu Tran, Masanori Isogawa, Tam T. Le, Francis V. Chisari, Inder M. Verma
The chemokines are a large family of mainly secreted molecules involved in the regulation of numerous physiological and pathophysiological processes. Despite many years of investigation, the precise cellular sources of most chemokines have remained incompletely defined as a consequence of the limited availability of suitable reagents to visualize the expression of chemokine proteins at the single-cell level. Here, we developed a simple flow cytometry–based assay using commercially available chemokine-specific antibodies for efficient cell-associated detection of 37 of 39 murine chemokines. To demonstrate the utility of this methodology, we used it to reevaluate the nature of homeostatic chemokines in the hematopoietic compartment, to delineate the complete chemokine profiles of NK cells and B cells in response to major polyclonal stimuli, and to assess the chemokine response of DCs to bacterial infection. The versatility of this analytical methodology was further demonstrated by its application to selected human chemokines and should greatly facilitate any future investigation into chemokine biology at large.
Jens Eberlein, Tom T. Nguyen, Francisco Victorino, Lucy Golden-Mason, Hugo R. Rosen, Dirk Homann
Intratumor genetic heterogeneity is a key mechanism underlying tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. The prevailing model for explaining intratumor diversity, the clonal evolution model, has recently been challenged by proponents of the cancer stem cell hypothesis. To investigate this issue, we performed combined analyses of markers associated with cellular differentiation states and genotypic alterations in human breast carcinomas and evaluated diversity with ecological and evolutionary methods. Our analyses showed a high degree of genetic heterogeneity both within and between distinct tumor cell populations that were defined based on markers of cellular phenotypes including stem cell–like characteristics. In several tumors, stem cell–like and more-differentiated cancer cell populations were genetically distinct, leading us to question the validity of a simple differentiation hierarchy–based cancer stem cell model. The degree of diversity correlated with clinically relevant breast tumor subtypes and in some tumors was markedly different between the in situ and invasive cell populations. We also found that diversity measures were associated with clinical variables. Our findings highlight the importance of genetic diversity in intratumor heterogeneity and the value of analyzing tumors as distinct populations of cancer cells to more effectively plan treatments.
So Yeon Park, Mithat Gönen, Hee Jung Kim, Franziska Michor, Kornelia Polyak
Directed gene transfer into specific cell lineages in vivo is an attractive approach for both modulating gene expression and correcting inherited mutations such as emphysema caused by human α1 antitrypsin (hAAT) deficiency. However, somatic tissues are mainly comprised of heterogeneous, differentiated cell lineages that can be short lived and difficult to specifically transfect. Here, we describe an intratracheally instilled lentiviral system able to deliver genes selectively to as many as 70% of alveolar macrophages (AMs) in the mouse lung. Following a single in vivo lentiviral transduction, genetically tagged AMs persisted in lung alveoli and expressed transferred genes for the lifetime of the adult mouse. A prolonged macrophage lifespan, rather than precursor cell proliferation, accounted for the surprisingly sustained presence of transduced AMs. We utilized this long-lived population to achieve localized secretion of therapeutic levels of hAAT protein in lung epithelial lining fluid. In an established mouse model of emphysema, lentivirally delivered hAAT ameliorated the progression of emphysema, as evidenced by attenuation of increased lung compliance and alveolar size. After 24 weeks of sustained gene expression, no humoral or cellular immune responses to hAAT protein were detected. Our results challenge the dogma that AMs are short lived and suggest that these differentiated cells may be a possible target cell population for in vivo gene therapy applications, including the sustained correction of hAAT deficiency.
Andrew A. Wilson, George J. Murphy, Hiroshi Hamakawa, Letty W. Kwok, Sreedevi Srinivasan, Avi-Hai Hovav, Richard C. Mulligan, Salomon Amar, Bela Suki, Darrell N. Kotton
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are vascular anomalies where arteries and veins are directly connected through a complex, tangled web of abnormal arteries and veins instead of a normal capillary network. AVMs in the brain, lung, and visceral organs, including the liver and gastrointestinal tract, result in considerable morbidity and mortality. AVMs are the underlying cause of three major clinical symptoms of a genetic vascular dysplasia termed hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), which is characterized by recurrent nosebleeds, mucocutaneous telangiectases, and visceral AVMs and caused by mutations in one of several genes, including activin receptor–like kinase 1 (ALK1). It remains unknown why and how selective blood vessels form AVMs, and there have been technical limitations to observing the initial stages of AVM formation. Here we present in vivo evidence that physiological or environmental factors such as wounds in addition to the genetic ablation are required for Alk1-deficient vessels to develop to AVMs in adult mice. Using the dorsal skinfold window chamber system, we have demonstrated for what we believe to be the first time the entire course of AVM formation in subdermal blood vessels by using intravital bright-field images, hyperspectral imaging, fluorescence recordings of direct arterial flow through the AV shunts, and vascular casting techniques. We believe our data provide novel insights into the pathogenetic mechanisms of HHT and potential therapeutic approaches.
Sung Ok Park, Mamta Wankhede, Young Jae Lee, Eun-Jung Choi, Naime Fliess, Se-Woon Choe, Seh-Hoon Oh, Glenn Walter, Mohan K. Raizada, Brian S. Sorg, S. Paul Oh
The development of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to treat individuals infected with HIV-1 has dramatically improved patient outcomes, but HAART still fails to cure the infection. The latent viral reservoir in resting CD4+ T cells is a major barrier to virus eradication. Elimination of this reservoir requires reactivation of the latent virus. However, strategies for reactivating HIV-1 through nonspecific T cell activation have clinically unacceptable toxicities. We describe here the development of what we believe to be a novel in vitro model of HIV-1 latency that we used to search for compounds that can reverse latency. Human primary CD4+ T cells were transduced with the prosurvival molecule Bcl-2, and the resulting cells were shown to recapitulate the quiescent state of resting CD4+ T cells in vivo. Using this model system, we screened small-molecule libraries and identified a compound that reactivated latent HIV-1 without inducing global T cell activation, 5-hydroxynaphthalene-1,4-dione (5HN). Unlike previously described latency-reversing agents, 5HN activated latent HIV-1 through ROS and NF-κB without affecting nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and PKC, demonstrating that TCR pathways can be dissected and utilized to purge latent virus. Our study expands the number of classes of latency-reversing therapeutics and demonstrates the utility of this in vitro model for finding strategies to eradicate HIV-1 infection.
Hung-Chih Yang, Sifei Xing, Liang Shan, Karen O’Connell, Jason Dinoso, Anding Shen, Yan Zhou, Cynthia K. Shrum, Yefei Han, Jun O. Liu, Hao Zhang, Joseph B. Margolick, Robert F. Siliciano