Melbourne Medical School Collected Works - Research Publications

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    Analyzing the shear-induced sensitization of mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo-1 in human aortic endothelial cells
    Lai, A ; Chen, YC ; Cox, CD ; Jaworowski, A ; Peter, K ; Baratchi, S (WILEY, 2020-09-22)
    Mechanosensitive ion channels mediate endothelial responses to blood flow and orchestrate their physiological function in response to hemodynamic forces. In this study, we utilized microfluidic technologies to study the shear-induced sensitization of endothelial Piezo-1 to its selective agonist, Yoda-1. We demonstrated that shear stress-induced sensitization is brief and can be impaired when exposing aortic endothelial cells to low and proatherogenic levels of shear stress. Our results suggest that shear stress-induced sensitization of Piezo-1 to Yoda-1 is independent of cell-cell adhesion and is mediated by the PI3K-AKT signaling pathway. We also found that shear stress increases the membrane density of Piezo-1 channels in endothelial cells. To further confirm our findings, we performed experiments using a carotid artery ligation mouse model and demonstrated that transient changes in blood-flow pattern, resulting from a high-degree ligation of the mouse carotid artery alters the distribution of Piezo-1 channels across the endothelial layer. These results suggest that shear stress influences the function of Piezo-1 channels via changes in membrane density, providing a new model of shear-stress sensitivity for Piezo-1 ion channel.
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    Genetic transfer of fusion proteins effectively inhibits VCAM-1-mediated cell adhesion and transmigration via inhibition of cytoskeletal anchorage
    Hagemeyer, CE ; Ahrens, I ; Bassler, N ; Dschachutaschwili, N ; Chen, YC ; Eisenhardt, SU ; Bode, C ; Peter, K (WILEY, 2010-01-01)
    The adhesion of leukocytes to endothelium plays a central role in the development of atherosclerosis and thus represents an attractive therapeutic target for anti-atherosclerotic therapies. Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) mediates both the initial tethering and the firm adhesion of leukocytes to endothelial cells. Our work evaluates the feasibility of using the cytoskeletal anchorage of VCAM-1 as a target for gene therapy. As a proof of concept, integrin alphaIIbbeta3-mediated cell adhesion with clearly defined cytoskeletal anchorage was tested. We constructed fusion proteins containing the intracellular domain of beta3 placed at various distances to the cell membrane. Using cell adhesion assays and immunofluorescence, we established fusion constructs with competitive and dominant negative inhibition of cell adhesion. With the goal being the transfer of the dominant negative mechanism towards VCAM-1 inhibition, we constructed a fusion molecule containing the cytoplasmic domain of VCAM-1. Indeed, VCAM-1 mediated leukocyte adhesion can be inhibited via transfection of DNA encoding the designed VCAM-1 fusion protein. This is demonstrated in adhesion assays under static and flow conditions using CHO cells expressing recombinant VCAM-1 as well as activated endothelial cells. Thus, we are able to describe a novel approach for dominant negative inhibition of leukocyte adhesion to endothelial cells. This approach warrants further development as a novel gene therapeutic strategy that aims for a locally restricted effect at atherosclerotic areas of the vasculature.
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    Thrombus-Targeted Theranostic Microbubbles: A New Technology towards Concurrent Rapid Ultrasound Diagnosis and Bleeding-free Fibrinolytic Treatment of Thrombosis
    Wang, X ; Gkanatsas, Y ; Palasubramaniam, J ; Hohmann, JD ; Chen, YC ; Lim, B ; Hagemeyer, CE ; Peter, K (IVYSPRING INT PUBL, 2016-01-01)
    RATIONALE: Myocardial infarction and stroke are leading causes of morbidity/mortality. The typical underlying pathology is the formation of thrombi/emboli and subsequent vessel occlusion. Systemically administered fibrinolytic drugs are the most effective pharmacological therapy. However, bleeding complications are relatively common and this risk as such limits their broader use. Furthermore, a rapid non-invasive imaging technology is not available. Thereby, many thrombotic events are missed or only diagnosed when ischemic damage has already occurred. OBJECTIVE: Design and preclinical testing of a novel 'theranostic' technology for the rapid non-invasive diagnosis and effective, bleeding-free treatment of thrombosis. METHODS AND RESULTS: A newly created, innovative theranostic microbubble combines a recombinant fibrinolytic drug, an echo-enhancing microbubble and a recombinant thrombus-targeting device in form of an activated-platelet-specific single-chain antibody. After initial in vitro proof of functionality, we tested this theranostic microbubble both in ultrasound imaging and thrombolytic therapy using a mouse model of ferric-chloride-induced thrombosis in the carotid artery. We demonstrate the reliable highly sensitive detection of in vivo thrombi and the ability to monitor their size changes in real time. Furthermore, these theranostic microbubbles proofed to be as effective in thrombolysis as commercial urokinase but without the prolongation of bleeding time as seen with urokinase. CONCLUSIONS: We describe a novel theranostic technology enabling simultaneous diagnosis and treatment of thrombosis, as well as monitoring of success or failure of thrombolysis. This technology holds promise for major progress in rapid diagnosis and bleeding-free thrombolysis thereby potentially preventing the often devastating consequences of thrombotic disease in many patients.
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    Activated platelets in the tumor microenvironment for targeting of antibody-drug conjugates to tumors and metastases
    Yap, ML ; McFadyen, JD ; Wang, X ; Ziegler, M ; Chen, Y-C ; Willcox, A ; Nowell, CJ ; Scott, AM ; Sloan, EK ; Hogarth, PM ; Pietersz, GA ; Peter, K (IVYSPRING INT PUBL, 2019-01-01)
    Rationale: Platelets are increasingly recognized as mediators of tumor growth and metastasis. Hypothesizing that activated platelets in the tumor microenvironment provide a targeting epitope for tumor-directed chemotherapy, we developed an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), comprised of a single-chain antibody (scFv) against the platelet integrin GPIIb/IIIa (scFvGPIIb/IIIa) linked to the potent chemotherapeutic microtubule inhibitor, monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE). Methods: We developed an ADC comprised of three components: 1) A scFv which specifically binds to the high affinity, activated integrin GPIIb/IIIa on activated platelets. 2) A highly potent microtubule inhibitor, monomethyl auristatin E. 3) A drug activation/release mechanism using a linker cleavable by cathepsin B, which we demonstrate to be abundant in the tumor microenvironment. The scFvGPIIb/IIIa-MMAE was first conjugated with Cyanine7 for in vivo imaging. The therapeutic efficacy of the scFvGPIIb/IIIa-MMAE was then tested in a mouse metastasis model of triple negative breast cancer. Results: In vitro studies confirmed that this ADC specifically binds to activated GPIIb/IIIa, and cathepsin B-mediated drug release/activation resulted in tumor cytotoxicity. In vivo fluorescence imaging demonstrated that the newly generated ADC localized to primary tumors and metastases in a mouse xenograft model of triple negative breast cancer, a difficult to treat tumor for which a selective tumor-targeting therapy remains to be clinically established. Importantly, we demonstrated that the scFvGPIIb/IIIa-MMAE displays marked efficacy as an anti-cancer agent, reducing tumor growth and preventing metastatic disease, without any discernible toxic effects. Conclusion: Here, we demonstrate the utility of a novel ADC that targets a potent cytotoxic drug to activated platelets and specifically releases the cytotoxic agent within the confines of the tumor. This unique targeting mechanism, specific to the tumor microenvironment, holds promise as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of a broad range of primary tumors and metastatic disease, particularly for tumors that lack specific molecular epitopes for drug targeting.
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    Near-infrared autofluorescence induced by intraplaque hemorrhage and heme degradation as marker for high-risk atherosclerotic plaques
    Htun, NM ; Chen, YC ; Lim, B ; Schiller, T ; Maghzal, GJ ; Huang, AL ; Elgass, KD ; Rivera, J ; Schneider, HG ; Wood, BR ; Stocker, R ; Peter, K (NATURE RESEARCH, 2017-07-13)
    Atherosclerosis is a major cause of mortality and morbidity, which is mainly driven by complications such as myocardial infarction and stroke. These complications are caused by thrombotic arterial occlusion localized at the site of high-risk atherosclerotic plaques, of which early detection and therapeutic stabilization are urgently needed. Here we show that near-infrared autofluorescence is associated with the presence of intraplaque hemorrhage and heme degradation products, particularly bilirubin by using our recently created mouse model, which uniquely reflects plaque instability as seen in humans, and human carotid endarterectomy samples. Fluorescence emission computed tomography detecting near-infrared autofluorescence allows in vivo monitoring of intraplaque hemorrhage, establishing a preclinical technology to assess and monitor plaque instability and thereby test potential plaque-stabilizing drugs. We suggest that near-infrared autofluorescence imaging is a novel technology that allows identification of atherosclerotic plaques with intraplaque hemorrhage and ultimately holds promise for detection of high-risk plaques in patients.Atherosclerosis diagnosis relies primarily on imaging and early detection of high-risk atherosclerotic plaques is important for risk stratification of patients and stabilization therapies. Here Htun et al. demonstrate that vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques generate near-infrared autofluorescence that can be detected via emission computed tomography.
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    GPVI and GPIb alpha Mediate Staphylococcal Superantigen-Like Protein 5 (SSL5) Induced Platelet Activation and Direct toward Glycans as Potential Inhibitors
    Hu, H ; Armstrong, PCJ ; Khalil, E ; Chen, Y-C ; Straub, A ; Li, M ; Soosairajah, J ; Hagemeyer, CE ; Bassler, N ; Huang, D ; Ahrens, I ; Krippner, G ; Gardiner, E ; Peter, K ; Tse, H (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-04-28)
    BACKGROUND: Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a common pathogen capable of causing life-threatening infections. Staphylococcal superantigen-like protein 5 (SSL5) has recently been shown to bind to platelet glycoproteins and induce platelet activation. This study investigates further the interaction between SSL5 and platelet glycoproteins. Moreover, using a glycan discovery approach, we aim to identify potential glycans to therapeutically target this interaction and prevent SSL5-induced effects. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In addition to platelet activation experiments, flow cytometry, immunoprecipitation, surface plasmon resonance and a glycan binding array, were used to identify specific SSL5 binding regions and mediators. We independently confirm SSL5 to interact with platelets via GPIbα and identify the sulphated-tyrosine residues as an important region for SSL5 binding. We also identify the novel direct interaction between SSL5 and the platelet collagen receptor GPVI. Together, these receptors offer one mechanistic explanation for the unique functional influences SSL5 exerts on platelets. A role for specific families of platelet glycans in mediating SSL5-platelet interactions was also discovered and used to identify and demonstrate effectiveness of potential glycan based inhibitors in vitro. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings further elucidate the functional interactions between SSL5 and platelets, including the novel finding of a role for the GPVI receptor. We demonstrate efficacy of possible glycan-based approaches to inhibit the SSL5-induced platelet activation. Our data warrant further work to prove SSL5-platelet effects in vivo.
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    Dual-Targeted Theranostic Delivery of miRs Arrests Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Development
    Wang, X ; Searle, AK ; Hohmann, JD ; Liu, AL ; Abraham, M-K ; Palasubramaniam, J ; Lim, B ; Yao, Y ; Wallert, M ; Yu, E ; Chen, Y-C ; Peter, K (CELL PRESS, 2018-04-04)
    Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is an often deadly disease without medical, non-invasive treatment options. The upregulation of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) on aortic endothelium provides an early target epitope for a novel biotechnological theranostic approach. MicroRNA-126 was used as a therapeutic agent, based on its capability to downregulate VCAM-1 expression in endothelial cells and thereby reduces leukocyte adhesion and exerts anti-inflammatory effects. Ultrasound microbubbles were chosen as carriers, allowing both molecular imaging as well as targeted therapy of AAA. Microbubbles were coupled with a VCAM-1-targeted single-chain antibody (scFvmVCAM-1) and a microRNA-126 mimic (M126) constituting theranostic microbubbles (TargMB-M126). TargMB-M126 downregulates VCAM-1 expression in vitro and in an in vivo acute inflammatory murine model. Most importantly, using TargMB-M126 and ultrasound-guided burst delivery of M126, the development of AAA in an angiotensin-II-induced mouse model can be prevented. Overall, we describe a unique biotechnological theranostic approach with the potential for early diagnosis and long-sought-after medical therapy of AAA.