Medical Biology - Research Publications

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    Some mice lacking intrinsic, as well as death receptor induced apoptosis and necroptosis, can survive to adulthood.
    Ke, FFS ; Brinkmann, K ; Voss, AK ; Strasser, A (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-04-07)
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    Removal of BFL-1 sensitises some melanoma cells to killing by BH3 mimetic drugs
    Gangoda, L ; Schenk, RL ; Tai, L ; Szeto, P ; Cheung, JG ; Strasser, A ; Lessene, G ; Shackleton, M ; Herold, MJ (SPRINGERNATURE, 2022-04-04)
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    In vivo genome-editing screen identifies tumor suppressor genes that cooperate with Trp53 loss during mammary tumorigenesis
    Heitink, L ; Whittle, JR ; Vaillant, F ; Capaldo, BD ; Dekkers, JF ; Dawson, CA ; Milevskiy, MJG ; Surgenor, E ; Tsai, M ; Chen, H-R ; Christie, M ; Chen, Y ; Smyth, GK ; Herold, MJ ; Strasser, A ; Lindeman, GJ ; Visvader, JE (WILEY, 2022-01-26)
    Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that comprises multiple histological and molecular subtypes. To gain insight into mutations that drive breast tumorigenesis, we describe a pipeline for the identification and validation of tumor suppressor genes. Based on an in vivo genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screen in Trp53+/- heterozygous mice, we identified tumor suppressor genes that included the scaffold protein Axin1, the protein kinase A regulatory subunit gene Prkar1a, as well as the proof-of-concept genes Pten, Nf1, and Trp53 itself. Ex vivo editing of primary mammary epithelial organoids was performed to further interrogate the roles of Axin1 and Prkar1a. Increased proliferation and profound changes in mammary organoid morphology were observed for Axin1/Trp53 and Prkar1a/Trp53 double mutants compared to Pten/Trp53 double mutants. Furthermore, direct in vivo genome editing via intraductal injection of lentiviruses engineered to express dual short-guide RNAs revealed that mutagenesis of Trp53 and either Prkar1a, Axin1, or Pten markedly accelerated tumor development compared to Trp53-only mutants. This proof-of-principle study highlights the application of in vivo CRISPR/Cas9 editing for uncovering cooperativity between defects in tumor suppressor genes that elicit mammary tumorigenesis.
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    Transplantable programmed death ligand 1 expressing gastroids from gastric cancer prone Nfkb1(-/-) mice
    Low, JT ; Ho, G-Y ; Scott, M ; Tan, CW ; Whitehead, L ; Barber, K ; Yip, HYK ; Dekkers, JF ; Hirokawa, Y ; Silke, J ; Burgess, AW ; Strasser, A ; Putoczki, TL ; O'Reilly, LA (SPRINGERNATURE, 2021-11-17)
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    Cell death and thymic tolerance
    Daley, SR ; Teh, C ; Hu, DY ; Strasser, A ; Gray, DHD (WILEY, 2017-05-01)
    The differentiation of hematopoietic precursors into the many functionally distinct T-cell types produced by the thymus is a complex process. It proceeds through a series of stages orchestrated by a variety of thymic microenvironments that shape the T-cell developmental processes. Numerous cytokine and cell surface receptors direct thymocyte differentiation but the primary determinant of cell fate is the engagement of the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR). The strength of the TCR signal and the maturation stage of the thymocyte receiving it can direct the various differentiation programs or, alternatively, end the process by inducing cell death. The regulation of thymocyte death is critical for the efficiency of thymic T-cell differentiation and the preservation of immune tolerance. A detailed knowledge of mechanisms that eliminate thymocytes from the T-cell repertoire is essential to understand the "logic" of T-cell selection in the thymus. This review focuses on the central role of the BCL-2 family of proteins in the apoptotic checkpoints that punctuate thymocyte differentiation and the consequences of defects in these processes.
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    Role of proapoptotic BH3-only proteins in Listeria monocytogenes infection
    Margaroli, C ; Oberle, S ; Lavanchy, C ; Scherer, S ; Rosa, M ; Strasser, A ; Pellegrini, M ; Zehn, D ; Acha-Orbea, H ; Ehirchiou, D (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2016-06-01)
    The ability of pathogens to influence host cell survival is a crucial virulence factor. Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) infection is known to be associated with severe apoptosis of hepatocytes and spleen cells. This impairs host defense mechanisms and thereby facilitates the spread of intracellular pathogens. The general mechanisms of apoptosis elicited by Lm infection are understood, however, the roles of BH3-only proteins during primary Lm infection have not been examined. To explore the roles of BH3-only proteins in Lm-induced apoptosis, we studied Listeria infections in mice deficient in Bim, Bid, Noxa or double deficient in BimBid or BimNoxa. We found that BimNoxa double knockout mice were highly resistant to high-dose challenge with Listeria. Decreased bacterial burden and decreased host cell apoptosis were found in the spleens of these mice. The ability of the BH3-deficient mice to clear bacterial infection more efficiently than WT was correlated with increased concentrations of ROS, neutrophil extracellular DNA trap release and downregulation of TNF-α. Our data show a novel pathway of infection-induced apoptosis that enhances our understanding of the mechanism by which BH3-only proteins control apoptotic host cell death during Listeria infection.
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    Loss of PUMA (BBC3) does not prevent thrombocytopenia caused by the loss of BCL-XL (BCL2L1)
    Delbridge, ARD ; Chappaz, S ; Ritchie, ME ; Kile, BT ; Strasser, A ; Grabow, S (WILEY, 2016-09-01)
    Apoptosis is required to maintain tissue homeostasis in multicellular organisms. Platelets, the anucleate cells that are essential for blood clotting, are a prime example. Their brief life span in the circulation is regulated by the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. Pro-survival BCL-XL (also termed BCL2L1) is essential for platelet viability. It functions to restrain the pro-apoptotic BCL-2 family members BAK (also termed BAK1) and BAX, the essential mediators of intrinsic apoptosis. Genetic deletion or pharmacological inhibition of BCL-XL results in thrombocytopenia. Conversely, deletion of BAK in platelets doubles their circulating life span. However, what triggers platelet apoptosis in vivo remains unclear. The pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins are essential for initiating apoptosis in nucleated cells, and there is some evidence to suggest they also play a role in platelet biology. We investigated whether PUMA (also termed BBC3), a potent BH3-only protein that can inhibit all pro-survival BCL-2 family members as well as directly activate BAX, regulates the death of platelets. Surprisingly, loss of PUMA had no impact on the loss of platelets caused by loss of BCL-XL. It therefore remains to be established whether other BH3-only proteins play a critical role in induction of apoptosis in platelets or whether their death is controlled solely by the interactions between BCL-XL with BAK and BAX.
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    Flexible Usage and Interconnectivity of Diverse Cell Death Pathways Protect against Intracellular Infection
    Doerflinger, M ; Deng, Y ; Whitney, P ; Salvamoser, R ; Engel, S ; Kueh, AJ ; Tai, L ; Bachem, A ; Gressier, E ; Geoghegan, ND ; Wilcox, S ; Rogers, KL ; Garnham, AL ; Dengler, MA ; Bader, SM ; Ebert, G ; Pearson, JS ; De Nardo, D ; Wang, N ; Yang, C ; Pereira, M ; Bryant, CE ; Strugnell, RA ; Vince, JE ; Pellegrini, M ; Strasser, A ; Bedoui, S ; Herold, MJ (CELL PRESS, 2020-09-15)
    Programmed cell death contributes to host defense against pathogens. To investigate the relative importance of pyroptosis, necroptosis, and apoptosis during Salmonella infection, we infected mice and macrophages deficient for diverse combinations of caspases-1, -11, -12, and -8 and receptor interacting serine/threonine kinase 3 (RIPK3). Loss of pyroptosis, caspase-8-driven apoptosis, or necroptosis had minor impact on Salmonella control. However, combined deficiency of these cell death pathways caused loss of bacterial control in mice and their macrophages, demonstrating that host defense can employ varying components of several cell death pathways to limit intracellular infections. This flexible use of distinct cell death pathways involved extensive cross-talk between initiators and effectors of pyroptosis and apoptosis, where initiator caspases-1 and -8 also functioned as executioners when all known effectors of cell death were absent. These findings uncover a highly coordinated and flexible cell death system with in-built fail-safe processes that protect the host from intracellular infections.
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    Homeostatic apoptosis prevents competition-induced atrophy in follicular B cells
    Chappaz, S ; McArthur, K ; Kealy, L ; Law, CW ; Tailler, M ; Lane, RM ; Lieschke, A ; Ritchie, ME ; Good-Jacobson, KL ; Strasser, A ; Kile, BT (CELL PRESS, 2021-07-21)
    While the intrinsic apoptosis pathway is thought to play a central role in shaping the B cell lineage, its precise role in mature B cell homeostasis remains elusive. Using mice in which mature B cells are unable to undergo apoptotic cell death, we show that apoptosis constrains follicular B (FoB) cell lifespan but plays no role in marginal zone B (MZB) cell homeostasis. In these mice, FoB cells accumulate abnormally. This intensifies intercellular competition for BAFF, resulting in a contraction of the MZB cell compartment, and reducing the growth, trafficking, and fitness of FoB cells. Diminished BAFF signaling dampens the non-canonical NF-κB pathway, undermining FoB cell growth despite the concurrent triggering of a protective p53 response. Thus, MZB and FoB cells exhibit a differential requirement for the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. Homeostatic apoptosis constrains the size of the FoB cell compartment, thereby preventing competition-induced FoB cell atrophy.
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    CARD11 is dispensable for homeostatic responses and suppressive activity of peripherally induced FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells
    Polichen, A ; Horikawa, K ; Milla, L ; Kofler, J ; Bouillet, P ; Belz, GT ; O'Reilly, LA ; Goodnow, CC ; Strasser, A ; Gray, DHD (WILEY, 2019-09-01)
    FOXP3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells are essential for immunological tolerance and immune homeostasis. Despite a great deal of interest in modulating their number and function for the treatment of autoimmune disease or cancer, the precise mechanisms that control the homeostasis of Treg cells remain unclear. We report a new ENU-induced mutant mouse, lack of costimulation (loco), with atopic dermatitis and Treg cell deficiency typical of Card11 loss-of-function mutants. Three distinct single nucleotide variants were found in the Card11 introns 2, 10 and 20 that cause the loss of CARD11 expression in these mutant mice. These mutations caused the loss of thymic-derived, Neuropilin-1+ (NRP1+ ) Treg cells in neonatal and adult loco mice; however, residual peripherally induced NRP1- Treg cells remained. These peripherally generated Treg cells could be expanded in vivo by the administration of IL-2:anti-IL-2 complexes, indicating that this key homeostatic signaling axis remained intact in CARD11-deficient Treg cells. Furthermore, these expanded Treg cells could mediate near-normal suppression of activated, conventional CD4+ T cells, suggesting that CARD11 is dispensable for Treg cell function. In addition to shedding light on the requirements for CARD11 in Treg cell homeostasis and function, these data reveal novel noncoding Card11 loss-of-function mutations that impair the expression of this critical immune-regulatory protein.