Clinical Pathology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 868
Decay of Fc-dependent antibody functions after mild to moderate COVID-19
The capacity of antibodies to engage with immune cells via the Fc region is important in preventing and controlling many infectious diseases. The evolution of such antibodies during convalescence from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is largely unknown. We develop assays to measure Fc-dependent antibody functions against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S)-expressing cells in serial samples from subjects primarily with mild-moderate COVID-19 up to 149 days post-infection. We find that S-specific antibodies capable of engaging Fcγ receptors decay over time, with S-specific antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and antibody-dependent phagocytosis (ADP) activity within plasma declining accordingly. Although there is significant decay in ADCC and ADP activity, they remain readily detectable in almost all subjects at the last time point studied (94%) in contrast with neutralization activity (70%). Although it remains unclear the degree to which Fc effector functions contribute to protection against SARS-CoV-2 re-infection, our results indicate that antibodies with Fc effector functions persist longer than neutralizing antibodies.
Cooperative cell invasion: matrix metalloproteinase-mediated incorporation between cells.
(American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), 2016-11-01)
Progression to metastatic disease is a leading cause of cancer death. Tumors are a complex mixture of cell types, both genetically heterogeneous malignant cells and associated nonmalignant cells. Models mimicking this heterogeneous cell environment have revealed that invasive cell populations can induce dissemination by otherwise poorly/noninvasive tumor cells, known as cooperative invasion. Neuroblastoma tumors arise in children and are characterized by mixed cellular populations in vivo, consisting chiefly of neuronal (N)-type and substrate (S)-type cells. The S-type cells have all the hallmarks of invasive leader cell populations and have been coisolated with N-type cells from metastatic bone lesions, but to date their ability to induce cooperative invasion has not been investigated. Therefore, in the present study, we analyzed the invasive behavior of mixed N-type and S-type multicellular spheroids embedded in three-dimensional collagen gels. Our analyses show that S-type cells induce invasion of either single cells or small cell clusters of N-type cells. In contrast to other reports of cooperative invasion in which mixed cultures exhibit a follow-the-leader mechanism, we show coincident emergence of S- and N-type cells from mixed spheroids. Our data suggest mutual effects between the two cell types. Thus, whereas coculture with S-type cells induces N-type invasion, coculture with N-type cells slows S-type invasion. Using matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitors and cell incorporation assays, we demonstrate that MMP activity is required for S-type cells to insert into layers of N-type cells. Our study therefore highlights an important role for S-type neuroblastoma cells in the invasion process and reveals a new mechanism of cooperative invasion.
Safety and immunogenicity of an MF59-adjuvanted spike glycoprotein-clamp vaccine for SARS-CoV-2: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1 trial.
(Elsevier BV, 2021-04-19)
BACKGROUND: Given the scale of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the development of vaccines based on different platforms is essential, particularly in light of emerging viral variants, the absence of information on vaccine-induced immune durability, and potential paediatric use. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of an MF59-adjuvanted subunit vaccine for COVID-19 based on recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein stabilised in a pre-fusion conformation by a novel molecular clamp (spike glycoprotein-clamp [sclamp]). METHODS: We did a phase 1, double-blind, placebo-controlled, block-randomised trial of the sclamp subunit vaccine in a single clinical trial site in Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Healthy adults (aged ≥18 to ≤55 years) who had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, reported no close contact with anyone with active or previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, and tested negative for pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 immunity were included. Participants were randomly assigned to one of five treatment groups and received two doses via intramuscular injection 28 days apart of either placebo, sclamp vaccine at 5 μg, 15 μg, or 45 μg, or one dose of sclamp vaccine at 45 μg followed by placebo. Participants and study personnel, except the dose administration personnel, were masked to treatment. The primary safety endpoints included solicited local and systemic adverse events in the 7 days after each dose and unsolicited adverse events up to 12 months after dosing. Here, data are reported up until day 57. Primary immunogenicity endpoints were antigen-specific IgG ELISA and SARS-CoV-2 microneutralisation assays assessed at 28 days after each dose. The study is ongoing and registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04495933. FINDINGS: Between June 23, 2020, and Aug 17, 2020, of 314 healthy volunteers screened, 120 were randomly assigned (n=24 per group), and 114 (95%) completed the study up to day 57 (mean age 32·5 years [SD 10·4], 65 [54%] male, 55 [46%] female). Severe solicited reactions were infrequent and occurred at similar rates in participants receiving placebo (two [8%] of 24) and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose (three [3%] of 96). Both solicited reactions and unsolicited adverse events occurred at a similar frequency in participants receiving placebo and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine. Solicited reactions occurred in 19 (79%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 86 (90%) of 96 receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Unsolicited adverse events occurred in seven (29%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 35 (36%) of 96 participants receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 sclamp elicited a similar antigen-specific response irrespective of dose: 4 weeks after the initial dose (day 29) with 5 μg dose (geometric mean titre [GMT] 6400, 95% CI 3683-11 122), with 15 μg dose (7492, 4959-11 319), and the two 45 μg dose cohorts (8770, 5526-13 920 in the two-dose 45 μg cohort; 8793, 5570-13 881 in the single-dose 45 μg cohort); 4 weeks after the second dose (day 57) with two 5 μg doses (102 400, 64 857-161 676), with two 15 μg doses (74 725, 51 300-108 847), with two 45 μg doses (79 586, 55 430-114 268), only a single 45 μg dose (4795, 2858-8043). At day 57, 67 (99%) of 68 participants who received two doses of sclamp vaccine at any concentration produced a neutralising immune response, compared with six (25%) of 24 who received a single 45 μg dose and none of 22 who received placebo. Participants receiving two doses of sclamp vaccine elicited similar neutralisation titres, irrespective of dose: two 5 μg doses (GMT 228, 95% CI 146-356), two 15 μg doses (230, 170-312), and two 45 μg doses (239, 187-307). INTERPRETATION: This first-in-human trial shows that a subunit vaccine comprising mammalian cell culture-derived, MF59-adjuvanted, molecular clamp-stabilised recombinant spike protein elicits strong immune responses with a promising safety profile. However, the glycoprotein 41 peptide present in the clamp created HIV diagnostic assay interference, a possible barrier to widespread use highlighting the criticality of potential non-spike directed immunogenicity during vaccine development. Studies are ongoing with alternative molecular clamp trimerisation domains to ameliorate this response. FUNDING: Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, National Health and Medical Research Council, Queensland Government, and further philanthropic sources listed in the acknowledgments.
Rapid and lasting generation of B-cell memory to SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid proteins in COVID-19 disease and convalescence
<h4>ABSTRACT</h4> <h4>Background</h4> Lasting immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following infection is questioned because serum antibodies decline in convalescence. However, functional immunity is mediated by long-lived memory T and B (Bmem) cells. <h4>Objective</h4> To determine the longevity and immunophenotype of SARS-CoV-2-specific Bmem cells in COVID-19 patients. <h4>Methods</h4> Recombinant spike receptor binding domain (RBD) and nucleocapsid protein (NCP) were produced for ELISA-based serology, and biotinylated for fluorescent tetramer generation to identify SARS-CoV-2-specific Bmem cells by flow cytometry with a panel of 13 mAbs. 36 blood samples were obtained from 25 COVID-19 patients (11 paired) between 4-242 days post-symptom onset for detection of neutralizing antibodies, IgG serology and flow cytometry. <h4>Results</h4> The recombinant RBD and NCP were specifically recognized by serum IgG in all patients and reactivity declined >20 days post-symptom onset. All patients had detectable RBD- and NCP-specific Bmem cells at 8.23-267.6 cells/ml of blood (0.004-0.13% of B cells) regardless of sampling time. RBD- and NCP-specific Bmem cells predominantly expressed IgM or IgG1, with the latter formed slightly later than the former. RBD-specific IgG + Bmem were predominantly CD27 + , and numbers significantly correlated with circulating follicular helper T cell numbers. <h4>Conclusion</h4> RBD- and NCP-specific Bmem cells persisted for 8 months, indicating that the decline in serum antibodies after 1 month does not indicate waning of immunity but a contraction of the immune response. Flowcytometric detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific Bmem cells enables detection of long-term functional immunity following infection or vaccination for COVID-19.
DNA Methylation Signatures and the Contribution of Age-Associated Methylomic Drift to Carcinogenesis in Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer
We investigated aberrant DNA methylation (DNAm) changes and the contribution of ageing-associated methylomic drift and age acceleration to early-onset colorectal cancer (EOCRC) carcinogenesis. Genome-wide DNAm profiling using the Infinium HM450K on 97 EOCRC tumour and 54 normal colonic mucosa samples was compared with: (1) intermediate-onset CRC (IOCRC; diagnosed between 50-70 years; 343 tumour and 35 normal); and (2) late-onset CRC (LOCRC; >70 years; 318 tumour and 40 normal). CpGs associated with age-related methylation drift were identified using a public dataset of 231 normal mucosa samples from people without CRC. DNAm-age was estimated using epiTOC2. Common to all three age-of-onset groups, 88,385 (20% of all CpGs) CpGs were differentially methylated between tumour and normal mucosa. We identified 234 differentially methylated genes that were unique to the EOCRC group; 13 of these DMRs/genes were replicated in EOCRC compared with LOCRCs from TCGA. In normal mucosa from people without CRC, we identified 28,154 CpGs that undergo ageing-related DNAm drift, and of those, 65% were aberrantly methylated in EOCRC tumours. Based on the mitotic-based DNAm clock epiTOC2, we identified age acceleration in normal mucosa of people with EOCRC compared with normal mucosa from the IOCRC, LOCRC groups (p = 3.7 × 10-16) and young people without CRC (p = 5.8 × 10-6). EOCRC acquires unique DNAm alterations at 234 loci. CpGs associated with ageing-associated drift were widely affected in EOCRC without needing the decades-long accrual of DNAm drift as commonly seen in intermediate- and late-onset CRCs. Accelerated ageing in normal mucosa from people with EOCRC potentially underlies the earlier age of diagnosis in CRC carcinogenesis.
Loss of the long non-coding RNA OIP5-AS1 exacerbates heart failure in a sex-specific manner.
(Elsevier BV, 2021-06-25)
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been demonstrated to influence numerous biological processes, being strongly implicated in the maintenance and physiological function of various tissues including the heart. The lncRNA OIP5-AS1 (1700020I14Rik/Cyrano) has been studied in several settings; however its role in cardiac pathologies remains mostly uncharacterized. Using a series of in vitro and ex vivo methods, we demonstrate that OIP5-AS1 is regulated during cardiac development in rodent and human models and in disease settings in mice. Using CRISPR, we engineered a global OIP5-AS1 knockout (KO) mouse and demonstrated that female KO mice develop exacerbated heart failure following cardiac pressure overload (transverse aortic constriction [TAC]) but male mice do not. RNA-sequencing of wild-type and KO hearts suggest that OIP5-AS1 regulates pathways that impact mitochondrial function. Thus, these findings highlight OIP5-AS1 as a gene of interest in sex-specific differences in mitochondrial function and development of heart failure.
High-content siRNA 3D co-cultures to identify myoepithelial cell-derived breast cancer suppressor proteins
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-05-28)
Understanding how cancer cells interact with the surrounding microenvironment early in breast cancer development can provide insight into the initiation and progression of invasive breast cancers. The myoepithelial cell layer surrounding breast ducts acts as a physical barrier in early breast cancer, preventing cancer cells from invading the surrounding stroma. Changes to the expression profile and properties of myoepithelial cells have been implicated in progression to invasive carcinoma. Identifying the molecular drivers of myoepithelial cell-mediated tumour suppression may offer new approaches to predict and block the earliest stages of cancer invasion. We employed a high-content approach to knock down 87 different genes using siRNA in an immortalised myoepithelial cell line, prior to co-culture with invasive breast cancer cells in 3D. Combined with high-content imaging and a customised analysis pipeline, this system was used to identify myoepithelial proteins that are necessary to control cancer cell invasion. This dataset has identified prospective myoepithelial suppressors of early breast cancer invasion which may be used by researchers to investigate their clinical validity and utility.
INPP4B promotes PI3K alpha-dependent late endosome formation and Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in breast cancer
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-05-25)
INPP4B suppresses PI3K/AKT signaling by converting PI(3,4)P2 to PI(3)P and INPP4B inactivation is common in triple-negative breast cancer. Paradoxically, INPP4B is also a reported oncogene in other cancers. How these opposing INPP4B roles relate to PI3K regulation is unclear. We report PIK3CA-mutant ER+ breast cancers exhibit increased INPP4B mRNA and protein expression and INPP4B increased the proliferation and tumor growth of PIK3CA-mutant ER+ breast cancer cells, despite suppression of AKT signaling. We used integrated proteomics, transcriptomics and imaging to demonstrate INPP4B localized to late endosomes via interaction with Rab7, which increased endosomal PI3Kα-dependent PI(3,4)P2 to PI(3)P conversion, late endosome/lysosome number and cargo trafficking, resulting in enhanced GSK3β lysosomal degradation and activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Mechanistically, Wnt inhibition or depletion of the PI(3)P-effector, Hrs, reduced INPP4B-mediated cell proliferation and tumor growth. Therefore, INPP4B facilitates PI3Kα crosstalk with Wnt signaling in ER+ breast cancer via PI(3,4)P2 to PI(3)P conversion on late endosomes, suggesting these tumors may be targeted with combined PI3K and Wnt/β-catenin therapies.
Targeting Methylglyoxal in Diabetic Kidney Disease Using the Mitochondria-Targeted Compound MitoGamide
Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) remains the number one cause of end-stage renal disease in the western world. In experimental diabetes, mitochondrial dysfunction in the kidney precedes the development of DKD. Reactive 1,2-dicarbonyl compounds, such as methylglyoxal, are generated from sugars both endogenously during diabetes and exogenously during food processing. Methylglyoxal is thought to impair the mitochondrial function and may contribute to the pathogenesis of DKD. Here, we sought to target methylglyoxal within the mitochondria using MitoGamide, a mitochondria-targeted dicarbonyl scavenger, in an experimental model of diabetes. Male 6-week-old heterozygous Akita mice (C57BL/6-Ins2-Akita/J) or wildtype littermates were randomized to receive MitoGamide (10 mg/kg/day) or a vehicle by oral gavage for 16 weeks. MitoGamide did not alter the blood glucose control or body composition. Akita mice exhibited hallmarks of DKD including albuminuria, hyperfiltration, glomerulosclerosis, and renal fibrosis, however, after 16 weeks of treatment, MitoGamide did not substantially improve the renal phenotype. Complex-I-linked mitochondrial respiration was increased in the kidney of Akita mice which was unaffected by MitoGamide. Exploratory studies using transcriptomics identified that MitoGamide induced changes to olfactory signaling, immune system, respiratory electron transport, and post-translational protein modification pathways. These findings indicate that targeting methylglyoxal within the mitochondria using MitoGamide is not a valid therapeutic approach for DKD and that other mitochondrial targets or processes upstream should be the focus of therapy.
Yap regulates skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation and adiposity in metabolic disease
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-05-17)
Obesity is a major risk factor underlying the development of metabolic disease and a growing public health concern globally. Strategies to promote skeletal muscle metabolism can be effective to limit the progression of metabolic disease. Here, we demonstrate that the levels of the Hippo pathway transcriptional co-activator YAP are decreased in muscle biopsies from obese, insulin-resistant humans and mice. Targeted disruption of Yap in adult skeletal muscle resulted in incomplete oxidation of fatty acids and lipotoxicity. Integrated 'omics analysis from isolated adult muscle nuclei revealed that Yap regulates a transcriptional profile associated with metabolic substrate utilisation. In line with these findings, increasing Yap abundance in the striated muscle of obese (db/db) mice enhanced energy expenditure and attenuated adiposity. Our results demonstrate a vital role for Yap as a mediator of skeletal muscle metabolism. Strategies to enhance Yap activity in skeletal muscle warrant consideration as part of comprehensive approaches to treat metabolic disease.
Circulating tumor DNA dynamics and recurrence risk in patients undergoing curative intent resection of colorectal cancer liver metastases: A prospective cohort study
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2021-05-01)
BACKGROUND: In patients with resectable colorectal liver metastases (CRLM), the role of pre- and postoperative systemic therapy continues to be debated. Previous studies have shown that circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis, as a marker of minimal residual disease, is a powerful prognostic factor in patients with nonmetastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Serial analysis of ctDNA in patients with resectable CRLM could inform the optimal use of perioperative chemotherapy. Here, we performed a validation study to confirm the prognostic impact of postoperative ctDNA in resectable CRLM observed in a previous discovery study. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We prospectively collected plasma samples from patients with resectable CRLM, including presurgical and postsurgical samples, serial samples during any pre- or postoperative chemotherapy, and serial samples in follow-up. Via targeted sequencing of 15 genes commonly mutated in CRC, we identified at least 1 somatic mutation in each patient's tumor. We then designed a personalized assay to assess 1 mutation in plasma samples using the Safe-SeqS assay. A total of 380 plasma samples from 54 patients recruited from July 2011 to Dec 2014 were included in our analysis. Twenty-three (43%) patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and 42 patients (78%) received adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery. Median follow-up was 51 months (interquartile range, 31 to 60 months). At least 1 somatic mutation was identified in all patients' tumor tissue. ctDNA was detectable in 46/54 (85%) patients prior to any treatment and 12/49 (24%) patients after surgery. There was a median 40.93-fold (19.10 to 87.73, P < 0.001) decrease in ctDNA mutant allele fraction with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, but ctDNA clearance during neoadjuvant chemotherapy was not associated with a better recurrence-free survival (RFS). Patients with detectable postoperative ctDNA experienced a significantly lower RFS (HR 6.3; 95% CI 2.58 to 15.2; P < 0.001) and overall survival (HR 4.2; 95% CI 1.5 to 11.8; P < 0.001) compared to patients with undetectable ctDNA. For the 11 patients with detectable postoperative ctDNA who had serial ctDNA sampling during adjuvant chemotherapy, ctDNA clearance was observed in 3 patients, 2 of whom remained disease-free. All 8 patients with persistently detectable ctDNA after adjuvant chemotherapy have recurred. End-of-treatment (surgery +/- adjuvant chemotherapy) ctDNA detection was associated with a 5-year RFS of 0% compared to 75.6% for patients with an undetectable end-of-treatment ctDNA (HR 14.9; 95% CI 4.94 to 44.7; P < 0.001). Key limitations of the study include the small sample size and the potential for false-positive findings with multiple hypothesis testing. CONCLUSIONS: We confirmed the prognostic impact of postsurgery and posttreatment ctDNA in patients with resected CRLM. The potential utility of serial ctDNA analysis during adjuvant chemotherapy as an early marker of treatment efficacy was also demonstrated. Further studies are required to define how to optimally integrate ctDNA analyses into decision-making regarding the use and timing of adjuvant therapy for resectable CRLM. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN12612000345886.