Medical Biology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1415
Butyrophilin 2A1 is essential for phosphoantigen reactivity by gamma delta T cells
(American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020-02-07)
Gamma delta (γδ) T cells are essential to protective immunity. In humans, most γδ T cells express Vγ9Vδ2+ T cell receptors (TCRs) that respond to phosphoantigens (pAgs) produced by cellular pathogens and overexpressed by cancers. However, the molecular targets recognized by these γδTCRs are unknown. Here, we identify butyrophilin 2A1 (BTN2A1) as a key ligand that binds to the Vγ9+ TCR γ chain. BTN2A1 associates with another butyrophilin, BTN3A1, and these act together to initiate responses to pAg. Furthermore, binding of a second ligand, possibly BTN3A1, to a separate TCR domain incorporating Vδ2 is also required. This distinctive mode of Ag-dependent T cell activation advances our understanding of diseases involving pAg recognition and creates opportunities for the development of γδ T cell-based immunotherapies.
Endoplasmic reticulum chaperones stabilize ligand-receptive MR1 molecules for efficient presentation of metabolite antigens
(NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2020-10-06)
The antigen-presenting molecule MR1 (MHC class I-related protein 1) presents metabolite antigens derived from microbial vitamin B2 synthesis to activate mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells. Key aspects of this evolutionarily conserved pathway remain uncharacterized, including where MR1 acquires ligands and what accessory proteins assist ligand binding. We answer these questions by using a fluorophore-labeled stable MR1 antigen analog, a conformation-specific MR1 mAb, proteomic analysis, and a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 library screen. We show that the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contains a pool of two unliganded MR1 conformers stabilized via interactions with chaperones tapasin and tapasin-related protein. This pool is the primary source of MR1 molecules for the presentation of exogenous metabolite antigens to MAIT cells. Deletion of these chaperones reduces the ER-resident MR1 pool and hampers antigen presentation and MAIT cell activation. The MR1 antigen-presentation pathway thus co-opts ER chaperones to fulfill its unique ability to present exogenous metabolite antigens captured within the ER.
Necroptosis induced by RIPK3 requires MLKL but not Drp1
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-02-01)
Necroptosis is a mechanism by which cells can kill themselves that does not require caspase activity or the presence of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members Bax or Bak. It has been reported that RIPK3 (receptor interacting protein kinase 3) activates MLKL (mixed lineage kinase domain-like) to cause cell death that requires dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), because survival was increased in cells depleted of Drp1 or treated with the Drp1 inhibitor mdivi-1. To analyze necroptosis in a system that does not require addition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), we used a construct that allows RIPK3 to be induced in cells, and then dimerized via an E. coli gyrase domain fused to its carboxyl-terminus, using the dimeric gyrase binding antibiotic coumermycin. We have previously shown elsewhere that RIPK3 dimerized in this manner not only induces necroptosis but also apoptosis, which can be inhibited by the broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor Q-VD-OPh (QVD). In response to RIPK3 dimerization, wild-type mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) underwent cell death that was reduced but not completely blocked by QVD. In contrast, death upon dimerization of RIPK3 in Mlkl(-/-) MEFs was completely inhibited with QVD, confirming that MLKL is required for necroptosis. Similar to wild-type MEFs, most Drp1(-/-) MEFs died when RIPK3 was activated, even in the presence of QVD. Furthermore, overexpression of wild-type MLKL or dominant active mutants of MLKL (Q343A or S345E/S347E) caused death of wild-type and Drp1(-/-) MEFs that was not inhibited with QVD. These results indicate that necroptosis caused by RIPK3 requires MLKL but not Drp1.
Investigating and Correcting Plasma DNA Sequencing Coverage Bias to Enhance Aneuploidy Discovery
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-01-29)
Pregnant women carry a mixture of cell-free DNA fragments from self and fetus (non-self) in their circulation. In recent years multiple independent studies have demonstrated the ability to detect fetal trisomies such as trisomy 21, the cause of Down syndrome, by Next-Generation Sequencing of maternal plasma. The current clinical tests based on this approach show very high sensitivity and specificity, although as yet they have not become the standard diagnostic test. Here we describe improvements to the analysis of the sequencing data by reducing GC bias and better handling of the genomic repeats. We show substantial improvements in the sensitivity of the standard trisomy 21 statistical tests, which we measure by artificially reducing read coverage. We also explore the bias stemming from the natural cleavage of plasma DNA by examining DNA motifs and position specific base distributions. We propose a model to correct this fragmentation bias and observe that incorporating this bias does not lead to any further improvements in the detection of fetal trisomy. The improved bias corrections that we demonstrate in this work can be readily adopted into existing fetal trisomy detection protocols and should also lead to improvements in sub-chromosomal copy number variation detection.
Loss of Bak enhances lymphocytosis but does not ameliorate thrombocytopaenia in BCL-2 transgenic mice
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-05-01)
Bax and Bak are critical effectors of apoptosis. Although both are widely expressed and usually functionally redundant, recent studies suggest that Bak has particular importance in certain cell types. Genetic and biochemical studies indicate that Bak activation is prevented primarily by Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL, whereas Bax is held in check by all pro-survival Bcl-2 homologues, including Bcl-2 itself. In this study, we have investigated whether loss of Bak or elevated Mcl-1 modulates haemopoietic abnormalities provoked by overexpression of Bcl-2. The Mcl-1 transgene had little impact, probably because the expression level was insufficient to effectively reduce Bak activation. However, loss of Bak enhanced lymphocytosis in vavP-BCL-2 transgenic mice and increased resistance of their thymocytes to some cytotoxic agents, implying that Bak-specific signals can be triggered in certain lymphoid populations. Nevertheless, lack of Bak had no significant impact on thymic abnormalities in vavP-BCL-2tg mice, which kinetic analysis suggested was due to accumulation of self-reactive thymocytes that resist deletion. Intriguingly, although Bak(-/-) mice have elevated platelet counts, Bak(-/-)vavP-BCL-2 mice, like vavP-BCL-2 littermates, were thrombocytopaenic. To clarify why, the vavP-BCL-2 platelet phenotype was scrutinised more closely. Platelet life span was found to be elevated in vavP-BCL-2 mice, which should have provoked thrombocytosis, as in Bak(-/-) mice. Analysis of bone marrow chimaeric mice suggested the low platelet phenotype was due principally to extrinsic factors. Following splenectomy, blood platelets remained lower in vavP-BCL-2 than wild-type mice. However, in Rag1(-/-) BCL-2tg mice, platelet levels were normal, implying that elevated lymphocytes are primarily responsible for BCL-2tg-induced thrombocytopaenia.
HoxA9 regulated Bcl-2 expression mediates survival of myeloid progenitors and the severity of HoxA9-dependent leukemia
(IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2013-11-01)
Deregulated expression of Hox genes such as HoxA9 is associated with development of myeloproliferative disorders and leukemia and indicates a poor prognosis. To investigate the molecular mechanisms by which HoxA9 promotes immortalization of hematopoietic cells, we generated growth factor dependent myeloid cells in which HoxA9 expression is regulated by administration of 4-hydroxy-tamoxifen. Maintenance of HoxA9 overexpression is required for continued cell survival and proliferation, even in the presence of growth factors. We show for the first time that maintenance of Bcl-2 expression is critical for HoxA9-dependent immortalization and influences the latency of HoxA9-dependent leukemia. Hematopoietic cells lacking Bcl-2 were not immortalized by HoxA9 in vitro. Furthermore, deletion of Bcl-2 delayed the onset and reduced the severity of HoxA9/Meis1 and MLL-AF9 leukemias. This is the first description of a molecular link between HoxA9 and the regulation of Bcl-2 family members in acute myeloid leukemia.
Vaccination with Conserved Regions of Erythrocyte-Binding Antigens Induces Neutralizing Antibodies against Multiple Strains of Plasmodium falciparum
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-09-10)
BACKGROUND: A highly effective vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum malaria should induce potent, strain transcending immunity that broadly protects against the diverse population of parasites circulating globally. We aimed to identify vaccine candidates that fulfill the criteria. METHODS: We have measured growth inhibitory activity of antibodies raised to a range of antigens to identify those that can efficiently block merozoite invasion for geographically diverse strains of P. falciparum. RESULTS: This has shown that the conserved Region III-V, of the P. falciparum erythrocyte-binding antigen (EBA)-175 was able to induce antibodies that potently inhibit merozoite invasion across diverse parasite strains, including those reliant on invasion pathways independent of EBA-175 function. Additionally, the conserved RIII-V domain of EBA-140 also induced antibodies with strong in vitro parasite growth inhibitory activity. CONCLUSION: We identify an alternative, highly conserved region (RIV-V) of EBA-175, present in all EBA proteins, that is the target of potent, strain transcending neutralizing antibodies, that represents a strong candidate for development as a component in a malaria vaccine.
Global Population Structure of the Genes Encoding the Malaria Vaccine Candidate, Plasmodium vivax Apical Membrane Antigen 1 (PvAMA1)
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-01)
BACKGROUND: The Plasmodium vivax Apical Membrane Antigen 1 (PvAMA1) is a promising malaria vaccine candidate, however it remains unclear which regions are naturally targeted by host immunity and whether its high genetic diversity will preclude coverage by a monovalent vaccine. To assess its feasibility as a vaccine candidate, we investigated the global population structure of PvAMA1. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: New sequences from Papua New Guinea (PNG, n = 102) were analysed together with published sequences from Thailand (n = 158), India (n = 8), Sri Lanka (n = 23), Venezuela (n = 74) and a collection of isolates from disparate geographic locations (n = 8). A total of 92 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified including 22 synonymous SNPs and 70 non-synonymous (NS) SNPs. Polymorphisms and signatures of balancing (positive Tajima's D and low FST values) selection were predominantly clustered in domain I, suggesting it is a dominant target of protective immune responses. To estimate global antigenic diversity, haplotypes comprised of (i) non-singleton (n = 40) and (ii) common (≥10% minor allele frequency, n = 23) polymorphic amino acid sites were then analysed revealing a total of 219 and 210 distinct haplotypes, respectively. Although highly diverse, the 210 haplotypes comprised of only common polymorphisms were grouped into eleven clusters, however substantial geographic differentiation was observed, and this may have implications for the efficacy of PvAMA1 vaccines in different malaria-endemic areas. The PNG haplotypes form a distinct group of clusters not found in any other geographic region. Vaccine haplotypes were rare and geographically restricted, suggesting potentially poor efficacy of candidate PvAMA1 vaccines. CONCLUSIONS: It may be possible to cover the existing global PvAMA1 diversity by selection of diverse alleles based on these analyses however it will be important to first define the relationships between the genetic and antigenic diversity of this molecule.
High Yield Production of a Soluble Human Interleukin-3 Variant from E. coli with Wild-Type Bioactivity and Improved Radiolabeling Properties
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-08-26)
Human interleukin-3 (hIL-3) is a polypeptide growth factor that regulates the proliferation, differentiation, survival and function of hematopoietic progenitors and many mature blood cell lineages. Although recombinant hIL-3 is a widely used laboratory reagent in hematology, standard methods for its preparation, including those employed by commercial suppliers, remain arduous owing to a reliance on refolding insoluble protein expressed in E. coli. In addition, wild-type hIL-3 is a poor substrate for radio-iodination, which has been a long-standing hindrance to its use in receptor binding assays. To overcome these problems, we developed a method for expression of hIL-3 in E. coli as a soluble protein, with typical yields of >3mg of purified hIL-3 per litre of shaking microbial culture. Additionally, we introduced a non-native tyrosine residue into our hIL-3 analog, which allowed radio-iodination to high specific activities for receptor binding studies whilst not compromising bioactivity. The method presented herein provides a cost-effective and convenient route to milligram quantities of a hIL-3 analog with wild-type bioactivity that, unlike wild-type hIL‑3, can be efficiently radio-iodinated for receptor binding studies.
Cauli: A Mouse Strain with an Ift140 Mutation That Results in a Skeletal Ciliopathy Modelling Jeune Syndrome
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-08-01)
Cilia are architecturally complex organelles that protrude from the cell membrane and have signalling, sensory and motility functions that are central to normal tissue development and homeostasis. There are two broad categories of cilia; motile and non-motile, or primary, cilia. The central role of primary cilia in health and disease has become prominent in the past decade with the recognition of a number of human syndromes that result from defects in the formation or function of primary cilia. This rapidly growing class of conditions, now known as ciliopathies, impact the development of a diverse range of tissues including the neural axis, craniofacial structures, skeleton, kidneys, eyes and lungs. The broad impact of cilia dysfunction on development reflects the pivotal position of the primary cilia within a signalling nexus involving a growing number of growth factor systems including Hedgehog, Pdgf, Fgf, Hippo, Notch and both canonical Wnt and planar cell polarity. We have identified a novel ENU mutant allele of Ift140, which causes a mid-gestation embryonic lethal phenotype in homozygous mutant mice. Mutant embryos exhibit a range of phenotypes including exencephaly and spina bifida, craniofacial dysmorphism, digit anomalies, cardiac anomalies and somite patterning defects. A number of these phenotypes can be attributed to alterations in Hedgehog signalling, although additional signalling systems are also likely to be involved. We also report the identification of a homozygous recessive mutation in IFT140 in a Jeune syndrome patient. This ENU-induced Jeune syndrome model will be useful in delineating the origins of dysmorphology in human ciliopathies.
Molecular Architecture of the Ankyrin SOCS Box Family of CuI5-Dependent E3 Ubiquitin Ligases
(ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2013-09-09)
Multi-subunit Cullin-RING E3 ligases often use repeat domain proteins as substrate-specific adaptors. Structures of these macromolecular assemblies are determined for the F-box-containing leucine-rich repeat and WD40 repeat families, but not for the suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-box-containing ankyrin repeat proteins (ASB1-18), which assemble with Elongins B and C and Cul5. We determined the crystal structures of the ternary complex of ASB9-Elongin B/C as well as the interacting N-terminal domain of Cul5 and used structural comparisons to establish a model for the complete Cul5-based E3 ligase. The structures reveal a distinct architecture of the ASB9 complex that positions the ankyrin domain coaxial to the SOCS box-Elongin B/C complex and perpendicular to other repeat protein complexes. This alternative architecture appears favorable to present the ankyrin domain substrate-binding site to the E2-ubiquitin, while also providing spacing suitable for bulky ASB9 substrates, such as the creatine kinases. The presented Cul5 structure also differs from previous models and deviates from other Cullins via a rigid-body rotation between Cullin repeats. This work highlights the adaptability of repeat domain proteins as scaffolds in substrate recognition and lays the foundation for future structure-function studies of this important E3 family.
Colon Cryptogenesis: Asymmetric Budding
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-21)
The process of crypt formation and the roles of Wnt and cell-cell adhesion signaling in cryptogenesis are not well described; but are important to the understanding of both normal and cancer colon crypt biology. A quantitative 3D-microscopy and image analysis technique is used to study the frequency, morphology and molecular topography associated with crypt formation. Measurements along the colon reveal the details of crypt formation and some key underlying biochemical signals regulating normal colon biology. Our measurements revealed an asymmetrical crypt budding process, contrary to the previously reported symmetrical fission of crypts. 3D immunofluorescence analyses reveals heterogeneity in the subcellular distribution of E-cadherin and β-catenin in distinct crypt populations. This heterogeneity was also found in asymmetrical budding crypts. Singular crypt formation (i.e. no multiple new crypts forming from one parent crypt) were observed in crypts isolated from the normal colon mucosa, suggestive of a singular constraint mechanism to prevent aberrant crypt production. The technique presented improves our understanding of cryptogenesis and suggests that excess colon crypt formation occurs when Wnt signaling is perturbed (e.g. by truncation of adenomatous polyposis coli, APC protein) in most colon cancers.