Zaida G Ramirez-Ortiz

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

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Publications (5)50.43 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The clearance of apoptotic cells is critical for the control of tissue homeostasis; however, the full range of receptors on phagocytes responsible for the recognition of apoptotic cells remains to be identified. Here we found that dendritic cells (DCs), macrophages and endothelial cells used the scavenger receptor SCARF1 to recognize and engulf apoptotic cells via the complement component C1q. Loss of SCARF1 impaired the uptake of apoptotic cells. Consequently, in SCARF1-deficient mice, dying cells accumulated in tissues, which led to a lupus-like disease, with the spontaneous generation of autoantibodies to DNA-containing antigens, activation of cells of the immune system, dermatitis and nephritis. The discovery of such interactions of SCARF1 with C1q and apoptotic cells provides insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in the maintenance of tolerance and prevention of autoimmune disease.
    Nature Immunology 07/2013; · 26.20 Impact Factor
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    Zaida G Ramirez-Ortiz, Terry K Means
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    ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells (DCs) are the bridge between the innate and adaptive immune system. DCs are responsible for sensing and patrolling the environment, initiating a host response and instructing the proper adaptive immune response against pathogens. Recent advances in medical treatments have led to increased use of immunosuppressive drugs, leading to the emergence of fungal species that cause life-threatening infections in humans. Three of these opportunistic fungal pathogens: Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans pose the biggest concern for the immune-compromised host. Here we will review the interactions between DCs and these fungal pathogens, the receptors expressed on DCs that mediate these responses and the signaling mechanisms that shape the adaptive host response.
    Virulence 10/2012; 3(7). · 2.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), a natural type I interferon (IFN)-producing cell type, are regarded as critical for innate immunity to viruses, their role in defense against fungal infections remains unknown. We examined the interactions of pDCs with hyphae of the invasive human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. Human pDCs spread over hyphae and inhibited their growth. Antifungal activity was retained in pDC lysates, did not require direct fungal contact, and was partially reversed by zinc. Incubation with hyphae resulted in pDC cytotoxicity, partly due to fungal gliotoxin secretion. Following hyphal stimulation, pDCs released proinflammatory cytokines via a TLR9-independent mechanism. Pulmonary challenge of mice with A. fumigatus resulted in a substantial influx of pDCs into lungs, and pDC-depleted mice were hypersusceptible to invasive aspergillosis. These data demonstrate the antifungal activity of pDCs against A. fumigatus and establish their nonredundant role in host defenses against invasive aspergillosis in vivo.
    Cell host & microbe 05/2011; 9(5):415-24. · 13.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phagocytic defenses are critical for effective host defenses against the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. Previous studies found that following challenge with A. fumigatus, Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) knockout mice survived longer than wild-type mice. However, the mechanism responsible was not defined. Here we demonstrate that A. fumigatus contains unmethylated CpG sequences, the natural ligands for TLR9. A. fumigatus DNA and synthetic CpG-rich oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) containing sequences found in the A. fumigatus genome potently stimulated the production of proinflammatory cytokines in mouse bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) and human plasmacytoid dendritic cells. The response was decreased when the fungal DNA was treated with a CpG methylase or with CpG-specific endonucleases. A role for TLR9 was demonstrated as cytokine production was abolished in BMDCs from TLR9-deficient mice. Moreover, transfection of HEK293 cells with human TLR9 conferred responsiveness to synthetic CpG-rich ODNs containing sequences found in A. fumigatus DNA. Taken together, these data demonstrate that TLR9 detects A. fumigatus DNA, resulting in the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, which may contribute to the immune response to the pathogen.
    Infection and immunity 06/2008; 76(5):2123-9. · 4.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this review we discuss the current literature for RNA helicases in response to RNA virus infection. We show the use of Differential Display Reverse Transcription PCR methodology (DD) to analyze virus-host interactions and we present current findings in dengue virus-induced gene expression of RNA helicases.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 01/2007; 209(3):636-44. · 4.22 Impact Factor