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Publications (3)44.41 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Maternal immune tolerance towards the fetus and placenta is thought to be established in part by pathways that attenuate T cell priming to antigens released from the placenta into maternal blood. These pathways remain largely undefined and their existence, at face value, seems incompatible with a mother's need to maintain a functional immune system during pregnancy. A particular conundrum is evident if we consider that maternal antigen presenting cells, activated in order to prime T cells to pathogen-derived antigens, would also have the capacity to prime T cells to co-ingested placental antigens. Here, we address this paradox using a transgenic system in which placental membranes are tagged with a strong surrogate antigen (ovalbumin). We find that although a remarkably large quantity of acellular ovalbumin-containing placental material is released into maternal blood, splenic CD8 T cells in pregnant mice bearing unmanipulated T cell repertoires are not primed to ovalbumin even if the mice are intravenously injected with adjuvants. This failure was largely independent of regulatory T cells, and instead was linked to the intrinsic characteristics of the released material that rendered it selectively non-immunogenic, potentially by sequestering it from CD8α(+) dendritic cells. The release of ovalbumin-containing placental material into maternal blood thus had no discernable impact on CD8 T cell priming to soluble ovalbumin injected intravenously during pregnancy, nor did it induce long-term tolerance to ovalbumin. Together, these results outline a major pathway governing the maternal immune response to the placenta, and suggest how tolerance to placental antigens can be maintained systemically without being detrimental to host defense.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e84064. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To metastasize, a tumor cell must acquire abilities such as the capacity to colonize new tissue and evade immune surveillance. Recent evidence suggests that microRNAs can promote the evolution of malignant behaviors by regulating multiple targets. We performed a microRNA analysis of human melanoma, a highly invasive cancer, and found that miR-30b/30d upregulation correlates with stage, metastatic potential, shorter time to recurrence, and reduced overall survival. Ectopic expression of miR-30b/30d promoted the metastatic behavior of melanoma cells by directly targeting the GalNAc transferase GALNT7, resulted in increased synthesis of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10, and reduced immune cell activation and recruitment. These data support a key role of miR-30b/30d and GalNAc transferases in metastasis, by simultaneously promoting cellular invasion and immunosuppression.
    Cancer cell 07/2011; 20(1):104-18. · 25.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Embryo implantation induces formation of the decidua, a stromal cell-derived structure that encases the fetus and placenta. Using the mouse as a model organism, we have found that this tissue reaction prevents DCs stationed at the maternal/fetal interface from migrating to the lymphatic vessels of the uterus and thus reaching the draining lymph nodes. Strikingly, decidual DCs remained immobile even after being stimulated with LPS and exhibiting responsiveness to CCL21, the chemokine that drives DC entry into lymphatic vessels. An analysis of maternal T cell reactivity toward a surrogate fetal/placental antigen furthermore revealed that regional T cell responses toward the fetus and placenta were driven by passive antigen transport and thus the tolerogenic mode of antigen presentation that predominates when there is negligible input from tissue-resident DCs. Indeed, the lack of involvement of tissue-resident DCs in the T cell response to the fetal allograft starkly contrasts with their prominent role in organ transplant rejection. Our results suggest that DC entrapment within the decidua minimizes immunogenic T cell exposure to fetal/placental antigens and raise the possibility that impaired development or function of the human decidua, which unlike that of the mouse contains lymphatic vessels, might lead to pathological T cell activation during pregnancy.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 07/2009; 119(7):2062-73. · 15.39 Impact Factor