[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite exhibiting oncogenic events, patient's leukemia cells are responsive and dependent on signals from their malignant bone marrow (BM) microenvironment, which modulate their survival, cell cycle progression, trafficking and resistance to chemotherapy. Identification of the signaling pathways mediating this leukemia/microenvironment interplay is critical for the development of novel molecular targeted therapies.We observed that primary leukemia B-cell precursors aberrantly express receptors of the BAFF-system, BAFF-R, BCMA, and TACI. These receptors are functional as their ligation triggers activation of NF-κB, MAPK/JNK, and Akt signaling. Leukemia cells express surface BAFF and APRIL ligands, and soluble BAFF is significantly higher in leukemia patients in comparison to age-matched controls. Interestingly, leukemia cells also express surface APRIL, which seems to be encoded by APRIL-δ, a novel isoform that lacks the furin convertase domain. Importantly, we observed BM microenvironmental cells express the ligands BAFF and APRIL, including surface and secreted BAFF by BM endothelial cells. Functional studies showed that signals through BAFF-system receptors impact the survival and basal proliferation of leukemia B-cell precursors, and support the involvement of both homotypic and heterotypic mechanisms.This study shows an unforeseen role for the BAFF-system in the biology of precursor B-cell leukemia, and suggests that the target disruption of BAFF signals may constitute a valid strategy for the treatment of this cancer.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(6):e20787. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rationally designed therapies aim at the specific disruption of critical signaling pathways activated by malignant transformation or signals from the tumor microenvironment. Because mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an important signal integrator and a key translational regulator, we evaluated its potential involvement in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and whether mTOR blockade synergizes with chemotherapeutic agents or other signaling antagonists to inhibit primary leukemia T cells.
mTOR signaling status was assessed using biochemical, immunostaining, and molecular regulation studies and functional assays performed to assess the impact of mTOR blockade on T-ALL proliferation, survival, and cell cycle.
We observed that mTOR signaling is highly activated in all T-ALL patients tested, with phosphorylation of its downstream substrates eIF4G and S6 ribosomal protein. mTOR activation was detected in vivo and was further increased in vitro by stimulation with interleukin-7, a potentially leukemogenic cytokine normally produced by the bone marrow microenvironment. In T-ALL cells, mTOR blockade was associated with accumulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27(kip1), which preferentially adopted a nuclear localization. Functional studies using rapamycin or CCI-779 showed a dominant inhibitory effect of mTOR blockade on interleukin-7-induced proliferation, survival, and cell-cycle progression of T-ALL cells. Furthermore, mTOR blockade markedly potentiated the antileukemia effects of dexamethasone and doxorubicin, and showed highly synergistic interactions in combination with specific inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and Janus kinase 3 signaling.
This study shows activation of mTOR signaling in primary T-ALL cells evolving in the leukemic bone marrow, and supports the inclusion of mTOR antagonists in current therapeutic regimens for this cancer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the postnatal life, hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niches are specialized microenvironments in the bone marrow that are essential for the maintenance and function of HSCs. The purpose of this review is to discuss the concept of HSC niche in light of recent studies that broaden its complexity and better define its molecular regulation. Also, we will discuss recent studies addressing the impact of leukemia development on HSC regulation and normal hematopoiesis, while discussing the potential regulation of leukemia-initiating cells by bone marrow niches.
Recent studies have identified new cellular and molecular components of the HSC niche and highlighted reciprocal interactions between the hematopoietic cells and their niches. These studies indicate that the HSC niche is not constituted by a single cell type but rather should be considered as a multicellular functional unit. Finally, advances have been made that provide promising insights into the the instructive role of the bone marrow microenvironment in hematological malignancies.
Increasing insights into the cell-cell cross talk between the hematopoietic system and its microenvironment in the bone marrow, and in particular in the interplay of HSCs with their niche(s), should provide new tools for combinatorial therapies in bone marrow failure and bone marrow cancers.
Current opinion in hematology 07/2010; 17(4):281-6. · 5.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Local modulation of vascular mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling reduces smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation after endovascular interventions but may be associated with endothelial cell (EC) toxicity. The trilaminate vascular architecture juxtaposes ECs and SMCs to enable complex paracrine coregulation but shields SMCs from flow. We hypothesized that flow differentially affects mTOR signaling in ECs and SMCs and that SMCs regulate mTOR in ECs.
SMCs and/or ECs were exposed to coronary artery flow in a perfusion bioreactor. We demonstrated by flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, and immunoblotting that EC expression of phospho-S6 ribosomal protein (p-S6RP), a downstream target of mTOR, was doubled by flow. Conversely, S6RP in SMCs was growth factor but not flow responsive, and SMCs eliminated the flow sensitivity of ECs. Temsirolimus, a sirolimus analog, eliminated the effect of growth factor on SMCs and of flow on ECs, reducing p-S6RP below basal levels and inhibiting endothelial recovery. EC p-S6RP expression in stented porcine arteries confirmed our in vitro findings: Phosphorylation was greatest in ECs farthest from intact SMCs in metal stented arteries and altogether absent after sirolimus stent elution.
The mTOR pathway is activated in ECs in response to luminal flow. SMCs inhibit this flow-induced stimulation of endothelial mTOR pathway. Thus, we now define a novel external stimulus regulating phosphorylation of S6RP and another level of EC-SMC crosstalk. These interactions may explain the impact of local antiproliferative delivery that targets SMC proliferation and suggest that future stents integrate design influences on flow and drug effects on their molecular targets.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) gene leading to PTEN protein deletion and subsequent activation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway are common in cancer. Here we show that PTEN inactivation in human T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cells is not always synonymous with PTEN gene lesions and diminished protein expression. Samples taken from patients with T-ALL at the time of diagnosis very frequently showed constitutive hyperactivation of the PI3K/Akt pathway. In contrast to immortalized cell lines, most primary T-ALL cells did not harbor PTEN gene alterations, displayed normal PTEN mRNA levels, and expressed higher PTEN protein levels than normal T cell precursors. However, PTEN overexpression was associated with decreased PTEN lipid phosphatase activity, resulting from casein kinase 2 (CK2) overexpression and hyperactivation. In addition, T-ALL cells had constitutively high levels of ROS, which can also downmodulate PTEN activity. Accordingly, both CK2 inhibitors and ROS scavengers restored PTEN activity and impaired PI3K/Akt signaling in T-ALL cells. Strikingly, inhibition of PI3K and/or CK2 promoted T-ALL cell death without affecting normal T cell precursors. Overall, our data indicate that T-ALL cells inactivate PTEN mostly in a nondeletional, posttranslational manner. Pharmacological manipulation of these mechanisms may open new avenues for T-ALL treatment.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 11/2008; 118(11):3762-74. · 12.81 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Homeostasis of the hematopoietic compartment is challenged and maintained during conditions of stress by mechanisms that are poorly defined. To understand how the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment influences hematopoiesis, we explored the role of Notch signaling and BM endothelial cells in providing microenvironmental cues to hematopoietic cells in the presence of inflammatory stimuli.
The human BM endothelial cell line (BMEC) and primary human BM endothelial cells were analyzed for expression of Notch ligands and the ability to expand hematopoietic progenitors in an in vitro coculture system. In vivo experiments were carried out to identify modulation of Notch signaling in BM endothelial and hematopoietic cells in mice challenged with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), or in Tie2-tmTNF-alpha transgenic mice characterized by constitutive TNF-alpha activation.
BM endothelial cells were found to express Jagged ligands and to greatly support progenitor's colony-forming ability. This effect was markedly decreased by Notch antagonists and augmented by increasing levels of Jagged2. Physiologic upregulation of Jagged2 expression on BMEC was observed upon TNF-alpha activation. Injection of TNF-alpha or LPS upregulated three- to fourfold Jagged2 expression on murine BM endothelial cells in vivo and resulted in increased Notch activation on murine hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Similarly, constitutive activation of endothelial cells in Tie2-tmTNF-alpha mice was characterized by increased expression of Jagged2 and by augmented Notch activation on hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells.
Our results provide the first evidence that BM endothelial cells promote expansion of hematopoietic progenitor cells by a Notch-dependent mechanism and that TNF-alpha and LPS can modulate the levels of Notch ligand expression and Notch activation in the BM microenvironment in vivo.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activated macrophages contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis. Although Notch signaling participates in various aspects of immunity, its role in macrophage activation remains undetermined.
To explore the role of Notch signaling in inflammation, we examined the expression and activity of Notch pathway components in human primary macrophages in vitro and in atherosclerotic plaques. Macrophages in culture express various Notch pathway components including all 4 receptors (Notch1 to Notch4). Notch3 selectively increased during macrophage differentiation; however, silencing by RNA interference demonstrated that all receptors are functional. The ligand Delta-like 4 (Dll4) increased in macrophages exposed to proinflammatory stimuli such as lipopolysaccharide, interleukin-1beta, or minimally-modified low-density lipoprotein in a Toll-like receptor 4- and nuclear factor-kappaB-dependent fashion. Soluble Dll4 bound to human macrophages. Coincubation of macrophages with cells that expressed Dll4 triggered Notch proteolysis and activation; increased the transcription of proinflammatory genes such as inducible nitric oxide synthase, pentraxin 3 and Id1; resulted in activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase, Akt, and nuclear factor-kappaB pathways; and increased the expression of Dll4 in macrophages. Notch3 knockdown during macrophage differentiation decreased the transcription of genes that promote inflammation, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase, pentraxin 3, Id1, and scavenger receptor-A. These in vitro findings correlate with results of quantitative immunohistochemistry, which demonstrated the presence of Dll4 and other Notch components within macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques.
Dll4-triggered Notch signaling may mediate inflammatory responses in macrophages and promote inflammation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although interleukin-7 (IL-7) is essential for human and murine lymphopoiesis and homeostasis, clear disparities between these species regarding the role of IL-7 during B-cell development suggest that other, subtler differences may exist. One basic unsolved issue of IL-7 biology concerns cross-species activity, because in contrast to the human ortholog, the ability of murine (m)IL-7 to stimulate human cells remains unresolved. Establishing whether two-way cross-species reactivity occurs is fundamental for evaluating the role of IL-7 in chimeric human-mouse models, which are the most versatile tools for studying human lymphoid development and disease in vivo. Here, we show that mIL-7 triggers the same signaling pathways as human (h)IL-7 in human T cells, promoting similar changes in viability, proliferation, size, and immunophenotype, even at low concentrations. This ability is not confined to T cells, because mIL-7 mediates cell growth and protects human B-cell precursors from dexamethasone-induced apoptosis. Importantly, endogenous mIL-7 produced in the mouse thymic microenvironment stimulates human T cells, because their expansion in chimeric fetal thymic organ cultures is inhibited by a mIL-7-specific neutralizing antibody. Our results demonstrate that mIL-7 affects human lymphocytes and indicate that mouse models of human lymphoid development and disease must integrate the biological effects of endogenous IL-7 on human cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extensive endothelial cell proliferation and marked neovascularization are the most pronounced microenvironmental changes consistently observed in the bone marrow (BM) of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is not known whether ALL cells induce this phenotype and whether they receive critical signals from the tumor-associated BM endothelium. Here, we show that leukemia cells actively stimulate BM endothelium, promote de novo angiogenesis, and induce neovascularization in the leukemic BM. Soluble factors, present in the leukemic BM microenvironment, promote the proliferation, migration, and morphogenesis of BM endothelial cells, which are critical processes in tumor angiogenesis. We also show in vitro that leukemia cells display directional motion towards assembled BM endothelium and following adherence exhibit cell polarization, pseudopodia, and ultrastructural features that suggest the existence of leukemia-endothelium cross-talk. Finally, we show that BM endothelium promotes leukemia cell survival through a mechanism mediated through the anti-apoptotic molecule bcl-2. These studies indicate that ALL cells actively recruit BM endothelium and mediate the leukemia-associated neovascularization observed in ALL. Therefore, disruption of interactions between leukemia cells and BM endothelium may constitute a valid therapeutic strategy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the anti-proliferative effect of A. blanchetti and A. schottii extracts.
The anti-proliferative effect of A. blanchetti and A. schottii ethanolic extracts on K562 leukemic cells as well as on BMEC and HUVEC were evaluated. Phytochemical analysis to identify the possible active components was carried out.
The root extract of A. schottii was the most active of them. At 80 microg/mL, the root extracts showed a cytostatic effect on K562, whereas at 400 microg/mL, there was a strong cytotoxic effect. Similar cytostatic and cytotoxic effects were seen in the endothelial cells, but at lower doses. The effect of A. schottii root extract on endothelial cells was seen at concentrations ten times lower (8 microg/mL) than the effect of the A. blanchetti root extract (80 microg/mL). Phytochemical investigation of different fractions and parts of the plant led to the isolation of several known compounds, some of which are described for the first time in the genus Allamanda, and with previous evidence of anticancer and antitumoral properties.
Our results suggest that both plants studied exhibit cytostatic and cytotoxic activity, but the most active compounds are located in the roots.
Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 02/2006; 9(2):200-8. · 2.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most bone marrow (BM) malignancies develop in association with an angiogenic phenotype and increased numbers of endothelial cells. The molecular mechanisms involved in the modulation and recruitment of BM endothelium are largely unknown and may provide novel therapeutic targets for neoplastic diseases. We observed that angiogenic stimulation of BM endothelial cells activates mTOR and engages its downstream pathways 4E-BP1 and S6K1, which are inhibited by the mTOR-specific blockers rapamycin and CCI-779. Both mTOR blockers significantly inhibit growth factor- and leukemia-induced proliferation of BM endothelium by inducing G0/G1 cell-cycle arrest. This effect is associated with down-regulation of cyclin D1 and cdk2 phosphorylation, and up-regulation of the cdk inhibitors p27(kip1) and p21(cip1). Under conditions that reproduce the biomechanical fluidic environment of the BM, CCI-779 is equally effective in inhibiting BM endothelial-cell proliferation. Finally, simultaneous blockade of mTOR and NF-kappaB pathways synergize to significantly inhibit or abrogate the proliferative responses of BM endothelial cells to mitogenic stimuli. This study identifies mTOR as an important pathway for the proangiogenic stimulation of BM endothelium. Modulation of this pathway may serve as a valid therapeutic intervention in BM malignancies evolving in association with an angiogenic phenotype.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of new tumor-associated antigens (TAA) is critical for the development of effective immunotherapeutic strategies, particularly in diseases like B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), where few target epitopes are known. To accelerate the identification of novel TAA in B-ALL, we used a combination of expression profiling and reverse immunology. We compared gene expression profiles of primary B-ALL cells with their normal counterparts, B-cell precursors. Genes differentially expressed by B-ALL cells included many previously identified as TAA in other malignancies. Within this set of overexpressed genes, we focused on those that may be functionally important to the cancer cell. The apoptosis-related molecule, BAX, was highly correlated with the ALL class distinction. Therefore, we evaluated BAX and its isoforms as potential TAA. Peptides from the isoform BAX-delta bound with high affinity to HLA-A*0201 and HLA-DR1. CD8+ CTLs specific for BAX-delta epitopes or their heteroclitic peptides could be expanded from normal donors. BAX-delta-specific T cells lysed peptide-pulsed targets and BAX-delta-expressing leukemia cells in a MHC-restricted fashion. Moreover, primary B-ALL cells were recognized by BAX-delta-specific CTL, indicating that this antigen is naturally processed and presented by tumor cells. This study suggests that (a) BAX-delta may serve as a widely expressed TAA in B-ALL and (b) gene expression profiling can be a generalizable tool to identify immunologic targets for cancer immunotherapy.
Cancer Research 12/2005; 65(21):10050-8. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (CKIs) and Notch receptor activation have been shown to influence adult stem cells and progenitors by altering stem cell self-renewal and proliferation. Yet, no interaction between these molecular pathways has been defined. Here we show that ligand-independent and ligand-dependent activation of Notch1 induces transcription of the S phase kinase-associated protein 2 (SKP2), the F-box subunit of the ubiquitin-ligase complex SCF(SKP2) that targets proteins for degradation. Up-regulation of SKP2 by Notch signaling enhances proteasome-mediated degradation of the CKIs, p27 Kip1 and p21 Cip1, and causes premature entry into S phase. Silencing of SKP2 by RNA interference in G1 stabilizes p27 Kip1 and p21 Cip1 and abolishes Notch effect on G1-S progression. Thus, SKP2 serves to link Notch1 activation with the cell cycle machinery. This novel pathway involving Notch/SKP2/CKIs connects a cell surface receptor with proximate mediators of cell cycle activity, and suggests a mechanism by which a known physiologic mediator of cell fate determination interfaces with cell cycle control.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 08/2005; 202(1):157-68. · 13.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The malignant transformation and expansion of tumor cells involve both cell-autonomous mechanisms and microenvironment signals that regulate viability, nutrient utilization, metabolic activity and cell growth. In T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), the co-culture of leukemic cells with stroma or the addition of particular cytokines prevents ex vivo spontaneous apoptosis. Interleukin-7 (IL-7), a cytokine produced by thymic and bone marrow stroma, increases the viability and proliferation of T-ALL cells. IL-7 induces the activation of Jak/STAT, MEK/Erk and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways in T-ALL cells. PI3K/Akt is the dominant pathway that mediates the effects of IL-7 on T-ALL. PI3K signaling is required for the induction of Bcl-2, the down-regulation of p27(kip1) and cell cycle progression. PI3K signaling is also required for the expression of the glucose transporter Glut1, uptake of glucose, activation of the metabolic machinery, increase in cell size, and maintenance of mitochondrial integrity. These observations suggest that substrates of molecular pathways activated by microenvironmental factors represent attractive molecular targets for the regulation of the viability and proliferation of T-ALL cells and provide the means for the development of novel treatment strategies.
Leukemia and Lymphoma 05/2005; 46(4):483-95. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We and others have shown that B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells (ALL) stimulated with CD40 ligand become efficient antigen-presenting cells (APC) capable of expanding autologous, tumor-specific T cells from patients. Translation of these preclinical findings to a novel treatment strategy required four separate issues to be determined: (1) if a CD40-ALL vaccine could be generated for clinical use; (2) whether clinical translation could be achieved; (3) whether the vaccination was safe; and (4) whether a window of time could be identified that would optimize the efficacy of vaccination.
Nine patients with relapsed/refractory ALL were enrolled in a phase I trial of vaccination with autologous CD40-ALL. Immunologic reconstitution was measured in a separate cohort of 23 patients with newly diagnosed ALL.
We successfully prepared autologous vaccines for all nine patients in the phase I trial. CD40-ALL were potent APC, capable of stimulating allogeneic and peptide-specific T cells in vitro. Two patients were vaccinated without adverse events. Five patients died or progressed before vaccination, suggesting that rapid disease progression limits vaccination in patients with relapse disease, thus limiting clinical translation. We therefore sought to identify a window of time for vaccination during which this approach might be feasible. To achieve this end, we evaluated immunological reconstitution in newly diagnosed patients with ALL patients. Despite recovery of myelopoiesis, most patients had profound defects in T, B, and natural killer (NK) cell numbers that failed to recover at any point during therapy.
Autologous tumor vaccination at a time of ALL relapse is not feasible. Alternative strategies for immunotherapy of ALL may require ex vivo generation of antigen specific T cells and adoptive therapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of signals critical for the pathophysiology of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) should contribute to the development of novel, more effective therapeutic strategies. Common gamma-chain signaling cytokines (gammac-cytokines) - interleukins 2, 4, 7, 9 and 15 - differentially regulate T-cell development, survival, proliferation and differentiation. Although studies exist on some individual cytokines, no comprehensive analysis of the effects of the Zc-cytokine family on malignant T cells has been reported. Here, we examined the effect of Zc-cytokines on T-ALL proliferation.
Primary leukemic cells were collected at diagnosis from the blood or bone marrow of children with T-ALL. The cells were immunophenotyped and classified according to maturation stage. Proliferative responses to gammac-cytokines were assessed by 3H-thymidine incorporation.
All gammac-cytokines promoted proliferation of primary T-ALL cells. Interleukin (IL)-7 was the cytokine that most frequently induced leukemic cell proliferation and promoted the most robust responses. IL-4 preferentially stimulated proliferation of samples with a more mature immunophenotype, whereas CD1a-positive cortical T-ALL cells were less responsive to IL-9. Finally, combinations of two Zc-cytokines showed synergistic or additive proliferative effects.
This study indicates that all the gammac-cytokines tested can stimulate proliferation of leukemic T cells and suggests that synergistic effects may occur in vivo. We present the first demonstration that IL-9 and IL-15 can provide a proliferative signal to T-ALL cells. Importantly, our results support the hypothesis that IL-7 may function as a critical regulator of T-ALL and that its activity may be potentiated by other Zc-cytokines.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interleukin (IL)-7 is essential for normal T cell development. Previously, we have shown that IL-7 increases viability and proliferation of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cells by up-regulating Bcl-2 and down-regulating the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27kip1. Here, we examined the signaling pathways via which IL-7 mediates these effects. We investigated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK)-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt (protein kinase B) pathways, which have active roles in T cell expansion and have been implicated in tumorigenesis. IL-7 induced activation of the MEK-Erk pathway in T-ALL cells; however, inhibition of the MEK-Erk pathway by the use of the cell-permeable inhibitor PD98059, did not affect IL-7-mediated viability or cell cycle progression of leukemic cells. IL-7 induced PI3K-dependent phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream targets GSK-3, FOXO1, and FOXO3a. PI3K activation was mandatory for IL-7-mediated Bcl-2 up-regulation, p27kip1 down-regulation, Rb hyperphosphorylation, and consequent viability and cell cycle progression of T-ALL cells. PI3K signaling was also required for cell size increase, up-regulation of CD71, expression of the glucose transporter Glut1, uptake of glucose, and maintenance of mitochondrial integrity. Our results implicate PI3K as a major effector of IL-7-induced viability, metabolic activation, growth and proliferation of T-ALL cells, and suggest that PI3K and its downstream effectors may represent molecular targets for therapeutic intervention in T-ALL.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 10/2004; 200(5):659-69. · 13.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) plays a fundamental role in numerous developmental processes including morphogenesis of limbs, nervous system, and teeth. Using a Bayesian alignment algorithm for phylogenetic footprinting we analyzed approximately 28 kb of noncoding DNA in the SHH locus of human and mouse. This showed that the length of conserved noncoding sequences (4196 nt) shared by these species was approximately 3 times larger than the SHH coding sequence (1386 nt). Most segments were located in introns (53%) or within 2-kb regions upstream (16%) or downstream (20%) of the first and last SHH codon. Even though regions more than 2 kb upstream or downstream of the first and last SHH codon represented 57% (16 kb) of the sequence compared, they accounted for only 11% (494 nt) of the total length of conserved noncoding segments. One region of 650 nt downstream of SHH was identified as a putative scaffold/matrix attachment region (SMAR). Human-mouse analysis was complemented by sequencing in apes, monkeys, rodents, and bats, thus further confirming the evolutionary conservation of some segments. Gel-shift assays indicated that conserved segments are targeted by nuclear proteins and showed differences between two cell types that expressed different levels of SHH, namely human endothelial cells and breast cancer cells. The relevance of these findings with respect to regulation of SHH expression during normal and pathologic development is discussed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Improving vaccine delivery to human APCs is a way to increase the CTL response to vaccines. We report the use of a novel pH-triggered microparticle that exploits the ability of APCs to cross-present MHC I-restricted Ags that have been engulfed in the low pH environment of the phagosome. A model MHC class I-restricted peptide Ag from the influenza A matrix protein was encapsulated in spray-dried microparticles composed of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine and the pH-sensitive polymethacrylate Eudragit E100. Release of the peptide from the particle was triggered by a drop in pH to the acidity normally found in the phagosome. The particles were efficiently phagocytosed by human monocytes and dendritic cells with minimal cellular toxicity and no functional impairment. Encapsulation of the peptide in the microparticles resulted in efficient presentation of the peptide to CD8(+) T cells by human dendritic cells in vitro, and was superior to unencapsulated peptide or peptide encapsulated in an analogous pH-insensitive particle. Vaccination of human HLA-A*0201 transgenic mice with peptide encapsulated in pH-triggering microparticles resulted in priming of CTL responses. These microparticles can be modified to coencapsulate a range of adjuvants along with the Ag of interest. Encapsulation of MHC I epitopes in pH-triggered microparticles increases Ag presentation and may improve CD8(+) T cell priming to peptide vaccines against viruses and cancer.
The Journal of Immunology 09/2004; 173(4):2578-85. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The specific targeting of critical signaling molecules may provide efficient therapies for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). However, target identification and drug development are limited by insufficient numbers of primary T-ALL cells and by their high rate of spontaneous apoptosis. We established a human interleukin-7 (IL-7)-dependent T-ALL cell line, TAIL7, that maintains several biologic and signaling properties of its parental leukemia cells. TAIL7 cells are pre-T-ALL cells that proliferate in response to IL-7 and IL-4. IL-7 stimulation of TAIL7 cells prevents spontaneous in vitro apoptosis and induces cell activation and cell cycle progression. The signaling events triggered by IL-7 include down-regulation of p27(kip1) and hyperphosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein (Rb). Stimulation of TAIL7 cells by IL-7 leads to phosphorylation of Janus kinase 3 (JAK3), signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5), Akt/PKB (protein kinase B), and extracellular-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (Erk1/2). Importantly, specific blockade of JAK3 by its inhibitor WHI-P131 abrogates the IL-7-mediated proliferation and survival of TAIL7 cells, suggesting that activation of JAK3 is critical for IL-7 responsiveness by these cells. Because TAIL7 cells seem to be a biologic surrogate for primary leukemia T cells, this cell line constitutes a valuable tool for the study of the signaling pathways implicated in T-ALL. Exploitation of this cell line should allow the identification of molecular targets and promote the rational design and validation of antileukemia signaling inhibitors.