[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In a previous study, we identified TRIB1, a serine-threonine kinase-like molecule, as a biomarker of chronic antibody-mediated rejection of human kidneys when measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Here we focused our analysis on a specific subset of PBMC that play a dominant role in regulating immune responses in health and disease, so-called CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Regulatory T-cells (Tregs). We isolated both human and murine Tregs and non-Tregs counterparts and analyzed TRIB1 and Foxp3 mRNA expression by quantitative PCR on the freshly isolated cells or following 24h activation. Physical interaction between the human TRIB1 and Foxp3 proteins was analyzed in live cell lines by the Protein Complementation Assay (PCA) using both flow cytometry and microscopy, and confirmed in primary freshly-isolated human CD4+CD25hiCD127- Tregs by co-immunoprecipitation. Both TRIB1 and Foxp3 were expressed at significantly higher levels in Tregs than in their CD4+CD25- counterparts (p<0.001). Moreover TRIB1 and Foxp3 mRNA levels correlated tightly in Tregs (Spearman r = 1.0; p<0.001, n = 7), but not in CD4+CD25- T cells. The PCA revealed a direct physical interaction between TRIB1 and Foxp3 in live cells. This interaction was impaired upon deletion of the TRIB1 N-terminal but not the C-terminal domain, suggesting an interaction in the nucleus. This direct interaction within the nucleus was confirmed in primary human Tregs by co-immunoprecipitation. These data show a direct relationship between TRIB1 and Foxp3 in terms of their expression and physical interaction and highlight Tribbles-1 as a novel binding partner of Foxp3 in Tregs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Delivery of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors to the newborn liver is followed by a rapid loss of episomal vector copies because of hepatocyte proliferation. In selected hepatocytes, integration of rAAV genomes can lead to a sustained expression of the transgene. The safety of in vivo gene therapy with single-stranded AAV vectors has been questioned in a study reporting a high incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma, associated with provirus integration events in mice that receive an single-stranded AAV injection at birth. To investigate the tumour-initiating potential of the newly established self-complementary AAV (scAAV) vectors in the liver, groups of newborn rats received intravenous injection of a scAAV vector encoding the green fluorescent protein (GFP), or were injected with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or diethylnitrosamine (DEN), a well-known liver tumour initiator. The rats were fed on a diet containing 2-acetylaminofluorene, a potent liver tumour-promoting agent to accelerate the carcinogenic process. After 2 months, the animals were killed and their livers analysed. Preneoplastic nodules were identified by glutathion S-transferase-p (GSTp) staining, and GFP expression was detected by immunohistochemistry. Vector genome integration events were analysed. The numbers of GSTp-positive foci were comparable in the PBS and the scAAV-GFP groups and significantly higher in the DEN group. The proportion of GSTp-positive foci that also expressed GFP was low and in the range expected for random occurrence. No specific integration hot spots were detected by linear amplification-mediated-PCR in transduced liver. In conclusion, scAAV transduction of newborn rat liver does not trigger preneoplastic lesions suggesting an absence of liver tumourigenesis.Gene Therapy advance online publication, 31 January 2013; doi:10.1038/gt.2013.7.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the ability of recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (rMVA) vector to induce an immune response against a well-tolerated self-antigen.
rMVA vectors expressing different form of α-fetoprotein (AFP) were produced and characterized. Naïve mice were vaccinated with MVA vectors expressing the AFP antigen in either a secreted, or a membrane-bound, or an intracellular form. The immune response was monitored by an IFNΓ ELISpot assay and antibody detection.
Vaccination with the membrane-associated form of AFP induced a stronger CD8(+) T-cell response compared to the ones obtained with the MVA encoding the secreted or the intracellular forms of AFP. Moreover, the vaccination with the membrane-bound AFP elicited the production of AFP-specific antibodies.
The AFP transmembrane form is more immunogenic. Expressing a membrane-bound form in the context of an MVA vaccination could enhance the immunogenicity of a self-antigen.
BioMed Research International 02/2012; 2012:878657. DOI:10.1155/2012/878657 · 2.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preclinical studies have demonstrated that, unlike oncolytic adenoviruses, oncolytic vaccinia viruses can reach implanted tumors upon systemic injection. However, the biodistribution of this oncolytic agent in in situ autochthonous tumor models remains poorly characterized. In the present study, we assessed this biodistribution in a model of mouse hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) obtained after injection of the carcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN).
Twelve months after DEN administration, histology, quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization and viral titration were used to characterize tumors, as well as to assess the viral load of the livers upon either intravenous or intraperitoineal injection.
The results obtained showed that the architecture of the liver was lost, with a noticeable absence of sinusoids, as well as the presence of steatosis and α-fetoprotein-positive HCC tumor nodules. Bioluminescence imaging and measures of the infective virus load demonstrated that intravenous injection of 10(8) plaque-forming units of the recombinant vaccinia virus led to a predominant transduction of the liver, whereas intraperitoneal injection resulted in a lower level of liver transduction accompanied by an increased infection of the lungs, spleen, kidneys and bowels. Immunohistochemical analysis of liver sections of animals injected intravenously with the virus revealed a preferential localization of vaccinia-specific immunoreactivity in the tumors.
The findings of the present study emphasize the importance of the route of administration of the vector and highlight the relevance of systemic injection of oncolytic vaccinia virus in the context of hepatocellular carcinoma.
The Journal of Gene Medicine 12/2011; 13(12):692-701. DOI:10.1002/jgm.1624 · 1.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immunotherapy represents a potential therapeutic option for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), especially as secondary treatment to prevent recurrence. It has been shown that a patient's survival is directly correlated to the type and number of tumor-infiltrating immune cells, indicating that immune responses have a direct effect on the clinical course of the disease. We have assessed the potential of immunotherapy against HCC in preclinical models of low tumor burden. An antigen-specific strategy targeting α-fetoprotein, and consisting of immunization with a DNA-based synthetic vector (DNAmAFP/704), was tested on an autochthonous model of chemical hepatocarcinogenesis and led to an important (65%) reduction of the tumor burden. A nonspecific approach of CD25(+) T-cell depletion by injection of PC61 antibody was also tested on an orthotopic HCC model and led to a significant protection against tumor development. Antigen-specific immunotherapy and Treg depletion are promising strategies in physiologically relevant HCC preclinical models. Future clinical trials will demonstrate if a combination of Treg depletion with an antigen-specific immunotherapy will also translate into clinical responses in HCC patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we have assessed the potential of antigen-specific immunotherapy against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in conditions of low tumour burden, in an autochthonous HCC model.
Diethylnitrosamine (DEN) injected into infant mice results in the development of multi-nodular HCC in which alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is re-expressed. DEN-injected animals received an antigen-specific immunization with a synthetic vector consisting of a low dose of AFP-encoding plasmid formulated with the amphiphilic block copolymer 704 (DNAmAFP/704). Animals were treated at 4 and 5 months, before macroscopic nodules were detected, and were sacrificed at 8 months. The tumour burden, as well as liver histology, was assessed. AFP and MHC class I molecule expression in the nodules were monitored by qRT-PCR.
The AFP-specific immunotherapy led to a significant (65%) reduction in tumour size. The reduced expression of AFP and MHC class I molecules was measured in the remaining nodules taken from the DNAmAFP/704-treated group.
This is the first study demonstrating the relevance of antigen-specific immunotherapy in an autochthonous HCC model. In this context, we validated the use of an anti-tumour immunotherapy based on vaccination with nanoparticles consisting of low dose antigen-encoding DNA formulated with a block copolymer. Our results demonstrate the potential of this strategy as adjuvant immunotherapy to reduce the recurrence risk after local treatment of HCC patients.
Journal of Hepatology 08/2010; 54(1):115-21. DOI:10.1016/j.jhep.2010.06.027 · 10.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Na/I symporter (hNIS) promotes concentration of iodine in cells. In cancer gene therapy, this transgene has potential as a reporter gene for molecular imaging of viral biodistribution and as a therapeutic protein promoting (131)I-mediated radiotherapy. Here, we combined the imaging and therapeutic potential of hNIS in an oncolytic adenoviruses targeting colorectal cancer cells.
We generated an adenovirus (AdIP2) encoding hNIS and capable of selective replication in colorectal carcinoma cells. The selectivity of this virus was verified in vitro and in vivo. Its spread in tumors was monitored in vivo using single-photon emission computed tomography/CT imaging upon (99m)TcO(4)(-) injection and confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Metabolic radiotherapy was done through injection of therapeutic doses of (131)I(-).
We showed in vitro and in vivo the selectivity of AdIP2 and that hNIS expression is restricted to the target cells. Imaging and immunohistochemical data showed that viral spread is limited and that the point of maximal hNIS expression is reached 48 hours after a single intratumoral injection. Administration of a single therapeutic dose of (131)I at this time point led to a dramatic reduction in tumor size not observed in hNIS-negative viruses.
This report showed for the first time that the combination of the imaging and therapeutic potentials of hNIS can be applied to oncolytic adenoviruses in experimental models of cancer.
Clinical Cancer Research 11/2009; 15(21):6595-601. DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-0262 · 8.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intramuscular (i.m.) DNA vaccination induces strong cellular immune responses in the mouse, but only at DNA doses that cannot be achieved in humans. Because antigen expression is weak after naked DNA injection, we screened five nonionic block copolymers of poly(ethyleneoxide)-poly(propyleneoxide) (PEO-PPO) for their ability to enhance DNA vaccination using a beta-galactosidase (betaGal) encoding plasmid, pCMV-betaGal, as immunogen. At a high DNA dose, formulation with the tetrafunctional block copolymers 304 (molecular weight [MW] 1,650) and 704 (MW 5,500) and the triblock copolymer Lutrol (MW 8,600) increased betaGal-specific interferon-gamma enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) responses 2-2.5-fold. More importantly, 704 allowed significant reductions in the dose of antigen-encoding plasmid. A single injection of 2 microg pCMV-betaGal with 704 gave humoral and ELISPOT responses equivalent to those obtained with 100 microg naked DNA and conferred protection in tumor vaccination models. However, 704 had no adjuvant properties for betaGal protein, and immune responses were only elicited by low doses of pCMV-betaGal formulated with 704 if noncoding carrier DNA was added to maintain total DNA dose at 20 microg. Overall, these results show that formulation with 704 and carrier DNA can reduce the dose of antigen-encoding plasmid by at least 50-fold.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To optimise vaccination strategies for immunotherapy in the liver, we have generated a line of transgenic mice expressing beta-Galactosidase downstream of the alpha-fetoprotein promoter (AFP/betaGal).
betaGal expression was documented by qRT-PCR, enzyme activity and immunohistochemistry. betaGal-specific CD8+ T-cell activation in mice immunised with various vectors was measured by interferon-gamma ELISpot.
Like AFP, betaGal expression was detected in fetal hepatocytes and disappeared around birth. In adult mice, a CD8+ T-cell response to betaGal was observed after immunisation with betaGal adenovirus or plasmid DNA but not with betaGal protein or after retroviral infection. When betaGal was re-expressed in adult hepatocytes, immunisation with betaGal adenovirus triggered T-cell mediated elimination of betaGal-expressing hepatocytes. However, the response was weaker than in AFP/betaGal animals in which betaGal was only present around birth.
In AFP/betaGal mice, betaGal is a fetal liver self-antigen. Interestingly, the basal tolerance to betaGal displayed by these animals is increased during liver re-expression of the self-antigen in adulthood. Adenoviral immunisation allows complete elimination of betaGal-expressing hepatocytes in spite of this increased peripheral tolerance. These results highlight the importance of tolerance against self-antigens and validate the AFP/betaGal mice as a good background to test immunotherapy strategies in hepatocarcinogenesis models.
Journal of Hepatology 10/2007; 47(3):396-403. DOI:10.1016/j.jhep.2007.03.018 · 10.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD4(+)CD25(high) regulatory T cells (Treg) protect the host from autoimmune diseases but are also obstacles against cancer therapies. An ideal cancer vaccine would stimulate specific cytotoxic responses and reduce/suppress Treg function. In this study, we showed that Escherichia coli expressing listeriolysin O and OVA (E. coli LLO/OVA) demonstrated remarkable levels of protection against OVA-expressing tumor cells. By contrast, E. coli expressing OVA only (E. coli OVA) showed poor protection. High-avidity OVA-specific CTL were induced in E. coli LLO/OVA-vaccinated mice, and CD8(+) depletion--but not NK cell depletion, abolished the antitumor activity of the E. coli LLO/OVA vaccine. Phenotypic analysis of T cells following vaccination with either vaccine revealed preferential generation of CD44(high)CD62L(low) CD8(+) effector memory T cells over CD44(high)CD62L(high) central memory T cells. Unexpectedly, CD4(+) depletion turned E. coli OVA into a vaccine as effective as E. coli LLO/OVA suggesting that a subset of CD4(+) cells suppressed the CD8(+) T cell-mediated antitumor response. Further depletion experiments demonstrated that these suppressive cells consisted of CD4(+)CD25(high) regulatory T cells. We therefore assessed these vaccines for Treg function and found that although CD4(+)CD25(high) expansion and Foxp3 expression within this population was similar in all groups of mice, Treg cells from E. coli LLO/OVA-vaccinated animals were unable to suppress conventional T cells proliferation. These findings provide the first evidence that LLO expression affects Treg cell function and may have important implications for enhancing antitumor vaccination strategies in humans.
The Journal of Immunology 09/2007; 179(3):1532-41. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.179.3.1532 · 5.36 Impact Factor