Li Liu

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States

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Publications (14)57.32 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: [This corrects the article on p. e35250 in vol. 7.].
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1). · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) treatments reduce pathological neovascularization in the eye and in tumors, the regression is often not sustainable or is incomplete. We investigated whether vascular endothelial cells circumvent anti-VEGF therapies by activating the unfolded protein response (UPR) to override the classic extracellular VEGF pathway. Exposure of endothelial cells to VEGF, high glucose, or H(2)O(2) up-regulated the X-box binding protein/inositol-requiring protein-1 (IRE1) α and activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) arms of the UPR compared with untreated cells. This was associated with increased expression in α-basic crystallin (CRYAB), which has previously bound VEGF. siRNA knockdown or pharmacological blockade of IRE1α, ATF6, or CRYAB increased intracellular VEGF degradation and decreased full-length intracellular VEGF. Inhibition of IRE1α, ATF6, or CRYAB resulted in an approximately 40% reduction of in vitro angiogenesis, which was further reduced in combination with a neutralizing antibody against extracellular VEGF. Blockade of IRE1α or ATF6 in the oxygen-induced retinopathy or choroidal neovascularization mouse models caused an approximately 35% reduction in angiogenesis. However, combination therapy of VEGF neutralizing antibody with UPR inhibitors or siRNAs reduced retinal/choroidal neovascularization by a further 25% to 40%, and this inhibition was significantly greater than either treatment alone. In conclusion, activation of the UPR sustains angiogenesis by preventing degradation of intracellular VEGF. The IRE1α/ATF6 arms of the UPR offer a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of pathological angiogenesis.
    American Journal Of Pathology 02/2013; · 4.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: β-Secretase (BACE1) is a major drug target for combating Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here we show that BACE1(-/-) mice develop significant retinal pathology including retinal thinning, apoptosis, reduced retinal vascular density and an increase in the age pigment, lipofuscin. BACE1 expression is highest in the neural retina while BACE2 was greatest in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)/choroid. Pigment epithelial-derived factor, a known regulator of γ-secretase, inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced in vitro and in vivo angiogenesis and this is abolished by BACE1 inhibition. Moreover, intravitreal administration of BACE1 inhibitor or BACE1 small interfering RNA (siRNA) increases choroidal neovascularization in mice. BACE1 induces ectodomain shedding of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) which is a prerequisite for γ-secretase release of a 100 kDa intracellular domain. The increase in lipofuscin following BACE1 inhibition and RNAI knockdown is associated with lysosomal perturbations. Taken together, our data show that BACE1 plays a critical role in retinal homeostasis and that the use of BACE inhibitors for AD should be viewed with extreme caution as they could lead to retinal pathology and exacerbate conditions such as age-related macular degeneration.
    EMBO Molecular Medicine 08/2012; 4(9):980-91. · 7.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The absence of Mertk in RCS rats results in defective RPE phagocytosis, accumulation of outer segment (OS) debris in the subretinal space, and subsequent death of photoreceptors. Previous research utilizing Mertk gene replacement therapy in RCS rats provided proof of concept for treatment of this form of recessive retinitis pigmentosa (RP); however, the beneficial effects on retinal function were transient. In the present study, we evaluated whether delivery of a MERTK transgene using a tyrosine-mutant AAV8 capsid could lead to more robust and longer-term therapeutic outcomes than previously reported. An AAV8 Y733F vector expressing a human MERTK cDNA driven by a RPE-selective promoter was administrated subretinally at postnatal day 2. Functional and morphological analyses were performed at 4 months and 8 months post-treatment. Retinal vasculature and Müller cell activation were analyzed by quantifying acellular capillaries and glial fibrillary acidic protein immunostaining, respectively. Electroretinographic responses from treated eyes were more than one-third of wild-type levels and OS were well preserved in the injection area even at 8 months. Rescue of RPE phagocytosis, prevention of retinal vasculature degeneration, and inhibition of Müller cell activation were demonstrated in the treated eyes for at least 8 months. This research describes a longer and much more robust functional and morphological rescue than previous studies. We also demonstrate for the first time that an AAV8 mutant capsid serotype vector has a substantial therapeutic potential for RPE-specific gene delivery. These results suggest that tyrosine-mutant AAV8 vectors hold promise for the treatment of individuals with MERTK-associated RP.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 03/2012; 53(4):1895-904. · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Achromatopsia is a rare autosomal recessive disorder which shows color blindness, severely impaired visual acuity, and extreme sensitivity to bright light. Mutations in the alpha subunits of the cone cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (CNGA3) are responsible for about 1/4 of achromatopsia in the U.S. and Europe. Here, we test whether gene replacement therapy using an AAV5 vector could restore cone-mediated function and arrest cone degeneration in the cpfl5 mouse, a naturally occurring mouse model of achromatopsia with a CNGA3 mutation. We show that gene therapy leads to significant rescue of cone-mediated ERGs, normal visual acuities and contrast sensitivities. Normal expression and outer segment localization of both M- and S-opsins were maintained in treated retinas. The therapeutic effect of treatment lasted for at least 5 months post-injection. This study is the first demonstration of substantial, relatively long-term restoration of cone-mediated light responsiveness and visual behavior in a naturally occurring mouse model of CNGA3 achromatopsia. The results provide the foundation for development of an AAV5-based gene therapy trial for human CNGA3 achromatopsia.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35250. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to determine whether upregulation of γ-secretase could inhibit laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and if this was associated with a reduction in both oxidative stress and proinflammatory cytokines. γ-Secretase, or its catalytic subunit presenilin 1 (PS1), were upregulated by exposure to either pigment epithelial derived factor (PEDF) or an AAV2 vector containing a PS1 gene driven by a vascular endothelial-cadherin promoter. Retinal endothelial cells were infected with AAV2 or exposed to PEDF in the presence or absence of VEGF and in vitro angiogenesis determined. Mouse eyes either received intravitreal injection of PEDF, DAPT (a γ-secretase inhibitor) or PEDF + DAPT at the time of laser injury, or AAV2 infection 3 weeks before receiving laser burns. Lesion volume was determined 14 days post laser injury. Superoxide generation, antioxidant activity and the production of proinflammatory mediators were assessed. Knockdown of γ-secretase was achieved using siRNA. γ-Secretase upregulation and PS1 overexpression suppressed VEGF-induced in vitro angiogenesis and in vivo laser-induced CNV. This was associated with a reduction in the expression of VEGF and angiogenin 1 together with reduced superoxide anion generation and an increase in MnSOD compared with untreated CNV eyes. PS1 overexpression reduced proinflammatory factors and microglial activation in eyes with CNV compared with control. siRNA inhibition of γ-secretase resulted in increased angiogenesis. γ-Secretase, and in particular PS1 alone, are potent regulators of angiogenesis and this is due in part to stabilizing endogenous superoxide generation and reducing proinflammatory cytokine expression during CNV.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 12/2011; 53(2):574-85. · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have reported previously that pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) can, via γ-secretase-mediated events, inhibit VEGF-induced angiogenesis in microvascular endothelial cells by both (a) cleavage and intracellular translocation of a C-terminal fragment of VEGF receptor-1 (VEGFR1) and (b) inhibition of VEGF-induced phosphorylation of VEGFR1. Using site-direct mutagenesis and transfection of wild type and mutated receptors into endothelial cells, we showed that transmembrane cleavage of VEGFR1 occurs at valine 767 and that a switch from valine to alanine at this position prevented cleavage and formation of a VEGFR1 intracellular fragment. Using siRNA to selectively knock down protein-tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) in endothelial cells, we demonstrated that vascular endothelial PTP is responsible for dephosphorylation of activated VEGFR1. PEDF up-regulation of full-length presenilin 1 (Fl.PS1) facilitated the association of vascular endothelial PTP and VEGFR1. Knockdown of Fl.PS1 prevented dephosphorylation of VEGFR1, whereas up-regulation of Fl.PS1 stimulated VEGFR1 dephosphorylation. Fl.PS1 associated with VEGFR1 within 15 min after PEDF treatment. In conclusion, we determined the PEDF-mediated events responsible for VEGFR1 signaling and identified full-length presenilin as a critical adaptor molecule in the dephosphorylation of VEGFR1. This greater understanding of the regulation of VEGFR1 signaling will help identify novel anti-VEGF therapeutic strategies.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 286(49):42514-23. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously reported that pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) can, via γ-secretase mediated events, inhibit VEGF-induced angiogenesis in microvascular endothelial cells by both a) cleavage and intracellular translocation of a C-terminal fragment of VEGF receptor-1 (VEGFR1) and b) inhibition of VEGF-induced phosphorylation of VEGFR1. Using site-direct mutagenesis and transfection of wild type and mutated receptors into endothelial cells we show that transmembrane cleavage of VEGFR1 occurs at valine767 and that a switch from valine to alanine at this position prevents cleavage and formation of a VEGFR1 intracellular fragment. Using siRNA to selectively knockdown protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) in endothelial cells we demonstrated that VE-PTP is responsible for dephosphorylation of activated VEGFR1. PEDF upregulation of full-length presenilin 1 (Fl.PS1) facilitates the association of VE-PTP and VEGFR1. Knockdown of Fl.PS1 prevents dephosphorylation of VEGFR1 while upregulation of Fl.PS1 stimulates VEGFR1 dephosphorylation. Fl.PS1 associates with VEGFR1 within 15 minutes after PEDF treatment. In conclusion, we have identified the PEDF mediated events responsible for VEGFR1 signaling and identify full length presenilin as a critical adaptor molecule in the dephosphorylation of VEGFR1. This greater understanding of the regulation of VEGFR1 signaling will help identifying novel anti-VEGF therapeutic strategies.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2011; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the effect of free insulin-like growth factor (IGF) binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), independent of the effect of insulin-like growth factors, in modulating retinal vascular permeability. We assessed the ability of a form of IGFBP-3 that does not bind IGF-1 (IGFBP-3NB), to regulate the blood retinal barrier (BRB) using two distinct experimental mouse models, laser-induced retinal vessel injury and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced retinal vascular permeability. Additionally, in vitro studies were conducted. In the animal models, BRB permeability was quantified by intravenous injection of fluorescein labeled serum albumin followed by digital confocal image analysis of retinal flat-mounts. Claudin-5 and vascular endothelial-cadherin (VE-cadherin) localization at interendothelial junctions was studied by immunofluorescence. In vitro changes in transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) and flux of fluorescent dextran in bovine retinal endothelial monolayers (BREC) were measured after IGFBP-3NB treatment. Acid (ASMase) and neutral (NSMase) sphingomyelinase mRNA levels and activity were measured in mouse retinas. Four days postinjury, laser-injured mouse retinas injected with IGFBP-3NB plasmid demonstrated reduced vascular permeability compared with retinas of laser-injured mouse retinas injected with control plasmid. IGFBP-3NB administration resulted in a significant decrease in laser injury-associated increases in ASMase and NSMase mRNA and activity when compared with laser alone treated mice. In vivo, intravitreal injection of IGFBP-3NB reduced vascular leakage associated with intravitreal VEGF injection. IGFBP-3NB partially restored VEGF-induced in vivo permeability and dissociation of claudin-5 and VE-cadherin at junctional complexes. When IGFBP-3NB was applied basally to bovine retinal endothelial cells (BREC) in vitro, TEER increased and macromolecular flux decreased. Intravitreal administration of IGFBP-3NB preserves junctional integrity in the presence of VEGF or laser injury by reducing BRB permeability in part by modulating sphingomyelinase levels.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 09/2011; 52(11):8278-86. · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The retinal degeneration 10 (rd10) mouse is a well-characterized model of autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which carries a spontaneous mutation in the β subunit of rod cGMP-phosphodiesterase (PDEβ). Rd10 mouse exhibits photoreceptor dysfunction and rapid rod photoreceptor degeneration followed by cone degeneration and remodeling of the inner retina. Here, we evaluate whether gene replacement using the fast-acting tyrosine-capsid mutant AAV8 (Y733F) can provide long-term therapy in this model. AAV8 (Y733F)-smCBA-PDEβ was subretinally delivered to postnatal day 14 (P14) rd10 mice in one eye only. Six months after injection, spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), electroretinogram (ERG), optomotor behavior tests, and immunohistochemistry showed that AAV8 (Y733F)-mediated PDEβ expression restored retinal function and visual behavior and preserved retinal structure in treated rd10 eyes for at least 6 months. This is the first demonstration of long-term phenotypic rescue by gene therapy in an animal model of PDEβ-RP. It is also the first example of tyrosine-capsid mutant AAV8 (Y733F)-mediated correction of a retinal phenotype. These results lay the groundwork for the development of PDEβ-RP gene therapy trial and suggest that tyrosine-capsid mutant AAV vectors may be effective for treating other rapidly degenerating models of retinal degeneration.
    Molecular Therapy 02/2011; 19(2):234-42. · 7.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The alpha(V) integrins are key receptors involved in mediating cell migration and angiogenesis. In age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy, angiogenesis plays a critical role in the loss of vision. These ocular vasculopathies might be treatable with a suitable alpha(V) antagonist, and an oral drug would offer a distinct advantage over current therapies. (3,S,beta,S)-1,2,3,4-Tetrahydro-beta-[[1-[1-oxo-3-(1,5,6,7-tetrahydro-1,8-naphthyridin-2-yl)propyl]-4-piperidinyl]methyl]-3-quinolinepropanoic acid (JNJ-26076713) is a potent, orally bioavailable, nonpeptide alpha(V) antagonist derived from the arginine-glycine-asparagine binding motif in the matrix protein ligands (e.g., vitronectin). This compound inhibits alpha(V)beta(3) and alpha(V)beta(5) binding to vitronectin in the low nanomolar range, it has excellent selectivity over integrins alpha(IIb)beta(3) and alpha(5)beta(1), and it prevents adhesion to human, rat, and mouse endothelial cells. JNJ-26076713 blocks cell migration induced by vascular endothelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and serum, and angiogenesis induced by FGF in the chick chorioallantoic membrane model. JNJ-26076713 is the first alpha(V) antagonist reported to inhibit retinal neovascularization in an oxygen-induced model of retinopathy of prematurity after oral administration. In diabetic rats, orally administered JNJ-26076713 markedly inhibits retinal vascular permeability, a key early event in diabetic macular edema and AMD. Given this profile, JNJ-26076713 represents a potential therapeutic candidate for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, macular edema, and proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 04/2008; 324(3):894-901. · 3.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A novel series of potent inhibitors of Ras farnesyl transferase possessing a 1,2,4-triazole pharmacophore is described. These inhibitors were discovered from a parallel synthesis effort and were subsequently optimized to in vitro IC(50) value of less than 1nM.
    Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 01/2006; 15(24):5407-11. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reduction of the quinoline ring in an alpha(v)beta(3) antagonist yielded a 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro derivative as two diastereomers, the four isomers of which were separated by sequential chiral HPLC. Two isomers had significant alpha(V)beta(3) antagonist activity with improved oral bioavailability, relative to the corresponding quinoline derivative.
    Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 01/2005; 14(23):5937-41. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The synthesis and SAR of a new class of piperidine-based alphavbeta3/alphavbeta5 integrin antagonists is described. Replacement of an amide bond in a prototype isonipecotamide by a C-C isostere, and adjustment of the spacer length between the carboxylic acid and basic moieties, led to low nanomolar antagonists of alphavbeta3 and/or alphavbeta5 integrins with excellent selectivity versus alpha(IIb)beta3.
    Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 11/2004; 14(20):5227-32. · 2.34 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

108 Citations
224 Downloads
1k Views
57.32 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012–2013
    • University of Florida
      • • Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
      • • Department of Ophthalmology
      Gainesville, FL, United States
  • 2011
    • Wenzhou Medical College
      • Eye Hospital
      Yung-chia, Zhejiang Sheng, China