Mario A Ostrowski

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (109)647.01 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Chronic HIV infection results in a loss of HIV-specific CD8+ T cell effector function, termed "exhaustion", which is mediated, in part, by the membrane co-inhibitory receptor T cell immunoglobulin mucin domain-3 (Tim-3). Like many other receptors, a soluble form of this protein has been described in human blood plasma. However, soluble Tim-3 (sTim-3) is poorly characterized and its role in HIV disease is unknown. Here we show that Tim-3 is shed from the surface of responding CD8+ T cells by the matrix metalloproteinase, ADAM10, producing a soluble form of the co-inhibitory receptor. Despite previous reports in the mouse model, no alternatively spliced, soluble form of Tim-3 was observed in humans. Shed sTim-3 was found in human plasma, and was significantly elevated during early and chronic untreated HIV infection, but was not found differentially modulated in HAART treated HIV-infected subjects or in elite controllers, when compared to HIV-uninfected subjects. Plasma sTim-3 levels positively correlated with HIV viral load and negatively correlated with CD4 counts. Thus, plasma sTim-3 shedding correlated with HIV disease progression. Despite these correlations, we found that shedding Tim-3 did not improve the function of CD8+ T cells in terms of IFN-γ production or prevent their apoptosis through galectin-9. Further characterization studies of sTim-3 function are needed to understand the contribution of sTim-3 in HIV disease pathogenesis with implications for novel therapeutic interventions. (224/250) IMPORTANCE: Despite the overall success of HAART slowing the progression to AIDS in HIV-infected subjects, chronic immune activation and T cell exhaustion contribute to the eventual deterioration of the immune system. Understanding these processes will aid in the development of interventions and therapeutics to be used in combination with HAART to slow or reverse this deterioration. Here, we show that a soluble form of T cell exhaustion associated co-inhibitory molecule, Tim-3, is shed from the surface of T cells. Furthermore, sTim-3 is elevated in the plasma of treatment naïve subjects with acute and chronic HIV infection and is associated with markers of disease progression. This is the first study to characterize sTim-3 in human plasma, its source and mechanism of production. While it is still unclear whether sTim-3 contributes to HIV pathogenesis, sTim-3 may represent a new correlate of HIV disease progression. (141/150). Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Journal of Virology 01/2015; 89(7). DOI:10.1128/JVI.00006-15 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The T cell Ig- and mucin domain-containing molecule-3 (Tim-3) negative immune checkpoint receptor demarcates functionally exhausted CD8(+) T cells arising from chronic stimulation in viral infections like HIV. Tim-3 blockade leads to improved antiviral CD8(+) T cell responses in vitro and, therefore, represents a novel intervention strategy to restore T cell function in vivo and protect from disease progression. However, the Tim-3 pathway in the physiologically relevant rhesus macaque SIV model of AIDS remains uncharacterized. We report that Tim-3(+)CD8(+) T cell frequencies are significantly increased in lymph nodes, but not in peripheral blood, in SIV-infected animals. Tim-3(+)PD-1(+)CD8(+) T cells are similarly increased during SIV infection and positively correlate with SIV plasma viremia. Tim-3 expression was found primarily on effector memory CD8(+) T cells in all tissues examined. Tim-3(+)CD8(+) T cells have lower Ki-67 content and minimal cytokine responses to SIV compared with Tim-3(-)CD8(+) T cells. During acute-phase SIV replication, Tim-3 expression peaked on SIV-specific CD8(+) T cells by 2 wk postinfection and then rapidly diminished, irrespective of mutational escape of cognate Ag, suggesting non-TCR-driven mechanisms for Tim-3 expression. Thus, rhesus Tim-3 in SIV infection partially mimics human Tim-3 in HIV infection and may serve as a novel model for targeted studies focused on rejuvenating HIV-specific CD8(+) T cell responses.
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    ABSTRACT: T-cell immunoglobulin domain and mucin domain-3 (TIM-3, also known as HAVCR2) is an activation-induced inhibitory molecule involved in tolerance and shown to induce T-cell exhaustion in chronic viral infection and cancers. Under some conditions, TIM-3 expression has also been shown to be stimulatory. Considering that TIM-3, like cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death 1 (PD-1), is being targeted for cancer immunotherapy, it is important to identify the circumstances under which TIM-3 can inhibit and activate T-cell responses. Here we show that TIM-3 is co-expressed and forms a heterodimer with carcinoembryonic antigen cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1), another well-known molecule expressed on activated T cells and involved in T-cell inhibition. Biochemical, biophysical and X-ray crystallography studies show that the membrane-distal immunoglobulin-variable (IgV)-like amino-terminal domain of each is crucial to these interactions. The presence of CEACAM1 endows TIM-3 with inhibitory function. CEACAM1 facilitates the maturation and cell surface expression of TIM-3 by forming a heterodimeric interaction in cis through the highly related membrane-distal N-terminal domains of each molecule. CEACAM1 and TIM-3 also bind in trans through their N-terminal domains. Both cis and trans interactions between CEACAM1 and TIM-3 determine the tolerance-inducing function of TIM-3. In a mouse adoptive transfer colitis model, CEACAM1-deficient T cells are hyper-inflammatory with reduced cell surface expression of TIM-3 and regulatory cytokines, and this is restored by T-cell-specific CEACAM1 expression. During chronic viral infection and in a tumour environment, CEACAM1 and TIM-3 mark exhausted T cells. Co-blockade of CEACAM1 and TIM-3 leads to enhancement of anti-tumour immune responses with improved elimination of tumours in mouse colorectal cancer models. Thus, CEACAM1 serves as a heterophilic ligand for TIM-3 that is required for its ability to mediate T-cell inhibition, and this interaction has a crucial role in regulating autoimmunity and anti-tumour immunity.
    Nature 10/2014; DOI:10.1038/nature13848 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Resting memory CD4+ T-cells harboring latent HIV proviruses represent a critical barrier to viral eradication. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis), such as suberanilohydroxamic acid (SAHA), romidepsin, and panobinostat have been shown to induce HIV expression in these resting cells. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the low levels of viral gene expression induced by a candidate HDACi may be insufficient to cause the death of infected cells by viral cytopathic effects, necessitating their elimination by immune effectors, such as cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL). Here, we study the impact of three HDACis in clinical development on T-cell effector functions. We report two modes of HDACi-induced functional impairment: i) the rapid suppression of cytokine production from viable T-cells induced by all three HDACis ii) the selective death of activated T-cells occurring at later time-points following transient exposures to romidepsin or, to a lesser extent, panobinostat. As a net result of these factors, HDACis impaired CTL-mediated IFN-γ production, as well as the elimination of HIV-infected or peptide-pulsed target cells, both in liquid culture and in collagen matrices. Romidepsin exerted greater inhibition of antiviral function than SAHA or panobinostat over the dose ranges tested. These data suggest that treatment with HDACis to mobilize the latent reservoir could have unintended negative impacts on the effector functions of CTL. This could influence the effectiveness of HDACi-based eradication strategies, by impairing elimination of infected cells, and is a critical consideration for trials where therapeutic interruptions are being contemplated, given the importance of CTL in containing rebound viremia.
    PLoS Pathogens 08/2014; 10(8):e1004287. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004287 · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. A human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected infant started on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) at 30 hours of life was recently reported to have no detectable plasma viremia after discontinuing cART. The current study investigated the impact of early cART initiation on measures of HIV-1 reservoir size in HIV-1-infected children with sustained virologic suppression. Methods. Children born to HIV-1-infected mothers and started on cART within 72 hours of birth at 3 Canadian centers were assessed. HIV serology, HIV-1-specific cell-mediated immune responses, plasma viremia, cell-associated HIV-1 DNA and RNA, presence of replication-competent HIV-1, and HLA genotype were determined for HIV-1-infected children with sustained virologic suppression. Results. Of 136 cART-treated children, 12 were vertically infected (8.8%). In the 4 who achieved sustained virologic suppression, HIV serology, HIV-1-specific cell-mediated immune responses (Gag, Nef), and ultrasensitive viral load were negative. HIV-1 DNA was not detected in enriched CD4(+) T cells of the 4 children (<2.6 copies/10(6) CD4(+) T cells), whereas HIV-1 RNA was detected (19.5-130 copies/1.5 mu g RNA). No virion-associated HIV-1 RNA was detected following mitogenic stimulation of peripheral blood CD4(+) T cells (5.4-8.0 million CD4(+) T cells) in these 4 children, but replication competent virus was detected by quantitative co-culture involving a higher number of cells in 1 of 2 children tested (0.1 infectious units/10(6) CD4(+) T cells). Conclusions. In perinatally HIV-1-infected newborns, initiation of cART within 72 hours of birth may significantly reduce the size of the HIV-1 reservoirs. Cessation of cART may be necessary to determine whether functional HIV cure can be achieved in such children.
    Clinical Infectious Diseases 06/2014; 59(7). DOI:10.1093/cid/ciu432 · 9.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The enormous sequence diversity of HIV remains a major roadblock to the development of a prophylactic vaccine and new approaches to induce protective immunity are needed. Endogenous retrotransposable elements (ERE) such as endogenous retrovirus K (ERV)-K and long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1) are activated during HIV-1-infection and could represent stable, surrogate targets to eliminate HIV-1-infected cells. Here, we explored the hypothesis that vaccination against ERE would protect macaques from acquisition and replication of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Following vaccination with antigens derived from LINE-1 and ERV-K consensus sequences, animals mounted immune responses that failed to delay acquisition of SIVsmE660. We observed no differences in acute or set point viral loads between ERE-vaccinated and control animals suggesting that ERE-specific responses were not protective. Indeed, ERE-specific T cells failed to expand anamnestically in vivo following infection with SIVsmE660 and did not recognize SIV-infected targets in vitro, in agreement with no significant induction of targeted ERE mRNA by SIV in macaque CD4+ T cells. Instead, lower infection rates and viral loads correlated significantly to protective TRIM5α alleles. Cumulatively, these data demonstrate that vaccination against the selected ERE consensus sequences in macaques did not lead to immune-mediated recognition and killing of SIV-infected cells, as has been shown for HIV-infected human cells using patient-derived HERV-K-specific T cells. Thus, further research is required to identify the specific nonhuman primate EREs and retroviruses that recapitulate the activity of HIV-1 in human cells. These results also highlight the complexity in translating observations of the interplay between HIV-1 and human EREs to animal models.
    PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e92012. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0092012 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A rare subset of IL-10-producing B cells, named regulatory B cells (Bregs), suppresses adaptive immune responses and inflammation in mice. In this study, we examined the role of IL-10-producing B cells in HIV-1 infection. Compared to uninfected controls, IL-10-producing B cell frequencies were elevated in both blood and sigmoid colon during the early and chronic phase of untreated HIV-1 infection. Ex vivo IL-10-producing B cell frequency in early HIV-1 infection directly correlated with viral load. IL-10-producing B cells from HIV-1 infected individuals were enriched in CD19(+)TIM-1(+) B cells and were enriched for specificity to trimeric HIV-1 envelope protein. Anti-retroviral therapy was associated with reduced IL-10-producing B cell frequencies. Treatment of B cells from healthy donors with microbial metabolites and Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists could induce an IL-10 producing phenotype, suggesting that the elevated bacterial translocation characteristic of HIV-1 infection may promote IL-10-producing B cell development. Similar to regulatory B cells found in mice, IL-10-producing B cells from HIV-1-infected individuals suppressed HIV-1-specific T cell responses in vitro, and this suppression is IL-10-dependent. Also, ex vivo IL-10-producing B cell frequency inversely correlated with contemporaneous ex vivo HIV-1-specific T cell responses. Our findings show that IL-10-producing B cells are induced early in HIV-1 infection, can be HIV-1 specific, and are able to inhibit effective anti-HIV-1 T cell responses. HIV-1 may dysregulate B cells toward Bregs as an immune evasion strategy.
    PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e89236. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0089236 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CD8(+) CTLs are adept at killing virally infected cells and cancer cells and releasing cytokines (e.g., IFN-γ) to aid this response. However, during cancer and chronic viral infections, such as with HIV, this CTL response is progressively impaired due to a process called T cell exhaustion. Previous work has shown that the glycoprotein T cell Ig and mucin domain-containing protein 3 (Tim-3) plays a functional role in establishing T cell exhaustion. Tim-3 is highly upregulated on virus and tumor Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells, and antagonizing Tim-3 helps restore function of CD8(+) T cells. However, very little is known of how Tim-3 signals in CTLs. In this study, we assessed the role of Tim-3 at the immunological synapse as well as its interaction with proximal TCR signaling molecules in primary human CD8(+) T cells. Tim-3 was found within CD8(+) T cell lipid rafts at the immunological synapse. Blocking Tim-3 resulted in a significantly greater number of stable synapses being formed between Tim-3(hi)CD8(+) T cells and target cells, suggesting that Tim-3 plays a functional role in synapse formation. Further, we confirmed that Tim-3 interacts with Lck, but not the phospho-active form of Lck. Finally, Tim-3 colocalizes with receptor phosphatases CD45 and CD148, an interaction that is enhanced in the presence of the Tim-3 ligand, galectin-9. Thus, Tim-3 interacts with multiple signaling molecules at the immunological synapse, and characterizing these interactions could aid in the development of therapeutics to restore Tim-3-mediated immune dysfunction.
    The Journal of Immunology 12/2013; 192(2). DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1302663 · 5.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The HIV RNA viral load (VL) in vaginal secretions and semen is an independent predictor of HIV transmission. Blood VL is associated with semen VL, and local mucosal factors such as semen CMV reactivation may play an important role. Twenty-one HIV-CMV co-infected, antiretroviral-naïve men received 900mg of oral valganciclovir once daily for two weeks in an open-label study. Blood and semen were collected at baseline, after two weeks of valganciclovir, and two months after therapy completion. The primary endpoint was change in semen HIV levels at 2 weeks; secondary endpoints were change in semen HIV VL at 2 months and change in semen CMV levels. The HIV VL fell significantly at 2 weeks in semen (median 3.44 to 3.02 log10 copies/ml; p=0.02) and blood (median 3.61 to 3.10 log10 copies/ml; p<0.01), and returned to baseline after therapy completion (median 3.24 and 3.71 log10 copies/ml in semen and blood, respectively). Semen CMV levels also fell on treatment (median log10, 2.13 to 1.62; p<0.01), and continued to fall after therapy completion (median 0.91 log10 copies/ml at week 8; p<0.001 vs. baseline). The reduced semen CMV VL was associated with decreased semen T cell activation and enhanced CMV-specific T cell responses in blood; changes in the semen HIV VL were not associated with immune parameters. While valganciclovir therapy was associated with reduced HIV and semen CMV levels, these results suggest that the reduced HIV VL was a direct drug effect, rather than via a CMV antiviral effect or CMV-associated immune alterations.
    JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 10/2013; 65(3). DOI:10.1097/01.qai.0000435256.34306.c1 · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Type 1 long-interspersed nuclear elements (L1s) are autonomous retrotransposable elements that retain the potential for activity in the human genome, but are suppressed by host-factors. Retrotransposition of L1s into chromosomal DNA can lead to genomic instability, while reverse transcription of L1 in the cytosol has the potential to activate innate immune sensors. We hypothesized that HIV-1 infection would compromise cellular control of L1 elements, resulting in the induction of retrotransposition events. Here, we show that HIV-1 infection enhances L1 retrotransposition in Jurkat cells in a Vif- and Vpr-dependent manner. In primary CD4(+) cells, HIV-1 infection results in the accumulation of L1 DNA, at least the majority of which is extra-chromosomal. These data expose an unrecognized interaction between HIV-1 and endogenous retrotransposable elements, which may have implications for the innate immune response to HIV-1 infection, as well as for HIV-1-induced genomic instability and cytopathicity.
    Journal of Virology 10/2013; 87(24). DOI:10.1128/JVI.02257-13 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mucosal Th17 cells maintain the gut epithelial barrier and prevent invasion by luminal bacteria through a delicate balance of immunosuppressive and proinflammatory functions. HIV infection is characterized by mucosal Th17 depletion, microbial translocation, and immune activation. Therefore, we assessed the function of blood and sigmoid Th17 cells during both early and chronic HIV infection, as well as the impact of short- and long-term antiretroviral therapy. Th17 cells were defined as IL-17a(+) CD4 T cells, and their functional capacity was assessed by the coproduction of the inflammatory cytokines IL-22, TNF-α, and IFN-γ, as well as the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10. Gut Th17 cells had a much greater capacity to produce proinflammatory cytokines than did those from the blood, but this capacity was dramatically reduced from the earliest stages of HIV infection. Immunoregulatory skewing of mucosal Th17 cell function, characterized by an increased IL-10/TNF-α ratio, was uniquely seen during early HIV infection and was independently associated with reduced systemic immune activation. Antiretroviral therapy rapidly restored mucosal Th17 cell numbers; however, normalization of mucosal Th17 function, microbial translocation, and mucosal/systemic immune activation was much delayed. These findings emphasize that strategies to preserve or to more rapidly restore mucosal Th17 function may have important therapeutic benefit.
    The Journal of Immunology 07/2013; 191(5). DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1300829 · 5.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Elite controllers suppress HIV viremia to below the limit of detection in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, precise frequencies of CD4(+) T cells carrying replication-competent HIV and/or the dynamics of the infectious viral reservoirs in response to initiation and discontinuation of ART in elite controllers are unknown. We show that the size of the pool of CD4(+) T cells harboring infectious HIV diminished significantly following initiation of ART and rebounded to baseline upon cessation of therapy. Our data provide compelling evidence that persistent viral replication occurs in untreated elite controllers even in the absence of detectable plasma viremia.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 07/2013; DOI:10.1093/infdis/jit306 · 5.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: APOBEC3 proteins mediate potent anti-retroviral activity by hypermutating the retroviral genome during reverse transcription. To counteract APOBEC3 and gain a replicative advantage, lentiviruses such as HIV-1 and SIV have evolved the Vif protein, which targets APOBEC3 proteins for proteasomal degradation. However, the proteasome plays a critical role in the generation of T cell peptide epitopes. Whether Vif-mediated destruction of APOBEC3 proteins leads to the generation and presentation of APOBEC3-derived T cell epitopes on the surface of lentivirus-infected cells remains unknown. Here, using peptides derived from multiple Vif-sensitive APOBEC3 proteins, we identified APOBEC3-specific T cell responses in both HIV-1-infected patients and SIV-infected rhesus macaques. These results raise the possibility that these T cell responses may be part of the larger anti-retroviral immune response.
    Journal of Virology 03/2013; 87(11). DOI:10.1128/JVI.00579-12 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms among severe ocular infections is of grave concern. We describe the first reported case of vancomycin-resistant enterococcal endophthalmitis following ocular trauma, uniquely caused by Enterococcus gallinarum. The organism demonstrated intrinsic resistance to ceftazidime and vancomycin but responded favorably to a combination of intravitreal and intravenous ampicillin, plus intravitreal amikacin. When faced with a multidrug-resistant organism, the ophthalmologist must consider alternative antibiotic strategies.
    03/2013; 3(1):42. DOI:10.1186/1869-5760-3-42
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    ABSTRACT: To develop new approaches to control HIV-1 replication, we examined the capacity of recently described small molecular modulators of RNA splicing for their effects on viral RNA metabolism. Of the drugs tested, digoxin was found to induce a dramatic inhibition of HIV-1 structural protein synthesis, a response due, in part, to reduced accumulation of the corresponding viral mRNAs. In addition, digoxin altered viral RNA splice site use, resulting in loss of the essential viral factor Rev. Digoxin induced changes in activity of the CLK family of SR protein kinases and modification of several SR proteins, including SRp20 and Tra2β, which could account for the effects observed. Consistent with this hypothesis, overexpression of SRp20 elicited changes in HIV-1 RNA processing similar to those observed with digoxin. Importantly, digoxin was also highly active against clinical strains of HIV-1 in vitro, validating this novel approach to treatment of this infection.
    PLoS Pathogens 03/2013; 9(3):e1003241. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003241 · 8.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoeae) can trigger an intense local inflammatory response at the site of infection, yet there is little specific immune response or development of immune memory. Gonococcal surface epitopes are known to undergo antigenic variation; however, this is unlikely to explain the weak immune response to infection since individuals can be re-infected by the same serotype. Previous studies have demonstrated that the colony opacity-associated (Opa) proteins on the N. gonorrhoeae surface can bind human carcinoembryonic antigen-related cellular adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1) on CD4(+) T cells to suppress T cell activation and proliferation. Interesting in this regard, N. gonorrhoeae infection is associated with impaired HIV-1 (human immunodeficiency virus type 1)-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses and with transient increases in plasma viremia in HIV-1-infected patients, suggesting that N. gonorrhoeae may also subvert immune responses to co-pathogens. Since dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen presenting cells (APCs) that play a key role in the induction of an adaptive immune response, we investigated the effects of N. gonorrhoeae Opa proteins on human DC activation and function. While morphological changes reminiscent of DC maturation were evident upon N. gonorrhoeae infection, we observed a marked downregulation of DC maturation marker CD83 when the gonococci expressing CEACAM1-specific Opa(CEA), but not other Opa variants. Consistent with a gonococcal-induced defect in maturation, Opa(CEA) binding to CEACAM1 reduced the DCs' capacity to stimulate an allogeneic T cell proliferative response. Moreover, Opa(CEA)-expressing N. gonorrhoeae showed the potential to impair DC-dependent development of specific adaptive immunity, since infection with Opa(CEA)-positive gonococci suppressed the ability of DCs to stimulate HIV-1-specific memory CTL responses. These results reveal a novel mechanism to explain why infection of N. gonorrhoeae fails to trigger an effective specific immune response or develop immune memory, and may affect the potent synergy between gonorrhea and HIV-1 infection.
    PLoS ONE 02/2013; 8(2):e56705. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0056705 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background An estimated 10–20 million individuals are infected with the retrovirus human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). While the majority of these individuals remain asymptomatic, 0.3-4% develop a neurodegenerative inflammatory disease, termed HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). HAM/TSP results in the progressive demyelination of the central nervous system and is a differential diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). The etiology of HAM/TSP is unclear, but evidence points to a role for CNS-inflitrating T-cells in pathogenesis. Recently, the HTLV-1-Tax protein has been shown to induce transcription of the human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) families W, H and K. Intriguingly, numerous studies have implicated these same HERV families in MS, though this association remains controversial. Results Here, we explore the hypothesis that HTLV-1-infection results in the induction of HERV antigen expression and the elicitation of HERV-specific T-cells responses which, in turn, may be reactive against neurons and other tissues. PBMC from 15 HTLV-1-infected subjects, 5 of whom presented with HAM/TSP, were comprehensively screened for T-cell responses to overlapping peptides spanning HERV-K(HML-2) Gag and Env. In addition, we screened for responses to peptides derived from diverse HERV families, selected based on predicted binding to predicted optimal epitopes. We observed a lack of responses to each of these peptide sets. Conclusions Thus, although the limited scope of our screening prevents us from conclusively disproving our hypothesis, the current study does not provide data supporting a role for HERV-specific T-cell responses in HTLV-1 associated immunopathology.
    Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine 01/2013; 12(1):3. DOI:10.1186/1477-5751-12-3 · 1.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic diversity of HIV-1 represents a major challenge in vaccine development. In this study, we establish a rationale for eliminating HIV-1-infected cells by targeting cellular immune responses against stable human endogenous retroviral (HERV) antigens. HERV DNA sequences in the human genome represent the remnants of ancient infectious retroviruses. We show that the infection of CD4+ T cells with HIV-1 resulted in transcription of the HML-2 lineage of HERV type K [HERV-K(HML-2)] and the expression of Gag and Env proteins. HERV-K(HML-2)-specific CD8+ T cells obtained from HIV-1-infected human subjects responded to HIV-1-infected cells in a Vif-dependent manner in vitro. Consistent with the proposed mode of action, a HERV-K(HML-2)-specific CD8+ T cell clone exhibited comprehensive elimination of cells infected with a panel of globally diverse HIV-1, HIV-2, and SIV isolates in vitro. We identified a second T cell response that exhibited cross-reactivity between homologous HIV-1-Pol and HERV-K(HML-2)-Pol determinants, raising the possibility that homology between HIV-1 and HERVs plays a role in shaping, and perhaps enhancing, the T cell response to HIV-1. This justifies the consideration of HERV-K(HML-2)-specific and cross-reactive T cell responses in the natural control of HIV-1 infection and for exploring HERV-K(HML-2)-targeted HIV-1 vaccines and immunotherapeutics.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 11/2012; DOI:10.1172/JCI64560 · 13.77 Impact Factor
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    Retrovirology 09/2012; 9(2). DOI:10.1186/1742-4690-9-S2-P102 · 4.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gradients of the sphingolipid sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) are responsible for the egress of lymphocytes from lymph nodes by activating the S1P1 receptor expressed on the surface of lymphocytes. Small molecule drugs that downregulate S1P receptors induce the sequestration of lymphocytes within lymph nodes, thus preventing lymphocytes from accessing sites of inflammation. In particular, FTY720, a pan-S1P receptor agonist, has been efficacious in the treatment of multiple sclerosis as well as its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), by virtue of its ability to restrain lymphocytes within the lymph nodes, thus precluding their migration into the CNS. However, multiple leukocyte subsets express S1P receptors of varying types, and although it is beneficial to prevent transmigration of proinflammatory lymphocytes into the CNS, allowing access of regulatory leukocyte subsets to the CNS is desirable. In this study, we show that an S1P1-specific agonist (AUY954) is clinically efficacious in ameliorating pre-established EAE in SJL/J mice. Efficacy of AUY954 correlated with a reduction of lymphocytes in the CNS, but access of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) to the CNS was unimpaired, and the presence of pDCs was found to be an important cofactor in mediating the clinical efficacy of AUY954. These results indicate that pDCs are important in quieting autoimmune responses during EAE, and that trafficking inhibitors that are permissive for pDC accumulation in the CNS may be of therapeutic value for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
    The Journal of Immunology 08/2012; 189(7):3700-6. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1102261 · 5.36 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
647.01 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001–2014
    • University of Toronto
      • • Department of Immunology
      • • Department of Clinical Sciences
      • • Department of Medicine
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2013
    • St. Michael's Hospital
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
      • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
      Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
  • 1996–2013
    • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
      • Laboratory of Immunoregulation
      Maryland, United States
  • 2010
    • Toronto Western Hospital
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2009
    • University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
      • Department of Medicine
      Honolulu, HI, United States