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    ABSTRACT: Transcription factors (TFs) play a key role in determining the gene expression profiles of stem/progenitor cells, and defining their potential to differentiate into mature cell lineages. TF interactions within gene-regulatory networks are vital to these processes, and dysregulation of these networks by TF overexpression, deletion or abnormal gene fusions have been shown to cause malignancy. While investigation of these processes remains a challenge, advances in genome-wide technologies and growing interactions between laboratory and computational science are starting to produce increasingly accurate network models. The haematopoietic system provides an attractive experimental system to elucidate gene regulatory mechanisms, and allows experimental investigation of both normal and dysregulated networks. In this review we examine the principles of TF-controlled gene regulatory networks and the key experimental techniques used to investigate them. We look in detail at examples of how these approaches can be used to dissect out the regulatory mechanisms controlling normal haematopoiesis, as well as the dysregulated networks associated with haematological malignancies.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Experimental Cell Research
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    ABSTRACT: Studies show that 1 in 1200 neonates have a low platelet (PLT) count due to alloimmunization against human PLT antigen (HPA)-1a (β3 -L33). This mainly occurs in HPA-1a-negative mothers who are positive for the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB3*01:01 allele, but only about one-third of cases will mount an effective alloimmune response. The development of specific treatment modalities requires that the mechanisms driving the maternal alloimmune response against the fetal PLTs be further explored. An antibody reagent that has a different binding affinity to HLA-DRA/DRB3*01:01 with and without the β3 -L33 peptide would be a valuable reagent to study peptide presentation on maternal antigen-presenting cells. To identify such antibodies, HLA-DRA/DRB3*01:01 was recombinantly expressed in Drosophila S2 cells. To delineate the epitope of interesting antibodies, seven mutant HLA-DRA/DRB3*01:01 molecules were generated by site-directed mutagenesis introducing naturally occurring amino acid changes encoded by DRB3*02 and DRB3*03 alleles. The murine monoclonal antibody (MoAb) DA2 showed robust binding by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to recombinant HLA-DRA/DRB3*01:01, but binding was reduced in the presence of β3 -L33 peptide. The binding affinity of DA2 to the mutant HLA-DRA/DRB3*0101 in which serine at Position 60 of the β1-chain was replaced by tyrosine was greatly enhanced. Interestingly the binding of DA2 to the mutant was not reduced by the presence of β3 -L33 peptide. The results of this study generate a molecular model of the interaction of the HLA-DRA/DRB3*01:01 molecule with MoAb DA2. This will inform functional studies with the recombinant Class II molecules.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Transfusion
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of platelets by the serine protease thrombin is a critical event in haemostasis. This process involves the binding of thrombin to glycoprotein Ibα (GpIbα) and cleavage of protease-activated receptors (PARs). The N-terminal extracellular domain of GpIbα contains an acidic peptide stretch that has been identified as the main thrombin binding site, and both of thrombin's anion binding exosites have been implicated in GpIbα binding, but it remains unclear how they are involved. This issue is of critical importance for the mechanism of platelet activation by thrombin. If both exosites bind to GpIbα, thrombin could potentially act as a platelet adhesion molecule or receptor dimerisation trigger. Alternatively, if only a single site is involved, GpIbα may serve as a cofactor for PAR-1 activation by thrombin. To determine the involvement of thrombin's two exosites in GpIbα binding, we employed the complementary methods of mutational analysis, binding studies, X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. Our results indicate that the peptide corresponding to the C-terminal portion of GpIbα and the entire extracellular domain bind exclusively to thrombin's exosite II. The interaction of thrombin with GpIbα thus serves to recruit thrombin activity to the platelet surface while leaving exosite I free for PAR-1 recognition.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Molecular Biology
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