James Tang

James Tang
University of Alabama at Birmingham | UAB · Department of Medicine

PhD
CSO, Aeonvital Biomedical Research (Beijing, China) Professor Emeritus, University of Alabama at Birmingham

About

193
Publications
10,914
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Introduction
As an immunologist by training, my previous research dealt with immunogenetic factors in several infectious diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. My new focus, which began in September 2021, is on R&D toward therapeutics for human malignancies associated with persistent, oncogenic HPV infection.
Additional affiliations
September 2021 - present
Aeonvital Biomedical Research
Position
  • CSO
Description
  • R&D toward cancer therapeutics, including DNA vaccines against HPV-associated malignancies
August 1993 - present
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Description
  • Primary focus on immunogenetics and pharmacogenetics

Publications

Publications (193)
Article
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The HIV-1 Envelope glycoprotein (Env) is the sole target for broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). Env is heavily glycosylated with host-derived N-glycans, and many bnAbs bind to, or are dependent upon, Env glycans for neutralization. Although glycan-binding bnAbs are frequently detected in HIV-infected individuals, attempts to elicit them have...
Article
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In 2014 and 2021, two nucleic-acid vaccine candidates named MAV E2 and VGX-3100 completed phase III clinical trials in Mexico and U.S., respectively, for patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-related, high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL). These well-tolerated but still unlicensed vaccines encode distinct HPV antigens (E2 versus E6+...
Article
MHC-E, a non-classical MHC molecule, restricted CD8 T-cell responses have been associated with protection in an SIV/rhesus macaque model. The biological relevance of HLA-E restricted CD8 T-cell responses in HIV infection however remains unknown. In this study, CD8 T cells responding to HIV-1 Gag peptides presented by HLA-E were analyzed. Using in-v...
Article
Immunogenetic studies in the past three decades have uncovered a broad range of human genetic factors that seem to influence heterosexual HIV-1 transmission in one way or another. In our own work that jointly evaluated both genetic and nongenetic factors in two African cohorts of cohabiting, HIV-1-discordant couples (donor and recipient pairs) at r...
Article
The genetic diversity of circulating HIV-1 strains poses a major barrier to the design, development and evaluation of HIV-1 vaccines. The assessment of both vaccine- and natural infection-elicited T cell responses is commonly done with multivalent peptides that are designed to maximally capture the diversity of potential T cell epitopes (PTEs) obse...
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The prevalence of various comorbidities continue to rise in aging persons living with HIV-1 infection (PLWH), and our study here aimed to assess the rates and correlates of incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in PLWH from a retrospective, southeastern U.S. cohort. Based on electronic health records, we examined patient demographics, body mass...
Article
p>Variation in the risk and severity of many autoimmune diseases, malignancies and infections is strongly associated with polymorphisms at the HLA class I loci. These genetic associations provide a powerful opportunity for understanding the etiology of human disease. HLA class I associations are often interpreted in the light of 'protective' or 'de...
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Despite extensive research on the mechanisms of HLA-mediated immune control of HIV-1 pathogenesis, it is clear that much remains to be discovered, as exemplified by protective HLA alleles like HLA-B*81 which are associated with profound protection from CD4+ T cell decline without robust control of early plasma viremia. Here, we report on additional...
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Few HIV-infected persons can maintain low viral levels without therapeutic intervention. We evaluate predictors of spontaneous viral control in a prospective cohort of African adults shortly after HIV infection. Viral control was defined as ≥2 consecutive VL ≤10,000 copies/mL post-estimated date of infection (EDI) with at least 4 subsequent VL meas...
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Associations between human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants and chlamydia-related outcomes have been inconsistent. We previously identified HLA-DQB1*06 as a risk marker for chlamydia reinfection in a cohort of predominately HIV-infected adolescents. As chlamydia reinfection can lead to reproductive complications, validation of this finding in HIV-s...
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Aim To assess the feasibility of imputing human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles in African cohorts based on high-throughput genotyping of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Methods For two African cohorts representing eastern and southern Africa, genomic DNA samples extracted from peripheral...
Article
Human Fc-gamma receptors (FcγRs) FcγRIIA and FcγRIIIA contain amino acid variants with both high and low affinities for IgG that modulate antibody-mediated effector functions. Recent HIV vaccine trials suggested that these FcγR variants can influence susceptibility to HIV infection, which prompted us to fully assess the role of FcγR variants on HIV...
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In a cohort of 4,225 persons living with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection (PLWH) enrolled at a southeastern US clinic, the overall rate of incident herpes zoster (HZ) was 101 per 10,000 person-years (PY) between January 1999 and 2017, which nearly quadruples the rate reported for the general US population. In the same cohort, t...
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Immune control of HIV-1 infection depends heavily on cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses restricted by diverse HLA class I molecules. Recent work has uncovered specific amino acid residues (AARs) that seem to dictate the extent of immune control in African Americans, which prompted us to test these emerging hypotheses in seroconverters (SCs) from sout...
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HIV-1 adapts to a new host through mutations that facilitate immune escape. Here, we evaluate the impact on viral control and disease progression of transmitted polymorphisms that were either preadapted to or nonassociated with the new host's HLA. In a cohort of 169 Zambian heterosexual transmission pairs, we found that almost one-third of possible...
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Importance: Longitudinal data from 497 HIV-1 seroconverters have allowed us to systematically evaluate the dynamics and correlates of CD8(+) T-cell counts during untreated primary HIV-1 infection in eastern and southern Africans. Our findings suggest that individuals with certain HLA-I alleles, including A*03 (exclusively A*03:01), persistently ma...
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Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) are thought to be a critical component of a protective HIV vaccine. However, designing vaccines immunogens able to elicit bnAbs has proven unsuccessful to date. Understanding the correlates and immunological mechanisms leading to the development of bnAb responses during natural HIV infection is thus critical...
Article
Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that HIV-1 discordant couples who share HLA-B alleles were more likely to transmit HIV-1. These data lead us to hypothesize that individuals who match at both HLA-B alleles should have a reduced allogeneic response than those who are not matched. We observed diminished killing of CD4+ target cells only when H...
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Antiretroviral therapy, antibody and CD8+ T cell-mediated responses targeting human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) exert selection pressure on the virus necessitating escape; however, the ability of CD4+ T cells to exert selective pressure remains unclear. Using a computational approach on HIV gag/pol/nef sequences and HLA-II allelic data, we ide...
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In individuals with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, CD4:CD8 lymphocyte ratio is often recognized as a quantitative outcome that reflects the critical role of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cells in HIV-1 pathogenesis or disease progression. Our work aimed to first establish the dynamics and clinical relevance of CD4:CD8 ratio in a...
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Kawasaki disease (KD) is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in most developed countries including the United States. The etiology of KD is not known; however, epidemiological and immunological data suggest infectious or immune-related factors in the manifestation of the disease. Further, KD has several hereditary features that...
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HIV-1 infection is characterized by varying degrees of chronic immune activation and disruption of T-cell homeostasis, which impact the rate of disease progression. A deeper understanding of the factors that influence HIV-1-induced immunopathology and subsequent CD4(+) T-cell decline is critical to strategies aimed at controlling or eliminating the...
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Numerous reports have suggested that immunogenetic factors may influence human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 acquisition, yet replicated findings that translate between study cohorts remain elusive. Our work aimed to test several hypotheses about genetic variants within the IL10-IL24 gene cluster that encodes interleukin (IL)-10, IL-19, IL-20 and...
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Control of virus replication in HIV-1 infection is critical to delaying disease progression. While cellular immune responses are a key determinant of control, relatively little is known about the contribution of the infecting virus to this process. To gain insight into this interplay between virus and host in viral control, we conducted a detailed...
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Heterosexual transmission of HIV-1 typically results in one genetic variant establishing systemic infection. We compared, for 137 linked transmission pairs, the amino acid sequences encoded by non-envelope genes of viruses in both partners and demonstrate a selection bias for transmission of residues that are predicted to confer increased in vivo f...
Article
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Research in the past two decades has generated unequivocal evidence that host genetic variations substantially account for the heterogeneous outcomes following human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. In particular, genes encoding human leukocyte antigens (HLA) have various alleles, haplotypes, or specific motifs that can dictate the...
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OBJECTIVE:: To evaluate the impact of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups on virologic and immunological outcomes of HIV infection. DESIGN:: HAART-naive African American adolescent participants to the Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health study. METHODS:: mtDNA haplogroups were inferred from sequenced mtDNA hypervariable region...
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Background KIR2DS4 gene variants encode full-length and truncated protein products, with only the former serving as membrane-bound receptors to activate natural killer (NK) cells. We have previously shown that full-length KIR2DS4 was associated with relatively high viral load and accelerated heterosexual HIV-1 transmission. Our objective here was t...
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Multiple major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci encoding human leukocyte antigens (HLA) have allelic variants unequivocally associated with differential immune control of HIV-1 infection. Fine mapping based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the extended MHC (xMHC) region is expected to reveal causal or novel factors and to justify a...
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In HIV-1 infection, plasma viral load (VL) has dual implications for pathogenesis and public health. Based on well-known patterns of HIV-1 evolution and immune escape, we hypothesized that VL is an evolving quantitative trait that depends heavily on duration of infection (DOI), demographic features, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genotypes and viral...
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Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is often deficient (<12 ng/ml) or insufficient (<20 ng/ml) in youth living with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection (YLH). Based on evidence from multiple genome-wide association studies, we hypothesized that genetic factors associated with 25(OH)D deficiency should be readily detectable in YLH even whe...
Article
Our work aimed to examine the potential influence of variants in interleukin/interleukin receptors genes on high-risk (HR-HPV) HPV clearance. Clearance of genital HR-HPV infection was evaluated for 134 HIV-1 seropositive African-American female adolescents from the Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health (REACH) cohort. Genotyping tar...
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As a mechanism of self-protection, signal peptides cleaved from human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I products bind to HLA-E before the complex interacts with the natural killer (NK) cell receptor CD94/NKG2A to inhibit NK-mediated cell lysis. Two types of the signal peptides differ in their position 2 (P2) anchor residue, with P2-methionine (P2-M)...
Article
Background Up to 20% of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT)-infected patients are reinfected within months after treatment, suggesting some fail to develop protective immunity. Genetic determinants influencing CT reinfection risk have not been fully elucidated. Our primary research objective is to identify genetic determinants of CT reinfection. Based on pr...
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Anthrax and its etiologic agent remain a biological threat. Anthrax vaccine is highly effective, but vaccine-induced IgG antibody responses vary widely following required doses of vaccinations. Such variation can be related to genetic factors, especially genomic copy number variants (CNVs) that are known to be enriched among genes with immunologic...
Data
Complete association results of all CNV tranisition points with early (8 weeks) and peak (30 weeks) antibody responses to anthrax vaccine in 200 African Americans. (XLSX)
Data
Complete association results of all CNV tranisition points with early (8 weeks) and peak (30 weeks) antibody responses to anthrax vaccine in 794 European Americans. (XLSX)
Article
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The genetic diversity among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) subtypes as well as the variability of viral sequences found in HIV-infected individuals presents a number of difficult obstacles for the development of universally effective HIV treatment and prevention methods. Here, we present a brief summary of recent developments in the analysis of...
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Two human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants, HLA-B*57 and -B*81, are consistently known as favorable host factors in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected Africans and African-Americans. In our analyses of prospective data from 538 recent HIV-1 seroconverters and cross-sectional data from 292 subjects with unknown duration of infectio...
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The dynamics of HIV-1 viremia is a complex and evolving landscape with clinical and epidemiological (public health) implications. Most studies have relied on the use of set-point viral load (VL) as a readily available proxy of viral dynamics to assess host and viral correlates. This review highlights recent findings from population-based studies of...
Data
Amino acids in Gag associated with changes in replicative capacity. This table lists all amino acids associated with changes in RC. Residues that remain significantly associated with changes in RC after correction for multiple comparisons (q<0.2) are depicted in green. A total of 152 sequences and RC values were available for association analysis,...
Data
Donor and recipient population gag sequences cluster with one another. Gag population sequences from donors and linked recipients were amplified and sequenced as described in the methods section. Nucleotide gag sequences were aligned using the Gene Cutter tool accessible on the Los Alamos Nation Lab HIV Sequence Database (http://www.hiv.lanl.gov/co...
Data
Gag sequences that are less like the Gag subtype C consensus sequence replicate more efficiently in vitro. The Gag amino acid sequences of all Gag-MJ4 chimeras were compared to a Zambian subtype C consensus Gag sequence (generated using the LANL Consensus Maker tool; http://www.hiv.lanl.gov/content/sequence/CONSENSUS/consensus.html) by building a n...
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Initial studies of 88 transmission pairs in the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project cohort demonstrated that the number of transmitted HLA-B associated polymorphisms in Gag, but not Nef, was negatively correlated to set point viral load (VL) in the newly infected partners. These results suggested that accumulation of CTL escape mutations in Gag might...
Article
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In HIV-1 infection, the early set-point viral load strongly predicts both viral transmission and disease progression. The factors responsible for the wide spectrum of set-point viral loads are complex and likely reflect an interplay between the transmitted virus and genetically defined factors in both the transmitting source partner and the serocon...
Article
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal disorder in women of reproductive age, especially among women with HIV-1 infection. Several bacterial products including lipopolysaccharides (LPS), lipoteichoic acids (LTA), and peptidoglycans (PGN) are stimulatory ligands for Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and recent evidence indicates the important role o...
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Background Multiple HLA class I alleles have been shown to influence both HIV-1 transmission and viral load. In transmission pairs, viral loads of acutely infected partners correlate with viral loads (VL) of their chronically infected donors. This correlation becomes highly significant after adjustment for host factors known to modulate viral load....