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Publications (9)

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retinoic acids, which are metabolites of vitamin A, have been shown to be involved in multiple T cell effector responses through their binding to the retinoic acid receptor, a ligand-activated transcription factor. Because the molecular mechanism of regulation by retinoic acid is still not fully uncovered, we investigated the gene expression profile of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-treated human CD4(+) T cells. Leucine zipper transcription factor-like 1 (LZTFL1) was upregulated by ATRA in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The expression of LZTFL1 depended on both ATRA and TCR signaling. LZTFL1 accumulated in the plasma membrane compartment of human CD4(+) T cells, and, during immunological synapse formation, it transiently redistributed to the T cell and APC contact zone, indicating its role in T cell activation. Live-cell imaging demonstrates that at the initial stage of immunological synapse formation, LZTFL1 is concentrated at the APC contact site, and, during later stages, it relocates to the distal pole. Knockdown of LZTFL1 reduced the basal- and ATRA-induced levels of IL-5 in CD4(+) T cells, and overexpression of LZTFL1 enhanced the TCR-mediated NFAT signaling, suggesting that LZTFL1 is an important regulator of ATRA-induced T cell response. Together, these data indicate that LZTFL1 modulates T cell activation and IL-5 levels.
    Article · Dec 2015 · The Journal of Immunology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Viral blips, where HIV RNA plasma viral load (pVL) intermittently increases above the lower limit of assay detection, are a cause for concern. We investigated a number of hypotheses for their cause. We assessed HIV RNA, and total and episomal HIV DNA from 16 individuals commencing antiretroviral therapy consisting of raltegravir and tenofovir/emtricitabine for 3 years, using two assays: a single-copy assay (SCA, lower limit of quantification LLOQ, <1 copy/ml), and the Amplicor assay (LLOQ of 50 copies/ml). Two individuals exhibited viral blips. From week 20 onwards, the period where ART had achieved its final suppressive levels, pVL ranged from <1 to ≥50330 copies/ml, except for one individual at the final time. Both assays were 98% consistent (108/110) in assessing pVL <50 copies/ml, but the Amplicor assay registered 56% of samples (19/34) as below the LLOQ which were in the 50 to 1000 copy/ml range as quantified by SCA. pVL changes between successive timepoints did not correlate with changes in cellular infection as measured through either total or episomal HIV DNA. Changes in pVL were correlated (negatively) with changes in: total CD4+ T cell numbers (p=0.003), naïve (CD45RO-CD62L+CD4+), natural regulatory (CD45RO-CD25+CD127-CD4+), activated effector (CD45RO+CD38++CCR5+CD8+), but not activated (CD38+HLA-DR+) CD4+ T cells. Patients receiving stable, seemingly suppressive antiretroviral therapy can have pVL near the 50 copy LLOQ at multiple timepoints. The high Amplicor assay error rate around this level implies that viral blips under-represent pVL being more consistently above the LLOQ. Activation of latently infected cells is less likely to contribute to this phenomenon.
    Article · Jul 2013 · AIDS research and human retroviruses
  • Yunden Badralmaa · Ven Natarajan
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Detection of episomal 2-LTR DNA circles is used as a marker for the ongoing virus replication in patients infected with HIV-1, and efficient extraction of episomal DNA is critical for accurate estimation of the 2-LTR circles. The impact of different methods of DNA extraction on the recovery of 2-LTR circles was compared using mitochondrial DNA extracted as an internal control. The bacterial plasmid DNA isolation method extracted less than 10% of cellular DNA, 40% of mitochondrial DNA and 12-20% of the input 2-LTR DNA. The total DNA isolation method recovered about 70% of mitochondrial DNA and 45% of the input 2-LTR DNA. The total nucleic acid isolation method recovered 90% of mitochondrial DNA and 60% of the input 2-LTR DNA. Similar results were obtained when the DNA was extracted from HIV-1 infected cells. Plasmid DNA isolation could not distinguish between 12 and 25 copies of 2-LTR DNA per million cells, whereas the total nucleic acid isolation showed a consistent and statistically significant difference between 12 and 25 copies. In conclusion, the total nucleic acid isolation method is more efficient than the plasmid DNA isolation method in recovering mitochondrial DNA and 2-LTR DNA circles from HIV-1 infected cells.
    Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of virological methods
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    Hong Jiang · Yunden Badralmaa · Jun Yang · [...] · Ven Natarajan
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retinoic acids regulate the reverse cholesterol transport by inducing the ATP binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) dependent cholesterol efflux in macrophages, neuronal as well as intestine cells. In the present study, we aim to test the effect of all trans retinoic acid (ATRA) on ABCA1 expression in human CD4+ T cells and the involvement of cholesterol in ATRA mediated anti-HIV effect. Treatment with ATRA dramatically up-regulated ABCA1 expression in CD4+ T cells in a time and dose dependent manner. The expression of ABCA1 paralleled with increased ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux. This induction was dependent on T cell receptor (TCR) signaling and ATRA failed to induce ABCA1 expression in resting T cells. Moreover, ATRA and liver X receptor (LXR) agonist-TO-901317 together had synergistic effect on ABCA1 expression as well as cholesterol efflux. Increased ABCA1 expression was associated with lower cellular cholesterol staining. Cells treated with either ATRA or TO-901317 were less vulnerable to HIV-1 infection. Combination of retinoic acid and TO-901317 further inhibited HIV-1 entry and their inhibitory effects could be reversed by cholesterol replenishment. ABCA1 RNA and protein were determined by real-time PCR and immuno blot methods in cells treated with ATRA. Cholesterol efflux rate was measured in cells treated with ATRA and TO-901317. ATRA up-regulates ABCA1 expression and cholesterol efflux in CD4+ T cells and combination of ATRA and liver X receptor (LXR) agonist further enhanced these effects. Increased cholesterol efflux contributed to reduced HIV-1 entry, suggesting that anti-HIV effect of ATRA is mediated through ABCA1.
    Full-text Article · Jun 2012 · Lipids in Health and Disease
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) contributes significantly to HIV-related morbidity and mortality. Chronic immune activation and inflammation are thought to augment the progression of atherosclerotic disease. In this retrospective, case-control study of HIV-infected individuals, we investigated the association of traditional cardiac risk factors, HIV-related disease, and inflammation with CVD events. HIV-infected individuals who experienced an incident CVD event while enrolled in National Institutes of Health clinical protocols from 1995 to 2009 were matched 2: 1 to HIV-infected individuals without known CVD. Markers of inflammation and cell activation were measured in serum or plasma using ELISA-based assays and peripheral mononuclear cells by four-color flow cytometry. Fifty-two patients experienced an incident CVD event. Events were related to smoking, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, and family history as well as elevated D-dimer, soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1, and soluble tissue factor, but not high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. No significant differences in antiviral therapy, CD4 T-cell count, or CD38 and human leukocyte antigen-DR expression were identified between patients and controls. In multivariable analysis, smoking, family history, D-dimer, and glucose were independently related to CVD risk. In this cohort, CVD risk was related to traditional CVD risk factors and markers of thrombosis and endothelial damage, but not to high-sensitivity C-reactive protein or markers of T-cell activation such as CD38/human leukocyte antigen-DR coexpression. D-dimer may help identify HIV-infected patients at elevated CVD risk.
    Full-text Article · Jun 2010 · AIDS (London, England)
  • Allen Bosley · Heather N Marshall · Yunden Badralmaa · Ven Natarajan
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have examined several methods, including heat treatment and treatment with detergents, to inactivate HIV-1 present in plasma to be depleted of abundant proteins utilizing an antibody-based technology. Treatment with Triton X-100 was not compatible with abundant protein depletion with an antibody column and heat treatment alters the composition of the plasma proteome. However, treatment with 1.2% N-octylglucoside for 5 min completely inhibited HIV-1 infectivity. The detergent was easily removed through buffer exchange, and this treatment had no discernable effect on protein depletion.
    Article · Jun 2008 · Proteomics. Clinical applications
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Administration of IL-2 to HIV-infected patients leads to expansion of a unique subset of CD4CD45ROCD25 cells. In this study, the origin, clonality, and function of these cells were investigated. Analysis of TCR excision circles revealed that the CD4CD45ROCD25 cells were the product of peripheral expansion but remained polyclonal as determined by TCR repertoire analysis. Phenotypically, these cells were distinct from naturally occurring Tregs; they exhibited intermediate features, between those of memory and naive cells, and had lower susceptibility to apoptosis than CD45ROCD25 or memory T cells. Studies of intracellular cytokine production and proliferation revealed that cytokine-expanded naive CD25 cells had low IL-2 production and required costimulation for proliferation. Despite elevated expression of forkhead transcription factor P3 (foxP3), they exerted only weak suppression compared with CD45ROCD25 cells (Tregs). In summary, in vivo IL-2 administration to HIV-infected patients leads to peripheral expansion of a population of long-lived CD4CD45ROCD25 cells that express high levels of foxP3 but exert weak suppressive function. These CD4CD25 cytokine-expanded naive cells, distinct from antigen-triggered cells and Tregs, play a role in the maintenance of a state of low turnover and sustained expansion of the CD4 T cell pool.
    Full-text Article · Aug 2005 · Journal of Clinical Investigation
  • Dorjbal Dorjsuren · Yunden Badralmaa · Judy Mikovits · [...] · Shizuko Sei
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The DNA polymerase (POL) of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is essential for viral DNA replication and, thus, may be considered as a viable target for anti-KSHV therapeutics. To produce large quantities of homogeneous and pure POL required for high-throughput screening (HTS) for inhibitors, we generated a recombinant baculovirus vector encoding a hexahistidine (His6)-tagged POL and infected Spodoptera frugiperda Sf-9 insect cells. High expression of recombinant POL (rPOL) was achieved for up to 72h post-infection. The rPOL was solubilized in lysis buffer containing 0.3% Cymal-5 detergent, purified by metal-chelating and dsDNA-cellulose affinity chromatography, and analyzed by anti-His antibody Western blot and mass spectrometry. The functionality of rPOL was confirmed by its DNA synthesis activity in vitro, which was effectively blocked by the anti-herpetic DNA polymerase inhibitors, foscarnet and cidofovir diphosphate, in a dose-dependent manner. The POL expressed and purified from the recombinant baculovirus-infected insect cells may be useful toward the development of HTS of large chemical libraries to identify novel KSHV DNA polymerase inhibitors.
    Article · Jun 2003 · Protein Expression and Purification
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intermittent interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapy has been shown to increase the number of CD4+ T cells, preferentially cells with a naive phenotype, in patients with HIV infection. For this report we investigated the mechanism underlying this expansion by studying the relative roles of peripheral expansion and thymic output. In a cohort of six patients receiving IL-2 over a period of 1 year, the mean number of naive CD4+ T cells increased from 139 to 387 cells per microl while levels of T cell receptor rearrangement excision circles (TRECs) declined from 47,946 to 26,510 copies per 10(6) naive T cells, thus making it unlikely that the CD4+ T cell count increases were secondary to increase in thymic output. To examine directly the impact of IL-2 on peripheral expansion, peripheral blood mature, naive CD4+ T cells were labeled ex vivo with 5-bromodeoxyuridine as well as stained directly for Ki67. These studies revealed a 7-fold increase in the percentage of 5-bromodeoxyuridine-positive cells and a 20-40-fold increase in Ki67 staining in the naive CD4+ T cell pool in the setting of IL-2 administration. This degree of increase in mature CD4+ T cell turnover induced by IL-2 does not compromise the future replicative potential of these cells, because longitudinal measurements of telomere length went from 6,981 to 7,153 bp after 1 year of IL-2 therapy. These data strongly suggest that much of the increase in CD4+ cells associated with IL-2 treatment is caused by peripheral expansion of existing naive CD4+ T cells rather than increased thymic output and that these increases occur without compromising the potential of these cells for further cell division.
    Full-text Article · Sep 2002 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences