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Breaking the senescence: inhibition of ATM allows S9 cells to re-enter cell cycle

Description

The Philadelphia chromosome in humans, is on oncogenic translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22 that gives rise to the fusion protein BCR-Abl. This protein is constitutively active resulting in rapid

The Philadelphia chromosome in humans, is on oncogenic translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22 that gives rise to the fusion protein BCR-Abl. This protein is constitutively active resulting in rapid and uncontrolled cell growth in affected cells. The BCR-Abl protein is the hallmark feature of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and is seen in Philadelphia-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cases. Currently, the first line of treatment is the Abl specific inhibitor Imatinib. Some patients will, however, develop resistance to Imatinib. Research has shown how transformation of progenitor B cells with v-Abl, an oncogene expressed by the Abelson murine leukemia virus, causes rapid proliferation, prevents further differentiation and produces a potentially malignant transformation. We have used progenitor B cells transformed with a temperature-sensitive form of the v-Abl protein that allows us to inactivate or re-activate v-Abl by shifting the incubation temperature. We are trying to use this line as a model to study both the progression from pre-malignancy to malignancy in CML and Imatinib resistance in Ph+ ALL and CML. These progenitor B cells, once v-Abl is reactivated, in most cases, will not return to their natural cell cycle. In this they resemble Ph+ ALL and CML under Imatinib treatment. With some manipulation these cells can break this prolonged G1 arrested phenotype and become a malignant cell line and resistant to Imatinib treatment. Cellular senescence can be a complicated process requiring inter-play between a variety of players. It serves as an alternate option to apoptosis, in that the cell loses proliferative potential, but does not die. Treatment with some cancer therapeutics will induce senescence in some cancers. Such is the case with Imatinib treatment of CML and Ph+ ALL. By using the S9 cell line we have been able to explore the possible routes for breaking of prolonged G1 arrest in these Ph+ leukemias. We inhibited the DNA damage sensor protein ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and found that prolonged G1 arrest in our S9 cells was broken. While previous research has suggested that the DNA damage sensor protein ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) has little impact in CML, our research indicates that ATM may play a role in either senescence induction or release.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Tracking the humoral immune response in type 1 diabetes

Description

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by progressive autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells. Genetic, immunological and environmental factors contribute to T1D development. The focus of

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by progressive autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells. Genetic, immunological and environmental factors contribute to T1D development. The focus of this dissertation is to track the humoral immune response in T1D by profiling autoantibodies (AAbs) and anti-viral antibodies using an innovative protein array platform called Nucleic Acid Programmable Protein Array (NAPPA).

AAbs provide value in identifying individuals at risk, stratifying patients with different clinical courses, improving our understanding of autoimmune destructions, identifying antigens for cellular immune response and providing candidates for prevention trials in T1D. A two-stage serological AAb screening against 6,000 human proteins was performed. A dual specificity tyrosine-phosphorylation-regulated kinase 2 (DYRK2) was validated with 36% sensitivity at 98% specificity by an orthogonal immunoassay. This is the first systematic screening for novel AAbs against large number of human proteins by protein arrays in T1D. A more comprehensive search for novel AAbs was performed using a knowledge-based approach by ELISA and a screening-based approach against 10,000 human proteins by NAPPA. Six AAbs were identified and validated with sensitivities ranged from 16% to 27% at 95% specificity. These two studies enriched the T1D “autoantigenome” and provided insights into T1D pathophysiology in an unprecedented breadth and width.

The rapid rise of T1D incidence suggests the potential involvement of environmental factors including viral infections. Sero-reactivity to 646 viral antigens was assessed in new-onset T1D patients. Antibody positive rate of EBV was significantly higher in cases than controls that suggested a potential role of EBV in T1D development. A high density-NAPPA platform was demonstrated with high reproducibility and sensitivity in profiling anti-viral antibodies.

This dissertation shows the power of a protein-array based immunoproteomics approach to characterize humoral immunoprofile against human and viral proteomes. The identification of novel T1D-specific AAbs and T1D-associated viruses will help to connect the nodes in T1D etiology and provide better understanding of T1D pathophysiology.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Bowties, barcodes, and DNA origami: a novel approach for paired-chain immune receptor repertoire analysis

Description

There are many biological questions that require single-cell analysis of gene sequences, including analysis of clonally distributed dimeric immunoreceptors on lymphocytes (T cells and B cells) and/or the accumulation of

There are many biological questions that require single-cell analysis of gene sequences, including analysis of clonally distributed dimeric immunoreceptors on lymphocytes (T cells and B cells) and/or the accumulation of driver/accessory mutations in polyclonal tumors. Lysis of bulk cell populations results in mixing of gene sequences, making it impossible to know which pairs of gene sequences originated from any particular cell and obfuscating analysis of rare sequences within large populations. Although current single-cell sorting technologies can be used to address some of these questions, such approaches are expensive, require specialized equipment, and lack the necessary high-throughput capacity for comprehensive analysis. Water-in-oil emulsion approaches for single cell sorting have been developed but droplet-based single-cell lysis and analysis have proven inefficient and yield high rates of false pairings. Ideally, molecular approaches for linking gene sequences from individual cells could be coupled with next-generation high-throughput sequencing to overcome these obstacles, but conventional approaches for linking gene sequences, such as by transfection with bridging oligonucleotides, result in activation of cellular nucleases that destroy the template, precluding this strategy. Recent advances in the synthesis and fabrication of modular deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) origami nanostructures have resulted in new possibilities for addressing many current and long-standing scientific and technical challenges in biology and medicine. One exciting application of DNA nanotechnology is the intracellular capture, barcode linkage, and subsequent sequence analysis of multiple messenger RNA (mRNA) targets from individual cells within heterogeneous cell populations. DNA nanostructures can be transfected into individual cells to capture and protect mRNA for specific expressed genes, and incorporation of origami-specific bowtie-barcodes into the origami nanostructure facilitates pairing and analysis of mRNA from individual cells by high-throughput next-generation sequencing. This approach is highly modular and can be adapted to virtually any two (and possibly more) gene target sequences, and therefore has a wide range of potential applications for analysis of diverse cell populations such as understanding the relationship between different immune cell populations, development of novel immunotherapeutic antibodies, or improving the diagnosis or treatment for a wide variety of cancers.

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Date Created
  • 2017

DNA nanostructure as a scaffold for immunological applications

Description

DNA nanotechnology has been a rapidly growing research field in the recent decades, and there have been extensive efforts to construct various types of highly programmable and robust DNA nanostructures.

DNA nanotechnology has been a rapidly growing research field in the recent decades, and there have been extensive efforts to construct various types of highly programmable and robust DNA nanostructures. Due to the advantage that DNA nanostructure can be used to organize biochemical molecules with precisely controlled spatial resolution, herein we used DNA nanostructure as a scaffold for biological applications. Targeted cell-cell interaction was reconstituted through a DNA scaffolded multivalent bispecific aptamer, which may lead to promising potentials in tumor therapeutics. In addition a synthetic vaccine was constructed using DNA nanostructure as a platform to assemble both model antigen and immunoadjuvant together, and strong antibody response was demonstrated in vivo, highlighting the potential of DNA nanostructures to serve as a new platform for vaccine construction, and therefore a DNA scaffolded hapten vaccine is further constructed and tested for its antibody response. Taken together, my research demonstrated the potential of DNA nanostructure to serve as a general platform for immunological applications.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Investigation of tumor frame shift antigens for prophylactic cancer vaccine, cancer detection and tumorigenicity

Description

Cancer is one of the most serious global diseases. We have focused on cancer immunoprevention. My thesis projects include developing a prophylactic primary and metastatic cancer vaccines, early cancer detection

Cancer is one of the most serious global diseases. We have focused on cancer immunoprevention. My thesis projects include developing a prophylactic primary and metastatic cancer vaccines, early cancer detection and investigation of genes involved in tumor development. These studies were focused on frame-shift (FS) antigens. The FS antigens are generated by genomic mutations or abnormal RNA processing, which cause a portion of a normal protein to be translated out of frame. The concept of the prophylactic cancer vaccine is to develop a general cancer vaccine that could prevent healthy people from developing different types of cancer. We have discovered a set of cancer specific FS antigens. One of the FS candidates, structural maintenance of chromosomes protein 1A (SMC1A) FS, could start to accumulate at early stages of tumor and be specifically exposed to the immune system by tumor cells. Prophylactic immunization with SMC1A-FS could significantly inhibit primary tumor development in different murine tumor models and also has the potential to inhibit tumor metastasis. The SMC1A-FS transcript was detected in the plasma of the 4T1/BALB/c mouse tumor model. The tumor size was correlated with the transcript ratio of the SMC1A-FS verses the WT in plasma, which could be measured by regular RT-PCR. This unique cancer biomarker has a practical potential for a large population cancer screen, as well as clinical tumor monitoring. With a set of mimotope peptides, antibodies against SMC1A-FS peptide were detected in different cancer patients, including breast cancer, pancreas cancer and lung cancer with a 53.8%, 56.5% and 12.5% positive rate respectively. This suggested that the FS antibody could be a biomarker for early cancer detection. The characterization of SMC1A suggested that: First, the deficiency of the SMC1A is common in different tumors and able to promote tumor initiation and development; second, the FS truncated protein may have nucleolus function in normal cells. Mis-control of this protein may promote tumor development. In summary, we developed a systematic general cancer prevention strategy through the variety immunological and molecular methods. The results gathered suggest the SMC1A-FS may be useful for the detection and prevention of cancer.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Immunosignature of Alzheimer's disease

Description

The goal of this thesis is to test whether Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with distinctive humoral immune changes that can be detected in plasma and tracked across time. This

The goal of this thesis is to test whether Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with distinctive humoral immune changes that can be detected in plasma and tracked across time. This is relevant because AD is the principal cause of dementia, and yet, no specific diagnostic tests are universally employed in clinical practice to predict, diagnose or monitor disease progression. In particular, I describe herein a proteomic platform developed at the Center for Innovations in Medicine (CIM) consisting of a slide with 10.000 random-sequence peptides printed on its surface, which is used as the solid phase of an immunoassay where antibodies of interest are allowed to react and subsequently detected with a labeled secondary antibody. The pattern of antibody binding to the microarray is unique for each individual animal or person. This thesis will evaluate the versatility of the microarray platform and how it can be used to detect and characterize the binding patterns of antibodies relevant to the pathophysiology of AD as well as the plasma samples of animal models of AD and elderly humans with or without dementia. My specific aims were to evaluate the emergence and stability of immunosignature in mice with cerebral amyloidosis, and characterize the immunosignature of humans with AD. Plasma samples from APPswe/PSEN1-dE9 transgenic mice were evaluated longitudinally from 2 to 15 months of age to compare the evolving immunosignature with non-transgenic control mice. Immunological variation across different time-points was assessed, with particular emphasis on time of emergence of a characteristic pattern. In addition, plasma samples from AD patients and age-matched individuals without dementia were assayed on the peptide microarray and binding patterns were compared. It is hoped that these experiments will be the basis for a larger study of the diagnostic merits of the microarray-based immunoassay in dementia clinics.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Frameshift antigens for cancer vaccine development

Description

Immunotherapy has been revitalized with the advent of immune checkpoint blockade

treatments, and neo-antigens are the targets of immune system in cancer patients who

respond to the treatments. The cancer vaccine field

Immunotherapy has been revitalized with the advent of immune checkpoint blockade

treatments, and neo-antigens are the targets of immune system in cancer patients who

respond to the treatments. The cancer vaccine field is focused on using neo-antigens from

unique point mutations of genomic sequence in the cancer patient for making

personalized cancer vaccines. However, we choose a different path to find frameshift

neo-antigens at the mRNA level and develop broadly effective cancer vaccines based on

frameshift antigens.

In this dissertation, I have summarized and characterized all the potential frameshift

antigens from microsatellite regions in human, dog and mouse. A list of frameshift

antigens was validated by PCR in tumor samples and the mutation rate was calculated for

one candidate – SEC62. I develop a method to screen the antibody response against

frameshift antigens in human and dog cancer patients by using frameshift peptide arrays.

Frameshift antigens selected by positive antibody response in cancer patients or by MHC

predictions show protection in different mouse tumor models. A dog version of the

cancer vaccine based on frameshift antigens was developed and tested in a small safety

trial. The results demonstrate that the vaccine is safe and it can induce strong B and T cell

immune responses. Further, I built the human exon junction frameshift database which

includes all possible frameshift antigens from mis-splicing events in exon junctions, and I

develop a method to find potential frameshift antigens from large cancer

immunosignature dataset with these databases. In addition, I test the idea of ‘early cancer

diagnosis, early treatment’ in a transgenic mouse cancer model. The results show that

ii

early treatment gives significantly better protection than late treatment and the correct

time point for treatment is crucial to give the best clinical benefit. A model for early

treatment is developed with these results.

Frameshift neo-antigens from microsatellite regions and mis-splicing events are

abundant at mRNA level and they are better antigens than neo-antigens from point

mutations in the genomic sequences of cancer patients in terms of high immunogenicity,

low probability to cause autoimmune diseases and low cost to develop a broadly effective

vaccine. This dissertation demonstrates the feasibility of using frameshift antigens for

cancer vaccine development.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Immunological and gene regulatory functions of the protein vitellogenin in honey bees (Apis mellifera)

Description

Vitellogenin (Vg) is an ancient and highly conserved multifunctional protein. It is primarily known for its role in egg-yolk formation but also serves functions pertaining to immunity, longevity, nutrient storage,

Vitellogenin (Vg) is an ancient and highly conserved multifunctional protein. It is primarily known for its role in egg-yolk formation but also serves functions pertaining to immunity, longevity, nutrient storage, and oxidative stress relief. In the honey bee (Apis mellifera), Vg has evolved still further to include important social functions that are critical to the maintenance and proliferation of colonies. Here, Vg is used to synthesize royal jelly, a glandular secretion produced by a subset of the worker caste that is fed to the queen and young larvae and which is essential for caste development and social immunity. Moreover, Vg in the worker caste sets the pace of their behavioral development as they transition between different tasks throughout their life. In this dissertation, I make several new discoveries about Vg functionality. First, I uncover a colony-level immune pathway in bees that uses royal jelly as a vehicle to transfer pathogen fragments between nestmates. Second, I show that Vg is localized and expressed in the honey bee digestive tract and suggest possible immunological functions it may be performing there. Finally, I show that Vg enters to nucleus and binds to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), acting as a potential transcription factor to regulate expression of many genes pertaining to behavior, metabolism, and signal transduction pathways. These findings represent a significant advance in the understanding of Vg functionality and honey bee biology, and set the stage for many future avenues of research.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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The Adjuvant Properties of RNA Origami for Immunotherapy in a CT26 Cancer Model

Description

The properties of adjuvants to stimulate an immune response to treat cancer has sparked a major area of research in the field of immunotherapy. Given the presence of multiple RNA

The properties of adjuvants to stimulate an immune response to treat cancer has sparked a major area of research in the field of immunotherapy. Given the presence of multiple RNA sensors in mammalian host cells for eliciting innate immunity, synthetic RNA nanostructures present a unique opportunity for adjuvant exploration. While RNA nanostructures are organic and biocompatible in nature than other adjuvants, they could be tailored to have desired structural stability and functional diversity for in vivo application. In this study, a rectangular RNA origami nanostructure was designed to contain double-stranded RNA motifs and possess high structural stability. Using in vitro assays, RNA origami was shown to stimulate the toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) signaling pathway, which has been reported to activate antigen presenting cells (APCs), natural killer (NK) cells, cluster of differentiation 8 (CD8) T-cells, and the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. To explore RNA origami as an adjuvant for cancer immunotherapy, intraperitoneal administration of a murine colon cancer cell line (CT26) was used as a model system to mimic peritoneal metastasis (PM), in which RNA origami was investigated for its activities in mitigating PM tumor microenvironment and improving anti-tumor immunity. Given the poor outcome of the patients with PM and urgent need for new interventions, this study aims to translate the adjuvant activities of RNA origami demonstrated in vitro into potent anti-cancer immunotherapeutics. Here, it was shown that multiple intraperitoneal injections of RNA origami could inhibit tumor growth, leading to a significant delay and/or regression of metastatic tumor growth in the peritoneum. Furthermore, tumor-free mice, after being treated with RNA origami, were also resistant to a second challenge of tumor cells, indicating the development of the adaptive anti-tumor immunity. This immunity is dependent on T-cells since nude mice succumbed to tumor growth with or without RNA origami treatment. Thus, RNA-origami can function as an adjuvant to activate the innate immunity and subsequently the adaptive anti-tumor immunity, leading to tumor regression. Conceivably, RNA origami could be explored as an immunotherapeutic agent to improve the disease outcome of patients with peritoneal metastasis and peritoneal carcinogenesis.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Focal and Systemic Immune Responses Following Intracerebral Hemorrhage

Description

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating type of acute brain injury with high mortality and disability. Acute brain injury swiftly alters the immune reactivity within and outside the brain; however,

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating type of acute brain injury with high mortality and disability. Acute brain injury swiftly alters the immune reactivity within and outside the brain; however, the mechanisms and influence on neurological outcome remains largely unknown. My dissertation investigated how ICH triggers focal and systemic immune responses and their impact hemorrhagic brain injury. At the focal level, a significant upregulation of interleukin (IL)-15 was identified in astrocytes of brain sections from ICH patients. A transgenic mouse line where the astrocytic IL-15 expression is controlled by a glial fibrillary acidic protein promoter (GFAP-IL-15tg) was generated to investigate its role in ICH. Astrocyte-targeted expression of IL-15 exacerbated brain edema and neurological deficits following ICH. Aggravated ICH injury was accompanied by an accumulation of pro-inflammatory microglia proximal to astrocytes in perihematomal tissues, microglial depletion attenuated the augmented ICH injury in GFAP-IL-15tg mice. These findings suggest that IL-15 mediates the crosstalk between astrocytes and microglia, which worsens ICH injury.Systemic immune response was investigated by leveraging the novel method of obtaining and analyzing bone marrow cells from the cranial bone flaps of ICH patients. A swift increase of hematopoietic stem cell (HSCs) population in the bone marrow was identified, along with a shift towards the myeloid cell lineage. Human findings were mirrored in an ICH mouse model. Fate mapping these HSCs revealed increased genesis of Ly6Clow monocytes in the bone marrow, which transmigrate into the hemorrhagic brain and give rise to alternative activation marker bearing macrophage. Blockade of the β3-adrenergic receptor or inhibition of Cdc42 abolished ICH-induced myeloid bias of HSCs. Importantly, mirabegron, a Food and Drug Administration-approved β3 adrenergic receptor agonist, and a Cdc42 activator, IL-3, enhanced bone marrow generation of Ly6Clow monocytes and improved recovery. These results suggest that brain injury modulates HSC lineage destination to curb distal brain inflammation, implicating the bone marrow as a unique niche for self-protective neuroimmune interactions. Together, these results demonstrate how acute brain injury exerts a profound yet distinct effect on immune responses within and outside the brain and sheds new light on neuroimmune interactions with potential clinical implications.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020