Primary human keratinocytes are useful for studying the pathogenesis of many different diseases of the cutaneous and mucosal epithelia. In addition, they can form organotypic tissue equivalents in culture that can be used as epidermal autografts for wound repair as well as for the delivery of gene therapy. However, primary keratinocytes have a finite lifespan in culture that limits their proliferative capacity and clinical use. Here, we report that treatment of primary keratinocytes (originating from 3 different anatomical sites) with Y-27632, a Rho kinase inhibitor, greatly increased their proliferative capacity and resulted in efficient immortalization without detectable cell crisis. More importantly, the immortalized cells displayed characteristics typical of primary keratinocytes; they had a normal karyotype and an intact DNA damage response and were able to differentiate into a stratified epithelium. This is the first example to our knowledge of a defined chemical compound mediating efficient cell immortalization, and this finding could have wide-ranging and profound investigational and medical applications.
Sandra Chapman, Xuefeng Liu, Craig Meyers, Richard Schlegel, Alison A. McBride
Identifying the antigens that have the potential to trigger endogenous antitumor responses in an individual cancer patient is likely to enhance the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy, but current methodologies do not efficiently identify such antigens. This study describes what we believe to be a new method of comprehensively identifying candidate tissue antigens that spontaneously cause T cell responses in disease situations. We used the newly developed automated, two-dimensional chromatography system PF2D to fractionate the proteome of human tumor tissues and tested protein fractions for recognition by preexisting tumor-specific CD4+ Th cells and CTLs. Applying this method using mice transgenic for a TCR that recognizes an OVA peptide presented by MHC class I, we demonstrated efficient separation, processing, and cross-presentation to CD8+ T cells by DCs of OVA expressed by the OVA-transfected mouse lymphoma RMA-OVA. Applying this method to human tumor tissues, we identified MUC1 and EGFR as tumor-associated antigens selectively recognized by T cells in patients with head and neck cancer. Finally, in an exemplary patient with a malignant brain tumor, we detected CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses against two novel antigens, transthyretin and calgranulin B/S100A9, which were expressed in tumor and endothelial cells. The immunogenicity of these antigens was confirmed in 4 of 10 other brain tumor patients. This fast and inexpensive method therefore appears suitable for identifying candidate T cell antigens in various disease situations, such as autoimmune and malignant diseases, without being restricted to expression by a certain cell type or HLA allele.
Philipp Beckhove, Rolf Warta, Britt Lemke, Diana Stoycheva, Frank Momburg, Martina Schnölzer, Uwe Warnken, Hubertus Schmitz-Winnenthal, Rezvan Ahmadi, Gerhard Dyckhoff, Mariana Bucur, Simone Jünger, Thomas Schueler, Volker Lennerz, Thomas Woelfel, Andreas Unterberg, Christel Herold-Mende
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activates the receptor tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) with high potency and specificity, promoting neuronal survival, differentiation, and synaptic function. Correlations between altered BDNF expression and/or function and mechanism(s) underlying numerous neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer disease and traumatic brain injury, suggest that TrkB agonists might have therapeutic potential. Using in silico screening with a BDNF loop–domain pharmacophore, followed by low-throughput in vitro screening in mouse fetal hippocampal neurons, we have efficiently identified small molecules with nanomolar neurotrophic activity specific to TrkB versus other Trk family members. Neurotrophic activity was dependent on TrkB and its downstream targets, although compound-induced signaling activation kinetics differed from those triggered by BDNF. A selected prototype compound demonstrated binding specificity to the extracellular domain of TrkB. In in vitro models of neurodegenerative disease, it prevented neuronal degeneration with efficacy equal to that of BDNF, and when administered in vivo, it caused hippocampal and striatal TrkB activation in mice and improved motor learning after traumatic brain injury in rats. These studies demonstrate the utility of loop modeling in drug discovery and reveal what we believe to be the first reported small molecules derived from a targeted BDNF domain that specifically activate TrkB.We propose that these compounds constitute a novel group of tools for the study of TrkB signaling and may provide leads for developing new therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative diseases.
Stephen M. Massa, Tao Yang, Youmei Xie, Jian Shi, Mehmet Bilgen, Jeffrey N. Joyce, Dean Nehama, Jayakumar Rajadas, Frank M. Longo
A paucity of versatile small animal models of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been an impediment to both furthering understanding of virus biology and testing antiviral therapies. We recently described a regulatable system for repopulating the liver of immunodeficient mice (specifically mice lacking fumaryl acetoacetate hydrolase [Fah], recombination activating gene 2 [Rag2], and the γ-chain of the receptor for IL-2 [Il-2rγ]) with human hepatocytes. Here we have shown that a high transplantation dose (3 × 106 to 5 × 106 human hepatocytes/mouse) generates a higher rate of liver chimerism than was previously obtained in these mice, up to 95% human hepatocyte chimerism. Mice with a high level of human liver chimerism propagated both HBV and HCV, and the HCV-infected mice were responsive to antiviral treatment. This human liver chimeric mouse model will expand the experimental possibilities for studying HBV and HCV infection, and possibly other human hepatotropic pathogens, and prove useful for antiviral drug testing.
Karl-Dimiter Bissig, Stefan F. Wieland, Phu Tran, Masanori Isogawa, Tam T. Le, Francis V. Chisari, Inder M. Verma
The chemokines are a large family of mainly secreted molecules involved in the regulation of numerous physiological and pathophysiological processes. Despite many years of investigation, the precise cellular sources of most chemokines have remained incompletely defined as a consequence of the limited availability of suitable reagents to visualize the expression of chemokine proteins at the single-cell level. Here, we developed a simple flow cytometry–based assay using commercially available chemokine-specific antibodies for efficient cell-associated detection of 37 of 39 murine chemokines. To demonstrate the utility of this methodology, we used it to reevaluate the nature of homeostatic chemokines in the hematopoietic compartment, to delineate the complete chemokine profiles of NK cells and B cells in response to major polyclonal stimuli, and to assess the chemokine response of DCs to bacterial infection. The versatility of this analytical methodology was further demonstrated by its application to selected human chemokines and should greatly facilitate any future investigation into chemokine biology at large.
Jens Eberlein, Tom T. Nguyen, Francisco Victorino, Lucy Golden-Mason, Hugo R. Rosen, Dirk Homann
Intratumor genetic heterogeneity is a key mechanism underlying tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. The prevailing model for explaining intratumor diversity, the clonal evolution model, has recently been challenged by proponents of the cancer stem cell hypothesis. To investigate this issue, we performed combined analyses of markers associated with cellular differentiation states and genotypic alterations in human breast carcinomas and evaluated diversity with ecological and evolutionary methods. Our analyses showed a high degree of genetic heterogeneity both within and between distinct tumor cell populations that were defined based on markers of cellular phenotypes including stem cell–like characteristics. In several tumors, stem cell–like and more-differentiated cancer cell populations were genetically distinct, leading us to question the validity of a simple differentiation hierarchy–based cancer stem cell model. The degree of diversity correlated with clinically relevant breast tumor subtypes and in some tumors was markedly different between the in situ and invasive cell populations. We also found that diversity measures were associated with clinical variables. Our findings highlight the importance of genetic diversity in intratumor heterogeneity and the value of analyzing tumors as distinct populations of cancer cells to more effectively plan treatments.
So Yeon Park, Mithat Gönen, Hee Jung Kim, Franziska Michor, Kornelia Polyak
Directed gene transfer into specific cell lineages in vivo is an attractive approach for both modulating gene expression and correcting inherited mutations such as emphysema caused by human α1 antitrypsin (hAAT) deficiency. However, somatic tissues are mainly comprised of heterogeneous, differentiated cell lineages that can be short lived and difficult to specifically transfect. Here, we describe an intratracheally instilled lentiviral system able to deliver genes selectively to as many as 70% of alveolar macrophages (AMs) in the mouse lung. Following a single in vivo lentiviral transduction, genetically tagged AMs persisted in lung alveoli and expressed transferred genes for the lifetime of the adult mouse. A prolonged macrophage lifespan, rather than precursor cell proliferation, accounted for the surprisingly sustained presence of transduced AMs. We utilized this long-lived population to achieve localized secretion of therapeutic levels of hAAT protein in lung epithelial lining fluid. In an established mouse model of emphysema, lentivirally delivered hAAT ameliorated the progression of emphysema, as evidenced by attenuation of increased lung compliance and alveolar size. After 24 weeks of sustained gene expression, no humoral or cellular immune responses to hAAT protein were detected. Our results challenge the dogma that AMs are short lived and suggest that these differentiated cells may be a possible target cell population for in vivo gene therapy applications, including the sustained correction of hAAT deficiency.
Andrew A. Wilson, George J. Murphy, Hiroshi Hamakawa, Letty W. Kwok, Sreedevi Srinivasan, Avi-Hai Hovav, Richard C. Mulligan, Salomon Amar, Bela Suki, Darrell N. Kotton
The development of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to treat individuals infected with HIV-1 has dramatically improved patient outcomes, but HAART still fails to cure the infection. The latent viral reservoir in resting CD4+ T cells is a major barrier to virus eradication. Elimination of this reservoir requires reactivation of the latent virus. However, strategies for reactivating HIV-1 through nonspecific T cell activation have clinically unacceptable toxicities. We describe here the development of what we believe to be a novel in vitro model of HIV-1 latency that we used to search for compounds that can reverse latency. Human primary CD4+ T cells were transduced with the prosurvival molecule Bcl-2, and the resulting cells were shown to recapitulate the quiescent state of resting CD4+ T cells in vivo. Using this model system, we screened small-molecule libraries and identified a compound that reactivated latent HIV-1 without inducing global T cell activation, 5-hydroxynaphthalene-1,4-dione (5HN). Unlike previously described latency-reversing agents, 5HN activated latent HIV-1 through ROS and NF-κB without affecting nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and PKC, demonstrating that TCR pathways can be dissected and utilized to purge latent virus. Our study expands the number of classes of latency-reversing therapeutics and demonstrates the utility of this in vitro model for finding strategies to eradicate HIV-1 infection.
Hung-Chih Yang, Sifei Xing, Liang Shan, Karen O’Connell, Jason Dinoso, Anding Shen, Yan Zhou, Cynthia K. Shrum, Yefei Han, Jun O. Liu, Hao Zhang, Joseph B. Margolick, Robert F. Siliciano
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are vascular anomalies where arteries and veins are directly connected through a complex, tangled web of abnormal arteries and veins instead of a normal capillary network. AVMs in the brain, lung, and visceral organs, including the liver and gastrointestinal tract, result in considerable morbidity and mortality. AVMs are the underlying cause of three major clinical symptoms of a genetic vascular dysplasia termed hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), which is characterized by recurrent nosebleeds, mucocutaneous telangiectases, and visceral AVMs and caused by mutations in one of several genes, including activin receptor–like kinase 1 (ALK1). It remains unknown why and how selective blood vessels form AVMs, and there have been technical limitations to observing the initial stages of AVM formation. Here we present in vivo evidence that physiological or environmental factors such as wounds in addition to the genetic ablation are required for Alk1-deficient vessels to develop to AVMs in adult mice. Using the dorsal skinfold window chamber system, we have demonstrated for what we believe to be the first time the entire course of AVM formation in subdermal blood vessels by using intravital bright-field images, hyperspectral imaging, fluorescence recordings of direct arterial flow through the AV shunts, and vascular casting techniques. We believe our data provide novel insights into the pathogenetic mechanisms of HHT and potential therapeutic approaches.
Sung Ok Park, Mamta Wankhede, Young Jae Lee, Eun-Jung Choi, Naime Fliess, Se-Woon Choe, Seh-Hoon Oh, Glenn Walter, Mohan K. Raizada, Brian S. Sorg, S. Paul Oh
To date, inheritance of a mutant BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene is the best-established indicator of an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Sequence analysis of these genes is being used to identify BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, though these efforts are hampered by the high frequency of variants of unknown clinical significance (VUSs). Functional evaluation of such variants has been restricted due to lack of a physiologically relevant assay. In this study we developed a functional assay using mouse ES cells to study variants of BRCA1. We introduced BAC clones with human wild-type BRCA1 or variants into Brca1-null ES cells and confirmed that only wild-type and a known neutral variant rescued cell lethality. The same neutral variant was also able to rescue embryogenesis in Brca1-null mice. A test of several BRCT domain mutants revealed all to be deleterious, including a VUS. Furthermore, we used this assay to determine the effects of BRCA1 variants on cell cycle regulation, differentiation, and genomic stability. Importantly, we discovered that ES cells rescued by S1497A BRCA1 exhibited significant hypersensitivity after γ-irradiation. Our results demonstrate that this ES cell–based assay is a powerful and reliable method for analyzing the functional impact of BRCA1 variants, which we believe could be used to determine which patients may require preventative treatments.
Suhwan Chang, Kajal Biswas, Betty K. Martin, Stacey Stauffer, Shyam K. Sharan
The presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the peripheral blood is associated with short survival, making the detection of CTCs clinically useful as a prognostic factor of disease outcome and/or a surrogate marker of treatment response. Recent technical advances in immunocytometric analysis and quantitative real-time PCR have made it possible to detect a few CTCs in the blood; however, there is no sensitive assay to specifically detect viable CTCs. Here, we report what we believe to be a new approach to visually detect live human CTCs among millions of peripheral blood leukocytes, using a telomerase-specific replication-selective adenovirus expressing GFP. First, we constructed a GFP-expressing attenuated adenovirus, in which the telomerase promoter regulates viral replication (OBP-401; TelomeScan). We then used OBP-401 to establish a simple ex vivo method that was able to detect viable human CTCs in the peripheral blood. The detection method involved a 3-step procedure, including the lysis of rbc, the subsequent addition of OBP-401 to the cell pellets, and an automated scan using fluorescence microscopy. OBP-401 infection increased the signal-to-background ratio as a tumor-specific probe, because the fluorescent signal was amplified only in viable, infected human tumor cells, by viral replication. This GFP-expressing virus-based method is remarkably simple and allows precise enumeration of CTCs.
Toru Kojima, Yuuri Hashimoto, Yuichi Watanabe, Shunsuke Kagawa, Futoshi Uno, Shinji Kuroda, Hiroshi Tazawa, Satoru Kyo, Hiroyuki Mizuguchi, Yasuo Urata, Noriaki Tanaka, Toshiyoshi Fujiwara
Basic research into human mature myelomonocytic cell function, myeloid lineage diversification and leukemic transformation, and assessment of myelotoxicity in preclinical drug development requires a constant supply of donor blood or bone marrow samples and laborious purification of mature myeloid cells or progenitors, which are present in very small quantities. To overcome these limitations, we have developed a protocol for efficient generation of neutrophils, eosinophils, macrophages, osteoclasts, DCs, and Langerhans cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). As a first step, we generated lin–CD34+CD43+CD45+ hematopoietic cells highly enriched in myeloid progenitors through coculture of hESCs with OP9 feeder cells. After expansion in the presence of GM-CSF, these cells were directly differentiated with specific cytokine combinations toward mature cells of particular types. Morphologic, phenotypic, molecular, and functional analyses revealed that hESC-derived myelomonocytic cells were comparable to their corresponding somatic counterparts. In addition, we demonstrated that a similar protocol could be used to generate myelomonocytic cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This technology offers an opportunity to generate large numbers of patient-specific myelomonocytic cells for in vitro studies of human disease mechanisms as well as for drug screening.
Kyung-Dal Choi, Maxim A. Vodyanik, Igor I. Slukvin
The in vivo application of cytolytic peptides for cancer therapeutics is hampered by toxicity, nonspecificity, and degradation. We previously developed a specific strategy to synthesize a nanoscale delivery vehicle for cytolytic peptides by incorporating the nonspecific amphipathic cytolytic peptide melittin into the outer lipid monolayer of a perfluorocarbon nanoparticle. Here, we have demonstrated that the favorable pharmacokinetics of this nanocarrier allows accumulation of melittin in murine tumors in vivo and a dramatic reduction in tumor growth without any apparent signs of toxicity. Furthermore, direct assays demonstrated that molecularly targeted nanocarriers selectively delivered melittin to multiple tumor targets, including endothelial and cancer cells, through a hemifusion mechanism. In cells, this hemifusion and transfer process did not disrupt the surface membrane but did trigger apoptosis and in animals caused regression of precancerous dysplastic lesions. Collectively, these data suggest that the ability to restrain the wide-spectrum lytic potential of a potent cytolytic peptide in a nanovehicle, combined with the flexibility of passive or active molecular targeting, represents an innovative molecular design for chemotherapy with broad-spectrum cytolytic peptides for the treatment of cancer at multiple stages.
Neelesh R. Soman, Steven L. Baldwin, Grace Hu, Jon N. Marsh, Gregory M. Lanza, John E. Heuser, Jeffrey M. Arbeit, Samuel A. Wickline, Paul H. Schlesinger
Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron dysfunction occurs in a variety of sensory neuronopathies for which there are currently no satisfactory treatments. Here we describe the development of a strategy to target therapeutic genes to DRG neurons for the treatment of these disorders. We genetically modified an adenovirus (Ad) to generate a helper virus (HV) that was detargeted for native adenoviral tropism and contained DRG homing peptides in the adenoviral capsid fiber protein; we used this HV to generate DRG-targeted helper-dependent Ad (HDAd). In mice, intrathecal injection of this HDAd produced a 100-fold higher transduction of DRG neurons and a markedly attenuated inflammatory response compared with unmodified HDAd. We also injected HDAd encoding the β subunit of β-hexosaminidase (Hexb) into Hexb-deficient mice, a model of the neuronopathy Sandhoff disease. Delivery of the DRG-targeted HDAd reinstated neuron-specific Hexb production, reversed gangliosidosis, and ameliorated peripheral sensory dysfunction. The development of DRG neuron–targeted HDAd with proven efficacy in a preclinical model may have implications for the treatment of sensory neuronopathies of diverse etiologies.
Tomoya Terashima, Kazuhiro Oka, Angelika B. Kritz, Hideto Kojima, Andrew H. Baker, Lawrence Chan
Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells are a major endogenous source of Factor VIII (FVIII), lack of which causes the human congenital bleeding disorder hemophilia A. Despite extensive efforts, gene therapy using viral vectors has shown little success in clinical hemophilia trials. Here we achieved cell type–specific gene targeting using hyaluronan- and asialoorosomucoid-coated nanocapsules, generated using dispersion atomization, to direct genes to liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and hepatocytes, respectively. To highlight the therapeutic potential of this approach, we encapsulated Sleeping Beauty transposon expressing the B domain–deleted canine FVIII in cis with Sleeping Beauty transposase in hyaluronan nanocapsules and injected them intravenously into hemophilia A mice. The treated mice exhibited activated partial thromboplastin times that were comparable to those of wild-type mice at 5 and 50 weeks and substantially shorter than those of untreated controls at the same time points. Further, plasma FVIII activity in the treated hemophilia A mice was nearly identical to that in wild-type mice through 50 weeks, while untreated hemophilia A mice exhibited no detectable FVIII activity. Thus, Sleeping Beauty transposon targeted to liver sinusoidal endothelial cells provided long-term expression of FVIII, without apparent antibody formation, and improved the phenotype of hemophilia A mice.
Betsy T. Kren, Gretchen M. Unger, Lucas Sjeklocha, Alycia A. Trossen, Vicci Korman, Brenda M. Diethelm-Okita, Mark T. Reding, Clifford J. Steer
Somatic genetic alterations in cancers have been linked with response to targeted therapeutics by creation of specific dependency on activated oncogenic signaling pathways. However, no tools currently exist to systematically connect such genetic lesions to therapeutic vulnerability. We have therefore developed a genomics approach to identify lesions associated with therapeutically relevant oncogene dependency. Using integrated genomic profiling, we have demonstrated that the genomes of a large panel of human non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines are highly representative of those of primary NSCLC tumors. Using cell-based compound screening coupled with diverse computational approaches to integrate orthogonal genomic and biochemical data sets, we identified molecular and genomic predictors of therapeutic response to clinically relevant compounds. Using this approach, we showed that v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) mutations confer enhanced Hsp90 dependency and validated this finding in mice with KRAS-driven lung adenocarcinoma, as these mice exhibited dramatic tumor regression when treated with an Hsp90 inhibitor. In addition, we found that cells with copy number enhancement of v-abl Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 2 (ABL2) and ephrin receptor kinase and v-src sarcoma (Schmidt-Ruppin A-2) viral oncogene homolog (avian) (SRC) kinase family genes were exquisitely sensitive to treatment with the SRC/ABL inhibitor dasatinib, both in vitro and when it xenografted into mice. Thus, genomically annotated cell-line collections may help translate cancer genomics information into clinical practice by defining critical pathway dependencies amenable to therapeutic inhibition.
Martin L. Sos, Kathrin Michel, Thomas Zander, Jonathan Weiss, Peter Frommolt, Martin Peifer, Danan Li, Roland Ullrich, Mirjam Koker, Florian Fischer, Takeshi Shimamura, Daniel Rauh, Craig Mermel, Stefanie Fischer, Isabel Stückrath, Stefanie Heynck, Rameen Beroukhim, William Lin, Wendy Winckler, Kinjal Shah, Thomas LaFramboise, Whei F. Moriarty, Megan Hanna, Laura Tolosi, Jörg Rahnenführer, Roel Verhaak, Derek Chiang, Gad Getz, Martin Hellmich, Jürgen Wolf, Luc Girard, Michael Peyton, Barbara A. Weir, Tzu-Hsiu Chen, Heidi Greulich, Jordi Barretina, Geoffrey I. Shapiro, Levi A. Garraway, Adi F. Gazdar, John D. Minna, Matthew Meyerson, Kwok-Kin Wong, Roman K. Thomas
Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is characterized by the t(15;17) chromosomal translocation, which results in fusion of the retinoic acid receptor α (RARA) gene to another gene, most commonly promyelocytic leukemia (PML). The resulting fusion protein, PML-RARA, initiates APL, which is a subtype (M3) of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this report, we identify a gene expression signature that is specific to M3 samples; it was not found in other AML subtypes and did not simply represent the normal gene expression pattern of primary promyelocytes. To validate this signature for a large number of genes, we tested a recently developed high throughput digital technology (NanoString nCounter). Nearly all of the genes tested demonstrated highly significant concordance with our microarray data (P < 0.05). The validated gene signature reliably identified M3 samples in 2 other AML datasets, and the validated genes were substantially enriched in our mouse model of APL, but not in a cell line that inducibly expressed PML-RARA. These results demonstrate that nCounter is a highly reproducible, customizable system for mRNA quantification using limited amounts of clinical material, which provides a valuable tool for biomarker measurement in low-abundance patient samples.
Jacqueline E. Payton, Nicole R. Grieselhuber, Li-Wei Chang, Mark Murakami, Gary K. Geiss, Daniel C. Link, Rakesh Nagarajan, Mark A. Watson, Timothy J. Ley
The uptake of lipoproteins by macrophages is a critical step in the development of atherosclerotic lesions. Cultured monocyte-derived macrophages take up large amounts of native LDL by receptor-independent fluid-phase pinocytosis, either constitutively or in response to specific activating stimuli, depending on the macrophage phenotype. We therefore sought to determine whether fluid-phase pinocytosis occurs in vivo in macrophages in atherosclerotic lesions. We demonstrated that fluorescent pegylated nanoparticles similar in size to LDL (specifically nontargeted Qtracker quantum dot and AngioSPARK nanoparticles) can serve as models of LDL uptake by fluid-phase pinocytosis in cultured human monocyte–derived macrophages and mouse bone marrow–derived macrophages. Using fluorescence microscopy, we showed that atherosclerosis-prone Apoe-knockout mice injected with these nanoparticles displayed massive accumulation of the nanoparticles within CD68+ macrophages, including lipid-containing foam cells, in atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic arch. Similar results were obtained when atherosclerotic mouse aortas were cultured with nanoparticles in vitro. These results show that macrophages within atherosclerotic lesions can take up LDL-sized nanoparticles by fluid-phase pinocytosis and indicate that fluid-phase pinocytosis of LDL is a mechanism for macrophage foam cell formation in vivo.
Chiara Buono, Joshua J. Anzinger, Marcelo Amar, Howard S. Kruth
Our aging society is confronted with a dramatic increase of patients suffering from tauopathies, which include Alzheimer disease and certain frontotemporal dementias. These disorders are characterized by typical neuropathological lesions including hyperphosphorylation and subsequent aggregation of TAU protein and neuronal cell death. Currently, no mechanism-based cures are available. We generated fluorescently labeled TAU transgenic zebrafish, which rapidly recapitulated key pathological features of tauopathies, including phosphorylation and conformational changes of human TAU protein, tangle formation, neuronal and behavioral disturbances, and cell death. Due to their optical transparency and small size, zebrafish larvae are well suited for both in vivo imaging and drug development. TAU-induced neuronal cell death was imaged by time-lapse microscopy in vivo. Furthermore, we used this zebrafish model to identify compounds targeting the TAU kinase glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β). We identified a newly developed highly active GSK3β inhibitor, AR-534, by rational drug design. AR-534 reduced TAU phosphorylation in TAU transgenic zebrafish. This transgenic zebrafish model may become a valuable tool for further studies of the neuropathology of dementia.
Dominik Paquet, Ratan Bhat, Astrid Sydow, Eva-Maria Mandelkow, Stefan Berg, Sven Hellberg, Johanna Fälting, Martin Distel, Reinhard W. Köster, Bettina Schmid, Christian Haass
siRNAs that specifically silence the expression of cancer-related genes offer a therapeutic approach in oncology. However, it remains critical to determine the true mechanism of their therapeutic effects. Here, we describe the preclinical development of chemically modified siRNA targeting the essential cell-cycle proteins polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) and kinesin spindle protein (KSP) in mice. siRNA formulated in stable nucleic acid lipid particles (SNALP) displayed potent antitumor efficacy in both hepatic and subcutaneous tumor models. This was correlated with target gene silencing following a single intravenous administration that was sufficient to cause extensive mitotic disruption and tumor cell apoptosis. Our siRNA formulations induced no measurable immune response, minimizing the potential for nonspecific effects. Additionally, RNAi-specific mRNA cleavage products were found in tumor cells, and their presence correlated with the duration of target mRNA silencing. Histological biomarkers confirmed that RNAi-mediated gene silencing effectively inhibited the target’s biological activity. This report supports an RNAi-mediated mechanism of action for siRNA antitumor effects, suggesting a new methodology for targeting other key genes in cancer development with siRNA-based therapeutics.
Adam D. Judge, Marjorie Robbins, Iran Tavakoli, Jasna Levi, Lina Hu, Anna Fronda, Ellen Ambegia, Kevin McClintock, Ian MacLachlan