Somatic cell gene targeting combined with nuclear transfer cloning presents tremendous potential for the creation of new, large-animal models of human diseases. Mouse disease models often fail to reproduce human phenotypes, underscoring the need for the generation and study of alternative disease models. Mice deficient for CFTR have been poor models for cystic fibrosis (CF), lacking many aspects of human CF lung disease. In this study, we describe the production of a CFTR gene–deficient model in the domestic ferret using recombinant adeno-associated virus–mediated gene targeting in fibroblasts, followed by nuclear transfer cloning. As part of this approach, we developed a somatic cell rejuvenation protocol using serial nuclear transfer to produce live CFTR-deficient clones from senescent gene-targeted fibroblasts. We transferred 472 reconstructed embryos into 11 recipient jills and obtained 8 healthy male ferret clones heterozygous for a disruption in exon 10 of the CFTR gene. To our knowledge, this study represents the first description of genetically engineered ferrets and describes an approach that may be of substantial utility in modeling not only CF, but also other genetic diseases.
Xingshen Sun, Ziying Yan, Yaling Yi, Ziyi Li, Diana Lei, Christopher S. Rogers, Juan Chen, Yulong Zhang, Michael J. Welsh, Gregory H. Leno, John F. Engelhardt
Progress toward understanding the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis (CF) and developing effective therapies has been hampered by lack of a relevant animal model. CF mice fail to develop the lung and pancreatic disease that cause most of the morbidity and mortality in patients with CF. Pigs may be better animals than mice in which to model human genetic diseases because their anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, size, and genetics are more similar to those of humans. However, to date, gene-targeted mammalian models of human genetic disease have not been reported for any species other than mice. Here we describe the first steps toward the generation of a pig model of CF. We used recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors to deliver genetic constructs targeting the CF transmembrane conductance receptor (CFTR) gene to pig fetal fibroblasts. We generated cells with the CFTR gene either disrupted or containing the most common CF-associated mutation (ΔF508). These cells were used as nuclear donors for somatic cell nuclear transfer to porcine oocytes. We thereby generated heterozygote male piglets with each mutation. These pigs should be of value in producing new models of CF. In addition, because gene-modified mice often fail to replicate human diseases, this approach could be used to generate models of other human genetic diseases in species other than mice.
Christopher S. Rogers, Yanhong Hao, Tatiana Rokhlina, Melissa Samuel, David A. Stoltz, Yuhong Li, Elena Petroff, Daniel W. Vermeer, Amanda C. Kabel, Ziying Yan, Lee Spate, David Wax, Clifton N. Murphy, August Rieke, Kristin Whitworth, Michael L. Linville, Scott W. Korte, John F. Engelhardt, Michael J. Welsh, Randall S. Prather
Human and murine cerebral malaria are associated with elevated levels of cytokines in the brain and adherence of platelets to the microvasculature. Here we demonstrated that the accumulation of platelets in the brain microvasculature can be detected with MRI, using what we believe to be a novel contrast agent, at a time when the pathology is undetectable by conventional MRI. Ligand-induced binding sites (LIBS) on activated platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptors were detected in the brains of malaria-infected mice 6 days after inoculation with Plasmodium berghei using microparticles of iron oxide (MPIOs) conjugated to a single-chain antibody specific for the LIBS (LIBS-MPIO). No binding of the LIBS-MPIO contrast agent was detected in uninfected animals. A combination of LIBS-MPIO MRI, confocal microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy revealed that the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α, but not IL-1β or lymphotoxin-α (LT-α), induced adherence of platelets to cerebrovascular endothelium. Peak platelet adhesion was found 12 h after TNF-α injection and was readily detected with LIBS-MPIO contrast-enhanced MRI. Temporal studies revealed that the level of MPIO-induced contrast was proportional to the number of platelets bound. Thus, the LIBS-MPIO contrast agent enabled noninvasive detection of otherwise undetectable cerebral pathology by in vivo MRI before the appearance of clinical disease, highlighting the potential of targeted contrast agents for diagnostic, mechanistic, and therapeutic studies.
Constantin von zur Muhlen, Nicola R. Sibson, Karlheinz Peter, Sandra J. Campbell, Panop Wilainam, Georges E. Grau, Christoph Bode, Robin P. Choudhury, Daniel C. Anthony
4-1BB is a major costimulatory receptor that promotes the survival and expansion of activated T cells. Administration of agonistic anti–4-1BB Abs has been previously shown to enhance tumor immunity in mice. Abs are cell-based products posing significant cost, manufacturing, and regulatory challenges. Aptamers are oligonucleotide-based ligands that exhibit specificity and avidity comparable to, or exceeding, that of Abs. To date, various aptamers have been shown to inhibit the function of their cognate target. Here, we have described the development of an aptamer that binds 4-1BB expressed on the surface of activated mouse T cells and shown that multivalent configurations of the aptamer costimulated T cell activation in vitro and mediated tumor rejection in mice. Because aptamers can be chemically synthesized, manufacturing and the regulatory approval process should be substantially simpler and less costly than for Abs. Agonistic aptamers could therefore represent a superior alternative to Abs for the therapeutic manipulation of the immune system.
James O. McNamara II, Despina Kolonias, Fernando Pastor, Robert S. Mittler, Lieping Chen, Paloma H. Giangrande, Bruce Sullenger, Eli Gilboa
Targeting kinases is central to drug-based cancer therapy but remains challenging because the drugs often lack specificity, which may cause toxic side effects. Modulating side effects is difficult because kinases are evolutionarily and hence structurally related. The lack of specificity of the anticancer drug imatinib enables it to be used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia, where its target is the Bcr-Abl kinase, as well as a proportion of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), where its target is the C-Kit kinase. However, imatinib also has cardiotoxic effects traceable to its impact on the C-Abl kinase. Motivated by this finding, we made a modification to imatinib that hampers Bcr-Abl inhibition; refocuses the impact on the C-Kit kinase; and promotes inhibition of an additional target, JNK, a change that is required to reinforce prevention of cardiotoxicity. We established the molecular blueprint for target discrimination in vitro using spectrophotometric and colorimetric assays and through a phage-displayed kinase screening library. We demonstrated controlled inhibitory impact on C-Kit kinase in human cell lines and established the therapeutic impact of the engineered compound in a novel GIST mouse model, revealing a marked reduction of cardiotoxicity. These findings identify the reengineered imatinib as an agent to treat GISTs with curbed side effects and reveal a bottom-up approach to control drug specificity.
Ariel Fernández, Angela Sanguino, Zhenghong Peng, Eylem Ozturk, Jianping Chen, Alejandro Crespo, Sarah Wulf, Aleksander Shavrin, Chaoping Qin, Jianpeng Ma, Jonathan Trent, Yvonne Lin, Hee-Dong Han, Lingegowda S. Mangala, James A. Bankson, Juri Gelovani, Allen Samarel, William Bornmann, Anil K. Sood, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein
The in vivo roles of the hundreds of mammalian G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) are incompletely understood. To explore these roles, we generated mice expressing the S1 subunit of pertussis toxin, a known inhibitor of Gi/o signaling, under the control of the ROSA26 locus in a Cre recombinase–dependent manner (ROSA26PTX). Crossing ROSA26PTX mice to mice expressing Cre in pancreatic β cells produced offspring with constitutive hyperinsulinemia, increased insulin secretion in response to glucose, and resistance to diet-induced hyperglycemia. This phenotype underscored the known importance of Gi/o and hence of GPCRs for regulating insulin secretion. Accordingly, we quantified mRNA for each of the approximately 373 nonodorant GPCRs in mouse to identify receptors highly expressed in islets and examined the role of several. We report that 3-iodothyronamine, a thyroid hormone metabolite, could negatively and positively regulate insulin secretion via the Gi-coupled α2A-adrenergic receptor and the Gs-coupled receptor Taar1, respectively, and protease-activated receptor–2 could negatively regulate insulin secretion and may contribute to physiological regulation of glucose metabolism. The ROSA26PTX system used in this study represents a new genetic tool to achieve tissue-specific signaling pathway modulation in vivo that can be applied to investigate the role of Gi/o-coupled GPCRs in multiple cell types and processes.
Jean B. Regard, Hiroshi Kataoka, David A. Cano, Eric Camerer, Liya Yin, Yao-Wu Zheng, Thomas S. Scanlan, Matthias Hebrok, Shaun R. Coughlin
Peptide presentation is critical for immune recognition of pathogen-infected cells by CD8+ T lymphocytes. Although a limited number of immunodominant peptide epitopes are consistently observed in diseases such as HIV-1 infection, the relationship between immunodominance and antigen processing in humans is largely unknown. Here, we have demonstrated that endogenous processing and presentation of a human immunodominant HIV-1 epitope is more efficient than that of a subdominant epitope. Furthermore, we have shown that the regions flanking the immunodominant epitope constitute a portable motif that increases the production and antigenicity of otherwise subdominant epitopes. We used a novel in vitro degradation assay involving cytosolic extracts as well as endogenous intracellular processing assays to examine 2 well-characterized HIV-1 Gag overlapping epitopes presented by the same HLA class I allele, one of which is consistently immunodominant and the other subdominant in infected persons. The kinetics and products of degradation of HIV-1 Gag favored the production of peptides encompassing the immunodominant epitope and destruction of the subdominant one. Notably, cytosolic digestion experiments revealed flanking residues proximal to the immunodominant epitope that increased the production and antigenicity of otherwise subdominant epitopes. Furthermore, specific point mutations in these portable flanking sequences modulated the production and antigenicity of epitopes. Such portable epitope processing determinants provide what we believe is a novel approach to optimizing CTL responses elicited by vaccine vectors.
Sylvie Le Gall, Pamela Stamegna, Bruce D. Walker
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease of unknown etiology, most commonly affecting the lungs. Activated CD4+ T cells accumulate in the lungs of individuals with sarcoidosis and are considered to be of central importance for inflammation. We have previously shown that Scandinavian sarcoidosis patients expressing the HLA-DR allele DRB1*0301 are characterized by large accumulations in the lungs of CD4+ T cells expressing the TCR AV2S3 gene segment. This association afforded us a unique opportunity to identify a sarcoidosis-specific antigen recognized by AV2S3+ T cells. To identify candidates for the postulated sarcoidosis-specific antigen, lung cells from 16 HLA-DRB1*0301pos patients were obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage. HLA-DR molecules were affinity purified and bound peptides acid eluted. Subsequently, peptides were separated by reversed-phase HPLC and analyzed by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. We identified 78 amino acid sequences from self proteins presented in the lungs of sarcoidosis patients, some of which were well-known autoantigens such as vimentin and ATP synthase. For the first time, to our knowledge, we have identified HLA-bound peptides presented in vivo during an inflammatory condition. This approach can be extended to characterize HLA-bound peptides in various autoimmune settings.
Jan Wahlström, Jörn Dengjel, Bengt Persson, Hüseyin Duyar, Hans-Georg Rammensee, Stefan Stevanović, Anders Eklund, Robert Weissert, Johan Grunewald
Cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) enzymes constitute an important detoxification system that contributes to primary metabolism of more than half of all prescribed medications. To investigate the physiological and pharmacological roles of CYP3A, we generated Cyp3a-knockout (Cyp3a–/–) mice lacking all functional Cyp3a genes. Cyp3a–/– mice were viable, fertile, and without marked physiological abnormalities. However, these mice exhibited severely impaired detoxification capacity when exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent docetaxel, displaying higher exposure levels in response to both oral and intravenous administration. These mice also demonstrated increased sensitivity to docetaxel toxicity, suggesting a primary role for Cyp3a in xenobiotic detoxification. To determine the relative importance of intestinal versus hepatic Cyp3a in first-pass metabolism, we generated transgenic Cyp3a–/– mice expressing human CYP3A4 in either the intestine or the liver. Expression of CYP3A4 in the intestine dramatically decreased absorption of docetaxel into the bloodstream, while hepatic expression aided systemic docetaxel clearance. These results suggest that CYP3A expression determines impairment of drug absorption and efficient systemic clearance in a tissue-specific manner. The genetic models used in this study provide powerful tools to further study CYP3A-mediated xenobiotic metabolism, as well as interactions between CYP3A and other detoxification systems.
Antonius E. van Herwaarden, Els Wagenaar, Cornelia M.M. van der Kruijssen, Robert A.B. van Waterschoot, Johan W. Smit, Ji-Ying Song, Martin A. van der Valk, Olaf van Tellingen, José W.A. van der Hoorn, Hilde Rosing, Jos H. Beijnen, Alfred H. Schinkel