• The role of the transcription factor, Sox18, in pulmonary endothelial barrier function

      Gross, Christine M; Vascular Biology Center (2014-12)
      Pulmonary endothelial cells form a continuous monolayer on the luminal surface of the lung vasculature. These cells provide a surface for gas exchange and importantly regulate vascular tone. Despite being constantly exposed to hemodynamic forces and/or vasoactive agents, the endothelium also maintains a selectively permeable monolayer under physiologic conditions. However, little is known about the transcriptional events in the pulmonary endothelium that regulate the paracellular barrier under normal conditions or when the cells are exposed to pathological factors such as increased shear stress from congenital heart abnormalities (shunt), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from the outer membrane of gram negative bacteria, or increased cyclic stretch from mechanical ventilation. Shear stress has been shown to increase, while LPS and cyclic strain have been shown to decrease, alveolar-capillary barrier function. The transcription factor, Sox18, is known to play a key role in regulating vascular development. Here, in ovine pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (PAEC) subjected to physiologic levels of laminar flow (20 dyn/cm2), we identified an increase in trans-endothelial resistance (TER) that correlated with an increase in Sox18 expression. Further, we found that shear stress up-regulated the cellular tight junction protein, Claudin-5, in a Sox18 dependent manner, and Claudin-5 depletion abolished the Sox18 mediated increase in TER in response to shear stress. Utilizing peripheral lung tissue of 4 week old shunt lambs with increased pulmonary blood flow, we found that both Sox18 and Claudin-5 mRNA and protein levels were elevated. In contrast, in human lung microvascular endothelial cells (HLMVEC) exposed to LPS (1EU/ml) for 4 h, the mRNA and protein levels of Sox18 and Claudin-5 were decreased in an NF-κB (p65) and HDAC dependent manner. Sox18 over-expression prevented the LPS dependent loss of TER. Interestingly, this barrier protective effect of Sox18 was abolished by Claudin-5 silencing. In mice given an intratracheal instillation of LPS (2mg/kg, 24 h), we found that the over-expression of Sox18 in the pulmonary vasculature significantly increased Claudin-5 expression and attenuated the LPS mediated increase in lung vascular leak, inflammatory cell infiltration, and inflammatory cytokines in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Sox18 gene delivery also increased oxygen saturation and improved lung function in LPS exposed mice. Similarly, in mice ventilated with high tidal volumes (HTV; 30 ml/kg, 75 bpm, 0.5 FiO2) for 8 h, Sox18 and Claudin-5 protein levels were reduced. However, Sox18 over-expression significantly increased Claudin-5 expression and improved lung function in HTV exposed mice. Together, our study demonstrates that Sox18 is an important regulator of pulmonary endothelial barrier function.
    • Screening using alanine aminotransferase may overestimate prevalence of fatty liver in overweight black children

      Davis, Catherine L.; Pollock, Norman; Elam, Rachel; Zhu, Haidong; Bassali, Reda; Patel, Priya; Elmore, Stephen; Vos, Miriam; Department of Pediatrics; Department of Radiology; et al. (2014)
    • Selective apoptosis of pluripotent mouse and human stem cells by novel ceramide analogues prevents teratoma formation and enriches for neural precursors in ES cellâ derived neural transplants

      Bieberich, Erhard; Silva, Jeane; Wang, Guanghu; Krishnamurthy, Kannan; Condie, Brian G.; Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics (2004-11-22)
      The formation of stem cellâ derived tumors (teratomas) is observed when engrafting undifferentiated embryonic stem (ES) cells, embryoid bodyâ derived cells (EBCs), or mammalian embryos and is a significant obstacle to stem cell therapy. We show that in tumors formed after engraftment of EBCs into mouse brain, expression of the pluripotency marker Oct-4 colocalized with that of prostate apoptosis response-4 (PAR-4), a protein mediating ceramide-induced apoptosis during neural differentiation of ES cells. We tested the ability of the novel ceramide analogue N-oleoyl serinol (S18) to eliminate mouse and human Oct-4(+)/PAR-4(+) cells and to increase the proportion of nestin(+) neuroprogenitors in EBC-derived cell cultures and grafts. S18-treated EBCs persisted in the hippocampal area and showed neuronal lineage differentiation as indicated by the expression of β-tubulin III. However, untreated cells formed numerous teratomas that contained derivatives of endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. Our results show for the first time that ceramide-induced apoptosis eliminates residual, pluripotent EBCs, prevents teratoma formation, and enriches the EBCs for cells that undergo neural differentiation after transplantation.
    • Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and Ethnic Differences in Arterial Stiffness and Endothelial Function

      Alvarez, Jessica A.; Gower, Barbara A.; Calhoun, David A.; Judd, Suzanne E.; Dong, Yanbin; Dudenbostel, Tanja; Scholl, Jenni; Ashraf, Ambika P.; Georgia Institute for Prevention of Human Diseases and Accidents (2012-05-15)
      Background: Vitamin D reportedly influences vascular function, which is worse in African Americans (AAs) relative to European Americans (EAs). It is not clear if ethnic differences in 25(OH)D mediate differences in vascular function. This study examined the relationships of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) with indicators of vascular function among healthy, young AA and EA adults.
    • Signaling in the Late Phase of T Cell Activation

      Chang, Jing-Wen; Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics (2004-12)
      Engagement of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) induces multiple signaling pathways, including the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). We previously reported the importance of sustained ERK activation for interleukin-2 (IL-2) production. Inhibition o f ERK activation from 2 to 6 hours after TCR stimulation significantly impaired IL-2 production and activation of the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB) family transcription factor, c-Rel, whereas inhibition during the first 4 hours had no effect. Loss o f the adaptor protein, She, results in impaired ERK activation during the late phase of TCR stimulation, and leads to severely reduced IL-2 production and c-Rel activation. These data suggest a novel activation process following TCR stimulation that involves She and late ERK activation-dependent regulation of c-Rel activation and IL-2 production. To further understand the mechanisms underlying this pathway, we employed a two-dimensional differential in-gel electrophoresis/ mass spectrometry (2D-DIGE/MS)-based proteomics approach. This approach to identify members of a Shc-containing signaling complex revealed alpha tubulin and beta actin as She associated proteins. Furthermore, we identified proteins whose expression and modification are triggered by TCR stimulation and are under control of the ERK signaling pathway, by comparing TCR-stimulated samples with or without MEK (MAPK kinase) inhibitor treatment. Here we report heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP-K) as a novel downstream target of ERK in TCR signaling. Functional studies using small RNA interference showed that hnRNPK regulated IL-2 production at the transcriptional level. We also showed that knockdown o f hnRNP-K expression specifically impaired NF-kB activity, but caused a relatively minor effect on activating protein-1 (AP-1) activity and expression of CD69 or CD25. Biochemical analysis showed that knockdown of hnRNP-K caused enhanced proteolysis of the protooncogene Vav. MEK inhibitor treatment during the late phase of stimulation also enhanced proteolysis of Vav. Moreover, knockdown of hnRNP-K impaired Vav-mediated transcriptional activation of IL-2 gene. Taken together; these results indicate that ERK signaling modulates IL-2 production by regulating Vav activity through the function of hnRNP-K. We also examined changes in phosphoprotein profiles upon TCR stimulation and MEK inhibitor treatment. Results obtained from these three different approaches provide a further understanding of the mechanisms that regulate late phase T cell activation as well as the components required for full activation o f T cells.
    • Specific expression of lacZ and cre recombinase in fetal thymic epithelial cells by multiplex gene targeting at the Foxn1 locus.

      Gordon, Julie; Xiao, Shiyun; Hughes, Bernard; Su, Dong-ming; Navarre, Samuel P; Condie, Brian G.; Manley, Nancy R; Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics (2007-07-04)
      BACKGROUND: Thymic epithelial cells (TECs) promote thymocyte maturation and are required for the early stages of thymocyte development and for positive selection. However, investigation of the mechanisms by which TECs perform these functions has been inhibited by the lack of genetic tools. Since the Foxn1 gene is expressed in all presumptive TECs from the early stages of thymus organogenesis and broadly in the adult thymus, it is an ideal locus for driving gene expression in differentiating and mature TECs. RESULTS: We generated two knock-in alleles of Foxn1 by inserting IRES-Cre or IRES-lacZ cassettes into the 3' UTR of the Foxn1 locus. We simultaneously electroporated the two targeting vectors to generate the two independent alleles in the same experiment, demonstrating the feasibility of multiplex gene targeting at this locus. Our analysis shows that the knockin alleles drive expression of Cre or lacZ in all TECs in the fetal thymus. Furthermore, the knockin alleles express Cre or lacZ in a Foxn1-like pattern without disrupting Foxn1 function as determined by phenotype analysis of Foxn1 knockin/Foxn1 null compound heterozygotes. CONCLUSION: These data show that multiplex gene targeting into the 3' UTR of the Foxn1 locus is an efficient method to express any gene of interest in TECs from the earliest stage of thymus organogenesis. The resulting alleles will make possible new molecular and genetic studies of TEC differentiation and function. We also discuss evidence indicating that gene targeting into the 3' UTR is a technique that may be broadly applicable for the generation of genetically neutral driver strains.
    • Stage at diagnosis is an important determinant of survival among pancreatic cancer patients: Learnings from the National Cancer Database

      Ansa, Benjamin E.; Islam, K. M. Monirul; Institute of Public and Preventive Health, Augusta University
    • A statistical framework for integrating two microarray data sets in differential expression analysis.

      Lai, Yinglei; Eckenrode, Sarah E; She, Jin-Xiong; Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine (2009-02-11)
      BACKGROUND: Different microarray data sets can be collected for studying the same or similar diseases. We expect to achieve a more efficient analysis of differential expression if an efficient statistical method can be developed for integrating different microarray data sets. Although many statistical methods have been proposed for data integration, the genome-wide concordance of different data sets has not been well considered in the analysis. RESULTS: Before considering data integration, it is necessary to evaluate the genome-wide concordance so that misleading results can be avoided. Based on the test results, different subsequent actions are suggested. The evaluation of genome-wide concordance and the data integration can be achieved based on the normal distribution based mixture models. CONCLUSION: The results from our simulation study suggest that misleading results can be generated if the genome-wide concordance issue is not appropriately considered. Our method provides a rigorous parametric solution. The results also show that our method is robust to certain model misspecification and is practically useful for the integrative analysis of differential expression.
    • Statistics of eye movements in scene categorization and scene memorization

      Chen, Xin; Wan, Weibing; Yang, Zhiyong; Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute; Department of Ophthalmology; Vision Discovery Institute (2012-07-16)
    • Statistics of natural scene structures and scene categorization

      Chen, Xin; Wan, Weibing; Yong, Zhiyong; Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute; Department of Ophthalmology; Vision Discovery Institute (2012-07-16)
    • Substance use-related brief interventions with emergency department patients reduce mental health co-morbidities

      Johnson, J. Aaron; Abraham, Amanda J.; Georgia Regents University; University of Georgia (2014)
    • Syphilis rates and trends in the Central Savannah River Area of Georgia and South Carolina

      Stone, Rebecca; Chung, Yunmi; Ansa, Benjamin E.; Augusta University (2017-10)
    • T Cell Immune Response in Persistent Infection of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV)

      Ou, Rong; Georgia Cancer Center (2004-07)
      The m urine LCMV system provides a ciassic model to study the mechanism of immunological tolerance, an efficient strategy used by virus to establish a persistent infection by selective down-regulation of virus-specific T lymphocytes. High viral burden in the onset o f infection drives responding cells into functional unresposiveness (anergy) that can, be followed by their physical elimination. In this study, the downregulation o f the virus-specific CD8^-T-ceil response was studied during a persistent infection o f adult mice, with particular emphasis on the contribution of the interferon response in promoting host defense, or perforin-, Fas/FasL-, or TN FR l-m ediated cytolysis in regulating T-cell homeostasis. Since LCMV infects a broad range o f host tissues, the functional properties o f virus-specific CD8'^ T cells in different tissues during LCMV infection were also evaluated. Infection of mice deficient in receptor for type I (IFN-a/p), type II (IFN-y), or both type I and II IFNs with LCMV isolates that vary in their capacity to induce T-celi exhaustion, revealed a critical role for IFN -a/p in restricting LCMV spread at the onset o f infection while IFN-y has impact on effector cells. The production o f IF N -a/p and/or IFN-y critically regulates the virus-host balance during the acute phase o f infection, such that a high viral burden drives responding cells into different programs o f exhaustion. Infection o f mice deficient in perferin, FasL or TNFRl with the Docile or Aggressive strains of LCMV revealed comparable kinetics of expansion and functional inactivation o f virusspecific C D ^ T cells in the early phase o f Infection in C57BL/6 controls. However, the data underscore a critical role for these molecules in the persistence o f the virus-specific CD8"‘-T-ceil population once it has become anergic. Study o f the functional properties of virus-specific CD8'^ T cells in different tissues during LCMV infections showed that a centra! role for the viral load in lymphoid tissue in the induction and maintenance of clonal exhaustion. The data strongly suggest that CD8^ T ceils may be differentially regulated in the environments o f lymphoid versus nonlymphoid tissues, and the pattern of T cell exhaustion observed with mice is likely a common feature o f the immune response during chronic infections in humans.
    • T Cell Receptorâ Induced Calcineurin Activation Regulates T Helper Type 2 Cell Development by Modifying the Interleukin 4 Receptor Signaling Complex

      Yamashita, Masakatsu; Katsumata, Makoto; Iwashima, Makio; Kimura, Motoko; Shimizu, Chiori; Kamata, Tohru; Shin, Tahiro; Seki, Nobuo; Suzuki, Seiichi; Taniguchi, Masaru; et al. (2000-06-5)
      The activation of downstream signaling pathways of both T cell receptor (TCR) and interleukin 4 receptor (IL-4R) is essential for T helper type 2 (Th2) cell development, which is central to understanding immune responses against helminthic parasites and in allergic and autoimmune diseases. However, little is known about how these two distinct signaling pathways cooperate with each other to induce Th2 cells. Here, we show that successful Th2 cell development depends on the effectiveness of TCR-induced activation of calcineurin. An inhibitor of calcineurin activation, FK506, inhibited the in vitro anti-TCRâ induced Th2 cell generation in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, the development of Th2 cells was significantly impaired in naive T cells from dominant-negative calcineurin Aα transgenic mice, whereas that of Th1 cells was less affected. Efficient calcineurin activation in naive T cells upregulated Janus kinase (Jak)3 transcription and the amount of protein. The generation of Th2 cells induced in vitro by anti-TCR stimulation was inhibited significantly by the presence of Jak3 antisense oligonucleotides, suggesting that the Jak3 upregulation is an important event for the Th2 cell development. Interestingly, signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)5 became physically and functionally associated with the IL-4R in the anti-TCRâ activated developing Th2 cells that received efficient calcineurin activation, and also in established cloned Th2 cells. In either cell population, the inhibition of STAT5 activation resulted in a diminished IL-4â induced proliferation. Moreover, our results suggest that IL-4â induced STAT5 activation is required for the expansion process of developing Th2 cells. Thus, Th2 cell development is controlled by TCR-mediated activation of the Ca2+/calcineurin pathway, at least in part, by modifying the functional structure of the IL-4R signaling complex.
    • Targeted bisulfite sequencing by solution hybrid selection and massively parallel sequencing

      Lee, Eun-Joon; Pei, Lirong; Srivastava, Gyan; Joshi, Trupti; Kushwaha, Garima; Choi, Jeong-Hyeon; Robertson, Keith D.; Wang, Xinguo; Colbourne, John K.; Zhang, Lu; et al. (2011-10-23)
      We applied a solution hybrid selection approach to the enrichment of CpG islands (CGIs) and promoter sequences from the human genome for targeted high-throughput bisulfite sequencing. A single lane of Illumina sequences allowed accurate and quantitative analysis of ~1 million CpGs in more than 21â 408 CGIs and more than 15â 946 transcriptional regulatory regions. Of the CpGs analyzed, 77â 84% fell on or near capture probe sequences; 69â 75% fell within CGIs. More than 85% of capture probes successfully yielded quantitative DNA methylation information of targeted regions. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were identified in the 5â ²-end regulatory regions, as well as the intra- and intergenic regions, particularly in the X-chromosome among the three breast cancer cell lines analyzed. We chose 46 candidate loci (762 CpGs) for confirmation with PCR-based bisulfite sequencing and demonstrated excellent correlation between two data sets. Targeted bisulfite sequencing of three DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) knockout cell lines and the wild-type HCT116 colon cancer cell line revealed a significant decrease in CpG methylation for the DNMT1 knockout and DNMT1, 3B double knockout cell lines, but not in DNMT3B knockout cell line. We demonstrated the targeted bisulfite sequencing approach to be a powerful method to uncover novel aberrant methylation in the cancer epigenome. Since all targets were captured and sequenced as a pool through a series of single-tube reactions, this method can be easily scaled up to deal with a large number of samples.
    • Targeting HSP90 for cancer therapy

      Mahalingam, D; Swords, R; Carew, Jennifer S; Nawrocki, S T; Bhalla, Kapil N.; Giles, F J; GHSU Cancer Center (2009-04-28)
      Heat-shock proteins (HSPs) are molecular chaperones that regulate protein folding to ensure correct conformation and translocation and to avoid protein aggregation. Heat-shock proteins are increased in many solid tumours and haematological malignancies. Many oncogenic proteins responsible for the transformation of cells to cancerous forms are client proteins of HSP90. Targeting HSP90 with chemical inhibitors would degrade these oncogenic proteins, and thus serve as useful anticancer agents. This review provides an overview of the HSP chaperone machinery and the structure and function of HSP90. We also highlight the key oncogenic proteins that are regulated by HSP90 and describe how inhibition of HSP90 could alter the activity of multiple signalling proteins, receptors and transcriptional factors implicated in carcinogenesis.
    • The temporal and spatial expression pattern of the LGI1 epilepsy predisposition gene during mouse embryonic cranial development

      Silva, Jeane; Wang, Guanghu; Cowell, John K.; GHSU Cancer Center; Department of Neurology; Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics (2011-05-13)
      Background: Mutations in the LGI1 gene predispose to a rare, hereditary form of temporal epilepsy. Currently, little is known about the temporal and spatial expression pattern of Lgi1 during normal embryogenesis and so to define this more clearly we used a transgenic mouse line that expresses GFP under the control of Lgi1 cis-regulatory elements.