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Purpose - Current intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC) drug regimens for retinoblastoma have ocular and vascular toxicities. No small-animal model of IAC exists to test drug efficacy and toxicity in vivo for IAC drug discovery. The purpose of this study was to develop a small-animal model of IAC and to analyze the ocular tissue penetration, distribution, pharmacokinetics, and treatment efficacy.
Methods - Following selective ophthalmic artery (OA) catheterization, melphalan (0.4 to 1.2 mg/kg) was injected. For pharmacokinetic studies, rabbits were euthanized at 0.5, 1, 2, 4, or 6 hours following intra-OA infusion. Drug levels were determined in vitreous, retina, and blood by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. To assess toxicity, angiograms, photography, fluorescein angiography, and histopathology were performed. For in situ tissue drug distribution, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS) was performed. The tumor model was created by combined subretinal/intravitreal injection of human WERI-Rb1 retinoblastoma cells; the tumor was treated in vivo with intra-arterial melphalan or saline; and induction of tumor death was measured by cleaved caspase-3 activity.
Results - OA was selectively catheterized for 79 of 79 (100%) eyes in 47 of 47 (100%) rabbits, and melphalan was delivered successfully in 31 of 31 (100%) eyes, without evidence of vascular occlusion or retinal damage. For treated eyes, maximum concentration (Cmax) in the retina was 4.95 μM and area under the curve (AUC0→∞) was 5.26 μM·h. Treated eye vitreous Cmax was 2.24 μM and AUC0→∞ was 4.19 μM·h. Vitreous Cmax for the treated eye was >100-fold higher than for the untreated eye (P = 0.01), and AUC0→∞ was ∼50-fold higher (P = 0.01). Histology-directed MALDI-IMS revealed highest drug localization within the retina. Peripheral blood Cmax was 1.04 μM and AUC0→∞ was 2.07 μM·h. Combined subretinal/intravitreal injection of human retinoblastoma cells led to intra-retinal tumors and subretinal/vitreous seeds, which could be effectively killed in vivo with intra-arterial melphalan.
Conclusions - This first small-animal model of IAC has excellent vitreous and retinal tissue drug penetration, achieving levels sufficient to kill human retinoblastoma cells, facilitating future IAC drug discovery.
The events required for the induction of broad neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) following HIV-1 envelope (Env) vaccination are unknown, and their induction in animal models as proof of concept would be critical. Here, we describe the induction of plasma antibodies capable of neutralizing heterologous primary (tier 2) HIV-1 strains in one macaque and two rabbits. Env immunogens were designed to induce CD4 binding site (CD4bs) bnAbs, but surprisingly, the macaque developed V1V2-glycan bnAbs. Env immunization of CD4bs bnAb heavy chain rearrangement (VDJ) knockin mice similarly induced V1V2-glycan neutralizing antibodies (nAbs), wherein the human CD4bs V chains were replaced with mouse rearrangements bearing diversity region (D)-D fusions, creating antibodies with long, tyrosine-rich HCDR3s. Our results show that Env vaccination can elicit broad neutralization of tier 2 HIV-1, demonstrate that V1V2-glycan bnAbs are more readily induced than CD4bs bnAbs, and define V replacement and diversity region fusion as potential mechanisms for generating V1V2-glycan bnAb site antibodies.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Studies of regulatory activity and gene expression have revealed an intriguing dichotomy: There is substantial turnover in the regulatory activity of orthologous sequences between species; however, the expression level of orthologous genes is largely conserved. Understanding how distal regulatory elements, for example, enhancers, evolve and function is critical, as alterations in gene expression levels can drive the development of both complex disease and functional divergence between species. In this study, we investigated determinants of the conservation of regulatory enhancer activity for orthologous sequences across mammalian evolution. Using liver enhancers identified from genome-wide histone modification profiles in ten diverse mammalian species, we compared orthologous sequences that exhibited regulatory activity in all species (conserved-activity enhancers) to shared sequences active only in a single species (species-specific-activity enhancers). Conserved-activity enhancers have greater regulatory potential than species-specific-activity enhancers, as quantified by both the density and diversity of transcription factor binding motifs. Consistent with their greater regulatory potential, conserved-activity enhancers have greater regulatory activity in humans than species-specific-activity enhancers: They are active across more cellular contexts, and they regulate more genes than species-specific-activity enhancers. Furthermore, the genes regulated by conserved-activity enhancers are expressed in more tissues and are less tolerant of loss-of-function mutations than those targeted by species-specific-activity enhancers. These consistent results across various stages of gene regulation demonstrate that conserved-activity enhancers are more pleiotropic than their species-specific-activity counterparts. This suggests that pleiotropy is associated with the conservation of regulatory across mammalian evolution.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
BACKGROUND - The challenging biological and mechanical environment of posterolateral fusion (PLF) requires a carrier that spans the transverse processes and resists the compressive forces of the posterior musculature. The less traumatic posterolateral approach enabled by minimally invasive surgical techniques has prompted investigations into alternative rhBMP-2 carriers that are injectable, settable, and compression-resistant. In this pilot study, we investigated injectable low-viscosity (LV) polymer/composite bone grafts as compression-resistant carriers for rhBMP-2 in a single-level rabbit PLF model.
METHODS - LV grafts were augmented with ceramic microparticles: (1) hydrolytically degradable bioactive glass (BG), or (2) cell-degradable 85% β-tricalcium phosphate/15% hydroxyapatite (CM). Material properties, such as pore size, viscosity, working time, and bulk modulus upon curing, were measured for each LV polymer/ceramic material. An in vivo model of posterolateral fusion in a rabbit was used to assess the grafts' capability to encourage spinal fusion.
RESULTS - These materials maintained a working time between 9.6 and 10.3 min, with a final bulk modulus between 1.2 and 3.1 MPa. The LV polymer/composite bone grafts released 55% of their rhBMP-2 over a 14-day period. As assessed by manual palpation in vivo, fusion was achieved in all (n = 3) animals treated with LV/BG or LV/CM carriers incorporating 430 μg rhBMP-2/ml. Images of μCT and histological sections revealed evidence of bone fusion near the transverse processes.
CONCLUSION - This study highlights the potential of LV grafts as injectable and compression-resistant rhBMP-2 carriers for posterolateral spinal fusion.
Arrestins specifically bind active and phosphorylated forms of their cognate G protein-coupled receptors, blocking G protein coupling and often redirecting the signaling to alternative pathways. High-affinity receptor binding is accompanied by two major structural changes in arrestin: release of the C-tail and rotation of the two domains relative to each other. The first requires detachment of the arrestin C-tail from the body of the molecule, whereas the second requires disruption of the network of charge-charge interactions at the interdomain interface, termed the polar core. These events can be facilitated by mutations destabilizing the polar core or the anchoring of the C-tail that yield "preactivated" arrestins that bind phosphorylated and unphosphorylated receptors with high affinity. Here we explored the functional role in arrestin activation of the three native cysteines in the N domain, which are conserved in all arrestin subtypes. Using visual arrestin-1 and rhodopsin as a model, we found that substitution of these cysteines with serine, alanine, or valine virtually eliminates the effects of the activating polar core mutations on the binding to unphosphorylated rhodopsin while only slightly reducing the effects of the C-tail mutations. Thus, these three conserved cysteines play a role in the domain rotation but not in the C-tail release.
© 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Purpose - Prominin-1 (Prom1) is a transmembrane glycoprotein, which is expressed in stem cell lineages, and has recently been implicated in cancer stem cell survival. Mutations in the Prom1 gene have been shown to disrupt photoreceptor disk morphogenesis and cause an autosomal dominant form of Stargardt-like macular dystrophy (STGD4). Despite the apparent structural role of Prom1 in photoreceptors, its role in other cells of the retina is unknown. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of Prom1 in the highly metabolically active cells of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE).
Methods - Lentiviral siRNA and the genome editing CRISPR/Cas9 system were used to knockout Prom1 in primary RPE and ARPE-19 cells, respectively. Western blotting, confocal microscopy, and flow sight imaging cytometry assays were used to quantify autophagy flux. Immunoprecipitation was used to detect Prom1 interacting proteins.
Results - Our studies demonstrate that Prom1 is primarily a cytosolic protein in the RPE. Stress signals and physiological aging robustly increase autophagy with concomitant upregulation of Prom1 expression. Knockout of Prom1 increased mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling, decreased autophagosome trafficking to the lysosome, increased p62 accumulation, and inhibited autophagic puncta induced by activators of autophagy. Conversely, ectopic overexpression of Prom1 inhibited mTORC1 and mTORC2 activities, and potentiated autophagy flux. Through interactions with p62 and HDAC6, Prom1 regulates autophagosome maturation and trafficking, suggesting a new cytoplasmic role of Prom1 in RPE function.
Conclusions - Our results demonstrate that Prom1 plays a key role in the regulation of autophagy via upstream suppression of mTOR signaling and also acting as a component of a macromolecular scaffold involving p62 and HDAC6.
BACKGROUND - The widely used macrolide antibiotic azithromycin increases risk of cardiovascular and sudden cardiac death, although the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Case reports, including the one we document here, demonstrate that azithromycin can cause rapid, polymorphic ventricular tachycardia in the absence of QT prolongation, indicating a novel proarrhythmic syndrome. We investigated the electrophysiological effects of azithromycin in vivo and in vitro using mice, cardiomyocytes, and human ion channels heterologously expressed in human embryonic kidney (HEK 293) and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells.
METHODS AND RESULTS - In conscious telemetered mice, acute intraperitoneal and oral administration of azithromycin caused effects consistent with multi-ion channel block, with significant sinus slowing and increased PR, QRS, QT, and QTc intervals, as seen with azithromycin overdose. Similarly, in HL-1 cardiomyocytes, the drug slowed sinus automaticity, reduced phase 0 upstroke slope, and prolonged action potential duration. Acute exposure to azithromycin reduced peak SCN5A currents in HEK cells (IC=110±3 μmol/L) and Na current in mouse ventricular myocytes. However, with chronic (24 hour) exposure, azithromycin caused a ≈2-fold increase in both peak and late SCN5A currents, with findings confirmed for I in cardiomyocytes. Mild block occurred for K currents representing I (CHO cells expressing hERG; IC=219±21 μmol/L) and I (CHO cells expressing KCNQ1+KCNE1; IC=184±12 μmol/L), whereas azithromycin suppressed L-type Ca currents (rabbit ventricular myocytes, IC=66.5±4 μmol/L) and I (HEK cells expressing Kir2.1, IC=44±3 μmol/L).
CONCLUSIONS - Chronic exposure to azithromycin increases cardiac Na current to promote intracellular Na loading, providing a potential mechanistic basis for the novel form of proarrhythmia seen with this macrolide antibiotic.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI IMS) allows for the visualization of molecular distributions within tissue sections. While providing excellent molecular specificity and spatial information, absolute quantification by MALDI IMS remains challenging. Especially in the low molecular weight region of the spectrum, analysis is complicated by matrix interferences and ionization suppression. Though tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) can be used to ensure chemical specificity and improve sensitivity by eliminating chemical noise, typical MALDI MS/MS modalities only scan for a single MS/MS event per laser shot. Herein, we describe TOF/TOF instrumentation that enables multiple fragmentation events to be performed in a single laser shot, allowing the intensity of the analyte to be referenced to the intensity of the internal standard in each laser shot while maintaining the benefits of MS/MS. This approach is illustrated by the quantitative analyses of rifampicin (RIF), an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis, in pooled human plasma using rifapentine (RPT) as an internal standard. The results show greater than 4-fold improvements in relative standard deviation as well as improved coefficients of determination (R) and accuracy (>93% quality controls, <9% relative errors). This technology is used as an imaging modality to measure absolute RIF concentrations in liver tissue from an animal dosed in vivo. Each microspot in the quantitative image measures the local RIF concentration in the tissue section, providing absolute pixel-to-pixel quantification from different tissue microenvironments. The average concentration determined by IMS is in agreement with the concentration determined by HPLC-MS/MS, showing a percent difference of 10.6%. Graphical Abstract ᅟ.
Pathogens that induce acute and chronic infections, as well as certain cancers, employ numerous strategies to thwart host cellular and humoral immune defenses. One proposed evasion mechanism against humoral immunity is a localized expression of extracellular proteases that cleave the IgG hinge and disable host IgG functions. Host immunity appears to be prepared to counter such a proteolytic tactic by providing a group of autoantibodies, denoted anti-hinge antibodies that specifically bind to cleaved IgGs and provide compensating functional restoration in vitro. These respective counter-measures highlight the complex interrelationships among pathogens and host immunity and suggested to us a possible means for therapeutic intervention. In this study, we combined an investigation of pathogen-mediated proteolysis of host IgGs with an immunization strategy to boost host anti-hinge antibodies. In a Staphylococcus aureus infection model using an artificial tissue cage (wiffle ball) implanted into rabbits, cleaved rabbit IgGs were detected in abundance in the abscesses of untreated animals early after infection. However, in animals previously immunized with peptide analogs of the cleaved IgG hinge to generate substantial anti-hinge antibody titers, S. aureus colony formation was markedly reduced compared to control animals or those similarly immunized with a scrambled peptide sequence. The results of this study demonstrate that extensive local proteolysis of IgGs occurs in a test abscess setting and that immunization to increase host anti-hinge antibodies provided substantial acute protection against bacterial growth.
Copyright © 2016 European Federation of Immunological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) is essential for the assembly of triglyceride-rich apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins. Previous studies in our laboratory identified a novel splice variant of MTP in mice that we named MTP-B. MTP-B has a unique first exon (1B) located 2.7 kB upstream of the first exon (1A) for canonical MTP (MTP-A). The two mature isoforms, though nearly identical in sequence and function, have different tissue expression patterns. In this study we report the identification of a second MTP splice variant (MTP-C), which contains both exons 1B and 1A. MTP-C is expressed in all the tissues we tested. In cells transfected with MTP-C, protein expression was less than 15% of that found when the cells were transfected with MTP-A or MTP-B. In silico analysis of the 5'-UTR of MTP-C revealed seven ATGs upstream of the start site for MTP-A, which is the only viable start site in frame with the main coding sequence. One of those ATGs was located in the 5'-UTR for MTP-A. We generated reporter constructs in which the 5'-UTRs of MTP-A or MTP-C were inserted between an SV40 promoter and the coding sequence of the luciferase gene and transfected these constructs into HEK 293 cells. Luciferase activity was significantly reduced by the MTP-C 5'-UTR, but not by the MTP-A 5'-UTR. We conclude that alternative splicing plays a key role in regulating MTP expression by introducing unique 5'-UTRs, which contain elements that alter translation efficiency, enabling the cell to optimize MTP levels and activity.