Honors & Awards
NSF GRPF Fellow, NSF (2016-present)
Prolonged exposure of CD8+ T cells to antigenic stimulation, as in chronic viral infections, leads to a state of diminished function termed exhaustion. We now demonstrate that even during exhaustion there is a subset of functional CD8+ T cells defined by surface expression of SIRPalpha, a protein not previously reported on lymphocytes. On SIRPalpha+ CD8+ T cells, expression of co-inhibitory receptors is counterbalanced by expression of co-stimulatory receptors and it is only SIRPalpha+ cells that actively proliferate, transcribe IFNgamma and show cytolytic activity. Furthermore, target cells that express the ligand for SIRPalpha, CD47, are more susceptible to CD8+ T cell-killing in vivo. SIRPalpha+ CD8+ T cells are evident in mice infected with Friend retrovirus, LCMV Clone 13, and in patients with chronic HCV infections. Furthermore, therapeutic blockade of PD-L1 to reinvigorate CD8+ T cells during chronic infection expands the cytotoxic subset of SIRPalpha+ CD8+ T cells.
View details for PubMedID 30770827
CD47 is a cell surface molecule that inhibits phagocytosis of cells that express it by binding to its receptor, SIRPα, on macrophages and other immune cells. CD47 is expressed at different levels by neoplastic and normal cells. Here, to reveal mechanisms by which different neoplastic cells generate this dominant 'don't eat me' signal, we analyse the CD47 regulatory genomic landscape. We identify two distinct super-enhancers (SEs) associated with CD47 in certain cancer cell types. We show that a set of active constituent enhancers, located within the two CD47 SEs, regulate CD47 expression in different cancer cell types and that disruption of CD47 SEs reduces CD47 gene expression. Finally we report that the TNF-NFKB1 signalling pathway directly regulates CD47 by interacting with a constituent enhancer located within a CD47-associated SE specific to breast cancer. These results suggest that cancers can evolve SE to drive CD47 overexpression to escape immune surveillance.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms14802
View details for Web of Science ID 000398343600001
View details for PubMedID 28378740
Exciting progress in the field of cancer immunotherapy has renewed the urgency of the need for basic studies of immunoregulation in both adaptive cell lineages and innate cell lineages. Here we found a central role for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I in controlling the phagocytic function of macrophages. Our results demonstrated that expression of the common MHC class I component β2-microglobulin (β2M) by cancer cells directly protected them from phagocytosis. We further showed that this protection was mediated by the inhibitory receptor LILRB1, whose expression was upregulated on the surface of macrophages, including tumor-associated macrophages. Disruption of either MHC class I or LILRB1 potentiated phagocytosis of tumor cells both in vitro and in vivo, which defines the MHC class I-LILRB1 signaling axis as an important regulator of the effector function of innate immune cells, a potential biomarker for therapeutic response to agents directed against the signal-regulatory protein CD47 and a potential target of anti-cancer immunotherapy.
View details for PubMedID 29180808
Vaginal microbicides hold great promise for the prevention of viral diseases like HIV, but the failure of several microbicide candidates in clinical trials has raised important questions regarding the parameters to be evaluated to determine in vivo efficacy in humans. Clinical trials of the candidate microbicides nonoxynol-9 (N9) and cellulose sulfate revealed an increase in HIV infection, vaginal inflammation, and recruitment of HIV susceptible lymphocytes, highlighting the need to identify biomarkers that can accurately predict microbicide toxicity early in preclinical development and in human trials. We used quantitative proteomics and RT-PCR approaches in mice and rabbits to identify protein changes in vaginal fluid and tissue in response to treatment with N9 or benzalkonium chloride (BZK). We compared changes generated with N9 and BZK treatment to the changes generated in response to tenofovir gel, a candidate microbicide that holds promise as a safe and effective microbicide. Both compounds down regulated mucin 5 subtype B, and peptidoglycan recognition protein 1 in vaginal tissue; however, mucosal brush samples also showed upregulation of plasma proteins fibrinogen, plasminogen, apolipoprotein A-1, and apolipoprotein C-1, which may be a response to the erosive nature of N9 and BZK. Additional proteins down-regulated in vaginal tissue by N9 or BZK treatment include CD166 antigen, olfactomedin-4, and anterior gradient protein 2 homolog. We also observed increases in the expression of C-C chemokines CCL3, CCL5, and CCL7 in response to treatment. There was concordance in expression level changes for several of these proteins using both the mouse and rabbit models. Using a human vaginal epithelial cell line, the expression of mucin 5 subtype B and olfactomedin-4 were down-regulated in response to N9, suggesting these markers could apply to humans. These data identifies new proteins that after further validation could become part of a panel of biomarkers to effectively evaluate microbicide toxicity.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0110980
View details for Web of Science ID 000343731200097
View details for PubMedID 25333937
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4205019
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting the skin and characterized by aberrant keratinocyte proliferation and function. Immune cells infiltrate the skin and release proinflammatory cytokines that play important roles in psoriasis. The Th17 network, including IL-23 and IL-22, has recently emerged as a critical component in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. IL-22 and IL-23 signaling is dependent on the JAK family of protein tyrosine kinases, making JAK inhibition an appealing strategy for the treatment of psoriasis. In this study, we report the activity of SAR-20347, a small molecule inhibitor with specificity for JAK1 and tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) over other JAK family members. In cellular assays, SAR-20347 dose dependently (1 nM-10 μM) inhibited JAK1- and/or TYK2-dependent signaling from the IL-12/IL-23, IL-22, and IFN-α receptors. In vivo, TYK2 mutant mice or treatment of wild-type mice with SAR-20347 significantly reduced IL-12-induced IFN-γ production and IL-22-dependent serum amyloid A to similar extents, indicating that, in these models, SAR-20347 is probably acting through inhibition of TYK2. In an imiquimod-induced psoriasis model, the administration of SAR-20347 led to a striking decrease in disease pathology, including reduced activation of keratinocytes and proinflammatory cytokine levels compared with both TYK2 mutant mice and wild-type controls. Taken together, these data indicate that targeting both JAK1- and TYK2-mediated cytokine signaling is more effective than TYK2 inhibition alone in reducing psoriasis pathogenesis.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1400205
View details for Web of Science ID 000343298700010
View details for PubMedID 25156366
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4170002
Soil-transmitted helminths are parasitic nematodes that inhabit the human intestine. These parasites, which include two hookworm species, Ancylostomaduodenale and Necator americanus, the whipworm Trichuristrichiura, and the large roundworm Ascarislumbricoides, infect upwards of two billion people and are a major cause of disease burden in children and pregnant women. The challenge with treating these diseases is that poverty, safety, and inefficient public health policy have marginalized drug development and distribution to control infection in humans. Anthelmintics (anti-worm drugs) have historically been developed and tested for treatment of non-human parasitic nematodes that infect livestock and companion animals. Here we systematically compare the in vitro efficacy of all major anthelmintic classes currently used in human therapy (benzimidazoles, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonists, macrocyclic lactones, nitazoxanide) against species closely related to human parasitic nematodes-Ancylostoma ceylanicum, Trichurismuris, and Ascarissuum--- as well as a rodent parasitic nematode used in veterinary drug discovery, Heligmosomoidesbakeri, and the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Extensive in vitro data is complemented with single-dose in vivo data in three rodent models of parasitic diseases. We find that the effects of the drugs in vitro and in vivo can vary greatly among these nematode species, e.g., the efficacy of albendazole is strong on A. ceylanicum but weak on H. bakeri. Nonetheless, certain commonalities of the in vitro effects of the drugs can be seen, e.g., nitazoxanide consistently shows an all-or-nothing response. Our in vitro data suggest that further optimization of the clinical efficacy of some of these anthelmintics could be achieved by altering the treatment routine and/or dosing. Most importantly, our in vitro and in vivo data indicate that the hookworm A. ceylanicum is a particularly sensitive and useful model for anthelmintic studies and should be incorporated early on in drug screens for broad-spectrum human soil-transmitted helminth therapies.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0070702
View details for Web of Science ID 000323110600046
View details for PubMedID 23869246
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3712009
Ascaris suum and Ascaris lumbricoides are two closely related geo-helminth parasites that ubiquitously infect pigs and humans, respectively. Ascaris suum infection in pigs is considered a good model for A. lumbricoides infection in humans because of a similar biology and tissue migration to the intestines. Ascaris lumbricoides infections in children are associated with malnutrition, growth and cognitive stunting, immune defects, and, in extreme cases, life-threatening blockage of the digestive tract and aberrant migration into the bile duct and peritoneum. Similar effects can be seen with A. suum infections in pigs related to poor feed efficiency and performance. New strategies to control Ascaris infections are needed largely due to reduced treatment efficacies of current anthelmintics in the field, the threat of resistance development, and the general lack of new drug development for intestinal soil-transmitted helminths for humans and animals. Here we demonstrate for the first time that A. suum expresses the receptors for Bacillus thuringiensis crystal protein and novel anthelmintic Cry5B, which has been previously shown to intoxicate hookworms and which belongs to a class of proteins considered non-toxic to vertebrates. Cry5B is able to intoxicate A. suum larvae and adults and triggers the activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway similar to that observed with other nematodes. Most importantly, two moderate doses of 20 mg/kg body weight (143 nM/kg) of Cry5B resulted in a near complete cure of intestinal A. suum infections in pigs. Taken together, these results demonstrate the excellent potential of Cry5B to treat Ascaris infections in pigs and in humans and for Cry5B to work effectively in the human gastrointestinal tract.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002263
View details for Web of Science ID 000321201300024
View details for PubMedID 23818995
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3688533
Hookworm infections are one of the most important parasitic infections of humans worldwide, considered by some second only to malaria in associated disease burden. Single-dose mass drug administration for soil-transmitted helminths, including hookworms, relies primarily on albendazole, which has variable efficacy. New and better hookworm therapies are urgently needed. Bacillus thuringiensis crystal protein Cry5B has potential as a novel anthelmintic and has been extensively studied in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. Here, we ask whether single-dose Cry5B can provide therapy against a hookworm infection and whether C. elegans mechanism-of-action studies are relevant to hookworms.To test whether the C. elegans invertebrate-specific glycolipid receptor for Cry5B is relevant in hookworms, we fed Ancylostoma ceylanicum hookworm adults Cry5B with and without galactose, an inhibitor of Cry5B-C. elegans glycolipid interactions. As with C. elegans, galactose inhibits Cry5B toxicity in A. ceylanicum. Furthermore, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), which controls one of the most important Cry5B signal transduction responses in C. elegans, is functionally operational in hookworms. A. ceylanicum hookworms treated with Cry5B up-regulate p38 MAPK and knock down of p38 MAPK activity in hookworms results in hypersensitivity of A. ceylanicum adults to Cry5B attack. Single-dose Cry5B is able to reduce by >90% A. ceylanicum hookworm burdens from infected hamsters, in the process eliminating hookworm egg shedding in feces and protecting infected hamsters from blood loss. Anthelmintic activity is increased about 3-fold, eliminating >97% of the parasites with a single 3 mg dose (∼30 mg/kg), by incorporating a simple formulation to help prevent digestion in the acidic stomach of the host mammal.These studies advance the development of Cry5B protein as a potent, safe single-dose anthelmintic for hookworm therapy and make available the information of how Cry5B functions in C. elegans in order to study and improve Cry5B function against hookworms.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001900
View details for Web of Science ID 000311888900028
View details for PubMedID 23145203
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3493396