Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health


The Babraham Institute Publications database contains details of all publications resulting from our research groups and scientific services.

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Title / Authors / Details Open Access Download

Mechanisms and implications of phosphoinositide 3-kinase delta in promoting neutrophil trafficking into inflamed tissue.
Puri KD, Doggett TA, Douangpanya J, Hou Y, Tino WT, Wilson T, Graf T, Clayton E, Turner M, Hayflick JS, Diacovo TG

The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) catalytic subunit p110 delta is expressed in neutrophils and is thought to play a role in their accumulation at sites of inflammation by contributing to chemoattractant-directed migration. We report here that p110 delta is present in endothelial cells and participates in neutrophil trafficking by modulating the proadhesive state of these cells in response to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha). Specifically, administration of the selective inhibitor of PI3K delta, IC87114, to animals reduced neutrophil tethering to and increased rolling velocities on cytokine-activated microvessels in a manner similar to that observed in mice deficient in p110 delta. These results were confirmed in vitro as inhibition of this isoform in endothelium, but not neutrophils, diminished cell attachment in flow. A role for PI3K delta in TNF alpha-induced signaling is demonstrated by a reduction in Akt-phosphorylation and phosphatidylinositol-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) enzyme activity upon treatment of this cell type with IC87114. p110 delta expressed in neutrophils also contributes to trafficking as demonstrated by the impaired movement of these cells across inflamed venules in animals in which this catalytic subunit was blocked or genetically deleted, results corroborated in transwell migration assays. Thus, PI3K delta may be a reasonable therapeutic target in specific inflammatory conditions as blockade of its activity reduces neutrophil influx into tissues by diminishing their attachment to and migration across vascular endothelium.

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Blood, 103, 0006-4971, 3448-56, 2004

PMID: 14751923

Open Access

Immunological function in mice lacking the Rac-related GTPase RhoG.
Vigorito E, Bell S, Hebeis BJ, Reynolds H, McAdam S, Emson PC, McKenzie A, Turner M

RhoG is a low-molecular-weight GTPase highly expressed in lymphocytes that activates gene transcription and promotes cytoskeletal reorganization in vitro. To study the in vivo function of RhoG, we generated mice homozygous for a targeted disruption of the RhoG gene. Despite the absence of RhoG, the development of B and T lymphocytes was unaffected. However, there was an increase in the level of serum immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgG2b as well as a mild increase of the humoral immune response to thymus-dependent antigens. In addition, B- and T-cell proliferation in response to antigen receptor cross-linking was slightly increased. Although RhoG deficiency produces a mild phenotype, our experiments suggest that RhoG may contribute to the negative regulation of immune responses. The lack of a strong phenotype could indicate a functional redundancy of RhoG with other Rac proteins in lymphocytes.

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Molecular and cellular biology, 24, 0270-7306, 719-29, 2004

PMID: 14701744

Open Access

Enhancing and diminishing gene function in human embryonic stem cells.
Vallier L, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Bouhon IA, Andersson FK, Sadler AJ, Pedersen RA

It is widely recognized that gain- and loss-of-function approaches are essential for understanding the functions of specific genes, and such approaches would be particularly valuable in studies involving human embryonic stem (hES) cells. We describe a simple and efficient approach using lipofection to transfect hES cells, which enabled us to generate hES cell lines expressing naturally fluorescent green or red proteins without affecting cell pluripotency. We used these cell lines to establish a means of diminishing gene function using small interfering (si)RNAs, which were effective at knocking down gene expression in hES cells. We then demonstrated that stable expression of siRNA could knock down the expression of endogenous genes. Application of these gain- and loss-of-function approaches should have widespread use, not only in revealing the developmental roles of specific human genes, but also for their utility in modulating differentiation.

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Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio), 22, 1066-5099, 2-11, 2004

PMID: 14688386

Open Access

Regulation of InsP3 receptor activity by neuronal Ca2+-binding proteins.
NN Kasri, AM Holmes, G Bultynck, JB Parys, MD Bootman, K Rietdorf, L Missiaen, F McDonald, H De Smedt, SJ Conway, AB Holmes, MJ Berridge, HL Roderick

Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (InsP(3)Rs) were recently demonstrated to be activated independently of InsP(3) by a family of calmodulin (CaM)-like neuronal Ca(2+)-binding proteins (CaBPs). We investigated the interaction of both naturally occurring long and short CaBP1 isoforms with InsP(3)Rs, and their functional effects on InsP(3)R-evoked Ca(2+) signals. Using several experimental paradigms, including transient expression in COS cells, acute injection of recombinant protein into Xenopus oocytes and (45)Ca(2+) flux from permeabilised COS cells, we demonstrated that CaBPs decrease the sensitivity of InsP(3)-induced Ca(2+) release (IICR). In addition, we found a Ca(2+)-independent interaction between CaBP1 and the NH(2)-terminal 159 amino acids of the type 1 InsP(3)R. This interaction resulted in decreased InsP(3) binding to the receptor reminiscent of that observed for CaM. Unlike CaM, however, CaBPs do not inhibit ryanodine receptors, have a higher affinity for InsP(3)Rs and more potently inhibited IICR. We also show that phosphorylation of CaBP1 at a casein kinase 2 consensus site regulates its inhibition of IICR. Our data suggest that CaBPs are endogenous regulators of InsP(3)Rs tuning the sensitivity of cells to InsP(3).

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The EMBO journal, 23, 2, 312-21, 2004

PMID: 14685260

DOI: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7600037

Formation of HLA-B27 homodimers and their relationship to assembly kinetics.
Antoniou AN, Ford S, Taurog JD, Butcher GW, Powis SJ

The human HLA-B27 class I molecule exhibits a strong association with the inflammatory arthritic disorder ankylosing spondylitis and other related arthropathies. Major histocompatibility complex class I heavy chains normally associate with beta(2)-microglobulin and peptide in the endoplasmic reticulum before transit to the cell surface. However, an unusual characteristic of HLA-B27 is its ability to form heavy chain homodimers through an unpaired cysteine at position 67 in the peptide groove. Homodimers have previously been detected within the ER and at the cell surface, but their mechanism of formation and role in disease remain undefined. Here we demonstrate, in the rat C58 thymoma cell line and in human HeLa cells transfected with HLA-B27, that homodimer formation involves not only cysteine at position 67 but also the conserved structural cysteine at position 164. We also show that homodimer formation can be induced in the non-disease-associated HLA class I allele HLA-A2 by slowing its assembly rate by incubation of cells at 26 degrees C, suggesting that homodimer formation in the endoplasmic reticulum may occur as a result of the slower folding kinetics of HLA-B27. Finally, we report an association between unfolded HLA-B27 molecules and immunoglobulin-binding protein at the cell surface.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 279, 0021-9258, 8895-902, 2004

PMID: 14684742

Open Access

Extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 are serum-stimulated "Bim(EL) kinases" that bind to the BH3-only protein Bim(EL) causing its phosphorylation and turnover.
R Ley, KE Ewings, K Hadfield, E Howes, K Balmanno, SJ Cook

Bim, a "BH3-only" protein, is expressed de novo following withdrawal of serum survival factors and promotes cell death. We have shown previously that activation of the ERK1/2 pathway promotes phosphorylation of Bim(EL), targeting it for degradation via the proteasome. However, the nature of the kinase responsible for Bim(EL) phosphorylation remained unclear. We now show that Bim(EL) is phosphorylated on at least three sites in response to activation of the ERK1/2 pathway. By using the peptidylprolyl isomerase, Pin1, as a probe for proline-directed phosphorylation, we show that ERK1/2-dependent phosphorylation of Bim(EL) occurs at (S/T)P motifs. ERK1/2 phosphorylates Bim(EL), but not Bim(S) or Bim(L), in vitro, and mutation of Ser(65) to alanine blocks the phosphorylation of Bim(EL) by ERK1/2 in vitro and in vivo and prevents the degradation of the protein following activation of the ERK1/2 pathway. We also find that ERK1/2, but not JNK, can physically associate with GST-Bim(EL), but not GST-Bim(L) or GST-Bim(S), in vitro. ERK1/2 also binds to full-length Bim(EL) in vivo, and we have localized a potential ERK1/2 "docking domain" lying within a 27-amino acid stretch of the Bim(EL) protein. Our findings provide new insights into the post-translational regulation of Bim(EL) and the role of the ERK1/2 pathway in cell survival signaling.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 279, 10, 8837-47, 2004

PMID: 14681225

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M311578200

Open Access

An association between variants in the IGF2 gene and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome: interaction between genotype and epigenotype.
Murrell A, Heeson S, Cooper WN, Douglas E, Apostolidou S, Moore GE, Maher ER, Reik W

Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) is a fetal overgrowth disorder involving the deregulation of a number of genes, including IGF2 and CDKN1C, in the imprinted gene cluster on chromosome 11p15.5. In sporadic BWS cases the majority of patients have epimutations in this region. Loss of imprinting of the IGF2 gene is frequently observed in BWS, as is reduced CDKN1C expression related to loss of maternal allele-specific methylation (LOM) of the differentially methylated region KvDMR1. The causes of epimutations are unknown, although recently an association with assisted reproductive technologies has been described. To date the only genetic mutations described in BWS are in the CDKN1C gene. In order to screen for other genetic predispositions to BWS, the conserved sequences between human and mouse differentially methylated regions (DMRs) of the IGF2 gene were analyzed for variants. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were found in DMR0 (T123C, G358A, T382G and A402G) which occurred in three out of 16 possible haplotypes: TGTA, CATG and CAGA. DNA samples from a cohort of sporadic BWS patients and healthy controls were genotyped for the DMR0 SNPs. There was a significant increase in the frequency of the CAGA haplotype and a significant decrease in the frequency of the CATG haplotype in the patient cohort compared to controls. These associations were still significant in a BWS subgroup with KvDMR1 LOM, suggesting that the G allele at T382G SNP (CAGA haplotype) is associated with LOM at KvDMR1. This indicates either a genetic predisposition to LOM or interactions between genotype and epigenotype that impinge on the disease phenotype.

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Human molecular genetics, 13, 0964-6906, 247-55, 2004

PMID: 14645199

Open Access

Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase- and ERK MAPK-regulated protein synthesis reveals the pro-apoptotic properties of CD40 ligation in carcinoma cells.
Davies CC, Mason J, Wakelam MJ, Young LS, Eliopoulos AG

CD40, a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, is frequently expressed in carcinomas where its stimulation results in induction of apoptosis when de novo protein synthesis is inhibited. The requirement of protein synthesis inhibition for efficient killing suggests that CD40 transduces potent survival signals capable of suppressing its pro-apoptotic effects. We have found that inhibition of CD40 signaling on the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and ERK MAPK but not on the p38 MAPK axis disrupts this balance and sensitizes carcinoma cells to CD40-mediated cell death. The CD40-mediated PI3K and ERK activities were found to converge on the regulation of protein synthesis in carcinoma cells via a pathway involving the activation of p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (p90Rsk) and p70S6 kinases, upstream of the translation elongation factor eEF2. In addition, CD40 ligation was found to mediate a PI3K- and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 and its subsequent dissociation from the mRNA cap-binding protein eIF4E as well as an ERK-dependent phosphorylation of eIF4E, thus promoting translation initiation. Concomitantly, the antiapoptotic protein cFLIP was found to be induced in CD40 ligand-stimulated carcinoma cells in a PI3K-, ERK-, and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent manner and down-regulation of cFLIPS expression sensitized to CD40-mediated carcinoma cell death. These data underline the significance of the PI3K and ERK pathways in controlling the balance between CD40-mediated survival and death signals through the regulation of the protein synthesis machinery. Pharmacological agents that target this machinery or its upstream kinases could, therefore, be exploited for CD40-based tumor therapy.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 279, 0021-9258, 1010-9, 2004

PMID: 14581487

Open Access

LMO2-associated clonal T cell proliferation in two patients after gene therapy for SCID-X1.
S Hacein-Bey-Abina, C Von Kalle, M Schmidt, MP McCormack, N Wulffraat, P Leboulch, A Lim, CS Osborne, R Pawliuk, E Morillon, R Sorensen, A Forster, P Fraser, JI Cohen, G de Saint Basile, I Alexander, U Wintergerst, T Frebourg, A Aurias, D Stoppa-Lyonnet, S Romana, I Radford-Weiss, F Gross, F Valensi, E Delabesse, E Macintyre, F Sigaux, J Soulier, LE Leiva, M Wissler, C Prinz, TH Rabbitts, F Le Deist, A Fischer, M Cavazzana-Calvo

We have previously shown correction of X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency [SCID-X1, also known as gamma chain (gamma(c)) deficiency] in 9 out of 10 patients by retrovirus-mediated gamma(c) gene transfer into autologous CD34 bone marrow cells. However, almost 3 years after gene therapy, uncontrolled exponential clonal proliferation of mature T cells (with gammadelta+ or alphabeta+ T cell receptors) has occurred in the two youngest patients. Both patients' clones showed retrovirus vector integration in proximity to the LMO2 proto-oncogene promoter, leading to aberrant transcription and expression of LMO2. Thus, retrovirus vector insertion can trigger deregulated premalignant cell proliferation with unexpected frequency, most likely driven by retrovirus enhancer activity on the LMO2 gene promoter.

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Science (New York, N.Y.), 302, 5644, 415-9, 2003

PMID: 14564000

DOI: 10.1126/science.1088547

Functional characterization of a neuropeptide F-like receptor from Drosophila melanogaster.
G Feng, V Reale, H Chatwin, K Kennedy, R Venard, C Ericsson, K Yu, PD Evans, LM Hall

A cDNA clone encoding a seven-transmembrane domain, G-protein-coupled receptor (NPFR76F, also called GPCR60), has been isolated from Drosophila melanogaster. Deletion mapping showed that the gene encoding this receptor is located on the left arm of the third chromosome at position 76F. Northern blotting and whole mount in situ hybridization have shown that this receptor is expressed in a limited number of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems of embryos and adults. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence suggests that this receptor is related to vertebrate neuropeptide Y receptors. This Drosophila receptor shows 62-66% similarity and 32-34% identity to type 2 neuropeptide Y receptors cloned from a variety of vertebrate sources. Coexpression in Xenopus oocytes of NPFR76F with the promiscuous G-protein Galpha16 showed that this receptor is activated by the vertebrate neuropeptide Y family to produce inward currents due to the activation of an endogenous oocyte calcium-dependent chloride current. Maximum receptor activation was achieved with short, putative Drosophila neuropeptide F peptides (Drm-sNPF-1, 2 and 2s). Neuropeptide F-like peptides in Drosophila have been implicated in a signalling system that modulates food response and social behaviour. The identification of this neuropeptide F-like receptor and its endogenous ligand by reverse pharmacology will facilitate genetic and behavioural studies of neuropeptide functions in Drosophila.

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The European journal of neuroscience, 18, 2, 227-38, 2003

PMID: 12887405

Calcium signalling: dynamics, homeostasis and remodelling.
MJ Berridge, MD Bootman, HL Roderick

Ca2+ is a highly versatile intracellular signal that operates over a wide temporal range to regulate many different cellular processes. An extensive Ca2+-signalling toolkit is used to assemble signalling systems with very different spatial and temporal dynamics. Rapid highly localized Ca2+ spikes regulate fast responses, whereas slower responses are controlled by repetitive global Ca2+ transients or intracellular Ca2+ waves. Ca2+ has a direct role in controlling the expression patterns of its signalling systems that are constantly being remodelled in both health and disease.

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Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology, 4, 7, 517-29, 2003

PMID: 12838335

DOI: 10.1038/nrm1155

Characterisation of RT1-E2, a multigenic family of highly conserved rat non-classical MHC class I molecules initially identified in cells from immunoprivileged sites.
Lau P, Amadou C, Brun H, Rouillon V, McLaren F, Le Rolle AF, Graham M, Butcher GW, Joly E

So-called "immunoprivileged sites" are tissues or organs where slow allograft rejection correlates with low levels of expression of MHC class I molecules. Whilst classical class I molecules are recognised by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), some MHC class I molecules are called "non-classical" because they exhibit low polymorphism and are not widely expressed. These last years, several studies have shown that these can play different, more specialised roles than their classical counterparts. In the course of efforts to characterise MHC class I expression in rat cells obtained from immunoprivileged sites such as the central nervous system or the placenta, a new family of non-classical MHC class I molecules, which we have named RT1-E2, has been uncovered.

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BMC immunology, 4, 1471-2172, 7, 2003

PMID: 12837137

Open Access

Beta-elimination: an unexpected artefact in proteome analysis.
Herbert B, Hopwood F, Oxley D, McCarthy J, Laver M, Grinyer J, Goodall A, Williams K, Castagna A, Righetti PG

Two persistent myths, ingrained in the electrophoretic literature of the last thirty years, namely carbamylation and deamidation, have been recently dispelled (Herbert et al., J. Proteome Res. 2002, in press). We report here, for the first time, a noxious and unexpected artefact in proteome analysis: beta-elimination (or desulfuration), which results on the loss of an H(2)S group (34 Da) from cysteine (Cys) residues for protein focusing in the alkaline pH region. With such an elimination event, a dehydro alanine residue is generated at the Cys site. In turn, the presence of a double bond in this position elicits lysis of the peptide bond, generating a number of peptides of fairly large size from an intact protein. The first process seems to be favored by the electric field, probably due to the continuous harvesting of the SH(-) anion produced. The only remedy found to this noxious degradation pathway is the reduction and alkylation of all Cys residues prior to their exposure to the electric field. Alkylation appears to substantially reduce both beta-elimination and the subsequent amido bond lysis.

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Proteomics, 3, 1615-9853, 826-31, 2003

PMID: 12833505

Regulation of Vav localization in membrane rafts by adaptor molecules Grb2 and BLNK.
Johmura S, Oh-hora M, Inabe K, Nishikawa Y, Hayashi K, Vigorito E, Kitamura D, Turner M, Shingu K, Hikida M, Kurosaki T

Despite the importance of the Vav family proteins for B cell receptor (BCR) signaling, their activation mechanisms remain poorly understood. We demonstrate here that adaptor molecules Grb2 and BLNK, in addition to Vav, are required for efficient Rac1 activation in response to BCR stimulation. Loss of either Grb2 or BLNK results in decreased translocation of Vav3 to membrane rafts. By expression of Vav3 as a raft-targeted construct, the defective Rac1 activation in Grb2- or BLNK-deficient B cells is restored. Hence, our findings suggest that Grb2 and BLNK cooperate to localize Vav into membrane rafts, thereby contributing to optimal activation of Vav in B cells.

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Immunity, 18, 1074-7613, 777-87, 2003

PMID: 12818159

A novel instance of class I modification (cim) affecting two of three rat class I RT1-A molecules within one MHC haplotype.
González-Muñoz AL, Le Rolle AF, Brun H, Hedrich HJ, Wedekind D, Powis SJ, Joly E, Butcher GW

MHC class I expression by rats of the RT1(o), RT1(d), and RT1(m) MHC haplotypes was investigated. Identical, functional cDNAs were obtained from RT1(o) and BDIX (RT1(dv1)) rats for three MHC class I molecules. RT1-A1(o/d) and -A2(o/d) are closely related in sequence to other cloned rat class Ia genes that have been shown to map to the RT1-A region, while RT1-A3 degrees is highly homologous to a class I gene identified by sequencing an RT1-A(n) genomic contig and is named A3(n). Detailed analysis of the three molecules was undertaken using serology with mAbs, two-dimensional gel analysis of immunoprecipitates, and killing assays using cytotoxic T cells. Arguments are presented suggesting that A1 degrees is the principal MHC class Ia (classical) restricting element of this haplotype. A2 degrees, which is highly cross-reactive with A1 degrees, and A3 degrees probably play more minor or distinct roles in Ag presentation. Unexpectedly, cDNAs encoding exactly the same three molecules were cloned from rats of the RT1(m) haplotype, an MHC that until now was thought to possess unique class Ia genes. RT1(m) contains the TAP-B allele of the TAP transporter, and we present evidence that functional polymorphism in rat TAP has an even greater impact on the expression of RT1-A1 degrees and -A2 degrees than it does on RT1-A(a) in the established case of class I modification (cim). Historically, this led to the misclassification of RT1(m) class Ia molecules as separate and distinct.

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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 171, 0022-1767, 274-84, 2003

PMID: 12817008

Open Access

Carbamylation of proteins in 2-D electrophoresis--myth or reality?
McCarthy J, Hopwood F, Oxley D, Laver M, Castagna A, Righetti PG, Williams K, Herbert B

Carbamylation is widely quoted as being a problem in 2-D gel analysis and the associated sample preparation steps. This modification occurs when iso-cyanate, a urea break-down product, covalently modifies lysine residues, thus inducing a change in isoelectric point. Urea is used at up to 9 M concentrations in sample preparation and 2-D gels because of its ability to disrupt protein structure and effect denaturation without the need for ionic surfactants such as SDS. We have studied carbamylation using 7 M urea and 2 M thiourea, under a range of experimental temperatures to establish when, and if, it occurs and what can be done to minimize the modification. The actual time required for protein extraction from a tissue is usually short compared to the time required for procedures such as reduction and alkylation and IPG rehydration and focusing. Therefore, it is the temperature during these post-extraction procedures that is the most critical factor. Our experiments have shown that carbamylation does not occur during electrophoresis in the presence of urea, even with prolonged run-times. However, under poorly controlled sample preparation and storage conditions, it can become a major event.

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Journal of proteome research, 2, 1535-3893, 239-42, 0

PMID: 12814262

Subversion of the chemokine world by microbial pathogens.
Liston A, McColl S

It is well known that microbial pathogens are able to subvert the host immune system in order to increase microbial replication and propagation. Recent research indicates that another arm of the immune response, that of the chemokine system, is also subject to this sabotage, and is undermined by a range of microbial pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Currently, it is known that the chemokine system is being challenged by a number of mechanisms, and still more are likely to be discovered with further research. Here we first review the general mechanisms by which microbial pathogens bypass mammalian chemokine defences. Broadly, these can be grouped as viral chemokine interacting proteins, microbial manipulation of host chemokine and chemokine receptor expression, microbial blockade of host chemokine receptor signalling, and the largely hypothetical mechanisms of microbial enhancement of host anti-chemokine networks (including digestion, antagonism, and neutralisation of host chemokines and chemokine receptors). We then discuss the potential results of these interactions in terms of outcome of infection.

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BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 25, 0265-9247, 478-88, 2003

PMID: 12717818

Agonist-specific coupling of a cloned human alpha1A-adrenoceptor to different second messenger pathways.
J Richardson, H Chatwin, A Hirasawa, G Tsujimoto, PD Evans

The agonist-specific coupling properties of the three cloned human alpha(1)-adrenoceptor subtypes have been compared, when expressed at similar levels in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines, using noradrenaline and the (+/-)- meta- and (+/-)- para- structural isomers of octopamine as agonists. The alpha(1A)- and the alpha(1B)-adrenoceptor subtypes coupled to both the release of arachidonic acid and to the accumulation of inositol phosphates, whereas the alpha(1D)-adrenoceptor subtype only coupled effectively to the accumulation of inositol phosphates. The rank order of potencies of the three agonists tested was the same for all the three receptor subtypes when coupled to either signalling pathway: noradrenaline > meta-octopamine > para-octopamine. Meta-octopamine was a partial agonist of the alpha(1A)-adrenoceptor subtype when coupled to arachidonic acid release, whereas para-octopamine was a full agonist of this pathway. In contrast, meta-octopamine was a full agonist at the alpha(1B)-adrenoceptor subtype when coupled to arachidonic acid release, whereas para-octopamine was a partial agonist of this pathway. Neither meta-octopamine, nor para-octopamine acted as full agonists when coupling any of the three alpha(1)-adrenoceptor subtypes to the accumulation of inositol phosphates. Para-octopamine was only a weak partial agonist of this pathway for all three receptor subtypes. The results show that the modulation of arachidonic acid release and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate production occurs in both a subtype- and agonist-specific manner for the alpha(1A)-, alpha(1B)- and alpha(1D)-adrenoceptor subtypes. In addition, the alpha(1A)-adrenoceptor exhibits agonist-specific coupling (agonist trafficking) to the different second messenger pathways.

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Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's archives of pharmacology, 367, 4, 333-41, 2003

PMID: 12690424

DOI: 10.1007/s00210-003-0703-x

PI3K in lymphocyte development, differentiation and activation.
K Okkenhaug, B Vanhaesebroeck

Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) regulate numerous biological processes, including cell growth, differentiation, survival, proliferation, migration and metabolism. In the immune system, impaired PI3K signalling leads to immunodeficiency, whereas unrestrained PI3K signalling contributes to autoimmunity and leukaemia. New insights into the role of PI3Ks in lymphocyte biology have been derived from gene-targeting studies, which have identified the PI3K subunits that are involved in B-cell and T-cell signalling. In particular, the catalytic subunit p110delta seems to be adapted to transmit antigen-receptor signalling in B and T cells. Additional recent work has provided new insights into the molecular interactions that lead to PI3K activation and the signalling pathways that are regulated by PI3K.

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Nature reviews. Immunology, 3, 4, 317-30, 2003

PMID: 12669022

DOI: 10.1038/nri1056

Aire regulates negative selection of organ-specific T cells.
Liston A, Lesage S, Wilson J, Peltonen L, Goodnow CC

Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy syndrome type 1 is a recessive Mendelian disorder resulting from mutations in a novel gene, AIRE, and is characterized by a spectrum of organ-specific autoimmune diseases. It is not known what tolerance mechanisms are defective as a result of AIRE mutation. By tracing the fate of autoreactive CD4+ T cells with high affinity for a pancreatic antigen in transgenic mice with an Aire mutation, we show here that Aire deficiency causes almost complete failure to delete the organ-specific cells in the thymus. These results indicate that autoimmune polyendocrinopathy syndrome 1 is caused by failure of a specialized mechanism for deleting forbidden T cell clones, establishing a central role for this tolerance mechanism.

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Nature immunology, 4, 1529-2908, 350-4, 2003

PMID: 12612579

Troponin C in different insect muscle types: identification of two isoforms in Lethocerus, Drosophila and Anopheles that are specific to asynchronous flight muscle in the adult insect.
Qiu F, Lakey A, Agianian B, Hutchings A, Butcher GW, Labeit S, Leonard K, Bullard B

The indirect flight muscles (IFMs) of Lethocerus (giant water bug) and Drosophila (fruitfly) are asynchronous: oscillatory contractions are produced by periodic stretches in the presence of a Ca(2+) concentration that does not fully activate the muscle. The troponin complex on thin filaments regulates contraction in striated muscle. The complex in IFM has subunits that are specific to this muscle type, and stretch activation may act through troponin. Lethocerus and Drosophila have an unusual isoform of the Ca(2+)-binding subunit of troponin, troponin C (TnC), with a single Ca(2+)-binding site near the C-terminus (domain IV); this isoform is only in IFMs, together with a minor isoform with an additional Ca(2+)-binding site in the N-terminal region (domain II). Lethocerus has another TnC isoform in leg muscle which also has two Ca(2+)-binding sites. Ca(2+) binds more strongly to domain IV than to domain II in two-site isoforms. There are four isoforms in Drosophila and Anopheles (malarial mosquito), three of which are also in adult Lethocerus. A larval isoform has not been identified in Lethocerus. Different TnC isoforms are expressed in the embryonic, larval, pupal and adult stages of Drosophila; the expression of the two IFM isoforms is increased in the pupal stage. Immunoelectron microscopy shows the distribution of the major IFM isoform with one Ca(2+)-binding site is uniform along Lethocerus thin filaments. We suggest that initial activation of IFM is by Ca(2+) binding to troponin with the two-site TnC, and full activation is through the action of stretch on the complex with the one-site isoform.

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The Biochemical journal, 371, 0264-6021, 811-21, 2003

PMID: 12558500

Open Access

Molecular characterization of the novel rat NK receptor 1C7.
Bäckman-Petersson E, Miller JR, Hollyoake M, Aguado B, Butcher GW

A novel receptor, named 1C7 or NKp30 and involved in natural cytotoxicity, was recently identified. This receptor is encoded by the 1C7 gene, which is located within the class III region of the human MHC, HLA. It is a member of the immunoglobulin gene superfamily (IgSF) and, remarkably, is expressed at the mRNA level as six different splice variants in human. Recent investigations have indicated that the 1c7 gene of the mouse is silenced by in-frame stop codons. In this study, the molecular characterization of the rat 1c7 gene is described. cDNA derived from this gene encode a protein of 192 amino acid residues predicted to contain a single IgV-set domain in the extracellular region and a positively charged residue in the transmembrane region. Expression of the gene was detected in freshly isolated rat Natural Killer (NK) and T splenocytes. Transfection of rat 1C7 into the NK cell line RNK-16 induced cytolytic activity against glioma as well as lymphoma tumor cells. In addition, binding of a r1C7-Fc fusion protein by a panel of target cells correlated with susceptibility to killing by RNK-16-1C7 effector cells. These results indicate that the r1C7 molecule could function as an NK activating receptor as previously reported for the human NKp30 receptor molecule.

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European journal of immunology, 33, 0014-2980, 342-51, 2003

PMID: 12548565

RhoG regulates gene expression and the actin cytoskeleton in lymphocytes.
Vigorito E, Billadeu DD, Savoy D, McAdam S, Doody G, Fort P, Turner M

RhoG, a member of the Rho family of GTPases, has been implicated as a regulator of the actin cytoskeleton. In this study, we show a novel function for the small GTPase RhoG on the regulation of the interferon-gamma promoter and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) gene transcription in lymphocytes. Optimal function of RhoG for the expression of these genes requires a calcium signal, normally provided by the antigen receptor. In addition, RhoG potentiation of NFAT requires the indirect activity of Rac and Cdc42; however, pathways distinct from those activated by Rac and Cdc42 mediate RhoG activation of NFAT-dependent transcription. Using effector domain mutants of RhoG we found that its ability to potentiate NFAT-dependent transcription correlates with its capacity to increase actin polymerization, supporting the suggestion that NFAT-dependent transcription is an actin-dependent process. RhoG also promotes T-cell spreading on fibronectin, a property that is independent of its ability to enhance NFAT-dependent transcription. Hence, these results implicate RhoG in leukocyte trafficking and the control of gene expression induced in response to antigen encounter.

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Oncogene, 22, 0950-9232, 330-42, 2003

PMID: 12545154

Site-directed mutagenesis studies on the Drosophila octopamine/tyramine receptor.
HM Chatwin, JE Rudling, D Patel, V Reale, PD Evans

The cloned Drosophila octopamine/tyramine receptor can be coupled to second messenger pathways in an agonist-specific fashion by the endogenously occurring biogenic amines, octopamine and tyramine, when expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. We have mutated to alanine a range of receptor amino acids that could potentially form hydrogen bonds with the beta-hydroxyl group of octopamine based on homologies with alpha- and beta-adrenergic receptor subtypes. After stable expression of the mutant receptors in CHO cells we have compared the ability of octopamine and tyramine to displace [(3)H]yohimbine binding to membrane fractions from the mutant cell lines with their ability to modulate adenylyl cyclase activity in intact cells. The results suggest that none of the mutated amino acids residues, at least in isolation, are likely to be involved in interactions with the beta-hydroxyl group of the octopamine side chain. It is possible that amino acids not mutated in the present study are somehow involved in this interaction. Alternatively, it is also possible that the beta-hydroxyl group of the octopamine side chain is capable of interacting with more than one of the amino acids mutated in the present study.

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Insect biochemistry and molecular biology, 33, 2, 173-84, 2003

PMID: 12535676

Crystal structures of two rat MHC class Ia (RT1-A) molecules that are associated differentially with peptide transporter alleles TAP-A and TAP-B.
Rudolph MG, Stevens J, Speir JA, Trowsdale J, Butcher GW, Joly E, Wilson IA

Antigenic peptides are loaded onto class I MHC molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) by a complex consisting of the MHC class I heavy chain, beta(2)-microglobulin, calreticulin, tapasin, Erp57 (ER60) and the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP). While most mammalian species transport these peptides into the ER via a single allele of TAP, rats have evolved different TAPs, TAP-A and TAP-B, that are present in different inbred strains. Each TAP delivers a different spectrum of peptides and is associated genetically with distinct subsets of MHC class Ia alleles, but the molecular basis for the conservation (or co-evolution) of the two transporter alleles is unknown. We have determined the crystal structures of a representative of each MHC subset, viz RT1-A(a) and RT1-A1(c), in association with high-affinity nonamer peptides. The structures reveal how the chemical properties of the two different rat MHC F-pockets match those of the corresponding C termini of the peptides, corroborating biochemical data on the rates of peptide-MHC complex assembly. An unusual sequence in RT1-A1(c) leads to a major deviation from the highly conserved beta(3)/alpha(1) loop (residues 40-59) conformation in mouse and human MHC class I structures. This loop change contributes to profound changes in the shape of the A-pocket in the peptide-binding groove and may explain the function of RT1-A1(c) as an inhibitory natural killer cell ligand.

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Journal of molecular biology, 324, 0022-2836, 975-90, 2002

PMID: 12470953