Gene silencing: plants and viruses fight it out.
Plants can become 'immune' to attack by viruses by degrading specific viral RNA, but some plant viruses have evolved the general capacity to suppress this resistance mechanism. (+info)
Constitutive activation of Stat3 signaling confers resistance to apoptosis in human U266 myeloma cells.
Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is the major survival factor for myeloma tumor cells and induces signaling through the STAT proteins. We report that one STAT family member, Stat3, is constitutively activated in bone marrow mononuclear cells from patients with multiple myeloma and in the IL-6-dependent human myeloma cell line U266. Moreover, U266 cells are inherently resistant to Fas-mediated apoptosis and express high levels of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-xL. Blocking IL-6 receptor signaling from Janus kinases to the Stat3 protein inhibits Bcl-xL expression and induces apoptosis, demonstrating that Stat3 signaling is essential for the survival of myeloma tumor cells. These findings provide evidence that constitutively activated Stat3 signaling contributes to the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma by preventing apoptosis. (+info)
Rapid autologous marrow recovery and eradication of infectious mononucleosis despite severe immunosuppression following second transplantation for aplastic anemia.
A patient with aplastic anemia failed to respond to immunosuppressive therapy and first marrow transplantation (BMT). Recovery of autologous hematopoiesis was rapid following a second stem cell transplant with a non-myeloablative preparatory regimen. The autologous immune response to infectious mononucleosis (IM) 4 weeks post-transplant was normal despite recent and ongoing severe immunosuppression. (+info)
Innate and acquired humoral immunities to influenza virus are mediated by distinct arms of the immune system.
"Natural" Igs, mainly IgM, comprise part of the innate immune system present in healthy individuals, including antigen-free mice. These Igs are thought to delay pathogenicity of infecting agents until antigen-induced high affinity Igs of all isotypes are produced. Previous studies suggested that the acquired humoral response arises directly from the innate response, i.e., that B cells expressing natural IgM, upon antigen encounter, differentiate to give rise both to cells that secrete high amounts of IgM and to cells that undergo affinity maturation and isotype switching. However, by using a murine model of influenza virus infection, we demonstrate here that the B cells that produce natural antiviral IgM neither increase their IgM production nor undergo isotype switching to IgG2a in response to the infection. These cells are distinct from the B cells that produce the antiviral response after encounter with the pathogen. Our data therefore demonstrate that the innate and the acquired humoral immunities to influenza virus are separate effector arms of the immune system and that antigen exposure per se is not sufficient to increase natural antibody production. (+info)
Streptozotocin (STZ), a glucose analogue known to induce diabetes in experimental animals, causes DNA strand breaks and subsequent activation of poly(ADPribose) polymerase (Parp). Because Parp uses NAD as a substrate, extensive DNA damage will result in reduction of cellular NAD level. In fact, STZ induces NAD depletion and cell death in isolated pancreatic islets in vitro. Activation of Parp therefore is thought to play an important role in STZ-induced diabetes. In the present study, we established Parp-deficient (Parp-/-) mice by disrupting Parp exon 1 by using the homologous recombination technique. These mice were used to examine the possible involvement of Parp in STZ-induced beta-cell damage in vivo. The wild-type (Parp+/+) mice showed significant increases in blood glucose concentration from 129 mg/dl to 218, 370, 477, and 452 mg/dl on experimental days 1, 7, 21, and 60, respectively, after a single injection of 180 mg STZ/kg body weight. In contrast, the concentration of blood glucose in Parp-/- mice remained normal up to day 7, slightly increased on day 21, but returned to normal levels on day 60. STZ injection caused extensive necrosis in the islets of Parp+/+ mice on day 1, with subsequent progressive islet atrophy and loss of functional beta cells from day 7. In contrast, the extent of islet beta-cell death and dysfunction was markedly less in Parp-/- mice. Our findings clearly implicate Parp activation in islet beta-cell damage and glucose intolerance induced by STZ in vivo. (+info)
Identification of regions in alleles of the flax rust resistance gene L that determine differences in gene-for-gene specificity.
Thirteen alleles (L, L1 to L11, and LH) from the flax L locus, which encode Toll/interleukin-1 receptor homology-nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeat (TIR-NBS-LRR) rust resistance proteins, were sequenced and compared to provide insight into their evolution and into the determinants of gene-for-gene resistance specificity. The predicted L6 and L11 proteins differ solely in the LRR region, whereas L6 and L7 differ solely in the TIR region. Thus, specificity differences between alleles can be determined by both the LRR and TIR regions. Functional analysis in transgenic plants of recombinant alleles constructed in vitro provided further information: L10-L2 and L6-L2 recombinants, encoding the LRR of L2, conferred L2 resistance specificity, and an L2-L10 recombinant, encoding the LRR of L10, conferred a novel specificity. The sequence comparisons also indicate that the evolution of L alleles has probably involved reassortment of variation, resulting from accumulated point mutations, by intragenic recombination. In addition, large deletion events have occurred in the LRR-encoding regions of L1 and L8, and duplication events have occurred in the LRR-encoding region of L2. (+info)
Cyclophilin C-associated protein: a normal secreted glycoprotein that down-modulates endotoxin and proinflammatory responses in vivo.
Mouse cyclophilin C-associated protein (CyCAP) is a member of the scavenger-receptor cysteine-rich domain superfamily and is 69% identical to the human Mac-2 binding protein. Here, we show that CyCAP is a widely expressed secreted glycoprotein that modulates the host response to endotoxin. Gene-targeted CyCAP-deficient mice are more sensitive to the lethal effects of endotoxin. In response to endotoxin, CyCAP-deficient mice overproduced interleukin 12 and interferon-gamma systemically and tumor necrosis factor alpha locally; these are proinflammatory molecules that also promote T helper 1 responses. Furthermore, macrophages stimulated in vitro with endotoxin in serum deficient in CyCAP secreted more tumor necrosis factor alpha, supporting the proposal that CyCAP specifically down-modulates endotoxin signaling. (+info)
Comparative genomics and host resistance against infectious diseases.
The large size and complexity of the human genome have limited the identification and functional characterization of components of the innate immune system that play a critical role in front-line defense against invading microorganisms. However, advances in genome analysis (including the development of comprehensive sets of informative genetic markers, improved physical mapping methods, and novel techniques for transcript identification) have reduced the obstacles to discovery of novel host resistance genes. Study of the genomic organization and content of widely divergent vertebrate species has shown a remarkable degree of evolutionary conservation and enables meaningful cross-species comparison and analysis of newly discovered genes. Application of comparative genomics to host resistance will rapidly expand our understanding of human immune defense by facilitating the translation of knowledge acquired through the study of model organisms. We review the rationale and resources for comparative genomic analysis and describe three examples of host resistance genes successfully identified by this approach. (+info)