Epicutanoeus immunotherapy as a novel prophylactic and therapeutic strategy for birch pollen allergy
- The development of a convenient, effective and safe allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) for birch pollen allergy, one of the most prevalent allergic diseases in Northern Europe, North
America and Northern Japan, is of crucial importance. Epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) has gained attention as a safe and non-invasive alternative for subcutaneous immunotherapy, a conventional SIT. However, clinical studies showed a limited effcacy of EPIT, indicating the necessity of improvement of the treatment regime. In this study, we hypothesized that a combination of a hypoallergen with an appropriate adjuvant could be a strategy to improve
EPIT. To verify this hypothesis, we aimed at investigating the efficacy of epicutaneous treatment with rBet v 1, the major birch pollen allergen, plus Toll-like receptor (TLR)
agonists for prophylaxis and therapy of birch pollen allergy using a murine model of birch pollen-induced allergic asthma. Furthermore, the efficacy of rBet v 1B2, a hypoallergenic
variant of Bet v 1, as a therapeutic allergen in EPI was pre-clinically investigated. TLRs recognize conserved microbial molecules (like PAMPs), and are known to promote the
counter-regulation of TH2 responses by the induction of TH1-type and/or regulatory cytokines by immune cells.
The hypoallergen Bet v 1B2 is a folding-variant of the wild-type allergen rBet v 1 with reduced allergenicity, but retained T-cell immunogenicity. The low allergenicity, could
allow the application of hypoallergens in higher doses, and therefore provide a safer and more effective treatment to regulate T-cell immune responses. First, the expression and
purification of recombinant Bet v 1 and Bet v 1B2 was optimized. Compared to natural proteins, recombinant proteins offer the possibility to use well-defined molecules with a
consistent pharmaceutical quality. Using optimal Escherichia coli expression strains in combination with immobilized metal chelate affinity chromatography (IMAC) and size exclusion chromatography (SEC), we successfully prepared a large amount of rBet v 1 and rBet v 1B2 with a high purity. The allergenic potency of rBet v 1 and the hypoallergenic characteristics of rBet v 1B2 were confirmed by measurement of IgE reactivity and mediator release capacity using ELISA and basophil activation tests, respectively. In a second part, a murine model of birch pollen-induced allergic asthma was established. It was shown that intraperetoneal sensitization with an optimal dose of rBet v 1 and intranasal challenge with birch pollen extract induced elevated IgE levels, airway eosinophilia and pulmonary inflammation in BALB/c mice. The clinical features are comparable to those in patients with allergic asthma, indicating that sensitized and challenged mice could be used for a pre-clinical study to assess the efficacy of the treatment for birch pollen allergy. Next, we investigated the adjuvant effects of Polyadenylic:polyuridylic acid (Poly(A:U)), a TLR3 agonist, and R848 (resiquimod), a TLR7 agonist, in prophylactic EPI with rBet v 1 to intervene with birch pollen allergy. Here, we hypothesized that TLR3 and TLR7 could be possible target receptors to induce adjuvant effects in EPI, since these receptors are expressed in Langerhans cells and dermal dendritic cells, persistent antigen presenting cells
in the cutaneous tissues. BALB/c mice received EPI with rBet v 1 alone, or plus Poly(A:U), or R848 on their depilated back using patches. Mice treated epicutaneously were then sensitized with rBet v 1 plus ALUM and intranasally challenged with birch pollen extract. We found that prophylactic EPI with rBet v 1 plus R848 inhibited the production of Bet v 1-specific IgE antibodies in sensitization, suppressed pulmonary inflammation and airway
hyperreactivity upon challenge. In contrast to R848, no adjuvant effect of Poly(A:U) on suppression of asthmatic features was observed. Our results indicated that R848, but not Poly(A:U), could be a potential adjuvant for prophylactic EPI of birch pollen induced allergic asthma. Finally, the therapeutic potency of EPI with rBet v 1, or rBet v 1B2 alone, or plus R848 was assessed. After sensitization and challenge, mice received therapeutic EPI with rBet v 1 alone, or plus R848, and re-challenge with birch pollen extract. We found that therapeutic treatment with Bet v 1B2 reduced established Bet v 1-specific IgE antibodies, pulmonary inflammation and airway hyperreactivity upon re-challenge. Therapeutic treatment with the recombinant wild-type allergen does not influence these key characteristics of allergic asthma. In contrast to the findings in the prophylactic treatment with rBet v 1 plus R848,no therapeutic benefit was found upon combination with R848. This could be due to the high number of treatment days. Reduction of this number may lead to a beneficial effect. However, these findings indicate that Bet v 1B2 could be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of established birch pollen induced allergic asthma. In conclusion, this study demonstrates for the first time that prophylactic EPI with the recombinant form of Bet v 1 in combination with R848 could prevent and suppress asthmatic features in an established birch pollen allergy. Not only therapeutic, but also prophylactic applications of EPI could be of importance to prevent allergic sensitization, considering the high prevalence of allergic diseases. R848 could be a potential adjuvant for enhancing the prophylactic potential of EPI for the treatment of birch pollen allergy. Furthermore, the beneficial use of the hypoallergen Bet v 1B2 in therapeutic EPI was demonstrated by intervention of established asthmatic features. In the future, a combination of hypoallergens alone or together with adjuvants in EPIT could lead to a more convenient and effective therapeutic treatment of established birch pollen induced allergic asthma.
Phase Ib study evaluating a self-adjuvanted mRNA cancer vaccine (RNActive®) combined with local radiation as consolidation and maintenance treatment for patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer
Sven D. Koch
Altered mucosal immune response after acute lung injury in a murine model of Ataxia Telangiectasia
Su Youn Kim
Antigenic and 3D structural characterization of soluble X4 and hybrid X4-R5 HIV-1 Env trimers
Correlative light- and electron microscopy with chemical tags
Margot P. Scheffer
Erin M. Schuman
Achilleas S. Frangakis
- Correlative microscopy incorporates the specificity of fluorescent protein labeling into high-resolution electron micrographs. Several approaches exist for correlative microscopy, most of which have used the green fluorescent protein (GFP) as the label for light microscopy. Here we use chemical tagging and synthetic fluorophores instead, in order to achieve protein-specific labeling, and to perform multicolor imaging. We show that synthetic fluorophores preserve their post-embedding fluorescence in the presence of uranyl acetate. Post-embedding fluorescence is of such quality that the specimen can be prepared with identical protocols for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM); this is particularly valuable when singular or otherwise difficult samples are examined. We show that synthetic fluorophores give bright, well-resolved signals in super-resolution light microscopy, enabling us to superimpose light microscopic images with a precision of up to 25 nm in the x-y plane on electron micrographs. To exemplify the preservation quality of our new method we visualize the molecular arrangement of cadherins in adherens junctions of mouse epithelial cells.
Chemically induced photoswitching of fluorescent probes - a general concept for super-resolution microscopy
Peter J. Verveer
- We review fluorescent probes that can be photoswitched or photoactivated and are suited for single-molecule localization based super-resolution microscopy. We exploit the underlying photochemical mechanisms that allow photoswitching of many synthetic organic fluorophores in the presence of reducing agents, and study the impact of these on the photoswitching properties of various photoactivatable or photoconvertible fluorescent proteins. We have identified mEos2 as a fluorescent protein that exhibits reversible photoswitching under various imaging buffer conditions and present strategies to characterize reversible photoswitching. Finally, we discuss opportunities to combine fluorescent proteins with organic fluorophores for dual-color photoswitching microscopy.
Imaging-systems for localization-based super-resolution light-microscopy in physical biology : design and applications
- Physical Biology is a field of life sciences dealing with the extraction of quantitative data from biophysical or molecular biological experiments with different levels of complexity. Such data are further used as parameters for mathematical models of the biological system. These models allow to predict reactions on external stimuli by describing the relevant molecular interactions and are therefore used for example to generate a deeper comprehension of complex human diseases. An essential technique in biophysical research on human diseases is fluorescence microscopy. This is a constantly developed toolbox comprising a large number of specific labeling strategies, as well as a broad spectrum of fluorescent probes. It is further minimal invasive and therefore suitable for measurements in living cells or organisms. The sensitivity of modern photo-detectors even allows for the detection of a single fluorescent probe with an accuracy of approximately 10 nm.
The model-prediction was further verified by two color SMLM experiments. In this work the development and application of imaging-systems are described which provide quantitative data with single-molecule resolution for systems biological model approaches with a low degree of abstractness. In the near future, the impact of mathematical models in the research field of complex human diseases will increase. The predictions of these models will be more exact, the more detailed and accurate the input parameters will become. This work gives an impression of how quantitative data obtained by SMLM may serve as input parameters for mathematical models at the single-cell level.
Species differences in bacterial NhaA Na+/H+ exchangers
- Bacteria have adapted their NhaA Na(+)/H(+) exchangers responsible for salt homeostasis to their different habitats. We present an electrophysiological and kinetic analysis of NhaA from Helicobacter pylori and compare it to the previously investigated exchangers from Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium. Properties of all three transporters are described by a simple model using a single binding site for H(+) and Na(+). We show that H.pylori NhaA only has a small acidic shift of its pH-dependent activity profile compared to the other transporters and discuss why a more drastic change in its pH activity profile is not physiologically required.
Roles of coactosin-like protein (CLP) and 5-lipoxygenase-activating protein (FLAP) in cellular leukotriene biosynthesis
- 5-Lipoxygenase (5LO) is a key enzyme in biosynthesis of leukotrienes (LTs), lipid mediators of inflammation. To study the roles of the 5LO accessory proteins coactosin-like protein (CLP) and 5LO-activating protein (FLAP), we knocked down these proteins in human monocytic cells. Our results show that expression of CLP was required for full cellular 5LO activity when cells were activated with Ca2+ ionophore, as well as with a physiological stimulus (lipopolysaccharide followed by N-formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine). During LT biosynthesis in stimulated cells, 5LO typically translocates to the nuclear membrane. This redistribution, from cytosolic to perinuclear, was clearly compromised in both CLP- and FLAP-deficient cells. Our results suggest that the CLP–5LO interaction may be a target for reduced LT production.
Resonance Raman and FTIR spectroscopic characterization of the closed and open states of channelrhodopsin-1
Víctor A. Lórenz-Fonfría
- Channelrhodopsin-1 from Chlamydomonas augustae (CaChR1) is a light-activated cation channel, which is a promising optogenetic tool. We show by resonance Raman spectroscopy and retinal extraction followed by high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) that the isomeric ratio of all-trans to 13-cis of solubilized channelrhodopsin-1 is with 70:30 identical to channelrhodopsin-2 from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (CrChR2). Critical frequency shifts in the retinal vibrations are identified in the Raman spectrum upon transition to the open (conductive P2(380)) state. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectra indicate different structures of the open states in the two channelrhodopsins as reflected by the amide I bands and the protonation pattern of acidic amino acids.