Efficient lysis of rhabdomyosarcoma cells by cytokine-induced killer cells: implications for adoptive immunotherapy after allogeneic stem cell transplantation
Dorothee von Laer
- Background Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in childhood and has a poor prognosis. Here we assessed the capability of ex vivo expanded cytokine-induced killer cells to lyse both alveolar and embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines and investigated the mechanisms involved.
Design and Methods Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from six healthy donors were used to generate and expand cytokine-induced killer cells. The phenotype and composition of these cells were determined by multiparameter flow cytometry, while their cytotoxic effect against rhabdomyosarcoma cells was evaluated by a europium release assay.
Results Cytokine-induced killer cells efficiently lysed cells from both rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines. Antibody-mediated masking of either NKG2D molecule on cytokine-induced killer cells or its ligands on rhabdomyosarcoma cells (major histocompatibility antigen related chain A and B and UL16 binding protein 2) diminished this effect by 50%, suggesting a major role for the NKG2D molecule in rhabdomyosarcoma cell killing. No effect was observed after blocking CD11a, CD3 or TCRαβ molecules on cytokine-induced killer cells or CD1d on rhabdomyosar-coma cells. Remarkably, cytokine-induced killer cells used tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) to activate caspase-3, as the main caspase responsible for the execution of apoptosis. Accordingly, blocking TRAIL receptors on embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines significantly reduced the anti-tumor effect of cytokine-induced killer cells. About 50% of T cells within the cytokine-induced killer population had an effector memory phenotype, 20% had a naïve phenotype and approximately 30% of the cells had a central memory phenotype. In addition, cytokine-induced killer cells expressed low levels of activation-induced markers CD69 and CD137 and demonstrated a low alloreactive potential.
Conclusions Our data suggest that cytokine-induced killer cells may be used as a novel adoptive immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with rhabdomyosarcoma after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
Novel phylogenetic algorithm to monitor human tropism in Egyptian H5N1-HPAIV reveals evolution toward efficient human-to-human transmission
Vladimir R. Perovic
Claude P. Muller
Henry L. Niman
Dusan D. Tosic
- Years of endemic infections with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A subtype H5N1 virus in poultry and high numbers of infections in humans provide ample opportunity in Egypt for H5N1-HPAIV to develop pandemic potential. In an effort to better understand the viral determinants that facilitate human infections of the Egyptian H5N1-HPAIVvirus, we developed a new phylogenetic algorithm based on a new distance measure derived from the informational spectrum method (ISM). This new approach, which describes functional aspects of the evolution of the hemagglutinin subunit 1 (HA1), revealed a growing group G2 of H5N1-HPAIV in Egypt after 2009 that acquired new informational spectrum (IS) properties suggestive of an increased human tropism and pandemic potential. While in 2006 all viruses in Egypt belonged to the G1 group, by 2011 these viruses were virtually replaced by G2 viruses. All of the G2 viruses displayed four characteristic mutations (D43N, S120(D,N), (S,L)129Δ and I151T), three of which were previously reported to increase binding to the human receptor. Already in 2006–2008 G2 viruses were significantly (p<0.02) more often found in humans than expected from their overall prevalence and this further increased in 2009–2011 (p<0.007). Our approach also identified viruses that acquired additional mutations that we predict to further enhance their human tropism. The extensive evolution of Egyptian H5N1-HPAIV towards a preferential human tropism underlines an urgent need to closely monitor these viruses with respect to molecular determinants of virulence.
EGFR-targeted granzyme B expressed in NK cells enhances natural cytotoxicity and mediates specific killing of tumor cells
Robert Alexander Jabulowsky
Winfried S. Wels
- Natural killer (NK) cells are highly specialized effectors of the innate immune system that hold promise for adoptive cancer immunotherapy. Their cell killing activity is primarily mediated by the pro-apoptotic serine protease granzyme B (GrB), which enters targets cells with the help of the pore-forming protein perforin. We investigated expression of a chimeric GrB fusion protein in NK cells as a means to augment their antitumoral activity. For selective targeting to tumor cells, we fused the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) peptide ligand transforming growth factor α (TGFα) to human pre-pro-GrB. Established human NKL natural killer cells transduced with a lentiviral vector expressed this GrB-TGFα (GrB-T) molecule in amounts comparable to endogenous wildtype GrB. Activation of the genetically modified NK cells by cognate target cells resulted in the release of GrB-T together with endogenous granzymes and perforin, which augmented the effector cells' natural cytotoxicity against NK-sensitive tumor cells. Likewise, GrB-T was released into the extracellular space upon induction of degranulation with PMA and ionomycin. Secreted GrB-T fusion protein displayed specific binding to EGFR-overexpressing tumor cells, enzymatic activity, and selective target cell killing in the presence of an endosomolytic activity. Our data demonstrate that ectopic expression of a targeted GrB fusion protein in NK cells is feasible and can enhance antitumoral activity of the effector cells.
A functional yeast survival screen of tumor-derived cDNA libraries designed to identify anti-apoptotic mammalian oncogenes
Inga Maria Melzer
Ralf Joachim Rieker
David Lukas Wachter
- Yeast cells can be killed upon expression of pro-apoptotic mammalian proteins. We have established a functional yeast survival screen that was used to isolate novel human anti-apoptotic genes overexpressed in treatment-resistant tumors. The screening of three different cDNA libraries prepared from metastatic melanoma, glioblastomas and leukemic blasts allowed for the identification of many yeast cell death-repressing cDNAs, including 28% of genes that are already known to inhibit apoptosis, 35% of genes upregulated in at least one tumor entity and 16% of genes described as both anti-apoptotic in function and upregulated in tumors. These results confirm the great potential of this screening tool to identify novel anti-apoptotic and tumor-relevant molecules. Three of the isolated candidate genes were further analyzed regarding their anti-apoptotic function in cell culture and their potential as a therapeutic target for molecular therapy. PAICS, an enzyme required for de novo purine biosynthesis, the long non-coding RNA MALAT1 and the MAST2 kinase are overexpressed in certain tumor entities and capable of suppressing apoptosis in human cells. Using a subcutaneous xenograft mouse model, we also demonstrated that glioblastoma tumor growth requires MAST2 expression. An additional advantage of the yeast survival screen is its universal applicability. By using various inducible pro-apoptotic killer proteins and screening the appropriate cDNA library prepared from normal or pathologic tissue of interest, the survival screen can be used to identify apoptosis inhibitors in many different systems.
Die Gentherapie kommt aus den Kinderschuhen : über beeindruckende Erfolge und die Beseitigung von Stolpersteinen
- Rückschläge werfen eine neue Technologie um Jahrzehnte zurück – besonders, wenn Menschenleben zu beklagen sind. Bei der Gentherapie wird aber oft vergessen, dass sie nur bei Patienten angewendet wird, für die es keine konventionelle Therapie mehr gibt. Nach der Euphorie und den Rückschlägen der Anfangsjahre können Forscher nun die ersten Erfolge vorweisen.
Vaccination Directed against the Human Endogenous Retrovirus-K Envelope Protein Inhibits Tumor Growth in a Murine Model System
Sarah M. Büchner
Winfried S. Wels
Barbara S. Schnierle
- Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) genomes are chromosomally integrated in all cells of an individual. They are normally transcriptionally silenced and transmitted only vertically. Enhanced expression of HERV-K accompanied by the emergence of anti-HERV-K-directed immune responses has been observed in tumor patients and HIV-infected individuals. As HERV-K is usually not expressed and immunological tolerance development is unlikely, it is an appropriate target for the development of immunotherapies. We generated a recombinant vaccinia virus (MVA-HKenv) expressing the HERV-K envelope glycoprotein (ENV), based on the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), and established an animal model to test its vaccination efficacy. Murine renal carcinoma cells (Renca) were genetically altered to express E. coli beta-galactosidase (RLZ cells) or the HERV-K ENV gene (RLZ-HKenv cells). Intravenous injection of RLZ-HKenv cells into syngenic BALB/c mice led to the formation of pulmonary metastases, which were detectable by X-gal staining. A single vaccination of tumor-bearing mice with MVA-HKenv drastically reduced the number of pulmonary RLZ-HKenv tumor nodules compared to vaccination with wild-type MVA. Prophylactic vaccination of mice with MVA-HKenv precluded the formation of RLZ-HKenv tumor nodules, whereas wild-type MVA-vaccinated animals succumbed to metastasis. Protection from tumor formation correlated with enhanced HERV-K ENV-specific killing activity of splenocytes. These data demonstrate for the first time that HERV-K ENV is a useful target for vaccine development and might offer new treatment opportunities for diverse types of cancer.
Identification and analysis of novel anti-apoptotic proteins in pancreatic carcinoma
The T-cell oncogene Tal2 Is a Target of PU.1 and upregulated during osteoclastogenesis
- Transcription factors play a crucial role in regulating differentiation processes during human life and are important in disease. The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors Tal1 and Lyl1 play a major role in the regulation of gene expression in the hematopoietic system and are involved in human leukemia. Tal2, which belongs to the same family of transcription factors as Tal1 and Lyl1, is also involved in human leukaemia. However, little is known regarding the expression and regulation of Tal2 in hematopoietic cells. Here we show that Tal2 is expressed in hematopoietic cells of the myeloid lineage. Interestingly, we found that usage of the Tal2 promoter is different in human and mouse cells. Two promoters, hP1 and hP2 drive Tal2 expression in human erythroleukemia K562 cells, however in mouse RAW cells only the mP1 promoter is used. Furthermore, we found that Tal2 expression is upregulated during oesteoclastogenesis. We show that Tal2 is a direct target gene of the myeloid transcription factor PU.1, which is a key transcription factor for osteoclast gene expression. Strikingly, PU.1 binding to the P1 promoter is conserved between mouse and human, but PU.1 binding to P2 was only detected in human K562 cells. Additionally, we provide evidence that Tal2 influences the expression of the osteoclastic differentiation gene TRACP. These findings provide novel insight into the expression control of Tal2 in hematopoietic cells and reveal a function of Tal2 as a regulator of gene expression during osteoclast differentiation.
Gene therapy on the move
Kerstin B. Kaufmann
- he first gene therapy clinical trials were initiated more than two decades ago. In the early days, gene therapy shared the fate of many experimental medicine approaches and was impeded by the occurrence of severe side effects in a few treated patients. The understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to treatment- and/or vector-associated setbacks has resulted in the development of highly sophisticated gene transfer tools with improved safety and therapeutic efficacy. Employing these advanced tools, a series of Phase I/II trials were started in the past few years with excellent clinical results and no side effects reported so far. Moreover, highly efficient gene targeting strategies and site-directed gene editing technologies have been developed and applied clinically. With more than 1900 clinical trials to date, gene therapy has moved from a vision to clinical reality. This review focuses on the application of gene therapy for the correction of inherited diseases, the limitations and drawbacks encountered in some of the early clinical trials and the revival of gene therapy as a powerful treatment option for the correction of monogenic disorders.
Interference with RUNX1/ETO leukemogenic function by cell-penetrating peptides targeting the NHR2 oligomerization domain
- The leukemia-associated fusion protein RUNX1/ETO is generated by the chromosomal translocation t(8;21) which appears in about 12% of all de novo acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs). Essential for the oncogenic potential of RUNX1/ETO is the oligomerization of the chimeric fusion protein through the nervy homology region 2 (NHR2) within ETO. In previous studies, we have shown that the intracellular expression of peptides containing the NHR2 domain inhibits RUNX1/ETO oligomerization, thereby preventing cell proliferation and inducing differentiation of RUNX1/ETO transformed cells. Here, we show that introduction of a recombinant TAT-NHR2 fusion polypeptide into the RUNX1/ETO growth-dependent myeloid cell line Kasumi-1 results in decreased cell proliferation and increased numbers of apoptotic cells. This effect was highly specific and mediated by binding the TAT-NHR2 peptide to ETO sequences, as TAT-polypeptides containing the oligomerization domain of BCR did not affect cell proliferation or apoptosis in Kasumi-1 cells. Thus, the selective interference with NHR2-mediated oligomerization by peptides represents a challenging but promising strategy for the inhibition of the leukemogenic potential of RUNX1/ETO in t(8;21)-positive leukemia.