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Cincinnati, OH, United States

Aprikyan A.A.,Institute for Nanotechnology and Stem Cell Biology | Khuchua Z.,Cincinnati Childrens Research Foundation
British Journal of Haematology | Year: 2013

Barth syndrome (BTHS) is an X-linked autosomal recessive disorder characterized by neutropenia, cardiomyopathy and growth retardation. BTHS was first described as mitochondrial disease affecting neutrophils as well as cardiac and skeletal muscles. Patients with neutropenia may have extremely low levels of circulating neutrophils and suffer from recurring sometimes life-threatening bacterial infections. Sepsis is not infrequent, may occur unexpectedly in a patient with no history for pronounced bacterial infections and may lead to death. The reduced level of circulating neutrophils suggests either a reduced production of myeloid cells in the bone marrow and premature apoptosis or aberrant clearance of neutrophils in peripheral blood. The underlying molecular defects are truncation, deletion or substitution mutations in the TAZ gene that appear to result in loss-of-function of the gene product tafazzin. Molecular mechanisms triggering neutropenia and cardiomyopathy in BTHS remain largely unclear. The current review focusses on recent advances in the understanding of molecular and cellular bases of neutropenia in Barth syndrome and covers the functional implications of the TAZ mutations, experimental models for neutropenia, the specific cellular abnormalities triggered by loss of TAZ function and potential novel therapeutic strategies for restoring the normal phenotype. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source


Steinhoff M.C.,Cincinnati Childrens Research Foundation
Vaccine | Year: 2013

The strategy of prenatal maternal immunization to protect the pregnant woman and her infant was first used with tetanus toxoid, when it was recognized that young infants had very high rates of tetanus disease, well before the age when infant immunizations are provided. Antenatal immunization has now been recommended and utilized for additional vaccines to prevent infections in pregnancy and the young infant.There are several issues to consider which are unique to the strategy of antenatal immunization. The first is that immunization of the pregnant woman will affect the woman who receives the vaccine, her developing fetus, and the young infant for several months after delivery. For this discussion, we will consider the availability of data for the maternal-fetal-infant triad in 4 aspects:. (1)Immunogenicity.(2)Safety.(3)Infant immunosuppression caused by passive maternal antibody.(4)Effectiveness.This discussion will review available data from vaccines for prevention of tetanus, pneumococcal, influenza and pertussis infections used in antenatal maternal immunization programs. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Liu J.,Cincinnati Childrens Research Foundation
Fly | Year: 2011

In a recent publication, we identified a novel F-box protein, encoded by fates-shifted (fsd), that plays a role in targeting Bcd for ubiquitination and degradation. Our analysis of mutant Drosophila embryos suggests that Bcd protein degradation is important for proper gradient formation and developmental fate specification. Here we describe further experiments that lead to an estimate of Bcd half-life, < 15 min, in embryos during the time of gradient formation. We use our findings to evaluate different models of Bcd gradient formation. With this new estimate, we simulate the Bcd gradient formation process in our own biologically realistic 2-D model. Finally, we discuss the role of Bcd-encoded positional information in controlling the positioning and precision of developmental decisions. Source


Kim J.,Harvard University | Oh W.-J.,Harvard University | Gaiano N.,Johns Hopkins University | Yoshida Y.,Cincinnati Childrens Research Foundation | Gu C.,Harvard University
Genes and Development | Year: 2011

Blood vessel networks are typically formed by angiogenesis, a process in which new vessels form by sprouting of endothelial cells from pre-existing vessels. This process is initiated by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)- mediated tip cell selection and subsequent angiogenic sprouting. Surprisingly, we found that VEGF directly controls the expression of Plexin-D1, the receptor for the traditional repulsive axon guidance cue, semaphorin 3E (Sema3E). Sema3E-Plexin-D1 signaling then negatively regulates the activity of the VEGF-induced Delta-like 4 (Dll4)-Notch signaling pathway, which controls the cell fate decision between tip and stalk cells. Using the mouse retina as a model system, we show that Plexin-D1 is selectively expressed in endothelial cells at the front of actively sprouting blood vessels and its expression is tightly controlled by VEGF secreted by surrounding tissues. Therefore, although the Sema3E secreted by retinal neurons is evenly distributed throughout the retina, Sema3E- Plexin-D1 signaling is spatially controlled by VEGF through its regulation of Plexin-D1. Moreover, we show that gain and loss of function of Sema3E and Plexin-D1 disrupts normal Dll4 expression, Notch activity, and tip/stalk cell distribution in the retinal vasculature. Finally, the retinal vasculature of mice lacking sema3E or plexin-D1 has an uneven growing front, a less-branched vascular network, and abnormal distribution of dll4-positive cells. Lowering Notch activity in the mutant mice can reverse this defect, solidifying the observation that Dll4-Notch signaling is regulated by Sema3E-Plexin-D1 and is required for its function in vivo. Together, these data reveal a novel role of Sema3E-Plexin-D1 function in modulating angiogenesis via a VEGF-induced feedback mechanism. © 2011 by Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory Press. Source


Arumugam P.,Cincinnati Childrens Research Foundation
Hematology / the Education Program of the American Society of Hematology. American Society of Hematology. Education Program | Year: 2010

Beta-thalassemia is a genetic disorder with mutations in the β-globin gene that reduce or abolish β-globin protein production. Patients with β-thalassemia major (Cooley's anemia) become severely anemic by 6 to 18 months of age, and are transfusion dependent for life, while those with thalassemia intermedia, a less-severe form of thalassemia, are intermittently or rarely transfused. An allogeneically matched bone marrow transplant is curative, although it is restricted to those with matched donors. Gene therapy holds the promise of "fixing" one's own bone marrow cells by transferring the normal β-globin or γ-globin gene into hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to permanently produce normal red blood cells. Requirements for effective gene transfer for the treatment of β-thalassemia are regulated, erythroid-specific, consistent, and high-level β-globin or γ-globin expression. Gamma retroviral vectors have had great success with immune-deficiency disorders, but due to vector-associated limitations, they have limited utility in hemoglobinopathies. Lentivirus vectors, on the other hand, have now been shown in several studies to correct mouse and animal models of thalassemia. The immediate challenges of the field as it moves toward clinical trials are to optimize gene transfer and engraftment of a high proportion of genetically modified HSCs and to minimize the adverse consequences that can result from random integration of vectors into the genome by improving current vector design or developing novel vectors. This article discusses the current state of the art in gene therapy for β-thalassemia and some of the challenges it faces in human trials. Source

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