Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation

New Orleans, LA, United States

Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation

New Orleans, LA, United States
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Li Y.,Wuhan University | Karuppagounder S.S.,Johns Hopkins University | Karuppagounder S.S.,Adrienne Helis Malvin Medical Research Foundation | Talbot C.C.,Institute for Basic Biomedical science | And 5 more authors.
Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Congenital toxoplasmosis and toxoplasmic encephalitis can be associated with severe neuropsychiatric symptoms. However, which host cell processes are regulated and how Toxoplasma gondii affects these changes remain unclear. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA sequences critical to neurodevelopment and adult neuronal processes by coordinating the activity of multiple genes within biological networks. We examined the expression of over 1000 miRNAs in human neuroepithelioma cells in response to infection with Toxoplasma. MiR-132, a cyclic AMP-responsive element binding (CREB)-regulated miRNA, was the only miRNA that was substantially upregulated by all three prototype Toxoplasma strains. The increased expression of miR-132 was also documented in mice following infection with Toxoplasma. To identify cellular pathways regulated by miR-132, we performed target prediction followed by pathway enrichment analysis in the transcriptome of Toxoplasma-infected mice. This led us to identify 20 genes and dopamine receptor signaling was their strongest associated pathway. We then examined myriad aspects of the dopamine pathway in the striatum of Toxoplasma -infected mice 5. days after infection. Here we report decreased expression of D1-like dopamine receptors (DRD1, DRD5), metabolizing enzyme (MAOA) and intracellular proteins associated with the transduction of dopamine-mediated signaling (DARPP-32 phosphorylation at Thr34 and Ser97). Increased concentrations of dopamine and its metabolites, serotonin (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid were documented by HPLC analysis; however, the metabolism of dopamine was decreased and 5-HT metabolism was unchanged. Our data show that miR-132 is upregulated following infection with Toxoplasma and is associated with changes in dopamine receptor signaling. Our findings provide a possible mechanism for how the parasite contributes to the neuropathology of infection. © 2014 IBRO.


Martin I.,Johns Hopkins University | Martin I.,Adrienne Helis Malvin Medical Research Foundation | Kim J.W.,Johns Hopkins University | Kim J.W.,Adrienne Helis Malvin Medical Research Foundation | And 22 more authors.
Cell | Year: 2014

Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are a common cause of familial and sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). Elevated LRRK2 kinase activity and neurodegeneration are linked, but the phosphosubstrate that connects LRRK2 kinase activity to neurodegeneration is not known. Here, we show that ribosomal protein s15 is a key pathogenic LRRK2 substrate in Drosophila and human neuron PD models. Phosphodeficient s15 carrying a threonine 136 to alanine substitution rescues dopamine neuron degeneration and age-related locomotor deficits in G2019S LRRK2 transgenic Drosophila and substantially reduces G2019S LRRK2-mediated neurite loss and cell death in human dopamine and cortical neurons. Remarkably, pathogenic LRRK2 stimulates both cap-dependent and cap-independent mRNA translation and induces a bulk increase in protein synthesis in Drosophila, which can be prevented by phosphodeficient T136A s15. These results reveal a novel mechanism of PD pathogenesis linked to elevated LRRK2 kinase activity and aberrant protein synthesis in vivo. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Welte T.,Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | Welte T.,Baylor College of Medicine | Zhang X.H.-F.,Baylor College of Medicine
Mediators of Inflammation | Year: 2015

Metastatic disease accounts for more than 90% of deaths from breast cancer. Yet the factors that trigger metastasis, often years after primary tumor removal, are not understood well. Recently the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin- (IL-) 17 family has been associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer. Here we review current literature on the pathogenic mechanisms driven by IL-17 during breast cancer progression and connect these findings to metastasis. These include (1) direct effects of IL-17 on tumor cells promoting tumor cell survival and invasiveness, (2) regulation of tumor angiogenesis, and (3) interaction with myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) to inhibit antitumor immune response and collaborate at the distant metastatic site. Furthermore, IL-17 might also be a culprit in bone destruction caused by late stage bone metastasis. Interestingly, in addition to these potential prometastasis functions, there is also evidence for an opposite, antitumor role of IL-17 during cancer therapies. We hypothesize that these contradictory roles may be due to chronic, imbalanced versus acute transient nature of the immune reactions, as well as differences in the cells that interact with IL-17+ cells under different circumstances. © 2015 Thomas Welte and Xiang H.-F. Zhang.


Pan T.,Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | Pan T.,Baylor College of Medicine | Li X.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | Jankovic J.,Baylor College of Medicine
International Journal of Cancer | Year: 2011

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a loss of melanin-positive, dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Although there is convincing epidemiologic evidence of a negative association between PD and most cancers, a notable exception to this is that melanoma, a malignant tumor of melanin-producing cells in skin, occurs with higher-than-expected frequency among subjects with PD and that melanoma patients are more likely to have PD. A clear biological explanation for this epidemiological observation is lacking. Here, we present a comprehensive review of published literature exploring the association between PD and melanoma. On the basis of published findings, we conclude that (i) changes in pigmentation including melanin synthesis and/or melanin synthesis enzymes, such as tyrosinase and tyrosine hydroxylase, play important roles in altered vulnerability for both PD and melanoma; (ii) changes of PD-related genes such as Parkin, LRRK2 and α-synuclein may increase the risk of melanoma; (iii) changes in some low-penetrance genes such as cytochrome p450 debrisoquine hydroxylase locus, glutathione S-transferase M1 and vitamin D receptor could increase the risk for both PD and melanoma and (iv) impaired autophagy in both PD and melanoma could also explain the association between PD and melanoma. Future studies are required to address whether altered pigmentation, PD- or melanoma-related gene changes and/or changes in autophagy function induce oncogenesis or apoptosis. From a clinical point of view, early diagnosis of melanoma in PD patients is critical and can be enhanced by periodic dermatological surveillance, including skin biopsies. Copyright © 2011 UICC.


Martin I.,Johns Hopkins University | Kim J.W.,Johns Hopkins University | Dawson V.L.,Johns Hopkins University | Dawson V.L.,Adrienne Helis Malvin Medical Research Foundation | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Neurochemistry | Year: 2014

Mutations in the catalytic Roc-COR and kinase domains of leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are a common cause of familial Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 mutations cause PD with age-related penetrance and clinical features identical to late-onset sporadic PD. Biochemical studies support an increase in LRRK2 kinase activity and a decrease in GTPase activity for kinase domain and Roc-COR mutations, respectively. Strong evidence exists that LRRK2 toxicity is kinase dependent leading to extensive efforts to identify selective and brain-permeable LRRK2 kinase inhibitors for clinical development. Cell and animal models of PD indicate that LRRK2 mutations affect vesicular trafficking, autophagy, protein synthesis, and cytoskeletal function. Although some of these biological functions are affected consistently by most diseaselinked mutations, others are not and it remains currently unclear how mutations that produce variable effects on LRRK2 biochemistry and function all commonly result in the degeneration and death of dopamine neurons. LRRK2 is typically present in Lewy bodies and its toxicity in mammalian models appears to be dependent on the presence of a-synuclein, which is elevated in human iPS-derived dopamine neurons from patients harboring LRRK2 mutations. Here, we summarize biochemical and functional studies of LRRK2 and its mutations and focus on aberrant vesicular trafficking and protein synthesis as two leading mechanisms underlying LRRK2-linked disease. © 2014 International Society for Neurochemistry.


Li W.,Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | Doyon W.M.,Baylor College of Medicine | Dani J.A.,Baylor College of Medicine
Biochemical Pharmacology | Year: 2011

Altered functional interactions among midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons contribute to the reinforcing properties of environmental stimuli and addictive drugs. To examine correlations among DA neurons, acute nicotine was administrated to rats via an intraperitoneal catheter and unit activity was measured using multi-tetrode in vivo recordings. Nicotine administration enhanced the correlated activity of simultaneously recorded DA neurons from the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The strength of the correlations between DA neuron pairs, as measured by cross covariance among two spike trains, showed dynamic changes over time. Nicotine produced a gradual rise in firing rate and burst activity that reached a stable plateau approximately 20 min after the intraperitoneal nicotine infusion. Shortly after that time the cross correlations measured using 5-ms bins increased significantly above baseline. In addition, nicotine increased the firing rates of DA neurons in the posterior VTA more than in the anterior VTA. Unlike nicotine, eticlopride administration also boosted DA neuron firing activity but did not enhance synchronization, indicating that the cross correlations induced by nicotine were not due to a non-specific increase in firing rate. The overall results show that nicotine induces nearly synchronous firing by a subset of DA neurons, and those changes in correlative firing will enhance the DA signal that contributes to nicotine-induced behavioral reinforcement. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Zhang X.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Li L.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Xie W.,Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | Li L.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | And 6 more authors.
Neurobiology of Aging | Year: 2013

Most cases of Alzheimer's disease (AD) arise through interactions between genetic and environmental factors. It is believed that hypoxia is an important environmental factor influencing the development of AD. Our group has previously demonstrated that hypoxia increased β-amyloid (Aβ) generation in aged AD mice. Here, we further investigate the pathological role of prenatal hypoxia in AD. We exposed the pregnant APPSwe/PS1A246E transgenic mice to high-altitude hypoxia in a hypobaric chamber during days 7-20 of gestation. We found that prenatal hypoxic mice exhibited a remarkable deficit in spatial learning and memory and a significant decrease in synapses. We also documented a significantly higher level of amyloid precursor protein, lower level of the Aβ-degrading enzyme neprilysin, and increased Aβ accumulation in the brain of prenatal hypoxic mice. Finally, we demonstrated striking neuropathologic changes in prenatal hypoxic AD mice, showing increased phosphorylation of tau, decreased hypoxia-induced factor, and enhanced activation of astrocytes and microglia. These data suggest that although the characteristic features of AD appear later in life, hypoxemia in the prenatal stage may contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease, supporting the notion that environmental factors can trigger or aggravate AD. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Narayanan P.,Baylor College of Medicine | Lapteva N.,Baylor College of Medicine | Seethammagari M.,Baylor College of Medicine | Seethammagari M.,Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Investigation | Year: 2011

The in vivo therapeutic efficacy of DC-based cancer vaccines is limited by suboptimal DC maturation protocols. Although delivery of TLR adjuvants systemically boosts DC-based cancer vaccine efficacy, it could also increase toxicity. Here, we have engineered a drug-inducible, composite activation receptor for DCs (referred to herein as DC-CAR) comprising the TLR adaptor MyD88, the CD40 cytoplasmic region, and 2 ligand-binding FKBP12 domains. Administration of a lipid-permeant dimerizing ligand (AP1903) induced oligomerization and activation of this fusion protein, which we termed iMyD88/CD40. AP1903 administration to vaccinated mice enabled prolonged and targeted activation of iMyD88/CD40-modified DCs. Compared with conventionally matured DCs, AP1903-activated iMyD88/CD40-DCs had increased activation of proinflammatory MAPKs. AP1903-activated iMyD88/CD40-transduced human or mouse DCs also produced higher levels of Th1 cytokines, showed improved migration in vivo, and enhanced both antigen-specific CD8 + T cell responses and innate NK cell responses. Furthermore, treatment with AP1903 in vaccinated mice led to robust antitumor immunity against preestablished E.G7-OVA lymphomas and aggressive B16.F10 tumors. Thus, the iMyD88/CD40 unified "switch" effectively and safely replaced exogenous adjuvant cocktails, allowing remote and sustained DC activation in vivo. DC "licensing" through iMyD88/CD40 may represent a mechanism by which to exploit the natural synergy between the TLR and CD40 signaling pathways in DCs using a single small molecule drug and could augment the efficacy of antitumor DC-based vaccines.


Chen S.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Chen S.,Baylor College of Medicine | Zhang X.-J.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Xie W.-J.,Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation | And 4 more authors.
CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics | Year: 2015

Aims: To evaluate the effectiveness of a new VMAT-2 inhibitor NBI-641449 in controlling hyperkinetic movements of Huntington disease (HD) and to investigate its possible therapeutic effects. Methods: We applied three different doses of NBI-641449 (1, 10, 100 mg/kg/day) for 2 weeks in 4-month-old YAC128 mice and wild-type (WT) mice. Rotarod performance and locomotive activities were tested during the administration of the drug. The concentration of dopamine (DA) and its metabolites was quantified in the striatal tissues by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Neuron survival in striatum and huntingtin protein aggregates were assessed with immunostaining. Expression levels of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress proteins were detected by immunoblotting. Results: Rotarod performance was significantly improved after treatment with low or middle dose of NBI-641449 in YAC128 mice. Open field test showed that NBI-641449 treatment could attenuate the increased horizontal activity (HACTV), total vertical movement, moving time, and moving distance in YAC128 mice. High dose of NBI-641449 might cause sedative effects in WT and YAC128 mice. HPLC showed that NBI-641449 caused a dose-dependent decrease of DA, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, and homovanillic acid levels in the striatum. NeuN and DARPP-32 immunostaining revealed that NBI-641449 had no significant effect on the neuron survival in the striatum. However, NBI-641449 treatment reduced the huntingtin protein aggregates in the cortex of YAC128 mice. In addition, the levels of ER stress proteins were increased in YAC128 mice, which can be suppressed by NBI-641449. Conclusions: These findings suggest that this new VMAT-2 inhibitor NBI-641449 may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of HD. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Tong Z.,Johns Hopkins University | Kim M.-S.,Johns Hopkins University | Pandey A.,Johns Hopkins University | Pandey A.,Adrienne Helis Malvin Medical Research Foundation | And 2 more authors.
Molecular and Cellular Proteomics | Year: 2014

Maintenance of protein homeostasis is essential for cellular survival. Central to this regulation are mechanisms of protein quality control in which misfolded proteins are recognized and degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. One well-studied protein quality control pathway requires endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident, multi-subunit E3 ubiquitin ligases that function in ER-associated degradation. Using fission yeast, our lab identified the Golgi Dsc E3 ligase as required for proteolytic activation of fungal sterol regulatory element-binding protein transcription factors. The Dsc E3 ligase contains five integral membrane subunits and structurally resembles ER-associated degradation E3 ligases. Saccharomyces cerevisiae codes for homologs of Dsc E3 ligase subunits, including the Dsc1 E3 ligase homolog Tul1 that functions in Golgi protein quality control. Interestingly, S. cerevisiae lacks sterol regulatory element-binding protein homologs, indicating that novel Tul1 E3 ligase substrates exist. Here, we show that the S. cerevisiae Tul1 E3 ligase consists of Tul1, Dsc2, Dsc3, and Ubx3 and define Tul1 complex architecture. Tul1 E3 ligase function required each subunit as judged by vacuolar sorting of the artificial substrate Pep12D. Genetic studies demonstrated that Tul1 E3 ligase was required in cells lacking the multivesicular body pathway and under conditions of ubiquitin depletion. To identify candidate substrates, we performed quantitative diGly proteomics using stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture to survey ubiquitylation in wild-type and tul1 cells. We identified 3116 non-redundant ubiquitylation sites, including 10 sites in candidate substrates. Quantitative proteomics found 4.5% of quantified proteins (53/1172) to be differentially expressed in tul1 cells. Correcting the diGly dataset for these differences increased the number of Tul1-dependent ubiquitylation sites. Together, our data demonstrate that the Tul1 E3 ligase functions in protein homeostasis under non-stress conditions and support a role in protein quality control. This quantitative diGly proteomics methodology will serve as a robust platform for screening for stress conditions that require Tul1 E3 ligase activity. © 2014 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

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