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Egerer L.,Innsbruck Medical University | Egerer L.,Institute for Biomedical Research Georg Speyer Haus | Volk A.,Institute for Biomedical Research Georg Speyer Haus | Kahle J.,Vision7 GmbH | And 6 more authors.
Molecular Therapy | Year: 2011

Gene therapeutic strategies for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection could potentially overcome the limitations of standard antiretroviral drug therapy (ART). However, in none of the clinical gene therapy trials published to date, therapeutic levels of genetic protection have been achieved in the target cell population for HIV-1. To improve systemic antiviral efficacy, C peptides, which are efficient inhibitors of HIV-1 entry, were engineered for high-level secretion by genetically modified cells. The size restrictions for efficient peptide export through the secretory pathway were overcome by expressing the C peptides as concatemers, which were processed into monomers by furin protease cleavage. These secreted antiviral entry inhibitory (SAVE) peptides mediated a substantial protective bystander effect on neighboring nonmodified cells, thus suppressing virus replication even if only a small fraction of cells was genetically modified. Accordingly, these SAVE peptides may provide a strong benefit to AIDS patients in future, and, if applied by direct in vivo gene delivery, could present an effective alternative to antiretroviral drug regimen. © The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.


Romanski A.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Schwarz K.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Keller M.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Wietbrauk S.,Goethe University Frankfurt | And 8 more authors.
Cell Cycle | Year: 2012

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a highly malignant disease that is not curable in the majority of patients. Numerous non-random genetic abnormalities are known, among which several translocations such as PLZF/RAR α or AML1/ETO are known to aberrantly recruit histone deacetylases. Deacetylase inhibitors (DACi) are promising drugs leading to growth inhibition, cell cycle arrest, premature senescence and apoptosis in malignant cells. It is believed that DACi may have clinical efficacy by eradicating the most primitive population of leukemic stem and progenitor cells, possibly by interfering with self-renewal. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of DACi on leukemic stem and progenitor cells using murine transduction-transplantation models of hematopoietic cells harboring the leukemia-associated fusion proteins (LAFP) PLZF/RARα or a truncated AML1/ETO protein (AML1/ETO exon 9). We show that the self-renewal and short-term repopulation capacity of AML1/ETO- or PLZF/RARα-expressing Sca1+/lin- stem and progenitor cells are profoundly inhibited by clinically applicable concentrations of the DACi dacinostat and vorinostat. To further investigate the mechanisms underlying these effects, we examined the impact of DACi on the transcription factor c-MYC and the Polycomb group protein BMI1, which are induced by LAFP and involved in leukemic transformation. In AML1/ETO or PLZF/RARα-positive 32D cells, DACi-mediated antiproliferative effects were associated with downregulation of BMI1 and c-MYC protein levels. Similar effects were demonstrated in primary samples of cytogenetically defined high-risk AML patients. In conclusion, DACi may be effective as maintenance therapy by negatively interfering with signaling pathways that control survival and proliferation of leukemic stem and progenitor cells. © 2012 Landes Bioscience.


Brauer F.,Institute for Biomedical Research Georg Speyer Haus | Schmidt K.,Institute for Biomedical Research Georg Speyer Haus | Schmidt K.,Innsbruck Medical University | Zahn R.C.,Institute for Biomedical Research Georg Speyer Haus | And 9 more authors.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy | Year: 2013

Peptides derived from the C-terminal heptad repeat 2 (HR2) region of the HIV-1 gp41 envelope glycoprotein, so-called C peptides, are very efficient HIV-1 fusion inhibitors. We previously developed innovative gene therapeutic approaches aiming at the direct in vivo production of C peptides from genetically modified host cells and found that T cells expressing membrane-anchored or secreted C peptides are protected from HIV-1 infection. However, an unwanted immune response against such antiviral peptides may significantly impair clinical efficacy and pose safety risks to patients. To overcome this problem, we engineered a novel C peptide, V2o, with greatly reduced immunogenicity and excellent antiviral activity. V2o is based on the chimeric C peptide C46-EHO, which is derived from the HR2 regions of HIV-2EHO and HIV-1HxB2 and has broad anti-HIV and anti-simian immunodeficiency virus activity. Antibody and major histocompatibility complex class I epitopes within the C46-EHO peptide sequence were identified by in silico and in vitro analyses. Using rational design, we removed these epitopes by amino acid substitutions and thus minimized antigenicity and immunogenicity considerably. At the same time, the antiviral activity of the deimmunized peptide V2o was preserved or even enhanced compared to that of the parental C46-EHO peptide. Thus, V2o is an ideal candidate, especially for those novel therapeutic approaches for HIV infection that involve direct in vivo production of antiviral C peptides. Copyright © 2013, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Milanov P.,Red Cross | Ivanciu L.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Abriss D.,Red Cross | Quade-Lyssy P.,Red Cross | And 7 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2012

The complex of the serine protease factor IX (FIX) and its cofactor, factor VIII (FVIII), is crucial for propagation of the intrinsic coagulation cascade. Absence of either factor leads to hemophilia, a disabling disorder marked by excessive hemorrhage after minor trauma. FVIII is the more commonly affected protein, either by X-chromosomal gene mutations or in autoimmune-mediated acquired hemophilia. Whereas substitution of FVIII is the mainstay of hemophilia A therapy, treatment of patients with inhibitory Abs remains challenging. In the present study, we report the development of FIX variants that can propagate the intrinsic coagulation cascade in the absence of FVIII. FIX variants were expressed in FVIII-knockout (FVIII-KO) mice using a nonviral genetransfer system. Expression of the variants shortened clotting times, reduced blood loss after tail-clip assay, and reinstalled clot formation, as tested by in vivo imaging of laser-induced vessel injury. In addition, we confirmed the therapeutic efficacy of FIX variants in mice with inhibitory Abs against FVIII. Further, mice tolerant to wild-type human FIX did not develop immune responses against the protein variants. Our results therefore indicate the feasibility of using variants of FIX to bypass FVIII as a novel treatment approach in hemophilia with and without neutralizing FVIII Abs. © 2012 by The American Society of Hematology.


PubMed | Cell Therapeutics, Institute for Biomedical Research Georg Speyer Haus and Goethe University Frankfurt
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in genetics | Year: 2013

Transcription is a tightly regulated process ensuring the proper expression of numerous genes regulating all aspects of cellular behavior. Transcription factors regulate multiple genes including other transcription factors that together control a highly complex gene network. The transcriptional machinery can be hijacked by oncogenic transcription factors, thereby leading to malignant cell transformation. Oncogenic transcription factors manipulate a variety of epigenetic control mechanisms to fulfill gene regulatory and cell transforming functions. These factors assemble epigenetic regulators at target gene promoter sequences, thereby disturbing physiological gene expression patterns. Retroviral vector technology and the availability of healthy human hematopoietic CD34+ progenitor cells enable the generation of pre-leukemic cell models for the analysis of aberrant human hematopoietic progenitor cell expansion mediated by leukemogenic transcription factors. This review summarizes recent findings regarding the mechanism by which leukemogenic gene products control human hematopoietic CD34+ progenitor cell expansion by disrupting the normal epigenetic program.


PubMed | Institute for Biomedical Research Georg Speyer Haus
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy | Year: 2013

Peptides derived from the C-terminal heptad repeat 2 (HR2) region of the HIV-1 gp41 envelope glycoprotein, so-called C peptides, are very efficient HIV-1 fusion inhibitors. We previously developed innovative gene therapeutic approaches aiming at the direct in vivo production of C peptides from genetically modified host cells and found that T cells expressing membrane-anchored or secreted C peptides are protected from HIV-1 infection. However, an unwanted immune response against such antiviral peptides may significantly impair clinical efficacy and pose safety risks to patients. To overcome this problem, we engineered a novel C peptide, V2o, with greatly reduced immunogenicity and excellent antiviral activity. V2o is based on the chimeric C peptide C46-EHO, which is derived from the HR2 regions of HIV-2(EHO) and HIV-1(HxB2) and has broad anti-HIV and anti-simian immunodeficiency virus activity. Antibody and major histocompatibility complex class I epitopes within the C46-EHO peptide sequence were identified by in silico and in vitro analyses. Using rational design, we removed these epitopes by amino acid substitutions and thus minimized antigenicity and immunogenicity considerably. At the same time, the antiviral activity of the deimmunized peptide V2o was preserved or even enhanced compared to that of the parental C46-EHO peptide. Thus, V2o is an ideal candidate, especially for those novel therapeutic approaches for HIV infection that involve direct in vivo production of antiviral C peptides.

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