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Westermann J.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | Westermann J.,Max Delbru Ck Center for Molecular Medicine | Florcken A.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | Willimsky G.,Franklin University | And 18 more authors.
Gene Therapy

Despite novel targeted agents, prognosis of metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC) remains poor, and experimental therapeutic strategies are warranted. Transfection of tumor cells with co-stimulatory molecules and/or cytokines is able to increase immunogenicity. Therefore, in our clinical study, 10 human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A 0201 patients with histologically-confirmed progressive metastatic clear cell RCC were immunized repetitively over 22 weeks with 2.5-40 × 10-6 interleukin (IL)-7/CD80 cotransfected allogeneic HLA-A 0201 tumor cells (RCC26/IL-7/CD80). Endpoints of the study were feasibility, safety, immunological and clinical responses. Vaccination was feasible and safe. In all, 50% of the patients showed stable disease throughout the study; the median time to progression was 18 weeks. However, vaccination with allogeneic RCC26/IL-7/CD80 tumor cells was not able to induce TH1-polarized immune responses. A TH2 cytokine profile with increasing amounts of antigen-specific IL-10 secretion was observed in most of the responding patients. Interferon-γ secretion by patient lymphocytes upon antigen-specific and non-specific stimulation was substantially impaired, both before and during vaccination, as compared with healthy controls. This is possibly due to profound tumor-induced immunosuppression, which may prevent induction of antitumor immune responses by the gene-modified vaccine. Vaccination in minimal residual disease with concurrent depletion of regulatory cells might be one strategy to overcome this limitation. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

Ranade S.S.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Woo S.-H.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Dubin A.E.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Moshourab R.A.,Max Delbru Ck Center for Molecular Medicine | And 16 more authors.

The sense of touch provides critical information about our physical environment by transforming mechanical energy into electrical signals. It is postulated that mechanically activated cation channels initiate touch sensation, but the identity of these molecules in mammals has been elusive. Piezo2 is a rapidly adapting, mechanically activated ion channel expressed in a subset of sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglion and in cutaneous mechanoreceptors known as Merkel-cell-neurite complexes. It has been demonstrated that Merkel cells have a role in vertebrate mechanosensation using Piezo2, particularly in shaping the type of current sent by the innervating sensory neuron; however, major aspects of touch sensation remain intact without Merkel cell activity. Here we show that mice lacking Piezo2 in both adult sensory neurons and Merkel cells exhibit a profound loss of touch sensation. We precisely localize Piezo2 to the peripheral endings of a broad range of low-threshold mechanoreceptors that innervate both hairy and glabrous skin. Most rapidly adapting, mechanically activated currents in dorsal root ganglion neuronal cultures are absent in Piezo2 conditional knockout mice, and ex vivo skin nerve preparation studies show that the mechanosensitivity of low-threshold mechanoreceptors strongly depends on Piezo2. This cellular phenotype correlates with an unprecedented behavioural phenotype: an almost complete deficit in light-touch sensation in multiple behavioural assays, without affecting other somatosensory functions. Our results highlight that a single ion channel that displays rapidly adapting, mechanically activated currents in vitro is responsible for the mechanosensitivity of most low-threshold mechanoreceptor subtypes involved in innocuous touch sensation. Notably, we find that touch and pain sensation are separable, suggesting that as-yet-unknown mechanically activated ion channel(s) must account for noxious (painful) mechanosensation. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source

Fraga-Silva R.A.,Instituto Nacional Of Ciencia E Tecnologia Em Nanobiofarmaceutica Inct Nanobiofar | Costa-Fraga F.P.,Instituto Nacional Of Ciencia E Tecnologia Em Nanobiofarmaceutica Inct Nanobiofar | de Sousa F.B.,Federal University of Minas Gerais | Alenina N.,Max Delbru Ck Center for Molecular Medicine | And 3 more authors.

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVE: The heptapeptide angiotensin-(1-7) is a component of the renin-angiotensin system, which promotes many beneficial cardiovascular effects, including antithrombotic activity. We have recently shown that the antithrombotic effect of angiotensin-(1-7) involves receptor Mas-mediated NO-release from platelets. Here, we describe an orally active formulation based on angiotensin-(1-7) inclusion in cyclodextrin [Ang(1-7)-CyD] as an antithrombotic agent. Cyclodextrins are pharmaceutical tools that are used to enhance drug stability, absorption across biological barriers and gastric protection. METHOD: To test the antithrombotic effect of Ang-(1-7)-CyD, thrombus formation was induced in the abdominal vena cava of spontaneously hypertensive rats that were pretreated either acutely or chronically with Ang-(1-7)-CyD. Male Mas-knockout and wild-type mice were used to verify the role of the Mas receptor on the effect of Ang-(1-7)-CyD. RESULTS: Acute or chronic oral treatment with Ang-(1-7)-CyD promoted an antithrombotic effect (measured by thrombus weight; all values are, respectively, untreated vs. treated animals) in spontaneously hypertensive rats (acute: 2.86 ± 0.43 mg vs. 1.14 ± 0.40 mg; chronic: 4.27 ± 1.03 mg vs. 1.39 ± 0.68 mg). This effect was abolished in Mas-knockout mice (thrombus weight in Mas wild-type: 0.76 ± 0.10 mg vs. 0.37 ¡ 0.02 mg; thrombus weight in Mas-knockout: 0.96 ± 0.11 mg vs. 0.87 ± 0.14 mg). Furthermore, the antithrombotic effect of Ang-(1-7)-CyD was associated with an increase in the plasma level of Angiotensin-(1-7). CONCLUSION: These results show for the first time that the oral formulation Ang-(1-7)-CyD has biological activity and produces a Mas-dependent antithrombotic effect. Source

Schellmann N.,Franklin University | Panjideh H.,Max Delbru Ck Center for Molecular Medicine | Fasold P.,Franklin University | Fasold P.,InVivo Biotech Services GmbH | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Immunotherapy

In adults, endothelial cell division occurs only in wound healing, during menstruation, or in diseases such as wet age-related macular degeneration or development of benign or malignant tissues. Angiogenesis is one of the major requirements to supply the fast developing tumor tissue with oxygen and nutrients, and enables it to spread into other tissues far from its origin. We selected the extradomain B (ED-B), a splice variant of fibronectin, which is exclusively expressed in ovaries, uterus, during wound healing, and in tumor tissues, as a target for the development of an innovative antiangiogenic, prodrug-based targeted tumor therapy approach. We designed a fusion protein termed L19CDy-His, consisting of the antibody single chain fragment L19 for targeting ED-B and yeast cytosine deaminase for the conversion of 5-fluorocytosine into cytotoxic 5-fluorouracil. We purified high amounts of the fusion protein from Pichia pastoris that is stable, enzymatically active, and retains 75% of its activity after incubation with human plasma for up to 72 hours. The binding of L19CDy-His to ED-B was confirmed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quantified by surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy determining a KD value of 81±7 nM. L19CDy-His successfully decreased cell survival of the murine ED-B-expressing teratocarcinoma cell line F9 upon addition of the prodrug 5-fluorocytosine. Our data demonstrate the suitability of targeting ED-B by L19CDy-His for effective prodrug-based tumor therapy. © 2012 by Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Source

Rosendahl A.,University of Hamburg | Niemann G.,University of Hamburg | Lange S.,University of Hamburg | Ahadzadeh E.,University of Hamburg | And 15 more authors.
Laboratory Investigation

Binding of renin and prorenin to the (pro)renin receptor (PRR) increases their enzymatic activity and upregulates the expression of pro-fibrotic genes in vitro. Expression of PRR is increased in the heart and kidney of hypertensive and diabetic animals, but its causative role in organ damage is still unclear. To determine whether increased expression of PRR is sufficient to induce cardiac or renal injury, we generated a mouse that constitutively overexpresses PRR by knocking-in the Atp6ap2/PRR gene in the hprt locus under the control of a CMV immediate early enhancer/chicken beta-actin promoter. Mice were backcrossed in the C57Bl/6 and FVB/N strain and studied at the age of 12 months. In spite of a 25-to 80-fold renal and up to 400-fold cardiac increase in Atp6ap2/PRR expression, we found no differences in systolic blood pressure or albuminuria between wild-type and PRR overexpressing littermates. Histological examination did not show any renal or cardiac fibrosis in mutant mice. This was supported by real-time PCR analysis of inflammatory markers as well as of pro-fibrotic genes in the kidney and collagen in cardiac tissue. To determine whether the concomitant increase of renin would trigger fibrosis, we treated PRR overexpressing mice with the angiotensin receptor-1 blocker losartan over a period of 6 weeks. Renin expression increased eightfold in the kidney but no renal injury could be detected. In conclusion, our results suggest no major role for PRR in organ damage per se or related to its function as a receptor of renin. © 2014 USCAP, Inc All rights reserved. Source

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