Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy

Santiago, Chile

Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy

Santiago, Chile
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Herrada A.A.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | Amador C.A.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | Michea L.F.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | Fardella C.E.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Hypertension | Year: 2011

High plasmatic levels of aldosterone cause hypertension and contribute to progressive organ damage to the heart, vasculature, and kidneys. Recent studies have demonstrated a role for the immune system in these pathological processes. Aldosterone promotes an inflammatory state characterized by vascular infiltration of immune cells, reactive oxidative stress, and proinflammatory cytokine production. Further, cells of the adaptive immune system, such as T cells, seem to participate in the genesis of mineralocorticoid hormone-induced hypertension. In addition, the observation that aldosterone can promote CD4 T-cell activation and Th17 polarization suggests that this hormone could contribute to the onset of autoimmunity. Here we discuss recent evidence supporting a significant involvement of the immune system, especially adaptive immunity, in the genesis of hypertension and organ damage induced by primary aldosteronism. In addition, possible new therapeutic approaches consisting of immunomodulator drugs to control exacerbated immune responses triggered by elevated aldosterone concentrations will be described. © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Stehberg J.,Andrés Bello University | Moraga-Amaro R.,Andrés Bello University | Salazar C.,Andrés Bello University | Becerra A.,Laboratorio Of Fisiopatologia Integrativa | And 9 more authors.
FASEB Journal | Year: 2012

Recent in vitro evidence indicates that astrocytes can modulate synaptic plasticity by releasing neuroactive substances (gliotransmitters). However, whether gliotransmitter release from astrocytes is necessary for higher brain function in vivo, particularly for memory, as well as the contribution of connexin (Cx) hemichannels to gliotransmitter release, remain elusive. Here, we microinfused into the rat basolateral amygdala (BLA) TAT-Cx43L2, a peptide that selectively inhibits Cx43-hemichannel opening while maintaining synaptic transmission or interastrocyte gap junctional communication. In vivo blockade of Cx43 hemichannels during memory consolidation induced amnesia for auditory fear conditioning, as assessed 24 h after training, without affecting short-term memory, locomotion, or shock reactivity. The amnesic effect was transitory, specific for memory consolidation, and was confirmed after microinfusion of Gap27, another Cx43-hemichannel blocker. Learning capacity was recovered after coinfusion of TAT-Cx43L2 and a mixture of putative gliotransmitters (glutamate, glutamine, lactate, D-serine, glycine, and ATP). We propose that gliotransmitter release from astrocytes through Cx43 hemichannels is necessary for fear memory consolidation at the BLA. Thus, the present study is the first to demonstrate a physiological role for astroglial Cx43 hemichannels in brain function, making these channels a novel pharmacological target for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder. © FASEB.


Simon F.,Andrés Bello University | Simon F.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | Varela D.,University of Chile | Cabello-Verrugio C.,Andrés Bello University
Cellular Signalling | Year: 2013

The transient receptor potential melastatin (TRPM) protein family is an extensive group of ion channels expressed in several types of mammalian cells. Many studies have shown that these channels are crucial for performing several physiological functions. Additionally, a large body of evidence indicates that these channels are also involved in numerous human diseases, known as channelopathies.A characteristic event frequently observed during pathological states is the raising in intracellular oxidative agents over reducing molecules, shifting the redox balance and inducing oxidative stress. In particular, three members of the TRPM subfamily, TRPM2, TRPM4 and TRPM7, share the remarkable feature that their activities are modulated by oxidative stress. Because of the increase in oxidative stress, these TRPM channels function aberrantly, promoting the onset and development of diseases. Increases, absences, or modifications in the function of these redox-modulated TRPM channels are associated with cell dysfunction and human pathologies. Therefore, the effect of oxidative stress on ion channels becomes an essential part of the pathogenic mechanism. Thus, oxidative stress-modulated ion channels are more susceptible to generating pathological states than oxidant-independent channels. This review examines the most relevant findings regarding the participation of the oxidative stress-modulated TRPM ion channels, TRPM2, TRPM4, and TRPM7, in human diseases. In addition, the potential roles of these channels as therapeutic tools and targets for drug design are discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Capriotti E.,Structural Genomics Unit | Capriotti E.,Stanford University | Capriotti E.,University of the Balearic Islands | Norambuena T.,University of Chile | And 4 more authors.
Bioinformatics | Year: 2011

Motivation: Over the recent years, the vision that RNA simply serves as information transfer molecule has dramatically changed. The study of the sequence/structure/function relationships in RNA is becoming more important. As a direct consequence, the total number of experimentally solved RNA structures has dramatically increased and new computer tools for predicting RNA structure from sequence are rapidly emerging. Therefore, new and accurate methods for assessing the accuracy of RNA structure models are clearly needed. Results: Here, we introduce an all-atom knowledge-based potential for the assessment of RNA three-dimensional (3D) structures. We have benchmarked our new potential, called Ribonucleic Acids Statistical Potential (RASP), with two different decoy datasets composed of near-native RNA structures. In one of the benchmark sets, RASP was able to rank the closest model to the X-ray structure as the best and within the top 10 models for ∼93 and ∼95% of decoys, respectively. The average correlation coefficient between model accuracy, calculated as the root mean square deviation and global distance test-total score (GDT-TS) measures of C3′ atoms, and the RASP score was 0.85 and 0.89, respectively. Based on a recently released benchmark dataset that contains hundreds of 3D models for 32 RNA motifs with non-canonical base pairs, RASP scoring function compared favorably to ROSETTA FARFAR force field in the selection of accurate models. Finally, using the self-splicing group I intron and the stem-loop IIIc from hepatitis C virus internal ribosome entry site as test cases, we show that RASP is able to discriminate between known structure-destabilizing mutations and compensatory mutations. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Wiederstein M.,University of Salzburg | Gruber M.,University of Salzburg | Frank K.,University of Salzburg | Melo F.,University of Santiago de Chile | And 2 more authors.
Structure | Year: 2014

Multiprotein complexes govern virtually all cellular processes. Their 3D structures provide important clues to their biological roles, especially through structural correlations among protein molecules and complexes. The detection of such correlations generally requires comprehensive searches in databases of known protein structures by means of appropriate structure-matching techniques. Here, we present a high-speed structure search engine capable of instantly matching large protein oligomers against the complete and up-to-date database of biologically functional assemblies of protein molecules. We use this tool to reveal unseen structural correlations on the level of protein quaternary structure and demonstrate its general usefulness for efficiently exploring complex structural relationships among known protein assemblies. © 2014 The Authors.


Slater A.W.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | Slater A.W.,University of Santiago de Chile | Castellanos J.I.,University of Santiago de Chile | Sippl M.J.,University of Salzburg | And 2 more authors.
Bioinformatics | Year: 2013

Motivation: Pairwise alignment of protein structures is a fundamental task in structural bioinformatics. There are numerous computer programs in the public domain that produce alignments for a given pair of protein structures, but the results obtained by the various programs generally differ substantially. Hence, in the application of such programs the question arises which of the alignment programs are the most trustworthy in the sense of overall performance, and which programs provide the best result for a given pair of proteins. The major problem in comparing, evaluating and judging alignment results is that there is no clear notion of the optimality of an alignment. As a consequence, the numeric criteria and scores reported by the individual structure alignment programs are largely incomparable.Results: Here we report on the development and application of a new approach for the evaluation of structure alignment results. The method uses the translation vector and rotation matrix to generate the superposition of two structures but discards the alignment reported by the individual programs. The optimal alignment is then generated in standardized form based on a suitably implemented dynamic programming algorithm where the length of the alignment is the single most informative parameter. We demonstrate that some of the most popular programs in protein structure research differ considerably in their overall performance. In particular, each of the programs investigated here produced in at least in one case the best and the worst alignment compared with all others. Hence, at the current state of development of structure comparison techniques, it is advisable to use several programs in parallel and to choose the optimal alignment in the way reported here. © The Author(s) 2012. Published by Oxford University Press.


Ahn D.S.,Columbia University | Parker D.,Columbia University | Planet P.J.,Columbia University | Nieto P.A.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | And 4 more authors.
Mucosal Immunology | Year: 2014

Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of severe pneumonia. Multiple mechanisms of proinflammatory signaling are activated to recruit immune cells into the airway in response to S. aureus. We found that interleukin-16 (IL-16), a T cell cytokine that binds CD4, is potently activated by S. aureus, specifically by protein A (SpA), and to a much greater extent than by Gram-negative pathogens or lipopolysaccharide. IL-16 production involved multiple signals including ligation of tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) family members or epidermal growth factor receptor, both receptors for SpA and generation of Ca2+ fluxes to activate calpains and caspase-3. Although human airway epithelial cells, vascular endothelial cells, THP-1 and Jurkat T cells released IL-16 in response to S. aureus in vitro, in a murine model of pneumonia, CD4+ cells were the major source of IL-16 suggesting the involvement of an autocrine signaling pathway. The production of IL-16 contributed to lung damage as neutralization of IL-16 enhanced S. aureus clearance and resulted in diminished lung pathology in S. aureus pneumonia. Our results suggest that the ability of S. aureus to activate TNFR1 and Ca2+ /calpain signaling contribute to T cell activation and excessive inflammation in the setting of acute pneumonia. © 2014 Society for Mucosal Immunology.


Cisternas F.,Andrés Bello University | Morales M.G.,Andrés Bello University | Meneses C.,Andrés Bello University | Simon F.,Andrés Bello University | And 5 more authors.
Clinical Science | Year: 2015

Skeletal muscle atrophy is a pathological condition characterized by the loss of strength and muscle mass, an increase in myosin heavy chain (MHC) degradation and increase in the expression of two muscle-specific ubiquitin ligases: atrogin-1 and MuRF-1. Angiotensin II (AngII) induces muscle atrophy. Angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)], through its receptor Mas, produces the opposite effects than AngII. We assessed the effects of Ang-(1-7) on the skeletal muscle atrophy induced by AngII. Our results show that Ang-(1-7), through Mas, prevents the effects induced by AngII in muscle gastrocnemius: the decrease in the fibre diameter, muscle strength and MHC levels and the increase in atrogin-1 and MuRF-1. Ang-(1-7) also induces AKT phosphorylation. In addition, our analysis in vitro using C2C12 myotubes shows that Ang-(1-7), through a mechanism dependent on Mas, prevents the decrease in the levels of MHC and the increase in the expression of the atrogin-1 and MuRF-1, both induced by AngII. Ang-(1-7) induces AKT phosphorylation in myotubes; additionally, we demonstrated that the inhibition of AKT with MK-2206 decreases the anti-atrophic effects of Ang-(1-7). Thus, we demonstrate for the first time that Ang-(1-7) counteracts the skeletal muscle atrophy induced by AngII through a mechanism dependent on the Mas receptor, which involves AKT activity. Our study indicates that Ang-(1-7) is novel molecule with a potential therapeutical use to improve muscle wasting associated, at least, with pathologies that present high levels of AngII. © 2015 Biochemical Society.


Cabello-Verrugio C.,Andrés Bello University | Morales M.G.,Andrés Bello University | Rivera J.C.,Andrés Bello University | Cabrera D.,Bernardo O'Higgins University | And 2 more authors.
Medicinal Research Reviews | Year: 2015

Skeletal muscle is a tissue that shows the most plasticity in the body; it can change in response to physiological and pathological stimuli. Among the diseases that affect skeletal muscle are myopathy-associated fibrosis, insulin resistance, and muscle atrophy. A common factor in these pathologies is the participation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). This system can be functionally separated into the classical and nonclassical RAS axis. The main components of the classical RAS pathway are angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), angiotensin II (Ang-II), and Ang-II receptors (AT receptors), whereas the nonclassical axis is composed of ACE2, angiotensin 1-7 [Ang (1-7)], and the Mas receptor. Hyperactivity of the classical axis in skeletal muscle has been associated with insulin resistance, atrophy, and fibrosis. In contrast, current evidence supports the action of the nonclassical RAS as a counter-regulator axis of the classical RAS pathway in skeletal muscle. In this review, we describe the mechanisms involved in the pathological effects of the classical RAS, advances in the use of pharmacological molecules to inhibit this axis, and the beneficial effects of stimulation of the nonclassical RAS pathway on insulin resistance, atrophy, and fibrosis in skeletal muscle. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Cespedes P.F.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | Gonzalez P.A.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | Kalergis A.M.,Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy | Kalergis A.M.,University of Santiago de Chile | Kalergis A.M.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research
Immunology | Year: 2013

Summary: Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is the second most common cause of acute lower respiratory tract infections in children, causing a significant public health burden worldwide. Given that hMPV can repeatedly infect the host without major antigenic changes, it has been suggested that hMPV may have evolved molecular mechanisms to impair host adaptive immunity and, more specifically, T-cell memory. Recent studies have shown that hMPV can interfere with superantigen-induced T-cell activation by infecting conventional dendritic cells (DCs). Here, we show that hMPV infects mouse DCs in a restricted manner and induces moderate maturation. Nonetheless, hMPV-infected DCs are rendered inefficient at activating naive antigen-specific CD4+ T cells (OT-II), which not only display reduced proliferation, but also show a marked reduction in surface activation markers and interleukin-2 secretion. Decreased T-cell activation was not mediated by interference with DC-T-cell immunological synapse formation as recently described for the human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV), but rather by soluble factors secreted by hMPV-infected DCs. These data suggest that although hMPV infection is restricted within DCs, it is sufficient to interfere with their capacity to activate naive T cells. Altogether, by interfering with DC function and productive priming of antigen-inexperienced T cells, hMPV could impair the generation of long-term immunity. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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