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Lefebvre S.,Molecular Signaling and Cell Death Unit | Lefebvre S.,Ghent University | Mikkola M.L.,University of Helsinki
Seminars in Immunology | Year: 2014

Ectodysplasin (Eda) is the most studied tumor necrosis ligand in the field of developmental biology. In all vertebrates studied so far, inactivating germline mutations in Eda lead to the genetic disease called hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED). In humans, HED is a life-threatening condition in particular in infants due to absent or severely reduced sweating leading to hyperthermia. HED is also characterized by sparse hair, and oligo- or anodontia. Research of the Eda pathway has not only increased our knowledge on ectodermal appendage development and etiology of developmental disorders, but also on evolution of several vertebrate species including humankind. Studies on mouse and dog models of HED has led to one of the most stunning breakthroughs in applied developmental biology research by showing that a short-term treatment of neonates with a synthetic ligand corrects many of the HED-associated traits. Eighteen years after the identification of EDA as the causative gene in HED, a phase II trial aiming at permanent correction of the disease is now ongoing. This review summarizes the latest discoveries in the Eda field and points to areas that need further investigation such as the possible involvement of Eda in cell migration, stem cell maintenance, or cancer. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Garg A.D.,Catholic University of Leuven | Dudek A.M.,Catholic University of Leuven | Ferreira G.B.,Catholic University of Leuven | Verfaillie T.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 6 more authors.
Autophagy | Year: 2013

Calreticulin surface exposure (ecto-CALR), ATP secretion, maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) and stimulation of T cells are prerequisites for anticancer therapy-induced immunogenic cell death (IC D). Recent evidence suggests that chemotherapy-induced autophagy may positively regulate IC D by favoring ATP secretion. We have recently shown that reactive oxygen species (RO S)-based endoplasmic reticulum (ER ) stress triggered by hypericin-mediated photodynamic therapy (Hyp-PDT) induces bona fide IC D. However, whether Hyp-PDT-induced autophagy regulates IC D was not explored. Here we showed that, in contrast to expectations, reducing autophagy (by ATG5 knockdown) in cancer cells did not alter ATP secretion after Hyp-PDT. Autophagy-attenuated cancer cells displayed enhanced ecto-CALR induction following Hyp-PDT, which strongly correlated with their inability to clear oxidatively damaged proteins. Furthermore, autophagy-attenuation in Hyp-PDT-treated cancer cells increased their ability to induce DC maturation, IL6 production and proliferation of CD4+ or CD8+ T cells, which was accompanied by IF NG production. Thus, our study unravels a role for RO S-induced autophagy in weakening functional interaction between dying cancer cells and the immune system thereby helping in evasion from IC D prerequisites or determinants. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.

Pouwels S.D.,University of Groningen | Heijink I.H.,University of Groningen | Ten Hacken N.H.T.,University of Groningen | Vandenabeele P.,Molecular Signaling and Cell Death Unit | And 5 more authors.
Mucosal Immunology | Year: 2014

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive lung disease characterized by sustained neutrophilic airway inflammation, is caused by chronic exposure to noxious stimuli, e.g., cigarette smoke. This chronic exposure can induce immunogenic cell death of structural airway cells, inducing the release of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Levels of several DAMPs, including S100 proteins, defensins, and high-mobility group box-1 (HMGB1), are increased in extracellular lung fluids of COPD patients. As DAMPs can attract and activate immune cells upon binding to pattern recognition receptors, we propose that their release may contribute to neutrophilic airway inflammation. In this review, we discuss the novel role of DAMPs in COPD pathogenesis. Relevant DAMPs are categorized based on their subcellular origin, i.e. cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum, nucleus, and mitochondria. Furthermore, their potential role in the pathophysiology of COPD will be discussed. © 2014 Society for Mucosal Immunology.

Eckhart L.,Medical University of Vienna | Lippens S.,Molecular Signaling and Cell Death Unit | Lippens S.,Ghent University | Tschachler E.,Medical University of Vienna | And 2 more authors.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research | Year: 2013

Epidermal keratinocytes undergo a unique form of terminal differentiation and programmed cell death known as cornification. Cornification leads to the formation of the outermost skin barrier, i.e. the cornified layer, as well as to the formation of hair and nails. Different genes are expressed in coordinated waves to provide the structural and regulatory components of cornification. Differentiation-associated keratin intermediate filaments form a complex scaffold accumulating in the cytoplasm and, upon removal of cell organelles, fill the entire cell interior mainly to provide mechanical strength. In addition, a defined set of proteins is cross-linked by transglutamination in the cell periphery to form the so-called cornified envelope. Extracellular modifications include degradation of the tight linkages between corneocytes by excreted proteases, which allows corneocyte shedding by desquamation, and stacking and modification of the excreted lipids that fill the intercellular spaces between corneocytes to provide a water-repellant barrier. In hard skin appendages such as hair and nails these tight intercorneocyte connections remain permanent. Various lines of evidence exist for a role of organelle disintegration, proteases, nucleases, and transglutaminases contributing to the actual cell death event. However, many mechanistic aspects of kearatinocyte death during cornification remain elusive. Importantly, it has recently become clear that keratinocytes activate anti-apoptotic and anti-necroptotic pathways to prevent premature cell death during terminal differentiation. This review gives an overview of the current concept of cornification as a mode of programmed cell death and the anti-cell death mechanisms in the epidermis that secure epidermal homeostasis. This article is part of a Special Section entitled: Cell Death Pathways. Guest Editors: Frank Madeo and Slaven Stekovic. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Garg A.D.,Catholic University of Leuven | Elsen S.,Catholic University of Leuven | Krysko D.V.,Molecular Signaling and Cell Death Unit | Krysko D.V.,Ghent University | And 4 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Immunogenic cell death (ICD) is a well-established instigator of 'anti-cancer vaccination-effect (AVE)'. ICD has shown considerable preclinical promise, yet there remain subset of cancer patients that fail to respond to clinically-applied ICD inducers. Non-responsiveness to ICD inducers could be explained by the existence of cancer cell-autonomous, anti-AVE resistance mechanisms. However such resistance mechanisms remain poorly investigated. In this study, we have characterized for the first time, a naturally-occurring preclinical cancer model (AY27) that exhibits intrinsic anti-AVE resistance despite treatment with ICD inducers like mitoxantrone or hypericin-photodynamic therapy. Further mechanistic analysis revealed that this anti-AVE resistance was associated with a defect in exposing the important 'eat me' danger signal, surface-calreticulin (ecto-CRT/CALR). In an ICD setting, this defective ecto-CRT further correlated with severely reduced phagocytic clearance of AY27 cells as well as the failure of these cells to activate AVE. Defective ecto-CRT in response to ICD induction was a result of low endogenous CRT protein levels (i.e. CRTlowphenotype) in AY27 cells. Exogenous reconstitution of ecto-rCRT (recombinant-CRT) improved the phagocytic removal of ICD inducer-treated AY27 cells, and importantly, significantly increased their AVE-activating ability. Moreover, we found that a subset of cancer patients of various cancer-types indeed possessed CALRlow or CRTlow-tumours. Remarkably, we found that tumoural CALRhigh-phenotype was predictive of positive clinical responses to therapy with ICD inducers (radiotherapy and paclitaxel) in lung and ovarian cancer patients, respectively. Furthermore, only in the ICD clinical setting, tumoural CALR levels positively correlated with the levels of various phagocytosisassociated genes relevant for phagosome maturation or processing. Thus, we reveal the existence of a cancer cell-autonomous, anti-AVE or anti-ICD resistance mechanism that has profound clinical implications for anticancer immunotherapy and cancer predictive biomarker analysis.

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