Germline, loss-of-function mutations in the transcription factor STAT3 cause immunodeficiency, while somatic, gain-of-function mutations in STAT3 are associated with large granular lymphocytic leukemic, myelodysplastic syndrome, and aplastic anemia. Recently, germline mutations in STAT3 have also been associated with autoimmune disease. Here we report thirteen individuals from ten families with lymphoproliferation and early-onset, solid organ autoimmunity associated with nine different germline, heterozygous mutations in STAT3. Patients exhibited a variety of clinical features, with most having lymphadenopathy, autoimmune cytopenias, multi-organ autoimmunity (lung, gastrointestinal, hepatic, and/or endocrine dysfunction), infections and short stature. Functional analyses demonstrate that these mutations confer a gain-of-function in STAT3 leading to secondary defects in STAT5 and STAT1 phosphorylation and the regulatory T cell compartment. Treatment targeting a cytokine pathway that signals through STAT3 lead to clinical improvement in one patient, suggesting a potential therapeutic option for such patients. These results suggest that there is a broad range of autoimmunity caused by germline STAT3 gain-of-function mutations, and that hematologic autoimmunity is a major component of this newly-described disorder. Some patients for this study were enrolled in a trial registered at ClinicalTrials.gov #NCT00001350.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2 is periodically shed in the human genital tract, most often asymptomatically, and most sexual transmissions occur during asymptomatic shedding. It would be helpful to identify a genital viral load threshold necessary for transmission, as clinical interventions that maintain viral quantity below this level would be of high utility. However, because viral expansion, decay and re-expansion kinetics are extremely rapid during shedding episodes, it is impossible to directly measure genital viral load at the time of sexual activity. We developed a mathematical model based on reproducing shedding patterns in transmitting partners, and median number of sex acts prior to transmission in discordant couples, to estimate infectivity of single viral particles in the negative partner's genital tract. We then inferred probability estimates for transmission at different levels of genital tract viral load in the transmitting partner. We predict that transmission is unlikely at viral loads less than 10(4) HSV DNA copies. Moreover, most transmissions occur during prolonged episodes with high viral copy numbers. Many shedding episodes that result in transmission do not reach the threshold of clinical detection, because the ulcer remains very small, highlighting one reason why HSV-2 spreads so effectively within populations.
The nucleoside analogues acyclovir (ACV) and famciclovir (FCV) reduce the frequency and severity of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) genital shedding, yet despite their high potency in vitro and a lack of induced drug resistance, frequent episodes of breakthrough mucosal shedding occur. We tested a published stochastic, spatial mathematical model of HSV-2 replication and spread, in concert with pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic equations, against virologic data from clinical trials of twice-daily acyclovir and famciclovir suppression. The model reproduced the key features of clinical trial data, including genital shedding episode rate, expansion and decay dynamics, and heterogeneous peak viral production and duration. In simulations, these agents shortened episode duration by limiting the extent of viral production by 1 to 2 log units and limiting the formation of secondary ulcers by ?50%. However, drug concentrations were noninhibitory during 42% of the dosing cycle. Even if drug concentrations were high at episode initiation, prolonged episodes often ensued due to drug decay over ensuing hours and subsequent rebound of rapidly replicating HSV-2. The local CD8(+) T-cell density was more predictive of episode viral production (R(2) = 0.42) and duration (R(2) = 0.21) than the drug concentration at episode onset (R(2) = 0.14 and 0.05, respectively), though the model projected that an agent with an equivalent potency but a two times longer half-life would decrease shedding by 80% compared to that of standard twice-daily regimens. Therefore, long half-life is a key characteristic of any agent that might fully suppress HSV-2 reactivations.
A successful HIV vaccine will likely induce both humoral and cell-mediated immunity, however, the enormous diversity of HIV has hampered the development of a vaccine that effectively elicits both arms of the adaptive immune response. To tackle the problem of viral diversity, T cell-based vaccine approaches have focused on two main strategies (i) increasing the breadth of vaccine-induced responses or (ii) increasing vaccine-induced responses targeting only conserved regions of the virus. The relative extent to which set-point viremia is impacted by epitope-conservation of CD8(+) T cell responses elicited during early HIV-infection is unknown but has important implications for vaccine design. To address this question, we comprehensively mapped HIV-1 CD8(+) T cell epitope-specificities in 23 ART-naïve individuals during early infection and computed their conservation score (CS) by three different methods (prevalence, entropy and conseq) on clade-B and group-M sequence alignments. The majority of CD8(+) T cell responses were directed against variable epitopes (p<0.01). Interestingly, increasing breadth of CD8(+) T cell responses specifically recognizing conserved epitopes was associated with lower set-point viremia (r?=?- 0.65, p?=?0.009). Moreover, subjects possessing CD8(+) T cells recognizing at least one conserved epitope had 1.4 log10 lower set-point viremia compared to those recognizing only variable epitopes (p?=?0.021). The association between viral control and the breadth of conserved CD8(+) T cell responses may be influenced by the method of CS definition and sequences used to determine conservation levels. Strikingly, targeting variable versus conserved epitopes was independent of HLA type (p?=?0.215). The associations with viral control were independent of functional avidity of CD8(+) T cell responses elicited during early infection. Taken together, these data suggest that the next-generation of T-cell based HIV-1 vaccines should focus on strategies that can elicit CD8(+) T cell responses to multiple conserved epitopes of HIV-1.
Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) is shed episodically, leading to occasional genital ulcers and efficient transmission. The biology explaining highly variable shedding patterns, in an infected person over time, is poorly understood. We sampled the genital tract for HSV DNA at several time intervals and concurrently at multiple sites, and derived a spatial mathematical model to characterize dynamics of HSV-2 reactivation. The model reproduced heterogeneity in shedding episode duration and viral production, and predicted rapid early viral expansion, rapid late decay, and wide spatial dispersion of HSV replication during episodes. In simulations, HSV-2 spread locally within single ulcers to thousands of epithelial cells in <12 hr, but host immune responses eliminated infected cells in <24 hr; secondary ulcers formed following spatial propagation of cell-free HSV-2, allowing for episode prolongation. We conclude that HSV-2 infection is characterized by extremely rapid virological growth and containment at multiple contemporaneous sites within genital epithelium. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00288.001.
To characterize the epidemiology of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in children without previous consensual sexual activity, comparing HPV prevalence by certainty of child sexual abuse (CSA).
Genital human papillomaviruses (HPV) include >40 sexually transmitted viruses. Most HPV infections do not progress to disease, but infection with certain types of HPV can cause cervical and other anogenital and oropharyngeal cancer, and other types of HPV are associated with anogenital warts. HPV vaccines prevent infection with HPV 16 and 18, which account for 70% of cases of cervical cancer, and HPV 6 and 11, which cause 90% of the cases of anogenital warts.
The 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys were used to assess human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, and 18 DNA detection from females aged 14-59 years who self-collected cervicovaginal swab specimens. Prevalence was 8.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.8%-10.0%) and was highest among women aged 20-24 years (18.5%; 95% CI, 14.9%-22.8%). Age group, education, marital status, and sexual behavior were associated with detection. These data provide baseline information before HPV vaccine introduction. Early impact of vaccine in the United States may be determined by a reduction in the prevalence of HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18 infection among young women.
Type-specific surveillance of human papillomavirus (HPV) has been proposed as an early indicator of vaccine impact. Longitudinal comparison of HPV typing results requires stable assays with high type-specific reproducibility. Assays are evolving and the impact of even minor changes in the assay format may be difficult to anticipate. We initiated a population-based study of HPV with the prototype line blot (PLB) assay. These reagents were replaced by the research use only Linear Array (LA) HPV Genotyping kit. The assays are similar in principle and earlier comparisons found increased sensitivity and detection of more types per sample with LA; however, in samples from women with cervical abnormalities, the overall concordance was good. Slight changes in sensitivity may be more significant in samples from a general population with lower viral loads in the samples. Residual extracts from 3001 self-collected vaginal swabs from women in the general US population originally tested with PLB were retested with LA. With LA, all the samples were hybridized. PLB hybridization was restricted to samples with probable amplicon in gel electrophoresis. For HPV detection, the agreement between the 2 assays was 78.6% (?=0.55) with a positive concordance of 52.8%. However, this masks the observation that repeat testing with LA led to the detection of HPV in nearly twice as many samples. Agreement improves if comparison was restricted to the samples hybridized. These results emphasize that assay comparisons should consider the clinical-epidemiologic context of sample collection. Studies designed to examine temporal trends in type-specific prevalence should archive residual material to permit retesting if assays change.
The vascular and immune systems of mammals are closely intertwined: the individual components of the immune system must move between various body compartments to perform their function effectively. Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), a bioactive lipid mediator, exerts effects on the two organ systems and influences the interaction between them. In the resting state, the vascular S1P gradient contributes to control of lymphocyte recirculation through the blood, lymphoid tissue and lymphatic vasculature. The high level of S1P in blood helps maintain endothelial barrier integrity. During the inflammatory process, both the level of S1P in different immune compartments and S1P receptor expression on lymphocytes and endothelial cells are modified, resulting in functionally important changes in endothelial cell and lymphocyte behaviour. These include transient arrest of lymphocytes in secondary lymphoid tissue, crucial for generation of adaptive immunity, and subsequent promotion of lymphocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation. This review begins with an outline of the basic biochemistry of S1P. S1P receptor signalling is then discussed, followed by an exploration of the roles of S1P in the vascular and immune systems, with particular focus on the interface between them. The latter part concerns crosstalk between S1P and other signalling pathways, and concludes with a look at therapies targeting the S1P-S1P receptor axis.
Human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) genotype variants have been the subject of several investigations, but study participants have rarely been sampled more than once. In this study, among a cohort of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults, HPV-16 variants were investigated in samples collected concurrently from the anus and cervix, as well as in serial samples collected from the same anatomical site at 12-month intervals. HPV-16 variants in stored extracts of cervical and anal samples were determined from subjects with multiple visits and at least one sample positive for HPV-16. Seven polymorphic nucleotide positions within the E6 region were analysed by pyrosequencing to determine genotype variants. Of 364 samples examined, 176 anal and 39 cervical swabs from 84 different subjects yielded unequivocal sequences of eight major HPV-16 variants. Eight samples contained probable novel HPV-16 variants and in one sample two variants were detected. In eight out of 29 (27.6%) anal-cervical sample pairs positive for HPV-16, discordant variants were found. From 57 anal and nine cervical sample series of HPV-16-positive samples, a change in HPV-16 variant status over time was seen in nine (13.6%) instances (seven anal and two cervical) from eight different participants. Changes in HPV-16 variants in HIV-infected adults were seen most frequently when different anatomical sites were sampled, but were also observed over time.
Autoimmune pathologies are caused by a breakdown in self-tolerance. Tolerogenic dendritic cells (tolDC) are a promising immunotherapeutic tool for restoring self-tolerance in an antigen-specific manner. Studies about tolDC have focused largely on generating stable maturation-resistant DC, but few have fully addressed questions about the antigen-presenting and migratory capacities of these cells, prerequisites for successful immunotherapy. Here, we investigated whether human tolDC, generated with dexamethasone and the active form of vitamin D3, maintained their tolerogenic function upon activation with LPS (LPS-tolDC), while acquiring the ability to present exogenous autoantigen and to migrate in response to the CCR7 ligand CCL19. LPS activation led to important changes in the tolDC phenotype and function. LPS-tolDC, but not tolDC, expressed the chemokine receptor CCR7 and migrated in response to CCL19. Furthermore, LPS-tolDC were superior to tolDC in their ability to present type II collagen, a candidate autoantigen in rheumatoid arthritis. tolDC and LPS-tolDC had low stimulatory capacity for allogeneic, naïve T cells and skewed T cell polarization toward an anti-inflammatory phenotype, although LPS-tolDC induced significantly higher levels of IL-10 production by T cells. Our finding that LPS activation is essential for inducing migratory and antigen-presenting activity in tolDC is important for optimizing their therapeutic potential.
HIV diversity may be a useful biomarker for discriminating between recent and non-recent HIV infection. The high resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay was developed to quantify HIV diversity in viral populations without sequencing. In this assay, HIV diversity is expressed as a single numeric HRM score that represents the width of a melting peak. HRM scores are highly associated with diversity measures obtained with next generation sequencing. In this report, a software package, the HRM Diversity Assay Analysis Tool (DivMelt), was developed to automate calculation of HRM scores from melting curve data.
A functional sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor antagonist specifically inhibited the egress of activated allospecific T cells from draining popliteal lymph nodes in alloantigen-sensitised mice. The level of S1P receptor 1 (S1PR1) mRNA was similarly reduced 1 and 3 days after mitogenic activation of T cells. However, the response of these cells to the S1PR1-specific agonist SEW2871 was only reduced on the first day after T cell activation with normal receptor-mediated Akt-phosphorylation restored by day 3. Longitudinal analysis of CD69 expression showed that almost all T cells expressed this antigen on days 1 and 3 after activation. However, the absolute level of cell-surface expression of CD69 peaked on undivided T cells and was then halved by each of the first 3 cycles of mitosis. CD69-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) reduced the maximal level of CD69 expression by undivided, mitogen-stimulated T cells. These cells retained their capacity to phosphorylate Akt in response to stimulation with SEW2871. These data show that S1P receptors are involved in controlling the egress of activated T cells from lymph nodes, and that S1PR1 function is regulated by the level of T cell surface CD69. They suggest a potential for augmentation of this process to deplete alloreactive effector cells after organ transplantation.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has recently been used for analysis of HIV diversity, but this method is labor-intensive, costly, and requires complex protocols for data analysis. We compared diversity measures obtained using NGS data to those obtained using a diversity assay based on high-resolution melting (HRM) of DNA duplexes. The HRM diversity assay provides a single numeric score that reflects the level of diversity in the region analyzed. HIV gag and env from individuals in Rakai, Uganda, were analyzed in a previous study using NGS (n = 220 samples from 110 individuals). Three sequence-based diversity measures were calculated from the NGS sequence data (percent diversity, percent complexity, and Shannon entropy). The amplicon pools used for NGS were analyzed with the HRM diversity assay. HRM scores were significantly associated with sequence-based measures of HIV diversity for both gag and env (P < 0.001 for all measures). The level of diversity measured by the HRM diversity assay and NGS increased over time in both regions analyzed (P < 0.001 for all measures except for percent complexity in gag), and similar amounts of diversification were observed with both methods (P < 0.001 for all measures except for percent complexity in gag). Diversity measures obtained using the HRM diversity assay were significantly associated with those from NGS, and similar increases in diversity over time were detected by both methods. The HRM diversity assay is faster and less expensive than NGS, facilitating rapid analysis of large studies of HIV diversity and evolution.
Aberrant promoter methylation of biologically relevant genes in cervical cancer and uneven CpG distribution within the human papillomavirus 16 (HPV 16) enhancer region have been reported. Cervical samples and questionnaires from 151 women screened for cervical cancer in Appalachian Ohio were analyzed. Methylation was measured by bisulfite sequencing in candidate gene sites in ESR1, DCC, p16, and LINE1 elements. Among 89 HPV 16-positive women, CpG sites in the E6 promoter and enhancer regions and the L1 region of the HPV 16 genome were measured. Methylation levels were compared by cervical cytology and HPV 16 status. HPV methylation was low regardless of cytology status, however E6 methylation was significantly higher in women with normal cytology. ESR1 and DCC methylation were significantly higher in HPV 16-positive women. Increased methylation at sites in the E6 promoter region was associated with lower odds of abnormal cytology. Increased methylation in candidate genes was associated with higher odds of abnormal cytology, particularly DCC region 2.4, DCC region 2.6, ESR1 region 3.2, and LINE1 site 1.2. HPV 16 genome CpG methylation was low except for the L1 region. In general, lower HPV 16 methylation and higher candidate gene methylation levels were associated with higher odds of abnormal cytology.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) 52 is one of the most frequent high risk HPV types found in cervical and anal infections. Reliable and well characterized methods for HPV 52 detection are therefore of great importance. Unfortunately one of the most widely used commercially available HPV typing assays, the Roche Linear Array (LA), detects type 52 only through its XR probe which cross-reacts with types 33, 35 and 58 and fails to give unambiguous detection of HPV 52.
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