A pinboard by
Akshat Sharma

Graduate Student, University of Wisconsin-Madison


iNKT cells are effective against EBV-driven lymphomas in humanised mice.

NSG "humanised' mice are a powerful tool to model human-specific diseases and cancers, such as EBV-driven lymphoma. The interactions between the immune system and transformed cells remain poorly understood, and the humanised mouse system is a means to understand those kinetics, and also employ innate-like T-cells e.g. iNKT cells as immunotherapeutic agents. Our preliminary data have shown that iNKT cells are effective in tumour immunosurveillance at late time-points in the model and further work shall focus on delineating the mechanism by which iNKTs exert this potent anti-tumour effect.


Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α plays roles in Epstein-Barr virus's natural life cycle and tumorigenesis by inducing lytic infection through direct binding to the immediate-early BZLF1 gene promoter.

Abstract: When confronted with poor oxygenation, cells adapt by activating survival signaling pathways, including the oxygen-sensitive transcriptional regulators called hypoxia-inducible factor alphas (HIF-αs). We report here that HIF-1α also regulates the life cycle of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Incubation of EBV-positive gastric carcinoma AGS-Akata and SNU-719 and Burkitt lymphoma Sal and KemIII cell lines with a prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor, L-mimosine or deferoxamine, or the NEDDylation inhibitor MLN4924 promoted rapid and sustained accumulation of both HIF-1α and lytic EBV antigens. ShRNA knockdown of HIF-1α significantly reduced deferoxamine-mediated lytic reactivation. HIF-1α directly bound the promoter of the EBV primary latent-lytic switch BZLF1 gene, Zp, activating transcription via a consensus hypoxia-response element (HRE) located at nt -83 through -76 relative to the transcription initiation site. HIF-1α did not activate transcription from the other EBV immediate-early gene, BRLF1. Importantly, expression of HIF-1α induced EBV lytic-gene expression in cells harboring wild-type EBV, but not in cells infected with variants containing base-pair substitution mutations within this HRE. Human oral keratinocyte (NOK) and gingival epithelial (hGET) cells induced to differentiate by incubation with either methyl cellulose or growth in organotypic culture accumulated both HIF-1α and Blimp-1α, another cellular factor implicated in lytic reactivation. HIF-1α activity also accumulated along with Blimp-1α during B-cell differentiation into plasma cells. Furthermore, most BZLF1-expressing cells observed in lymphomas induced by EBV in NSG mice with a humanized immune system were located distal to blood vessels in hypoxic regions of the tumors. Thus, we conclude that HIF-1α plays central roles in both EBV's natural life cycle and EBV-associated tumorigenesis. We propose that drugs that induce HIF-1α protein accumulation are good candidates for development of a lytic-induction therapy for treating some EBV-associated malignancies.

Pub.: 16 Jun '17, Pinned: 20 Jun '17