Abstract: The exploitation of autophagy by some cancer entities to support survival and dodge death has been well-described. Though its role as a constitutive process is important in normal, healthy cells, in the milieu of malignantly transformed and highly proliferative cells, autophagy is critical for escaping metabolic and genetic stressors. In recent years, the importance of histone deacetylases (HDACs) in cancer biology has been heavily investigated, and the enzyme family has been shown to play a role in autophagy, too. HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) are being integrated into cancer therapy and clinical trials are ongoing. The effect of HDACi on autophagy and, conversely, the effect of autophagy on HDACi efficacy are currently under investigation. With the development of HDACi that are able to selectively target individual HDAC isozymes, there is great potential for specific therapy that has more well-defined effects on cancer biology and also minimizes toxicity. Here, the role of autophagy in the context of cancer and the interplay of this process with HDACs will be summarized. Identification of key HDAC isozymes involved in autophagy and the ability to target specific isozymes yields the potential to cripple and ultimately eliminate malignant cells depending on autophagy as a survival mechanism.
Abstract: The kidney plays an essential role during excretion of metabolic waste products, maintenance of key homeostasis components such as ion concentrations and hormone levels. It influences the blood pressure, composition and volume. The kidney tubule system is composed of two distinct cell populations: the nephrons forming the filtering units and the collecting duct system derived from the ureteric bud. Nephrons are composed of glomeruli that filter the blood to the Bowman’s capsule and tubular structures that reabsorb and concentrate primary urine. The collecting duct is a Wolffian duct-derived epithelial tube that concentrates and collects urine and transfers it via the renal pelvis into the bladder. The mammalian kidney function depends on the coordinated development of specific cell types within a precise architectural framework. Due to the availability of modern analysis techniques, the kidney has become a model organ defining the paradigm to study organogenesis. As kidney diseases are a problem worldwide, the understanding of mammalian kidney cells is of crucial importance to develop diagnostic tools and novel therapies. This review focuses on how the pattern of renal development is generated, how the inductive signals are regulated and what are their effects on proliferation, differentiation and morphogenesis.
Abstract: Accurate assessment of positive ELISPOT responses for low frequencies of antigen-specific T-cells is controversial. In particular, it is still unknown whether ELISPOT counts within replicate wells follow a theoretical distribution function, and thus whether high power parametric statistics can be used to discriminate between positive and negative wells. We studied experimental distributions of spot counts for up to 120 replicate wells of IFN-γ production by CD8+ T-cell responding to EBV LMP2A (426 – 434) peptide in human PBMC. The cells were tested in serial dilutions covering a wide range of average spot counts per condition, from just a few to hundreds of spots per well. Statistical analysis of the data using diagnostic Q-Q plots and the Shapiro-Wilk normality test showed that in the entire dynamic range of ELISPOT spot counts within replicate wells followed a normal distribution. This result implies that the Student t-Test and ANOVA are suited to identify positive responses. We also show experimentally that borderline responses can be reliably detected by involving more replicate wells, plating higher numbers of PBMC, addition of IL-7, or a combination of these. Furthermore, we have experimentally verified that the number of replicates needed for detection of weak responses can be calculated using parametric statistics.
Abstract: ELISPOT, ELISA and flow cytometry techniques are often used to study the function of immune system cells. It is tempting to speculate that these assays can be used interchangeably, providing similar information about the cytokine secreting activity of cells: the higher the number of cytokine-positive cells measured by flow cytometry, the higher the number of cytokine-secreting cells expected to be detected by ELISPOT and the larger the amount of secreted cytokine expected to be measured by ELISA. We have analyzed the expression level and secretion capacity of IFNγ from peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from five healthy donors and stimulated by calcium ionomycin mixed with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate in a non-specific manner in side-by-side testing using ELISPOT, ELISA and flow cytometry assays. In our study, we observed a general correlation in donors’ ranking between ELISPOT and flow cytometry; ELISA values did not correlate with either ELISPOT or flow cytometry. However, a detailed donor-to-donor comparison between ELISPOT and flow cytometry revealed significant discrepancies: donors who have similar numbers of IFNγ-positive cells measured by flow cytometry show 2–3-fold differences in the number of spot-forming cells (SFCs) measured by ELISPOT; and donors who have the same number of SFCs measured by ELISPOT show 30% differences in the number of IFNγ-positive cells measured by flow cytometry. Significant discrepancies between donors were also found when comparing ELISA and ELISPOT techniques: donors who secreted the same amount of IFNγ measured by ELISA show six-fold differences in the number of SFCs measured by ELISPOT; and donors who have 5–7-times less secreted IFNγ measured by ELISA show a two-fold increase in the number of SFCs measured by ELISPOT compared to donors who show a more profound secretion of IFNγ measured by ELISA. The results of our study suggest that there can be a lack of correlation between IFNγ values measured by ELISPOT, ELISA and flow cytometry. The higher number of cytokine-positive cells determined by flow cytometry is not necessarily indicative of a higher number of cytokine-secreting cells when they are analyzed by either ELISPOT or ELISA. Our ELISPOT vs. ELISA comparison demonstrates that the higher number of SFCs observed in ELISPOT does not guarantee that these cells secrete larger amounts of cytokines compared to donors with lower SFC numbers. In addition, our data indicate that ELISPOT, ELISA and flow cytometry should be performed as complementary, rather than stand-alone assays: running these assays in parallel on samples from the same donors may help to better understand the mechanisms underlying the physiology of cytokine-secreting cells.
Abstract: Comprehensive immune monitoring requires that frequencies of T cells, producing different cytokines, are measured to establish the magnitude of Th1, Th2, and Th17 components of cell-mediated immunity. Antigen titration provides additional information about the affinity of T cell response. In tumor immunity, it is also advisable to account for determinant spreading by testing multiple epitopes. Efforts for comprehensive immune monitoring would require substantial numbers of PBMC to run the above tests systematically, which in most test cases is limiting. Immune monitoring with ELISPOT assays have been performed, thus far, in a 96-well format. In this study we show that one can increase cell utilization by performing the assay in 384-well plates whose membrane surface area is one third that of 96-well plates. Systematic testing of PBMC for antigen-specific T cell response in the two formats demonstrated that the 384-well assay corresponds to a one-in-three miniaturization of the 96-well assay. The lowest number of cells that can be used in the 384-well format, while allowing for sufficient contact with APC, is 33,000 PBMC/well. Therefore, with one million PBMC typically obtained from 1 mL of blood, a 30 well T cell ELISPOT assay can be performed in a 384-well format.