Invited Talk: Osteoarthritis: diagnosis, treatment and challenges @ Acharya Hall
Aug 12 @ 11:42 am – 12:07 pm

hideakiHideaki Nagase, Ph.D.
Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology-Centre for Degenerative Diseases, University of Oxford, UK

Osteoarthritis: diagnosis, treatment and challenges

Hideaki Nagase1, Ngee Han Lim1, George Bou-Gharios1, Ernst Meinjohanns2  and Morten Meldal3

  1. Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, London, W6 8LH  UK
  2. Carlsberg Laboratory, Copenhagen, Denmark,
  3. Nano-Science Center, Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent age-related degenerative joint disease. With the expanding ageing population, it imposes a major socio-economic burden on society.  A key feature of OA is a gradual loss of articular cartilage and deformation of bone, resulting in the impairment of joint function. Currently, there is no effective disease-modifying treatment except joint replacement surgery. There are many possible causes of cartilage loss (e.g. mechanical load, injury, reactive oxygen species, aging, etc.) and etiological factors (obesity, genetics), but the degradation of cartilage is primarily caused by elevated levels of active metalloproteinases.  It is therefore attractive to consider proteinase inhibitors as potential therapeutics. However, there are several hurdles to overcome, namely early diagnosis and continuous monitoring of the efficacy of inhibitor therapeutics. We are therefore aiming at developing non-invasive probes to detect cartilage degrading metalloproteinase activities.

We have designed in vivo imaging probes to detect MMP-13 (collagenase 3) activity that participates in OA by degrade cartilage collagen II and MMP-12 (macrophage elastase) activity involved in inflammatory arthritis. These activity-based probes consist of a peptide that is selectively cleaved by the target proteinase, a near-infrared fluorophore and a quencher. The probe’s signal multiplies upon proteolysis.  They were first used to follow the respective enzyme activity in vivo in the mouse model of collagen-induced arthritis and we found MMP-12 activity probe (MMP12AP) activation peaked at 5 days after onset of the disease, whereas MMP13AP activation was observed at 10-15 days. The in vivo activation of these probes was inhibited by specific low molecule inhibitors.  We proceeded to test both probes in the mouse model of OA induced by the surgical destabilization of medial meniscus of the knee joints.  In this model, degradation of knee cartilage is first detected histologically 6 weeks after surgery with significant erosion detectable at 8 weeks. Little activation of MMP12AP was detected, which was expected, as macrophage migration is not obvious in OA. MMP13AP, on the other hand, was significantly activated in the operated knee at 6 weeks compared with the non-operated contralateral knee, but there were no significant differences between the operated and sham-operated knees.  At 8 weeks, however, the signals in the operated knees were significantly higher than both the contralateral and sham-operated controls. Activation of aggrecanases and MMP-13 are observed before structural changes of cartilage. We are therefore currently improving the MMP-13 probe for earlier detection by attaching it to polymers that are retained in  cartilage.


Invited Talk: Regulation of the MHC complex and HLA solubilisation by the Flavivirus, Japanese Encephalitis Virus @ Acharya Hall
Aug 13 @ 12:13 pm – 12:40 pm

ManjunathR. Manjunath, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dept of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India


Viral encephalitis caused by Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease that is prevalent in different parts of India and other parts of South East Asia. JEV is a positive single stranded RNA virus that belongs to the Flavivirus genus of the family Flaviviridae. The genome of JEV is about 11 kb long and codes for a polyprotein which is cleaved by both host and viral encoded proteases to form 3 structural and 7 non-structural proteins. It is a neurotropic virus which infects the central nervous system (CNS) and causes death predominantly in newborn children and young adults. JEV follows a zoonotic life-cycle involving mosquitoes and vertebrate, chiefly pigs and ardeid birds, as amplifying hosts. Humans are infected when bitten by an infected mosquito and are dead end hosts. Its structural, pathological, immunological and epidemiological aspects have been well studied. After entry into the host following a mosquito bite, JEV infection leads to acute peripheral neutrophil leucocytosis in the brain and leads to elevated levels of type I interferon, macrophage-derived chemotactic factor, RANTES,TNF-α and IL-8 in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid.

Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules play a very important role in adaptive immune responses. Along with various classical MHC class I molecules, other non-classical MHC class I molecules play an important role in modulating innate immune responses. Our lab has shown the activation of cytotoxic T-cells (CTLs) during JEV infection and CTLs recognize non-self peptides presented on MHC molecules and provide protection by eliminating infected cells. However, along with proinflammatory cytokines such as TNFα, they may also cause immunopathology within the JEV infected brain. Both JEV and WNV, another related flavivirus have been shown to increase MHC class I expression. Infection of human foreskin fibroblast cells (HFF) by WNV results in upregulation of HLA expression. Data from our lab has also shown that JEV infection upregulates classical as well as nonclassical (class Ib) MHC antigen expression on the surface of primary mouse brain astrocytes and mouse embryonic fibroblasts.

There are no reports that have discussed the expression of these molecules on other cells like endothelial and astrocyte that play an important role in viral invasion in humans. We have studied the expression of human classical class I molecules HLA-A, -B, -C and the non-classical HLA molecules, HLA-E as well as HLA-F in immortalized human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC), human endothelial cell line (ECV304), human glioblastoma cell line (U87MG) and human foreskin fibroblast cells (HFF). Nonclassical MHC molecules such as mouse Qa-1b and its human homologue, HLA-E have been shown to be the ligand for the inhibitory NK receptor, NKG2A/CD94 and may bridge innate and adaptive immune responses. We show that JEV infection of HBMEC and ECV 304 cells upregulates the expression of HLA-A, and –B antigens as well as HLA-E and HLA-F. Increased expression of total HLA-E upon JEV infection was also observed in other human cell lines as well like, human amniotic epithelial cells, AV-3, FL and WISH cells. Further, we show for the first time that soluble HLA-E (sHLA-E) was released from infected ECV and HBMECs. In contrast, HFF cells showed only upregulation of cell-surface HLA-E expression while U87MG, a human glioblastoma cell line neither showed any cell-surface induction nor its solubilization. This shedding of sHLA-E was found to be dependent on matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and an important MMP, MMP-9 was upregulated during JEV infection. Treatment with IFNγ resulted in the shedding of sHLA-E from ECV as well as U87MG but not from HFF cells. Also, sHLA-E was shed upon treatment with IFNβ and both IFNβ and TNFα, when present together caused an additive increase in the shedding of sHLA-E. HLA-E is an inhibitory ligand for CD94/NKG2A receptor of Natural Killer cells. Thus, MMP mediated solubilization of HLA-E from infected endothelial cells may have important implications in JEV pathogenesis including its ability to compromise the blood brain barrier.

Manjunath (2)

Invited Talk: The system of PAS proteins (HIF and AhR) as an interface between environment and skin homeostasis @ Acharya Hall
Aug 13 @ 2:33 pm – 2:50 pm

andreyAndrey Panteleyev, Ph.D.
Vice Chair, Division of Molecular Biology, NBICS Centre-Kurchatov Institute, Moscow, Russia

The system of PAS proteins (HIF and AhR) as an interface between environment and skin homeostasis

Regulation of normal skin functions as well as etiology of many skin diseases are both tightly linked to the environmental impact. Nevertheless, molecular aspects of skin-environment communication and mechanisms coordinating skin response to a plurality of environmental stressors remain poorly understood.

Our studies along with the work of other groups have identified the family of PAS dimeric transcription factors as an essential sensory and regulatory component of communication between skin and the environment. This protein family comprises a number of hypoxia-induced factors (HIF-alpha proteins), aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), AhR nuclear translocator (ARNT), and several proteins implicated in control of rhythmic processes (Clock, Period, and Bmal proteins). Together, various PAS proteins (and first of all ARNT – as the central dimerization partner in the family) control such pivotal aspects of cell physiology as drug/xenobiotic metabolism, hypoxic and UV light response, ROS activity, pathogen defense, overall energy balance and breathing pathways.

In his presentation Dr. Panteleyev will focus on the role of ARNT activity and local hypoxia in control of keratinocyte differentiation and cornification. His recent work revealed that ARNT negatively regulates expression of late differentiation genes through modulation of amphiregulin expression and downstream alterations in activity of EGFR pathway. All these effects are highly dependent on epigenetic mechanisms such as histone deacetylation. Characterisation of hypoxia as a key microenvironmental factor in the skin and the role of HIF pathway in control of dermal vasculature and epidermal functions is another major focus of Dr. Panteleyev’s presentation.

In general, the studies of Dr. Panteleyev’s laboratory provide an insight into the PAS-dependent maintenance of skin homeostasis and point to the potential role of these proteins in pathogenesis of environmentally-modulated skin diseases such as barrier defects, desquamation abnormalities, psoriasis, etc.


Invited Talk: A draft map of the human proteome @ Amriteshwari Hall
Aug 14 @ 10:42 am – 11:30 am

akhileshAkhilesh Pandey, Ph.D.
Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA

A draft map of the human proteome

We have generated a draft map of the human proteome through a systematic and comprehensive analysis of normal human adult tissues, fetal tissues and hematopoietic cells as an India-US initiative. This unique dataset was generated from 30 histologically normal adult tissues, fetal tissues and purified primary hematopoietic cells that were analyzed at high resolution in the MS mode and by HCD fragmentation in the MS/MS mode on LTQ-Orbitrap Velos/Elite mass spectrometers. This dataset was searched against a 6-frame translation of the human genome and RNA-Seq transcripts in addition to standard protein databases. In addition to confirming a large majority (>16,000) of the annotated protein-coding genes in humans, we obtained novel information at multiple levels: novel protein-coding genes, unannotated exons, novel splice sites, proof of translation of pseudogenes (i.e. genes incorrectly annotated as pseudogenes), fused genes, SNPs encoded in proteins and novel N-termini to name a few. Many proteins identified in this study were identified by proteomic methods for the first time (e.g. hypothetical proteins or proteins annotated based solely on their chromosomal location). We have generated a catalog of proteins that show a more tissue-restricted pattern of expression, which should serve as the basis for pursuing biomarkers for diseases pertaining to specific organs. This study also provides one of the largest sets of proteotypic peptides for use in developing MRM assays for human proteins. Identification of several novel protein-coding regions in the human genome underscores the importance of systematic characterization of the human proteome and accurate annotation of protein-coding genes. This comprehensive dataset will complement other global HUPO initiatives using antibody-based as well as MRM mass spectrometry-based strategies. Finally, we believe that this dataset will become a reference set for use as a spectral library as well as for interesting interrogations pertaining to biomedical as well as bioinformatics questions.

Akhilesh (2)