A new class of bispecific antibodies to redirect T cells for cancer immunotherapy

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2014 Special Focus on Rho GTPases
Automated analysis of clonal cancer cells by intravital imaging
A simplified and efficient germline-specific CRISPR/Cas9 system for <em>Drosophila</em> genomic engineering
DNA Topoisomerases: Beyond the standard role
Blood-brain barrier regulation: Environmental cues controlling the onset of barrier properties
Imaging of transplanted islets by positron emission tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasonography
The world of “GM-free”

A new class of bispecific antibodies to redirect T cells for cancer immunotherapy

Diane L Rossi, Edmund A Rossi, Thomas M Cardillo, David M Goldenberg and Chien-Hsing Chang


Various constructs of bispecific antibodies (bsAbs) to redirect effector T cells for the targeted killing of tumor cells have shown considerable promise in both preclinical and clinical studies. The single-chain variable fragment (scFv)-based formats, including bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) and dual-affinity re-targeting (DART), which provide monovalent binding to both CD3 on T cells and to the target antigen on tumor cells, can exhibit rapid blood clearance and neurological toxicity due to their small size (~55 kDa). Herein, we describe the generation, by the modular DOCK-AND-LOCKTM (DNLTM) method, of novel T-cell redirecting bispecific antibodies, each comprising a monovalent anti-CD3 scFv covalently conjugated to a stabilized dimer of different anti-tumor Fabs. The potential advantages of this design include bivalent binding to tumor cells, a larger size (~130 kDa) to preclude renal clearance and penetration of the blood-brain barrier, and potent T-cell mediated cytotoxicity. These prototypes were purified to near homogeneity, and representative constructs were shown to provoke the formation of immunological synapses between T cells and their target tumor cells in vitro, resulting in T-cell activation and proliferation, as well as potent T-cell mediated anti-tumor activity. In addition, in vivo studies in NOD/SCID mice bearing Raji Burkitt lymphoma or Capan-1 pancreatic carcinoma indicated statistically significant inhibition of tumor growth compared with untreated controls.



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2014 Special Focus on Rho GTPases




Guest Editors: Jean Claude Hervé and Nicolas Bourmeyster

Topics Include:

  • Factors influencing the activities of the Rho family of GTPases
  • Major effector proteins for Rho GTPases
  • Cellular signaling networks and Rho GTPases: Major crossroads
  • Tissue signaling networks involving Rho GTPases
  • Rho GTPase signaling in the development and progression of disease
  • Rho GTPase as pathogen targets; therapeutic perspectives

 Automated analysis of clonal cancer cells by intravital imaging

Sarah Earley Coffey, Randy J Giedt and Ralph Weissleder


Longitudinal analyses of single cell lineages over prolonged periods have been challenging particularly in processes characterized by high cell turn-over such as inflammation, proliferation, or cancer. RGB marking has emerged as an elegant approach for enabling such investigations. However, methods for automated image analysis continue to be lacking. Here, to address this, we created a number of different multicolored poly- and monoclonal cancer cell lines for in vitro and in vivo use. To classify these cells in large scale data sets, we subsequently developed and tested an automated algorithm based on hue selection. Our results showed that this method allows accurate analyses at a fraction of the computational time required by more complex color classification methods. Moreover, the methodology should be broadly applicable to both in vitro and in vivo analyses.

 A simplified and efficient germline-specific CRISPR/Cas9 system for Drosophila genomic engineering

Zachary L Sebo, Han B Lee, Ying Peng and Yi Guo


The type II CRISPR/Cas9 system (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated) has recently emerged as an efficient and simple tool for site-specific engineering of eukaryotic genomes. To improve its applications in Drosophila genome engineering, we simplified the standard two-component CRISPR/Cas9 system by generating a stable transgenic fly line expressing the Cas9 endonuclease in the germline (Vasa-Cas9 line). By injecting vectors expressing engineered target-specific guide RNAs into Vasa-Cas9 fly embryos, mutations were generated from site-specific DNA cleavages and efficiently transmitted into progenies. Because Cas9 endonuclease is the universal component of the type II CRISPR/Cas9 system, site-specific genomic engineering based on this improved platform can be achieved with lower complexity and toxicity, greater consistency, and excellent versatility.

DNA Topoisomerases: Beyond the standard role

Laura Baranello, Fedor Kouzine and David Levens


Chromatin is dynamically changing its structure to accommodate and control DNA-dependent processes inside of eukaryotic cells. These changes are necessarily linked to changes of DNA topology, which might itself serve as a regulatory signal to be detected by proteins. Thus, DNA Topoisomerases may contribute to the regulation of many events occurring during the transcription cycle. In this review we will focus on DNA Topoisomerase functions in transcription, with particular emphasis on the multiplicity of tasks beyond their widely appreciated role in solving topological problems associated with transcription elongation.

Blood-brain barrier regulation: Environmental cues controlling the onset of barrier properties

Mark Ronald Mizee and Helga Eveline de Vries


The existence of a barrier between the central nervous system (CNS) and the systemic circulation has been described over one hundred years ago. Since the discovery that this barrier was instigated by the barrier properties of the brain endothelial cells, research has focused on the identification of pathways how the brain endothelial cells are instructed to form the highly specialized blood-brain barrier (BBB). Even though our current understanding of BBB development is far from complete, recent literature shows a rise in knowledge of CNS-specific cues that can drive BBB development.

In this commentary, we will provide a brief overview of brain selective factors that are critical in the development of barrier properties in the brain endothelium; in particular the role of retinoic acid will be discussed.

 Imaging of transplanted islets by positron emission tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasonography

Naoaki Sakata, Gumpei Yoshimatsu, Haruyuki Tsuchiya, Takeshi Aoki, Masamichi Mizuma, Fuyuhiko Motoi, Yu Katayose, Tetsuya Kodama, Shinichi Egawa and Michiaki Unno


While islet transplantation is considered a useful therapeutic option for severe diabetes mellitus (DM), the outcome of this treatment remains unsatisfactory. This is largely due to the damage and loss of islets in the early transplant stage. Thus, it is important to monitor the condition of the transplanted islets, so that a treatment can be selected to rescue the islets from damage if needed. Recently, numerous trials have been performed to investigate the efficacy of different imaging modalities for visualizing transplanted islets. Positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the most commonly used imaging modalities for this purpose. Some groups, including ours, have also tried to visualize transplanted islets by ultrasonography (US). In this review article, we discuss the recent progress in islet imaging.

The world of “GM-free”

Vivian Moses and Graham Brookes


The rapid global development of agricultural production systems using seeds derived from genetic modification (GM) has been paralleled by the growth of attempts to keep at least a part of the world’s agriculture and food as free from GM-crops and their products as possible. The ideal for some proponents of such “GM-free” activity would be a total absence, usually styled “zero content”; others, perhaps more realistically, opt for a definition usually not precisely defined that allows for minimal trace levels of GM material. The reasons for wanting “GM-free” agriculture and its products are varied; they include philosophical and religious beliefs, concern for human (and animal) health—and for “the environment”—as well as commercial and political interests. With such a variety of motivations, and in the absence of legal rulings, the definitions of “GM-free” vary according to inclination and circumstances. Whatever the precise meaning, the maintenance of a “GM-free” product stream in a world where GM crop production is widespread requires the establishment of identity preservation and segregation systems in which traceability and testing are cornerstones. Inevitably these have cost implications for the supply chain and/or the ultimate consumer. In a number of countries different forms of “GM-free” labels exist for some products; the style of such labels is variable with schemes and labels typically voluntary or privately organized. In more recent years, some governments have begun to regularize the definition and meaning of “GM-free.” We conclude our analysis by exploring consumer reactions both to “GM-free” and to “GM-free” labels, and ask who ultimately benefits from preserving a product stream substantially or entirely devoid of GM-content.