Penn Dental Medicine
Established in 1878, Penn Dental Medicine is among the oldest university-affiliated dental schools in the nation. The school's mission is to transform global oral health and well-being through exceptional clinical care, innovation, education, and research.
PublicationEvaluation of the Humoral Immune Response to the Cytolethal Distending Toxin of Aggregatibacter Actinomycetemcomitans Y4 in Subjects with Localized Aggressive Periodontitis(2009-04-01) Xynogala, I.; Volgina, A.; DiRienzo, J. M.Introduction Cytolethal distending toxin (Cdt) is potentially one of several virulence factors of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, the prime etiological agent of localized aggressive periodontitis (LAP). Little is known regarding the Cdt-specific antibody response in humans. The current study is a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the toxin-specific antibody response in a cohort of LAP patients and age-, race- and sex-matched controls. Methods Ninety-five subjects provided a total of 692 serum samples. Sera were analysed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays to determine the titers of antibody against the intact Cdt holotoxin as well as the individual subunit proteins (CdtA, CdtB, and CdtC). Neutralization of growth inhibition mediated by Cdt was evaluated in a modified colony-forming assay using Chinese hamster ovary cells. Results Fourteen of the 95 subjects exhibited significant serum Cdt-binding activity. There were no differences in the percentages of seropositive individuals or in the mean antibody titers between the control and LAP groups. Binding activity was detected against each of the three Cdt subunit proteins in all of the positive samples. Neutralization of Cdt-mediated growth inhibition was detected in samples from all of the seropositive subjects (range 20–75%). Conclusions Cdt, a recently identified A. actinomycetemcomitans virulence factor, is capable of inducing a neutralizing antibody response indicating that the toxin is produced during natural infection of humans. The failure of a vast majority (20 of 23) of the LAP subjects to mount a significant anti-Cdt response may in part explain their relative susceptibility to the disease. PublicationDistinct Roles of Receptor Phosphorylation, G Protein Usage, and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Activation on Platelet Activating Factor-Induced Leukotriene C4 Generation and Chemokine Production(2002-06-21) Ahamed, Jasimuddin; Ali, HydarPlatelet activating factor (PAF) interacts with cell surface G protein-coupled receptors on leukocytes to induce degranulation, leukotriene C4 (LTC4) generation, and chemokine CCL2 production. Using a basophilic leukemia RBL-2H3 cell line expressing wild-type PAF receptor (PAFR) and a phosphorylation-deficient mutant (mPAFR), we have previously demonstrated that receptor phosphorylation mediates desensitization of PAF-induced degranulation. Here, we sought to determine the role of receptor phosphorylation on PAF-induced LTC4 generation and CCL2 production. We found that PAF caused a significantly enhanced LTC4 generation in cells expressing mPAFR when compared with PAFR cells. In contrast, PAF-induced CCL2 production was greatly reduced in mPAFR cells. Pertussis toxin and U0126, which inhibit Gi and p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK) activation, respectively, caused very little inhibition of PAF-induced CCL2 production (∼20% inhibition). In contrast, these inhibitors almost completely blocked both PAF-induced ERK phosphorylation and LTC4 generation in PAFR cells. However, in mPAFR cells pertussis toxin only partially inhibited PAF-induced ERK phosphorylation. A Ca2+/calmodulin inhibitor had no effect on PAF-induced ERK phosphorylation in PAFR cells but completely blocked the response in mPAFR cells. These data demonstrate that receptor phosphorylation, which serves to desensitize PAF-induced LTC4 generation, is required for chemokine CCL2 production. They also indicate a previously unrecognized selectivity in G protein usage and ERK activation for PAF-induced responses. Whereas PAF-induced CCL2 production is, in large part, mediated independently of Gi activation or ERK phosphorylation, LTC4 generation requires ERK phosphorylation, which is mediated by different G proteins depending on the phosphorylation status of the receptor. PublicationMolecular Strategies for Gene Containment in Transgenic Crops(2002-10-15) Daniell, HenryThe potential of genetically modified (GM) crops to transfer foreign genes through pollen to related plant species has been cited as an environmental concern. Until more is known concerning the environmental impact of novel genes on indigenous crops and weeds, practical and regulatory considerations will likely require the adoption of gene-containment approaches for future generations of GM crops. Most molecular approaches with potential for controlling gene flow among crops and weeds have thus far focused on maternal inheritance, male sterility, and seed sterility. Several other containment strategies may also prove useful in restricting gene flow, including apomixis (vegetative propagation and asexual seed formation), cleistogamy (self-fertilization without opening of the flower), genome incompatibility, chemical induction/deletion of transgenes, fruit-specific excision of transgenes, and transgenic mitigation (transgenes that compromise fitness in the hybrid). As yet, however, no strategy has proved broadly applicable to all crop species, and a combination of approaches may prove most effective for engineering the next generation of GM crops. PublicationActinobacillus Actinomycetemcomitans Leukotoxin Requires Lipid Microdomains for Target Cell Cytotoxicity(2006-11-01) Fong, Karen P.; Pacheco, Cinthia M.F.; Otis, Linda T.; Baranwal, Samesh; Keiba, Irene R.; Harrison, Gerald; Hersh, Elliot V.; Boesze-Battaglia, Kathleen; Lally, Edward T.Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans produces a leukotoxin (Ltx) that kills leukocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1)-bearing cells from man, the Great Apes and Old World monkeys. The unique specificity of Ltx for the β2 integrin, LFA-1, suggests it is capable of providing insight into the pathogenic mechanisms of Ltx and other RTX toxins. Using the Jurkat T cell line and an LFA-1-deficient Jurkat mutant (Jβ2.7) as models, we found the initial effect of Ltx is to elevate cytosolic Ca2+ [Ca2+]c, an event that is independent of the Ltx/LFA-1 interaction. [Ca2+]c increases initiate a series of events that involve the activation of calpain, talin cleavage, mobilization to, and subsequent clustering of, LFA-1 in cholesterol and sphingolipid-rich regions of the plasma membrane known as lipid rafts. The association of Ltx and LFA-1 within lipid rafts is essential for cell lysis. Jβ2.7 cells fail to accumulate Ltx in their raft fractions and are not killed, while cholesterol depletion experiments demonstrate the necessity of raft integrity for Ltx function. We propose that toxin-induced Ca2+ fluxes mobilize LFA-1 to lipid rafts where it associates with Ltx. These findings suggest that Ltx utilizes the raft to stimulate an integrin signalling pathway that leads to apoptosis of target cells. PublicationPeriodontal Ligament Stem Cell-Mediated Treatment for Periodontitis in Miniature Swine(2008-04-01) Liu, Yi; Zheng, Ying; Ding, Gang; Fang, Dianji; Zhang, Chunmei; Bartold, Peter Mark; Gronthos, Stan; Shi, Songtao; Wang, SonglinPeriodontitis is a periodontal tissue infectious disease and the most common cause for tooth loss in adults. It has been linked to many systemic disorders, such as coronary artery disease, stroke, and diabetes. At present, there is no ideal therapeutic approach to cure periodontitis and achieve optimal periodontal tissue regeneration. In this study, we explored the potential of using autologous periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs) to treat periodontal defects in a porcine model of periodontitis. The periodontal lesion was generated in the first molars area of miniature pigs by the surgical removal of bone and subsequent silk ligament suture around the cervical portion of the tooth. Autologous PDLSCs were obtained from extracted teeth of the miniature pigs and then expanded ex vivo to enrich PDLSC numbers. When transplanted into the surgically created periodontal defect areas, PDLSCs were capable of regenerating periodontal tissues, leading to a favorable treatment for periodontitis. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using stem cell-mediated tissue engineering to treat periodontal diseases. PublicationEvaluation of the Humoral Immune Response to the Cytolethal Distending Toxin of Aggregatibacter Actinomycetemcomitans Y4 in Subjects With Localized Aggressive Periodontitis(2009-04-01) Xynogala, I.; Volgina, A.; DiRienzo, J. M.; Korostoff, J.Introduction Cytolethal distending toxin (Cdt) is potentially one of several virulence factors of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, the prime etiological agent of localized aggressive periodontitis (LAP). Little is known regarding the Cdt-specific antibody response in humans. The current study is a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the toxin-specific antibody response in a cohort of LAP patients and age-, race- and sex-matched controls. Methods Ninety-five subjects provided a total of 692 serum samples. Sera were analysed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays to determine the titers of antibody against the intact Cdt holotoxin as well as the individual subunit proteins (CdtA, CdtB, and CdtC). Neutralization of growth inhibition mediated by Cdt was evaluated in a modified colony-forming assay using Chinese hamster ovary cells. Results Fourteen of the 95 subjects exhibited significant serum Cdt-binding activity. There were no differences in the percentages of seropositive individuals or in the mean antibody titers between the control and LAP groups. Binding activity was detected against each of the three Cdt subunit proteins in all of the positive samples. Neutralization of Cdt-mediated growth inhibition was detected in samples from all of the seropositive subjects (range 20–75%). Conclusions Cdt, a recently identified A. actinomycetemcomitans virulence factor, is capable of inducing a neutralizing antibody response indicating that the toxin is produced during natural infection of humans. The failure of a vast majority (20 of 23) of the LAP subjects to mount a significant anti-Cdt response may in part explain their relative susceptibility to the disease. PublicationA Novel 3-Dimensional Culture System as an In Vitro Model for Studying Oral Cancer Cell Invasion(2005-12-01) Duong, Hai S; Le, Anh D; Zhang, Qunzhou; Messadi, Diana VTissue microenvironment plays a critical role in tumour growth and invasion. This study established a novel 3-dimensional (3-D) cell invasion model for direct microscopic observation of oral cancer cell invasion into the underlying basement membrane and connective tissue stroma. A multilayer cell construct was developed using the OptiCell chamber, consisting of a lower layer of oral mucosa fibroblasts embedded in collagen gel and an overlaying upper layer of oral cancer cells. The two layers are separated by a basement membrane composed of reconstituted extracellular matrix. To verify the applicability of the cell invasion model, multilayer cell constructs of oral squamous cell carcinoma and oral mucosal fibroblasts were exposed to extrinsic urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) or plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1), which are known effectors of cell migration. In addition, the constructs were exposed to both normoxic and hypoxic culture conditions. Microscopic study showed that the presence of uPA enhanced cell invasion, while PAI-1 inhibited cell migration. Western blot and zymographic analysis demonstrated that hypoxia up-regulated uPA and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) expression and activity; conversely, PAI-1 level was down-regulated in response to hypoxic challenge as compared to normoxic condition. Our results indicated that the novel 3-D invasion model could serve as an excellent in vitro model to study cancer cell invasion and to test conditions or mediators of cellular migration. © 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. PublicationDetection of Cytolethal Distending Toxin Activity and cdt Genes in Actinobacillus Actinomycetemcomitans Isolates From Geographically Diverse Populations(2002-08-01) Fabris, A. S.; DiRienzo, J. M.; Wïkstrom, M.; Mayer, M.P. A.A cytolethal distending toxin (CDT) found in Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans inhibits the eukaryotic cell cycle, which may contribute to the pathogenic potential of the bacterium. The presence of the cdtABC genes and CDT activity were examined in 40 clinical isolates of A. actinomycetemcomitans from Brazil, Kenya, Japan and Sweden. Thirty-nine of 40 cell lysates caused distension of Chinese hamster ovary cells. At least one of the cdt genes was detected in all strains examined. The three cdt genes were detected, by PCR, in 34 DNA samples. DNA from one strain from Kenya did not yield amplicons of the cdtA and cdtB genes and did not express toxic activity. Restriction analysis was performed on every amplicon obtained. PCR-RFLP patterns revealed that the three cdt genes were conserved. These data provided evidence that the cdt genes are found and expressed in the majority of the A. actinomycetemcomitans isolates. Although a quantitative difference in cytotoxicity was observed, indicating variation in expression of CDT among strains, no clear relationship between CDT activity and periodontal status was found. PublicationEnhanced translation of a chloroplast-expressed RbcS gene restores small subunit levels and photosynthesis in nuclear RbcS antisense plants(2004-04-20) Dhingra, Amit; Portis, Archie R.; Daniell, HenryRibulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) is a key enzyme that converts atmospheric carbon to food and supports life on this planet. Its low catalytic activity and specificity for oxygen leads to photorespiration, severely limiting photosynthesis and crop productivity. Consequently, Rubisco is a primary target for genetic engineering. Separate localization of the genes in the nuclear and chloroplast genomes and a complex assembly process resulting in a very low catalytic activity of hybrid Rubisco enzymes have rendered several earlier attempts of Rubisco engineering unsuccessful. Here we demonstrate that the RbcS gene, when integrated at a transcriptionally active spacer region of the chloroplast genome, in a nuclear RbcS antisense line and expressed under the regulation of heterologous (gene 10) or native (psbA) UTRs, results in the assembly of a functional holoenzyme and normal plant growth under ambient CO2 conditions, fully shortcircuiting nuclear control of gene regulation. There was ≈150-fold more RbcS transcript in chloroplast transgenic lines when compared with the nuclear RbcS antisense line, whereas the wild type has 7-fold more transcript. The small subunit protein levels in the gene 10/RbcS and psbA/RbcS plants were 60% and 106%, respectively, of the wild type. Photosynthesis of gene 10/RbcS plants was approximately double that of the antisense plants, whereas that of psbA/RbcS plants was restored almost completely to the wild-type rates. These results have opened an avenue for using chloroplast engineering for the evaluation of foreign Rubisco genes in planta that eventually can result in achieving efficient photosynthesis and increased crop productivity. PublicationPorphyromonas gingivalis-Host Interactions: Open War or Intelligent Guerilla Tactics?(2009-01-01) Hajishengallis, GeorgeThis review summarizes and discusses virulence mechanisms whereby Porphyromonas gingivalis can persist in the oral cavity. It is proposed that that the virulence of P. gingivalis is dependent, at least in part, upon its ability to establish a complex host-pathogen molecular crosstalk which subverts innate immunity. The sophisticated stealth and sabotage tactics used by P. gingivalis may additionally benefit co-habiting organisms occupying the same niche