566 research outputs found

    The Effect of Honeybees on Native Bee Communities in Northeastern Illinois and Northwestern Indiana Tallgrass Prairie Restorations

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    The goal of this research is to determine if honeybees are competing with native bees in tallgrass prairie restorations in Illinois and Indiana. Honeybees are a non-native species and recently honey been hives have been introduced to restorations without a systematic measured approach and thorough research into their effects on native bee populations and ecosystems. To test for evidence of competition between honeybees and native bees, data was gathered that would help in determining: 1) if nectar resources are limiting; 2) native bees have decreased pollen loads; and 3) species composition and foraging heights of native bees differ in sites with an introduced honeybee hive vs. sites without honeybee hives. Only one field season’s worth of data has been collected, thus no conclusions can be drawn until the second field season is completed

    Analysis of Binding of KIR3DS1*014 to HLA Suggests Distinct Evolutionary History of KIR3DS1

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    NK cell activity is regulated by the integration of positive and negative signals. One important source of these signals for human NK cells is the killer Ig-like receptor (KIR) family, which includes both members that transduce positive and those that generate negative signals. KIR3DL1 inhibits NK cell activity upon engagement by its ligand HLA-Bw4. The highly homologous KIR3DS1 is an activating receptor, which is implicated in the outcome of a variety of pathological situations. However, unlike KIR3DL1, direct binding of KIR3DS1+ cells to HLA has not been demonstrated. We analyzed four key amino acid differences between KIR3DL1*01502 and KIR3DS1*013 to determine their role in KIR binding to HLA. Single substitutions of these residues dramatically reduced binding by KIR3DL1. In the reciprocal experiment, we found that the rare KIR3DS1 allotype KIR3DS1*014 binds HLA-Bw4 even though it differs from KIR3DS1*013 at only one of these positions (position 138). This reactivity was unexpectedly dependent on residues at other variable positions, as HLA-Bw4 binding was lost in receptors with KIR3DL1-like residues at both positions 199 and 138. These data provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, for the direct binding of KIR3DS1+ cells to HLA-Bw4 and highlight the key role for position 138 in determining ligand specificity of KIR3DS1. They also reveal that KIR3DS1 reactivity and specificity is dictated by complex interactions between the residues in this region, suggesting a unique functional evolution of KIR3DS1 within the activating KIR family

    HLA Class I and KIR Genes Do Not Protect Against HIV Type 1 Infection in Highly Exposed Uninfected Individuals With Hemophilia A

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    A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) involving patients with hemophilia A who were exposed to but uninfected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) did not reveal genetic variants associated with resistance to HIV-1 infection, beyond homozygosity for CCR5-Δ32. Since variation in HLA class I and KIR genes is not well interrogated by standard GWAS techniques, we tested whether these 2 loci were involved in protection from HIV-1 infection in the same hemophilia cohort, using controls from the general population. Our data indicate that HLA class I alleles, presence or absence of KIR genes, and functionally relevant combinations of the HLA/KIR genotypes are not involved in resistance to parenterally transmitted HIV-1 infectio

    Combinations of Maternal KIR and Fetal HLA-C Genes Influence the Risk of Preeclampsia and Reproductive Success

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    Preeclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy in which the fetus receives an inadequate supply of blood due to failure of trophoblast invasion. There is evidence that the condition has an immunological basis. The only known polymorphic histocompatibility antigens on the fetal trophoblast are HLA-C molecules. We tested the idea that recognition of these molecules by killer immunoglobulin receptors (KIRs) on maternal decidual NK cells is a key factor in the development of preeclampsia. Striking differences were observed when these polymorphic ligand: receptor pairs were considered in combination. Mothers lacking most or all activating KIR (AA genotype) when the fetus possessed HLA-C belonging to the HLA-C2 group were at a greatly increased risk of preeclampsia. This was true even if the mother herself also had HLA-C2, indicating that neither nonself nor missing-self discrimination was operative. Thus, this interaction between maternal KIR and trophoblast appears not to have an immune function, but instead plays a physiological role related to placental development. Different human populations have a reciprocal relationship between AA frequency and HLA-C2 frequency, suggesting selection against this combination. In light of our findings, reproductive success may have been a factor in the evolution and maintenance of human HLA-C and KIR polymorphisms

    Systemic inhibition of myeloid dendritic cells by circulating HLA class I molecules in HIV-1 infection

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>HIV-1 infection is associated with profound dysfunction of myeloid dendritic cells, for reasons that remain ill-defined. Soluble HLA class I molecules can have important inhibitory effects on T cells and NK cells, but may also contribute to reduced functional properties of professional antigen-presenting cells. Here, we investigated the expression of soluble HLA class I isoforms during HIV-1 infection and assessed their functional impact on antigen-presenting characteristics of dendritic cells.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Soluble HLA class I molecules were highly upregulated in progressive HIV-1 infection as determined by quantitative Western blots. This was associated with strong increases of intracellular expression of HLA class I isoforms in dendritic cells and monocytes. Using mixed lymphocyte reactions, we found that soluble HLA class I molecules effectively inhibited the antigen-presenting properties of dendritic cells, however, there was no significant influence of HLA class I molecules on the cytokine-secretion properties of these cells. The immunomodulatory effects of soluble HLA class I molecules were mediated by interactions with inhibitory myelomonocytic MHC class I receptors from the Leukocyte Immunoglobulin Like Receptor (LILR) family.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>During progressive HIV-1 infection, soluble HLA class I molecules can contribute to systemic immune dysfunction by inhibiting the antigen-presenting properties of myeloid dendritic cells through interactions with inhibitory myelomonocytic HLA class I receptors.</p

    Statistical Resolution of Ambiguous HLA Typing Data

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    High-resolution HLA typing plays a central role in many areas of immunology, such as in identifying immunogenetic risk factors for disease, in studying how the genomes of pathogens evolve in response to immune selection pressures, and also in vaccine design, where identification of HLA-restricted epitopes may be used to guide the selection of vaccine immunogens. Perhaps one of the most immediate applications is in direct medical decisions concerning the matching of stem cell transplant donors to unrelated recipients. However, high-resolution HLA typing is frequently unavailable due to its high cost or the inability to re-type historical data. In this paper, we introduce and evaluate a method for statistical, in silico refinement of ambiguous and/or low-resolution HLA data. Our method, which requires an independent, high-resolution training data set drawn from the same population as the data to be refined, uses linkage disequilibrium in HLA haplotypes as well as four-digit allele frequency data to probabilistically refine HLA typings. Central to our approach is the use of haplotype inference. We introduce new methodology to this area, improving upon the Expectation-Maximization (EM)-based approaches currently used within the HLA community. Our improvements are achieved by using a parsimonious parameterization for haplotype distributions and by smoothing the maximum likelihood (ML) solution. These improvements make it possible to scale the refinement to a larger number of alleles and loci in a more computationally efficient and stable manner. We also show how to augment our method in order to incorporate ethnicity information (as HLA allele distributions vary widely according to race/ethnicity as well as geographic area), and demonstrate the potential utility of this experimentally. A tool based on our approach is freely available for research purposes at http://microsoft.com/science