All Publications

  • Charge-altering releasable transporters enhance mRNA delivery in vitro and exhibit in vivo tropism. Nature communications Li, Z., Amaya, L., Pi, R., Wang, S. K., Ranjan, A., Waymouth, R. M., Blish, C. A., Chang, H. Y., Wender, P. A. 2023; 14 (1): 6983


    The introduction of more effective and selective mRNA delivery systems is required for the advancement of many emerging biomedical technologies including the development of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines, immunotherapies for cancer and strategies for genome editing. While polymers and oligomers have served as promising mRNA delivery systems, their efficacy in hard-to-transfect cells such as primary T lymphocytes is often limited as is their cell and organ tropism. To address these problems, considerable attention has been placed on structural screening of various lipid and cation components of mRNA delivery systems. Here, we disclose a class of charge-altering releasable transporters (CARTs) that differ from previous CARTs based on their beta-amido carbonate backbone (bAC) and side chain spacing. These bAC-CARTs exhibit enhanced mRNA transfection in primary T lymphocytes in vitro and enhanced protein expression in vivo with highly selective spleen tropism, supporting their broader therapeutic use as effective polyanionic delivery systems.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-023-42672-x

    View details for PubMedID 37914693

  • Circular RNA vaccine induces potent T cell responses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Amaya, L., Grigoryan, L., Li, Z., Lee, A., Wender, P. A., Pulendran, B., Chang, H. Y. 2023; 120 (20): e2302191120


    Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of RNAs commonly found across eukaryotes and viruses, characterized by their resistance to exonuclease-mediated degradation. Their superior stability compared to linear RNAs, combined with previous work showing that engineered circRNAs serve as efficient protein translation templates, make circRNA a promising candidate for RNA medicine. Here, we systematically examine the adjuvant activity, route of administration, and antigen-specific immunity of circRNA vaccination in mice. Potent circRNA adjuvant activity is associated with RNA uptake and activation of myeloid cells in the draining lymph nodes and transient cytokine release. Immunization of mice with engineered circRNA encoding a protein antigen delivered by a charge-altering releasable transporter induced innate activation of dendritic cells, robust antigen-specific CD8 T cell responses in lymph nodes and tissues, and strong antitumor efficacy as a therapeutic cancer vaccine. These results highlight the potential utility of circRNA vaccines for stimulating potent innate and T cell responses in tissues.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2302191120

    View details for PubMedID 37155869

  • Discovery of Key Transcriptional Regulators of Alloantigen-Inducible Tregs Used for Cell Therapy Cepika, A., Amaya, L., Waichler, C., Narula, M., Thomas, B. C., Chen, P. P., Mantilla, M. M., Pavel-Dinu, M., Freeborn, R., Porteus, M. H., Bacchetta, R., Mueller, F., Greenleaf, W. J., Chang, H. Y., Roncarolo, M. CELL PRESS. 2023: 370-371
  • Engineering circular RNA for enhanced protein production. Nature biotechnology Chen, R., Wang, S. K., Belk, J. A., Amaya, L., Li, Z., Cardenas, A., Abe, B. T., Chen, C., Wender, P. A., Chang, H. Y. 2022


    Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are stable and prevalent RNAs in eukaryotic cells that arise from back-splicing. Synthetic circRNAs and some endogenous circRNAs can encode proteins, raising the promise of circRNA as a platform for gene expression. In this study, we developed a systematic approach for rapid assembly and testing of features that affect protein production from synthetic circRNAs. To maximize circRNA translation, we optimized five elements: vector topology, 5' and 3' untranslated regions, internal ribosome entry sites and synthetic aptamers recruiting translation initiation machinery. Together, these design principles improve circRNA protein yields by several hundred-fold, provide increased translation over messenger RNA in vitro, provide more durable translation in vivo and are generalizable across multiple transgenes.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41587-022-01393-0

    View details for PubMedID 35851375

  • Alloantigen-specific type 1 regulatory T cells suppress through CTLA-4 and PD-1 pathways and persist long-term in patients. Science translational medicine Chen, P. P., Cepika, A., Agarwal-Hashmi, R., Saini, G., Uyeda, M. J., Louis, D. M., Cieniewicz, B., Narula, M., Amaya Hernandez, L. C., Harre, N., Xu, L., Thomas, B. C., Ji, X., Shiraz, P., Tate, K. M., Margittai, D., Bhatia, N., Meyer, E., Bertaina, A., Davis, M. M., Bacchetta, R., Roncarolo, M. G. 2021; 13 (617): eabf5264


    [Figure: see text].

    View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.abf5264

    View details for PubMedID 34705520

  • N6-Methyladenosine Modification Controls Circular RNA Immunity. Molecular cell Chen, Y. G., Chen, R., Ahmad, S., Verma, R., Kasturi, S. P., Amaya, L., Broughton, J. P., Kim, J., Cadena, C., Pulendran, B., Hur, S., Chang, H. Y. 2019


    Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are prevalent in eukaryotic cells and viral genomes. Mammalian cells possess innate immunity to detect foreign circRNAs, but the molecular basis of self versus foreign identity in circRNA immunity is unknown. Here, we show that N6-methyladenosine (m6A) RNA modification on human circRNAs inhibits innate immunity. Foreign circRNAs are potent adjuvants to induce antigen-specific Tcell activation, antibody production, and anti-tumor immunity invivo, and m6A modification abrogates immune gene activation and adjuvant activity. m6A reader YTHDF2 sequesters m6A-circRNA and is essential for suppression of innate immunity. Unmodified circRNA, but not m6A-modified circRNA, directly activates RNA pattern recognition receptor RIG-I in the presence of lysine-63-linked polyubiquitin chain to cause filamentation of the adaptor protein MAVS and activation of the downstream transcription factor IRF3. CircRNA immunity has considerable parallel to prokaryotic DNA restriction modification system that transforms nucleic acid chemical modification into organismal innate immunity.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.07.016

    View details for PubMedID 31474572

  • Long-term follow-up of IPEX syndrome patients after different therapeutic strategies: An international multicenter retrospective study JOURNAL OF ALLERGY AND CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY Barzaghi, F., Hernandez, L., Neven, B., Ricci, S., Kucuk, Z., Bleesing, J. J., Nademi, Z., Slatter, M., Ulloa, E., Shcherbina, A., Roppelt, A., Worth, A., Silva, J., Aiuti, A., Murguia-Favela, L., Speckmann, C., Carneiro-Sampaio, M., Fernandes, J., Baris, S., Ozen, A., Karakoc-Aydiner, E., Kiykim, A., Schulz, A., Steinmann, S., Notarangelo, L., Gambineri, E., Lionetti, P., Shearer, W., Forbes, L. R., Martinez, C., Moshous, D., Blanche, S., Fisher, A., Ruemmele, F. M., Tissandier, C., Ouachee-Chardin, M., Rieux-Laucat, F., Cavazzana, M., Qasim, W., Lucarelli, B., Albert, M. H., Kobayashi, I., Alonso, L., De Heredia, C., Kanegane, H., Lawitschka, A., Seo, J., Gonzalez-Vicent, M., Diaz, M., Goyal, R., Sauer, M. G., Yesilipek, A., Kim, M., Yilmaz-Demirdag, Y., Bhatia, M., Khlevner, J., Padilla, E., Martino, S., Montin, D., Neth, O., Molinos-Quintana, A., Valverde-Fernandez, J., Broides, A., Pinsk, V., Ballauf, A., Haerynck, F., Bordon, V., Dhooge, C., Garcia-Lloret, M., Bredius, R. G., Kawak, K., Haddad, E., Seidel, M., Duckers, G., Pai, S., Dvorak, C. C., Ehl, S., Locatelli, F., Goldman, F., Gennery, A., Cowan, M. J., Roncarolo, M., Bacchetta, R., PIDTC, IEWP, European Soc Blood Marrow 2018; 141 (3): 1036-+


    Immunodysregulation polyendocrinopathy enteropathy x-linked (IPEX) syndrome is a monogenic autoimmune disease caused by FOXP3 mutations. Because it is a rare disease, the natural history and response to treatments, including allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and immunosuppression (IS), have not been thoroughly examined.This analysis sought to evaluate disease onset, progression, and long-term outcome of the 2 main treatments in long-term IPEX survivors.Clinical histories of 96 patients with a genetically proven IPEX syndrome were collected from 38 institutions worldwide and retrospectively analyzed. To investigate possible factors suitable to predict the outcome, an organ involvement (OI) scoring system was developed.We confirm neonatal onset with enteropathy, type 1 diabetes, and eczema. In addition, we found less common manifestations in delayed onset patients or during disease evolution. There is no correlation between the site of mutation and the disease course or outcome, and the same genotype can present with variable phenotypes. HSCT patients (n = 58) had a median follow-up of 2.7 years (range, 1 week-15 years). Patients receiving chronic IS (n = 34) had a median follow-up of 4 years (range, 2 months-25 years). The overall survival after HSCT was 73.2% (95% CI, 59.4-83.0) and after IS was 65.1% (95% CI, 62.8-95.8). The pretreatment OI score was the only significant predictor of overall survival after transplant (P = .035) but not under IS.Patients receiving chronic IS were hampered by disease recurrence or complications, impacting long-term disease-free survival. When performed in patients with a low OI score, HSCT resulted in disease resolution with better quality of life, independent of age, donor source, or conditioning regimen.

    View details for PubMedID 29241729

  • Identity and Diversity of Human Peripheral Th and T Regulatory Cells Defined by Single-Cell Mass Cytometry JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY Kunicki, M. A., Hernandez, L., Davis, K. L., Bacchetta, R., Roncarolo, M. 2018; 200 (1): 336–46


    Human CD3+CD4+ Th cells, FOXP3+ T regulatory (Treg) cells, and T regulatory type 1 (Tr1) cells are essential for ensuring peripheral immune response and tolerance, but the diversity of Th, Treg, and Tr1 cell subsets has not been fully characterized. Independent functional characterization of human Th1, Th2, Th17, T follicular helper (Tfh), Treg, and Tr1 cells has helped to define unique surface molecules, transcription factors, and signaling profiles for each subset. However, the adequacy of these markers to recapitulate the whole CD3+CD4+ T cell compartment remains questionable. In this study, we examined CD3+CD4+ T cell populations by single-cell mass cytometry. We characterize the CD3+CD4+ Th, Treg, and Tr1 cell populations simultaneously across 23 memory T cell-associated surface and intracellular molecules. High-dimensional analysis identified several new subsets, in addition to the already defined CD3+CD4+ Th, Treg, and Tr1 cell populations, for a total of 11 Th cell, 4 Treg, and 1 Tr1 cell subsets. Some of these subsets share markers previously thought to be selective for Treg, Th1, Th2, Th17, and Tfh cells, including CD194 (CCR4)+FOXP3+ Treg and CD183 (CXCR3)+T-bet+ Th17 cell subsets. Unsupervised clustering displayed a phenotypic organization of CD3+CD4+ T cells that confirmed their diversity but showed interrelation between the different subsets, including similarity between Th1-Th2-Tfh cell populations and Th17 cells, as well as similarity of Th2 cells with Treg cells. In conclusion, the use of single-cell mass cytometry provides a systems-level characterization of CD3+CD4+ T cells in healthy human blood, which represents an important baseline reference to investigate abnormalities of different subsets in immune-mediated pathologies.

    View details for PubMedID 29180490