Academic Appointments

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Molecular regulation of T-cell cytokine production;, role of cell adhesion molecule in mediating T-cell activation and, adhesion; treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, clincial use of low molecular-weight heparins.

2021-22 Courses

All Publications

  • Biology and treatment of adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia WESTERN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE Levitt, L., Lin, R. 1996; 164 (2): 143-155


    The molecular analysis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has provided exciting insights into the pathogenesis of this disease. This disease is heterogenous and can be subtyped based on chromosomal, immunophenotypic, and structural criteria. The varying prognostic implications of different ALL subtypes markedly influence the treatment decisions in adults. Many patients with T-cell ALL can be cured with chemotherapy alone. In contrast, patients with early B-lineage ALL with certain chromosomal abnormalities, especially the Philadelphia chromosome, do not have durable responses to chemotherapy and should receive a bone marrow transplantation if an HLA-matched donor is available. Recent reports have shown improved results for adults with B-cell ALL (Burkitt's) after intensive alternating cycles of chemotherapy containing high doses of methotrexate and cyclophosphamide. Future clinical and laboratory investigation should lead to the development of novel and possibly more effective treatments specifically tailored for different subsets of ALL.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1996TX54100005

    View details for PubMedID 8775728

  • THE MURINE INTERLEUKIN-3 RECEPTOR-ALPHA SUBUNIT GENE - CHROMOSOMAL LOCALIZATION, GENOMIC STRUCTURE, AND PROMOTER FUNCTION BLOOD Miyajima, I., Levitt, L., Hara, T., Bedell, M. A., Copeland, N. G., Jenkins, N. A., Miyajima, A. 1995; 85 (5): 1246-1253


    The interleukin-3 receptor (IL-3R) is composed of alpha and beta subunits, members of the class I cytokine receptor family. Here we describe isolation and characterization of the chromosomal gene for the mouse IL-3R alpha subunit (mIL-3R alpha). Whereas the human IL-3R alpha gene is tightly linked with the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor alpha subunit (GM-CSFR alpha) gene in the pseudoautosomal region of the X and Y chromosomes, the mIL-3R alpha gene (II3ra) is located in the proximal region of mouse chromosome 14, separated from the mouse GM-CSFR alpha gene, which is on chromosome 19. The mIL-3R alpha gene spans about 10 kb and is divided into 12 exons. All the exon-intron boundaries possess the splicing junction consensus sequences (5'GT-AG3'), and the whole genomic structure is similar to those of the previously reported class I cytokine receptor genes. There are two major transcription initiation sites that are located at 215 and 188 nucleotides upstream of the initiator codon. The promoter region is GC-rich and contains potential binding sites for GATA, Ets, c-myb,, Sp1, Ap-2, and G-C boxes, but not a typical TATA or CAAT sequence. A fusion gene containing 0.8 kb of the 5' noncoding sequence linked to the firefly luciferase gene directed the transcription in mouse mast cells but not in fibroblasts or T cells, suggesting that this promoter functions in a cell type-specific manner. Further sequential deletion of the 5' region suggests two potential regulatory regions for transcription of the mIL-3R alpha gene.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1995QJ43500013

    View details for PubMedID 7858255



    CD31 (PECAM-1) is an immunoglobulin gene superfamily cell adhesion molecule found on vascular endothelium, platelets, and leukocytes. Lymphocyte expression of CD31 is most closely associated with the CD45RA+CD8+ naive T phenotype. CD31 has recently been shown to play a role in leukocyte egress to inflammatory sites. The mechanism of CD31 adhesion remains under investigation. Several investigators have reported evidence for a heterotypic ligand. We have previously shown that CD31 is phosphorylated with cell activation, which suggests a possible role for CD31 in cell activation events. We therefore studied the effects of CD31 antibodies on in vitro assays of lymphocyte activation. One CD31 antibody, LYP21, inhibited the mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) in a specific and dose-dependent fashion. An LYP21 epitope was localized to the sixth Ig domain of CD31. This peptide and a scrambled control peptide were synthesized and used to study effects of this epitope on lymphocyte activation. The CD31 peptide strongly inhibited the MLR. Because CD31 is expressed on both stimulator and responder populations, stimulator peripheral blood leukocytes and responder lymphocyte populations were separately incubated with CD31 peptide or control peptide and then washed before mixing. The CD31 peptide inhibited the MLR equally when either stimulator or responder cells were preincubated with the CD31 peptide. We further sorted responder cells into CD31-high and CD31-low populations and separately incubated these subsets with peptides. The CD31 peptide strongly inhibited MLRs, regardless of level of responder-cell CD31 expression. Examination of MLR reactions involving the CD31 peptide showed dispersed small aggregates of cells, rather than the single large aggregate observed in control MLRs. The CD31 peptide did not affect activation of lymphocytes by phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) and ionomycin. These results suggest that a surface CD31-ligand interaction may have a functional role in alloimmune lymphocyte activation and identify a functionally important domain of CD31.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1995QJ43500018

    View details for PubMedID 7858258

  • Transcriptional regulation of IL3 in primary human T lymphocytes: role of AP-1 and octamer binding proteins in control of IL3 gene transcription J Biol Chem. Levitt L., Park J, Kaushansky K 1993