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      Humanized mice for immune system investigation: progress, promise and challenges

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          Abstract

          Significant advances in our understanding of the in vivo functions of human cells and tissues and the human immune system have resulted from the development of 'humanized' mouse strains that are based on severely immunodeficient mice with mutations in the interleukin-2 receptor common γ-chain locus. These mouse strains support the engraftment of a functional human immune system and permit detailed analyses of human immune biology, development and functions. In this Review, we discuss recent advances in the development and utilization of humanized mice, the lessons learnt, the remaining challenges and the promise of using humanized mice for the in vivo study of human immunology.

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          Most cited references96

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          Antibody-based Protection Against HIV Infection by Vectored ImmunoProphylaxis

          Despite tremendous efforts, development of an effective vaccine against HIV has proved an elusive goal. Recently, however, numerous antibodies have been identified that are capable of neutralizing the vast majority of circulating HIV strains 1–5 . These antibodies all exhibit an unusually high level of somatic mutation 6 , presumably due to extensive affinity maturation over the course of continuous exposure to an evolving antigen 7 . While substantial effort has focused on the design of immunogens capable of eliciting antibodies de novo that would target similar epitopes 8–10 , it remains uncertain whether a conventional vaccine will be able to elicit analogs of the existing broadly neutralizing antibodies. As an alternative to immunization, vector-mediated gene transfer could be used to engineer secretion of the existing broadly neutralizing antibodies into the circulation. Here we describe a practical implementation of this approach, vectored immunoprophylaxis (VIP), which in mice induces lifelong expression of these monoclonal antibodies at high concentrations from a single intramuscular injection. This is achieved using a specialized adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector optimized for the production of full-length antibody from muscle tissue. We show that humanized mice receiving VIP appear to be fully protected from HIV infection even when challenged intravenously with very high doses of replication-competent virus. Our results suggest that successful translation of this approach to humans may produce effective prophylaxis against HIV.
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            T cell-specific siRNA delivery suppresses HIV-1 infection in humanized mice.

            Evaluation of the therapeutic potential of RNAi for HIV infection has been hampered by the challenges of siRNA delivery and lack of suitable animal models. Using a delivery method for T cells, we show that siRNA treatment can dramatically suppress HIV infection. A CD7-specific single-chain antibody was conjugated to oligo-9-arginine peptide (scFvCD7-9R) for T cell-specific siRNA delivery in NOD/SCIDIL2rgamma-/- mice reconstituted with human lymphocytes (Hu-PBL) or CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells (Hu-HSC). In HIV-infected Hu-PBL mice, treatment with anti-CCR5 (viral coreceptor) and antiviral siRNAs complexed to scFvCD7-9R controlled viral replication and prevented the disease-associated CD4 T cell loss. This treatment also suppressed endogenous virus and restored CD4 T cell counts in mice reconstituted with HIV+ peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Moreover, scFvCD7-9R could deliver antiviral siRNAs to naive T cells in Hu-HSC mice and effectively suppress viremia in infected mice. Thus, siRNA therapy for HIV infection appears to be feasible in a preclinical animal model.
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              Fetal and adult hematopoietic stem cells give rise to distinct T cell lineages in humans.

              Although the mammalian immune system is generally thought to develop in a linear fashion, findings in avian and murine species argue instead for the developmentally ordered appearance (or "layering") of distinct hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that give rise to distinct lymphocyte lineages at different stages of development. Here we provide evidence of an analogous layered immune system in humans. Our results suggest that fetal and adult T cells are distinct populations that arise from different populations of HSCs that are present at different stages of development. We also provide evidence that the fetal T cell lineage is biased toward immune tolerance. These observations offer a mechanistic explanation for the tolerogenic properties of the developing fetus and for variable degrees of immune responsiveness at birth.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Immunology
                Nat Rev Immunol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1474-1733
                1474-1741
                November 2012
                October 12 2012
                November 2012
                : 12
                : 11
                : 786-798
                Article
                10.1038/nri3311
                3749872
                23059428
                1a063366-9b76-4b32-8051-f8c3d237683c
                © 2012

                http://www.springer.com/tdm


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