Publications by authors named "Lieve Dirix"

9 Publications

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A phase II study of monalizumab in patients with recurrent/metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: The I1 cohort of the EORTC-HNCG-1559 UPSTREAM trial.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Oct 9;158:17-26. Epub 2021 Oct 9.

Service d'Oncologie Médicale, Institut Roi Albert II, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc and Institut de Recherche Clinique et Expérimentale, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Avenue Hippocrate 10, 1200 Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:

Purpose: Monalizumab is a monoclonal antibody targeting the inhibitory natural killer group 2A (NKG2A) receptor localised on natural killer (NK) and T cells. Its ligand, the human leukocyte antigen E (HLA-E), is overexpressed in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). By targeting the HLA-E-NKG2A pathway, monalizumab may enhance NK and T cell activity.

Experimental Design: The UPSTREAM trial is a biomarker-driven umbrella trial studying targeted therapies and immunotherapies in patients with recurrent/metastatic (R/M) SCCHN progressing after platinum therapy. The immunotherapy 1 (I1) cohort was a phase II, single-arm substudy evaluating monalizumab (10 mg/kg intravenously on day 1 of a 14-day cycle). The primary end-point was the objective response (OR) rate (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours 1.1) over the first 16 weeks. A two-stage Simon design was used (H1 15%, H0 3%, α 8%, power 90%) with pre-planned interruption of accrual if no OR was observed after the first 25 patients.

Results: Twenty-six eligible patients were enrolled. Seventeen (65%) patients had received ≥2 previous lines of systemic treatment, and 15 (58%) patients were PD(-L)1 inhibitor pretreated. No OR was observed. Stable disease was observed in 6 patients (23%) with a median duration of 3.8 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.7-NE). The median progression-free survival and overall survival were 1.7 months (95% CI: 1.5-1.8) and 6.7 months (95% CI: 3.0-9.6), respectively. The most frequent treatment-related adverse event was grade I/II fatigue (19%).

Conclusions: Monalizumab monotherapy has limited activity in R/M SCCHN. The I1 cohort did not meet its primary objective. Monalizumab combined with durvalumab is under investigation within UPSTREAM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.09.003DOI Listing
October 2021

Capsid-Labelled HIV To Investigate the Role of Capsid during Nuclear Import and Integration.

J Virol 2020 03 17;94(7). Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Flanders, Belgium

The HIV-1 capsid protein performs multiple roles in virus replication both during assembly and particle release and during virus trafficking into the nucleus. In order to decipher the roles of capsid protein during early replication, a reliable method to follow its intracellular distribution is required. To complement existing approaches to track HIV-1 capsid during early infection, we developed an HIV-1 imaging strategy, relying on viruses incorporating enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP)-tagged capsid (CA-eGFP) protein and mCherry-tagged integrase (IN-mCherry). Wild-type infectivity and sensitivity to inhibition by PF74 point to the functionality of CA-eGFP-containing complexes. Low numbers of CA-eGFP molecules were located inside the viral core and imported into the nucleus without significant loss in intensity. Less than 5% of particles carrying both CA-eGFP and IN-mCherry retained both labelled proteins after nuclear entry, implying a major uncoating event at the nuclear envelope dissociating IN and CA. Still, 20% of all CA-eGFP-containing complexes were detected in the nucleus. Unlike for IN-mCherry complexes, addition of the integrase inhibitor raltegravir had no effect on CA-eGFP-containing complexes, suggesting that these may be not (yet) competent for integration. Our imaging strategy offers alternative visualization of viral capsid trafficking and helps clarify its potential role during integration. HIV-1 capsid protein (CA) builds a conical shell protecting viral genomic RNA inside the virus particles. Upon entry into host cells, this shell disassembles in a process of uncoating, which is coordinated with reverse transcription of viral RNA into DNA. After uncoating, a portion of CA remains associated with the viral DNA and mediates its nuclear import and, potentially, integration into host DNA. In this study, we tagged CA with eGFP to follow its trafficking in host cells and address potential CA roles in the nucleus. We found that while functional viruses import the tagged CA into the nucleus, this capsid protein is not part of integration-competent complexes. The roles of nuclear CA thus remain to be established.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01024-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7081887PMC
March 2020

Post-mitotic BET-induced reshaping of integrase quaternary structure supports wild-type MLV integration.

Nucleic Acids Res 2019 02;47(3):1195-1210

Laboratory for Photochemistry and Spectroscopy, Department of Chemistry, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium.

The Moloney murine leukemia virus (MLV) is a prototype gammaretrovirus requiring nuclear disassembly before DNA integration. In the nucleus, integration site selection towards promoter/enhancer elements is mediated by the host factor bromo- and extraterminal domain (BET) proteins (bromodomain (Brd) proteins 2, 3 and 4). MLV-based retroviral vectors are used in gene therapy trials. In some trials leukemia occurred through integration of the MLV vector in close proximity to cellular oncogenes. BET-mediated integration is poorly understood and the nature of integrase oligomers heavily debated. Here, we created wild-type infectious MLV vectors natively incorporating fluorescent labeled IN and performed single-molecule intensity and Förster resonance energy transfer experiments. The nuclear localization of the MLV pre-integration complex neither altered the IN content, nor its quaternary structure. Instead, BET-mediated interaction of the MLV intasome with chromatin in the post-mitotic nucleus reshaped its quaternary structure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gky1157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6379647PMC
February 2019

Y-box-binding protein 1 supports the early and late steps of HIV replication.

PLoS One 2018 11;13(7):e0200080. Epub 2018 Jul 11.

Division of Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) depends on cellular proteins, so-called cofactors, to complete its replication cycle. In search for new therapeutic targets we identified the DNA and RNA binding protein Y-box-binding Protein 1 (YB-1) as a cofactor supporting early and late steps of HIV replication. YB-1 depletion resulted in a 10-fold decrease in HIV-1 replication in different cell lines. Dissection of the replication defects revealed that knockdown of YB-1 is associated with a 2- to 5-fold decrease in virion production due to interference with the viral RNA metabolism. Using single-round virus infection experiments we demonstrated that early HIV-1 replication also depends on the cellular YB-1 levels. More precisely, using quantitative PCR and an in vivo nuclear import assay with fluorescently labeled viral particles, we showed that YB-1 knockdown leads to a block between reverse transcription and nuclear import of HIV-1. Interaction studies revealed that YB-1 associates with integrase, although a direct interaction with HIV integrase could not be unambiguously proven. In conclusion, our results indicate that YB-1 affects multiple stages of HIV replication. Future research on the interaction between YB-1 and the virus will reveal whether this protein qualifies as a new antiviral target.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200080PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6040738PMC
January 2019

Inhibitors of the integrase-transportin-SR2 interaction block HIV nuclear import.

Retrovirology 2018 01 12;15(1). Epub 2018 Jan 12.

Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, KU Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 33, VCTB +5, Bus 7001, 3000, Leuven, Flanders, Belgium.

Background: Combination antiretroviral therapy efficiently suppresses HIV replication in infected patients, transforming HIV/AIDS into a chronic disease. Viral resistance does develop however, especially under suboptimal treatment conditions such as poor adherence. As a consequence, continued exploration of novel targets is paramount to identify novel antivirals that do not suffer from cross-resistance with existing drugs. One new promising class of targets are HIV protein-cofactor interactions. Transportin-SR2 (TRN-SR2) is a β-karyopherin that was recently identified as an HIV-1 cofactor. It has been implicated in nuclear import of the viral pre-integration complex and was confirmed as a direct binding partner of HIV-1 integrase (IN). Nevertheless, consensus on its mechanism of action is yet to be reached.

Results: Here we describe the development and use of an AlphaScreen-based high-throughput screening cascade for small molecule inhibitors of the HIV-1 IN-TRN-SR2 interaction. False positives and nonspecific protein-protein interaction inhibitors were eliminated through different counterscreens. We identified and confirmed 2 active compound series from an initial screen of 25,608 small molecules. These compounds significantly reduced nuclear import of fluorescently labeled HIV particles.

Conclusions: Alphascreen-based high-throughput screening can allow the identification of compounds representing a novel class of HIV inhibitors. These results corroborate the role of the IN-TRN-SR2 interaction in nuclear import. These compounds represent the first in class small molecule inhibitors of HIV-1 nuclear import.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12977-018-0389-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5767004PMC
January 2018

Dynamic Oligomerization of Integrase Orchestrates HIV Nuclear Entry.

Sci Rep 2016 11 10;6:36485. Epub 2016 Nov 10.

Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3000, Belgium.

Nuclear entry is a selective, dynamic process granting the HIV-1 pre-integration complex (PIC) access to the chromatin. Classical analysis of nuclear entry of heterogeneous viral particles only yields averaged information. We now have employed single-virus fluorescence methods to follow the fate of single viral pre-integration complexes (PICs) during infection by visualizing HIV-1 integrase (IN). Nuclear entry is associated with a reduction in the number of IN molecules in the complexes while the interaction with LEDGF/p75 enhances IN oligomerization in the nucleus. Addition of LEDGINs, small molecule inhibitors of the IN-LEDGF/p75 interaction, during virus production, prematurely stabilizes a higher-order IN multimeric state, resulting in stable IN multimers resistant to a reduction in IN content and defective for nuclear entry. This suggests that a stringent size restriction determines nuclear pore entry. Taken together, this work demonstrates the power of single-virus imaging providing crucial insights in HIV replication and enabling mechanism-of-action studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep36485DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5103197PMC
November 2016

The HIV-1 integrase mutant R263A/K264A is 2-fold defective for TRN-SR2 binding and viral nuclear import.

J Biol Chem 2014 Sep 25;289(36):25351-61. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

From the Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3000, Leuven, Belgium

Transportin-SR2 (Tnpo3, TRN-SR2), a human karyopherin encoded by the TNPO3 gene, has been identified as a cellular cofactor of HIV-1 replication, specifically interacting with HIV-1 integrase (IN). Whether this interaction mediates the nuclear import of HIV remains controversial. We previously characterized the TRN-SR2 binding interface in IN and introduced mutations at these positions to corroborate the biological relevance of the interaction. The pleiotropic nature of IN mutations complicated the interpretation. Indeed, all previously tested IN interaction mutants also affected RT. Here we report on a virus with a pair of IN mutations, IN(R263A/K264A), that significantly reduce interaction with TRN-SR2. The virus retains wild-type reverse transcription activity but displays a block in nuclear import and integration, as measured by quantitative PCR. The defect in integration of this mutant resulted in a smaller increase in the number of two-long terminal repeat circles than for virus specifically blocked at integration by raltegravir or catalytic site mutations (IN(D64N/D116N/E152Q)). Finally, using an eGFP-IN-labeled HIV fluorescence-based import assay, the defect in nuclear import was corroborated. These data altogether underscore the importance of the HIV-IN TRN-SR2 protein-protein interaction for HIV nuclear import and validate the IN/TRN-SR2 interaction interface as a promising target for future antiviral therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M113.533281DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4155696PMC
September 2014

Super-resolution optical DNA Mapping via DNA methyltransferase-directed click chemistry.

Nucleic Acids Res 2014 Apr 21;42(7):e50. Epub 2014 Jan 21.

Department of Chemistry, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium, Life Science Technologies, Imec, Kapeldreef 75, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium and Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 5, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.

We demonstrate an approach to optical DNA mapping, which enables near single-molecule characterization of whole bacteriophage genomes. Our approach uses a DNA methyltransferase enzyme to target labelling to specific sites and copper-catalysed azide-alkyne cycloaddition to couple a fluorophore to the DNA. We achieve a labelling efficiency of ∼70% with an average labelling density approaching one site every 500 bp. Such labelling density bridges the gap between the output of a typical DNA sequencing experiment and the long-range information derived from traditional optical DNA mapping. We lay the foundations for a wider-scale adoption of DNA mapping by screening 11 methyltransferases for their ability to direct sequence-specific DNA transalkylation; the first step of the DNA labelling process and by optimizing reaction conditions for fluorophore coupling via a click reaction. Three of 11 enzymes transalkylate DNA with the cofactor we tested (a readily prepared s-adenosyl-l-methionine analogue).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkt1406DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3985630PMC
April 2014
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