Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Microbiology & Immunology

First Advisor

Daniel Conrad


Although the physiological consequences of Notch signaling in hematopoiesis have been extensively studied, the differential effects of individual notch cleavage products remain to be elucidated. Given that a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 (ADAM10) is a critical regulator of Notch and that its deletion is embryonically lethal, we generated transgenic mice that overexpress ADAM10 at early stages of lymphoid and myeloid development (A10Tg). ADAM10 transgene expression alters hematopoiesis post-hematopoietic Lineage-Sca-1+c-kit+ (LSK) subset differentiation but prior to lineage commitment of progenitor populations. This results in delayed T cell development, abrogated B2 cell development, and dramatic expansion of functionally active myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in A10Tg mice. Given ADAM10’s role in Notch signaling, we hypothesized that the observed hematopoietic alterations may be a consequence of perturbed Notch signaling. In fact, blockade of ADAM10 (S2) rescues B cell development and reduces myeloid cells in A10Tg LSKs. Inhibition of γ-secretase (S3) in wild type (WT) LSKs results in enhanced myelopoiesis, mimicking the phenotype of A10Tg mice. Collectively, these findings indicate that the differential cleavage of Notch into S2 and S3 products regulated by ADAM10 is critical for hematopoietic cell-fate determination. Albeit arising in a tumor-free host, A10Tg MDSCs are functionally and phenotypically analogous to tumor-derived MDSCs. A10Tg MDSCs inhibit T cell activation in vitro, and inhibit adoptive immunotherapy (AIT) of metastatic melanoma in vivo, which can be reversed with MDSC depletion. Intriguingly, A10Tg mice are resistant to parasitic infection upon inoculation of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. However, depletion of MDSCs abrogates this response, while adoptive transfer (AT) of MDSCs into WT mice increases their resistance. This polarized activity of MDSCs is heavily dependent upon interaction with mast cells (MCs). In fact, B16 melanoma cells metastasize more rapidly in WT mice infused with MDSCs when compared to MC-deficient mice (Kit Wsh/Wsh), with or without MDSC AT. Parallel to B16 progression, the ability of MDSCs to promote anti-Nb immunity is significantly diminished in MC-deficient (Kit Wsh/Wsh) mice even with MDSC AT. This augmentation of MDSC activity in the presence of MCs is further corroborated by in vitro co-culture assays that demonstrate a synergistic increase in cytokine production. Furthermore, MDSCs preferentially migrate to the liver in a MC-dependent manner. This interaction is mediated by MC-released histamine. In fact, MDSCs express histamine receptors (HR) and histamine induces MDSC survival, proliferation, and activation. We demonstrate that MDSC activity is abrogated with histamine blockade. Moreover, in humans, allergic patients present with an increase in MDSC population, and MDSCs purified from a stage I breast cancer patient exhibit increased survival in the presence of histamine. Taken together, our studies indicate that MCs and MC-released histamine are critical for the observed functional duality of MDSCs, ranging from immunosuppressive to immunosupportive, depending on the disease state.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2013