Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Microbiology & Immunology

First Advisor

Daniel Conrad

Second Advisor

Rebecca Martin


Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSC) represent a significant hurdle to cancer immunotherapy because they dampen anti-tumor cytotoxic T cell responses. Previous studies have reported on the myelo-depletive effects of certain chemotherapies. Using guadecitabine, a next-generation DNA methyltransferase inhibitor (DNMTi), we observed significantly reduced tumor burden in the 4T1 murine mammary carcinoma model. Guadecitabine treatment prevents excessive tumor-induced myeloid proliferation and systemic accumulation, and skews remaining MDSCs toward a beneficial antigen-presenting phenotype. Together, this alters the splenic environment to improve T cell activation and interferon-gamma (IFNg) production. Additionally, guadecitabine enhances the therapeutic effect of adoptively transferred antigen-experienced lymphocytes to diminish tumor growth and improve overall survival. Based on these findings, the immune-modulatory effects of guadecitabine can help rescue the anti-tumor immune response and could contribute to the overall effectiveness of current cancer immunotherapies.

Allergies and asthma are common ailments that are on the rise around the world. Mast cells play a direct role in the signs and symptoms characteristic in allergic patients. The family of A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinases (ADAMs) are involved in regulating many cellular processes by cleaving surface receptors, ligands, and signaling molecules. We sought to determine the role of ADAM17 in mast cell activity. In studies using ADAM17-deficient mast cells, percent degranulation and cytokines released by IgE-mediated activation were significantly reduced. Interestingly, ionomycin-activation was unchanged, suggesting ADAM17 may be involved in IgE-mediated mast cell activation upstream of calcium release. Additionally, ADAM17MC-/- mice showed protection from IgE-, but not histamine-, mediated passive systemic anaphylaxis (PSA). The underlying mechanism behind the reduced degranulation occurs through signaling deficiencies downstream of Lyn phosphorylation. Together, the data suggest that ADAM17 is required for proper mast cell signaling through its interaction with the Src family kinase, Lyn.


© Andrea Luker

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Available for download on Tuesday, April 30, 2024