Matching Items (15)

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Understanding Differences Between Susceptibility and Resistance to White-Nose Syndrome in Bats: Methodological Optimization

Description

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease that infects hibernating bats of multiple species across large portions of eastern North America. To date, WNS has been responsible for the deaths of over seven million bats. It is not yet known

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease that infects hibernating bats of multiple species across large portions of eastern North America. To date, WNS has been responsible for the deaths of over seven million bats. It is not yet known why certain species are able to resist infection. Since the fungus invades the skin and some resistant species show no signs of the characteristic cutaneous lesions, it seems likely that resistant species contain specific defense mechanisms within their skin, such as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and other immunologically relevant proteins expressed by specific cell types or as secreted soluble components. Proteomics could be a useful tool for understanding differences in susceptibility, and could help identify AMPs that could be synthesized and used as control agents against the spread of the causative fungus. This study is the first to optimize proteomics methods for bat wing tissues in order to compare the skin proteomes of species variably impacted by WNS, including those of two endangered species. Further tests are planned to investigate methods of increasing protein yield without altering the size of the tissue sample collected, as well as the analysis of mass spectrometry data from processed skin tissues of five bat species differentially affected by WNS.

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2018-05

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Improving the Valley Fever Gene Annotation Through Proteogenomic Analysis

Description

Valley Fever, also known as coccidioidomycosis, is a respiratory disease that affects 10,000 people annually, primarily in Arizona and California. Due to a lack of gene annotation, diagnosis and treatment of Valley Fever is severely limited. In turn, gene annotation

Valley Fever, also known as coccidioidomycosis, is a respiratory disease that affects 10,000 people annually, primarily in Arizona and California. Due to a lack of gene annotation, diagnosis and treatment of Valley Fever is severely limited. In turn, gene annotation efforts are also hampered by incomplete genome sequencing. We intend to use proteogenomic analysis to reannotate the Coccidioides posadasii str. Silveira genome from protein-level data. Protein samples extracted from both phases of Silveira were fragmented into peptides, sequenced, and compared against databases of known and predicted proteins sequences, as well as a de novo six-frame translation of the genome. 288 unique peptides were located that did not match a known Silveira annotation, and of those 169 were associated with another Coccidioides strain. Additionally, 17 peptides were found at the boundary of, or outside of, the current gene annotation comprising four distinct clusters. For one of these clusters, we were able to calculate a lower bound and an estimate for the size of the gap between two Silveira contigs using the Coccidioides immitis RS transcript associated with that cluster's peptides \u2014 these predictions were consistent with the current annotation's scaffold structure. Three peptides were associated with an actively translated transposon, and a putative active site was located within an intact LTR retrotransposon. We note that gene annotation is necessarily hindered by the quality and level of detail in prior genome sequencing efforts, and recommend that future studies involving reannotation include additional sequencing as well as gene annotation via proteogenomics or other methods.

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2016-12

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The Proteomic Profile of Chronic Stress and Recovery in the Hippocampus

Description

The stress response facilitates our ability to deal effectively with threatening situations, but exposure to severe or chronic stressors can lead to undesirable neural, physiological, and behavioral outcomes. Chronic stress is associated with structural changes in the rat hippocampus, with

The stress response facilitates our ability to deal effectively with threatening situations, but exposure to severe or chronic stressors can lead to undesirable neural, physiological, and behavioral outcomes. Chronic stress is associated with structural changes in the rat hippocampus, with corresponding deficits in learning and memory. Recent studies have uncovered an inherent neuroplasticity that allows the hippocampus to recover from these stress-induced neural changes. Underlying mechanisms likely involve several different cellular and molecular pathways. In order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of these pathways, we investigated differences in protein expression throughout the timeline of chronic stress and recovery. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to chronic restraint stress for 6hr/d/10d or 6hr/d/21d, stress for 6hr/d/21d followed by a recovery period of no stress for 10 or 21 days, or a control group. The proteome from the hippocampus of these rats was sequenced using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and analyzed. We hypothesized that chronic stress alters interneuronal signaling in the hippocampus by enhancing or attenuating the expression of proteins responsible for synaptic plasticity (functional) and neuronal structure (morphology). So far we have found that structural proteins, such as alpha-internexin, homer protein homolog 3, neurofilament light, and vimentin were significantly altered by chronic stress and recovery. In contrast, proteins necessary for or associated with myelination such as 2',3'-cyclic-nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase, myelin-associated glycoprotein, myelin basic protein S, and myelin proteolipid protein were significantly downregulated by chronic stress. Collectively, these results will provide a resource for further investigations into the mechanisms of the brain's recovery from chronic stress.

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2016-05

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Proteomics: The New Beginning to Discovering a Drug Treatment for Schizophrenia

Description

Though schizophrenia was categorized as a mental illness over 100 years ago, there is a plethora of knowledge that continues to perplex the scientific and medical community alike. This tragic mental disorder affects approximately 1% of the general population, and

Though schizophrenia was categorized as a mental illness over 100 years ago, there is a plethora of knowledge that continues to perplex the scientific and medical community alike. This tragic mental disorder affects approximately 1% of the general population, and many of these individuals are homeless if left untreated. Each schizophrenia patient has a different set of symptoms, so all of these patients experience a variety of positive and negative symptoms. Negative symptoms are called so as they are in absence, and some examples include apathy, anhedonia, lack of motivation, reduced social drive, and reduced cognitive functioning. Positive behavior, on the other hand, is a change in behavior or thoughts such as visual or auditory hallucinations, delusions, confused thoughts, disorganized speech, and trouble concentrating. Because schizophrenia patients do not share the exact same set of symptoms, research in schizophrenia requires a tremendous amount of medical resources. Over the last few years, new studies have started in the field of schizophrenia involving proteomics, or the study of proteins and their function. This new frontier gives doctors and scientists alike a new opportunity to improve the quality of life of schizophrenia patients by providing a potential method through which patients would receive individualized treatment based on their specific symptoms.

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2021-05

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Proteomic, genetic, and biochemical analyses of two-component regulatory systems in Porphyromonas gingivalis and Escherichia coli

Description

Pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria employ a variety of molecular mechanisms to combat host defenses. Two-component regulatory systems (TCR systems) are the most ubiquitous signal transduction systems which regulate many genes required for virulence and survival of bacteria. In this study, I

Pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria employ a variety of molecular mechanisms to combat host defenses. Two-component regulatory systems (TCR systems) are the most ubiquitous signal transduction systems which regulate many genes required for virulence and survival of bacteria. In this study, I analyzed different TCR systems in two clinically-relevant Gram-negative bacteria, i.e., oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis and enterobacterial Escherichia coli. P. gingivalis is a major causative agent of periodontal disease as well as systemic illnesses, like cardiovascular disease. A microarray study found that the putative PorY-PorX TCR system controls the secretion and maturation of virulence factors, as well as loci involved in the PorSS secretion system, which secretes proteinases, i.e., gingipains, responsible for periodontal disease. Proteomic analysis (SILAC) was used to improve the microarray data, reverse-transcription PCR to verify the proteomic data, and primer extension assay to determine the promoter regions of specific PorX regulated loci. I was able to characterize multiple genetic loci regulated by this TCR system, many of which play an essential role in hemagglutination and host-cell adhesion, and likely contribute to virulence in this bacterium. Enteric Gram-negative bacteria must withstand many host defenses such as digestive enzymes, low pH, and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). The CpxR-CpxA TCR system of E. coli has been extensively characterized and shown to be required for protection against AMPs. Most recently, this TCR system has been shown to up-regulate the rfe-rff operon which encodes genes involved in the production of enterobacterial common antigen (ECA), and confers protection against a variety of AMPs. In this study, I utilized primer extension and DNase I footprinting to determine how CpxR regulates the ECA operon. My findings suggest that CpxR modulates transcription by directly binding to the rfe promoter. Multiple genetic and biochemical approaches were used to demonstrate that specific TCR systems contribute to regulation of virulence factors and resistance to host defenses in P. gingivalis and E. coli, respectively. Understanding these genetic circuits provides insight into strategies for pathogenesis and resistance to host defenses in Gram negative bacterial pathogens. Finally, these data provide compelling potential molecular targets for therapeutics to treat P. gingivalis and E. coli infections.

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Date Created
2013

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Whole cell proteomics: understanding sperm composition and maturation

Description

Infertility has become an increasing problem in developed countries and in many cases can be attributed to compromised sperm quality. Assessment of male fertility typically utilizes semen analysis which mainly examines sperm morphology, however many males whose sperm appear normal

Infertility has become an increasing problem in developed countries and in many cases can be attributed to compromised sperm quality. Assessment of male fertility typically utilizes semen analysis which mainly examines sperm morphology, however many males whose sperm appear normal are sub- or infertile, suggesting that sperm from these males may be deficient in a protein or suite of proteins. To date, very little is known about the composition of sperm or the complex maturation process that confers motility and fertilization competency to sperm. Chapter 1 discusses the use of whole cell mass spectrometry to identify 1247 proteins comprising the Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) sperm proteome, a commonly used model of human reproduction. This study provides a more robust proxy of human sperm composition than was previously available and facilitates studies of sperm using the rhesus macaque as a model. Chapters 2 & 3 provide a systems level overview of changes in sperm proteome composition that occurs during epididymal transit. Chapter 2 reports the proteomes of sperm collected from the caput, corpus and cauda segments of the mouse epididymis, identifying 1536, 1720 and 1234 proteins respectively. Chapter 3 reports the sperm proteome from four distinct segments of the Rhesus macaque epididymis, including the caput, proximal corpus, distal corpus and cauda, identifying 1951, 2014, 1764 and 1423 proteins respectively. These studies identify a number of proteins that are added and removed from sperm during epididymal transit which likely play an important role in the sperm maturation process. To date no comparative evolutionary studies of sperm proteomes have been undertaken. Chapter 4 compares four mammalian sperm proteomes including the human, macaque, mouse and rat. This study identified 98 proteins common to all four sperm proteomes, 82 primate and 90 rodent lineage-specific proteins and 494, 467, 566, and 193 species specific proteins in the human, macaque, mouse and rat sperm proteomes respectively and discusses how differences in sperm composition may ultimately lead to functional differences across species. Finally, chapter 5 uses sperm proteome data to inform the preliminary design of a rodent contraceptive vaccine delivered orally using recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccine vectors.

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Date Created
2013

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Improving Peptide Identification in Shotgun Proteomics Using Deep Neural Networks

Description

In shotgun proteomics, liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry
(LC-MS/MS) is used to identify and quantify peptides and proteins. LC-MS/MS produces mass spectra, which must be searched by one or more engines, which employ
algorithms to match spectra to

In shotgun proteomics, liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry
(LC-MS/MS) is used to identify and quantify peptides and proteins. LC-MS/MS produces mass spectra, which must be searched by one or more engines, which employ
algorithms to match spectra to theoretical spectra derived from a reference database.
These engines identify and characterize proteins and their component peptides. By
training a convolutional neural network on a dataset of over 6 million MS/MS spectra
derived from human proteins, we aim to create a tool that can quickly and effectively
identify spectra as peptides prior to database searching. This can significantly reduce search space and thus run time for database searches, thereby accelerating LCMS/MS-based proteomics data acquisition. Additionally, by training neural networks
on labels derived from the search results of three different database search engines, we
aim to examine and compare which features are best identified by individual search
engines, a neural network, or a combination of these.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Targeted proteomics studies: design, development and translation of mass spectrometric immunoassays for diabetes and kidney disease

Description

In an effort to begin validating the large number of discovered candidate biomarkers, proteomics is beginning to shift from shotgun proteomic experiments towards targeted proteomic approaches that provide solutions to automation and economic concerns. Such approaches to validate biomarkers necessitate

In an effort to begin validating the large number of discovered candidate biomarkers, proteomics is beginning to shift from shotgun proteomic experiments towards targeted proteomic approaches that provide solutions to automation and economic concerns. Such approaches to validate biomarkers necessitate the mass spectrometric analysis of hundreds to thousands of human samples. As this takes place, a serendipitous opportunity has become evident. By the virtue that as one narrows the focus towards "single" protein targets (instead of entire proteomes) using pan-antibody-based enrichment techniques, a discovery science has emerged, so to speak. This is due to the largely unknown context in which "single" proteins exist in blood (i.e. polymorphisms, transcript variants, and posttranslational modifications) and hence, targeted proteomics has applications for established biomarkers. Furthermore, besides protein heterogeneity accounting for interferences with conventional immunometric platforms, it is becoming evident that this formerly hidden dimension of structural information also contains rich-pathobiological information. Consequently, targeted proteomics studies that aim to ascertain a protein's genuine presentation within disease- stratified populations and serve as a stepping-stone within a biomarker translational pipeline are of clinical interest. Roughly 128 million Americans are pre-diabetic, diabetic, and/or have kidney disease and public and private spending for treating these diseases is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. In an effort to create new solutions for the early detection and management of these conditions, described herein is the design, development, and translation of mass spectrometric immunoassays targeted towards diabetes and kidney disease. Population proteomics experiments were performed for the following clinically relevant proteins: insulin, C-peptide, RANTES, and parathyroid hormone. At least thirty-eight protein isoforms were detected. Besides the numerous disease correlations confronted within the disease-stratified cohorts, certain isoforms also appeared to be causally related to the underlying pathophysiology and/or have therapeutic implications. Technical advancements include multiplexed isoform quantification as well a "dual- extraction" methodology for eliminating non-specific proteins while simultaneously validating isoforms. Industrial efforts towards widespread clinical adoption are also described. Consequently, this work lays a foundation for the translation of mass spectrometric immunoassays into the clinical arena and simultaneously presents the most recent advancements concerning the mass spectrometric immunoassay approach.

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Date Created
2011

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Gene annotation using the proteome

Description

While the entire human genome has been sequenced, the understanding of its functional elements remains unclear. The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project analyzed 1% of the human genome and found that the majority of the human genome is transcribed,

While the entire human genome has been sequenced, the understanding of its functional elements remains unclear. The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project analyzed 1% of the human genome and found that the majority of the human genome is transcribed, including non-protein coding regions. The hypothesis is that some of the "non-coding" sequences are translated into peptides and small proteins. Using mass spectrometry numerous peptides derived from the ENCODE transcriptome were identified. Peptides and small proteins were also found from non-coding regions of the 1% of the human genome that the ENCODE did not find transcripts for. A large portion of these peptides mapped to the intronic regions of known genes, thus it is suspected that they may be undiscovered exons present in alternative spliceoforms of certain genes. Further studies proved the existence of polyadenylated RNAs coding for these peptides. Although their functional significance has not been determined, I anticipate the findings will lead to the discovery of new splice variants of known genes and possibly new transcriptional and translational mechanisms.

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Date Created
2010

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Immunosignature of Alzheimer's disease

Description

The goal of this thesis is to test whether Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with distinctive humoral immune changes that can be detected in plasma and tracked across time. This is relevant because AD is the principal cause of dementia,

The goal of this thesis is to test whether Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with distinctive humoral immune changes that can be detected in plasma and tracked across time. This is relevant because AD is the principal cause of dementia, and yet, no specific diagnostic tests are universally employed in clinical practice to predict, diagnose or monitor disease progression. In particular, I describe herein a proteomic platform developed at the Center for Innovations in Medicine (CIM) consisting of a slide with 10.000 random-sequence peptides printed on its surface, which is used as the solid phase of an immunoassay where antibodies of interest are allowed to react and subsequently detected with a labeled secondary antibody. The pattern of antibody binding to the microarray is unique for each individual animal or person. This thesis will evaluate the versatility of the microarray platform and how it can be used to detect and characterize the binding patterns of antibodies relevant to the pathophysiology of AD as well as the plasma samples of animal models of AD and elderly humans with or without dementia. My specific aims were to evaluate the emergence and stability of immunosignature in mice with cerebral amyloidosis, and characterize the immunosignature of humans with AD. Plasma samples from APPswe/PSEN1-dE9 transgenic mice were evaluated longitudinally from 2 to 15 months of age to compare the evolving immunosignature with non-transgenic control mice. Immunological variation across different time-points was assessed, with particular emphasis on time of emergence of a characteristic pattern. In addition, plasma samples from AD patients and age-matched individuals without dementia were assayed on the peptide microarray and binding patterns were compared. It is hoped that these experiments will be the basis for a larger study of the diagnostic merits of the microarray-based immunoassay in dementia clinics.

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Date Created
2011