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Effect of Rexinoids on Inducing Effector T Cell Chemotaxis

Description

The retinoid-X receptor (RXR) can form heterodimers with both the retinoic-acid
receptor (RAR) and vitamin D receptor (VDR). The RXR/RAR dimer is activated by ligand all
trans retinoic acid (ATRA), which culminates in gut-specific effector T cell migration. Similarly,

The retinoid-X receptor (RXR) can form heterodimers with both the retinoic-acid
receptor (RAR) and vitamin D receptor (VDR). The RXR/RAR dimer is activated by ligand all
trans retinoic acid (ATRA), which culminates in gut-specific effector T cell migration. Similarly,
the VDR/RXR dimer binds 1,25(OH)2D3 to cause skin-specific effector T cell migration.
Targeted migration is a potent addition to current vaccines, as it would induce activated T cell
trafficking to appropriate areas of the immune system and ensure optimal stimulation (40).
ATRA, while in use clinically, is limited by toxicity and chemical instability. Rexinoids
are stable, synthetically developed ligands specific for the RXR. We have previously shown that
select rexinoids can enhance upregulation of gut tropic CCR9 receptors on effector T cells.
However, it is important to establish whether these cells can actually migrate, to show the
potential of rexinoids as vaccine adjuvants that can cause gut specific T cell migration.
Additionally, since the RXR is a major contributor to VDR-mediated transcription and
epidermotropism (15), it is worth investigating whether these compounds can also function as
adjuvants that promote migration by increasing expression of skin tropic CCR10 receptors on T
cells.
Prior experiments have demonstrated that select rexinoids can induce gut tropic migration
of CD8+ T cells in an in vitro assay and are comparable in effectiveness to ATRA (7). The effect
of rexinoids on CD4+ T cells is unknown however, so the aim of this project was to determine if
rexinoids can cause gut tropic migration in CD4+ T cells to a similar extent. A secondary aim
was to investigate whether varying concentrations in 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 can be linked to
increasing CCR10 upregulation on Jurkat CD4+ T cells, with the future aim to combine 1,25
Dihydroxyvitamin D3 with rexinoids.
These hypotheses were tested using murine splenocytes for the migration experiment, and
human Jurkat CD4+ T cells for the vitamin D experiment. Migration was assessed using a
Transwell chemotaxis assay. Our findings support the potential of rexinoids as compounds
capable of causing gut-tropic migration in murine CD4+ T cells in vitro, like ATRA. We did not
observe conclusive evidence that vitamin D3 causes upregulated CCR10 expression, but this
experiment must be repeated with a human primary T cell line.

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2020-05

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A Review of the Human Vermiform Appendix and its Proposed Function

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Since its discovery in 1524, many people have characterized the vermiform appendix. Charles Darwin considered the human appendix to be a vestige and a useless structure. Others at the time opposed this hypothesis. However, Darwin's hypothesis became prevalent one until

Since its discovery in 1524, many people have characterized the vermiform appendix. Charles Darwin considered the human appendix to be a vestige and a useless structure. Others at the time opposed this hypothesis. However, Darwin's hypothesis became prevalent one until recently when there became a renewed interest in the appendix because of advancements in microscopes, knowledge of the immune system, and phylogenetics. In this review, I will argue that the vermiform appendix, although still not completely understood, has important functions. First, I will give the anatomy of the appendix. I will discuss the comparative anatomy between different animals and also primates. I will address the effects of appendicitis and appendectomy. I will give background on vestigial structures and will discuss if the appendix is a vestige. Following, I will review the evolution of the appendix. Finally, I will argue that the function of the appendix is as an immune organ, including discussion of gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), development of lymphoid follicles in GALT and their comparison within different organs, Immunoglobulin A (IgA) function in the gut, biofilms as evidence that the appendix is a safe-house for beneficial bacteria, re-inoculation of the bowel, and protection against recurring infection. I will conclude with future studies that should be conducted to further our understanding of the vermiform appendix.

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2018-05

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The Development of a Plant-Expressed M2e-Based Universal Influenza Vaccine

Description

Influenza is a deadly disease for which effective vaccines are sorely lacking. This is largely due to the phenomena of antigenic shift and drift in the influenza virus's surface proteins, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). The ectodomain of the matrix

Influenza is a deadly disease for which effective vaccines are sorely lacking. This is largely due to the phenomena of antigenic shift and drift in the influenza virus's surface proteins, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). The ectodomain of the matrix 2 protein (M2e) of influenza A, however, has demonstrated high levels of conservation. On its own it is poorly immunogenic and offers little protection against influenza infections, but by combining it with a potent adjuvant, this limitation may be overcome. Recombinant immune complexes, or antigens fused to antibodies that have been engineered to form incredibly immunogenic complexes with one another, were previously shown to be useful, immunogenic platforms for the presentation of various antigens and could provide the boost in immunogenicity that M2e needs to become a powerful universal influenza A vaccine. In this thesis, genetic constructs containing geminiviral replication proteins and coding for a consensus sequence of dimeric M2e fused to antibodies featuring complimentary epitopes and epitope tags were generated and used to transform Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The transformed bacteria was then used to cause Nicotiana benthamiana to transiently express M2e-RICs at very high levels, with enough RICs being gathered to evaluate their potency in future mouse trials. Future directions and areas for further research are discussed.

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2018-05

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Development of Nanozymes from 2D Materials for Optical Detection of Neurotransmitters

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This paper discusses the possibility of utilizing 2D molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) as a nanozyme to detect dopamine colorimetric assays, first by detecting color change in liquid solutions due to oxidation and then second on paper-based assays. MoS2 samples dispersed in

This paper discusses the possibility of utilizing 2D molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) as a nanozyme to detect dopamine colorimetric assays, first by detecting color change in liquid solutions due to oxidation and then second on paper-based assays. MoS2 samples dispersed in methylcellulose (MC) solution were prepared using liquid-phase exfoliation through sonication. The dopamine (DOPA) and hydrogen peroxide (H¬¬2O2) solutions were prepared separately in specific concentrations. The solutions were mixed in a well plate and colorimetric results were analyzed by a plate reader, revealing a quantitative relationship between dopamine concentration and absorbance. Subsequent testing was conducted using paper assays, where combined solutions of DOPA and H2O2 were dropped onto paper with printed wax wells that contained dried MoS2. An analysis of the color change was conducted using a smartphone application called Color Grab to detect the red, green, and blue (RGB) values. Plotting the RGB results across the dopamine concentrations revealed a positively correlated relationship between the two factors, suggesting that a predictive model could be developed to predict dopamine concentrations based on measured colorimetric values.

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2019-05

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Worker Policing Mechanisms in Ponerine Ant Species

Description

For colonies of ponerine ant species, sterility regulation after a founding queen's death is not totally achieved in the worker caste, and the possibility of sexual reproduction is opened to workers. The persisting survival of these colonies is dependent on

For colonies of ponerine ant species, sterility regulation after a founding queen's death is not totally achieved in the worker caste, and the possibility of sexual reproduction is opened to workers. The persisting survival of these colonies is dependent on capturing the optimal reproductive ratio; yet, an informational gap bounds the mechanisms detailing the selection of new reproductives and the suppression of ovarian development in rejected reproductives. We investigated the mechanisms of worker policing, one of the primary methods of ovarian suppression, through continuous video observation for a period of five days at the start of colony instability. Observations suggest policing in H. saltator is performed by a majority of a colony, including potential reproductives, and requires multiple events to fully discourage ovarian growth.

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2018-12

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A protocol for Resolving Indeterminate Blood Phenotypes in Rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and Cynomolgus Macaques (M. fascicularis)

Description

Rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus (M. fascicularis) macaques are the most commonly used nonhuman primate models in biomedical research. It is therefore critical to correctly infer each study animal's ABO blood group phenotype to prevent fatal transfusion- and transplantation-induced immune

Rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus (M. fascicularis) macaques are the most commonly used nonhuman primate models in biomedical research. It is therefore critical to correctly infer each study animal's ABO blood group phenotype to prevent fatal transfusion- and transplantation-induced immune responses. While most macaques can be efficiently and accurately phenotyped using a DNA-based assay, we have identified some animals that are unable to be classified as type A, B, or AB and therefore exhibit an indeterminate phenotype. The purpose of this study was to develop a protocol for resolving indeterminate blood group phenotypes and consequently determine if these animals do indeed belong to an O blood phenotype. We attempted both direct and cloning-based sequencing of 21 animals phenotyped as A, B, AB, or indeterminate in order to assess variation at the functional mutation site in exon 7 of the macaque ABO gene. Although direct-from-PCR Sanger sequencing was unable to generate reliable sequence results, our cloned plasmid protocol yielded high quality sequences consistent with known blood group-specific alleles and as such can be used to identify informative polymorphisms at this locus.

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2018-05

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Why Pigs? An Analysis of the Use of Porcine Over Human-derived Enzymes via Digestion Simulation

Description

Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) is a treatment often used for patients with disorders that affect the production of various enzymes within the body, such as Cystic Fibrosis and Fabry Disease. ERT involves the use of artificially-produced enzymes, which can be

Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) is a treatment often used for patients with disorders that affect the production of various enzymes within the body, such as Cystic Fibrosis and Fabry Disease. ERT involves the use of artificially-produced enzymes, which can be derived from humans, pigs, and bacteria. Generally, enzymes derived from porcine and bacterial sources are much less expensive and more accessible than those derived from a human source. This, and the ethical implications that porcine enzymes carry, make the decision of choosing treatment simple to some and complex to others. Ethically, human-derived enzymes are often considered more ethical, while not conflicting with religious beliefs and practices as porcine-derived enzymes do.
In order to further compare porcine and human-derived enzymes, a determination of the enzyme effectiveness was done via digestion simulation. The digestion for both the human and porcine-derived enzymes consisted of three steps: oral, gastric, and intestinal. After the digestion, the absorbance for each enzyme class as well as a dilution curve of the formula used was read and recorded. Using the standard dilution curve and the absorbance values for each unknown, the formula and thus enzyme concentration that was lost through the reaction was able to be calculated.
The effectiveness of both the human and porcine enzymes, determined by the percent of formula lost, was 18.2% and 19.7%, respectively, with an error of 0.6% from the spectrophotometer, and an error of about 10% from the scale used for measuring the enzymes. This error was likely due to the small mass required of the enzymes and can be prevented in the future by performing the experiment at a larger scale.

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2020-05

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Variance in bee species richness: seasonal, spatial, and temporal differences

Description

Bee communities form the keystone of many ecosystems through their pollination services. They are dynamic and often subject to significant changes due to several different factors such as climate, urban development, and other anthropogenic disturbances. As a result, the world

Bee communities form the keystone of many ecosystems through their pollination services. They are dynamic and often subject to significant changes due to several different factors such as climate, urban development, and other anthropogenic disturbances. As a result, the world has been experiencing a decline in bee diversity and abundance, which can have detrimental effects in the ecosystems they inhabit. One of the largest factors that impacts bees in today's world is the rapid urbanization of our planet, and it impacts the bee community in mixed ways. Not very much is understood about the bee communities that exist in urban habitats, but as urbanization is inevitably going to continue, knowledge on bee communities will need to strengthen. This study aims to determine the levels of variance in bee communities, considering multiple variables that bee communities can differ in. The following three questions are posed: do bee communities that are spatially separated differ significantly? Do bee communities that are separated by seasons differ significantly? Do bee communities that are separated temporally (by year, interannually) differ significantly? The procedure to conduct this experiment consists of netting and trapping bees at two sites at various times using the same methods. The data is then statistically analyzed for differences in abundance, richness, diversity, and species composition. After performing the various statistical analyses, it has been discovered that bee communities that are spatially separated, seasonally separated, or interannually separated do not differ significantly when it comes to abundance and richness. Spatially separated bee communities and interannually separated bee communities show a moderate level of dissimilarity in their species composition, while seasonally separated bee communities show a greater level of dissimilarity in species composition. Finally, seasonally separated bee communities demonstrate the greatest disparity of bee diversity, while interannually separated bee communities show the least disparity of bee diversity. This study was conducted over the time span of two years, and while the levels of variance of an urban area between these variables were determined, further variance studies of greater length or larger areas should be conducted to increase the currently limited knowledge of bee communities in urban areas. Additional studies on precipitation amounts and their effects on bee communities should be conducted, and studies from other regions should be taken into consideration while attempting to understand what is likely the most environmentally significant group of insects.

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2017-05

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Genetics of Athletic Performance

Description

Abstract
Purpose—Use a framework of genetic knowledge to investigate the association between the genotypes of various genes with phenotypes, specifically the traits of elite athletes, in order to establish a personal opinion on their relevance to athletic performance.

Abstract
Purpose—Use a framework of genetic knowledge to investigate the association between the genotypes of various genes with phenotypes, specifically the traits of elite athletes, in order to establish a personal opinion on their relevance to athletic performance.
Methods—Assemble and analyze selected published scientific studies on genotype and athletic performance and lastly to formulate a personal opinion on the value of genetic testing of athletes. ACTN3, ACE, MSTN, and apoE were the genes selected for analyses.
Results—Two genes, ACTN3 and ACE, showed a significant relationship of genotype to phenotypic traits related to athletic performance. ApoE did not demonstrate a phenotypic association with athletic performance, however it showed a correlation with injury susceptibility leading to traumatic brain injury (TBI). MSTN did not show a phenotypic association with athletic performance.
Conclusion—When considering the multifactorial nature of athletics, each sport must be investigated individually due to the different individual requirements. ACTN3 and ACE are the most widely studied genes, therefore, considerable data on their relevance to athletic performance was easily obtained and supported a relationship between genotype and athletic performance.

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2017-05

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The Effects of Sleep on Bone Mineral Density in College-Aged Males and Females

Description

Sleep is imperative for health and wellness with direct impacts on brain function, physiology, emotional well-being, performance and safety when compromised. Adolescents and young adults are increasingly affected by factors affecting the maintenance of regular sleep schedules. College and university

Sleep is imperative for health and wellness with direct impacts on brain function, physiology, emotional well-being, performance and safety when compromised. Adolescents and young adults are increasingly affected by factors affecting the maintenance of regular sleep schedules. College and university students are a potentially vulnerable population to sleep deprivation and sleep insufficiency. Possible factors that could contribute to poor sleep hygiene include, but are not limited to, academic pressures, social activities, and increased screen time. Arguably, students are still experiencing bone mineralization, until the age of 30 or even 40 years old, which makes it more important to understand the effects that altered sleep patterns could have on continued development of bone health. It is our understanding that to date, studies assessing the risk of sleep insufficiency on bone mineral density in college students have not been conducted. We hypothesized that college-aged students, between the ages of 18-25 years, with shorter sleep durations, greater sleep schedule variability, and poorer sleep environments will have significantly lower bone mineral density. ActiGraph monitoring, via a wrist ActiWatch was used to quantitatively measure sleep habits for up to 7 consecutive days. During the week-long study participants also captured their self-reported sleep data through the use of a sleep diary. Participants were measured one time within the study for bone mineral density of the lumbar spine and total hip through a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. This was a preliminary analysis of a larger cross-sectional analysis looked at 17 participants, of which there were 14 females and 3 males, (n=5, 1 and 11 Hispanic, Black and White, respectively). The mean age of participants was 20.8±1.7 y with an average BMI of 22.9±3.2 kg/m2. ActiWatch measurement data showed a mean daily sleep duration of participants to be 437.5 ± 43.1 (372.5 – 509.4) minutes. Mean sleep efficiency (minutes of sleep divided by minutes of time in bed) and mean number of awakenings were 87.4±4.3 (75.4-93.4) minutes and 32.1±6.4 (22.3-42.7) awakenings, respectively. The median time for wake after sleep onset (WASO) was 34.5±10.5 (18.3-67.4) minutes. The mean bone mineral density (BMD) for the hips was 1.06±0.14 (0.81-1.28) g/cm2 with a mean BMD of the lumbar spine being 1.24±0.12 (0.92-1.43) g/cm2. Age-matched Z-scores of the hips was 0.31±0.96 (-1.6-2.1) and lumbar spine was 0.53 (IQR: 0.13, 0.98; -2.25-1.55). Neither sleep duration nor sleep efficiency was significantly correlated to BMD of either locations. While WASO was positively associated with hip and spine BMD, this value was not statistically significant in this population. Overall, associations between sleep and BMD of the femur and spine were not seen in this cohort. Further work utilizing a larger cohort will allow for control of covariates while looking for potential associations between bone health, sleep duration and efficiency.

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2017-05