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Characterization and analysis of a novel platform for profiling the antibody response

Description

Immunosignaturing is a new immunodiagnostic technology that uses random-sequence peptide microarrays to profile the humoral immune response. Though the peptides have little sequence homology to any known protein, binding of serum antibodies may be detected, and the pattern correlated to

Immunosignaturing is a new immunodiagnostic technology that uses random-sequence peptide microarrays to profile the humoral immune response. Though the peptides have little sequence homology to any known protein, binding of serum antibodies may be detected, and the pattern correlated to disease states. The aim of my dissertation is to analyze the factors affecting the binding patterns using monoclonal antibodies and determine how much information may be extracted from the sequences. Specifically, I examined the effects of antibody concentration, competition, peptide density, and antibody valence. Peptide binding could be detected at the low concentrations relevant to immunosignaturing, and a monoclonal's signature could even be detected in the presences of 100 fold excess naive IgG. I also found that peptide density was important, but this effect was not due to bivalent binding. Next, I examined in more detail how a polyreactive antibody binds to the random sequence peptides compared to protein sequence derived peptides, and found that it bound to many peptides from both sets, but with low apparent affinity. An in depth look at how the peptide physicochemical properties and sequence complexity revealed that there were some correlations with properties, but they were generally small and varied greatly between antibodies. However, on a limited diversity but larger peptide library, I found that sequence complexity was important for antibody binding. The redundancy on that library did enable the identification of specific sub-sequences recognized by an antibody. The current immunosignaturing platform has little repetition of sub-sequences, so I evaluated several methods to infer antibody epitopes. I found two methods that had modest prediction accuracy, and I developed a software application called GuiTope to facilitate the epitope prediction analysis. None of the methods had sufficient accuracy to identify an unknown antigen from a database. In conclusion, the characteristics of the immunosignaturing platform observed through monoclonal antibody experiments demonstrate its promise as a new diagnostic technology. However, a major limitation is the difficulty in connecting the signature back to the original antigen, though larger peptide libraries could facilitate these predictions.

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Created

Date Created
2011

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Computational modeling of peptide-protein binding

Description

Peptides offer great promise as targeted affinity ligands, but the space of possible peptide sequences is vast, making experimental identification of lead candidates expensive, difficult, and uncertain. Computational modeling can narrow the search by estimating the affinity and specificity

Peptides offer great promise as targeted affinity ligands, but the space of possible peptide sequences is vast, making experimental identification of lead candidates expensive, difficult, and uncertain. Computational modeling can narrow the search by estimating the affinity and specificity of a given peptide in relation to a predetermined protein target. The predictive performance of computational models of interactions of intermediate-length peptides with proteins can be improved by taking into account the stochastic nature of the encounter and binding dynamics. A theoretical case is made for the hypothesis that, because of the flexibility of the peptide and the structural complexity of the target protein, interactions are best characterized by an ensemble of possible bound configurations rather than a single “lock and key” fit. A model incorporating these factors is proposed and evaluated. A comprehensive dataset of 3,924 peptide-protein interface structures was extracted from the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and descriptors were computed characterizing the geometry and energetics of each interface. The characteristics of these interfaces are shown to be generally consistent with the proposed model, and heuristics for design and selection of peptide ligands are derived. The curated and energy-minimized interface structure dataset and a relational database containing the detailed results of analysis and energy modeling are made publicly available via a web repository. A novel analytical technique based on the proposed theoretical model, Virtual Scanning Probe Mapping (VSPM), is implemented in software to analyze the interaction between a target protein of known structure and a peptide of specified sequence, producing a spatial map indicating the most likely peptide binding regions on the protein target. The resulting predictions are shown to be superior to those of two other published methods, and support the validity of the stochastic binding model.

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Created

Date Created
2010

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Identification of neo-antigens for a cancer vaccine by transcriptome analysis

Description

We propose a novel solution to prevent cancer by developing a prophylactic cancer. Several sources of antigens for cancer vaccines have been published. Among these, antigens that contain a frame-shift (FS) peptide or viral peptide are quite attractive for a

We propose a novel solution to prevent cancer by developing a prophylactic cancer. Several sources of antigens for cancer vaccines have been published. Among these, antigens that contain a frame-shift (FS) peptide or viral peptide are quite attractive for a variety of reasons. FS sequences, from either mistake in RNA processing or in genomic DNA, may lead to generation of neo-peptides that are foreign to the immune system. Viral peptides presumably would originate from exogenous but integrated viral nucleic acid sequences. Both are non-self, therefore lessen concerns about development of autoimmunity. I have developed a bioinformatical approach to identify these aberrant transcripts in the cancer transcriptome. Their suitability for use in a vaccine is evaluated by establishing their frequencies and predicting possible epitopes along with their population coverage according to the prevalence of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) types. Viral transcripts and transcripts with FS mutations from gene fusion, insertion/deletion at coding microsatellite DNA, and alternative splicing were identified in NCBI Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) database. 48 FS chimeric transcripts were validated in 50 breast cell lines and 68 primary breast tumor samples with their frequencies from 4% to 98% by RT-PCR and sequencing confirmation. These 48 FS peptides, if translated and presented, could be used to protect more than 90% of the population in Northern America based on the prediction of epitopes derived from them. Furthermore, we synthesized 150 peptides that correspond to FS and viral peptides that we predicted would exist in tumor patients and we tested over 200 different cancer patient sera. We found a number of serological reactive peptide sequences in cancer patients that had little to no reactivity in healthy controls; strong support for the strength of our bioinformatic approach. This study describes a process used to identify aberrant transcripts that lead to a new source of antigens that can be tested and used in a prophylactic cancer vaccine. The vast amount of transcriptome data of various cancers from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project will enhance our ability to further select better cancer antigen candidates.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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Antibody based strategies for multiplexed diagnostics

Description

Peptide microarrays are to proteomics as sequencing is to genomics. As microarrays become more content-rich, higher resolution proteomic studies will parallel deep sequencing of nucleic acids. Antigen-antibody interactions can be studied at a much higher resolution using microarrays than was

Peptide microarrays are to proteomics as sequencing is to genomics. As microarrays become more content-rich, higher resolution proteomic studies will parallel deep sequencing of nucleic acids. Antigen-antibody interactions can be studied at a much higher resolution using microarrays than was possible only a decade ago. My dissertation focuses on testing the feasibility of using either the Immunosignature platform, based on non-natural peptide sequences, or a pathogen peptide microarray, which uses bioinformatically-selected peptides from pathogens for creating sensitive diagnostics. Both diagnostic applications use relatively little serum from infected individuals, but each approaches diagnosis of disease differently. The first project compares pathogen epitope peptide (life-space) and non-natural (random-space) peptide microarrays while using them for the early detection of Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever). The second project uses NIAID category A, B and C priority pathogen epitope peptides in a multiplexed microarray platform to assess the feasibility of using epitope peptides to simultaneously diagnose multiple exposures using a single assay. Cross-reactivity is a consistent feature of several antigen-antibody based immunodiagnostics. This work utilizes microarray optimization and bioinformatic approaches to distill the underlying disease specific antibody signature pattern. Circumventing inherent cross-reactivity observed in antibody binding to peptides was crucial to achieve the goal of this work to accurately distinguishing multiple exposures simultaneously.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Analysis of immunosignaturing case studies

Description

Immunosignaturing is a technology that allows the humoral immune response to be observed through the binding of antibodies to random sequence peptides. The immunosignaturing microarray is based on complex mixtures of antibodies binding to arrays of random sequence peptides in

Immunosignaturing is a technology that allows the humoral immune response to be observed through the binding of antibodies to random sequence peptides. The immunosignaturing microarray is based on complex mixtures of antibodies binding to arrays of random sequence peptides in a multiplexed fashion. There are computational and statistical challenges to the analysis of immunosignaturing data. The overall aim of my dissertation is to develop novel computational and statistical methods for immunosignaturing data to access its potential for diagnostics and drug discovery. Firstly, I discovered that a classification algorithm Naive Bayes which leverages the biological independence of the probes on our array in such a way as to gather more information outperforms other classification algorithms due to speed and accuracy. Secondly, using this classifier, I then tested the specificity and sensitivity of immunosignaturing platform for its ability to resolve four different diseases (pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes and panIN) that target the same organ (pancreas). These diseases were separated with >90% specificity from controls and from each other. Thirdly, I observed that the immunosignature of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications are unique, consistent, and reproducible and can be separated by 100% accuracy from controls. But when these two complications arise in the same person, the resultant immunosignature is quite different in that of individuals with only one disease. I developed a method to trace back from informative random peptides in disease signatures to the potential antigen(s). Hence, I built a decipher system to trace random peptides in type 1 diabetes immunosignature to known antigens. Immunosignaturing, unlike the ELISA, has the ability to not only detect the presence of response but also absence of response during a disease. I observed, not only higher but also lower peptides intensities can be mapped to antigens in type 1 diabetes. To study immunosignaturing potential for population diagnostics, I studied effect of age, gender and geographical location on immunosignaturing data. For its potential to be a health monitoring technology, I proposed a single metric Coefficient of Variation that has shown potential to change significantly when a person enters a disease state.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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Dense non-natural sequence peptide microarrays for epitope mapping and diagnostics

Description

The healthcare system in this country is currently unacceptable. New technologies may contribute to reducing cost and improving outcomes. Early diagnosis and treatment represents the least risky option for addressing this issue. Such a technology needs to be inexpensive, highly

The healthcare system in this country is currently unacceptable. New technologies may contribute to reducing cost and improving outcomes. Early diagnosis and treatment represents the least risky option for addressing this issue. Such a technology needs to be inexpensive, highly sensitive, highly specific, and amenable to adoption in a clinic. This thesis explores an immunodiagnostic technology based on highly scalable, non-natural sequence peptide microarrays designed to profile the humoral immune response and address the healthcare problem. The primary aim of this thesis is to explore the ability of these arrays to map continuous (linear) epitopes. I discovered that using a technique termed subsequence analysis where epitopes could be decisively mapped to an eliciting protein with high success rate. This led to the discovery of novel linear epitopes from Plasmodium falciparum (Malaria) and Treponema palladium (Syphilis), as well as validation of previously discovered epitopes in Dengue and monoclonal antibodies. Next, I developed and tested a classification scheme based on Support Vector Machines for development of a Dengue Fever diagnostic, achieving higher sensitivity and specificity than current FDA approved techniques. The software underlying this method is available for download under the BSD license. Following this, I developed a kinetic model for immunosignatures and tested it against existing data driven by previously unexplained phenomena. This model provides a framework and informs ways to optimize the platform for maximum stability and efficiency. I also explored the role of sequence composition in explaining an immunosignature binding profile, determining a strong role for charged residues that seems to have some predictive ability for disease. Finally, I developed a database, software and indexing strategy based on Apache Lucene for searching motif patterns (regular expressions) in large biological databases. These projects as a whole have advanced knowledge of how to approach high throughput immunodiagnostics and provide an example of how technology can be fused with biology in order to affect scientific and health outcomes.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Use of large, immunosignature databases to pose new questions about infection and health status

Description

Immunosignature is a technology that retrieves information from the immune system. The technology is based on microarrays with peptides chosen from random sequence space. My thesis focuses on improving the Immunosignature platform and using Immunosignatures to improve diagnosis for diseases.

Immunosignature is a technology that retrieves information from the immune system. The technology is based on microarrays with peptides chosen from random sequence space. My thesis focuses on improving the Immunosignature platform and using Immunosignatures to improve diagnosis for diseases. I first contributed to the optimization of the immunosignature platform by introducing scoring metrics to select optimal parameters, considering performance as well as practicality. Next, I primarily worked on identifying a signature shared across various pathogens that can distinguish them from the healthy population. I further retrieved consensus epitopes from the disease common signature and proposed that most pathogens could share the signature by studying the enrichment of the common signature in the pathogen proteomes. Following this, I worked on studying cancer samples from different stages and correlated the immune response with whether the epitope presented by tumor is similar to the pathogen proteome. An effective immune response is defined as an antibody titer increasing followed by decrease, suggesting elimination of the epitope. I found that an effective immune response usually correlates with epitopes that are more similar to pathogens. This suggests that the immune system might occupy a limited space and can be effective against only certain epitopes that have similarity with pathogens. I then participated in the attempt to solve the antibiotic resistance problem by developing a classification algorithm that can distinguish bacterial versus viral infection. This algorithm outperforms other currently available classification methods. Finally, I worked on the concept of deriving a single number to represent all the data on the immunosignature platform. This is in resemblance to the concept of temperature, which is an approximate measurement of whether an individual is healthy. The measure of Immune Entropy was found to work best as a single measurement to describe the immune system information derived from the immunosignature. Entropy is relatively invariant in healthy population, but shows significant differences when comparing healthy donors with patients either infected with a pathogen or have cancer.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2018

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Frameshift antigens for cancer vaccine development

Description

Immunotherapy has been revitalized with the advent of immune checkpoint blockade

treatments, and neo-antigens are the targets of immune system in cancer patients who

respond to the treatments. The cancer vaccine field is focused on using neo-antigens from

unique point mutations of genomic

Immunotherapy has been revitalized with the advent of immune checkpoint blockade

treatments, and neo-antigens are the targets of immune system in cancer patients who

respond to the treatments. The cancer vaccine field is focused on using neo-antigens from

unique point mutations of genomic sequence in the cancer patient for making

personalized cancer vaccines. However, we choose a different path to find frameshift

neo-antigens at the mRNA level and develop broadly effective cancer vaccines based on

frameshift antigens.

In this dissertation, I have summarized and characterized all the potential frameshift

antigens from microsatellite regions in human, dog and mouse. A list of frameshift

antigens was validated by PCR in tumor samples and the mutation rate was calculated for

one candidate – SEC62. I develop a method to screen the antibody response against

frameshift antigens in human and dog cancer patients by using frameshift peptide arrays.

Frameshift antigens selected by positive antibody response in cancer patients or by MHC

predictions show protection in different mouse tumor models. A dog version of the

cancer vaccine based on frameshift antigens was developed and tested in a small safety

trial. The results demonstrate that the vaccine is safe and it can induce strong B and T cell

immune responses. Further, I built the human exon junction frameshift database which

includes all possible frameshift antigens from mis-splicing events in exon junctions, and I

develop a method to find potential frameshift antigens from large cancer

immunosignature dataset with these databases. In addition, I test the idea of ‘early cancer

diagnosis, early treatment’ in a transgenic mouse cancer model. The results show that

ii

early treatment gives significantly better protection than late treatment and the correct

time point for treatment is crucial to give the best clinical benefit. A model for early

treatment is developed with these results.

Frameshift neo-antigens from microsatellite regions and mis-splicing events are

abundant at mRNA level and they are better antigens than neo-antigens from point

mutations in the genomic sequences of cancer patients in terms of high immunogenicity,

low probability to cause autoimmune diseases and low cost to develop a broadly effective

vaccine. This dissertation demonstrates the feasibility of using frameshift antigens for

cancer vaccine development.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2018

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Comparative genomics and novel bioinformatics methodology applied to the green anole reveal unique sex chromosome evolution

Description

In species with highly heteromorphic sex chromosomes, the degradation of one of the sex chromosomes can result in unequal gene expression between the sexes (e.g., between XX females and XY males) and between the sex chromosomes and the autosomes. Dosage

In species with highly heteromorphic sex chromosomes, the degradation of one of the sex chromosomes can result in unequal gene expression between the sexes (e.g., between XX females and XY males) and between the sex chromosomes and the autosomes. Dosage compensation is a process whereby genes on the sex chromosomes achieve equal gene expression which prevents deleterious side effects from having too much or too little expression of genes on sex chromsomes. The green anole is part of a group of species that recently underwent an adaptive radiation. The green anole has XX/XY sex determination, but the content of the X chromosome and its evolution have not been described. Given its status as a model species, better understanding the green anole genome could reveal insights into other species. Genomic analyses are crucial for a comprehensive picture of sex chromosome differentiation and dosage compensation, in addition to understanding speciation.

In order to address this, multiple comparative genomics and bioinformatics analyses were conducted to elucidate patterns of evolution in the green anole and across multiple anole species. Comparative genomics analyses were used to infer additional X-linked loci in the green anole, RNAseq data from male and female samples were anayzed to quantify patterns of sex-biased gene expression across the genome, and the extent of dosage compensation on the anole X chromosome was characterized, providing evidence that the sex chromosomes in the green anole are dosage compensated.

In addition, X-linked genes have a lower ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rates than the autosomes when compared to other Anolis species, and pairwise rates of evolution in genes across the anole genome were analyzed. To conduct this analysis a new pipeline was created for filtering alignments and performing batch calculations for whole genome coding sequences. This pipeline has been made publicly available.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2016