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Optimizing Recombinant Protein Production for Domain Antibodies: Proof-of-Concept

Description

Recent studies in traumatic brain injury (TBI) have found a temporal window where therapeutics on the nanometer scale can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the parenchyma. Developing protein-based therapeutics is attractive for a number of reasons, yet, the production

Recent studies in traumatic brain injury (TBI) have found a temporal window where therapeutics on the nanometer scale can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the parenchyma. Developing protein-based therapeutics is attractive for a number of reasons, yet, the production pipeline for high yield and consistent bioactive recombinant proteins remains a major obstacle. Previous studies for recombinant protein production has utilized gram-negative hosts such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) due to its well-established genetics and fast growth for recombinant protein production. However, using gram-negative hosts require lysis that calls for additional optimization and also introduces endotoxins and proteases that contribute to protein degradation. This project directly addressed this issue and evaluated the potential to use a gram-positive host such as Brevibacillus choshinensis (Brevi) which does not require lysis as the proteins are expressed directly into the supernatant. This host was utilized to produce variants of Stock 11 (S11) protein as a proof-of-concept towards this methodology. Variants of S11 were synthesized using different restriction enzymes which will alter the location of protein tags that may affect production or purification. Factors such as incubation time, incubation temperature, and media were optimized for each variant of S11 using a robust design of experiments. All variants of S11 were grown using optimized parameters prior to purification via affinity chromatography. Results showed the efficiency of using Brevi as a potential host for domain antibody production in the Stabenfeldt lab. Future aims will focus on troubleshooting the purification process to optimize the protein production pipeline.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Synthetic Platelets Reduce Neuroinflammation in Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in many pathologies, one of which being coagulopathy. TBI can progress to hemorrhagic lesions and increased intercranial pressure leading to coagulopathy. The coagulopathy has been linked to poor clinical outcomes and occurs in 60%

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in many pathologies, one of which being coagulopathy. TBI can progress to hemorrhagic lesions and increased intercranial pressure leading to coagulopathy. The coagulopathy has been linked to poor clinical outcomes and occurs in 60% of severe TBI cases. To improve hemostasis, synthetic platelets (SPs) have been repurposed. SPs are composed of a poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic-acid) microgel, conjugated with a fibrin-specific antibody and are biomimetic in their ability to deform and collapse within a fibrin matrix. The objective of this study is to diminish coagulopathy with a single, intravenous injection of SPs, and subsequently decrease neuropathologies. TBI was modeled in animal cohorts using the well-established controlled cortical impact and SPs were injected 2-3 hours post-injury. Control cohorts received no injection. Brain tissue was harvested at acute (24h) and delayed (7 days) time points post-TBI, and fluorescently imaged to quantify reactive astrocytes (GFAP+), microglial morphology and presence (Iba1+), and tissue lesion spared. SP-treatment resulted in significant reduction of GFAP expression at 7 days post-TBI. Furthermore, SP-treatment significantly reduced the percent difference from 24h to 7 days in microglia/macrophage per field compared to the control. For microglial morphology, SP-treated cohorts observed a significant percent difference in endpoints per soma from 24h to 7 days compared to untreated cohorts. However, microglial branch length significantly decreased in percent difference from 24h to 7 days when compared to the control. Finally, tissue sparing did not significantly decrease between 24h and 7 day for SP-treated cohorts as was observed in untreated cohorts, implying inhibition of delayed necrosis. Overall, these results suggest decreased neuroinflammation by 7 days, supporting SPs as potentially therapeutic post-TBI.

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2019-05

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Can Startle Elicit Sequential Movements in Highly Trained Individuals?

Description

Most daily living tasks consist of pairing a series of sequential movements, e.g., reaching to a cup, grabbing the cup, lifting and returning the cup to your mouth. The process by which we control and mediate the smooth progression of

Most daily living tasks consist of pairing a series of sequential movements, e.g., reaching to a cup, grabbing the cup, lifting and returning the cup to your mouth. The process by which we control and mediate the smooth progression of these tasks is not well understood. One method which we can use to further evaluate these motions is known as Startle Evoked Movements (SEM). SEM is an established technique to probe the motor learning and planning processes by detecting muscle activation of the sternocleidomastoid muscles of the neck prior to 120ms after a startling stimulus is presented. If activation of these muscles was detected following a stimulus in the 120ms window, the movement is classified as Startle+ whereas if no sternocleidomastoid activation is detected after a stimulus in the allotted time the movement is considered Startle-. For a movement to be considered SEM, the activation of movements for Startle+ trials must be faster than the activation of Startle- trials. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect that expertise has on sequential movements as well as determining if startle can distinguish when the consolidation of actions, known as chunking, has occurred. We hypothesized that SEM could distinguish words that were solidified or chunked. Specifically, SEM would be present when expert typists were asked to type a common word but not during uncommon letter combinations. The results from this study indicated that the only word that was susceptible to SEM, where Startle+ trials were initiated faster than Startle-, was an uncommon task "HET" while the common words "AND" and "THE" were not. Additionally, the evaluation of the differences between each keystroke for common and uncommon words showed that Startle was unable to distinguish differences in motor chunking between Startle+ and Startle- trials. Explanations into why these results were observed could be related to hand dominance in expert typists. No proper research has been conducted to evaluate the susceptibility of the non-dominant hand's fingers to SEM, and the results of future studies into this as well as the results from this study can impact our understanding of sequential movements.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Investigating the Effect of a Hyaluronic Acid-Laminin Hydrogel on Inflammation After Traumatic Brain Injury

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death in individuals under the age of 45, resulting in over 50,000 deaths each year. Over 80,000 TBI patients report long-term deficits consisting of motor or cognitive dysfunctions due to TBI

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death in individuals under the age of 45, resulting in over 50,000 deaths each year. Over 80,000 TBI patients report long-term deficits consisting of motor or cognitive dysfunctions due to TBI pathophysiology. The biochemical secondary injury triggers a harmful inflammatory cascade, gliosis, and astrocyte activation surrounding the injury lesion, and no current treatments exist to alleviate these underlying pathologies. In order to mitigate the negative inflammatory effects of the secondary injury, we created a hydrogel comprised of hyaluronic acid (HA) and laminin, and we hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory properties of HA will decrease astrocyte activation and inflammation after TBI. C57/BL6 mice were subjected to mild-to-moderate CCI. Three days following injury, mice were treated with injection of vehicle or HA-Laminin hydrogel. Mice were sacrificed at three and seven days post injection and analyzed for astrocyte and inflammatory responses. In mice treated with vehicle injections, astrocyte activation was significantly increased at three days post-transplantation in the injured cortex and injury lesion. However, mice treated with the HA-Laminin hydrogel experienced significantly reduced acute astrocyte activation at the injury site three days post transplantation. Interestingly, there were no significant differences in astrocyte activation at seven days post treatment in either group. Although the microglial and macrophage response remains to be investigated, our data suggest that the HA-Laminin hydrogel demonstrates potential for TBI therapeutics targeting inflammation, including acute modulation of the astrocyte, microglia, and macrophage response to TBI.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Startle can evoke individuated movements of the fingers; implications for neural control

Description

Startle-evoked-movement (SEM), the involuntary release of a planned movement via a startling stimulus, has gained significant attention recently for its ability to probe motor planning as well as enhance movement of the upper extremity following stroke. We recently showed that

Startle-evoked-movement (SEM), the involuntary release of a planned movement via a startling stimulus, has gained significant attention recently for its ability to probe motor planning as well as enhance movement of the upper extremity following stroke. We recently showed that hand movements are susceptible to SEM. Interestingly, only coordinated movements of the hand (grasp) but not individuated movements of the finger (finger abduction) were susceptible. It was suggested that this resulted from different neural mechanisms involved in each task; however it is possible this was the result of task familiarity. The objective of this study was to evaluate a more familiar individuated finger movement, typing, to determine if this task was susceptible to SEM. We hypothesized that typing movements will be susceptible to SEM in all fingers. These results indicate that individuated movements of the fingers are susceptible to SEM when the task involves a more familiar task, since the electromyogram (EMG) latency is faster in SCM+ trials compared to SCM- trials. However, the middle finger does not show a difference in terms of the keystroke voltage signal, suggesting the middle finger is less susceptible to SEM. Given that SEM is thought to be mediated by the brainstem, specifically the reticulospinal tract, this suggest that the brainstem may play a role in movements of the distal limb when those movements are very familiar, and the independence of each finger might also have a significant on the effect of SEM. Further research includes understanding SEM in fingers in the stroke population. The implications of this research can impact the way upper extremity rehabilitation is delivered.

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Date Created
2016-12

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Continuous Enzymatic Detection of Traumatic Brain Injury

Description

My main goal for my thesis is in conjunction with the research I started in the summer of 2010 regarding the creation of a TBI continuous-time sensor. Such goals include: characterizing the proteins in sensing targets while immobilized, while free in solution, and while in free solution in the blood.

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Date Created
2011-12

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MEMBRANE IMPROVEMENTS FOR WHOLE BLOOD DETECTION OF TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Description

The purpose of this research was to determine and evaluate glutamate oxidase's ability to detect levels of glutamate as part of a working sensor capable of quantifying and detecting stress within the body in the case of adverse neurological events

The purpose of this research was to determine and evaluate glutamate oxidase's ability to detect levels of glutamate as part of a working sensor capable of quantifying and detecting stress within the body in the case of adverse neurological events such as traumatic brain injury. Using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), a linear dynamic range of glutamate was detected with a slope of 36.604 z/ohm/[pg/mL], a lower detection limit at 12.417 pg/mL, correlation of 0.97, and an optimal binding frequency of 117.20 Hz. After running through a frequency sweep the binding frequency was determined based on the highest consistent reproducibility and slope. The sensor was found to be specific against literature researched non-targets glucose, albumin, and epinephrine and working in dilutions of whole blood up to a concentration of 25%. With the implementation of Nafion, the sensor had a 250% improvement in signal and 155% improvement in correlation in 90% whole blood, illustrating the promise of a working blood sensor. Future work includes longitudinal studies and utilizing mesoporous carbon as the immobilization platform and incorporating this as part of a continuous, multiplexed blood sensor with glucose oxidase.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Enhancing CXCR4 expression of hNPCs using Hyaluronic Acid - Laminin Hydrogel: A Potential Treatment for TBI

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result in numerous pathologies that cannot currently be mitigated by clinical interventions. Stem cell therapies are widely researched to address TBI-related pathologies with limited success in pre-clinical models due to limitations in transplant survival rates.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result in numerous pathologies that cannot currently be mitigated by clinical interventions. Stem cell therapies are widely researched to address TBI-related pathologies with limited success in pre-clinical models due to limitations in transplant survival rates. To address this issue, the use of tissue engineered scaffolds as a delivery mechanism has been explored to improve survival and engraftment rates. Previous work with hyaluronic acid \u2014 laminin (HA-Lm) gels found high viability and engraftment rates of mouse fetal derived neural progenitor/stem cells (NPSCs) cultured on the gel. Furthermore, NPSCs exposed to the HA-Lm gels exhibit increased expression of CXCR4, a critical surface receptor that promotes cell migration. We hypothesized that culturing hNPCs on the HA-Lm gel would increase CXCR4 expression, and thus enhance their ability to migrate into sites of tissue damage. In order to test this hypothesis, we designed gel scaffolds with mechanical properties that were optimized to match that of the natural extracellular matrix. A live/dead assay showed that hNPCs preferred the gel with this optimized formulation, compared to a stiffer gel that was used in the CXCR4 expression experiment. We found that there may be increased CXCR4 expression of hNPCs plated on the HA-Lm gel after 24 hours, indicating that HA-Lm gels may provide a valuable scaffold to support viability and migration of hNPCs to the injury site. Future studies aimed at verifying increased CXCR4 expression of hNPCs cultured on HA-Lm gels are necessary to determine if HA-Lm gels can provide a beneficial scaffold for stem cell engraftment therapy for treating TBI.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Utilization of Nanoparticles for Identifying Fibrin Deposition in Neural Tissue

Description

The main objective of this research is to develop and characterize a targeted contrast agent that will recognize acute neural injury pathology (i.e. fibrin) after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Single chain fragment variable antibodies (scFv) that bind specifically to fibrin

The main objective of this research is to develop and characterize a targeted contrast agent that will recognize acute neural injury pathology (i.e. fibrin) after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Single chain fragment variable antibodies (scFv) that bind specifically to fibrin have been produced and purified. DSPE-PEG micelles have been produced and the scFv has been conjugated to the surface of the micelles; this nanoparticle system will be used to overcome limitations in diagnosing TBI. The binding and imaging properties will be analyzed in the future to determine functionality of the nanoparticle system in vivo.

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Date Created
2014-05

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The Effect of VEGF-ECM Crosstalk on Neural Stem Cell Behavior

Description

The endogenous response of neural stem cell/progenitor (NPSC) recruitment to the brain injury environment following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is currently under heavy investigation. Mechanisms controlling NPSC proliferation and migration to the brain injury environment remain unclear; however, it

The endogenous response of neural stem cell/progenitor (NPSC) recruitment to the brain injury environment following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is currently under heavy investigation. Mechanisms controlling NPSC proliferation and migration to the brain injury environment remain unclear; however, it is thought that the vascular extracellular matrix proteins (e.g. laminin, fibronectin, and vitronectin) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) play a role in mediating NPSC behavior through vasophillic interactions. This project attempts to uncover potential VEGF-ECM crosstalk in mediating migration and proliferation. To investigate migration, neurospheres were seeded on ECM-coated wells supplemented with VEGF and without VEGF, and neural outgrowth was measured at days 0, 1, 3, and 8 using differential interference contrast microscopy. Furthermore, single-cell NPSCs were seeded on ECM-coated Transwell membranes with VEGF supplemented media on one side and without VEGF to look at chemotactic migration. Migrated NPSCs were visualized with DAPI nuclear stain and imaged with an inverted fluorescent microscope. To investigate NPSC proliferation, NPSCs were seeded on ECM coated plates as in the radial migration assay and visualized with EdU on day 8. Total proliferation was measured by seeding NPSCs on ECM coated 96-well plates and incubating them with MTT on days 3 and 6. Proliferation was measured using a spectrophotometer at 630nm and 570nm wavelengths. It was found that VEGF-laminin crosstalk synergistically increased radial migration, but may not play a role in chemotactic migration. Understanding the mechanisms behind VEGF-laminin crosstalk in NPSC proliferation and migration may provide crucial information for the design of stem cell transplantation therapies in the future.

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Date Created
2015-05