Matching Items (64)

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Immunological Responses to the White-Nose Syndrome Pathogen and their Potential Use as Control

Description

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a fungal infection devastating bat populations throughout eastern North America. WNS is caused by a fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), that invades the skin of hibernating bats.

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a fungal infection devastating bat populations throughout eastern North America. WNS is caused by a fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), that invades the skin of hibernating bats. While there are a number of treatments being researched, there is currently no effective treatment for WNS that is deployed in the field, except a few being tested on a limited scale. Bats have lowered immune function and response during hibernation, which may increase susceptibility to infection during the winter months. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a crucial component of the innate immune system and serve as barriers against infection. AMPs are constitutively expressed on skin and facilitate wound healing, stimulate other immune responses, and may also stay active on bat skin during hibernation. AMPs are expressed by all tissues, have direct killing abilities against microbes, and are a potential treatment for bats infected with Pd. In this investigation, the fungicidal activity of several readily available commercial AMPs were compared, and killing assay protocols previously investigated by Frasier and Lake were replicated to establish a control trial for use in future killing assays. Another aim of this investigation was to synthesize a bat-derived AMP for use in the killing assay. Sequences of bat-derived AMPs have been identified in bat skin samples obtained from a large geographic sampling of susceptible and resistant species. Contact was made with GenScript Inc., the company from which commercially available AMPs were purchased, to determine the characteristics of peptide sequences needed to synthesize an AMP for lab use. Based on recommendations from GenScript Inc., peptide sequences need to have a hydrophobicity of less than 50% and a sequence length of less than 50 amino acids. These criteria serve as a potential barrier because none of the known bat-derived sequences analyzed satisfy both of these requirements. The final aim of this study was to generate a conceptual model of the immune response molecules activated when bats are exposed to a fungal pathogen such as Pd. Overall, this work investigated sources of variability between trials of the killing assay, analyzed known bat-derived peptide sequences, and generated a conceptual model that will serve as a guideline for identification of immune response molecules on the skin of bats in future proteomics work.

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  • 2019-05

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Inhibition of PKR phosphorylation by Vaccinia Virus' E3 Protein

Description

Vaccinia virus is a cytoplasmic, double-stranded DNA orthopoxvirus. Unlike mammalian cells, vaccinia virus produces double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) during its viral life cycle. The protein kinase R, PKR, is one of

Vaccinia virus is a cytoplasmic, double-stranded DNA orthopoxvirus. Unlike mammalian cells, vaccinia virus produces double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) during its viral life cycle. The protein kinase R, PKR, is one of the principal host defense mechanisms against orthopoxvirus infection. PKR can bind double-stranded RNA and phosphorylate eukaryotic translation initiation factor, eIF2α, shutting down protein synthesis and halting the viral life cycle. To combat host defenses, vaccinia virus encodes E3, a potent inhibitor of the cellular anti-viral eIF2α kinase, PKR. The E3 protein contains a C-terminal dsRNA-binding motif that sequesters dsRNA and inhibits PKR activation. We demonstrate that E3 also interacts with PKR by co-immunoprecipitation. This interaction is independent of the presence of dsRNA and dsRNA-binding by E3, indicating that the interaction is not due to dsRNA-bridging.
PKR interaction mapped to a region within the dsRNA-binding domain of E3 and overlapped with sequences in the C-terminus of this domain that are necessary for binding to dsRNA. Point mutants of E3 were generated and screened for PKR inhibition and direct interaction. Analysis of these mutants demonstrates that dsRNA-binding but not PKR interaction plays a critical role in the broad host range of VACV. Nonetheless, full inhibition of PKR in cells in culture requires both dsRNA-binding and PKR interaction. Because E3 is highly conserved among orthopoxviruses, understanding the mechanisms that E3 uses to inhibit PKR can give insight into host range pathogenesis of dsRNA producing viruses.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Can the phytohemagglutinin challenge be used to predict disease severity in a host?

Description

Phytohemagglutinin (PHA) is a plant lectin commonly used to stimulate and test responses of the immune system and is known to induce T cell proliferation, agglutinate human leukocytes, and yield

Phytohemagglutinin (PHA) is a plant lectin commonly used to stimulate and test responses of the immune system and is known to induce T cell proliferation, agglutinate human leukocytes, and yield adjustments in lymphocyte populations. What is not well know is how responses to PHA correlate with a host's ability to resist or recover from pathogen invasion. This study uses information from previously published studies to determine whether or not PHA can be a good indicator of disease severity or disease resistance in a host. With PHA having the abilities that it does, immune responses to PHA may correlate with responses important for pathogen resistance and clearance. Such a relationship could only be uncovered if in vivo or in vitro responses to PHA are measured and, independent from the PHA challenge, symptoms and/or mortality rates of hosts are documented after pathogen exposure. An in vitro response can be detected by measuring cellular proliferation in response to PHA followed by separate cell cultures exposed to a pathogen. While an in vivo response can be detected by measuring variation in swelling in response to an injection of PHA. In reviewing a broad range of articles that meet my criteria, the majority of articles failed to show a strong relationship between PHA and disease severity or disease resistance. Therefore, immunologists must consider the usefulness of the PHA tests as a measure of immunocompetence, which is a host's ability to predict response to a pathogen. According to the literature, using PHA does not predict responses to pathogen invasion. However, it is possible that with carefully designed experiments, it could be determined that PHA does provide an indication of pathogen resistance in certain host species exposed to specific pathogen.

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  • 2017-05

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Comparison of Inflammatory Changes in Ethmoid Mucosa and Nasal Turbinate Tissue: A Histopathological Study

Description

Abstract:
Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is defined as symptomatic inflammation of the nose and paranasal sinuses lasting more than 12 weeks. Persistent inflammation is thought to originate from multiple factors

Abstract:
Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is defined as symptomatic inflammation of the nose and paranasal sinuses lasting more than 12 weeks. Persistent inflammation is thought to originate from multiple factors including host physical and innate barrier defects and the exposure of the sinonasal mucosa to exogenous microorganisms. Regional differences in the innate host defense molecules present in nasal and sinus tissue have been recently reported. Thus, a histopathological study was conducted by Lal et al. to compare inflammatory changes in the ethmoid sinus mucosa and nasal turbinate tissue for CRS patients and controls. The objective of this work was to interpret the histopathological data from an immunobiological perspective and describe the significance of the results within the context of current scientific literature.
Methods: Tissue samples were collected from sinonasal surgery patients in three specific regions: ethmoid cells ± uncinate process (EC) in all patients and the inferior (IT) or middle turbinate (MT). EC and IT/MT samples were compared using Cohen’s kappa coefficient to measure agreement based on overall severity of inflammation, eosinophil count per high power field, and the predominant inflammatory cell infiltrate. The results of this study were compared with the current cohort of scientific literature regarding CRS pathogenesis. Both previous and current hypotheses were considered to construct a holistic overview of the development of the current understanding of CRS.
Results: The histopathology study determined that regional differences in degree and type of inflammation may be present in the nose and paranasal cavity. These findings support the current understanding of CRS as an inflammatory disease that is likely mediated by both host and environmental factors.
Conclusions: The histopathology study supports the current cohort of CRS research and provides evidence in support of the involvement of host factors in CRS pathogenesis.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Effects of LCMV Infection on Murine Fetal Development in Immunized Mothers

Description

Despite a continuously growing body of evidence that they are one of the major causes of pregnancy loss, preterm birth, pregnancy complications, and developmental abnormalities leading to high rates of

Despite a continuously growing body of evidence that they are one of the major causes of pregnancy loss, preterm birth, pregnancy complications, and developmental abnormalities leading to high rates of morbidity and mortality, viruses are often overlooked and underestimated as teratogens. The Zika virus epidemic beginning in Brazil in 2015 brought teratogenic viruses into the spotlight for the public health community and popular media, and its infamy may bring about positive motivation and funding for novel treatments and vaccination strategies against it and a variety of other viruses that can lead to severe congenital disease. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is famous in the biomedical community for its historic and continued utility in mouse models of the human immune system, but it is rarely a source of clinical concern in terms of its teratogenic risk to humans, despite its ability to cause consistently severe ocular and neurological abnormalities in cases of congenital infection. Possibilities for a safe and effective LCMV vaccine remain difficult, as the robust immune response typical to LCMV can be either efficiently protective or lethally pathological based on relatively small changes in the host type, viral strain, viral dose, method of infection/immunization, or molecular characteristics of synthetic vaccination. Introducing the immunologically unique state of pregnancy and fetal development to the mix adds complexity to the process. This thesis consists of a literature review of teratogenic viruses as a whole, of LCMV and its complications during pregnancy, of LCMV immunopathology, and of current understanding of vaccination against LCMV and against other teratogenic viruses, as well as a hypothetical experimental design intended to initially bridge the gaps between LCMV vaccinology and LCMV teratogenicity by bringing a vaccine study of LCMV into the context of viral challenge during pregnancy.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Peg Forest Rehabilitation Mitigates the Onset of Injury-Induced Cognitive Disability in Juvenile Rats

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)—sudden impact or acceleration trauma to the head—is a major cause of death and disability worldwide and is particularly amplified in pediatric cases. TBI is the leading

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)—sudden impact or acceleration trauma to the head—is a major cause of death and disability worldwide and is particularly amplified in pediatric cases. TBI is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in children and adolescents. Adolescence is a critical time where the brain undergoes cognitive development and brain injury-induced disruptions to these processes can lead to life-long debilitating morbidities. The aim of this study was to determine if exercising spatial and contextual memory circuits using a novel rehabilitation strategy called Peg Forest Rehabilitation (PFR) could mitigate the onset of injury-induced cognitive deficits in juvenile rats subjected to diffuse TBI. The PFR aims to synthesize neuroplasticity-based enrichment to improve cognitive outcomes after TBI. We hypothesized that PFR treatment would mitigate the onset of brain injury-induced cognitive deficits and reduce neuroinflammation. Juvenile male Sprague-Dawley rats (post-natal day 35) were subjected to diffuse traumatic brain injury via midline fluid percussion injury or a control surgery. One-week post-injury, rats were exposed to PFR or cage control exploration (15 min/day). PFR allowed free navigation through random configuration of the peg-filled arena for 10 days over 2 weeks. Control rats remained in home cages in the center of the arena with the peg-board removed for 15 min/day/10 days. One-week post-rehabilitation (one-month post-injury), cognitive performance was assessed for short-term (novel object recognition; NOR), long-term (novel location recognition; NLR), and working (temporal order recognition; TOR) memory performance, calculated as a discrimination index between novel and familiar objects. Tissue was collected for immunohistochemistry and stained for ionized calcium binding proteins (Iba-1) to visualize microglia morphology, and somatostatin. PFR attenuated TBI-induced deficits on the NOR task, where the TBI-PFR treatment group spent significantly more time with the novel object compared with the familiar (*p=0.0046). Regardless of rehabilitation, brain-injured rats had hyper-ramified microglia in the hypothalamus indicated by longer branch lengths and more endpoints per cell compared with uninjured shams. Analysis of somatostatin data is ongoing. In this study, passive, intermittent PFR that involved dynamic, novel spatial navigation, prevented TBI-induced cognitive impairment in adolescent rats. Spatial navigation training may have clinical efficacy and should be further investigated.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

High-Throughput Antigen Screening via an Invariant Chain Fusion Protein & the MHC Class II Receptor

Description

The human body’s immune system utilizes many different cell types, signaling proteins, and receptors to thwart an infectious pathogen from an individual. Adaptive immunity, particularly with CD4+ T cell lymphocytes

The human body’s immune system utilizes many different cell types, signaling proteins, and receptors to thwart an infectious pathogen from an individual. Adaptive immunity, particularly with CD4+ T cell lymphocytes & the MHC II receptor, was the focus of this paper by creating a custom destination vector plasmid, pFLIiP, which would contain a gateway cloning site and the nucleotides encoding the first 85 amino acids of the invariant chain protein upstream to provide a means of high-throughput antigen screening via the MHC II receptor and peptide processing pathway. The plasmid pFLIiP was successfully created and sequence verified. Both GFP and mCherry fluorescent proteins were inserted into pFLIiP via LR Clonase and successfully transfected into K562 cancer cells. Fluorescent activity read of a flow cytometer in conjunction with the differing pKa values of the two different fluorescent proteins suggested the fusion protein was in-frame and pFLIiP was successfully targeting the protein to the endosome.

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  • 2020-05

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Analysis for antitumor antibody signatures in lung cancer using two different random peptide libraries

Description

Cancer remains one of the leading killers throughout the world. Death and disability due to lung cancer in particular accounts for one of the largest global economic burdens a

Cancer remains one of the leading killers throughout the world. Death and disability due to lung cancer in particular accounts for one of the largest global economic burdens a disease presents. The burden on third-world countries is especially large due to the unusually large financial stress that comes from late tumor detection and expensive treatment options. Early detection using inexpensive techniques may relieve much of the burden throughout the world, not just in more developed countries. I examined the immune responses of lung cancer patients using immunosignatures – patterns of reactivity between host serum antibodies and random peptides. Immunosignatures reveal disease-specific patterns that are very reproducible. Immunosignaturing is a chip-based method that has the ability to display the antibody diversity from individual sera sample with low cost. Immunosignaturing is a medical diagnostic test that has many applications in current medical research and in diagnosis. From a previous clinical study, patients diagnosed for lung cancer were tested for their immunosignature vs. healthy non-cancer volunteers. The pattern of reactivity against the random peptides (the ‘immunosignature’) revealed common signals in cancer patients, absent from healthy controls. My study involved the search for common amino acid motifs in the cancer-specific peptides. My search through the hundreds of ‘hits’ revealed certain motifs that were repeated more times than expected by random chance. The amino acids that were the most conserved in each set include tryptophan, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, proline, alanine, serine, and lysine. The most overall conserved amino acid observed between each set was D - aspartic acid. The motifs were short (no more than 5-6 amino acids in a row), but the total number of motifs I identified was large enough to assure significance. I utilized Excel to organize the large peptide sequence libraries, then CLUSTALW to cluster similar-sequence peptides, then GLAM2 to find common themes in groups of peptides. In so doing, I found sequences that were also present in translated cancer expression libraries (RNA) that matched my motifs, suggesting that immunosignatures can find cancer-specific antigens that can be both diagnostic and potentially therapeutic.

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Date Created
  • 2015-12

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The Development of a T Cell Receptor Expression System to Verify TCR Specificity of Expanded Clones from Whole Blood: The beginnings of Adoptive T cell Therapy and T Cell Receptor Prediction

Description

Immunology, the study of the immune system and its ability to distinguish self from non-self, is a rapidly advancing sector of molecular biology. Cancer, being host derived, provides a difficult

Immunology, the study of the immune system and its ability to distinguish self from non-self, is a rapidly advancing sector of molecular biology. Cancer, being host derived, provides a difficult challenge for immune cells to distinguish it from normal tissue. The historic treatment of cancer has had three main methods: radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery (1). Due to recent advancements in understanding the regulatory role of adaptive immunity against cancer, researchers have been attempting to engineer therapies to enhance patients’ immunities against their cancer. Immunotherapies, both passive and active, demonstrate potential for combating many diseases. Passive immunization provides temporary protection against a pathogen, whereas active immunization teaches the patient’s system to respond to the antigen independently, giving life-long immunity. Passive immunization, generally, is a much more expensive method of providing immunity and is commonly used in emergency situations. Anti-venom, for example, uses antibodies grown in lab to neutralize venom. Examples of active immunization are vaccines, which mimic the wild-type pathogen in a way that elicits an immune response, specifically naïve lymphocyte activation and maturation into memory lymphocytes. In terms of cancer therapy, both passive and active immunization are being tested for efficacy (2).

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Utilizing Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy to Visualize Origami Nanostructure Transfection in Primary Immune Cells

Description

An aim of fundamental immunology is quantifying the diversity of the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire to elucidate the vast recognition by T cells for protection against pathogen and cancer.

An aim of fundamental immunology is quantifying the diversity of the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire to elucidate the vast recognition by T cells for protection against pathogen and cancer. The utilization of DNA origami nanostructures engineered to capture single cell paired TCR mRNA sequences has transformed the financial and time requirements of repertoire establishment. To further support this protocol, confocal laser scanning microscopy was implemented following transfection to visualize the stability of the DNA origami within primary immune lymphocytes.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05