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

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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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2019-05

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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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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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2016-05

Engineering of Electrically Conductive Cardiac Microtissues to Study the Influence of Gold Nanomaterials on Maturation and Electrophysiology of Cardiomyocytes

Description

Myocardial infarction (MI) remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the U.S., accounting for nearly 140,000 deaths per year. Heart transplantation and implantation of mechanical assist devices are the options of last resort for intractable heart failure, but

Myocardial infarction (MI) remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the U.S., accounting for nearly 140,000 deaths per year. Heart transplantation and implantation of mechanical assist devices are the options of last resort for intractable heart failure, but these are limited by lack of organ donors and potential surgical complications. In this regard, there is an urgent need for developing new effective therapeutic strategies to induce regeneration and restore the loss contractility of infarcted myocardium. Over the past decades, regenerative medicine has emerged as a promising strategy to develop scaffold-free cell therapies and scaffold-based cardiac patches as potential approaches for MI treatment. Despite the progress, there are still critical shortcomings associated with these approaches regarding low cell retention, lack of global cardiomyocytes (CMs) synchronicity, as well as poor maturation and engraftment of the transplanted cells within the native myocardium. The overarching objective of this dissertation was to develop two classes of nanoengineered cardiac patches and scaffold-free microtissues with superior electrical, structural, and biological characteristics to address the limitations of previously developed tissue models. An integrated strategy, based on micro- and nanoscale technologies, was utilized to fabricate the proposed tissue models using functionalized gold nanomaterials (GNMs). Furthermore, comprehensive mechanistic studies were carried out to assess the influence of conductive GNMs on the electrophysiology and maturity of the engineered cardiac tissues. Specifically, the role of mechanical stiffness and nano-scale topographies of the scaffold, due to the incorporation of GNMs, on cardiac cells phenotype, contractility, and excitability were dissected from the scaffold’s electrical conductivity. In addition, the influence of GNMs on conduction velocity of CMs was investigated in both coupled and uncoupled gap junctions using microelectrode array technology. Overall, the key contributions of this work were to generate new classes of electrically conductive cardiac patches and scaffold-free microtissues and to mechanistically investigate the influence of conductive GNMs on maturation and electrophysiology of the engineered tissues.

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2018