Matching Items (10)

153827-Thumbnail Image.png

Immunogenic subviral particles displaying domain III of dengue 2 envelope protein vectored by measles virus

Description

Vaccines against the arthropod-borne dengue virus (DENV) are still commercially nonexistent. A subunit immunization strategy may be of value, especially if a safe viral vector acts as a biologically active

Vaccines against the arthropod-borne dengue virus (DENV) are still commercially nonexistent. A subunit immunization strategy may be of value, especially if a safe viral vector acts as a biologically active adjuvant. The DENV envelope protein (E), the main target for neutralizing immune responses, has three conformational domains. The immunoglobulin-like and independently folding domain III (DIII) contains epitopes that elicit highly specific neutralizing antibodies. The hepatitis B small surface antigen (HBsAg, S) was used as a scaffold to display DENV 2 DIII on a virus-like particle (VLP). A measles virus (MV) was engineered to vector HBsAg and the hybrid glycoprotein DIII-HBsAg in two different loci (DIII-S). Despite the relatively deleterious effect on replication caused by the insertion of two transcription cassettes, the recombinant virus MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P induced the secretion of DIII-S hybrid VLP with a similar sucrose density as HBsAg particles (1.10-1.12g/ml) and peaked at 48 h post-infection producing 1.3x106 TCID50/ml infectious MV units in vitro. A second recombinant virus, MVvac2(DIII-S)N, was engineered to vector only the hybrid DIII-S. However, it did not induce the secretion of hybrid HBsAg particles in the supernatant of infected cells. The immunogenicity of the recombinant viruses was tested in a MV-susceptible small animal model, the experimental group which received two 105 TCID50 I.P. doses of MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P in a 28 day interval developed a robust immune response against MV (1:1280), HBsAg (787 mIU/ml) and DENV2 (Log10 neutralization index of 1.2) on average. In summary, it is possible to display DENV E DIII on hybrid HBsAg particles vectored by MV that elicit an immune response. This forms the basis for a potential vaccine platform against DENV.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

157947-Thumbnail Image.png

Bispecific antibodies for the treatment of co-circulating flaviviruses and antibody derivatives for diagnostics in checkpoint immunotherapy

Description

Flaviviruses (FVs) are among the most medically important arboviruses of the world with the Dengue virus (DENV) accounting for a large percentage of infections observed in tropical and subtropical regions

Flaviviruses (FVs) are among the most medically important arboviruses of the world with the Dengue virus (DENV) accounting for a large percentage of infections observed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Globalization, travel, and the expanding range of mosquito vectors, such as Aedes aegypti, have increased the potential of infection rates and illnesses associated with FVs.

The DENV and the Zika (ZIKV) FVs frequently co-circulate and generally cause mild self-liming febrile illnesses. However, a secondary infection with a heterologous DENV serotype may lead to life threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). DHF/DSS have been linked to antibody dependent enhancement of infection (ADE), a phenomenon that occurs when antibodies (Abs) formed against an initial infection with one serotype of DENV cross-reacts but does not neutralize a heterologous DENV serotype in a secondary infection. Furthermore, Abs raised against the ZIKV have been observed to cross-react with the DENV and vice versa, which can potentially cause ADE and lead to severe DENV disease. The ZIKV can be transmitted vertically and has been linked to devastating congenital defects such as microcephaly in newborns. FDA approved treatments do not exist for DENV and ZIKV illnesses. Thus, there is a need for safe and effective treatments for these co-circulating viruses. Here, a tetravalent bispecific antibody (bsAb) targeting the ZIKV and all four serotypes of the DENV was expressed in the Nicotiana benthamiana (N. benthamiana) plant. Functional assays of the DENV/ZIKV bsAb demonstrated binding, neutralization, and a significant reduction in ADE activity against both the DENV and the ZIKV.

A single chain variable fragment (scFv) and a diabody based on an antibody directed against the immune checkpoint inhibitor PD-L1, were also expressed in N. benthamiana leaves. The smaller sizes of the scFv and diabody confers them with the ability to penetrate deeper tissues making them beneficial in diagnostics, imaging, and possibly cancer therapy. The past few decades has seen long strives in recombinant protein production in plants with significant improvements in production, safety, and efficacy. These characteristics make plants an attractive platform for the production of recombinant proteins, biologics, and therapeutics.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

155212-Thumbnail Image.png

Potential emergence of dengue in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area: a micro-climatic and demographic analysis

Description

The spread of dengue worldwide currently places half of the world’s population at risk. In the absence of a dengue vaccine, control of the disease requires control of the mosquito

The spread of dengue worldwide currently places half of the world’s population at risk. In the absence of a dengue vaccine, control of the disease requires control of the mosquito species that transmit the virus. The most important of these is. Advances in research detailing the responsiveness of Aedes aegypti to small changes in climate enable the production of more sophisticated remote sensing and surveillance techniques for monitoring these populations. Close monitoring of global dengue activity and outbreaks likewise enables a greater specificity when determining to which human populations the virus is most likely to spread. There have been no locally acquired cases in Arizona to date, but the high abundance of Aedes aegypti in the Phoenix Metropolitan area raises concern within the Arizona Department of Health Services over the potential transmission of dengue in the city. This study develops a model that combines mosquito abundance, micro-climatic and demographic information to delineate regions in Phoenix that are most support transmission of dengue. The first chapter focuses on the impact that daytime high and low temperatures have on Aedes aegypti’s ability to become infectious with dengue. It argues that NDVI (normal difference vegetative index) imaging of the Phoenix area can be used to plot areas where mosquitoes are most likely to become competent vectors. The second chapter focuses on the areas in the city where mosquitoes are most likely to be exposed to the virus. Based on proximity to Phoenix and the high volume of traffic across the Arizona-Mexico border, I treat the Mexican state of Sonora as the source of infection. I combine these two analyses, micro-climatic and demographic, to produce maps of Phoenix that show the locations with the highest likelihood of transmission overall.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

152380-Thumbnail Image.png

Expression of dengue virus envelope glycoproteins using a measles vaccine vector

Description

ABSTRACT In terms of prevalence, human suffering and costs dengue infections are the most important arthropod-borne viral disease worldwide. Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and the etiological agent

ABSTRACT In terms of prevalence, human suffering and costs dengue infections are the most important arthropod-borne viral disease worldwide. Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and the etiological agent of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. Thus, development of a safe and efficient vaccine constitutes an urgent necessity. Besides the traditional strategies aim at generating immunization options, the usage of viral vectors to deliver antigenic stimulus in order to elicit protection are particularly attractive for the endeavor of a dengue vaccine. The viral vector (MVvac2) is genetically equivalent to the currently used measles vaccine strain Moraten, which adds practicality to my approach. The goal of the present study was to generate a recombinant measles virus expressing structural antigens from two strains of DENV (DENV2 and DENV4) The recombinant vectors replication profile was comparable to that of the parental strain and expresses either membrane bound or soluble forms of DENV2 and DENV4 E glycoproteins. I discuss future experiments in order to demonstrate its immunogenicity in our measles-susceptible mouse model.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

150387-Thumbnail Image.png

Lessons from vaccinia virus post-exposure prophylaxis: insights into control of diseases and epidemics

Description

The concept of vaccination dates back further than Edward Jenner's first vaccine using cowpox pustules to confer immunity against smallpox in 1796. Nevertheless, it was Jenner's success that gave vaccines

The concept of vaccination dates back further than Edward Jenner's first vaccine using cowpox pustules to confer immunity against smallpox in 1796. Nevertheless, it was Jenner's success that gave vaccines their name and made vaccinia virus (VACV) of particular interest. More than 200 years later there is still the need to understand vaccination from vaccine design to prediction of vaccine efficacy using mathematical models. Post-exposure vaccination with VACV has been suggested to be effective if administered within four days of smallpox exposure although this has not been definitively studied in humans. The first and second chapters analyze post-exposure prophylaxis of VACV in an animal model using v50ΔB13RMγ, a recombinant VACV expressing murine interferon gamma (IFN-γ) also known as type II IFN. While untreated animals infected with wild type VACV die by 10 days post-infection (dpi), animals treated with v50ΔB13RMγ 1 dpi had decreased morbidity and 100% survival. Despite these differences, the viral load was similar in both groups suggesting that v50ΔB13RMγ acts as an immunoregulator rather than as an antiviral. One of the main characteristics of VACV is its resistance to type I IFN, an effect primarily mediated by the E3L protein, which has a Z-DNA binding domain and a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) binding domain. In the third chapter a VACV that independently expresses both domains of E3L was engineered and compared to wild type in cells in culture. The dual expression virus was unable to replicate in the JC murine cell line where both domains are needed together for replication. Moreover, phosphorylation of the dsRNA dependent protein kinase (PKR) was observed at late times post-infection which indicates that both domains need to be linked together in order to block the IFN response. Because smallpox has already been eradicated, the utility of mathematical modeling as a tool for predicting disease spread and vaccine efficacy was explored in the last chapter using dengue as a disease model. Current modeling approaches were reviewed and the 2000-2001 dengue outbreak in a Peruvian region was analyzed. This last section highlights the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and how it benefits research on infectious diseases.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

152765-Thumbnail Image.png

Molecular design and functional characterization portfolio of flavivirus therapeutics

Description

Flavivirus infections are emerging as significant threats to human health around the globe. Among them West Nile(WNV) and Dengue Virus (DV) are the most prevalent in causing human disease with

Flavivirus infections are emerging as significant threats to human health around the globe. Among them West Nile(WNV) and Dengue Virus (DV) are the most prevalent in causing human disease with WNV outbreaks occurring in all areas around the world and DV epidemics in more than 100 countries. WNV is a neurotropic virus capable of causing meningitis and encephalitis in humans. Currently, there are no therapeutic treatments or vaccines available. The expanding epidemic of WNV demands studies that develop efficacious therapeutics and vaccines and produce them rapidly and inexpensively. In response, our lab developed a plant-derived monoclonal antibody (mAb) (pHu-E16) against DIII (WNV antigen) that is able to neutralize and prevent mice from lethal infection. However, this drug has a short window of efficacy due to pHu-E16's inability to cross the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) and enter the brain. Here, we constructed a bifunctional diabody, which couples the neutralizing activity of E16 and BBB penetrating activity of 8D3 mAb. We also produced a plant-derived E16 scFv-CH1-3 variant with equivalent specific binding as the full pHu-E16 mAb, but only requiring one gene construct for production. Furthermore, a WNV vaccine based on plant-derived DIII was developed showing proper folding and potentially protective immune response in mice. DV causes severe hemorrhaging diseases especially in people exposed to secondary DV infection from a heterotypic strain. It is hypothesized that sub-neutralizing cross-reactive antibodies from the first exposure aid the second infection in a process called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). ADE depends on the ability of mAb to bind Fc receptors (FcγRs), and has become a major roadblock for developing mAb-based therapeutics against DV. We aim to produce an anti-Dengue mAb (E60) in different glycoengineered plant lines that exhibit reduced/differential binding to FcγRs, therefore, reducing or eliminating ADE. We have successfully cloned the molecular constructs of E60, and expressed it in two plant lines with different glycosylation patterns. We demonstrated that both plant-derived E60 mAb glycoforms retained specific recognition and neutralization activity against DV. Overall, our study demonstrates great strives to develop efficacious therapeutics and potent vaccine candidates against Flaviviruses in plant expression systems.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

151048-Thumbnail Image.png

Cities in ecology: settlement patterns and diseases

Description

A sequence of models is developed to describe urban population growth in the context of the embedded physical, social and economic environments and an urban disease are developed. This set

A sequence of models is developed to describe urban population growth in the context of the embedded physical, social and economic environments and an urban disease are developed. This set of models is focused on urban growth and the relationship between the desire to move and the utility derived from city life. This utility is measured in terms of the economic opportunities in the city, the level of human constructed amenity, and the level of amenity caused by the natural environment. The set of urban disease models is focused on examining prospects of eliminating a disease for which a vaccine does not exist. It is inspired by an outbreak of the vector-borne disease dengue fever in Peru, during 2000-2001.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

155123-Thumbnail Image.png

Vaccination strategy to protect against flavivirus infection based on recombinant measles vaccine

Description

Despite the approval of a Dengue virus (DV) vaccine in five endemic countries, dengue prevention would benefit from an immunization strategy highly immunogenic in young infants and not curtailed by

Despite the approval of a Dengue virus (DV) vaccine in five endemic countries, dengue prevention would benefit from an immunization strategy highly immunogenic in young infants and not curtailed by viral interference. Problematically, infants younger than 9 year of age, whom are particularly prone to Dengue severe infection and death, cannot be immunized using current approved DV vaccine. The most important issues documented so far are the lack of efficiency and enhancement of the disease in young seronegative recipients, as well as uneven protection against the four DV serotypes. Based on data from clinical trials that showed enhanced performance of dengue vaccines when the host has previous anti-flaviviral immunity, I proposed here an attractive solution to complement the current vaccine: a recombinant measles vaccine vectoring dengue protective antigens to be administered to young infants. I hypothesized that recombinant measles virus expressing Dengue 2 and 4 antigens would successfully induce neutralizing responses against DV2 and 4 and the vaccine cocktail of this recombinant measles can prime anti-flaviviral neutralizing immunity. For this dissertation, I generated and performed preclinical immune assessment for four novel Measles-Dengue (MV-DV) vaccine candidates. I generated four MVs expressing the pre membrane (prM) and full length or truncated (90%) forms of the major envelope (E) from DV2 and DV4. Two virus, MVvac2-DV2(prME)N and MVvac2-DV4(prME), expressed high levels of membrane associated full-length E, while the other two viruses, MVvac2-DV2(prMEsol)N and MVvac2-DV4(prMEsol)N, expressed and secreted truncated, soluble E protein to its extracellular environment. The last two vectored vaccines proved superior anti-dengue neutralizing responses comparing to its corresponding full length vectors. Remarkably, when MVvac2-DV2/4(prMEsol)N recombinant vaccines were combined, the vaccine cocktail was able to prime cross-neutralizing responses against DV 1 and the relatively distant 17D yellow fever virus attenuated strain. Thus, I identify a promising DV vaccination strategy, MVvac2-DV2/4(prMEsol)N, which can prime broad neutralizing immune responses by using only two of the four available DV serotypes. The current MV immunization scheme can be advantageus to prime broad anti-flaviviral neutralizing immunity status, which will be majorly boosted by subsequent chimeric Dengue vaccine approaches.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

156612-Thumbnail Image.png

Mathematics of climate change and mosquito-borne disease dynamics

Description

The role of climate change, as measured in terms of changes in the climatology of geophysical variables (such as temperature and rainfall), on the global distribution and burden of vector-borne

The role of climate change, as measured in terms of changes in the climatology of geophysical variables (such as temperature and rainfall), on the global distribution and burden of vector-borne diseases (VBDs) remains a subject of considerable debate. This dissertation attempts to contribute to this debate via the use of mathematical (compartmental) modeling and statistical data analysis. In particular, the objective is to find suitable values and/or ranges of the climate variables considered (typically temperature and rainfall) for maximum vector abundance and consequently, maximum transmission intensity of the disease(s) they cause.

Motivated by the fact that understanding the dynamics of disease vector is crucial to understanding the transmission and control of the VBDs they cause, a novel weather-driven deterministic model for the population biology of the mosquito is formulated and rigorously analyzed. Numerical simulations, using relevant weather and entomological data for Anopheles mosquito (the vector for malaria), show that maximum mosquito abundance occurs when temperature and rainfall values lie in the range [20-25]C and [105-115] mm, respectively.

The Anopheles mosquito ecology model is extended to incorporate human dynamics. The resulting weather-driven malaria transmission model, which includes many of the key aspects of malaria (such as disease transmission by asymptomatically-infectious humans, and enhanced malaria immunity due to repeated exposure), was rigorously analyzed. The model which also incorporates the effect of diurnal temperature range (DTR) on malaria transmission dynamics shows that increasing DTR shifts the peak temperature value for malaria transmission from 29C (when DTR is 0C) to about 25C (when DTR is 15C).

Finally, the malaria model is adapted and used to study the transmission dynamics of chikungunya, dengue and Zika, three diseases co-circulating in the Americas caused by the same vector (Aedes aegypti). The resulting model, which is fitted using data from Mexico, is used to assess a few hypotheses (such as those associated with the possible impact the newly-released dengue vaccine will have on Zika) and the impact of variability in climate variables on the dynamics of the three diseases. Suitable temperature and rainfall ranges for the maximum transmission intensity of the three diseases are obtained.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

151939-Thumbnail Image.png

Specific amino acid substitutions improve the activity and specificity of an antimicrobial peptide & serodiagnosis by immunosignature: a multiplexing tool for monitoring the humoral immune response to dengue

Description

Random peptide microarrays are a powerful tool for both the treatment and diagnostics of infectious diseases. On the treatment side, selected random peptides on the microarray have either binding or

Random peptide microarrays are a powerful tool for both the treatment and diagnostics of infectious diseases. On the treatment side, selected random peptides on the microarray have either binding or lytic potency against certain pathogens cells, thus they can be synthesized into new antimicrobial agents, denoted as synbodies (synthetic antibodies). On the diagnostic side, serum containing specific infection-related antibodies create unique and distinct "pathogen-immunosignatures" on the random peptide microarray distinct from the healthy control serum, and this different mode of binding can be used as a more precise measurement than traditional ELISA tests. My thesis project is separated into these two parts: the first part falls into the treatment side and the second one focuses on the diagnostic side. My first chapter shows that a substitution amino acid peptide library helps to improve the activity of a recently reported synthetic antimicrobial peptide selected by the random peptide microarray. By substituting one or two amino acids of the original lead peptide, the new substitutes show changed hemolytic effects against mouse red blood cells and changed potency against two pathogens: Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Two new substitutes are then combined together to form the synbody, which shows a significantly antimicrobial potency against Staphylococcus aureus (<0.5uM). In the second chapter, I explore the possibility of using the 10K Ver.2 random peptide microarray to monitor the humoral immune response of dengue. Over 2.5 billion people (40% of the world's population) live in dengue transmitting areas. However, currently there is no efficient dengue treatment or vaccine. Here, with limited dengue patient serum samples, we show that the immunosignature has the potential to not only distinguish the dengue infection from non-infected people, but also the primary dengue infection from the secondary dengue infections, dengue infection from West Nile Virus (WNV) infection, and even between different dengue serotypes. By further bioinformatic analysis, we demonstrate that the significant peptides selected to distinguish dengue infected and normal samples may indicate the epitopes responsible for the immune response.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013