Matching Items (6)

Filtering by

Clear all filters

161521-Thumbnail Image.png

Identification and Dynamics of DNA Viruses in Aves

Description

Viruses infect organisms in all domains of life and are abundant entities in ecosystems. In particular, single-stranded DNA viruses have been found in a wide variety of hosts and ecosystems. Using a metagenomic approach, novel circular viruses have been identified

Viruses infect organisms in all domains of life and are abundant entities in ecosystems. In particular, single-stranded DNA viruses have been found in a wide variety of hosts and ecosystems. Using a metagenomic approach, novel circular viruses have been identified in multiple environmental samples. This thesis focuses on viruses and virus dynamics from avian sources. As part of this thesis, a novel phapecoctavirus was identified in a pigeon cloacal swab. The phapecoctavirus is most closely related to Klebsiella phage ZCKP1, identified from a freshwater sample. Beyond this, this thesis addresses circoviruses, which are of interest due to disease they cause to avian species. Evolution of circovirus recombination was studied in a closed system of uninfected and infected pigeons. 178 genomes of pigeon circovirus were sequenced, and patterns of recombination determined. Seven genotypes were present in the population and genotype 4 was shown to be present in a majority of samples after the experiment was finished. Circoviruses were also identified in waterfowl feces and the ten genomes recovered represent two new circovirus species. Overall, the research described in this thesis helped to gain a deeper understanding of the diversity and evolution of circular DNA viruses associated with avian species.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2021

161438-Thumbnail Image.png

Characterization of Geminiviruses Infecting Cactaceae Plants: Spill-Over Events in Agro-Ecological Interfaces and Evolutionary Aspects

Description

The family Cactaceae is extremely diverse and has a near global distribution yet very little has been described regarding the community of viruses that infect or are associated with cacti. This research characterizes the diversity of viruses associated with Cactaceae

The family Cactaceae is extremely diverse and has a near global distribution yet very little has been described regarding the community of viruses that infect or are associated with cacti. This research characterizes the diversity of viruses associated with Cactaceae plants and their evolutionary aspects. Five viruses belonging to the economically relevant plant virus family Geminiviridae were identified, initially, two novel divergent geminiviruses named Opuntia virus 1 (OpV1) and Opuntia virus 2 (OpV2) and Opuntia becurtovirus, a new strain within the genus Becurtovirus. These three viruses were also found in co-infection. In addition, two known geminiviruses, the squash leaf curl virus (SLCV) and watermelon chlorotic stunt virus (WCSV) were identified infecting Cactaceae plants and other non-cactus plants in the USA and Mexico. Both SLCV and WCSV are known to cause severe disease in cultivated Cucurbitaceae plants in the USA and Middle East, respectively. This study shows that WCSV was introduced in the America two times, and it is the first identification of this virus in the USA, demonstrating is likely more widespread in North America. These findings along with the Opuntia becurtovirus are probable events of spill-over in agro-ecological interfaces. A novel circular DNA possibly bipartite plant-infecting virus that encodes protein similar to those of geminiviruses was also identified in an Opuntia discolor plant in Brazil, named utkilio virus, but it is evolutionary distinct likely belonging to a new taxon. Viruses belonging to the ssDNA viral family Genomoviridae are also described and those thus far been associated with fungi hosts, so it is likely the ones identified in plants are associated with their phytobiome. Overall, the results of this project provide a molecular and biological characterization of novel geminiviruses and genomoviruses associated with cacti as well as demonstrate the impact of agro-ecological interfaces in the spread of viruses from or to native plants. It also highlights the importance of viral metagenomics studies in exploring virus diversity and evolution given then amount of virus diversity identified. This is important for conservation and management of cacti in a global scale, including the relevance of controlled movement of plants within countries.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2021

161592-Thumbnail Image.png

Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Amplicon Vectors

Description

Globally, about two-thirds of the population is latently infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). HSV-1 is a large double stranded DNA virus with a genome size of ~150kbp. Small defective genomes, which minimally contain an HSV-1 origin of

Globally, about two-thirds of the population is latently infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). HSV-1 is a large double stranded DNA virus with a genome size of ~150kbp. Small defective genomes, which minimally contain an HSV-1 origin of replication and packaging signal, arise naturally via recombination during viral DNA replication. These small defective genomes can be mimicked by constructing a bacterial plasmid containing the HSV-1 origin of replication and packaging signal, transfecting these recombinant plasmids into mammalian cells, and infecting with a replicating helper virus. The absence of most viral genes in the amplicon vector allows large pieces of foreign DNA (up to 150kbp) to be incorporated. The HSV-1 amplicon is replicated and packaged by the helper virus to form HSV-1 particles containing the amplicon DNA. We constructed a novel HSV-1 amplicon vector system containing lambda phage-derived attR sites to facilitate insertion of transgenes by Invitrogen Gateway recombination. To demonstrate that the amplicon vectors work as expected, we packaged the vector constructs expressing Emerald GFP using the replication-competent helper viruses OK-14 or HSV-mScartlet-I-UL25 in Vero cells and demonstrate that the vector stock can subsequently transduce and express Emerald GFP. In further work, we will insert transgenes into the amplicon vector using Invitrogen Gateway recombination to study their functionality.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2021

157580-Thumbnail Image.png

Discovery of Novel Viruses in Arachnids

Description

Arachnids belong to the phylum Arthropoda, the largest phylum in the animal kingdom. Ticks are blood-feeding arachnids that vector numerous pathogens of significant medical and veterinary importance, while scorpions have become a common concern in urban desert cities due to

Arachnids belong to the phylum Arthropoda, the largest phylum in the animal kingdom. Ticks are blood-feeding arachnids that vector numerous pathogens of significant medical and veterinary importance, while scorpions have become a common concern in urban desert cities due to the high level of toxicity in their venom. To date, viruses associated with arachnids have been under sampled and understudied. Here viral metagenomics was used to explore the diversity of viruses present in ticks and scorpions. American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) and blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) were collected in Pennsylvania while one hairy scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis) and four bark scorpions (Centruroides sculpturatus) were collected in Phoenix. Novel viral genomes described here belong to the families Polyomaviridae, Anelloviridae, Genomoviridae, and a newly proposed family, Arthropolviridae.

Polyomaviruses are non-enveloped viruses with a small, circular double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genomes that have been identified in a variety of mammals, birds and fish and are known to cause various diseases. Arthropolviridae is a proposed family of circular, large tumor antigen encoding dsDNA viruses that have a unidirectional genome organization. Genomoviruses and anelloviruses are ssDNA viruses that have circular genomes ranging in size from 2–2.4 kb and 2.1–3.8 kb, respectively. Genomoviruses are ubiquitous in the environment, having been identified in a wide range of animal, plant and environmental samples, while anelloviruses have been associated with a plethora of animals.

Here, 16 novel viruses are reported that span four viral families. Eight novel polyomaviruses were recovered from bark scorpions, three arthropolviruses were recovered from dog ticks and one arthropolvirus from a hairy scorpion. Viruses belonging to the families Polyomaviridae and Arthropolviridae are highly divergent. This is the first more extensive study of these viruses in arachnids. Three genomoviruses were recovered from both dog and deer ticks and one anellovirus was recovered from deer ticks, which are the first records of these viruses being recovered from ticks. This work highlights the diversity of dsDNA and ssDNA viruses in the arachnid population and emphasizes the importance of performing viral surveys on these populations.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2019

157664-Thumbnail Image.png

Facile fabrication of meso-to-macroscale single-molecule arrays for high-throughput digital assays

Description

One of the single-most insightful, and visionary talks of the 20th century, “There’s plenty of room at the bottom,” by Dr. Richard Feynman, represented a first foray into the micro- and nano-worlds of biology and chemistry with the intention of

One of the single-most insightful, and visionary talks of the 20th century, “There’s plenty of room at the bottom,” by Dr. Richard Feynman, represented a first foray into the micro- and nano-worlds of biology and chemistry with the intention of direct manipulation of their individual components. Even so, for decades there has existed a gulf between the bottom-up molecular worlds of biology and chemistry, and the top-down world of nanofabrication. Creating single molecule nanoarrays at the limit of diffraction could incentivize a paradigm shift for experimental assays. However, such arrays have been nearly impossible to fabricate since current nanofabrication tools lack the resolution required for precise single-molecule spatial manipulation. What if there existed a molecule which could act as a bridge between these top-down and bottom-up worlds?

At ~100-nm, a DNA origami macromolecule represents one such bridge, acting as a breadboard for the decoration of single molecules with 3-5 nm resolution. It relies on the programmed self-assembly of a long, scaffold strand into arbitrary 2D or 3D structures guided via approximately two hundred, short, staple strands. Once synthesized, this nanostructure falls in the spatial manipulation regime of a nanofabrication tool such as electron-beam lithography (EBL), facilitating its high efficiency immobilization in predetermined binding sites on an experimentally relevant substrate. This placement technology, however, is expensive and requires specialized training, thereby limiting accessibility.

The work described here introduces a method for bench-top, cleanroom/lithography-free, DNA origami placement in meso-to-macro-scale grids using tunable colloidal nanosphere masks, and organosilane-based surface chemistry modification. Bench-top DNA origami placement is the first demonstration of its kind which facilitates precision placement of single molecules with high efficiency in diffraction-limited sites at a cost of $1/chip. The comprehensive characterization of this technique, and its application as a robust platform for high-throughput biophysics and digital counting of biomarkers through enzyme-free amplification are elucidated here. Furthermore, this technique can serve as a template for the bottom-up fabrication of invaluable biophysical tools such as zero mode waveguides, making them significantly cheaper and more accessible to the scientific community. This platform has the potential to democratize high-throughput single molecule experiments in laboratories worldwide.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2019

158793-Thumbnail Image.png

CD8+ T Cell Receptor Characterization in HPV Associated Head and Neck Cancer

Description

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a double-stranded DNA virus responsible for causing upwards of 80% of head and neck cancers in the oropharyngeal region. Current treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation, are aggressive and elicit toxic effects. HPV is a

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a double-stranded DNA virus responsible for causing upwards of 80% of head and neck cancers in the oropharyngeal region. Current treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation, are aggressive and elicit toxic effects. HPV is a pathogen that expresses viral-specific oncogenic proteins that play a role in cancer progression. These proteins may serve as potential targets for immunotherapeutic applications. Engineered T cell receptor (TCR) therapy may be an advantageous approach for HPV-associated cancers. In TCR therapy, TCRs are modified to express a receptor that is specific to an immunogenic antigen (part of the virus/cancer capable of eliciting an immune response). Since HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers typically express unique viral proteins, it is important to identify the TCRs capable of recognizing these proteins. Evidence supports that head and neck cancers typically experience high levels of immune cell infiltration and are subsequently associated with increased survival rates. Most of the immune cell infiltrations in HPV+ HNSCC are CD8+ T lymphocytes, drawing attention to their prospective use in cellular immunotherapies. While TCRs are highly specific, the TCR repertoire is extremely diverse; enabling the immune system to fight off numerous pathogens. In project 1, I review approaches to analyzing TCR diversity and explore the use of DNA origami in retrieving paired TCR sequences from a population. The results determine that DNA origami can be used within a monoclonal population but requires further optimization before being applied in a polyclonal setting. In project 2, I investigate HPV-specific T-cell dysfunction; I detect low frequency HPV-specific CD8+ T cells, determine that they are tumor specific, and show that HPV+HNSCC patients exhibit increased epitope-specific levels of CD8+T cell exhaustion. In project 3, I apply methods to expand and isolate TCRαβ sequences derived from donors stimulated with a previously identified HPV epitope. Single-cell analysis provide ten unique TCRαβ pairs with corresponding CDR3 sequences that may serve as therapeutic candidates. This thesis contributes to fundamental immunology by contributing to the knowledge of T cell dysfunction within HPV+HNSCC and further reveals TCR gene usage within an HPV stimulated population, thus identifying potential TCR pairs for adoptive cell therapies.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2020