Matching Items (48)

Filtering by

Clear all filters

152265-Thumbnail Image.png

Whole cell proteomics: understanding sperm composition and maturation

Description

Infertility has become an increasing problem in developed countries and in many cases can be attributed to compromised sperm quality. Assessment of male fertility typically utilizes semen analysis which mainly examines sperm morphology, however many males whose sperm appear normal

Infertility has become an increasing problem in developed countries and in many cases can be attributed to compromised sperm quality. Assessment of male fertility typically utilizes semen analysis which mainly examines sperm morphology, however many males whose sperm appear normal are sub- or infertile, suggesting that sperm from these males may be deficient in a protein or suite of proteins. To date, very little is known about the composition of sperm or the complex maturation process that confers motility and fertilization competency to sperm. Chapter 1 discusses the use of whole cell mass spectrometry to identify 1247 proteins comprising the Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) sperm proteome, a commonly used model of human reproduction. This study provides a more robust proxy of human sperm composition than was previously available and facilitates studies of sperm using the rhesus macaque as a model. Chapters 2 & 3 provide a systems level overview of changes in sperm proteome composition that occurs during epididymal transit. Chapter 2 reports the proteomes of sperm collected from the caput, corpus and cauda segments of the mouse epididymis, identifying 1536, 1720 and 1234 proteins respectively. Chapter 3 reports the sperm proteome from four distinct segments of the Rhesus macaque epididymis, including the caput, proximal corpus, distal corpus and cauda, identifying 1951, 2014, 1764 and 1423 proteins respectively. These studies identify a number of proteins that are added and removed from sperm during epididymal transit which likely play an important role in the sperm maturation process. To date no comparative evolutionary studies of sperm proteomes have been undertaken. Chapter 4 compares four mammalian sperm proteomes including the human, macaque, mouse and rat. This study identified 98 proteins common to all four sperm proteomes, 82 primate and 90 rodent lineage-specific proteins and 494, 467, 566, and 193 species specific proteins in the human, macaque, mouse and rat sperm proteomes respectively and discusses how differences in sperm composition may ultimately lead to functional differences across species. Finally, chapter 5 uses sperm proteome data to inform the preliminary design of a rodent contraceptive vaccine delivered orally using recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccine vectors.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

154018-Thumbnail Image.png

Developing engineered polymerases for practical applications in synthetic biology

Description

Advances in chemical synthesis have enabled new lines of research with unnatural genetic polymers whose modified bases or sugar-phosphate backbones have potential therapeutic and biotechnological applications. Maximizing the potential of these synthetic genetic systems requires inventing new molecular biology tools

Advances in chemical synthesis have enabled new lines of research with unnatural genetic polymers whose modified bases or sugar-phosphate backbones have potential therapeutic and biotechnological applications. Maximizing the potential of these synthetic genetic systems requires inventing new molecular biology tools that can both generate and faithfully replicate unnatural polymers of significant length. Threose nucleic acid (TNA) has received significant attention as a complete replication system has been developed by engineering natural polymerases to broaden their substrate specificity. The system, however, suffers from a high mutational load reducing its utility. This thesis will cover the development of two new polymerases capable of transcribing and reverse transcribing TNA polymers with high efficiency and fidelity. The polymerases are identified using a new strategy wherein gain-of-function mutations are sampled in homologous protein architectures leading to subtle optimization of protein function. The new replication system has a fidelity that supports the propagation of genetic information enabling in vitro selection of functional TNA molecules. TNA aptamers to human alpha-thrombin are identified and demonstrated to have superior stability compared to DNA and RNA in biologically relevant conditions. This is the first demonstration that functional TNA molecules have potential in biotechnology and molecular medicine.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

152035-Thumbnail Image.png

Detection of a Coccidioidal Peptide in Plasma from Patients with Active Coccidioidomycosis

Description

Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a disease caused by the dimorphic soil-dwelling fungus, Coccidioides sp. Coccidioidomycosis is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to community-acquired pneumonia. Current diagnostic tests rely on antibody responses, but immune responses can

Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a disease caused by the dimorphic soil-dwelling fungus, Coccidioides sp. Coccidioidomycosis is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to community-acquired pneumonia. Current diagnostic tests rely on antibody responses, but immune responses can be delayed and aberrant, resulting in false negative diagnoses. Unlike serology, detection of coccidioidal proteins or other fungal components in blood could distinguish valley fever from other pulmonary infections and provide a definitive diagnosis. Using mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) we examined the plasma peptidome from patients with serologically confirmed coccidioidomycosis. Mass spectra were searched using the protein database from the Coccidioides species, generated and annotated by the Broad Institute. 15 of 20 patients with serologically confirmed coccidioidomycosis demonstrated the presence of a peptide in plasma, "PGLDSKSLACTFSQV" (PGLD). The peptide is derived from an open reading frame from a "conserved hypothetical protein" annotated with 2 exons, and to date, found only in the C. posadasii strain Silviera RMSCC 3488 genomic sequence. In this thesis work, cDNA sequence analysis from polyadenylated RNA confirms the peptide sequence and genomic location of the peptide, but does not indicate that the intron in the gene prediction of C. posadasii strain Silviera RMSCC 3488 is present. A monoclonal antibody generated against the peptide bound to a 16kDa protein in T27K coccidioidal lysate. Detecting components of the fungus plasma could be a useful diagnostic tool, especially when serology does not provide a definitive diagnosis.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

149976-Thumbnail Image.png

Addicted to autophagy: Ph+ B-ALL may acquire iImatinib-resistance and enhanced malignancy through a highly-active autophagy pathway

Description

The majority of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and some of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) cases are associated with possessing the BCR-Abl fusion protein from an oncogenic translocation, resulting in a constantly active form of Abl and rapid proliferation. CML and

The majority of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and some of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) cases are associated with possessing the BCR-Abl fusion protein from an oncogenic translocation, resulting in a constantly active form of Abl and rapid proliferation. CML and ALL cells that possess the BCR-Abl fusion protein are known as Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+). Currently, Imatinib (selective Abl inhibitor) is used as therapy against CML and ALL. However, some patients may have malignancies which show resistance to Imatinib. Previous work displays that the transformation of progenitor B cells with the v-Abl oncogene of Abelson murine leukemia virus results in cell cycle progression, rapid proliferation, and potentially malignant transformation while preventing any further differentiation. Progenitor B cells transformed with the temperature-sensitive form of the v-Abl oncogene have served as a model to study cellular response to Imatinib treatment. After some manipulation, very few cells were forced to progress to malignancy, forming tumor in vivo. These cells were no long sensitive to v-Abl inactivation, resembling the Imatinib resistant ALL. Autophagy is the process by which proteins and organelles are broken-down and recycled within the eukaryotic cell and has been hypothesized to play a part in cancer cell survival and drug-resistance. LC3 processing is a widely accepted marker of autophagy induction and progression. It has also been shown that Imatinib treatment of Ph+ leukemia can induce autophagy. In this study, we examined the autophagy induction in response to v-Abl inactivation in a Ph+-B-ALL cell model that shows resistance to Imatinib. In particular, we wonder whether the tumor cell line resistant to v-Abl inactivation may acquire a high level of autophagy to become resistant to apoptosis induced by v-Abl inactivation, and thus become addicted to autophagy. Indeed, this tumor cell line displays a high basal levels of LC3 I and II expression, regardless of v-Abl activity. We further demonstrated that inhibition of the autophagy pathway enhances the tumor line's sensitivity to Imatinib, resulting in cell cycle arrest and massive apoptosis. The combination of autophagy and Abl inhibitions may serve as an effective therapy for BCR-Abl positive CML.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

149526-Thumbnail Image.png

Gene annotation using the proteome

Description

While the entire human genome has been sequenced, the understanding of its functional elements remains unclear. The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project analyzed 1% of the human genome and found that the majority of the human genome is transcribed,

While the entire human genome has been sequenced, the understanding of its functional elements remains unclear. The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project analyzed 1% of the human genome and found that the majority of the human genome is transcribed, including non-protein coding regions. The hypothesis is that some of the "non-coding" sequences are translated into peptides and small proteins. Using mass spectrometry numerous peptides derived from the ENCODE transcriptome were identified. Peptides and small proteins were also found from non-coding regions of the 1% of the human genome that the ENCODE did not find transcripts for. A large portion of these peptides mapped to the intronic regions of known genes, thus it is suspected that they may be undiscovered exons present in alternative spliceoforms of certain genes. Further studies proved the existence of polyadenylated RNAs coding for these peptides. Although their functional significance has not been determined, I anticipate the findings will lead to the discovery of new splice variants of known genes and possibly new transcriptional and translational mechanisms.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2010

149418-Thumbnail Image.png

Characterization of the E3L amino-terminus in poxvirus replication and tumor regression

Description

Host organisms have evolved multiple mechanisms to defend against a viral infection and likewise viruses have evolved multiple methods to subvert the host's anti-viral immune response. Vaccinia virus (VACV) is known to contain numerous proteins involved in blocking the

Host organisms have evolved multiple mechanisms to defend against a viral infection and likewise viruses have evolved multiple methods to subvert the host's anti-viral immune response. Vaccinia virus (VACV) is known to contain numerous proteins involved in blocking the cellular anti-viral immune response. The VACV E3L protein is important for inhibiting the anti-viral immune response and deletions within this gene lead to a severe attenuation. In particular, VACV containing N-terminal truncations in E3L are attenuated in animal models and fail to replicate in murine JC cells. Monkeypox virus (MPXV) F3L protein is a homologue of the VACV E3L protein, however it is predicted to contain a 37 amino acid N-terminal truncation. Despite containing an N-terminal truncation in the E3L homologue, MPXV is able to inhibit the anti-viral immune response similar to wild-type VACV and able to replicate in JC cells. This suggests that MPXV has evolved another mechanism(s) to counteract host defenses and promote replication in JC cells. MPXV produces less dsRNA than VACV during the course of an infection, which may explain why MPXV posses a phenotype similar to VACV, despite containing a truncated E3L homologue. The development of oncolytic viruses as a therapy for cancer has gained interest in recent years. Oncolytic viruses selectively replicate in and destroy cancerous cells and leave normal cells unharmed. Many tumors possess dysregulated anti-viral signaling pathways, since these pathways can also regulate cell growth. Creating a mutation in the N-terminus of the VACV-E3L protein generates an oncolytic VACV that depends on dysregulated anti-viral signaling pathways for replication allowing for direct targeting of the cancerous cells. VACV-E3Ldel54N selectively replicates in numerous cancer cells lines and not in the normal cell lines. Additionally, VACV-E3Ldel54N is safe and effective in causing tumor regression in a xenograph mouse model. Lastly, VACV-E3Ldel54N was capable of spreading from the treated tumors to the untreated tumors in both a xenograph and syngeneic mouse model. These data suggest that VACV-E3Ldel54N could be an effective oncolytic virus for the treatment of cancer.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2010

153543-Thumbnail Image.png

Loss of LKB1 leads to alteration of the immune microenvironment in non-small cell lung cancer

Description

The majority of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients (70%) are diagnosed with adenocarcinoma versus other histological subtypes. These patients often present with advanced, metastatic disease and frequently relapse after treatment. The tumor suppressor, Liver Kinase B1, is frequently

The majority of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients (70%) are diagnosed with adenocarcinoma versus other histological subtypes. These patients often present with advanced, metastatic disease and frequently relapse after treatment. The tumor suppressor, Liver Kinase B1, is frequently inactivated in adenocarcinomas and loss of function is associated with a highly aggressive, metastatic tumor (1). Identification of the mechanisms deregulated with LKB1 inactivation could yield targeted therapeutic options for adenocarcinoma patients. Re-purposing the immune system to support tumor growth and aid in metastasis has been shown to be a feature in cancer progression (2). Tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) differentiate from monocytes, which are recruited to the tumor microenvironment via secretion of chemotaxic factors by cancer cells. We find that NSCLC cells deficient in LKB1 display increased secretion of C-C motif ligand 2 (CCL2), a chemokine involved in monocyte recruitment. To elucidate the molecular pathway regulating CCL2 up-regulation, we investigated inhibitors of substrates downstream of LKB1 signaling in A549, H23, H2030 and H838 cell lines. Noticeably, BAY-11-7082 (NF-κB inhibitor) reduced CCL2 secretion by an average 92%. We further demonstrate that a CCR2 antagonist and neutralizing CCL2 antibody substantially reduce monocyte migration to NSCLC (H23) cell line conditioned media. Using an in vivo model of NSCLC, we find that LKB1 deleted tumors demonstrate a discernible increase in CCL2 levels compared to normal lung. Moreover, tumors display an increase in the M2:M1 macrophage ratio and increase in tumor associated neutrophil (TAN) infiltrate compared to normal lung. This M2 shift was significantly reduced in mice treated with anti-CCL2 or a CCR2 antagonist and the TAN infiltrate was significantly reduced with the CCR2 antagonist. These data suggest that deregulation of the CCL2/CCR2 signaling axis could play a role in cancer progression in LKB1 deficient tumors.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

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 adjuvant. The DENV envelope protein (E), the main target for

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

153363-Thumbnail Image.png

Increasing T cell immunity to metastatic osteosarcoma via modulation of inhibitory T cell receptors

Description

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in children and adolescents. Patients with metastatic osteosarcoma are typically refractory to treatment. Numerous lines of evidence suggest that cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) limit the development of metastatic osteosarcoma. I have investigated the role

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in children and adolescents. Patients with metastatic osteosarcoma are typically refractory to treatment. Numerous lines of evidence suggest that cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) limit the development of metastatic osteosarcoma. I have investigated the role of Programmed Death Receptor-1 (PD-1) in limiting the efficacy of immune mediated control of metastatic osteosarcoma. I show that human metastatic, but not primary, osteosarcoma tumors express the ligand for PD-1 (PD-L1) and that tumor infiltrating CTL express PD-1, suggesting this pathway may limit CTL control of metastatic osteosarcoma in patients. PD-L1 is also expressed on the K7M2 osteosarcoma tumor cell line that establishes metastases in mice, and PD-1 is expressed on tumor infiltrating CTL during disease progression. Blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 interactions dramatically improves the function of osteosarcoma-reactive CTL in vitro and in vivo, and results in decreased tumor burden and increased survival in the K7M2 mouse model of metastatic osteosarcoma. My results suggest that blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 interactions in patients with metastatic osteosarcoma should be pursued as a therapeutic strategy. However, PD-1/PD-L1 blockade treated mice still succumb to disease due to selection of PD-L1 mAb resistant tumor cells via up-regulation of other co-inhibitory T cell receptors. Combinational α-CTLA-4 and α-PD-L1 blockade treated mice were able to completely eradicate metastatic osteosarcoma, and generate immunity to disease. These results suggest that blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 interactions in patients with metastatic osteosarcoma, although improves survival, may lead to tumor resistance, requiring combinational immunotherapies to combat and eradicate disease.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

154259-Thumbnail Image.png

Small molecule inhibition of quiescin sulfhydryl oxidase 1 (QSOX1), a dynamic pro-tumorigenic regulator of the extracellular matrix

Description

Quiescin sulfhydryl oxidase 1 (QSOX1) is a highly conserved disulfide bond-generating enzyme that represents the ancient fusion of two major thiol-disulfide oxidoreductase gene families: thioredoxin and ERV. QSOX1 was first linked with cancer after being identified as overexpressed in pancreatic

Quiescin sulfhydryl oxidase 1 (QSOX1) is a highly conserved disulfide bond-generating enzyme that represents the ancient fusion of two major thiol-disulfide oxidoreductase gene families: thioredoxin and ERV. QSOX1 was first linked with cancer after being identified as overexpressed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (but not in adjacent normal ductal epithelia, infiltrating lymphocytes, or chronic pancreatitis). QSOX1 overexpression has been confirmed in a number of other histological tumor types, such as breast, lung, kidney, prostate, and others. Expression of QSOX1 supports a proliferative and invasive phenotype in tumor cells, and its enzymatic activity is critical for promoting an invasive phenotype. An in vivo tumor growth study utilizing the pancreatic tumor cell line MIAPaCa-2 containing a QSOX1-silencing shRNA construct revealed that QSOX1 expression supports a proliferative phenotype. These preliminary studies suggest that suppressing the enzymatic activity of QSOX1 could represent a novel therapeutic strategy to inhibit proliferation and invasion of malignant neoplasms.

The goal of this research was to identify and characterize biologically active small molecule inhibitors for QSOX1. Chemical inhibition of QSOX1 enzymatic activity was hypothesized to reduce growth and invasion of tumor cells. Recombinant QSOX1 was screened against libraries of small molecules using an enzymatic activity assay to identify potential QSOX1 inhibitors. Two lead QSOX1 inhibitors were confirmed, 2-phenyl-1, 2-benzisoselenazol-3-one (ebselen), and 3-methoxy-n-[4-(1 pyrrolidinyl)phenyl]benzamide. The biological activity of these compounds is consistent with QSOX1 knockdown in tumor cell lines, reducing growth and invasion in vitro. Treatment of tumor cells with these compounds also resulted in specific ECM defects, a phenotype associated with QSOX1 knockdown. Additionally, these compounds were shown to be active in pancreatic and renal cancer xenografts, reducing tumor growth with daily treatment. For ebselen, the molecular mechanism of inhibition was determined using a combination of biochemical and mass spectrometric techniques. The results obtained in these studies provide proof-of-principle that targeting QSOX1 enzymatic activity with chemical compounds represents a novel potential therapeutic avenue worthy of further investigation in cancer. Additionally, the utility of these small molecules as chemical probes will yield future insight into the general biology of QSOX1, including the identification of novel substrates of QSOX1.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2015