Matching Items (38)

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Sequence-specific detection of different strains of LCMV in a single sample using tentacle probes

Description

Background
Virus infections often result in quasispecies of viral strains that can have dramatic impacts on disease outcomes. However, sequencing of viruses to determine strain composition is time consuming and

Background
Virus infections often result in quasispecies of viral strains that can have dramatic impacts on disease outcomes. However, sequencing of viruses to determine strain composition is time consuming and often cost-prohibitive. Rapid, cost-effective methods are needed for accurate measurement of virus diversity to understand virus evolution and can be useful for experimental systems.
Methods
We have developed a novel molecular method for sequence-specific detection of RNA virus genetic variants called Tentacle Probes. The probes are modified molecular beacons that have dramatically improved false positive rates and specificity in routine qPCR. To validate this approach, we have designed Tentacle Probes for two different strains of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV) that differ by only 3 nucleotide substitutions, the parental Armstrong and the more virulent Clone-13 strain. One of these mutations is a missense mutation in the receptor protein GP1 that leads to the Armstrong strain to cause an acute infection and Clone-13 to cause a chronic infection instead. The probes were designed using thermodynamic calculations for hybridization between target or non-target sequences and the probe.
Results
Using this approach, we were able to distinguish these two strains of LCMV individually by a single nucleotide mutation. The assay showed high reproducibility among different concentrations of viral cDNA, as well as high specificity and sensitivity, especially for the Clone-13 Tentacle Probe. Furthermore, in virus mixing experiments we were able to detect less than 10% of Clone-13 cDNA diluted in Armstrong cDNA.
Conclusions
Thus, we have developed a fast, cost-effective approach for identifying Clone-13 strain in a mix of other LCMV strains.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-10-13

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Nuclear factor kappa B is required for the production of infectious human herpesvirus 8 virions

Description

Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) infection leads to potent activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) in primary and transformed cells. We used recombinant HHV8 (rKSHV.219) expressing green fluorescent protein under

Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) infection leads to potent activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) in primary and transformed cells. We used recombinant HHV8 (rKSHV.219) expressing green fluorescent protein under the constitutive cellular promoter elongation factor 2α and red fluorescent protein under an early HHV8 lytic gene promoter T1.1 to monitor replication during infection of human foreskin fibroblasts (HF), noting changes in NFκB activity. In primary HF, NFκB levels do not affect the ability of HHV8 to establish infection or maintain latency. Furthermore, there was no effect on the percent of cells undergoing reactivation from latency, and there were similar numbers of released and cell-associated HHV8 viral particles following reactivation in the presence of inhibitors. Reactivation of HHV8 in latently infected HF in the presence of NFκB inhibitors resulted in production of viral particles that did not efficiently establish infection, due to deficiencies in binding and/or entry into normally permissive cells. Exogenous expression of glycoprotein M, an envelope protein involved in viral binding and entry, was able to partially overcome the deficiency induced by NFκB inhibitors. Our data indicate that in primary cells, NFκB is not required for infection, establishment of latency, or entry into the lytic cycle, but is required for the expression of virion associated genes involved in the initial steps of virion infectivity. These studies suggest that strategies to inhibit NFκB may prevent HHV8 spread and should be considered as a potential therapeutic target for preventing HHV8 associated diseases.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-04-04

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The Effects of Human Hairless Gene Overexpression on U87 MG Glioblastoma Cell Function

Description

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive malignant brain tumor with a median prognosis of 14 months. Human hairless protein (HR) is a 130 kDa nuclear transcription factor that plays a

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive malignant brain tumor with a median prognosis of 14 months. Human hairless protein (HR) is a 130 kDa nuclear transcription factor that plays a critical role in skin and hair function but was found to be highly expressed in neural tissue as well. The expression of HR in GBM tumor cells is significantly decreased compared to the normal brain tissue and low levels of HR expression is associated with shortened patient survival. We have recently reported that HR is a DNA binding phosphoprotein, which binds to p53 protein and p53 responsive element (p53RE) in vitro and in intact cells. We hypothesized that HR can regulate p53 downstream target genes, and consequently affects cellular function and activity. To test the hypothesis, we overexpressed HR in normal human embryonic kidney HEK293 and GBM U87MG cell lines and characterized these cells by analyzing p53 target gene expression, viability, cell-cycle arrest, and apoptosis. The results revealed that the overexpressed HR not only regulates p53-mediated target gene expression, but also significantly inhibit cell viability, induced early apoptosis, and G2/M cell cycle arrest in U87MG cells, compared to mock groups. Translating the knowledge gained from this research on the connections between HR and GBM could aid in identifying novel therapies to circumvent GBM progression or improve clinical outcome.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Immune Blockade Therapy in Metastatic Osteosarcoma

Description

Since Metastatic Osteosarcoma is unresponsive to most of the current standards of care currently available, and yields a survival rate of 20%, it is pertinent that novel approaches to treating

Since Metastatic Osteosarcoma is unresponsive to most of the current standards of care currently available, and yields a survival rate of 20%, it is pertinent that novel approaches to treating it be undertaken in scientific research. Past studies in our lab have used a The Immune Blockade Therapy, utilizing α-CTLA-4 and α-PD-L1 to treat mice with metastatic osteosarcoma; this resulted in 60% of mice achieving disease-free survival and protective immunity against metastatic osteosarcoma. 12 We originally wanted to see if the survival rate could be boosted by pairing the immune blockade therapy with another current, standard of care, radiation. We had found that there were certain, key features to experimental design that had to be maintained and explored further in order to raise survival rates, ultimately with the goal of reestablishing the 60% survival rate seen in mice treated with the immune blockade therapy. Our results show that mice with mature immune systems, which develop by 6-8 weeks, should be used in experiments testing an immune blockade, or other forms of immunotherapy, as they are capable of properly responding to treatment. Treatment as early as one day after should be maintained in future experiments looking at the immune blockade therapy for the treatment of metastatic osteosarcoma in mice. The immune blockade therapy, using α-PD-L1 and α-CTLA-4, seems to work synergistically with radiation, a current standard of care. The combination of these therapies could potentially boost the 60% survival rate, as previously seen in mice treated with α-PD-L1 and α-CTLA-4, to a higher percent by means of reducing tumor burden and prolonging length of life in metastatic osteosarcoma.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

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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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Development of Synbody Peptides for PD-L1 Blockade for use as a Cancer Vaccine Adjuvant

Description

PD-L1 blockade has shown recent success in cancer therapy and cancer vaccine regimens. One approach for anti-PD-L1 antibodies has been their application as adjuvants for cancer vaccines. Given the disadvantages

PD-L1 blockade has shown recent success in cancer therapy and cancer vaccine regimens. One approach for anti-PD-L1 antibodies has been their application as adjuvants for cancer vaccines. Given the disadvantages of such antibodies, including long half-life and adverse events related to their use, a novel strategy using synbodies in place of antibodies can be tested. Synbodies offer a variety of advantages, including shorter half-life, smaller size, and cheaper cost. Peptides that could bind PD-L1 were identified via peptide arrays and used to construct synbodies. These synbodies were tested with inhibition ELISA assays, SPR, and pull down assays. Additional flow cytometry analysis was done to determine the binding specificity of the synbodies to PD-L1 and the ability of those synbodies to inhibit the PD-L1/PD-1 interaction. Although analysis of permeabilized cells expressing PD-L1 indicated that the synbodies could successfully bind PD-L1, those results were not replicated in non-permeabilized cells. Further assays suggested that the binding of the synbodies was non-specific. Other tests were done to see if the synbodies could inhibit the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction. This assay did not yield any conclusive results and further experimentation is needed to determine the efficacy of the synbodies in inhibiting this interaction.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Understanding the Biochemistry of Different P53 Mutants Having Different Sensitivities to Simvastatin

Description

The p53 gene functions as a tumor suppressor that inhibits proliferation, regulates apoptosis, DNA repair, and normal cell cycle arrest. Mutation of the p53 gene is linked to be prevalent

The p53 gene functions as a tumor suppressor that inhibits proliferation, regulates apoptosis, DNA repair, and normal cell cycle arrest. Mutation of the p53 gene is linked to be prevalent in 50% of all human cancers. In this paper, we are exploring triple negative breast cancer and the effects of simvastatin on tumor growth and survival. Simvastatin is a drug that is primarily used to treat high cholesterol and heart disease. Simvastatin is unique because it is able to inhibit protein prenylation through regulation of the mevalonate pathway. This makes it a potential targeted drug for therapy against p53 mutant cancer. The mechanism behind this is hypothesized to be correlated to aberrant activation of the Ras pathway. The Ras subfamily functions to transcriptionally regulate cell growth and survival, and will therefore allow for a tumor to thrive if the pathway is continually and abnormally activated. The Ras protein has to be prenylated in order for activation of this pathway to occur, making statin drug treatment a viable option as a cancer treatment. This is because it acts as a regulator of the mevalonate pathway which is upstream of protein prenylation. It is thus vital to understand these pathways at both the gene and protein level in different p53 mutants to further understand if simvastatin is indeed a drug with anti-cancer properties and can be used to target cancers with p53 mutation. The goal of this project is to study the biochemistry behind the mutation of p53's sensitivity to statin. With this information we can create a possible signature for those who could benefit from Simvastatin drug treatment as a possible targeted treatment for p53 mutant cancers.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

Evaluation of target cell binding by an immunotherapeutic bispecific fusion protein, anti-CD3/chlorotoxin

Description

Engaging the immune system to attack neoplastic glial cells in the brain may be a promising approach to eliminate glioblastoma (GBM), a deadly form of primary brain cancer with low

Engaging the immune system to attack neoplastic glial cells in the brain may be a promising approach to eliminate glioblastoma (GBM), a deadly form of primary brain cancer with low median survival. A bispecific fusion protein, anti-CD3/chlorotoxin (ACDClx), has been developed to engage cytotoxic T cells for destruction against GBM with little to no expected toxicity to surrounding healthy tissue. Previously, ACDClx has been demonstrated to induce calcium flux in T cells, indicating activation when cultured with GBM cells in vitro. Here, ACDClx fails to demonstrate successful binding to the CD3 domain of the T-cell receptor on CD4 T cells in vitro and fails to bind GBM cells despite demonstrated binding of chlorotoxin to the same cell line. This data warrants further investigation into the binding characteristics of ACDClx to target cells.

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Agent

Created

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05