Matching Items (40)

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The Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptors p55 and p75 in Acute IL-2 Toxicity in Chronic Viral Infections

Description

Viral infections are a significant cause of disease in humans. While some viral diseases have been eliminated, many more continue to infect millions. Viral infections are challenging to treat because

Viral infections are a significant cause of disease in humans. While some viral diseases have been eliminated, many more continue to infect millions. Viral infections are challenging to treat because viruses use host cell machinery to replicate, so it is difficult to develop drugs that can target viruses. Normally, the host’s immune system is capable of destroying the virus, but during chronic infections it becomes exhausted and T cells lose their effector functions necessary for the clearance of the virus. IL-2 can help relieve this exhaustion, but causes toxicity to the body. In mice infected with chronic LCMV, IL-2 administration causes death due to pulmonary hemorrhage. CD4 deficient mice were infected with chronic LCMV and then dosed with IL-2 and survived, but mice that were deficient for CD8 T cells died, indicating that toxicity was mediated by CD8 T cells. CD8 T cells can kill infected host cells directly by producing perforin, or can produce cytokines like IFN-γ and TNF to further activate the immune system and mediate killing. Mice that were deficient in perforin died after IL-2 administration, as well as mice that were deficient in IFN-γ. Mice deficient in TNF, however, survived, indicating that TNF was mediating the toxicity in response to IL-2. There are two different receptors for TNF, p55 and p75. p55 is known as TNFR1 and has been implicated in apoptosis of virally infected cells. P75 is known as TNFR2 and is associated more with inflammation in response to infection. My hypothesis was that if TNFR2 was knocked out, infected mice would survive IL-2 dosing. When single knockouts of TNFR1 and 2 were used in an experiment however, it was found that either receptor is capable of mediating toxicity, as both experimental groups failed to survive. This is relevant to current IL-2 therapies because there is no way to eliminate a single receptor in order to reduce toxicity. Further studies exploring the anti-viral capabilities of IFN-γ are suggested.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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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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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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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Linking Immunologic and Epidemiologic Models of Virus Transmission and Susceptibility

Description

Memory CD8+ T-cells can persist in the absence of antigen, primed for immediate activation and proliferation if later exposed to the same antigen. These cytotoxic lymphocytes provide long-term immunity following

Memory CD8+ T-cells can persist in the absence of antigen, primed for immediate activation and proliferation if later exposed to the same antigen. These cytotoxic lymphocytes provide long-term immunity following an acute infection. Studies have observed that intermediate levels of general T cell transfer prior to infection may cause an inappropriate response resulting in increased pathology rather than prevention. Therefore, our study focused on a memory CD8 T-cell therapy using lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) specific splenocytes, which activate and proliferate at an accelerated pace compared to that of naive T-cells. LCMV is a natural murine pathogen which also poses a zoonotic infection threat to humans, and the effect of immune cell vaccination therapies for LCMV is not fully understood. We observed the effect of multiple memory CD8 T cell dosage levels on overall disease and memory CD8 T-cell response to the virus. Infection by exposure to a carrier was shown to have a reduced impact on mice receiving higher doses of memory T cells prior to infection compared to mice receiving less or no memory cells. Higher presence of activated memory cells were shown to correlate with less disease-related weight loss and accelerated recovery times. Survival rate after exposure to carriers was not shown to be affected by dosage level, warranting further research regarding the prevalence of the immunopathology observed in other studies in natural murine transmission models.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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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.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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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.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Genetic Trends in the Vertical Transmission of the Clone-13 Variant of LCMV

Description

Among wild rodent populations, vertical transmission is believed to constitute the primary route of infection for Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV), a non-lytic arenavirus with both acute and chronic forms. When

Among wild rodent populations, vertical transmission is believed to constitute the primary route of infection for Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV), a non-lytic arenavirus with both acute and chronic forms. When carrier mice infected at birth with the acute Armstrong strain reproduce, they generate congenital carrier offspring containing a quasispecies of LCMV that includes Armstrong as well as its chronic Clone-13 variant. This study examined the genetic trends in the vertical transmission of LCMV from mothers infected perinatally with Clone-13. Viral isolates obtained from the serum of congenital carrier offspring were partially sequenced to reveal residue 260 in the glycoprotein-encoding region of their S segment, the site of a major amino acid change differentiating the chronic and acute strains. It was found that the phenylalanine-to-leucine mutation associated with Clone-13 was present in 100% of the isolates, strongly indicating that the offspring of Clone-13 carriers contain exclusively the chronic variant. This research has broad implications for the epidemiology of the virus, and, given the predominance of Armstrong in the wild, suggests that there must be a biological cost associated with Clone-13 infection in non-carriers.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Immune Activation by Plant-Produced HIV-1 Virus-like Particles

Description

Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) causes millions of deaths every year, but a protective vaccine remains elusive. A promising vaccine strategy is to use virus-like particles (VLPs) for HIV-1.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) causes millions of deaths every year, but a protective vaccine remains elusive. A promising vaccine strategy is to use virus-like particles (VLPs) for HIV-1. To this end, HIV-1 VLPs were produced in Nicotiana benthamiana plants that were stably expressing the HIV-1 Gag protein and transiently expressing a truncated form of gp41. These VLPs were tested to determine their inherent adjuvant effects due to their production in plants in order to dissect the previously observed stimulating activity of these VLPs in a prime-boost vaccine approach. THP1 human monocytes were differentiated using PMA or IL-4 and GM-CSF to form macrophages and dendritic cells, respectively. These cells were treated with purified VLPs or control samples to determine the individual adjuvant effects of the plant, bacterial, and VLP components in the purified VLP samples. It was postulated that the PMA-differentiated THP1 cells were not induced to become macrophages due to the lack of CD11b+ cells in the sample and the lack of increased TNFα expression in response to LPS treatment. It was also determined that the VLPs have inherent adjuvant properties to dendritic cells due to bacterial and VLP components, but not due to plant components.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Recombinant Baculoviral Production of Class I Major Histocompatibility Complex Tetramers

Description

Identifying immunoreactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) by current technologies (cytokine secretion, intracellular cytokine, ELISPOT, and MHC tetramer assays) is often difficult when probing for multiple target antigens. CTLs activate and

Identifying immunoreactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) by current technologies (cytokine secretion, intracellular cytokine, ELISPOT, and MHC tetramer assays) is often difficult when probing for multiple target antigens. CTLs activate and induce apoptosis of pathogenic cells when T-cell receptors (TCRs) specifically bind to antigenic peptides and major histocompatibility complexes (pMHCs) presented on the target cell’s surface. Flow cytometric MHC class I tetramer assays allow for the direct quantification and sorting of most CD8+ T lymphocytes whose TCRs recognize bound peptides, regardless of effector function. Class I tetramers are traditionally produced using BL21-DE3 E. coli expression, denaturation and folding in vitro, which is technically challenging, time-consuming, and low-throughput. We are developing an assay amenable to rapid, high-throughput screening of peptide libraries to characterize and quantitate antigen-specific CTLs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Baculovirus expression systems, utilizing host eukaryotic chaperones and isomerases, are capable of producing soluble, properly-folded protein complexes with high yields. The HLA-A*0201 heavy chain and beta-2-microglobulin genes were cloned into pIEx baculovirus expression vectors. Recombinant HLA-A*0201 and β2m viruses were synthesized using the BacMagic-3 DNA/pIEx method and transfected into Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells, and protein expression was confirmed by Western blot. To prepare T cells for testing, PBMCs from a healthy HLA-A2+ donor were collected and pulsed with DMSO control or CEF peptide pool (a mixture of CMV-, EBV-, and Flu-specific HLA class I epitopes). After 5 days, the CD8+ and CD8- fractions were sorted by MACS-based magnetic separation, and the frequency of FluM1-specific lymphocytes in the CD8+ populations was determined (0.1% of DMSO control vs. 0.772% of CEF-pulsed cells) using a commercial tetramer. We are optimizing HLA-A*0201 and β2m baculovirus co-infection ratios and evaluating the efficiency of intracellular MHC folding.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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CD4 Response in Well-Controlled Pediatric HIV Patients on HAART

Description

Patients who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and who remain adherent to their highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) regimen are likely to achieve good virologic control over

Patients who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and who remain adherent to their highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) regimen are likely to achieve good virologic control over significant periods of time. Children who start with a low CD4 percentage (below 15%) are associated with adverse clinical outcomes and the risk of never increasing their CD4 counts to normal functioning levels. While adherent adult HIV patients have been studied frequently, this was a retrospective chart study that aimed to describe the immune reconstitution pattern for up to 16 years in virologically controlled pediatric patients who had been or who are currently being treated at the Bill Holt Clinic at Phoenix Children's Hospital. In the preliminary study, 35 patients met criteria for inclusion and three years later for this extension study 7 more were added while 17 of the initial patients were followed further because they have remained in care and virologically controlled. All 28 patients who achieved 5 years of viral suppression were >25% CD4. All 8 patients who achieved 12 years of viral suppression were >31% CD4. All patients who achieved 16 years of viral suppression were >41% CD4. After 12 years, the 8 patients who maintained viral suppression all had absolute CD4 counts of over 600 cells and additionally each had CD4/CD8 ratios greater than 1. Overall, the data shows immune system normalization for up to 16 years, although CD4/CD8 ratios improved but never completely normalized. Some limitations include a small sample size and missing data points due to laboratory testing errors or the lack of technology in different countries to test for CD8 cells. These findings suggest that children who remain adherent to HAART can experience ongoing immune healing for up to 16 years. This may provide additional incentive to providers and caretakers to encourage adherence and maximize long-term immune competence in HIV positive children.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05