Matching Items (60)

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Role of RAG2 C-terminal region in enforcing appropriate recombination cleavage directed at legitimate DNA targets

Description

V(D)J Recombination is the mechanism responsible for generating diversity in the repertoire of antigen receptors of T and B cells. This recombination process proceeds in two steps: site-specific cleavage mediated

V(D)J Recombination is the mechanism responsible for generating diversity in the repertoire of antigen receptors of T and B cells. This recombination process proceeds in two steps: site-specific cleavage mediated lymphocyte-specific recombinase known as Recombination Activating Genes 1 and 2 complex (RAG) at the junction of coding gene segments and their flanking recombination signal sequence (RSS) and then followed by rejoining of the double strand broken DNA by the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) complex. Mutations and truncations of the RAG-recombinase have been found associated with genomic instability and chromosomal translocation. It has been hypothesized that these RAG mutants may have abnormality in their interactions with recombination intermediates, ultimately causing premature release of the ends for aberrant joining. Additionally, these mutations have an increase in targeting non-B type DNA instead of legitimate recombination substrates that contain RSSs. To directly test these hypotheses, we have developed a fluorescence-based detection system to monitor in real time the recombination cleavage reaction from the pre-cleavage to the post-cleavage stages and to compare RAG-DNA interactions between wild type and mutant RAG1/2 during this process. Our study provides important insight into the ability of the C-terminus of RAG to regulate RAG recombinase activity.

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Date Created
  • 2014-12

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Importance of cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains in measles virus

Description

Lipid microdomains play a vital role in a number of biological processes. They are often a target of diseases and viruses. Viruses in particular utilize lipid microdomains to gain entry

Lipid microdomains play a vital role in a number of biological processes. They are often a target of diseases and viruses. Viruses in particular utilize lipid microdomains to gain entry and fuse with the host-cell membrane. Measles virus (MV) a human pathogen, spread from cell to cell by inducing fusion of cellular membranes. This causes the formation of large multinucleated cells, syncytia. It has been previously reported that lipid microdomains are essential for measles virus infection/replication. In this study we used methyl beta cyclodextrin (MBCD), a cholesterol-sequestering agent to disrupt lipid microdomains. Through transfection of Vero h/SLAM cells, we found that Measles virus fusion was dependent on lipid microdomains integrity. Indeed, a dose dependent fusion inhibition was documented with increasing concentrations of MBCD resulting in reduced formation of syncytia.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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In Vitro Display of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC)-Complexes on Luminex Platform Beads

Description

Our goal was to design a method to express soluble folded major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins using human cell line HeLa lysate with the novel 1-Step Human In Vitro Protein

Our goal was to design a method to express soluble folded major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins using human cell line HeLa lysate with the novel 1-Step Human In Vitro Protein Expression by Thermo Scientific in the presence of β2 microglobulin (β2m) and antigenic peptide.
We confirmed that the soluble protein MHC-A2.1 could be successfully attached to the Luminex magnetic beads and detected using the primary antibody anti-GST and the detection antibody goat mAb mouse PE. The average net MFI of the attached pA2.1-bead complex was 8182. Biotinylated A2.1 MHC complexes pre-folded with β2m and FLU M1 peptide (A2.1 monomers) were also successfully attached to Luminex magnetic beads and detected with BB7.2. The average net MFI of the detected A2.1 monmer-bead complexes was 318. The protein MHC complexes were multimerized on magnetic beads to create MHC tetramers and detected with BB7.2, PE labeled monoclonal antibody, via median fluorescent intensity with the Luminex platform. Varying protein, β2 microglobulin (β2m), and peptide concentrations were tested in a number of MHC-A2.1 protein refolding trials. Different antigenic peptides and attachment methods were also tested. However, none of the MHC-A2.1 protein folding and capture trials were successful. Although MHC-A2.1 complexes and recombinant MHC molecules could be attached to Luminex magnetic beads and be detected by Luminex arrays, soluble protein A2.1 could not be successfully expressed, refolded, captured onto Luminex beads, and detected. All refolding trials resulted in a net MFI of <25. The failed refolding and capture trials of A2.1 lead to the conclusion that human cell line HeLa lysate cannot be used to properly fold MHC molecules. However, efforts to refold the complexes onto Luminex magnetic beads are ongoing. We are also using the baculovirus expression system to refold soluble A2.1 lysate onto peptide-bead complexes.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Exploration of Enzymatic Efficiency in Double-Stranded DNA by Uracil-DNA Glycosylase and Optimization of Glycosylation Reaction of DNA Precursor

Description

The two chapters of this thesis focus on different aspects of DNA and the properties of nucleic acids as the whole. Chapter 1 focuses on the structure of DNA and

The two chapters of this thesis focus on different aspects of DNA and the properties of nucleic acids as the whole. Chapter 1 focuses on the structure of DNA and its relationship to enzymatic efficiency. Chapter 2 centers itself on threose nucleic acid and optimization of a step in the path to its synthesis. While Chapter 1 discusses DNA and Uracil-DNA Glycosylase with regards to the base excision repair pathway, Chapter 2 focuses on chemical synthesis of an intermediate in the pathway to the synthesis of TNA, an analogous structure with a different saccharide in the sugar-phosphate backbone.
Chapter 1 covers the research under Dr. Levitus. Four oligonucleotides were reacted for zero, five, and thirty minutes with uracil-DNA glycosylase and subsequent addition of piperidine. These oligonucleotides were chosen based on their torsional rigidities as predicted by past research and predictions. The objective was to better understand the relationship between the sequence of DNA surrounding the incorrect base and the enzyme’s ability to remove said base in order to prepare the DNA for the next step of the base excision repair pathway. The first pair of oligonucleotides showed no statistically significant difference in enzymatic efficiency with p values of 0.24 and 0.42, while the second pair had a p value of 0.01 at the five-minute reaction. The second pair is currently being researched at different reaction times to determine at what point the enzyme seems to equilibrate and react semi-equally with all sequences of DNA.
Chapter 2 covers the research conducted under Dr. Chaput. Along the TNA synthesis pathway, the nitrogenous base must be added to the threofuranose sugar. The objective was to optimize the original protocol of Vorbrüggen glycosylation and determine if there were better conditions for the synthesis of the preferred regioisomer. This research showed that toluene and ortho-xylene were more preferable as solvents than the original anhydrous acetonitrile, as the amount of preferred isomer product far outweighed the amount of side product formed, as well as improving total yield overall. The anhydrous acetonitrile reaction had a final yield of 60.61% while the ortho-xylene system had a final yield of 94.66%, an increase of approximately 32%. The crude ratio of preferred isomer to side product was also improved, as it went from 18% undesired in anhydrous acetonitrile to 4% undesired in ortho-xylene, both values normalized to the preferred regioisomer.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Targeted Delivery DNA-Tetrahedron Assembled Therapeutics

Description

As advanced as current cancer therapeutics are, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of them is the non-specific killing of normal cells in addition to cancerous

As advanced as current cancer therapeutics are, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of them is the non-specific killing of normal cells in addition to cancerous cells. Ideal cancer therapeutics should be targeted specifically toward tumor cells. Due to the robust self-assembly and versatile addressability of DNA-nanostructures, a DNA tetrahedron nanostructure was explored as a drug carrier. The nanostructure can be decorated with various molecules to either increase immunogenicity, toxicity, or affinity to a specific cell type. The efficiency of the specific binding and internalization of the chosen molecules was measured via flow cytometry. Using a murine B cell lymphoma as the model system, several targeting molecules have been evaluated for their specific binding and induced internalization of DNA nanostructures, including an anti-Igκ antibody, an idiotype-binding peptide, and a g-quadruplex nucleolin specific aptamer. It was found that adding the anti-Igκ antibody appeared to provide increased binding and facilitated cellular internalization. Also, it was found that the presence of CpG appeared to aid in the binding of nanostructures decorated with other molecules, as compared to nanostructures without CpG. The g-quadruplex aptamer thought to specifically bind cancer cells that overexpress nucleolin was tested and found to have better binding to cells when linked to the nanostructure than when alone. The drug doxorubicin was used to load the DNA-nanostructure and attempt to inhibit cancer cell growth. The DNA-nanostructure has the benefit of being self-assembled and customizable, and it has been shown to bind to and internalize into a cancer cell line. The next steps are to test the toxicity of the nanostructure as well as its specificity for cancerous cells compared to noncancerous cells. Furthermore, once those tests are completed the structure’s drug delivery capacity will be tested in tumor bearing mice. The DNA-nanostructure exhibits potential as a cancer specific therapeutic.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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The Development of Small Molecule Inhibitors of the TWEAK-Fn14 Pathway in Glioblastoma Multiforme

Description

Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common and aggressive primary malignant brain tumor in adults, exhibiting a median survival of only 15 months after diagnosis. A significant challenge in treating GBM

Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common and aggressive primary malignant brain tumor in adults, exhibiting a median survival of only 15 months after diagnosis. A significant challenge in treating GBM is the ability of glioma cells to invade normal brain tissue, escape surgical resection, and resist radiotherapy and chemotherapy. We have previously demonstrated that the TWEAK-Fn14 signaling axis plays an important role in glioma cell invasion and discovered a small molecule, L524-0366, that specifically disrupts the TWEAK-Fn14 interaction. However, low affinity limits L524-0366’s clinical feasibility. By utilizing structure-activity relationship analyses of L524-0366, we identified additional small molecules that may inhibit TWEAK-Fn14 signaling. Here, we identify five additional novel Fn14 signaling inhibitors that specifically inhibited TWEAK-Fn14 NF-κB-dependent signaling and suppressed TWEAK-induced glioma cell migration. Furthermore, we demonstrate that two molecules exhibit improved affinity for Fn14, two molecules showed binding to the TWEAK ligand but not Fn14, and one showed no binding to either TWEAK or Fn14. These molecules will be further tested for in vitro and in vivo functionality, and serve as foundations for additional medicinal chemistry for drug modifications.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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The Interaction of Rubisco and Rubisco Activase: A FRET-based Study

Description

Rubisco is a very important protein which catalyzes the addition of CO2 to ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) to form two molecules of 3-phosphoglycerate in photosynthesis. Rubisco activase is the protein which

Rubisco is a very important protein which catalyzes the addition of CO2 to ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) to form two molecules of 3-phosphoglycerate in photosynthesis. Rubisco activase is the protein which functions to uninhibit Rubisco, however proof of a physical interaction has never been shown. A possible method for determining the interaction of the two proteins is by Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) based analysis of the two proteins. Attempts to get a FRET signal from these two proteins have been unsuccessful. To get better results, Ficoll 70, a crowding agent, was used. Analysis suggests that Ficoll 70 does not affect the fluorescence of Alexa-fluor 488 and Alexa-fluor 647 used to label the two proteins. Further analysis also suggests that while the Alexa label on Rubisco activase does not affect the ATPase activity of the protein, the protein also does not have a high rate of ATP turnover.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Evolution-Informed Modeling Improves Outcome Prediction for Cancers

Description

Despite wide applications of high-throughput biotechnologies in cancer research, many biomarkers discovered by exploring large-scale omics data do not provide satisfactory performance when used to predict cancer treatment outcomes. This

Despite wide applications of high-throughput biotechnologies in cancer research, many biomarkers discovered by exploring large-scale omics data do not provide satisfactory performance when used to predict cancer treatment outcomes. This problem is partly due to the overlooking of functional implications of molecular markers. Here, we present a novel computational method that uses evolutionary conservation as prior knowledge to discover bona fide biomarkers. Evolutionary selection at the molecular level is nature's test on functional consequences of genetic elements. By prioritizing genes that show significant statistical association and high functional impact, our new method reduces the chances of including spurious markers in the predictive model. When applied to predicting therapeutic responses for patients with acute myeloid leukemia and to predicting metastasis for patients with prostate cancers, the new method gave rise to evolution-informed models that enjoyed low complexity and high accuracy. The identified genetic markers also have significant implications in tumor progression and embrace potential drug targets. Because evolutionary conservation can be estimated as a gene-specific, position-specific, or allele-specific parameter on the nucleotide level and on the protein level, this new method can be extended to apply to miscellaneous “omics” data to accelerate biomarker discoveries.

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Date Created
  • 2016-10-21

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Strategies to enhance RNA-origami-based immunotherapeutics for an induction of long-term tumor-regression

Description

Recently, we have demonstrated that a novel RNA origami (RNA-OG) nanostructure functions as a TLR3 agonist both in vitro and in vivo. This RNA nanostructure could induce effective antitumor immunity

Recently, we have demonstrated that a novel RNA origami (RNA-OG) nanostructure functions as a TLR3 agonist both in vitro and in vivo. This RNA nanostructure could induce effective antitumor immunity in a CT26-OVA-iRFP tumor model that expresses both ovalbumin (OVA) and near infrared protein (iRFP), rendering a significant delay in tumor growth or complete tumor-regression. However, in a similar tumor line that expresses iRFP but not OVA, i.e. a CT26-Neo-iRFP model, RNA-OG induced responses that were consistently inferior to those observed in CT26-OVA-iRFP. Interestingly, the antitumor immunity initially generated against CT26-OVA-iRFP was found to render the mice immune to a challenge with the more malignant CT26-Neo-iRFP line. In addition to OVA expression, the two cell lines also showed different levels of MHC-I. Ongoing research has been focused on deciphering the molecular nature of the different responses. Then, we can search for strategies that increase the tumor immunogenicity, and therefore improve the therapeutic efficacy of RNA-OG for inducing long-term tumor-regression.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Exploration of Enzymatic Reactivity of Human Endonuclease Enzyme APE1 in Clustered DNA Damages Involving an Abasic Site

Description

This study was conducted to understand the reactivity of APE1 in repairing abasic sites associated with clustered DNA damages and to determine if the efficiency of APE1 enzyme is affected

This study was conducted to understand the reactivity of APE1 in repairing abasic sites associated with clustered DNA damages and to determine if the efficiency of APE1 enzyme is affected by the type of bases (purines or pyrimidines) neighboring the AP site. DNA damages are always occurring in living cells and if left uncorrected can lead to various problems such as diseases and even cell death. Cells are able to recognize and correct these DNA damages to prevent further damages to the genome, and the Base Excision Repair (BER) pathway is one of the mechanisms used in repairing DNA damages. A former student in the Levitus Lab, Elana Maria Shepherd Stennett, henceforth referred to as Elana worked on this project. She observed that the activity of the APE1 enzyme increased some when the base opposing the abasic site was changed from thymine (T) to adenine (A) while no difference was observed when the surrounding bases were changed. Thus, this experiment was conducted to further study the results she obtained and to possibly validate her findings. The AP sites used in this study are natural abasic sites created by UDG glycosylase enzyme from a double stranded uracil-containing DNA samples ordered from IDT technologies. Each reaction was carried out at physiological temperature (37degrees Celsius) and analyzed using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05