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A Graphical Approach to a Model of a Neuronal Tree With a Variable Diameter

Description

Tree-like structures are ubiquitous in nature. In particular, neuronal axons and dendrites have tree-like geometries that mediate electrical signaling within and between cells. Electrical activity in neuronal trees is typically modeled using coupled cable equations on multi-compartment representations, where each

Tree-like structures are ubiquitous in nature. In particular, neuronal axons and dendrites have tree-like geometries that mediate electrical signaling within and between cells. Electrical activity in neuronal trees is typically modeled using coupled cable equations on multi-compartment representations, where each compartment represents a small segment of the neuronal membrane. The geometry of each compartment is usually defined as a cylinder or, at best, a surface of revolution based on a linear approximation of the radial change in the neurite. The resulting geometry of the model neuron is coarse, with non-smooth or even discontinuous jumps at the boundaries between compartments. We propose a hyperbolic approximation to model the geometry of neurite compartments, a branched, multi-compartment extension, and a simple graphical approach to calculate steady-state solutions of an associated system of coupled cable equations. A simple case of transient solutions is also briefly discussed.

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Created

Date Created
2014-07-09

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Making Common Sense of Vaccines: An Example of Discussing the Recombinant Attenuated Salmonella Vaccine With the Public

Description

Researchers have iterated that the future of synthetic biology and biotechnology lies in novel consumer applications of crossing biology with engineering. However, if the new biology's future is to be sustainable, early and serious efforts must be made towards social

Researchers have iterated that the future of synthetic biology and biotechnology lies in novel consumer applications of crossing biology with engineering. However, if the new biology's future is to be sustainable, early and serious efforts must be made towards social sustainability. Therefore, the crux of new applications of synthetic biology and biotechnology is public understanding and acceptance. The RASVaccine is a novel recombinant design not found in nature that re-engineers a common bacteria ( Salmonella) to produce a strong immune response in humans. Synthesis of the RASVaccine has the potential to improve public health as an inexpensive, non-injectable product. But how can scientists move forward to create a dialogue of creating a 'common sense' of this new technology in order to promote social sustainability? This paper delves into public issues raised around these novel technologies and uses the RASVaccine as an example of meeting the public with a common sense of its possibilities and limitations.

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Created

Date Created
2014-08-01

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Improving Salmonella Vector With Recmutation to Stabilize the DNA Cargoes

Description

Background: Salmonella has been employed to deliver therapeutic molecules against cancer and infectious diseases. As the carrier for target gene(s), the cargo plasmid should be stable in the bacterial vector. Plasmid recombination has been reduced in E. coli by mutating several

Background: Salmonella has been employed to deliver therapeutic molecules against cancer and infectious diseases. As the carrier for target gene(s), the cargo plasmid should be stable in the bacterial vector. Plasmid recombination has been reduced in E. coli by mutating several genes including the recA, recE, recF and recJ. However, to our knowledge, there have been no published studies of the effect of these or any other genes that play a role in plasmid recombination in Salmonella enterica.

Results: The effect of recA, recF and recJ deletions on DNA recombination was examined in three serotypes of Salmonella enterica. We found that (1) intraplasmid recombination between direct duplications was RecF-independent in Typhimurium and Paratyphi A, but could be significantly reduced in Typhi by a ΔrecA or ΔrecF mutation; (2) in all three Salmonella serotypes, both ΔrecA and ΔrecF mutations reduced intraplasmid recombination when a 1041 bp intervening sequence was present between the duplications; (3) ΔrecA and ΔrecF mutations resulted in lower frequencies of interplasmid recombination in Typhimurium and Paratyphi A, but not in Typhi; (4) in some cases, a ΔrecJ mutation could reduce plasmid recombination but was less effective than ΔrecA and ΔrecF mutations. We also examined chromosome-related recombination. The frequencies of intrachromosomal recombination and plasmid integration into the chromosome were 2 and 3 logs lower than plasmid recombination frequencies in Rec[superscript +] strains. A ΔrecA mutation reduced both intrachromosomal recombination and plasmid integration frequencies.

Conclusions: The ΔrecA and ΔrecF mutations can reduce plasmid recombination frequencies in Salmonella enterica, but the effect can vary between serovars. This information will be useful for developing Salmonella delivery vectors able to stably maintain plasmid cargoes for vaccine development and gene therapy.

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Created

Date Created
2011-02-08

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The Delicate Balance in Genetically Engineering Live Vaccines

Description

Contemporary vaccine development relies less on empirical methods of vaccine construction, and now employs a powerful array of precise engineering strategies to construct immunogenic live vaccines. In this review, we will survey various engineering techniques used to create attenuated vaccines,

Contemporary vaccine development relies less on empirical methods of vaccine construction, and now employs a powerful array of precise engineering strategies to construct immunogenic live vaccines. In this review, we will survey various engineering techniques used to create attenuated vaccines, with an emphasis on recent advances and insights. We will further explore the adaptation of attenuated strains to create multivalent vaccine platforms for immunization against multiple unrelated pathogens. These carrier vaccines are engineered to deliver sufficient levels of protective antigens to appropriate lymphoid inductive sites to elicit both carrier-specific and foreign antigen-specific immunity. Although many of these technologies were originally developed for use in Salmonella vaccines, application of the essential logic of these approaches will be extended to development of other enteric vaccines where possible. A central theme driving our discussion will stress that the ultimate success of an engineered vaccine rests on achieving the proper balance between attenuation and immunogenicity. Achieving this balance will avoid over-activation of inflammatory responses, which results in unacceptable reactogenicity, but will retain sufficient metabolic fitness to enable the live vaccine to reach deep tissue inductive sites and trigger protective immunity. The breadth of examples presented herein will clearly demonstrate that genetic engineering offers the potential for rapidly propelling vaccine development forward into novel applications and therapies which will significantly expand the role of vaccines in public health.

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Created

Date Created
2014-07-31

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Outer Membrane Vesicles From Flagellin-Deficient Salmonella Enterica Serovar Typhimurium Induce Cross-Reactive Immunity and Provide Cross-Protection Against Heterologous Salmonella Challenge

Description

Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) isolated from Salmonella Typhimurium are potentially useful for developing subunit vaccines because of high immunogenicity and protective efficacy. However, flagella might remain in OMV pellets following OMV purification, resulting in non-essential immune responses and counteraction of

Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) isolated from Salmonella Typhimurium are potentially useful for developing subunit vaccines because of high immunogenicity and protective efficacy. However, flagella might remain in OMV pellets following OMV purification, resulting in non-essential immune responses and counteraction of bacterial protective immune responses when developing a vaccine against infection of multiple serotypes Salmonella. In this study, a flagellin-deficient S. Typhimurium mutant was constructed. Lipopolysaccharide profiles, protein profiles and cryo-electron microscopy revealed that there were no significant differences between the wild-type and mutant OMVs, with the exception of a large amount of flagellin in the wild-type OMVs. Neither the wild-type OMVs nor the non-flagellin OMVs were toxic to macrophages. Mice immunized with the non-flagellin OMVs produced high concentrations of IgG. The non-flagellin OMVs elicited strong mucosal antibody responses in mice when administered via the intranasal route in addition to provoking higher cross-reactive immune responses against OMPs isolated from S. Choleraesuis and S. Enteritidis. Both intranasal and intraperitoneal immunization with the non-flagellin OMVs provided efficient protection against heterologous S. Choleraesuis and S. Enteritidis challenge. Our results indicate that the flagellin-deficient OMVs may represent a new vaccine platform that could be exploited to facilitate the production of a broadly protective vaccine.

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Created

Date Created
2016-10-04

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The Riccati System and a Diffusion-Type Equation

Description

We discuss a method of constructing solutions of the initial value problem for diffusion-type equations in terms of solutions of certain Riccati and Ermakov-type systems. A nonautonomous Burgers-type equation is also considered. Examples include, but are not limited to the

We discuss a method of constructing solutions of the initial value problem for diffusion-type equations in terms of solutions of certain Riccati and Ermakov-type systems. A nonautonomous Burgers-type equation is also considered. Examples include, but are not limited to the Fokker-Planck equation in physics, the Black-Scholes equation and the Hull-White model in finance.

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Created

Date Created
2014-05-15

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Evaluation of Escherichia Coli Isolates From Healthy Chickens to Determine Their Potential Risk to Poultry and Human Health

Description

Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) strains are important pathogens that cause diverse diseases in humans and poultry. Some E. coli isolates from chicken feces contain ExPEC-associated virulence genes, so appear potentially pathogenic; they conceivably could be transmitted to humans through

Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) strains are important pathogens that cause diverse diseases in humans and poultry. Some E. coli isolates from chicken feces contain ExPEC-associated virulence genes, so appear potentially pathogenic; they conceivably could be transmitted to humans through handling and/or consumption of contaminated meat. However, the actual extraintestinal virulence potential of chicken-source fecal E. coli is poorly understood. Here, we assessed whether fecal E. coli isolates from healthy production chickens could cause diseases in a chicken model of avian colibacillosis and three rodent models of ExPEC-associated human infections. From 304 E. coli isolates from chicken fecal samples, 175 E. coli isolates were screened by PCR for virulence genes associated with human-source ExPEC or avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC), an ExPEC subset that causes extraintestinal infections in poultry. Selected isolates genetically identified as ExPEC and non-ExPEC isolates were assessed in vitro for virulence-associated phenotypes, and in vivo for disease-causing ability in animal models of colibacillosis, sepsis, meningitis, and urinary tract infection. Among the study isolates, 13% (40/304) were identified as ExPEC; the majority of these were classified as APEC and uropathogenic E. coli, but none as neonatal meningitis E. coli. Multiple chicken-source fecal ExPEC isolates resembled avian and human clinical ExPEC isolates in causing one or more ExPEC-associated illnesses in experimental animal infection models. Additionally, some isolates that were classified as non-ExPEC were able to cause ExPEC-associated illnesses in animal models, and thus future studies are needed to elucidate their mechanisms of virulence. These findings show that E. coli isolates from chicken feces contain ExPEC-associated genes, exhibit ExPEC-associated in vitro phenotypes, and can cause ExPEC-associated infections in animal models, and thus may pose a health threat to poultry and consumers.

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Created

Date Created
2017-07-03

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Analysis of Spleen-Induced Fimbria Production in Recombinant Attenuated Salmonella Enterica Serovar Typhimurium Vaccine Strains

Description

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium genome encodes 13 fimbrial operons. Most of the fimbriae encoded by these operons are not produced under laboratory conditions but are likely to be synthesized in vivo. We used an in vivo expression technology (IVET) strategy

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium genome encodes 13 fimbrial operons. Most of the fimbriae encoded by these operons are not produced under laboratory conditions but are likely to be synthesized in vivo. We used an in vivo expression technology (IVET) strategy to identify four fimbrial operons, agf, saf, sti, and stc that are expressed in the spleen. When any three of these operons were deleted, the strain retained wild-type virulence. However, when all four operons were deleted, the resulting strain was completely attenuated, indicating that these four fimbriae play functionally redundant roles critical for virulence. In mice, oral doses of as low as 1 × 10[superscript 5] CFU of the strain with four fimbrial operons deleted provided 100% protection against challenge with 1 × 10[superscript 9] CFU of wild-type S. Typhimurium. We also examined the possible effect of these fimbriae on the ability of a Salmonella vaccine strain to deliver a guest antigen. We modified one of our established attenuated vaccine strains, χ9088, to delete three fimbrial operons while the fourth operon was constitutively expressed. Each derivative was modified to express the Streptococcus pneumoniae antigen PspA. Strains that constitutively expressed saf or stc elicited a strong Th1 response with significantly greater levels of anti-PspA serum IgG and greater protective efficacy than strains carrying saf or stc deletions. The isogenic strain in which all four operons were deleted generated the lowest anti-PspA levels and did not protect against challenge with virulent S. pneumoniae. Our results indicate that these fimbriae play important roles, as yet not understood, in Salmonella virulence and immunogenicity.

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Created

Date Created
2017-08-22

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Generation of Influenza Virus From Avian Cells Infected by Salmonella Carrying the Viral Genome

Description

Domestic poultry serve as intermediates for transmission of influenza A virus from the wild aquatic bird reservoir to humans, resulting in influenza outbreaks in poultry and potential epidemics/pandemics among human beings. To combat emerging avian influenza virus, an inexpensive, heat-stable,

Domestic poultry serve as intermediates for transmission of influenza A virus from the wild aquatic bird reservoir to humans, resulting in influenza outbreaks in poultry and potential epidemics/pandemics among human beings. To combat emerging avian influenza virus, an inexpensive, heat-stable, and orally administered influenza vaccine would be useful to vaccinate large commercial poultry flocks and even migratory birds. Our hypothesized vaccine is a recombinant attenuated bacterial strain able to mediate production of attenuated influenza virus in vivo to induce protective immunity against influenza. Here we report the feasibility and technical limitations toward such an ideal vaccine based on our exploratory study. Five 8-unit plasmids carrying a chloramphenicol resistance gene or free of an antibiotic resistance marker were constructed. Influenza virus was successfully generated in avian cells transfected by each of the plasmids. The Salmonella carrier was engineered to allow stable maintenance and conditional release of the 8-unit plasmid into the avian cells for recovery of influenza virus. Influenza A virus up to 107 50% tissue culture infective doses (TCID50)/ml were recovered from 11 out of 26 co-cultures of chicken embryonic fibroblasts (CEF) and Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells upon infection by the recombinant Salmonella carrying the 8-unit plasmid. Our data prove that a bacterial carrier can mediate generation of influenza virus by delivering its DNA cargoes into permissive host cells. Although we have made progress in developing this Salmonella influenza virus vaccine delivery system, further improvements are necessary to achieve efficient virus production, especially in vivo.

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Created

Date Created
2015-03-05

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Export of Extracellular Polysaccharides Modulates Adherence of the Cyanobacterium Synechocystis

Description

The field of cyanobacterial biofuel production is advancing rapidly, yet we know little of the basic biology of these organisms outside of their photosynthetic pathways. We aimed to gain a greater understanding of how the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803 (Synechocystis,

The field of cyanobacterial biofuel production is advancing rapidly, yet we know little of the basic biology of these organisms outside of their photosynthetic pathways. We aimed to gain a greater understanding of how the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803 (Synechocystis, hereafter) modulates its cell surface. Such understanding will allow for the creation of mutants that autoflocculate in a regulated way, thus avoiding energy intensive centrifugation in the creation of biofuels. We constructed mutant strains lacking genes predicted to function in carbohydrate transport or synthesis. Strains with gene deletions of slr0977 (predicted to encode a permease component of an ABC transporter), slr0982 (predicted to encode an ATP binding component of an ABC transporter) and slr1610 (predicted to encode a methyltransferase) demonstrated flocculent phenotypes and increased adherence to glass. Upon bioinformatic inspection, the gene products of slr0977, slr0982, and slr1610 appear to function in O-antigen (OAg) transport and synthesis. However, the analysis provided here demonstrated no differences between OAg purified from wild-type and mutants. However, exopolysaccharides (EPS) purified from mutants were altered in composition when compared to wild-type. Our data suggest that there are multiple means to modulate the cell surface of Synechocystis by disrupting different combinations of ABC transporters and/or glycosyl transferases. Further understanding of these mechanisms may allow for the development of industrially and ecologically useful strains of cyanobacteria. Additionally, these data imply that many cyanobacterial gene products may possess as-yet undiscovered functions, and are meritorious of further study.

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Created

Date Created
2013-09-10