Matching Items (68)

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A Plant-Produced Antigen Elicits Potent Immune Responses against West Nile Virus in Mice

Description

We described the rapid production of the domain III (DIII) of the envelope (E) protein in plants as a vaccine candidate for West Nile Virus (WNV). Using various combinations of

We described the rapid production of the domain III (DIII) of the envelope (E) protein in plants as a vaccine candidate for West Nile Virus (WNV). Using various combinations of vector modules of a deconstructed viral vector expression system, DIII was produced in three subcellular compartments in leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana by transient expression. DIII expressed at much higher levels when targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) than that targeted to the chloroplast or the cytosol, with accumulation level up to 73 μg DIII per gram of leaf fresh weight within 4 days after infiltration. Plant ER-derived DIII was soluble and readily purified to > 95% homogeneity without the time-consuming process of denaturing and refolding. Further analysis revealed that plant-produced DIII was processed properly and demonstrated specific binding to an anti-DIII monoclonal antibody that recognizes a conformational epitope. Furthermore, subcutaneous immunization of mice with 5 and 25 μg of purified DIII elicited a potent systemic response. This study provided the proof of principle for rapidly producing immunogenic vaccine candidates against WNV in plants with low cost and scalability.

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Date Created
  • 2014-04-03

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Plant-expressed cocaine hydrolase variants of butyrylcholinesterase exhibit altered allosteric effects of cholinesterase activity and increased inhibitor sensitivity

Description

Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is an enzyme with broad substrate and ligand specificities and may function as a generalized bioscavenger by binding and/or hydrolyzing various xenobiotic agents and toxicants, many of which

Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is an enzyme with broad substrate and ligand specificities and may function as a generalized bioscavenger by binding and/or hydrolyzing various xenobiotic agents and toxicants, many of which target the central and peripheral nervous systems. Variants of BChE were rationally designed to increase the enzyme’s ability to hydrolyze the psychoactive enantiomer of cocaine. These variants were cloned, and then expressed using the magnICON transient expression system in plants and their enzymatic properties were investigated. In particular, we explored the effects that these site-directed mutations have over the enzyme kinetics with various substrates of BChE. We further compared the affinity of various anticholinesterases including organophosphorous nerve agents and pesticides toward these BChE variants relative to the wild type enzyme. In addition to serving as a therapy for cocaine addiction-related diseases, enhanced bioscavenging against other harmful agents could add to the practicality and versatility of the plant-derived recombinant enzyme as a multivalent therapeutic.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-09-05

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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

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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Date Created
  • 2017-08-22

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Virus-like particles that display Zika virus envelope protein domain III induce potent neutralizing immune responses in mice

Description

Several Zika virus (ZIKV) vaccine candidates have recently been described which use inactivated whole virus, DNA or RNA that express the virus’ Envelope (E) glycoprotein as the antigen. These were

Several Zika virus (ZIKV) vaccine candidates have recently been described which use inactivated whole virus, DNA or RNA that express the virus’ Envelope (E) glycoprotein as the antigen. These were successful in stimulating production of virus-targeted antibodies that protected animals against ZIKV challenges, but their use potentially will predispose vaccinated individuals to infection by the related Dengue virus (DENV). We have devised a virus like particle (VLP) carrier based on the hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) that displays the ZIKV E protein domain III (zDIII), and shown that it can be produced quickly and easily purified in large quantities from Nicotiana benthamiana plants. HBcAg-zDIII VLPs are shown to be highly immunogenic, as two doses elicited potent humoral and cellular responses in mice that exceed the threshold correlated with protective immunity against multiple strains of Zika virus. Notably, HBcAg-zDIII VLPs-elicited antibodies did not enhance the infection of DENV in Fc gamma receptor-expressing cells, offsetting the concern of ZIKV vaccines inducing cross-reactive antibodies and sensitizing people to subsequent DENV infection. Thus, our zDIII-based vaccine offers improved safety and lower cost production than other current alternatives, with equivalent effectiveness.

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Date Created
  • 2017-08-09

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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

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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Date Created
  • 2017-07-03

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Spaceflight modulates gene expression in the whole blood of astronauts

Description

Astronauts are exposed to a unique combination of stressors during spaceflight, which leads to alterations in their physiology and potentially increases their susceptibility to disease, including infectious diseases. To evaluate

Astronauts are exposed to a unique combination of stressors during spaceflight, which leads to alterations in their physiology and potentially increases their susceptibility to disease, including infectious diseases. To evaluate the potential impact of the spaceflight environment on the regulation of molecular pathways mediating cellular stress responses, we performed a first-of-its-kind pilot study to assess spaceflight-related gene-expression changes in the whole blood of astronauts. Using an array comprised of 234 well-characterized stress-response genes, we profiled transcriptomic changes in six astronauts (four men and two women) from blood preserved before and immediately following the spaceflight. Differentially regulated transcripts included those important for DNA repair, oxidative stress, and protein folding/degradation, including HSP90AB1, HSP27, GPX1, XRCC1, BAG-1, HHR23A, FAP48, and C-FOS. No gender-specific differences or relationship to number of missions flown was observed. This study provides a first assessment of transcriptomic changes occurring in the whole blood of astronauts in response to spaceflight.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12-08

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Three-dimensional organotypic co-culture model of intestinal epithelial cells and macrophages to study Salmonella enterica colonization patterns

Description

Three-dimensional models of human intestinal epithelium mimic the differentiated form and function of parental tissues often not exhibited by two-dimensional monolayers and respond to Salmonella in key ways that reflect

Three-dimensional models of human intestinal epithelium mimic the differentiated form and function of parental tissues often not exhibited by two-dimensional monolayers and respond to Salmonella in key ways that reflect in vivo infections. To further enhance the physiological relevance of three-dimensional models to more closely approximate in vivo intestinal microenvironments encountered by Salmonella, we developed and validated a novel three-dimensional co-culture infection model of colonic epithelial cells and macrophages using the NASA Rotating Wall Vessel bioreactor. First, U937 cells were activated upon collagen-coated scaffolds. HT-29 epithelial cells were then added and the three-dimensional model was cultured in the bioreactor until optimal differentiation was reached, as assessed by immunohistochemical profiling and bead uptake assays. The new co-culture model exhibited in vivo-like structural and phenotypic characteristics, including three-dimensional architecture, apical-basolateral polarity, well-formed tight/adherens junctions, mucin, multiple epithelial cell types, and functional macrophages. Phagocytic activity of macrophages was confirmed by uptake of inert, bacteria-sized beads. Contribution of macrophages to infection was assessed by colonization studies of Salmonella pathovars with different host adaptations and disease phenotypes (Typhimurium ST19 strain SL1344 and ST313 strain D23580; Typhi Ty2). In addition, Salmonella were cultured aerobically or microaerobically, recapitulating environments encountered prior to and during intestinal infection, respectively. All Salmonella strains exhibited decreased colonization in co-culture (HT-29-U937) relative to epithelial (HT-29) models, indicating antimicrobial function of macrophages. Interestingly, D23580 exhibited enhanced replication/survival in both models following invasion. Pathovar-specific differences in colonization and intracellular co-localization patterns were observed. These findings emphasize the power of incorporating a series of related three-dimensional models within a study to identify microenvironmental factors important for regulating infection.

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Date Created
  • 2017-02-28

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Conservation of the Low-shear Modeled Microgravity Response in Enterobacteriaceae and Analysis of the trp Genes in this Response

Description

Low fluid shear force, including that encountered in microgravity models, induces bacterial responses, but the range of bacteria capable of responding to this signal remains poorly characterized. We systematically analyzed

Low fluid shear force, including that encountered in microgravity models, induces bacterial responses, but the range of bacteria capable of responding to this signal remains poorly characterized. We systematically analyzed a range of Gram negative Enterobacteriaceae for conservation of the low-shear modeled microgravity (LSMMG) response using phenotypic assays, qPCR, and targeted mutations. Our results indicate LSMMG response conservation across Enterobacteriacae with potential variance in up- or down-regulation of a given response depending on genus. Based on the data, we analyzed the role of the trp operon genes and the TrpR regulator in the LSMMG response using targeted mutations in these genes in S. Typhimurium and E. coli. We found no alteration of the LSMMG response compared to WT in these mutant strains under the conditions tested here. To our knowledge, this study is first-of-kind for Citrobacter, Enterobacter, and Serratia, presents novel data for Escherichia, and provides the first analysis of trp genes in LSMMG responses. This impacts our understanding of how LSMMG affects bacteria and our ability to modify bacteria with this condition in the future.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Use of a Recombinant Vaccinia Virus Expressing Interferon Gamma for Post-Exposure Protection against Vaccinia and Ectromelia Viruses

Description

Post-exposure vaccination with vaccinia virus (VACV) has been suggested to be effective in minimizing death if administered within four days of smallpox exposure. While there is anecdotal evidence for efficacy

Post-exposure vaccination with vaccinia virus (VACV) has been suggested to be effective in minimizing death if administered within four days of smallpox exposure. While there is anecdotal evidence for efficacy of post-exposure vaccination this has not been definitively studied in humans. In this study, we analyzed post-exposure prophylaxis using several attenuated recombinant VACV in a mouse model. A recombinant VACV expressing murine interferon gamma (IFN-γ) was most effective for post-exposure protection of mice infected with VACV and ectromelia virus (ECTV). Untreated animals infected with VACV exhibited severe weight loss and morbidity leading to 100% mortality by 8 to 10 days post-infection. Animals treated one day post-infection had milder symptoms, decreased weight loss and morbidity, and 100% survival. Treatment on days 2 or 3 post-infection resulted in 40% and 20% survival, respectively. Similar results were seen in ECTV-infected mice. Despite the differences in survival rates in the VACV model, the viral load was similar in both treated and untreated mice while treated mice displayed a high level of IFN-γ in the serum. These results suggest that protection provided by IFN-γ expressed by VACV may be mediated by its immunoregulatory activities rather than its antiviral effects. These results highlight the importance of IFN-γ as a modulator of the immune response for post-exposure prophylaxis and could be used potentially as another post-exposure prophylaxis tool to prevent morbidity following infection with smallpox and other orthopoxviruses.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-10-17

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Use of a Conformational Switching Aptamer for Rapid and Specific Ex Vivo Identification of Central Nervous System Lymphoma in a Xenograft Model

Description

Improved tools for providing specific intraoperative diagnoses could improve patient care. In neurosurgery, intraoperatively differentiating non-operative lesions such as CNS B-cell lymphoma from operative lesions can be challenging, often necessitating

Improved tools for providing specific intraoperative diagnoses could improve patient care. In neurosurgery, intraoperatively differentiating non-operative lesions such as CNS B-cell lymphoma from operative lesions can be challenging, often necessitating immunohistochemical (IHC) procedures which require up to 24-48 hours. Here, we evaluate the feasibility of generating rapid ex vivo specific labeling using a novel lymphoma-specific fluorescent switchable aptamer. Our B-cell lymphoma-specific switchable aptamer produced only low-level fluorescence in its unbound conformation and generated an 8-fold increase in fluorescence once bound to its target on CD20-positive lymphoma cells. The aptamer demonstrated strong binding to B-cell lymphoma cells within 15 minutes of incubation as observed by flow cytometry. We applied the switchable aptamer to ex vivo xenograft tissue harboring B-cell lymphoma and astrocytoma, and within one hour specific visual identification of lymphoma was routinely possible. In this proof-of-concept study in human cell culture and orthotopic xenografts, we conclude that a fluorescent switchable aptamer can provide rapid and specific labeling of B-cell lymphoma, and that developing aptamer-based labeling approaches could simplify tissue staining and drastically reduce time to histopathological diagnoses compared with IHC-based methods. We propose that switchable aptamers could enhance expeditious, accurate intraoperative decision-making.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-04-15