Matching Items (9)

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The Simian Barrier Dilemma: Improving Gene Vaccines for the Future

Description

Since its inception in the early 1990s, the concept of gene vaccines, particularly DNA vaccines, has enticed researchers across the board due to its simple design, flexible modification, and overall

Since its inception in the early 1990s, the concept of gene vaccines, particularly DNA vaccines, has enticed researchers across the board due to its simple design, flexible modification, and overall inexpensive cost of manufacturing. However, the past three decades have proven to be less fruitful than anticipated as scientists have yet to tackle the issue of inducing a strong enough response in humans and non-human primates to protect against foreign pathogens, an issue that has since been coined as the “simian barrier.” This appears to be a human/primate barrier as protective vaccines have been produced for other mammals. Despite millions of dollars in research along with some of the world’s brightest minds chipping in to resolve this, there has yet to be any truly viable solution to overcoming this barrier. With current research illustrating effective applications of RNA vaccines in humans, these studies may be uncovering the solution to the largely unsolved simian barrier dilemma. If vaccines using RNA, the transcribed version of DNA, are effective in humans, the problem may be inefficient transcription of the DNA. This may be attributable to a DNA promoter that has insufficient activity in primates. Additionally, with DNA vaccines being even cheaper and easier to manufacture than RNA vaccines, along with having no required cold chain for distribution, this concept remains more promising than RNA vaccines that are further along in clinical trials.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020-12

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Polyclonal Antibody Production for Membrane Proteins via Genetic Immunization

Description

Antibodies are essential for structural determinations and functional studies of membrane proteins, but antibody generation is limited by the availability of properly-folded and purified antigen. We describe the first application

Antibodies are essential for structural determinations and functional studies of membrane proteins, but antibody generation is limited by the availability of properly-folded and purified antigen. We describe the first application of genetic immunization to a structurally diverse set of membrane proteins to show that immunization of mice with DNA alone produced antibodies against 71% (n = 17) of the bacterial and viral targets. Antibody production correlated with prior reports of target immunogenicity in host organisms, underscoring the efficiency of this DNA-gold micronanoplex approach. To generate each antigen for antibody characterization, we also developed a simple in vitro membrane protein expression and capture method. Antibody specificity was demonstrated upon identifying, for the first time, membrane-directed heterologous expression of the native sequences of the FopA and FTT1525 virulence determinants from the select agent Francisella tularensis SCHU S4. These approaches will accelerate future structural and functional investigations of therapeutically-relevant membrane proteins.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-02-24

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Novel immune-modulator identified by a rapid, functional screen of the parapoxvirus ovis (Orf virus) genome

Description

Background
The success of new sequencing technologies and informatic methods for identifying genes has made establishing gene product function a critical rate limiting step in progressing the molecular sciences. We

Background
The success of new sequencing technologies and informatic methods for identifying genes has made establishing gene product function a critical rate limiting step in progressing the molecular sciences. We present a method to functionally mine genomes for useful activities in vivo, using an unusual property of a member of the poxvirus family to demonstrate this screening approach.
Results
The genome of Parapoxvirus ovis (Orf virus) was sequenced, annotated, and then used to PCR-amplify its open-reading-frames. Employing a cloning-independent protocol, a viral expression-library was rapidly built and arrayed into sub-library pools. These were directly delivered into mice as expressible cassettes and assayed for an immune-modulating activity associated with parapoxvirus infection. The product of the B2L gene, a homolog of vaccinia F13L, was identified as the factor eliciting immune cell accumulation at sites of skin inoculation. Administration of purified B2 protein also elicited immune cell accumulation activity, and additionally was found to serve as an adjuvant for antigen-specific responses. Co-delivery of the B2L gene with an influenza gene-vaccine significantly improved protection in mice. Furthermore, delivery of the B2L expression construct, without antigen, non-specifically reduced tumor growth in murine models of cancer.
Conclusion
A streamlined, functional approach to genome-wide screening of a biological activity in vivo is presented. Its application to screening in mice for an immune activity elicited by the pathogen genome of Parapoxvirus ovis yielded a novel immunomodulator. In this inverted discovery method, it was possible to identify the adjuvant responsible for a function of interest prior to a mechanistic study of the adjuvant. The non-specific immune activity of this modulator, B2, is similar to that associated with administration of inactivated particles to a host or to a live viral infection. Administration of B2 may provide the opportunity to significantly impact host immunity while being itself only weakly recognized. The functional genomics method used to pinpoint B2 within an ORFeome may be more broadly applicable to screening for other biological activities in an animal.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012-01-13

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A General Method to Discover Epitopes from Sera

Description

Antigen-antibody complexes are central players in an effective immune response. However, finding those interactions relevant to a particular disease state can be arduous. Nonetheless many paths to discovery have been

Antigen-antibody complexes are central players in an effective immune response. However, finding those interactions relevant to a particular disease state can be arduous. Nonetheless many paths to discovery have been explored since deciphering these interactions can greatly facilitate the development of new diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. In silico B cell epitope mapping approaches have been widely pursued, though success has not been consistent. Antibody mixtures in immune sera have been used as handles for biologically relevant antigens, but these and other experimental approaches have proven resource intensive and time consuming. In addition, these methods are often tailored to individual diseases or a specific proteome, rather than providing a universal platform. Most of these methods are not able to identify the specific antibody’s epitopes from unknown antigens, such as un-annotated neo antigens in cancer. Alternatively, a peptide library comprised of sequences unrestricted by naturally-found protein space provides for a universal search for mimotopes of an antibody’s epitope. Here we present the utility of such a non-natural random sequence library of 10,000 peptides physically addressed on a microarray for mimotope discovery without sequence information of the specific antigen. The peptide arrays were probed with serum from an antigen-immunized rabbit, or alternatively probed with serum pre-absorbed with the same immunizing antigen. With this positive and negative screening scheme, we identified the library-peptides as the mimotopes of the antigen. The unique library peptides were successfully used to isolate antigen-specific antibodies from complete immune serum. Sequence analysis of these peptides revealed the epitopes in the immunized antigen. We present this method as an inexpensive, efficient method for identifying mimotopes of any antibody’s targets. These mimotopes should be useful in defining both components of the antigen-antibody complex.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-06-14

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Identification of neo-antigens for a cancer vaccine by transcriptome analysis

Description

We propose a novel solution to prevent cancer by developing a prophylactic cancer. Several sources of antigens for cancer vaccines have been published. Among these, antigens that contain a frame-shift

We propose a novel solution to prevent cancer by developing a prophylactic cancer. Several sources of antigens for cancer vaccines have been published. Among these, antigens that contain a frame-shift (FS) peptide or viral peptide are quite attractive for a variety of reasons. FS sequences, from either mistake in RNA processing or in genomic DNA, may lead to generation of neo-peptides that are foreign to the immune system. Viral peptides presumably would originate from exogenous but integrated viral nucleic acid sequences. Both are non-self, therefore lessen concerns about development of autoimmunity. I have developed a bioinformatical approach to identify these aberrant transcripts in the cancer transcriptome. Their suitability for use in a vaccine is evaluated by establishing their frequencies and predicting possible epitopes along with their population coverage according to the prevalence of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) types. Viral transcripts and transcripts with FS mutations from gene fusion, insertion/deletion at coding microsatellite DNA, and alternative splicing were identified in NCBI Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) database. 48 FS chimeric transcripts were validated in 50 breast cell lines and 68 primary breast tumor samples with their frequencies from 4% to 98% by RT-PCR and sequencing confirmation. These 48 FS peptides, if translated and presented, could be used to protect more than 90% of the population in Northern America based on the prediction of epitopes derived from them. Furthermore, we synthesized 150 peptides that correspond to FS and viral peptides that we predicted would exist in tumor patients and we tested over 200 different cancer patient sera. We found a number of serological reactive peptide sequences in cancer patients that had little to no reactivity in healthy controls; strong support for the strength of our bioinformatic approach. This study describes a process used to identify aberrant transcripts that lead to a new source of antigens that can be tested and used in a prophylactic cancer vaccine. The vast amount of transcriptome data of various cancers from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project will enhance our ability to further select better cancer antigen candidates.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Antibody based strategies for multiplexed diagnostics

Description

Peptide microarrays are to proteomics as sequencing is to genomics. As microarrays become more content-rich, higher resolution proteomic studies will parallel deep sequencing of nucleic acids. Antigen-antibody interactions can be

Peptide microarrays are to proteomics as sequencing is to genomics. As microarrays become more content-rich, higher resolution proteomic studies will parallel deep sequencing of nucleic acids. Antigen-antibody interactions can be studied at a much higher resolution using microarrays than was possible only a decade ago. My dissertation focuses on testing the feasibility of using either the Immunosignature platform, based on non-natural peptide sequences, or a pathogen peptide microarray, which uses bioinformatically-selected peptides from pathogens for creating sensitive diagnostics. Both diagnostic applications use relatively little serum from infected individuals, but each approaches diagnosis of disease differently. The first project compares pathogen epitope peptide (life-space) and non-natural (random-space) peptide microarrays while using them for the early detection of Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever). The second project uses NIAID category A, B and C priority pathogen epitope peptides in a multiplexed microarray platform to assess the feasibility of using epitope peptides to simultaneously diagnose multiple exposures using a single assay. Cross-reactivity is a consistent feature of several antigen-antibody based immunodiagnostics. This work utilizes microarray optimization and bioinformatic approaches to distill the underlying disease specific antibody signature pattern. Circumventing inherent cross-reactivity observed in antibody binding to peptides was crucial to achieve the goal of this work to accurately distinguishing multiple exposures simultaneously.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Use of random peptide reactivities to analyze host immune responses of African swine fever virus infection and immunization

Description

African Swine Fever (ASF), endemic in many African countries, is now spreading to other continents. Though ASF is capable of incurring serious economic losses in affected countries, no vaccine exists

African Swine Fever (ASF), endemic in many African countries, is now spreading to other continents. Though ASF is capable of incurring serious economic losses in affected countries, no vaccine exists to provide immunity to animals. Disease control relies largely on rapid diagnosis and the implementation of movement restrictions and strict eradication programs. Developing a scalable, accurate and low cost diagnostic for ASF will be of great help for the current situation. CIM's 10K random peptide microarray is a new high-throughput platform that allows systematic investigations of immune responses associated with disease and shows promise as a diagnostic tool. In this study, this new technology was applied to characterize the immune responses of ASF virus (ASFV) infections and immunizations. Six sets of sera from ASFV antigen immunized pigs, 6 sera from infected pigs and 20 sera samples from unexposed pigs were tested and analyzed statistically. Results show that both ASFV antigen immunized pigs and ASFV viral infected pigs can be distinguished from unexposed pigs. Since it appears that immune responses to other viral infections are also distinguishable on this platform, it holds the potential of being useful in developing a new ASF diagnostic. The ability of this platform to identify specific ASFV antibody epitopes was also explored. A subtle motif was found to be shared among a set of peptides displaying the highest reactivity for an antigen specific antibody. However, this motif does not seem to match with any antibody epitopes predicted by a linear antibody epitope prediction.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Using antibodies to characterize healthy, disease, and age states

Description

The advent of new high throughput technology allows for increasingly detailed characterization of the immune system in healthy, disease, and age states. The immune system is composed of two main

The advent of new high throughput technology allows for increasingly detailed characterization of the immune system in healthy, disease, and age states. The immune system is composed of two main branches: the innate and adaptive immune system, though the border between these two states is appearing less distinct. The adaptive immune system is further split into two main categories: humoral and cellular immunity. The humoral immune response produces antibodies against specific targets, and these antibodies can be used to learn about disease and normal states. In this document, I use antibodies to characterize the immune system in two ways: 1. I determine the Antibody Status (AbStat) from the data collected from applying sera to an array of non-natural sequence peptides, and demonstrate that this AbStat measure can distinguish between disease, normal, and aged samples as well as produce a single AbStat number for each sample; 2. I search for antigens for use in a cancer vaccine, and this search results in several candidates as well as a new hypothesis. Antibodies provide us with a powerful tool for characterizing the immune system, and this natural tool combined with emerging technologies allows us to learn more about healthy and disease states.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Investigation of tumor frame shift antigens for prophylactic cancer vaccine, cancer detection and tumorigenicity

Description

Cancer is one of the most serious global diseases. We have focused on cancer immunoprevention. My thesis projects include developing a prophylactic primary and metastatic cancer vaccines, early cancer detection

Cancer is one of the most serious global diseases. We have focused on cancer immunoprevention. My thesis projects include developing a prophylactic primary and metastatic cancer vaccines, early cancer detection and investigation of genes involved in tumor development. These studies were focused on frame-shift (FS) antigens. The FS antigens are generated by genomic mutations or abnormal RNA processing, which cause a portion of a normal protein to be translated out of frame. The concept of the prophylactic cancer vaccine is to develop a general cancer vaccine that could prevent healthy people from developing different types of cancer. We have discovered a set of cancer specific FS antigens. One of the FS candidates, structural maintenance of chromosomes protein 1A (SMC1A) FS, could start to accumulate at early stages of tumor and be specifically exposed to the immune system by tumor cells. Prophylactic immunization with SMC1A-FS could significantly inhibit primary tumor development in different murine tumor models and also has the potential to inhibit tumor metastasis. The SMC1A-FS transcript was detected in the plasma of the 4T1/BALB/c mouse tumor model. The tumor size was correlated with the transcript ratio of the SMC1A-FS verses the WT in plasma, which could be measured by regular RT-PCR. This unique cancer biomarker has a practical potential for a large population cancer screen, as well as clinical tumor monitoring. With a set of mimotope peptides, antibodies against SMC1A-FS peptide were detected in different cancer patients, including breast cancer, pancreas cancer and lung cancer with a 53.8%, 56.5% and 12.5% positive rate respectively. This suggested that the FS antibody could be a biomarker for early cancer detection. The characterization of SMC1A suggested that: First, the deficiency of the SMC1A is common in different tumors and able to promote tumor initiation and development; second, the FS truncated protein may have nucleolus function in normal cells. Mis-control of this protein may promote tumor development. In summary, we developed a systematic general cancer prevention strategy through the variety immunological and molecular methods. The results gathered suggest the SMC1A-FS may be useful for the detection and prevention of cancer.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012