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  • PCR
    • Real-Time Quantitative PCR
      • SYBR Green Detection
        • DNA
          Tissue remodeling by an opportunistic pathogen triggers allergic inflammation
          Karen Agaronyan - 2022
          Abstract
          Different effector arms of the immune system are optimized to protect from different classes of pathogens. In some cases, pathogens manipulate the host immune system to promote the wrong type of effector response—a phenomenon known as immune deviation. Typically, immune deviation helps pathogens to avoid destructive immune responses. Here, we report on a type of immune deviation whereby an opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), induces the type 2 immune response resulting in mucin production that is used as an energy source by the pathogen. Specifically, P. aeruginosa-secreted toxin, LasB, processed and activated epithelial amphiregulin to induce type 2 inflammation and mucin production. This “niche remodeling” by P. aeruginosa promoted colonization and, as a by-product, allergic sensitization. Our study thus reveals a type of bacterial immune deviation by increasing nutrient supply. It also uncovers a mechanism of allergic sensitization by a bacterial virulence factor.
          The dynamic nature of the coronavirus receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in differentiating airway epithelia
          Vincent J. Manna - 2022
          Abstract
          Once inhaled, SARS-CoV-2 particles enter respiratory ciliated cells by interacting with angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Understanding the nature of ACE2 within airway tissue has become a recent focus particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Airway mucociliary tissue was generated in-vitro using primary human nasal epithelial cells and the air-liquid interface (ALI) model of differentiation. Using ALI tissue, three distinct transcript variants of ACE2 were identified. One transcript encodes the documented full-length ACE2 protein. The other two transcripts are unique truncated isoforms, that until recently had only been predicted to exist via sequence analysis software. Quantitative PCR revealed that all three transcript variants are expressed throughout differentiation of airway mucociliary epithelia. Immunofluorescence analysis of individual ACE2 protein isoforms exogenously expressed in cell-lines revealed similar abilities to localize in the plasma membrane and interact with the SARS CoV 2 spike receptor binding domain. Immunohistochemistry on differentiated ALI tissue using antibodies to either the N-term or C-term of ACE2 revealed both overlapping and distinct signals in cells, most notably only the ACE2 C-term antibody displayed plasma-membrane localization. We also demonstrate that ACE2 protein shedding is different in ALI Tissue compared to ACE2-transfected cell lines, and that ACE2 is released from both the apical and basal surfaces of ALI tissue. Together, our data highlights various facets of ACE2 transcripts and protein in airway mucociliary tissue that may represent variables which impact an individual's susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection, or the severity of Covid-19.
      • Probe-based Detection
        Novel Roles of the Nipah Virus Attachment Glycoprotein and Its Mobility in Early and Late Membrane Fusion Steps
        Victoria Ortega - 2022
        Abstract
        The Paramyxoviridae family comprises important pathogens that include measles (MeV), mumps, parainfluenza, and the emerging deadly zoonotic Nipah virus (NiV) and Hendra virus (HeV). Paramyxoviral entry into cells requires viral-cell membrane fusion, and formation of paramyxoviral pathognomonic syncytia requires cell-cell membrane fusion. Both events are coordinated by intricate interactions between the tetrameric attachment (G/H/HN) and trimeric fusion (F) glycoproteins. We report that receptor binding induces conformational changes in NiV G that expose its stalk domain, which triggers F through a cascade from prefusion to prehairpin intermediate (PHI) to postfusion conformations, executing membrane fusion. To decipher how the NiV G stalk may trigger F, we introduced cysteines along the G stalk to increase tetrameric strength and restrict stalk mobility. While most point mutants displayed near-wild-type levels of cell surface expression and receptor binding, most yielded increased NiV G oligomeric strength, and showed remarkably strong defects in syncytium formation. Furthermore, most of these mutants displayed stronger F/G interactions and significant defects in their ability to trigger F, indicating that NiV G stalk mobility is key to proper F triggering via moderate G/F interactions. Also remarkably, a mutant capable of triggering F and of fusion pore formation yielded little syncytium formation, implicating G or G/F interactions in a late step occurring post fusion pore formation, such as the extensive fusion pore expansion required for syncytium formation. This study uncovers novel mechanisms by which the G stalk and its oligomerization/mobility affect G/F interactions, the triggering of F, and a late fusion pore expansion step—exciting novel findings for paramyxoviral attachment glycoproteins. IMPORTANCE The important Paramyxoviridae family includes measles, mumps, human parainfluenza, and the emerging deadly zoonotic Nipah virus (NiV) and Hendra virus (HeV). The deadly emerging NiV can cause neurologic and respiratory symptoms in humans with a .60% mortality rate. NiV has two surface proteins, the receptor binding protein (G) and fusion (F) glycoproteins. They mediate the required membrane fusion during viral entry into host cells and during syncytium formation, a hallmark of paramyxoviral and NiV infections. We previously discovered that the G stalk domain is important for triggering F (via largely unknown mechanisms) to induce membrane fusion. Here, we uncovered new roles and mechanisms by which the G stalk and its mobility modulate the triggering of F and also unexpectedly affect a very late step in membrane fusion, namely fusion pore expansion. Importantly, these novel findings may extend to other paramyxoviruses, offering new potential targets for therapeutic interventions.
        A fast extraction-free isothermal LAMP assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 with potential use in resource-limited settings
        Kathleen Gärtner - 2022
        Abstract
        Background To retain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, fast, sensitive and cost-effective testing is essential, particularly in resource limited settings (RLS). Current standard nucleic acid-based RT-PCR assays, although highly sensitive and specific, require transportation of samples to specialised laboratories, trained staff and expensive reagents. The latter are often not readily available in low- and middle-income countries and this may significantly impact on the successful disease management in these settings. Various studies have suggested a SARS-CoV-2 loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay as an alternative method to RT-PCR. Methods Four previously published primer pairs were used for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the LAMP assay. To determine optimal conditions, different temperatures, sample input and incubation times were tested. Ninety-three extracted RNA samples from St. George's Hospital, London, 10 non-extracted nasopharyngeal swab samples from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, and 92 non-extracted samples from Queen Elisabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Malawi, which have previously been tested for SARS-Cov-2 by quantitative reverse-transcription RealTime PCR (qRT-PCR), were analysed in the LAMP assay. Results In this study we report the optimisation of an extraction-free colourimetric SARS-CoV-2 LAMP assay and demonstrated that a lower limit of detection (LOD) between 10 and 100 copies/µL of SARS-CoV-2 could be readily detected by a colour change of the reaction within as little as 30 min. We further show that this assay could be quickly established in Malawi, as no expensive equipment is necessary. We tested 92 clinical samples from QECH and showed the sensitivity and specificity of the assay to be 86.7% and 98.4%, respectively. Some viral transport media, used routinely to stabilise RNA in clinical samples during transportation, caused a non-specific colour-change in the LAMP reaction and therefore we suggest collecting samples in phosphate buffered saline (which did not affect the colour) as the assay allows immediate sample analysis on-site. Conclusion SARS-CoV-2 LAMP is a cheap and reliable assay that can be readily employed in RLS to improve disease monitoring and management.
        Occurrence of Naegleria fowleri and faecal indicators in sediments from Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana
        Shalina A. Shahin - 2022
        Abstract
        The occurrence of amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, in sediment samples from Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana was investigated. This amoeba is pathogenic and can cause primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. In this study, quantitative polymerase chain reaction methods were used to test for the prevalence of Naegleria fowleri, HF183, and E. coli. N. fowleri was detected in 51.25% of our sediment samples. Illumina sequencing of sediment samples revealed ten different phyla, with Cyanobacteria being the most predominant at sites that generally presented with the highest median N. fowleri concentrations. N. fowleri was however strongly negatively correlated with HF183 (r = −0.859, p < 0.001). Whenever sediment E. coli concentrations were below 1.54 Log GC/g, there was only a 37.5% chance that N. fowleri would be detected in the same sample. When sediment E. coli concentrations exceeded 2.77 Log GC/g, the chances of detecting N. fowleri in the same sample increased to 90%, potentially suggesting predatory activity by the amoeba. The effect of temperature was observed to be different in relation to observed N. fowleri concentrations and detection rates. Although sediment samples collected during periods of higher temperatures had significantly lower mean N. fowleri concentrations (2.7 Log GC/g) compared to those collected at lower temperatures (3.7 Log GC/g, t(39) = 4.167, p < 0.001), higher N. fowleri detection rates in the overall samples were observed at higher temperatures (>19.1 °C) than at lower temperatures (<19.1 °C).
        Molecular characterization of Xanthomonas species isolated from Araceae and the development of a triplex TaqMan assay for detection of Xanthomonas phaseoli pv. dieffenbachiae
        Jan van der Wolf - 2022
        Abstract
        In total 58 Xanthomonas strains isolated from Araceae worldwide, together with 13 other phylogenetically-related Xanthomonas strains, were characterized using multilocus sequence analysis based on concatenated sequences of seven single copy orthologous genes, extracted from whole genome sequences. The analysis revealed a monophyletic clade of 48 strains, 44 isolated from Anthurium, identified as X. phaseoli pv. dieffenbachiae (Xpd) confirmed by nucleotide identity analysis. The other strains from aroids were identified as Xanthomonas euvesicatoria (2 strains), X citri (5 strains) and Xanthomonas sacchari (3 strains). Two TaqMan assays were designed for specific detection of Xpd, one targeting sequences of a hypothetical protein and one targeting a type I restriction endonuclease subunit S. The two assays showed similar reaction kinetics and were merged with an assay comprising an amplification and extraction control into a triplex assay. The assay was able to detect minimally 100 copies of a target sequence delivered as a gBlock, 100 fg of genomic DNA and 104 cells per mL in an Anthurium leaf extract.
        Point-of-Care Platform for Rapid Multiplexed Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Variants and Respiratory Pathogens
        Alexander Y. Trick - 2022
        Abstract
        The rise of highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants brings new challenges and concerns with vaccine efficacy, diagnostic sensitivity, and public health responses to end the pandemic. Widespread detection of variants is critical to inform policy decisions to mitigate further spread, and postpandemic multiplexed screening of respiratory viruses will be necessary to properly manage patients presenting with similar respiratory symptoms. In this work, a portable, magnetofluidic cartridge platform for automated polymerase chain reaction testing in <30 min is developed. Cartridges are designed for multiplexed detection of SARS-CoV-2 with either identification of variant mutations or screening for Influenza A and B. Moreover, the platform can perform identification of B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants and the multiplexed SARS-CoV-2/Influenza assay using archived clinical nasopharyngeal swab eluates and saliva samples. This work illustrates a path toward affordable and immediate testing with potential to aid surveillance of viral variants and inform patient treatment.
        Specific inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome suppresses immune overactivation and alleviates COVID-19 like pathology in mice
        Jianxiong Zeng - 2022
        Abstract
        Background The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been a great threat to global public health since 2020. Although the advance on vaccine development has been largely achieved, a strategy to alleviate immune overactivation in severe COVID-19 patients is still needed. The NLRP3 inflammasome is activated upon SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated with COVID-19 severity. However, the processes by which the NLRP3 inflammasome is involved in COVID-19 disease remain unclear. Methods We infected THP-1 derived macrophages, NLRP3 knockout mice, and human ACE2 transgenic mice with live SARS-CoV-2 in Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory. We performed quantitative real-time PCR for targeted viral or host genes from SARS-CoV-2 infected mouse tissues, conducted histological or immunofluorescence analysis in SARS-CoV-2 infected mouse tissues. We also injected intranasally AAV-hACE2 or intraperitoneally NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor MCC950 before SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice as indicated. Findings We have provided multiple lines of evidence that the NLRP3 inflammasome plays an important role in the host immune response to SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the lungs. Inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome attenuated the release of COVID-19 related pro-inflammatory cytokines in cell cultures and mice. The severe pathology induced by SARS-CoV-2 in lung tissues was reduced in Nlrp3−/− mice compared to wild-type C57BL/6 mice. Finally, specific inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome by MCC950 alleviated excessive lung inflammation and thus COVID-19 like pathology in human ACE2 transgenic mice. Interpretation Inflammatory activation induced by SARS-CoV-2 is an important stimulator of COVID-19 related immunopathology. Targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome is a promising immune intervention against severe COVID-19 disease.
        A Sensitive, Portable Microfluidic Device for SARS-CoV-2 Detection from Self-Collected Saliva
        Jianing Yang - 2021
        Abstract
        Since the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic in December 2019, the spread of SARS-CoV2 infection has been escalating rapidly around the world. In order to provide more timely access to medical intervention, including diagnostic tests and medical treatment, the FDA authorized multiple test protocols for diagnostic tests from nasopharyngeal swab, saliva, urine, bronchoalveolar lavage and fecal samples. The traditional diagnostic tests for this novel coronavirus 2019 require standard processes of viral RNA isolation, reverse transcription of RNA to cDNA, then real-time quantitative PCR with the RNA templates extracted from the patient samples. Recently, many reports have demonstrated a direct detection of SARS-Co-V2 genomic material from saliva samples without any RNA isolation step. To make the rapid detection of SARS-Co-V2 infection more accessible, a point-of-care type device was developed for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Herein, we report a portable microfluidic-based integrated detectionanalysis system for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids detection directly from saliva samples. The saliva cartridge is self-contained and capable of microfluidic evaluation of saliva, from heating, mixing with the primers to multiplex real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, detecting SARSCoV- 2 with different primer sets and internal control. The approach has a detection sensitivity of 1000 copies/mL of SARS-CoV-2 RNA or virus, with consistency and automation, from saliva sample-in to result-out.
        RIPK1 or RIPK3 deletion prevents progressive neuronal cell death and improves memory function after traumatic brain injury
        Antonia Clarissa Wehn - 2021
        Abstract
        Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes acute and subacute tissue damage, but is also associated with chronic inflammation and progressive loss of brain tissue months and years after the initial event. The trigger and the subsequent molecular mechanisms causing chronic brain injury after TBI are not well understood. The aim of the current study was therefore to investigate the hypothesis that necroptosis, a form a programmed cell death mediated by the interaction of Receptor Interacting Protein Kinases (RIPK) 1 and 3, is involved in this process. Neuron-specific RIPK1- or RIPK3-deficient mice and their wild-type littermates were subjected to experimental TBI by controlled cortical impact. Posttraumatic brain damage and functional outcome were assessed longitudinally by repetitive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and behavioral tests (beam walk, Barnes maze, and tail suspension), respectively, for up to three months after injury. Thereafter, brains were investigated by immunohistochemistry for the necroptotic marker phosphorylated mixed lineage kinase like protein(pMLKL) and activation of astrocytes and microglia. WT mice showed progressive chronic brain damage in cortex and hippocampus and increased levels of pMLKL after TBI. Chronic brain damage occurred almost exclusively in areas with iron deposits and was significantly reduced in RIPK1- or RIPK3-deficient mice by up to 80%. Neuroprotection was accompanied by a reduction of astrocyte and microglia activation and improved memory function. The data of the current study suggest that progressive chronic brain damage and cognitive decline after TBI depend on the expression of RIPK1/3 in neurons. Hence, inhibition of necroptosis signaling may represent a novel therapeutic target for the prevention of chronic post-traumatic brain damage.
        Autologous Transplantation of Skin-Derived Precursor Cells in a Porcine Model
        Anne-Laure Thomas - 2020
        Abstract
        Background Hirschprung's disease is characterized by aganglionic bowel and often requires surgical resection. Cell-based therapies have been investigated as potential alternatives to restore functioning neurons. Skin-derived precursor cells (SKPs) differentiate into neural and glial cells in vitro and generate ganglion-like structures in rodents. In this report, we aimed to translate this approach into a large animal model of aganglionosis using autologous transplantation of SKPs. Methods Juvenile pigs underwent skin procurement from the shoulder and simultaneous chemical denervation of an isolated colonic segment. Skin cells were cultured in neuroglial-selective medium and labeled with fluorescent dye for later identification. The cultured SKPs were then injected into the aganglionic segments of colon, and the specimens were retrieved within seven days after transplantation. SKPs in vitro and in vivo were assessed with histologic samples for various immunofluorescent markers of multipotency and differentiation. SKPs from the time of harvest were compared to those at the time of injection using PCR. Results Prior to transplantation, 72% of SKPs stained positive for nestin and S100b, markers of neural and glial precursor cells of neural crest origin, respectively. Markers of differentiated neurons and gliocytes, TUJ1 and GFAP, were detected in 47% of cultured SKPs. After transplantation, SKPs were identified in both myenteric and submucosal plexuses of the treated colon. Nestin co-expression was detected in the SKPs within the aganglionic colon in vivo. Injected SKPs appeared to migrate and express early neuroglial differentiation markers. Conclusions Autologous SKPs implanted into aganglionic bowel demonstrated immunophenotypes of neuroglial progenitors. Our results suggest that autologous SKPs may be potentially useful for cell-based therapy for patients with enteric nervous system disorders. Type of Study Basic science.
        Investigation of an outbreak caused by antibiotic‐susceptible Klebsiella oxytoca in a neonatal intensive care unit in Norway
        Torunn Gresdal Ronning - 2019
        Abstract
        Aim Klebsiella spp. have been stated to be the most frequent cause of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) outbreaks. We report an outbreak of Klebsiella oxytoca in a NICU at a tertiary care hospital in Norway between April 2016 and April 2017. This study describes the outbreak, infection control measures undertaken and the molecular methods developed. Methods The outbreak prompted detailed epidemiological and microbial investigations, where whole‐genome sequencing (WGS) was particularly useful for both genotyping and development of two new K. oxytoca‐specific real‐time PCR assays. Routine screening of patients, as well as sampling from numerous environmental sites, was performed during the outbreak. A bundle of infection control measures was instigated to control the outbreak, among them strict cohort isolation. Results Five neonates had symptomatic infection, and 17 were found to be asymptomatically colonised. Infections varied in severity from conjunctivitis to a fatal case of pneumonia. A source of the outbreak could not be determined. Conclusion This report describes K. oxytoca as a significant pathogen in a NICU outbreak setting and highlights the importance of developing appropriate microbiological screening methods and implementing strict infection control measures to control the outbreak in a setting where the source could not be identified.
        Iron oxide nanoparticles enhance Toll-like receptor-induced cytokines in a particle size- and actin-dependent manner in human blood
        Susann Wolf-Grosse - 2018
        Abstract
        Aim: To assess the effects of different-sized iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) on inflammatory responses in human whole blood. Materials & methods: Human whole blood with and without 10 and 30 nm IONPs was incubated with Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands. Cytokine levels, complement activation, reactive oxygen species and viability were determined. Results: The 10 nm IONPs enhanced the TLR2/6, TLR4 and partly TLR8-mediated cytokine production, whereas the 30 nm IONPs partly enhanced TLR2/6 and decreased TLR8-mediated cytokine production. Particle-mediated enhancement of TLR4-induced cytokines could not be explained by complement activation, but was dependent on TLR4/MD2 and CD14, as well as actin polymerization. Conclusion: The IONPs differentially affected the TLR ligand-induced cytokines, which has important implications for biomedical applications of IONPs.
      • RNA
        Novel Roles of the Nipah Virus Attachment Glycoprotein and Its Mobility in Early and Late Membrane Fusion Steps
        Victoria Ortega - 2022
        Abstract
        The Paramyxoviridae family comprises important pathogens that include measles (MeV), mumps, parainfluenza, and the emerging deadly zoonotic Nipah virus (NiV) and Hendra virus (HeV). Paramyxoviral entry into cells requires viral-cell membrane fusion, and formation of paramyxoviral pathognomonic syncytia requires cell-cell membrane fusion. Both events are coordinated by intricate interactions between the tetrameric attachment (G/H/HN) and trimeric fusion (F) glycoproteins. We report that receptor binding induces conformational changes in NiV G that expose its stalk domain, which triggers F through a cascade from prefusion to prehairpin intermediate (PHI) to postfusion conformations, executing membrane fusion. To decipher how the NiV G stalk may trigger F, we introduced cysteines along the G stalk to increase tetrameric strength and restrict stalk mobility. While most point mutants displayed near-wild-type levels of cell surface expression and receptor binding, most yielded increased NiV G oligomeric strength, and showed remarkably strong defects in syncytium formation. Furthermore, most of these mutants displayed stronger F/G interactions and significant defects in their ability to trigger F, indicating that NiV G stalk mobility is key to proper F triggering via moderate G/F interactions. Also remarkably, a mutant capable of triggering F and of fusion pore formation yielded little syncytium formation, implicating G or G/F interactions in a late step occurring post fusion pore formation, such as the extensive fusion pore expansion required for syncytium formation. This study uncovers novel mechanisms by which the G stalk and its oligomerization/mobility affect G/F interactions, the triggering of F, and a late fusion pore expansion step—exciting novel findings for paramyxoviral attachment glycoproteins. IMPORTANCE The important Paramyxoviridae family includes measles, mumps, human parainfluenza, and the emerging deadly zoonotic Nipah virus (NiV) and Hendra virus (HeV). The deadly emerging NiV can cause neurologic and respiratory symptoms in humans with a .60% mortality rate. NiV has two surface proteins, the receptor binding protein (G) and fusion (F) glycoproteins. They mediate the required membrane fusion during viral entry into host cells and during syncytium formation, a hallmark of paramyxoviral and NiV infections. We previously discovered that the G stalk domain is important for triggering F (via largely unknown mechanisms) to induce membrane fusion. Here, we uncovered new roles and mechanisms by which the G stalk and its mobility modulate the triggering of F and also unexpectedly affect a very late step in membrane fusion, namely fusion pore expansion. Importantly, these novel findings may extend to other paramyxoviruses, offering new potential targets for therapeutic interventions.
        A fast extraction-free isothermal LAMP assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 with potential use in resource-limited settings
        Kathleen Gärtner - 2022
        Abstract
        Background To retain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, fast, sensitive and cost-effective testing is essential, particularly in resource limited settings (RLS). Current standard nucleic acid-based RT-PCR assays, although highly sensitive and specific, require transportation of samples to specialised laboratories, trained staff and expensive reagents. The latter are often not readily available in low- and middle-income countries and this may significantly impact on the successful disease management in these settings. Various studies have suggested a SARS-CoV-2 loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay as an alternative method to RT-PCR. Methods Four previously published primer pairs were used for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the LAMP assay. To determine optimal conditions, different temperatures, sample input and incubation times were tested. Ninety-three extracted RNA samples from St. George's Hospital, London, 10 non-extracted nasopharyngeal swab samples from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, and 92 non-extracted samples from Queen Elisabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Malawi, which have previously been tested for SARS-Cov-2 by quantitative reverse-transcription RealTime PCR (qRT-PCR), were analysed in the LAMP assay. Results In this study we report the optimisation of an extraction-free colourimetric SARS-CoV-2 LAMP assay and demonstrated that a lower limit of detection (LOD) between 10 and 100 copies/µL of SARS-CoV-2 could be readily detected by a colour change of the reaction within as little as 30 min. We further show that this assay could be quickly established in Malawi, as no expensive equipment is necessary. We tested 92 clinical samples from QECH and showed the sensitivity and specificity of the assay to be 86.7% and 98.4%, respectively. Some viral transport media, used routinely to stabilise RNA in clinical samples during transportation, caused a non-specific colour-change in the LAMP reaction and therefore we suggest collecting samples in phosphate buffered saline (which did not affect the colour) as the assay allows immediate sample analysis on-site. Conclusion SARS-CoV-2 LAMP is a cheap and reliable assay that can be readily employed in RLS to improve disease monitoring and management.
        Point-of-Care Platform for Rapid Multiplexed Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Variants and Respiratory Pathogens
        Alexander Y. Trick - 2022
        Abstract
        The rise of highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants brings new challenges and concerns with vaccine efficacy, diagnostic sensitivity, and public health responses to end the pandemic. Widespread detection of variants is critical to inform policy decisions to mitigate further spread, and postpandemic multiplexed screening of respiratory viruses will be necessary to properly manage patients presenting with similar respiratory symptoms. In this work, a portable, magnetofluidic cartridge platform for automated polymerase chain reaction testing in <30 min is developed. Cartridges are designed for multiplexed detection of SARS-CoV-2 with either identification of variant mutations or screening for Influenza A and B. Moreover, the platform can perform identification of B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants and the multiplexed SARS-CoV-2/Influenza assay using archived clinical nasopharyngeal swab eluates and saliva samples. This work illustrates a path toward affordable and immediate testing with potential to aid surveillance of viral variants and inform patient treatment.
        Specific inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome suppresses immune overactivation and alleviates COVID-19 like pathology in mice
        Jianxiong Zeng - 2022
        Abstract
        Background The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been a great threat to global public health since 2020. Although the advance on vaccine development has been largely achieved, a strategy to alleviate immune overactivation in severe COVID-19 patients is still needed. The NLRP3 inflammasome is activated upon SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated with COVID-19 severity. However, the processes by which the NLRP3 inflammasome is involved in COVID-19 disease remain unclear. Methods We infected THP-1 derived macrophages, NLRP3 knockout mice, and human ACE2 transgenic mice with live SARS-CoV-2 in Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory. We performed quantitative real-time PCR for targeted viral or host genes from SARS-CoV-2 infected mouse tissues, conducted histological or immunofluorescence analysis in SARS-CoV-2 infected mouse tissues. We also injected intranasally AAV-hACE2 or intraperitoneally NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor MCC950 before SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice as indicated. Findings We have provided multiple lines of evidence that the NLRP3 inflammasome plays an important role in the host immune response to SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the lungs. Inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome attenuated the release of COVID-19 related pro-inflammatory cytokines in cell cultures and mice. The severe pathology induced by SARS-CoV-2 in lung tissues was reduced in Nlrp3−/− mice compared to wild-type C57BL/6 mice. Finally, specific inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome by MCC950 alleviated excessive lung inflammation and thus COVID-19 like pathology in human ACE2 transgenic mice. Interpretation Inflammatory activation induced by SARS-CoV-2 is an important stimulator of COVID-19 related immunopathology. Targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome is a promising immune intervention against severe COVID-19 disease.
        A Sensitive, Portable Microfluidic Device for SARS-CoV-2 Detection from Self-Collected Saliva
        Jianing Yang - 2021
        Abstract
        Since the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic in December 2019, the spread of SARS-CoV2 infection has been escalating rapidly around the world. In order to provide more timely access to medical intervention, including diagnostic tests and medical treatment, the FDA authorized multiple test protocols for diagnostic tests from nasopharyngeal swab, saliva, urine, bronchoalveolar lavage and fecal samples. The traditional diagnostic tests for this novel coronavirus 2019 require standard processes of viral RNA isolation, reverse transcription of RNA to cDNA, then real-time quantitative PCR with the RNA templates extracted from the patient samples. Recently, many reports have demonstrated a direct detection of SARS-Co-V2 genomic material from saliva samples without any RNA isolation step. To make the rapid detection of SARS-Co-V2 infection more accessible, a point-of-care type device was developed for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Herein, we report a portable microfluidic-based integrated detectionanalysis system for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids detection directly from saliva samples. The saliva cartridge is self-contained and capable of microfluidic evaluation of saliva, from heating, mixing with the primers to multiplex real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, detecting SARSCoV- 2 with different primer sets and internal control. The approach has a detection sensitivity of 1000 copies/mL of SARS-CoV-2 RNA or virus, with consistency and automation, from saliva sample-in to result-out.
        RIPK1 or RIPK3 deletion prevents progressive neuronal cell death and improves memory function after traumatic brain injury
        Antonia Clarissa Wehn - 2021
        Abstract
        Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes acute and subacute tissue damage, but is also associated with chronic inflammation and progressive loss of brain tissue months and years after the initial event. The trigger and the subsequent molecular mechanisms causing chronic brain injury after TBI are not well understood. The aim of the current study was therefore to investigate the hypothesis that necroptosis, a form a programmed cell death mediated by the interaction of Receptor Interacting Protein Kinases (RIPK) 1 and 3, is involved in this process. Neuron-specific RIPK1- or RIPK3-deficient mice and their wild-type littermates were subjected to experimental TBI by controlled cortical impact. Posttraumatic brain damage and functional outcome were assessed longitudinally by repetitive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and behavioral tests (beam walk, Barnes maze, and tail suspension), respectively, for up to three months after injury. Thereafter, brains were investigated by immunohistochemistry for the necroptotic marker phosphorylated mixed lineage kinase like protein(pMLKL) and activation of astrocytes and microglia. WT mice showed progressive chronic brain damage in cortex and hippocampus and increased levels of pMLKL after TBI. Chronic brain damage occurred almost exclusively in areas with iron deposits and was significantly reduced in RIPK1- or RIPK3-deficient mice by up to 80%. Neuroprotection was accompanied by a reduction of astrocyte and microglia activation and improved memory function. The data of the current study suggest that progressive chronic brain damage and cognitive decline after TBI depend on the expression of RIPK1/3 in neurons. Hence, inhibition of necroptosis signaling may represent a novel therapeutic target for the prevention of chronic post-traumatic brain damage.
        Autologous Transplantation of Skin-Derived Precursor Cells in a Porcine Model
        Anne-Laure Thomas - 2020
        Abstract
        Background Hirschprung's disease is characterized by aganglionic bowel and often requires surgical resection. Cell-based therapies have been investigated as potential alternatives to restore functioning neurons. Skin-derived precursor cells (SKPs) differentiate into neural and glial cells in vitro and generate ganglion-like structures in rodents. In this report, we aimed to translate this approach into a large animal model of aganglionosis using autologous transplantation of SKPs. Methods Juvenile pigs underwent skin procurement from the shoulder and simultaneous chemical denervation of an isolated colonic segment. Skin cells were cultured in neuroglial-selective medium and labeled with fluorescent dye for later identification. The cultured SKPs were then injected into the aganglionic segments of colon, and the specimens were retrieved within seven days after transplantation. SKPs in vitro and in vivo were assessed with histologic samples for various immunofluorescent markers of multipotency and differentiation. SKPs from the time of harvest were compared to those at the time of injection using PCR. Results Prior to transplantation, 72% of SKPs stained positive for nestin and S100b, markers of neural and glial precursor cells of neural crest origin, respectively. Markers of differentiated neurons and gliocytes, TUJ1 and GFAP, were detected in 47% of cultured SKPs. After transplantation, SKPs were identified in both myenteric and submucosal plexuses of the treated colon. Nestin co-expression was detected in the SKPs within the aganglionic colon in vivo. Injected SKPs appeared to migrate and express early neuroglial differentiation markers. Conclusions Autologous SKPs implanted into aganglionic bowel demonstrated immunophenotypes of neuroglial progenitors. Our results suggest that autologous SKPs may be potentially useful for cell-based therapy for patients with enteric nervous system disorders. Type of Study Basic science.
    • Conventional PCR
      • DNA
        Evaluation of nutrient characteristics and bacterial community in agricultural soil groups for sustainable land management
        Sumeth Wongkiew - 2022
        Abstract
        The soil bacterial community is critical for understanding biological processes in soils and is used for agricultural soil management. The understanding of microorganisms and ecology in different soil groups classified based on soil properties (e.g., minerals, soil texture, location, nitrogen, phosphorus, organic carbon and pH, among others), is limited. To suggest soil management strategies using bacterial data, we classified soils into four groups based on physical–chemical characteristics and elucidated their relationships with soil nutrient characteristics and the bacterial community in agricultural fields in Saraburi Province, Thailand. Results show that soil groups with high bacterial diversity had positive correlations with total Kjeldahl nitrogen and available phosphorus but were negatively affected by total organic carbon and pH levels. Dominant bacterial genera included Lactobacillus, Phascolarctobacterium, Prevotella, Clostridium, Gaiellales and Blautia. Significant key biomarkers were found (p < 0.05). Nutrient-rich soil groups (high available P, acidic pH) were found with genus Agromyces, while low nutrient soil groups (low available P, basic pH) were found with Hydrogenispora, Ignavibacterium and Bauldia. Based on co-occurrence networks, organic degrading bacteria functioned with other bacteria at high degrees of interconnections, suggesting organic amendment, biostimulation and biodegradation using nutrient-rich organic substrates could be used for agricultural soil improvements.
        Opposite effects of stress on effortful motivation in high and low anxiety are mediated by CRHR1 in the VTA
        Ioannis Zalachoras - 2022
        Abstract
        Individuals frequently differ in their behavioral and cognitive responses to stress. However, whether motivation is differently affected by acute stress in different individuals remains to be established. By exploiting natural variation in trait anxiety in outbred Wistar rats, we show that acute stress facilitates effort-related motivation in low anxious animals, while dampening effort in high anxious ones. This model allowed us to address the mechanisms underlying acute stress–induced differences in motivated behavior. We show that CRHR1 expression levels in dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA)—a neuronal type implicated in the regulation of motivation—depend on animals’ anxiety, and these differences in CRHR1 expression levels explain the divergent effects of stress on both effortful behavior and the functioning of mesolimbic DA neurons. These findings highlight CRHR1 in VTA DA neurons—whose levels vary with individuals’ anxiety—as a switching mechanism determining whether acute stress facilitates or dampens motivation.
        DNA methylation in Friedreich ataxia silences expression of frataxin isoform E
        Layne N. Rodden - 2022
        Abstract
        Epigenetic silencing in Friedreich ataxia (FRDA), induced by an expanded GAA triplet-repeat in intron 1 of the FXN gene, results in deficiency of the mitochondrial protein, frataxin. A lesser known extramitochondrial isoform of frataxin detected in erythrocytes, frataxin-E, is encoded via an alternate transcript (FXN-E) originating in intron 1 that lacks a mitochondrial targeting sequence. We show that FXN-E is deficient in FRDA, including in patient-derived cell lines, iPS-derived proprioceptive neurons, and tissues from a humanized mouse model. In a series of FRDA patients, deficiency of frataxin-E protein correlated with the length of the expanded GAA triplet-repeat, and with repeat-induced DNA hypermethylation that occurs in close proximity to the intronic origin of FXN-E. CRISPR-induced epimodification to mimic DNA hypermethylation seen in FRDA reproduced FXN-E transcriptional deficiency. Deficiency of frataxin E is a consequence of FRDA-specific epigenetic silencing, and therapeutic strategies may need to address this deficiency.
        Performance of Conventional Urine Culture Compared to 16S rRNA Gene Amplicon Sequencing in Children with Suspected Urinary Tract Infection
        Christopher W. Marshall - 2021
        Abstract
        Because some organisms causing urinary tract infection (UTI) may be difficult to culture, examination of bacterial gene sequences in the urine may provide a more accurate view of bacteria present during a UTI. Our objective was to estimate how often access to 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing alters diagnosis and/or clinical management. The study was designed as a cross-sectional study of a convenience sample of children with suspected UTI. The setting was the emergency department or outpatient clinic at six pediatric centers. Participants included children 2 months to 10 years of age suspected of UTI. We categorized the results of urine culture as follows: “likely UTI” ($100,000 CFU/ml of a single uropathogen), “possible UTI” (10,000 to 99,000 CFU/ml of a uropathogen or $100,000 CFU/ ml of a single uropathogen plus other growth), and “unlikely UTI” (no growth or growth of nonuropathogens). Similarly, we categorized the results of 16S rRNA gene sequencing into the same three categories using the following criteria: likely UTI ($90% relative abundance of a uropathogen), possible UTI (50 to 89% relative abundance of a uropathogen), and unlikely UTI (remainder of samples). The main study outcome was concordance between conventional culture results and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Concordance between the two methods was high in children with likely and unlikely UTI by conventional culture (95% and 87%, respectively). In children with possible UTI according to conventional culture, 71% had a single uropathogen at a relative abundance of $90% according to 16S rRNA gene sequencing data. Concordance between conventional culture and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing appears to be high. In children with equivocal culture results, 16S rRNA gene results may provide information that may help clarify the diagnosis. IMPORTANCE Concordance between conventional culture and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing appears to be high. In children with equivocal culture results, 16S rRNA gene results may provide information that may help clarify the diagnosis.
        The effect of a mass distribution of insecticide-treated nets on insecticide resistance and entomological inoculation rates of Anopheles gambiae s.l. in Bandundu City, Democratic Repub`lic of Congo
        Emery Metelo-Matubi - 2021
        Abstract
        Introduction insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) remain the mainstay of malaria vector control in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, insecticide resistance of malaria vectors threatens their effectiveness. Entomological inoculation rates and insecticide susceptibility in Anopheles gambiae s.l. were evaluated before and after mass distribution of ITNs in Bandundu City for possible occurrence of resistance. Methods a cross-sectional study was conducted from 15th July 2015 to 15th June 2016. Adult mosquitoes were collected using pyrethrum spray catches and human landing catches and identified to species level and tested for the presence of sporozoites. Bioassays were carried out before and after distribution of ITNs to assess the susceptibility of adult mosquitoes to insecticides. Synergist bioassays were also conducted and target site mutations assessed using Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results a total of 1754 female An. gambiae s.l. were collected before and after deployment of ITNs. Fewer mosquitoes were collected after the distribution of ITNs. However, there was no significant difference in sporozoite rates or the overall entomological inoculation rate before and after the distribution of ITNs. Test-mosquitoes were resistant to deltamethrin, permethrin, and Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane but susceptible to bendiocarb. Pre-exposure of mosquitoes to Piperonyl butoxide increased their mortality after exposure to permethrin and deltamethrin. The frequency of the Kinase insert domain receptor (kdr)-West gene increased from 92 to 99% before and after the distribution of nets, respectively. Conclusion seasonal impacts could be a limiting factor in the analysis of these data; however, the lack of decrease in transmission after the distribution of new nets could be explained by the high-level of resistance to pyrethroid.
        Exploring the diversity of the deep sea—four new species of the amphipod genus Oedicerina described using morphological and molecular methods
        Anna M. Jazszewska - 2021
        Abstract
        Collections of the amphipod genus Oedicerina were obtained during six expeditions devoted to the study of deep-sea environments of the Pacific Ocean. The material revealed four species new to science. Two species (Oedicerina henrici sp. nov. and sp. nov.) were found at abyssal depths of the central eastern Pacific in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone; one species (sp. nov.) (Oedicerina claudei sp. nov.) was recovered in the Sea of Okhotsk (north-west Pacific), and one (Oedicerina lesci sp. nov.) in the abyss adjacent to the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench (KKT). The four new species differ from each other and known species by the shapes of the rostrum, coxae 1 and 4, basis of pereopod 7, armatures of pereonite 7, pleonites and urosomites. An identification key for all known species is provided. The study of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene of the four new species and Oedicerina ingolfi collected in the North Atlantic confirmed their genetic distinction. However, small intraspecific variation within each of the studied species was observed. In the case of the new species occurring across the KKT, the same haplotype was found on both sides of the trench, providing evidence that the trench does not constitute an insurmountable barrier for population connectivity. None of the species have so far been found on both sides of the Pacific.
  • Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)
    • DNA
      Evaluation of nutrient characteristics and bacterial community in agricultural soil groups for sustainable land management
      Sumeth Wongkiew - 2022
      Abstract
      The soil bacterial community is critical for understanding biological processes in soils and is used for agricultural soil management. The understanding of microorganisms and ecology in different soil groups classified based on soil properties (e.g., minerals, soil texture, location, nitrogen, phosphorus, organic carbon and pH, among others), is limited. To suggest soil management strategies using bacterial data, we classified soils into four groups based on physical–chemical characteristics and elucidated their relationships with soil nutrient characteristics and the bacterial community in agricultural fields in Saraburi Province, Thailand. Results show that soil groups with high bacterial diversity had positive correlations with total Kjeldahl nitrogen and available phosphorus but were negatively affected by total organic carbon and pH levels. Dominant bacterial genera included Lactobacillus, Phascolarctobacterium, Prevotella, Clostridium, Gaiellales and Blautia. Significant key biomarkers were found (p < 0.05). Nutrient-rich soil groups (high available P, acidic pH) were found with genus Agromyces, while low nutrient soil groups (low available P, basic pH) were found with Hydrogenispora, Ignavibacterium and Bauldia. Based on co-occurrence networks, organic degrading bacteria functioned with other bacteria at high degrees of interconnections, suggesting organic amendment, biostimulation and biodegradation using nutrient-rich organic substrates could be used for agricultural soil improvements.
      Stem traits, compartments and tree species affectfungal communities on decaying wood
      Shanshan Yang - 2022
      Abstract
      Dead wood quantity and quality is important for for-est biodiversity, by determining wood-inhabiting fun-gal assemblages. We therefore evaluated how fungalcommunities were regulated by stem traits and com-partments (i.e. bark, outer- and inner wood) of14 common temperate tree species. Fresh logs wereincubated in a common garden experiment in a forestsite in the Netherlands. After 1 and 4 years of decay,the fungal composition of different compartmentswas assessed using Internal Transcribed Spaceramplicon sequencing. We found that fungal alphadiversity differed significantly across tree speciesand stem compartments, with bark showing signifi-cantly higher fungal diversity than wood. Gymno-sperms and Angiosperms hold different fungalcommunities, and distinct fungi were found betweeninner wood and other compartments. Stem traitsshowed significant afterlife effects on fungal commu-nities; traits associated with accessibility (e.g. con-duit diameter), stem chemistry (e.g. C, N, lignin) andphysical defence (e.g. density) were important factorsshaping fungal community structure in decayingstems. Overall, stem traits vary substantially acrossstem compartments and tree species, thus regulatingfungal communities and the long-term carbondynamics of dead trees.
      Altered costimulatory signals and hypoxia support chromatin landscapes limiting the functional potential of exhausted T cells in cancer
      View ORCID ProfileB. Rhodes Ford - 2021
      Abstract
      Immunotherapy has changed cancer treatment with major clinical successes, but response rates remain low due in part to elevated prevalence of dysfunctional, terminally exhausted T cells. However, the mechanisms promoting progression to terminal exhaustion remain undefined. We profiled the histone modification landscape of tumor-infiltrating CD8 T cells throughout differentiation, finding terminally exhausted T cells possessed chromatin features limiting their transcriptional potential. Active enhancers enriched for bZIP/AP-1 transcription factor motifs lacked correlated gene expression, which were restored by immunotherapeutic costimulatory signaling. Epigenetic repression was also driven by an increase in histone bivalency, which we linked directly to hypoxia exposure. Our study is the first to profile the precise epigenetic changes during intratumoral differentiation to exhaustion, highlighting their altered function is driven by both improper costimulatory signals and environmental factors. These data suggest even terminally exhausted T cells remain poised for transcription in settings of increased costimulatory signaling and reduced hypoxia.
      Six de novo assemblies from pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum
      James C. Fulton - 2021
      Abstract
      Fusarium wilt, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fon), is a soilborne disease which significantly limits yield in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) and occasionally causes the loss of an entire year’s harvest. Reference-quality de novo genomic assemblies of pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains were generated using a combination of next-generation and third-generation sequencing technologies. Chromosomal-level genomes were produced with representatives from all Fon races facilitating comparative genomic analysis and the identification of chromosomal structural variation . Syntenic analysis between isolates allowed differentiation of the core and lineage-specific portions of their genomes. This research will support future efforts to refine the scientific understanding of the molecular and genetic factors underpinning the Fon host range, develop diagnostic assays for each of the four races, and decipher the evolutionary history of race 3.
  • Reverse Transcription
    • First-Strand cDNA Synthesis
      Expression of a constitutively active insulin receptor in Drosulfakinin (Dsk) neurons regulates metabolism and sleep in Drosophila
      Justin Palermo - 2022
      Abstract
      The ability of organisms to sense their nutritional environment and adjust their behavior accordingly is critical for survival. Insulin-like peptides (ilps) play major roles in controlling behavior and metabolism; however, the tissues and cells that insulin acts on to regulate these processes are not fully understood. In the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, insulin signaling has been shown to function in the fat body to regulate lipid storage, but whether ilps act on the fly brain to regulate nutrient storage is not known. In this study, we manipulate insulin signaling in defined populations of neurons in Drosophila and measure glycogen and triglyceride storage. Expressing a constitutively active form of the insulin receptor (dInR) in the insulin-producing cells had no effect on glycogen or triglyceride levels. However, activating insulin signaling in the Drosulfakinin (Dsk)-producing neurons led to triglyceride accumulation and increased food consumption. The expression of ilp2, ilp3 and ilp5 was increased in flies with activated insulin signaling in the Dsk neurons, which along with the feeding phenotype, may cause the triglyceride storage phenotypes observed in these flies. In addition, expressing a constitutively active dInR in Dsk neurons resulted in decreased sleep in the fed state and less starvation-induced sleep suppression suggesting a role for insulin signaling in regulating nutrient-responsive behaviors. Together, these data support a role for insulin signaling in the Dsk-producing neurons for regulating behavior and maintaining metabolic homeostasis.
      https://assets.researchsquare.com/files/rs-1636760/v1/9ba3bf53-9c02-4287-b663-6069e3e160c5.pdf?c=1652215844
      Tito Habib - 2022
      Abstract
      Background Natural products are considered the most successful source of potential drug leads. Accordingly, the present study investigated the potential antidiabetic effect of the Egyptian honey bee venom fraction known as bradykinin potentiating factor (BPF) in streptozotocin-induced (STZ) diabetic rats. Materials & Methods An in vivo study was performed on fifty albino male rats that were divided into five groups. (G1): vehicle control animals, (G2): diabetic STZ-induced group, (G3): nondiabetic BPF-treated group, (G4): BPFinjected animals and post-treated with STZ, (G5): STZ-injected animals and post-treated with BPF. Plasma glucose levels and ALT, AST, C reactive protein (C-RP), apelin, and resistin gene expression in BPFtreated rats were evaluated and compared to STZ-treated diabetic rats and vehicle control rats. The plasma protein profile of the five animal groups was investigated by sodium dodecyl sulfate Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Results The data indicated that the STZ-treated (G2) group showed a highly significant increase in the levels of plasma glucose, ALT, and AST compared to the BPF-treated (G3, G4, G5), and nondiabetic control (G1) groups. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) was carried out to amplify the apelin and resistin genes with an internal reference gene (18S rRNA) using a real-time PCR system. The concentrations of C-RP (28.3 kDa) and apelin (16 kDa) proteins observed by SDS-PAGE were higher than those of apelin, and resistin gene expression was revealed by RT-qPCR in STZ-treated (G2) rats compared with BPF-treated (G4, G5) and negative control (G1) rats. Conclusion The study concluded the importance of BPF, which has therapeutic and protective effects against STZ-induced diabetes complications. The hypoglycemic effect is revealed by the improvement of the biochemical and genetic markers, which may be attributed to BPF against diabetes complications.
      Cerebrospinal fluid of progressive multiple sclerosis patients reduces differentiation and immune functions of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells
      Omri Zveik - 2022
      Abstract
      Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) are responsible for remyelination in the central nervous system (CNS) in health and disease. For patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), remyelination is not always successful, and the mechanisms differentiating successful from failed remyelination are not well-known. Growing evidence suggests an immune role for OPCs, in addition to their regenerative role; however, it is not clear if this helps or hinders the regenerative process. We studied the effect of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from relapsing MS (rMS) and progressive MS (pMS) patients on primary OPC differentiation and immune gene expression and function. We observed that CSF from either rMS or pMS patients has a differential effect on the ability of mice OPCs to differentiate into mature oligodendrocytes and to express immune functions. CSF of pMS patients impaired differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes. In addition, it led to decreased major histocompatibility complex class (MHC)-II expression, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α secretion, nuclear factor kappa-B (NFκB) activation, and less activation and proliferation of T cells. Our findings suggest that OPCs are not only responsible for remyelination, but they may also play an active role as innate immune cells in the CNS.
      The Betacoronavirus PHEV Replicates and Disrupts the Respiratory Epithelia and Upregulates Key Pattern Recognition Receptor Genes and Downstream Mediators, Including IL-8 and IFN-l
      Rahul Nelli - 2021
      Abstract
      The upper respiratory tract is the primary site of infection by porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (PHEV). In this study, primary porcine respiratory epithelial cells (PRECs) were cultured in an air-liquid interface (ALI) to differentiate into a pseudostratified columnar epithelium, proliferative basal cells, M cells, ciliated cells, and mucus-secreting goblet cells. ALI-PRECs recreates a cell culture environment morphologically and functionally more representative of the epithelial lining of the swine trachea than traditional culture systems. PHEV replicated actively in this environment, inducing cytopathic changes and progressive disruption of the mucociliary apparatus. The innate immunity against PHEV was comparatively evaluated in ALI-PREC cultures and tracheal tissue sections derived from the same cesarean-derived, colostrum-deprived (CDCD) neonatal donor pigs. Increased expression levels of TLR3 and/or TLR7, RIG1, and MyD88 genes were detected in response to infection, resulting in the transcriptional upregulation of IFN-l1 in both ALI-PREC cultures and tracheal epithelia. IFN-l1 triggered the upregulation of the transcription factor STAT1, which in turn induced the expression of the antiviral IFN-stimulated genes OAS1 and Mx1. No significant modulation of the major proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1b (IL-1b), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) was detected in response to PHEV infection. However, a significant upregulation of different chemokines was observed in ALI-PREC cultures (CCL2, CCL5, CXCL8, and CXCL10) and tracheal epithelium (CXCL8 and CXCL10). This study shed light on the molecular mechanisms driving the innate immune response to PHEV at the airway epithelium, underscoring the important role of respiratory epithelial cells in the maintenance of respiratory homeostasis and on the initiation, resolution, and outcome of the infectious process. IMPORTANCE The neurotropic betacoronavirus porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (PHEV) primarily infects and replicates in the swine upper respiratory tract, causing vomiting and wasting disease and/or encephalomyelitis in suckling pigs. This study investigated the modulation of key early innate immune genes at the respiratory epithelia in vivo, on tracheal tissue sections from experimentally infected pigs, and in vitro, on air-liquid interface porcine respiratory cell cultures. The results from the study underscore the important role of respiratory epithelial cells in maintaining respiratory homeostasis and on the initiation, resolution, and outcome of the PHEV infectious process
  • Sample Preparation
    • DNA
      Plaque-associated human microglia accumulate lipid droplets in a chimeric model of Alzheimer’s disease
      Christel Claes - 2021
      Abstract
      Background Disease-associated microglia (DAMs), that surround beta-amyloid plaques, represent a transcriptionally-distinct microglial profile in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Activation of DAMs is dependent on triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) in mouse models and the AD TREM2-R47H risk variant reduces microglial activation and plaque association in human carriers. Interestingly, TREM2 has also been identified as a microglial lipid-sensor, and recent data indicates lipid droplet accumulation in aged microglia, that is in turn associated with a dysfunctional proinflammatory phenotype. However, whether lipid droplets (LDs) are present in human microglia in AD and how the R47H mutation affects this remains unknown. Methods To determine the impact of the TREM2 R47H mutation on human microglial function in vivo, we transplanted wild-type and isogenic TREM2-R47H iPSC-derived microglial progenitors into our recently developed chimeric Alzheimer mouse model. At 7 months of age scRNA-seq and histological analyses were performed. Results Here we report that the transcriptome of human wild-type TREM2 and isogenic TREM2-R47H DAM xenografted microglia (xMGs), isolated from chimeric AD mice, closely resembles that of human atherosclerotic foam cells. In addition, much like foam cells, plaque-bound xMGs are highly enriched in lipid droplets. Somewhat surprisingly and in contrast to a recent in vitro study, TREM2-R47H mutant xMGs exhibit an overall reduction in the accumulation of lipid droplets in vivo. Notably, TREM2-R47H xMGs also show overall reduced reactivity to plaques, including diminished plaque-proximity, reduced CD9 expression, and lower secretion of plaque-associated APOE. Conclusions Altogether, these results indicate lipid droplet accumulation occurs in human DAM xMGs in AD, but is reduced in TREM2-R47H DAM xMGs, as it occurs secondary to TREM2-mediated changes in plaque proximity and reactivity.
  • Real-Time qPCR
    Novel Roles of the Nipah Virus Attachment Glycoprotein and Its Mobility in Early and Late Membrane Fusion Steps
    Victoria Ortega - 2022
    Abstract
    The Paramyxoviridae family comprises important pathogens that include measles (MeV), mumps, parainfluenza, and the emerging deadly zoonotic Nipah virus (NiV) and Hendra virus (HeV). Paramyxoviral entry into cells requires viral-cell membrane fusion, and formation of paramyxoviral pathognomonic syncytia requires cell-cell membrane fusion. Both events are coordinated by intricate interactions between the tetrameric attachment (G/H/HN) and trimeric fusion (F) glycoproteins. We report that receptor binding induces conformational changes in NiV G that expose its stalk domain, which triggers F through a cascade from prefusion to prehairpin intermediate (PHI) to postfusion conformations, executing membrane fusion. To decipher how the NiV G stalk may trigger F, we introduced cysteines along the G stalk to increase tetrameric strength and restrict stalk mobility. While most point mutants displayed near-wild-type levels of cell surface expression and receptor binding, most yielded increased NiV G oligomeric strength, and showed remarkably strong defects in syncytium formation. Furthermore, most of these mutants displayed stronger F/G interactions and significant defects in their ability to trigger F, indicating that NiV G stalk mobility is key to proper F triggering via moderate G/F interactions. Also remarkably, a mutant capable of triggering F and of fusion pore formation yielded little syncytium formation, implicating G or G/F interactions in a late step occurring post fusion pore formation, such as the extensive fusion pore expansion required for syncytium formation. This study uncovers novel mechanisms by which the G stalk and its oligomerization/mobility affect G/F interactions, the triggering of F, and a late fusion pore expansion step—exciting novel findings for paramyxoviral attachment glycoproteins. IMPORTANCE The important Paramyxoviridae family includes measles, mumps, human parainfluenza, and the emerging deadly zoonotic Nipah virus (NiV) and Hendra virus (HeV). The deadly emerging NiV can cause neurologic and respiratory symptoms in humans with a .60% mortality rate. NiV has two surface proteins, the receptor binding protein (G) and fusion (F) glycoproteins. They mediate the required membrane fusion during viral entry into host cells and during syncytium formation, a hallmark of paramyxoviral and NiV infections. We previously discovered that the G stalk domain is important for triggering F (via largely unknown mechanisms) to induce membrane fusion. Here, we uncovered new roles and mechanisms by which the G stalk and its mobility modulate the triggering of F and also unexpectedly affect a very late step in membrane fusion, namely fusion pore expansion. Importantly, these novel findings may extend to other paramyxoviruses, offering new potential targets for therapeutic interventions.
    A fast extraction-free isothermal LAMP assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 with potential use in resource-limited settings
    Kathleen Gärtner - 2022
    Abstract
    Background To retain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, fast, sensitive and cost-effective testing is essential, particularly in resource limited settings (RLS). Current standard nucleic acid-based RT-PCR assays, although highly sensitive and specific, require transportation of samples to specialised laboratories, trained staff and expensive reagents. The latter are often not readily available in low- and middle-income countries and this may significantly impact on the successful disease management in these settings. Various studies have suggested a SARS-CoV-2 loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay as an alternative method to RT-PCR. Methods Four previously published primer pairs were used for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the LAMP assay. To determine optimal conditions, different temperatures, sample input and incubation times were tested. Ninety-three extracted RNA samples from St. George's Hospital, London, 10 non-extracted nasopharyngeal swab samples from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, and 92 non-extracted samples from Queen Elisabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Malawi, which have previously been tested for SARS-Cov-2 by quantitative reverse-transcription RealTime PCR (qRT-PCR), were analysed in the LAMP assay. Results In this study we report the optimisation of an extraction-free colourimetric SARS-CoV-2 LAMP assay and demonstrated that a lower limit of detection (LOD) between 10 and 100 copies/µL of SARS-CoV-2 could be readily detected by a colour change of the reaction within as little as 30 min. We further show that this assay could be quickly established in Malawi, as no expensive equipment is necessary. We tested 92 clinical samples from QECH and showed the sensitivity and specificity of the assay to be 86.7% and 98.4%, respectively. Some viral transport media, used routinely to stabilise RNA in clinical samples during transportation, caused a non-specific colour-change in the LAMP reaction and therefore we suggest collecting samples in phosphate buffered saline (which did not affect the colour) as the assay allows immediate sample analysis on-site. Conclusion SARS-CoV-2 LAMP is a cheap and reliable assay that can be readily employed in RLS to improve disease monitoring and management.
    Point-of-Care Platform for Rapid Multiplexed Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Variants and Respiratory Pathogens
    Alexander Y. Trick - 2022
    Abstract
    The rise of highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants brings new challenges and concerns with vaccine efficacy, diagnostic sensitivity, and public health responses to end the pandemic. Widespread detection of variants is critical to inform policy decisions to mitigate further spread, and postpandemic multiplexed screening of respiratory viruses will be necessary to properly manage patients presenting with similar respiratory symptoms. In this work, a portable, magnetofluidic cartridge platform for automated polymerase chain reaction testing in <30 min is developed. Cartridges are designed for multiplexed detection of SARS-CoV-2 with either identification of variant mutations or screening for Influenza A and B. Moreover, the platform can perform identification of B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants and the multiplexed SARS-CoV-2/Influenza assay using archived clinical nasopharyngeal swab eluates and saliva samples. This work illustrates a path toward affordable and immediate testing with potential to aid surveillance of viral variants and inform patient treatment.
    Specific inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome suppresses immune overactivation and alleviates COVID-19 like pathology in mice
    Jianxiong Zeng - 2022
    Abstract
    Background The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been a great threat to global public health since 2020. Although the advance on vaccine development has been largely achieved, a strategy to alleviate immune overactivation in severe COVID-19 patients is still needed. The NLRP3 inflammasome is activated upon SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated with COVID-19 severity. However, the processes by which the NLRP3 inflammasome is involved in COVID-19 disease remain unclear. Methods We infected THP-1 derived macrophages, NLRP3 knockout mice, and human ACE2 transgenic mice with live SARS-CoV-2 in Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory. We performed quantitative real-time PCR for targeted viral or host genes from SARS-CoV-2 infected mouse tissues, conducted histological or immunofluorescence analysis in SARS-CoV-2 infected mouse tissues. We also injected intranasally AAV-hACE2 or intraperitoneally NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor MCC950 before SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice as indicated. Findings We have provided multiple lines of evidence that the NLRP3 inflammasome plays an important role in the host immune response to SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the lungs. Inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome attenuated the release of COVID-19 related pro-inflammatory cytokines in cell cultures and mice. The severe pathology induced by SARS-CoV-2 in lung tissues was reduced in Nlrp3−/− mice compared to wild-type C57BL/6 mice. Finally, specific inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome by MCC950 alleviated excessive lung inflammation and thus COVID-19 like pathology in human ACE2 transgenic mice. Interpretation Inflammatory activation induced by SARS-CoV-2 is an important stimulator of COVID-19 related immunopathology. Targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome is a promising immune intervention against severe COVID-19 disease.
    Autologous Transplantation of Skin-Derived Precursor Cells in a Porcine Model
    Anne-Laure Thomas - 2020
    Abstract
    Background Hirschprung's disease is characterized by aganglionic bowel and often requires surgical resection. Cell-based therapies have been investigated as potential alternatives to restore functioning neurons. Skin-derived precursor cells (SKPs) differentiate into neural and glial cells in vitro and generate ganglion-like structures in rodents. In this report, we aimed to translate this approach into a large animal model of aganglionosis using autologous transplantation of SKPs. Methods Juvenile pigs underwent skin procurement from the shoulder and simultaneous chemical denervation of an isolated colonic segment. Skin cells were cultured in neuroglial-selective medium and labeled with fluorescent dye for later identification. The cultured SKPs were then injected into the aganglionic segments of colon, and the specimens were retrieved within seven days after transplantation. SKPs in vitro and in vivo were assessed with histologic samples for various immunofluorescent markers of multipotency and differentiation. SKPs from the time of harvest were compared to those at the time of injection using PCR. Results Prior to transplantation, 72% of SKPs stained positive for nestin and S100b, markers of neural and glial precursor cells of neural crest origin, respectively. Markers of differentiated neurons and gliocytes, TUJ1 and GFAP, were detected in 47% of cultured SKPs. After transplantation, SKPs were identified in both myenteric and submucosal plexuses of the treated colon. Nestin co-expression was detected in the SKPs within the aganglionic colon in vivo. Injected SKPs appeared to migrate and express early neuroglial differentiation markers. Conclusions Autologous SKPs implanted into aganglionic bowel demonstrated immunophenotypes of neuroglial progenitors. Our results suggest that autologous SKPs may be potentially useful for cell-based therapy for patients with enteric nervous system disorders. Type of Study Basic science.

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