ResearchPad - biomolecular-isolation https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Rediscovering an old foe: Optimised molecular methods for DNA extraction and sequencing applications for fungarium specimens of powdery mildew (Erysiphales)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14476 The purpose of this study was to identify a reliable DNA extraction protocol to use on 25-year-old powdery mildew specimens from the reference collection VPRI in order to produce high quality sequences suitable to address taxonomic phylogenetic questions. We tested 13 extraction protocols and two library preparation kits and found the combination of the E.Z.N.A.® Forensic DNA kit for DNA extraction and the NuGen Ovation® Ultralow System library preparation kit was the most suitable for this purpose.

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<![CDATA[TRIM2, a novel member of the antiviral family, limits New World arenavirus entry]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d3dd5eed0c484c82342

Tripartite motif (TRIM) proteins belong to a large family with many roles in host biology, including restricting virus infection. Here, we found that TRIM2, which has been implicated in cases of Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease (CMTD) in humans, acts by blocking hemorrhagic fever New World arenavirus (NWA) entry into cells. We show that Trim2-knockout mice, as well as primary fibroblasts from a CMTD patient with mutations in TRIM2, are more highly infected by the NWAs Junín and Tacaribe virus than wild-type mice or cells are. Using mice with different Trim2 gene deletions and TRIM2 mutant constructs, we demonstrate that its antiviral activity is uniquely independent of the RING domain encoding ubiquitin ligase activity. Finally, we show that one member of the TRIM2 interactome, signal regulatory protein α (SIRPA), a known inhibitor of phagocytosis, also restricts NWA infection and conversely that TRIM2 limits phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. In addition to demonstrating a novel antiviral mechanism for TRIM proteins, these studies suggest that the NWA entry and phagocytosis pathways overlap.

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<![CDATA[Comparative fitness of West Nile virus isolated during California epidemics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e907d5eed0c48496f68c

West Nile virus (WNV) has been circulating in California since its first detection in 2003, causing repeated outbreaks affecting public, wildlife and veterinary health. Epidemics of WNV are difficult to predict due to the multitude of factors influencing transmission dynamics among avian and mosquito hosts. Typically, high levels of WNV amplification are required for outbreaks to occur, and therefore associated viral strains may exhibit enhanced virulence and mortality in competent bird species resulting in increased mosquito infection prevalence. In our previous study, most WNV isolates made from California during 2007–08 showed increased fitness when competed in House Finches (HOFI, Haemorhous mexicanus) and Culex tarsalis Coquillett mosquitoes against COAV997-5nt, a genetically marked recombinant virus derived from a 2003 California strain. Herein, we evaluated the competitive fitness of WNV strains isolated during California epidemics in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2012 against COAV997-5nt. These outbreak isolates did not produce elevated mortality in HOFIs, but replicated more efficiently than did COAV997-5nt based on quantification of WNV RNA copies in sera, thereby demonstrating increased competitive fitness. Oral co-infections in Cx. tarsalis resulted in similar virus-specific infection and transmission rates, indicating that outbreak isolates did not have a fitness advantage over COAV997-5nt. Collectively, WNV isolates from outbreaks demonstrated relatively greater avian, but not vector, replicative fitness compared to COAV997-5nt, similar to previously characterized non-outbreak isolates of WNV. Our results indicated that ecological rather than viral factors may facilitate WNV amplification to outbreak levels, but monitoring viral phenotypes through competitive fitness studies may provide insight into altered replication and transmission potential among emerging WNV strains.

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<![CDATA[Genome-enhanced detection and identification of fungal pathogens responsible for pine and poplar rust diseases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cebd5eed0c484c81ab7

Biosurveillance is a proactive approach that may help to limit the spread of invasive fungal pathogens of trees, such as rust fungi which have caused some of the world’s most damaging diseases of pines and poplars. Most of these fungi have a complex life cycle, with up to five spore stages, which is completed on two different hosts. They have a biotrophic lifestyle and may be propagated by asymptomatic plant material, complicating their detection and identification. A bioinformatics approach, based on whole genome comparison, was used to identify genome regions that are unique to the white pine blister rust fungus, Cronartium ribicola, the poplar leaf rust fungi Melampsora medusae and Melampsora larici-populina or to members of either the Cronartium and Melampsora genera. Species- and genus-specific real-time PCR assays, targeting these unique regions, were designed with the aim of detecting each of these five taxonomic groups. In total, twelve assays were developed and tested over a wide range of samples, including different spore types, different infected plant parts on the pycnio-aecial or uredinio-telial host, and captured insect vectors. One hundred percent detection accuracy was achieved for the three targeted species and two genera with either a single assay or a combination of two assays. This proof of concept experiment on pine and poplar leaf rust fungi demonstrates that the genome-enhanced detection and identification approach can be translated into effective real-time PCR assays to monitor tree fungal pathogens.

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<![CDATA[PepN is a non-essential, cell wall-localized protein that contributes to neutrophil elastase-mediated killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df336d5eed0c484580f0d

Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn) is an asymptomatic colonizer of the human nasopharynx but can also cause disease in the inner ear, meninges, lung and blood. Although various mechanisms contribute to the effective clearance of Spn, opsonophagocytosis by neutrophils is perhaps most critical. Upon phagocytosis, Spn is exposed to various degradative molecules, including a family of neutrophil serine proteases (NSPs) that are stored within intracellular granules. Despite the critical importance of NSPs in killing Spn, the bacterial proteins that are degraded by NSPs leading to Spn death are still unknown. In this report, we identify a 90kDa protein in a purified cell wall (CW) preparation, aminopeptidase N (PepN) that is degraded by the NSP neutrophil elastase (NE). Since PepN lacked a canonical signal sequence or LPxTG motif, we created a mutant expressing a FLAG tagged version of the protein and confirmed its localization to the CW compartment. We determined that not only is PepN a CW-localized protein, but also is a substrate of NE in the context of intact Spn cells. Furthermore, in comparison to wild-type TIGR4 Spn, a mutant strain lacking PepN demonstrated a significant hyper-resistance phenotype in vitro in the presence of purified NE as well as in opsonophagocytic assays with purified human neutrophils ex vivo. Taken together, this is the first study to demonstrate that PepN is a CW-localized protein and a substrate of NE that contributes to the effective killing of Spn by NSPs and human neutrophils.

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<![CDATA[Developing tools for evaluating inoculation methods of biocontrol Streptomyces sp. strains into grapevine plants]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536bfcd5eed0c484a496c7

The endophytic Streptomyces sp. VV/E1, and rhizosphere Streptomyces sp. VV/R4 strains, isolated from grapevine plants were shown in a previous work to reduce the infection rate of fungal pathogens involved in young grapevine decline. In this study we cloned fragments from randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), and developed two stably diagnostic sequence-characterized amplified region (SCAR) markers of 182 and 160 bp for the VV/E1 and VV/R4 strains, respectively. The SCAR markers were not found in another 50 actinobacterial strains isolated from grapevine plants. Quantitative real-time PCR protocols based on the amplification of these SCAR markers were used for the detection and quantification of both strains in plant material. These strains were applied on young potted plants using two methods: perforation of the rootstock followed by injection of the microorganisms or soaking the root system in a bacterial suspension. Both methods were combined with a booster treatment by direct addition of a bacterial suspension to the soil near the root system. Analysis of uprooted plants showed that those inoculated by injection exhibited the highest rate of colonization. In contrast, direct addition of either strain to the soil did not lead to reliable colonization. This study has developed molecular tools for analyzing different methods for inoculating grapevine plants with selected Streptomyces sp. strains which protect them from fungal infections that enter through their root system. These tools are of great applied interest since they could easily be established in nurseries to produce grafted grapevine plants that are protected against fungal pathogens. Finally, this methodology might also be applied to other vascular plants for their colonization with beneficial biological control agents.

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<![CDATA[Molecular characterization of the insecticidal activity of double-stranded RNA targeting the smooth septate junction of western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f769d5eed0c4843860d9

The western corn rootworm (WCR, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera) gene, dvssj1, is a putative homolog of the Drosophila melanogaster gene, snakeskin (ssk). This gene encodes a membrane protein associated with the smooth septate junction (SSJ) which is required for the proper barrier function of the epithelial lining of insect intestines. Disruption of DVSSJ integrity by RNAi technique has been shown previously to be an effective approach for corn rootworm control, by apparent suppression of production of DVSSJ1 protein leading to growth inhibition and mortality. To understand the mechanism that leads to the death of WCR larvae by dvssj1 double-stranded RNA, we examined the molecular characteristics associated with SSJ functions during larval development. Dvssj1 dsRNA diet feeding results in dose-dependent suppression of mRNA and protein; this impairs SSJ formation and barrier function of the midgut and results in larval mortality. These findings suggest that the malfunctioning of the SSJ complex in midgut triggered by dvssj1 silencing is the principal cause of WCR death. This study also illustrates that dvssj1 is a midgut-specific gene in WCR and its functions are consistent with biological functions described for ssk.

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<![CDATA[Macrophages attenuate the transcription of CYP1A1 in breast tumor cells and enhance their proliferation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d017ed5eed0c48403bde0

While aberrant cells are routinely recognized and removed by immune cells, tumors eventually escape innate immune responses. Infiltrating immune cells are even corrupted by the tumor to acquire a tumor-supporting phenotype. In line, tumor-associated macrophages are well-characterized to promote tumor progression and high levels of tumor-infiltrating macrophages are a poor prognostic marker in breast cancer. Here, we aimed to further decipher the influence of macrophages on breast tumor cells and determined global gene expression changes in three-dimensional tumor spheroids upon infiltration of macrophages. While various tumor-associated mRNAs were upregulated, expression of the cytochrome P450 family member CYP1A1 was markedly attenuated. Repression of CYP1A1 in tumor cells was elicited by a macrophage-shaped tumor microenvironment rather than by direct tumor cell-macrophage contacts. In line with changes in RNA expression profiles, macrophages enhanced proliferation of the tumor cells. Enhanced proliferation and macrophage presence further correlated with reduced CYP1A1 expression in patient tumors when compared with normal tissue. These findings are of interest in the context of combinatory therapeutic approaches involving cytotoxic and immune-modulatory compounds.

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<![CDATA[Molecular basis for the increased affinity of an RNA recognition motif with re-engineered specificity: A molecular dynamics and enhanced sampling simulations study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf9cd5eed0c484914a5f

The RNA recognition motif (RRM) is the most common RNA binding domain across eukaryotic proteins. It is therefore of great value to engineer its specificity to target RNAs of arbitrary sequence. This was recently achieved for the RRM in Rbfox protein, where four mutations R118D, E147R, N151S, and E152T were designed to target the precursor to the oncogenic miRNA 21. Here, we used a variety of molecular dynamics-based approaches to predict specific interactions at the binding interface. Overall, we have run approximately 50 microseconds of enhanced sampling and plain molecular dynamics simulations on the engineered complex as well as on the wild-type Rbfox·pre-miRNA 20b from which the mutated systems were designed. Comparison with the available NMR data on the wild type molecules (protein, RNA, and their complex) served to establish the accuracy of the calculations.

Free energy calculations suggest that further improvements in affinity and selectivity are achieved by the S151T replacement.

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<![CDATA[MicroRNA isolation and quantification in cerebrospinal fluid: A comparative methodical study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141edbd5eed0c484d2891a

Associated with the pathogenesis of many cancers, including brain tumors, microRNAs (miRNAs) present promising diagnostic biomarkers. These molecules have been also studied in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), showing great potential as a diagnostic tool in patients with brain tumors. Even though there are some biological and technological factors that could affect the results and their biological and clinical interpretation, miRNA analysis in CSF is not fully standardized. This study aims to compare several RNA extraction and miRNA quantification approaches, including high-throughput technologies and individual miRNA detection methods, thereby contributing to the optimization and standardization of quantification of extracellular miRNAs in CSF. Such knowledge is essential for the potential use of miRNAs as diagnostic biomarkers in brain tumors.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of Haartman Institute snake virus-1 (HISV-1) and HISV-like viruses—The representatives of genus Hartmanivirus, family Arenaviridae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bf5cc38d5eed0c484a81c09

The family Arenaviridae comprises three genera, Mammarenavirus, Reptarenavirus and the most recently added Hartmanivirus. Arenaviruses have a bisegmented genome with ambisense coding strategy. For mammarenaviruses and reptarenaviruses the L segment encodes the Z protein (ZP) and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and the S segment encodes the glycoprotein precursor and the nucleoprotein. Herein we report the full length genome and characterization of Haartman Institute snake virus-1 (HISV-1), the putative type species of hartmaniviruses. The L segment of HISV-1 lacks an open-reading frame for ZP, and our analysis of purified HISV-1 particles by SDS-PAGE and electron microscopy further support the lack of ZP. Since we originally identified HISV-1 in co-infection with a reptarenavirus, one could hypothesize that co-infecting reptarenavirus provides the ZP to complement HISV-1. However, we observed that co-infection does not markedly affect the amount of hartmanivirus or reptarenavirus RNA released from infected cells in vitro, indicating that HISV-1 does not benefit from reptarenavirus ZP. Furthermore, we succeeded in generating a pure HISV-1 isolate showing the virus to replicate without ZP. Immunofluorescence and ultrastructural studies demonstrate that, unlike reptarenaviruses, HISV-1 does not produce the intracellular inclusion bodies typical for the reptarenavirus-induced boid inclusion body disease (BIBD). While we observed HISV-1 to be slightly cytopathic for cultured boid cells, the histological and immunohistological investigation of HISV-positive snakes showed no evidence of a pathological effect. The histological analyses also revealed that hartmaniviruses, unlike reptarenaviruses, have a limited tissue tropism. By nucleic acid sequencing, de novo genome assembly, and phylogenetic analyses we identified additional four hartmanivirus species. Finally, we screened 71 individuals from a collection of snakes with BIBD by RT-PCR and found 44 to carry hartmaniviruses. These findings suggest that harmaniviruses are common in captive snake populations, but their relevance and pathogenic potential needs yet to be revealed.

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<![CDATA[Validation of SYBR green I based closed tube loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay and simplified direct-blood-lysis (DBL)-LAMP assay for diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bf71f9ad5eed0c484dcb98e

Background

The World Health Organization has targeted elimination of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in the Indian subcontinent (ISC) by 2020. Despite distinctive decline seen in the number of VL cases in ISC, there is still a quest for development of a diagnostic test which has the utility for detection of active infection and relapse cases and as a test of cure. The present study validated the sensitivity and specificity of SYBR Green I based closed tube LAMP assay reported by us for diagnosis of VL.

Methodology

The validation study was carried out at two endemic sites in India, located at Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS), Patna and Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi. Standard operating protocols were provided at the two sites for applying LAMP assay on confirmed VL cases. The diagnostic accuracy of LAMP assay was evaluated by Receiver operator curve (ROC) analysis. Furthermore, a simplified LAMP assay based on direct blood lysis, DBL-LAMP, was developed and verified for its diagnostic accuracy.

Principal findings

A total of 267 eligible participants were included in the study which comprised of 179 VL cases and 88 controls. Sensitivity and specificity of the LAMP assay were 98.32% (95% C.I– 95.2–99.7%) and 96.59% (95% C.I.-90.4–99.3%), respectively. ROC curve analysis depicted no significant difference between area under curve (AUCROC) for LAMP assay and rK39 RDT, indicative of LAMP as an excellent diagnostic test. DBL-LAMP assay, performed on 67 VL and 100 control samples, yielded a sensitivity of 93.05% (95% C.I- 84.75–97%) and specificity of 100% (95% C.I.- 96.30–100%).

Conclusions/Significance

The validated closed tube LAMP for diagnosis of VL will provide impetus to the ongoing VL elimination programme in ISC. The assay based on direct blood lysis promotes its scope for application in field settings by further reducing time and cost.

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<![CDATA[Enhancer-driven alternative promoters of imprinted genes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ae477d5eed0c484589c4c

In the current study, we characterized the expression and histone modification profiles of the alternative promoters found within imprinted Igf2r, Mest, Zac1, Peg3, Snrpn and non-imprinted Myc loci. In terms of expression pattern, the alternative promoters are highly tissue-specific, which is in a stark contrast to the ubiquitous expression of the corresponding main promoters. The alternative promoters are associated with the histone modification mark H3K4me1, but not with H3K4me3, which is frequently associated with the main promoters. Phylogenetic analyses also indicated that the majority of the alternative promoters are unique to the mammalian lineage, further suggesting the recent formation of these promoters during mammalian evolution. Overall, this study suggests that the alternative promoters of imprinted loci may have been derived from enhancers in recent evolutionary times and co-evolved with the genomic imprinting mechanism.

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<![CDATA[Modeling the structural implications of an alternatively spliced Exoc3l2, a paralog of the tunneling nanotube-forming M-Sec]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b8687db40307c73f6bbfec3

The exocyst is a molecular tether that retains secretory vesicles at the plasma membrane prior to SNARE-mediated docking and fusion. However, individual exocyst complex components (EXOCs) may also function independently of exocyst assembly. Alternative splice variants of EXOC mRNA and paralogs of EXOC genes have been described and several have been attributed functions that may be independent of the exocyst complex. Here we describe a novel splice variant of murine Exoc3l2, which we term Exoc3l2a. We discuss possible functional implications of the resulting domain excision from this isoform of EXOC3L2 based on structural similarities with its paralog M-Sec (EXOC3L3), which is implicated in tunneling nanotube formation. The identification of this Exoc3l2 splice variant expands the potential for subunit diversity within the exocyst and for alternative functionality of this component independently of the exocyst.

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<![CDATA[Development and Evaluation of a Blood Culture PCR Assay for Rapid Detection of Salmonella Paratyphi A in Clinical Samples]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da75ab0ee8fa60b963a7

Background

Enteric fever remains an important cause of morbidity in many low-income countries and Salmonella Paratyphi A has emerged as the aetiological agent in an increasing proportion of cases. Lack of adequate diagnostics hinders early diagnosis and prompt treatment of both typhoid and paratyphoid but development of assays to identify paratyphoid has been particularly neglected. Here we describe the development of a rapid and sensitive blood culture PCR method for detection of Salmonella Paratyphi A from blood, potentially allowing for appropriate diagnosis and antimicrobial treatment to be initiated on the same day.

Methods

Venous blood samples from volunteers experimentally challenged orally with Salmonella Paratyphi A, who subsequently developed paratyphoid, were taken on the day of diagnosis; 10 ml for quantitative blood culture and automated blood culture, and 5 ml for blood culture PCR. In the latter assay, bacteria were grown in tryptone soy broth containing 2.4% ox bile and micrococcal nuclease for 5 hours (37°C) before bacterial DNA was isolated for PCR detection targeting the fliC-a gene of Salmonella Paratyphi A.

Results

An optimized broth containing 2.4% ox bile and micrococcal nuclease, as well as a PCR test was developed for a blood culture PCR assay of Salmonella Paratyphi A. The volunteers diagnosed with paratyphoid had a median bacterial burden of 1 (range 0.1–6.9) CFU/ml blood. All the blood culture PCR positive cases where a positive bacterial growth was shown by quantitative blood culture had a bacterial burden of ≥ 0.3 CFU/ ml blood. The blood culture PCR assay identified an equal number of positive cases as automated blood culture at higher bacterial loads (≥0.3 CFU/ml blood), but utilized only half the volume of specimens.

Conclusions

The blood culture PCR method for detection of Salmonella Paratyphi A can be completed within 9 hours and offers the potential for same-day diagnosis of enteric fever. Using 5 ml blood, it exhibited a lower limit of detection equal to 0.3 CFU/ml blood, and it performed at least as well as automated blood culture at higher bacterial loads (≥0.3 CFU/ml blood) of clinical specimens despite using half the volume of blood. The findings warrant its further study in endemic populations with a potential use as a novel diagnostic which fills the present gap of paratyphoid diagnostics.

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<![CDATA[Loss of Xist RNA from the inactive X during B cell development is restored in a dynamic YY1-dependent two-step process in activated B cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab0848b463d7e2faeab8ab9

X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) in female lymphocytes is uniquely regulated, as the inactive X (Xi) chromosome lacks localized Xist RNA and heterochromatin modifications. Epigenetic profiling reveals that Xist RNA is lost from the Xi at the pro-B cell stage and that additional heterochromatic modifications are gradually lost during B cell development. Activation of mature B cells restores Xist RNA and heterochromatin to the Xi in a dynamic two-step process that differs in timing and pattern, depending on the method of B cell stimulation. Finally, we find that DNA binding domain of YY1 is necessary for XCI in activated B cells, as ex-vivo YY1 deletion results in loss of Xi heterochromatin marks and up-regulation of X-linked genes. Ectopic expression of the YY1 zinc finger domain is sufficient to restore Xist RNA localization during B cell activation. Together, our results indicate that Xist RNA localization is critical for maintaining XCI in female lymphocytes, and that chromatin changes on the Xi during B cell development and the dynamic nature of YY1-dependent XCI maintenance in mature B cells predisposes X-linked immunity genes to reactivation.

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<![CDATA[Improved Survival and Initiation of Differentiation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to Hepatocyte-Like Cells upon Culture in William’s E Medium followed by Hepatocyte Differentiation Inducer Treatment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daefab0ee8fa60bc085c

Background

Hepatocyte differentiation inducer (HDI) lacks both glucose and arginine, but is supplemented with galactose and ornithine, and is added together with other reagents such as apoptosis inhibitor and oncostatin M. Although human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells initiate hepatocyte differentiation, most die within 7 days. In this study, we investigated both HDI and conventional media for their potential to improve cell survival.

Materials and Methods

201B7 iPS cells were cultured in conventional media. This consisted of three cycles of 5-day culture in William’s E (WE) medium, followed by a 2-day culture in HDI.

Results

Expression levels of α-feto protein (AFP) were higher in cells cultured in WE and in Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium/Nutrient F-12 Ham (DF12). 201B7 cells expressed the highest AFP and albumin (ALB) when cultured in HDI for 2 days following 7-day culture in WE. After three cycles of 5-day culture in WE followed by 2 days in HDI, 201B7 cells expressed AFP and ALB 54 ± 2.3 (average ± standard deviation) and 73 ± 15.1 times higher, respectively, than those cultured in ReproFF (feeder-free condition).

Conclusion

201B7 cells survived culture in WE for 7 days followed HDI for 2 days. After three cycles of culture under these conditions, hepatocyte differentiation was enhanced, as evidenced by increased AFP and ALB expression.

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<![CDATA[Expression and inhibition of BRD4, EZH2 and TOP2A in neurofibromas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5aafc68b463d7e7d7e2e8756

Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) are rare, highly aggressive sarcomas that can occur spontaneously or from pre-existing plexiform neurofibromas in neurofibromatosis type1 (NF1) patients. MPNSTs have high local recurrence rates, metastasize easily, are generally resistant to therapeutic intervention and frequently fatal for the patient. Novel targeted therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. Standard treatment for patients presenting with advanced disease is doxorubicin based chemotherapy which inhibits the actions of the enzyme topoisomerase IIα (TOP2A). Recent molecular studies using murine models and cell lines identified the bromodomain containing protein 4 (BRD4) and enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) as novel targets for MPNST treatment. We investigated the expression and potential use of BRD4, EZH2 and TOP2A as therapeutic targets in human NF1-derived MPNSTs. The transcript levels of BRD4, EZH2 and TOP2A were determined in paired formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) neurofibroma/MPNST samples derived from the same NF1 patient and in a set of plexiform neurofibromas, atypical neurofibromas and MPNST. We further examined the effect on cell viability of genetic or pharmacological inhibition of BRD4, EZH2 and TOP2A in an MPNST cell line panel. Our results indicated that in MPNST samples BRD4 mRNA levels were not upregulated and that MPNST cell lines were relatively insensitive to the bromodomain inhibitor JQ1. We corroborated that EZH2 mRNA expression is increased in MPNST but failed to confirm its reported pivotal role in MPNST pathogenesis as EZH2 knockdown by siRNA did not interfere with cellular proliferation and viability. Finally, the relation between TOP2A levels and sensitivity for doxorubicin was examined, confirming reports that TOP2A mRNA levels were overexpressed in MPNST and showing that MPNST cell lines exhibited relatively high TOP2A protein levels and sensitivity to doxorubicin. We tentatively conclude that the potential for effective therapeutic intervention in MPNST by targeting BRD4, EZH2 and TOP2A individually, may be limited. Clinical studies are necessary to ultimately prove the relevance of BRD4 and EZH2 inhibition as novel therapeutic strategies for MPNST.

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<![CDATA[Preservation of Multiple Mammalian Tissues to Maximize Science Return from Ground Based and Spaceflight Experiments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db01ab0ee8fa60bc6bab

Background

Even with recent scientific advancements, challenges posed by limited resources and capabilities at the time of sample dissection continue to limit the collection of high quality tissues from experiments that can be conducted only infrequently and at high cost, such as in space. The resources and time it takes to harvest tissues post-euthanasia, and the methods and duration of long duration storage, potentially have negative impacts on sample quantity and quality, thereby limiting the scientific outcome that can be achieved.

Objectives

The goals of this study were to optimize methods for both sample recovery and science return from rodent experiments, with possible relevance to both ground based and spaceflight studies. The first objective was to determine the impacts of tissue harvest time post-euthanasia, preservation methods, and storage duration, focusing on RNA quality and enzyme activities in liver and spleen as indices of sample quality. The second objective was to develop methods that will maximize science return by dissecting multiple tissues after long duration storage in situ at -80°C.

Methods

Tissues of C57Bl/6J mice were dissected and preserved at various time points post-euthanasia and stored at -80°C for up to 11 months. In some experiments, tissues were recovered from frozen carcasses which had been stored at -80°C up to 7 months. RNA quantity and quality was assessed by measuring RNA Integrity Number (RIN) values using an Agilent Bioanalyzer. Additionally, the quality of tissues was assessed by measuring activities of hepatic enzymes (catalase, glutathione reductase and GAPDH).

Results

Fresh tissues were collected up to one hour post-euthanasia, and stored up to 11 months at -80°C, with minimal adverse effects on the RNA quality of either livers or RNAlater-preserved spleens. Liver enzyme activities were similar to those of positive controls, with no significant effect observed at any time point. Tissues dissected from frozen carcasses that had been stored for up to 7 months at -80°C had variable results, depending on the specific tissue analyzed. RNA quality of liver, heart, and kidneys were minimally affected after 6–7 months of storage at -80°C, whereas RNA degradation was evident in tissues such as small intestine, bone, and bone marrow when they were collected from the carcasses frozen for 2.5 months.

Conclusion

These results demonstrate that 1) the protocols developed for spaceflight experiments with on-orbit dissections support the retrieval of high quality samples for RNA expression and some protein analyses, despite delayed preservation post-euthanasia or prolonged storage, and 2) many additional tissues for gene expression analysis can be obtained by dissection even following prolonged storage of the tissue in situ at -80°C. These findings have relevance both to high value, ground-based experiments when sample collection capability is severely constrained, and to spaceflight experiments that entail on-orbit sample recovery by astronauts.

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<![CDATA[Full-Length Venom Protein cDNA Sequences from Venom-Derived mRNA: Exploring Compositional Variation and Adaptive Multigene Evolution]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db37ab0ee8fa60bd35ca

Envenomation of humans by snakes is a complex and continuously evolving medical emergency, and treatment is made that much more difficult by the diverse biochemical composition of many venoms. Venomous snakes and their venoms also provide models for the study of molecular evolutionary processes leading to adaptation and genotype-phenotype relationships. To compare venom complexity and protein sequences, venom gland transcriptomes are assembled, which usually requires the sacrifice of snakes for tissue. However, toxin transcripts are also present in venoms, offering the possibility of obtaining cDNA sequences directly from venom. This study provides evidence that unknown full-length venom protein transcripts can be obtained from the venoms of multiple species from all major venomous snake families. These unknown venom protein cDNAs are obtained by the use of primers designed from conserved signal peptide sequences within each venom protein superfamily. This technique was used to assemble a partial venom gland transcriptome for the Middle American Rattlesnake (Crotalus simus tzabcan) by amplifying sequences for phospholipases A2, serine proteases, C-lectins, and metalloproteinases from within venom. Phospholipase A2 sequences were also recovered from the venoms of several rattlesnakes and an elapid snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus), and three-finger toxin sequences were recovered from multiple rear-fanged snake species, demonstrating that the three major clades of advanced snakes (Elapidae, Viperidae, Colubridae) have stable mRNA present in their venoms. These cDNA sequences from venom were then used to explore potential activities derived from protein sequence similarities and evolutionary histories within these large multigene superfamilies. Venom-derived sequences can also be used to aid in characterizing venoms that lack proteomic profiles and identify sequence characteristics indicating specific envenomation profiles. This approach, requiring only venom, provides access to cDNA sequences in the absence of living specimens, even from commercial venom sources, to evaluate important regional differences in venom composition and to study snake venom protein evolution.

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