ResearchPad - blood-serum Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Potency and breadth of human primary ZIKV immune sera shows that Zika viruses cluster antigenically as a single serotype]]> The recent emergence of Zika virus as an important human pathogen has raised questions about the durability and breadth of Zika virus immunity following natural infection in humans. While global epidemic patterns suggest that Zika infection elicits a protective immune response that is likely to offer long-term protection against repeat infection by other Zika viruses, only one study to date has formally examined the ability of human Zika immune sera to neutralize different Zika viruses. That study was limited because it evaluated human immune sera no more than 13 weeks after Zika virus infection and tested a relatively small number of Zika viruses. In this study, we examine twelve human Zika immune sera as far as 3 years after infection and test the sera against a total of eleven Zika virus isolates. Our results confirm the earlier study and epidemic patterns that suggest Zika virus exists in nature as a single serotype, and infection with one Zika virus can be expected to elicit protective immunity against repeat infection by any Zika virus for years to decades after the first infection.

<![CDATA[Split green fluorescent protein as a tool to study infection with a plant pathogen, Cauliflower mosaic virus]]>

The split GFP technique is based on the auto-assembly of GFP when two polypeptides–GFP1-10 (residues 1–214; the detector) and GFP11 (residues 215–230; the tag)–both non-fluorescing on their own, associate spontaneously to form a fluorescent molecule. We evaluated this technique for its efficacy in contributing to the characterization of Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) infection. A recombinant CaMV with GFP11 fused to the viral protein P6 (a key player in CaMV infection and major constituent of viral factory inclusions that arise during infection) was constructed and used to inoculate transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana expressing GFP1-10. The mutant virus (CaMV11P6) was infectious, aphid-transmissible and the insertion was stable over many passages. Symptoms on infected plants were delayed and milder. Viral protein accumulation, especially of recombinant 11P6, was greatly decreased, impeding its detection early in infection. Nonetheless, spread of infection from the inoculated leaf to other leaves was followed by whole plant imaging. Infected cells displayed in real time confocal laser scanning microscopy fluorescence in wild type-looking virus factories. Thus, it allowed for the first time to track a CaMV protein in vivo in the context of an authentic infection. 11P6 was immunoprecipitated with anti-GFP nanobodies, presenting a new application for the split GFP system in protein-protein interaction assays and proteomics. Taken together, split GFP can be an attractive alternative to using the entire GFP for protein tagging.

<![CDATA[Protective immunity by an engineered DNA vaccine for Mayaro virus]]>

Mayaro virus (MAYV) of the genus alphavirus is a mosquito-transmitted emerging infectious disease that causes an acute febrile illness, rash, headaches, and nausea that may turn into incapacitating, persistent arthralgias in some victims. Since its discovery in Trinidad in 1954, cases of MAYV infection have largely been confined there and to the northern countries of South America, but recently, MAYV cases have been reported in some island nations in the Caribbean Sea. Accompanying these reports is evidence that new vectors, including Aedes spp. mosquitos, recently implicated in the global spread of Zika and chikungunya viruses, are competent for MAYV transmission, which, if true, could facilitate the spread of MAYV beyond its current range. Despite its status as an emerging virus, there are no licensed vaccines to prevent MAYV infection nor therapeutics to treat it. Here, we describe the development and testing of a novel DNA vaccine, scMAYV-E, that encodes a synthetically-designed consensus MAYV envelope sequence. In vivo electroporation-enhanced immunization of mice with this vaccine induced potent humoral responses including neutralizing antibodies as well as robust T-cell responses to multiple epitopes in the MAYV envelope. Importantly, these scMAYV-E-induced immune responses protected susceptible mice from morbidity and mortality following a MAYV challenge.

<![CDATA[Ribonuclease H1-targeted R-loops in surface antigen gene expression sites can direct trypanosome immune evasion]]>

Switching of the Variant Surface Glycoprotein (VSG) in Trypanosoma brucei provides a crucial host immune evasion strategy that is catalysed both by transcription and recombination reactions, each operating within specialised telomeric VSG expression sites (ES). VSG switching is likely triggered by events focused on the single actively transcribed ES, from a repertoire of around 15, but the nature of such events is unclear. Here we show that RNA-DNA hybrids, called R-loops, form preferentially within sequences termed the 70 bp repeats in the actively transcribed ES, but spread throughout the active and inactive ES, in the absence of RNase H1, which degrades R-loops. Loss of RNase H1 also leads to increased levels of VSG coat switching and replication-associated genome damage, some of which accumulates within the active ES. This work indicates VSG ES architecture elicits R-loop formation, and that these RNA-DNA hybrids connect T. brucei immune evasion by transcription and recombination.

<![CDATA[Characterization of Mycoplasma gallisepticum pyruvate dehydrogenase alpha and beta subunits and their roles in cytoadherence]]>

Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a causative agent of chronic respiratory disease in chickens, typically causing great economic losses. Cytoadherence is the critical stage for mycoplasma infection, and the associated proteins are important for mycoplasma pathogenesis. Many glycolytic enzymes are localized on the cell surface and can bind the extracellular matrix of host cells. In this study, the M. gallisepticum pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 alpha subunit (PDHA) and beta subunit (PDHB) were expressed in Escherichia coli, and their enzymatic activities were identified based on 2,6-dichlorophenol indophenol reduction. When recombinant PDHA (rPDHA) and recombinant PDHB (rPDHB) were mixed at a 1:1 molar ratio, they exhibited strong enzymatic activity. Alone, rPDHA and rPDHB exhibited no or weak enzymatic activity. Further experiments indicated that both PDHA and PDHB were surface-exposed immunogenic proteins of M. gallisepticum. Bactericidal assays showed that the mouse anti-rPDHA and anti-rPDHB sera killed 48.0% and 75.1% of mycoplasmas respectively. A combination of rPDHA and rPDHB antisera had a mean bactericidal rate of 65.2%, indicating that rPDHA and rPDHB were protective antigens, and combining the two sera did not interfere with bactericidal activity. Indirect immunofluorescence and surface display assays showed that both PDHA and PDHB adhered to DF-1 chicken embryo fibroblast cells and adherence was significantly inhibited by antisera against PDHA and PDHB. Adherence inhibition of M. gallisepticum to DF-1 chicken embryo fibroblast cells was 30.2% for mouse anti-rPDHA serum, 45.1% for mouse anti-rPDHB serum and 72.5% for a combination of rPDHA and rPDHB antisera, suggesting that rPDHA and rPDHB antisera may have synergistically interfered with M. gallisepticum cytoadherence. Plasminogen (Plg)-binding assays further demonstrated that both PDHA and PDHB were Plg-binding proteins, which may have contributed to bacterial colonization. Our results clarified the enzymatic activity of M. gallisepticum PDHA and PDHB and demonstrated these compounds as Plg-binding proteins involved in cytoadherence.

<![CDATA[Characterization of Haartman Institute snake virus-1 (HISV-1) and HISV-like viruses—The representatives of genus Hartmanivirus, family Arenaviridae]]>

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.

<![CDATA[Association between metabolic parameters and glomerular hyperfiltration in a representative Korean population without chronic kidney disease]]>


To investigate associations of glomerular hyperfiltration with other metabolic factors in a nationally representative dataset.


We analyzed cross-sectional data from 15,918 subjects with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) >60 ml/min/1.73 m2 and urine albumin creation ratio (ACR) <30 mg/g, who participated in the 5th and 6th Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Hyperfiltration was defined as eGFR (CKD-EPI equation) exceeding the age- and sex-specific 95th percentile for healthy control subjects.


Prevalence of hyperfiltration was 5.2% and that among normal, prediabetic, and diabetic subjects was 4.9%, 5.6%, and 7.3%, respectively, after adjusting for age, sex, and body weight (p for trend = 0.008). In a multiple logistic regression analysis, hyperfiltration was associated with a body mass index ≥30 kg/m2 [odds ratio (OR) = 3.461, p<0.001], waist circumference 85 cm (men) or 80 cm (women) (OR = 1.425, p = 0.015), systolic blood pressure 120–129 mmHg (OR = 1.644, p = 0.022), fasting plasma glucose 140 mg/dL (OR = 1.695, p = 0.033) and t serum triglyceride level 500 mg/dL (OR = 2.988, p = 0.001), and was independently associated with the ACR (B = 0.053, p<0.001).


In a general Korean population, both hyperfiltration and ACR were associated with similar metabolic parameters, and hyperfiltration correlated independently with a high ACR. Longitudinal studies are needed to further explore risks of hyperfiltration and microalbuminuria.

<![CDATA[Discovery of a dual protease mechanism that promotes DNA damage checkpoint recovery]]>

The DNA damage response is a signaling pathway found throughout biology. In many bacteria the DNA damage checkpoint is enforced by inducing expression of a small, membrane bound inhibitor that delays cell division providing time to repair damaged chromosomes. How cells promote checkpoint recovery after sensing successful repair is unknown. By using a high-throughput, forward genetic screen, we identified two unrelated proteases, YlbL and CtpA, that promote DNA damage checkpoint recovery in Bacillus subtilis. Deletion of both proteases leads to accumulation of the checkpoint protein YneA. We show that DNA damage sensitivity and increased cell elongation in protease mutants depends on yneA. Further, expression of YneA in protease mutants was sufficient to inhibit cell proliferation. Finally, we show that both proteases interact with YneA and that one of the two proteases, CtpA, directly cleaves YneA in vitro. With these results, we report the mechanism for DNA damage checkpoint recovery in bacteria that use membrane bound cell division inhibitors.

<![CDATA[VGF Protein and Its C-Terminal Derived Peptides in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Human and Animal Model Studies]]>

VGF mRNA is widely expressed in areas of the nervous system known to degenerate in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), including cerebral cortex, brainstem and spinal cord. Despite certain VGF alterations are reported in animal models, little information is available with respect to the ALS patients. We addressed VGF peptide changes in fibroblast cell cultures and in plasma obtained from ALS patients, in parallel with spinal cord and plasma samples from the G93A-SOD1 mouse model. Antisera specific for the C-terminal end of the human and mouse VGF proteins, respectively, were used in immunohistochemistry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), while gel chromatography and HPLC/ESI-MS/MS were used to identify the VGF peptides present. Immunoreactive VGF C-terminus peptides were reduced in both fibroblast and plasma samples from ALS patients in an advanced stage of the disease. In the G93A-SOD1 mice, the same VGF peptides were also decreased in plasma in the late-symptomatic stage, while showing an earlier down-regulation in the spinal cord. In immunohistochemistry, a large number of gray matter structures were VGF C-terminus immunoreactive in control mice (including nerve terminals, axons and a few perikarya identified as motoneurons), with a striking reduction already in the pre-symptomatic stage. Through gel chromatography and spectrometry analysis, we identified one form likely to be the VGF precursor as well as peptides containing the NAPP- sequence in all tissues studied, while in the mice and fibroblasts, we revealed also AQEE- and TLQP- peptides. Taken together, selective VGF fragment depletion may participate in disease onset and/or progression of ALS.

<![CDATA[A Quantitative Proteomic Approach to Identify Significantly Altered Protein Networks in the Serum of Patients with Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)]]>

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare and progressive cystic lung condition affecting approximately 3.4–7.5/million women, with an average lag time between symptom onset and diagnosis of upwards of 4 years. The aim of this work was to identify altered proteins in LAM serum which may be potential biomarkers of disease. Serum from LAM patient volunteers and healthy control volunteers were pooled and analysis carried out using quantitative 4-plex iTRAQ technology. Differentially expressed proteins were validated using ELISAs and pathway analysis was carried out using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Fourteen proteins were differentially expressed in LAM serum compared to control serum (p<0.05). Further screening validated the observed differences in extracellular matrix remodelling proteins including fibronectin (30% decrease in LAM, p = 0.03), von Willebrand Factor (40% reduction in LAM, p = 0.03) and Kallikrein III (25% increase in LAM, p = 0.03). Pathway networks elucidated the relationships between the ECM and cell trafficking in LAM. This study was the first to highlight an imbalance in networks important for remodelling in LAM, providing a set of novel potential biomarkers. These understandings may lead to a new effective treatment for LAM in the future.

<![CDATA[Dissecting the human serum antibody response to secondary dengue virus infections]]>

Dengue viruses (DENVs) are mosquito-borne flaviviruses and the causative agents of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. As there are four serotypes of DENV (DENV1-4), people can be infected multiple times, each time with a new serotype. Primary infections stimulate antibodies that mainly neutralize the serotype of infection (type-specific), whereas secondary infections stimulate responses that cross-neutralize 2 or more serotypes. Previous studies have demonstrated that neutralizing antibodies induced by primary infections recognize tertiary and quaternary structure epitopes on the viral envelope (E) protein that are unique to each serotype. The goal of the current study was to determine the properties of neutralizing antibodies induced after secondary infection with a different (heterotypic) DENV serotypes. We evaluated whether polyclonal neutralizing antibody responses after secondary infections consist of distinct populations of type-specific antibodies to each serotype encountered or a new population of broadly cross-neutralizing antibodies. We observed two types of responses: in some individuals exposed to secondary infections, DENV neutralization was dominated by cross-reactive antibodies, whereas in other individuals both type-specific and cross-reactive antibodies contributed to neutralization. To better understand the origins of type-specific and cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies, we analyzed sera from individuals with well-documented sequential infections with two DENV serotypes only. These individuals had both type-specific and cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies to the 2 serotypes responsible for infection and only cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies to other serotypes. Collectively, the results demonstrate that the quality of neutralizing (and presumably protective) antibodies are different in individuals depending on the number of previous exposures to different DENV serotypes. We propose a model in which low affinity, cross-reactive antibody secreting B-cell clones induced by primary exposure evolve during each secondary infection to secrete higher affinity and more broadly neutralizing antibodies.

<![CDATA[Piscirickettsia salmonis Imbalances the Innate Immune Response to Succeed in a Productive Infection in a Salmonid Cell Line Model]]>

Piscirickettsia salmonis is a facultative intracellular bacterium that causes the disease called “salmon rickettsial syndrome”. Attempts to control this disease have been unsuccessful, because existing vaccines have not achieved the expected effectiveness and the antibiotics used fail to completely eradicate the pathogen. This is in part the product of lack of scientific information that still lacks on the mechanisms used by this bacterium to overcome infected–cell responses and survive to induce a productive infection in macrophages. For that, this work was focused in determining if P. salmonis is able to modify the expression and the imbalance of IL-12 and IL-10 using an in vitro model. Additionally, we also evaluated the role the antimicrobial peptide hepcidin had in the control of this pathogen in infected cells. Therefore, the expression of IL-10 and IL-12 was evaluated at earlier stages of infection in the RTS11 cell line derived from Oncorhynchus mykiss macrophages. Simultaneously, the hepcidin expression and location was analyzed in the macrophages infected with the pathogen. Our results suggest that IL-10 is clearly induced at early stages of infection with values peaking at 36 hours post infection. Furthermore, infective P. salmonis downregulates the expression of antimicrobial peptide hepcidin and vesicles containing this peptide were unable to merge with the infective bacteria. Our results suggest that P. salmonis is able to manipulate the behavior of host cytokines and likely might constitute a virulence mechanism that promotes intracellular bacterial replication in leukocytes cells lines of trout and salmon. This mechanism involves the generation of an optimum environment for the microorganism and the downregulation of antimicrobial effectors like hepcidin.

<![CDATA[A novel flow cytometry-based assay for the quantification of antibody-dependent pneumococcal agglutination]]>

The respiratory pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major cause of diseases such as otitis media, pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis. The first step towards infection is colonization of the nasopharynx. Recently, it was shown that agglutinating antibodies play an important role in the prevention of mucosal colonization with S. pneumoniae. Here, we present a novel method to quantify antibody-dependent pneumococcal agglutination in a high-throughput manner using flow cytometry. We found that the concentration of agglutinating antibodies against pneumococcal capsule are directly correlated with changes in the size and complexity of bacterial aggregates, as measured by flow cytometry and confirmed by light microscopy. Using the increase in size, we determined the agglutination index. The cutoff value was set by measuring a series of non-agglutinating antibodies. With this method, we show that not only anti-polysaccharide capsule antibodies are able to induce agglutination but that also anti-PspA protein antibodies have agglutinating capabilities. In conclusion, we have described and validated a novel method to quantify pneumococcal agglutination, which can be used to screen sera from murine or human vaccination studies, in a high-throughput manner.

<![CDATA[Identification of Low- and High-Impact Hemagglutinin Amino Acid Substitutions That Drive Antigenic Drift of Influenza A(H1N1) Viruses]]>

Determining phenotype from genetic data is a fundamental challenge. Identification of emerging antigenic variants among circulating influenza viruses is critical to the vaccine virus selection process, with vaccine effectiveness maximized when constituents are antigenically similar to circulating viruses. Hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay data are commonly used to assess influenza antigenicity. Here, sequence and 3-D structural information of hemagglutinin (HA) glycoproteins were analyzed together with corresponding HI assay data for former seasonal influenza A(H1N1) virus isolates (1997–2009) and reference viruses. The models developed identify and quantify the impact of eighteen amino acid substitutions on the antigenicity of HA, two of which were responsible for major transitions in antigenic phenotype. We used reverse genetics to demonstrate the causal effect on antigenicity for a subset of these substitutions. Information on the impact of substitutions allowed us to predict antigenic phenotypes of emerging viruses directly from HA gene sequence data and accuracy was doubled by including all substitutions causing antigenic changes over a model incorporating only the substitutions with the largest impact. The ability to quantify the phenotypic impact of specific amino acid substitutions should help refine emerging techniques that predict the evolution of virus populations from one year to the next, leading to stronger theoretical foundations for selection of candidate vaccine viruses. These techniques have great potential to be extended to other antigenically variable pathogens.

<![CDATA[Genomic Determinants of Triglyceride and Cholesterol Distribution into Lipoprotein Fractions in the Rat]]>

The plasma profile of major lipoprotein classes and its subdivision into particular fractions plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and is a major predictor of coronary artery disease. Our aim was to identify genomic determinants of triglyceride and cholesterol distribution into lipoprotein fractions and lipoprotein particle sizes in the recombinant inbred rat set PXO, in which alleles of two rat models of the metabolic syndrome (SHR and PD inbred strains) segregate together with those from Brown Norway rat strain. Adult male rats of 15 PXO strains (n = 8–13/strain) and two progenitor strains SHR-Lx (n = 13) and BXH2/Cub (n = 18) were subjected to one-week of high-sucrose diet feeding. We performed association analyses of triglyceride (TG) and cholesterol (C) concentrations in 20 lipoprotein fractions and the size of major classes of lipoprotein particles utilizing 704 polymorphic microsatellite markers, the genome-wide significance was validated by 2,000 permutations per trait. Subsequent in silico focusing of the identified quantitative trait loci was completed using a map of over 20,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms. In most of the phenotypes we identified substantial gradient among the strains (e.g. VLDL-TG from 5.6 to 66.7 mg/dl). We have identified 14 loci (encompassing 1 to 65 genes) on rat chromosomes 3, 4, 7, 8, 11 and 12 showing suggestive or significant association to one or more of the studied traits. PXO strains carrying the SHR allele displayed significantly higher values of the linked traits except for LDL-TG and adiposity index. Cholesterol concentrations in large, medium and very small LDL particles were significantly associated to a haplotype block spanning part of a single gene, low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1B (Lrp1b). Using genome-wide association we have identified new genetic determinants of triglyceride and cholesterol distribution into lipoprotein fractions in the recombinant inbred panel of rat model strains.

<![CDATA[Dopamine- and Tyrosine Hydroxylase-Immunoreactive Neurons in the Brain of the American Cockroach, Periplaneta americana]]>

The catecholamine dopamine plays several vital roles in the central nervous system of many species, but its neural mechanisms remain elusive. Detailed neuroanatomical characterization of dopamine neurons is a prerequisite for elucidating dopamine’s actions in the brain. In the present study, we investigated the distribution of dopaminergic neurons in the brain of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, using two antisera: 1) an antiserum against dopamine, and 2) an antiserum against tyrosine hydroxylase (TH, an enzyme required for dopamine synthesis), and identified about 250 putatively dopaminergic neurons. The patterns of dopamine- and TH-immunoreactive neurons were strikingly similar, suggesting that both antisera recognize the same sets of “dopaminergic” neurons. The dopamine and TH antibodies intensively or moderately immunolabeled prominent brain neuropils, e.g. the mushroom body (memory center), antennal lobe (first-order olfactory center) and central complex (motor coordination center). All subdivisions of the mushroom body exhibit both dopamine and TH immunoreactivity. Comparison of immunolabeled neurons with those filled by dye injection revealed that a group of immunolabeled neurons with cell bodies near the calyx projects into a distal region of the vertical lobe, which is a plausible site for olfactory memory formation in insects. In the antennal lobe, ordinary glomeruli as well as macroglomeruli exhibit both dopamine and TH immunoreactivity. It is noteworthy that the dopamine antiserum labeled tiny granular structures inside the glomeruli whereas the TH antiserum labeled processes in the marginal regions of the glomeruli, suggesting a different origin. In the central complex, all subdivisions excluding part of the noduli and protocerebral bridge exhibit both dopamine and TH immunoreactivity. These anatomical findings will accelerate our understanding of dopaminergic systems, specifically in neural circuits underlying aversive memory formation and arousal, in insects.

<![CDATA[Tissue Distribution of Porcine FTO and Its Effect on Porcine Intramuscular Preadipocytes Proliferation and Differentiation]]>

The fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene plays an important role in adipogenesis. However, its function during porcine intramuscular preadipocyte proliferation and differentiation remains poorly understood. In this study, we prepared the antiserum against porcine FTO (pFTO), which was used to determine its subcellular localization and tissue distribution. Our data indicated that pFTO was localized predominantly in the nucleus. Real-time quantitative PCR and western blot analysis showed that pFTO was highly expressed in the lung and subcutaneous adipose tissue. Overexpression of pFTO in porcine intramuscular preadipocytes significantly promoted cell proliferation and lipid deposition. Furthermore, overexpression of pFTO in differentiating porcine intramuscular preadipocytes also significantly increased the mRNA levels of adipocyte differentiation transcription factors peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), CCAAT/enhancer binding protein α (C/EBPα), lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and fatty acid synthase (FAS). Our findings provide the first functional evidence to reveal a role of pFTO in porcine intramuscular preadipocyte proliferation and differentiation.

<![CDATA[Probiotic Gut Microbiota Isolate Interacts with Dendritic Cells via Glycosylated Heterotrimeric Pili]]>

Mapping of the microbial molecules underlying microbiota-host interactions is key to understand how microbiota preserve mucosal homeostasis. A pivotal family of such bacterial molecules are pili. Pili are proteinaceous cell wall appendages with a well-documented role in adhesion, whilst their role in immune interaction with the host is less established. Gram-positive pili are often posttranslationally modified by sortase-specific cleavage reactions and the formation of intramolecular peptide bonds. Here we report glycosylation as a new level of posttranslational modification of sortase-dependent pili of a beneficial microbiota species and its role in immune modulation. We focused on the SpaCBA pili of the model probiotic and beneficial human gut microbiota isolate Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. A unique combination of molecular techniques, nanoscale mechanical and immunological approaches led to the identification of mannose and fucose residues on the SpaCBA pili. These glycans on the pili are recognized by human dendritic cells via the C-type lectin receptor DC-SIGN, a key carbohydrate-dependent immune tailoring pattern recognition receptor. This specific lectin-sugar interaction is moreover of functional importance and modulated the cytokine response of dendritic cells. This provides insight into the direct role bacterial glycoproteins can play in the immunomodulation of the host. Modification of the complex heterotrimeric pili of a model probiotic and microbiota isolate with mannose and fucose is of importance for the functional interaction with the host immune lectin receptor DC-SIGN on human dendritic cells. Our findings shed light on the yet underappreciated role of glycoconjugates in bacteria-host interactions.

<![CDATA[High-Throughput Characterization of Blood Serum Proteomics of IBD Patients with Respect to Aging and Genetic Factors]]>

To date, no large scale, systematic description of the blood serum proteome has been performed in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. By using microarray technology, a more complete description of the blood proteome of IBD patients is feasible. It may help to achieve a better understanding of the disease. We analyzed blood serum profiles of 1128 proteins in IBD patients of European descent (84 Crohn’s Disease (CD) subjects and 88 Ulcerative Colitis (UC) subjects) as well as 15 healthy control subjects, and linked protein variability to patient age (all cohorts) and genetic components (genotype data generated from CD patients). We discovered new, previously unreported aging-associated proteomic traits (such as serum Albumin level), confirmed previously reported results from different tissues (i.e., upregulation of APOE with aging), and found loss of regulation of MMP7 in CD patients. In carrying out a genome wide genotype-protein association study (proteomic Quantitative Trait Loci, pQTL) within the CD patients, we identified 41 distinct proteomic traits influenced by cis pQTLs (underlying SNPs are referred to as pSNPs). Significant overlaps between pQTLs and cis eQTLs corresponding to the same gene were observed and in some cases the QTL were related to inflammatory disease susceptibility. Importantly, we discovered that serum protein levels of MST1 (Macrophage Stimulating 1) were regulated by SNP rs3197999 (p = 5.96E-10, FDR<5%), an accepted GWAS locus for IBD. Filling the knowledge gap of molecular mechanisms between GWAS hits and disease susceptibility requires systematically dissecting the impact of the locus at the cell, mRNA expression, and protein levels. The technology and analysis tools that are now available for large-scale molecular studies can elucidate how alterations in the proteome driven by genetic polymorphisms cause or provide protection against disease. Herein, we demonstrated this directly by integrating proteomic and pQTLs with existing GWAS, mRNA expression, and eQTL datasets to provide insights into the biological processes underlying IBD and pinpoint causal genetic variants along with their downstream molecular consequences.

<![CDATA[Antigenic Variation of East/Central/South African and Asian Chikungunya Virus Genotypes in Neutralization by Immune Sera]]>


Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a re-emerging mosquito-borne virus which causes epidemics of fever, severe joint pain and rash. Between 2005 and 2010, the East/Central/South African (ECSA) genotype was responsible for global explosive outbreaks across India, the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. From late 2013, Asian genotype CHIKV has caused outbreaks in the Americas. The characteristics of cross-antibody efficacy and epitopes are poorly understood.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We characterized human immune sera collected during two independent outbreaks in Malaysia of the Asian genotype in 2006 and the ECSA genotype in 2008–2010. Neutralizing capacity was analyzed against representative clinical isolates as well as viruses rescued from infectious clones of ECSA and Asian CHIKV. Using whole virus antigen and recombinant E1 and E2 envelope glycoproteins, we further investigated antibody binding sites, epitopes, and antibody titers. Both ECSA and Asian sera demonstrated stronger neutralizing capacity against the ECSA genotype, which corresponded to strong epitope-antibody interaction. ECSA serum targeted conformational epitope sites in the E1-E2 glycoprotein, and E1-E211K, E2-I2T, E2-H5N, E2-G118S and E2-S194G are key amino acids that enhance cross-neutralizing efficacy. As for Asian serum, the antibodies targeting E2 glycoprotein correlated with neutralizing efficacy, and I2T, H5N, G118S and S194G altered and improved the neutralization profile. Rabbit polyclonal antibody against the N-terminal linear neutralizing epitope from the ECSA sequence has reduced binding capacity and neutralization efficacy against Asian CHIKV. These findings imply that the choice of vaccine strain may impact cross-protection against different genotypes.


Immune serum from humans infected with CHIKV of either ECSA or Asian genotypes showed differences in binding and neutralization characteristics. These findings have implications for the continued outbreaks of co-circulating CHIKV genotypes and effective design of vaccines and diagnostic serological assays.